Who is Shaytan ?
Literally, Shaytan means, 'rebellious' and it describes anyone who is insolent and seeks to divert people away from the obedience of Allah, whether he be from the Jinn or humans. Qatadah commented on Allah's statement, 'Shayateen (pl. of Shaytan) among mankind and Jinn...'
'There are Shayateen among the Jinn and Shayateen among mankind, who inspire each other.'[Quran 6:112]
In general, this term refers to Iblees, who is from the Jinn and created from fire. Jinn are a creation of Allah too, and are subject to the commands and prohibitions like humans, and they will be held accountable for their deeds on the Day of Judgment.
In the beginning, Iblees used to worship Allah with the Angels. In His Glorious Book, Allah, the Exalted, has informed us - the children of Adam, about the enmity between Shaytan and mankind that has continued since the day Adam (alaihis-salaam) was created. When Allah breathed soul into Adam, he commanded the Angels to prostrate before Adam as a sign of honor. Although Iblees was not an angel, he was trying - and pretending - to imitate the Angel's behavior and deeds, and this is why he was also included in the command to prostrate before Adam, but Iblees thought too highly of himself and was arrogant. Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) said, 'Before he undertook the path of sin, Iblees was with the Angels and was called Azazil. He was among the residents of the earth and was one of the most active worshippers and knowledgeable persons amidst the Angels. This fact caused him to be arrogant. Iblees was from a genus called Jinn.' [See, Tafseer Ibn Katheer for (2): 34] So he refused the Command of Allah and said,
'I am better than him [Adam], You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.' [Quran 7:12]
Because of this rebellion against Allah, he was cast out of the heavens and cursed by Allah. This creature has been expelled from the Mercy of Allah and he seeks to lead mankind astray and with him to Hellfire. He is thus, mankind's greatest enemy.
Shaytan is afraid of Allah
"...he turned on his heels, and said: 'I have nothing to do with you. I see what you do not see. I am (really) afraid of Allah.” Of course, Allah is (very swift and) severe in (inflicting) punishment.' " [Quran 8:48]
Wisdoms Behind creation of Shaytan?
Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) brings together some of the great wisdoms behind the creation of Shaytan in his book, Shifaa al-Ghaleel, p.322, he writes, 'In the creation of Iblees and his cohorts, there is wisdom, the details of which cannot be encompassed by anyone except Allah.' A few of the many reasons he mentioned are briefly stated below;
a) The effects of fighting against Shaytan and his supporters leads to the perfection of worship. The Prophets and slaves of Allah perfect their servitude to Allah by struggling against Shaytan and opposing his supporters. They also perfect their faith by seeking refuge in Allah from Shaytan and fleeing to Allah in order to seek refuge from Shaytan's evil. This leads to reaching lofty positions of worship that would not have been reached without Shaytan's existence.
b) By the existence of Shaytan, the slaves of Allah become fearful due to their sins since they have witnessed what has become of Shaytan after his sin. They learn from his fall from being amidst the Angels to being Shaytan - the rejected (mardood) - by this example the believer’s fear (Taqwa) fear increases and grows stronger.
c) A lesson for those who are willing to learn. The fathers of both; humankind and jinn were tested with sin. So Allah made one father, Iblees, a lesson to the one who goes against His Commands and is too proud to obey Him, and who persist in his sins. And the other father, a lesson to the one who repents and turns back to his Lord.
d) Shaytan is a trial and test for Allah's slaves
e) Manifestation of Allah's complete Ability to create opposites. Iblees is one of the greatest signs of His Power, Will and Authority to create opposites such as, the heavens and the earths, light and darkness, Paradise and Hell, water and fire, heat and cold, good and evil, Jibreel and Angels as opposed to Iblees and the Shayateen.
f) The goodness of a thing is demonstrated by means of its opposite. The beauty of a thing can only be manifested in comparison with its opposite. It if were not for the ugly, we would not appreciate the virtue of beauty, if it were not for poverty, we would not value richness.
g) Allah's Forbearance and Patience. Allah loves to manifest to His slaves His Forbearance, Patience and Deliberation (lack of haste), immense Mercy and Generosity. This dictates that He should create those who will associate others with Him and make Him angry, yet, despite that, He bestows upon them all kinds of blessings. He sends provision, gives good health and enables them to enjoy all kinds of luxuries, He answers their prayers and removes harm from them. He treats them with kindness and care, unlike the manner in which they treat him, by disbelieving in Him, associating others in worship with him and speaking badly of Him. According to a saheeh hadeeth, 'If you did not err, Allah would cause you to vanish and would bring people who would err and then seek His forgiveness, so that He could forgive them.' According to a hasan report, 'O son of Adam, you have not been fair to Me. My goodness comes down to you, and your evil deeds ascend to Me. I try to win your love by sending you blessing, when I have no need of you, and how you try to earn My hatred by disobeying Me, while you are in great need of Me, and the noble angels are continuously bringing your evil actions to Me.'
h) Things beloved to Allah that happen because of the existence of Shaytan. How often things that Allah loves, happen because of the existence of this creature, which the Lord hates and is angry with. No matter what evil and sins happened because of the existence of the enemy of Allah, the acts of obedience that happen because of him and his cohorts are dearer to Allah and more pleasing to Him, such as going against one's desires and whims, putting up with difficulties and hardships in order to earn His love and pleasure. The dearest thing to the beloved is to see his lover putting up with hardship and difficulty for his sake, in order to prove his love for him. While sins and disobedience that are caused by Iblees anger Allah. Nonetheless, Allah is more pleased at the repentance of His slave than one who has lost his camel, which is carrying his food and drink, when he finds it in an isolated and dangerous desert.(*1)
"Shaitan is really your enemy! So treat him as your enemy! He invites you to join his group, so you may end up being his companion in the hell fire!" [Quran 35:6]
(1) Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'Allah is more pleased with the repentance of a servant as he turns towards Him for repentance than the one amongst you, who is upon the camel in a waterless desert and there is upon (that camel) his provision of food and drink, then it is lost by him. Having lost all hope (to get it back), he lies down in the shade and is disappointed about his camel and then he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its nose-string and then out of boundless joy says, 'O Lord, You are my servant and I am Your Lord. He commits this mistake out of extreme delight.' [Saheeh Muslim (6618)]
Source: As-Sunnah Newsletter