Satan, devil… Those words are often heard or read somewhere. But, what is exactly satan? Is it a creature with two horns on its head, two fiery bulging eyes, red face, and devilish smile..? When we say 'satan', do we really know what we say? What is the difference between jinn, iblis, and satan?
Human being was created out of clay. Angels were created out of light. Meanwhile, jinns were created from fire. Satan is often considered as another creation of God just like human being and angels. Satan is often thought to be created from fire, just like jinn. When God creates something, the creation must fulfill the purpose set by God. What is the purpose of the creation of human being? Human being is created merely to worship God. If a person obeys God, he will earn reward and if he doesn't obey, he will earn sin. Now, if satan is a creation just like human being, what is the purpose of the creation? Most people will say the purpose is to mislead people on earth or to make people disobey God. So, if the satan is successful in misleading people, will satan earn reward and go to heaven..? Misleading people or making people doing evil deeds is sinful, so satan must go to hell. Now, if satan doesn't succeed in misleading people, will satan go to hell because satan couldn't fulfill the purpose? It's funny to think that satan will go to hell whether or not satan fulfill the job. What a poor creation! God is unfair!
Satan is often associated with iblis. Satan and iblis are often considered the same entity. However, the Qur'an explains that iblis is creature of God among jinn who disobeyed God as stated in chapter 28 verse 50, "And behold, We said to the angels "Bow down to Adam", and they bowed down except iblis. He was one of the jinns and he broke the command of his Lord…" It is clear that among the jinns, there are some who disobey God and such jinns are called iblis who vowed to mislead the descendants of Adam until the last day comes. The intention of iblis is clear in the Qur'an chapter 38 verse 82, "(Iblis) said: "Then by thy power, I will put them all in the wrong."
Meanwhile, satan is manifested in the form of human being and jinn as stated in the Qur'an chapter 6 verse 112, "Likewise did We make for every Messenger an enemy, evil ones, among men and jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception…" Furthermore in chapter 114 verse 4-6, "From the mischief of the whisperer (of evil), who withdraws (after his whisper). (The same) who whispers in the hearts of mankind. Among jinns and among men."
Therefore, satan is not another type of creation of God. Satan is attribute or nature, or character. Iblis is satan because iblis mislead people from the way of God. Whoever disobey God's rules in the Qur'an is satan. If a person has desire to do evil deeds, the desire itself is satan. If I have a friend and my friend asks me to steal money, then my friend is satan as he provokes me to disobey God's rule. If I follow his desire to steal, then I become satan too. If I repent and regret, then I'm no longer a satan. If a father suggests his son to lie then the father is satan. If his son follows the father's suggestion, then his son is satan. But if the son rejects to lie then the son is not satan.
It is mistaken that satan is powerful. Satan can only do the provocation or suggestion as said in the Qur'an chaper 14 verse 22, "And satan will say when the matter is decided, "It was God Who gave you a promise of truth. I too promised but I failed in my promise to you. I had no authority over you except to call you, but ye listened to me. Then reproach not me but reproach your own souls. I cannot listen to your cries nor can ye listen to mine. I reject your former act in associating me with God. For wrong-doers there must be a grievous penalty." Satan can't force or make people to execute the evil deeds. It is up to us whether or not we want to follow satan's provocation or whisper. Human being is truly free to decide what to do and what to choose. Satan is actually very weak as satan only whispers the idea of doing sins.
Jinn can also be satan and provoke human being from obeying God's rule. Satanic jinns or iblis often take forms – human, animal, and other kinds of forms – to deceive human being. Iblis usually take forms of dead relatives and imitate the way they speak and behave when they were still alive. The purpose of such action is to make people believe that the souls of dead people can come to earth which is not true and against the teaching of the Qur'an. Empty houses often have devilish jinns inside to disturb the residents. And there are many more ways that iblis do to make people go astray, to disbelieve God.
Why are we often provoked by satan? That's because satan come in the form of people we are familiar with, so we don't realize that at certain time, they are being satan. People still think that satan is another creation of God with distinctive physical features so when facing a familiar person being satanic they don't see satan but someone they know.
It is important to be able to handle satan. That's because satan prevent human being to achieve the ultimate goal of being happy in this world and in the hereafter. Satan's provocation or suggestion is only one kind, that is asking people NOT to follow the rules of God in the Qur'an. If the rules are not implemented, it can be guaranteed that a person can't be happy in both world.
Human being —
SATAN––> Al Qur'an ——-> true happiness
Some characteristics and actions that belong to satan as mentioned in the Qur'an are arrogance, stinginess, prejudice, backbiting, dishonesty, extravagance (in life style), killing, ruining the environment, corruption, stealing, violence, and many more. And there is no better way to beat the evil whispers of satan than seeking refuge to God all the time, which is commanded in the Qur'an chapter 23 verse 97 & 98, "And say "O my Lord! I seek refuge with Thee from the suggestions of the evil ones. And I seek refuge with Thee O my Lord! Lest they should come near me."
Satan is eternal enemy of every human being. Even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was accompanied by satan in the form of desire and iblis. The Prophet said, "None of us is without satan. I myself have satan, however with God's help I can beat the satan."
So, hold tighly the rules of God in the Qur'an and seek refuge to God whenever there is the provocation of satan.