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And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam they did obeisance, but Iblis (did it not). He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers. (2:34)

In the above verse, Allah asks the Angels to bow before Adam. As far as I know, Iblees was a jinn. Then why did Allah say "he refused", when the order was not to him (Shaitan)

4

That Satan is a Jinn is clear from [18:50]"

Behold! We said to the angels, "Bow down to Adam": They bowed down except Iblis. He was one of the Jinns, and he broke the Command of his Lord. …

This (many times in Quran with the same sentences: [20:116], [18:50], [17:61], [7:11] and [2:34], indeed) is how Allah tells us the story, as you see from the quoted verse what Allah has stated is actually a command without mentioning its listeners: "Make obeisance to Adam", and Satan was with angles maybe for almost 6000 years, living and praying with them and even teaching them, being their guru and among the most respected ones, even some Ahadith tell us that angels had forgotten the fact that he is not an angle like themselves. Maybe they had thought Satan to be an angel like themselves and this is why Allah has told us the story the way he has told us the story! To understand this better, note that Allah also talks about the father of Abraham --peace be upon him--, Aadhar, while we know Aadhar was not his father but his uncle! This only explains how Allah Azza-Va-Jalla has chosen to tell the stories of the previous people in His Quran, talking in their own words! But why has Allah Azza-va-Jalla chosen to do so I don't know. I can at most think this can clarify some points about the real story of those times, helping people to overcome some misunderstanding of the stories, small doors to great halls of reality! This you should be encountered a lot while reading Ahadith of Ahlol-Beyt --peace be upon them-- that they use very tiny points in Quran to obtain very useful conclusions at the end! After all they are firmly grounded in Knowledge!

Also the reason why Allah has ordered this to angles may be equally valid also for Satan. Therefore, one may claim that Allah's order was to the rank and stature of the angels and not to the beings which were created as angels! So that the command also included Satan, who at those times were leveled with the greatest angels of God.

  • I know this is a new question: Where there other Jinn at the time that were "good"? Did other Jinn bow down? – user206 Oct 17 '12 at 1:23
  • "and Satan was with angles maybe for almost 6000 years, living and praying with them and even teaching them, being their guru and among the most respected ones, even some Ahadith tell us that angels had forgotten the fact that he is not an angle like themselves." - Could you add some reference for this especially but also for most of the description – Kilise Nov 3 '17 at 16:03
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Iblīs was ordered to prostrate to Adam, and he understood that that the command included him, too, not just the angels.

The verse you quoted uses a form of exception in the Arabic language that is called severed exception, which means that what is being excepted does not share all the attributes of what is being excepted from:

وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ أَبَىٰ وَاسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ

And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.

Surat Al-Baqarah 2:34

In Adwā' al-Bayān (Arabic: أضواء البيان في إيضاح القرآن بالقرآن), Vol. 3, pp. 468-469, Mohammad ash-Shanqīti explains the difference between a continuous exception and a severed exception in the Arabic language (Arabic: الفرق بين الاستثناء المتصل والمنقطع):

  • Continuous exception: the excepted and the excepted from share the same attributes, e.g., the congregation arrived except for Zaid (congregation is mostly people and Zaid is a person → continuous exception).
  • Severed exception: the excepted and the excepted from do not share all attributes, e.g., the congregation arrived except for a donkey (congregation is mostly people and the missing donkey is not a person → severed exception).

Another example of a severed exception is:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُم بَيْنَكُم بِالْبَاطِلِ إِلَّا أَن تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنكُمْ ۚ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا

O ye who believe! Squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, except it be a trade by mutual consent and kill not one another. Lo! Allah is ever Merciful unto you.

Surat An-Nisa' 4:29

A mutual trade is obviously not an unjust consumption of money that does not belong to one. This is a severed exception.

Furthermore, Allah demonstrates in another verse that Iblīs was indeed different: he disobeyed a command from Allah, which means he had the free will of obeying or disobeying, and he chose to disobey:

وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ بِئْسَ لِلظَّالِمِينَ بَدَلًا

And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam," and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord. Then will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for the wrongdoers as an exchange.

Surat Al-Kahf 18:50

The free will is not limited to Iblīs, but to the entire population of Jinn who either believe or disbelieve:

قُلْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ أَنَّهُ اسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْآنًا عَجَبًا يَهْدِي إِلَى الرُّشْدِ فَآمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ وَلَن نُّشْرِكَ بِرَبِّنَا أَحَدًا

Say, [O Muhammad], "It has been revealed to me that a group of the jinn listened and said, 'Indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur'an. It guides to the right course, and we have believed in it. And we will never associate with our Lord anyone.

Surat Al-Jinn 72:1-2

Finally, when Allah asked Iblīs about the reason he disobeyed, Iblīs did not at any one time claim that he was not commanded to do so; rather, he responded that he was better than Adam:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ صَوَّرْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ لَمْ يَكُن مِّنَ السَّاجِدِينَ قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ ۖ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ

And We have certainly created you, [O Mankind], and given you [human] form. Then We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was not of those who prostrated. [ Allah ] said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?" [Satan] said, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay."

Surat Al-A'raf 7:11-12

It is clear that Iblīs understood that Allah's command to prostrate included him, but he decided not to obey since he perceived himself to be of higher stance based on the fact that Adam was created from dust, whereas Iblīs was created from fire.

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And behold, We said to the angels: “Bow down to Adam” and they bowed down. Not so Iblis (Satan): he refused and was haughty: he was of those who reject Faith. (2: 34)

Do you recall In school when the "Teacher would speak to the entire class", the teacher would start of by saying "Good morning class, how are you"? Now by asking the question "how are you", was the teacher speaking to you or "all of you"? The same rule applies In this case, even though "Allah (SWT) spoke to them all by referring to them all as Angels", He/Allah (SWT) still spoke to them all, correct, and Ibliss was among'st the Angels of Allah (SWT)? As such (Ibliss) was also "Order'd to prostrate to Adam (A.S)".

It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels bow down to Adam, and they bowed down; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who bow down. (God) said: “What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?” He said: “I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay.” (God) said: “Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures).” (7: 11–13)

As you can see "Allah (SWT) further questioned Ibliss" asking him/Ibliss "What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" This further adds to the fact that "When Allah (SWT), commanded the Angels to bow down (That Ibliss) was also added to that order"+The fact that "Ibliss already had a response prepared for the (Lord of the Seen+Unseen and all that has In-between) by stating "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay", which means that "Ibliss made a conscience choice to refuse to bow down to Adam (A.S)", knowing full well that he too was required to do so by the order of Allah (SWT).

Just Imagine for a moment, that on that day (As far as the eye can see), rows upon rows of Angels lined up (Not one out of line or ahead of the other), In a perfect line-up (Like an Army or Military), all are "White" (Or w/e color they may be), and Adam (A.S), and the command of Allah (SWT) came down We said to the angels: “Bow down to Adam” and they bowed down., they all "Bow" (Right away), no Ifs or Ans or Buts, In perfect harmony, and Ibliss "Sticking out like a swore thumb" or like a "Black speck on a dot, on a piece of paper", How odd would that scene look, I mean talk about really sticking out. Than to make matters all that much worse actually "Arguing with Allah (SWT)" (Weather the Angels had their heads still on the ground or not) In-front of Adam (A.S). I mean, Just Imagine that scene for a moment. The gull of Ibliss to actually think that such a thing could be excusable or forgettable.

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This is an entirely different perspective to the question, but if we are to compare the biblical/jewish texts and other non-canonical books we see that the Jinns may be somewhat related to the watchers(grigori) since they once lived here. By and large these sources all called intelligent beings beneath Allah's throne angels apart from man. Each angel had a rank/grade and it is according to this they were kept in different dimensions or heavens. In the christian text the cherubim and seraphim were the highest, Although it is believed lucifer was a cherub(one of the highest ranked angels). I don't think ibliss was Lucifer of the bible, not so sure.

So saying ibliss was a higher/lower angel of some sort is another interpretation.

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If he refused that would imply that he was also being asked to prostrate. Other wise there was no need to use word "refuse"

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