Ibn al-Qayyim on the Wisdom and Benefits of the Creation of the Shayaateen

In his sharh of Imam al-Saaboonee’s Aqeedah al-Salaf wa Ashaab al-Hadeeth, Dr. Naasir ibn ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Jaree’ summarizes some of Ibn al-Qayyim’s points of the wisdoms and benefits of the creation of the shayaateen, as related in the imam’s book, Shifa’ al-‘Aleel:

وفي خلق الشياطين حكم و مصالح عديدة

And in the creation of the devils there are many wisdoms and benefits.

قال بن القيم رحمه الله في كتاب (شفاء العليل) مجيباً من يتساءل عن الحكمة في خلق إبليس و جنوده. قال (في ذلك من الحكم ما لا يحيط بتفصيله إلَّا الله) ثم ذكر جملة منها
. و مما ذكره ما يأتي

Ibn al-Qayyim (May Allah have mercy on him) in his book – Shifa’ al-‘Aleel – responds to those who ask about the wisdom of the creation of Iblis and his minions. He said “In that there is wisdom and no one can grasp its complete explanation except Allah”, then he mentioned some points of benefit. And from what he mentioned are the following points:

أن يكمل لأنبيائه و أوليائه مراتب العبودية بمجاهدة عدو الله و حزبه و مخالفته و الاستعاذة بالله منه و اللجوء إليه أن يعيذهم من شره وكيده , فيترتب لهم بذلك من المصالح الدنيوية والأخروية ما لم يحصل بدونه .

[The creation of the devils] enables the appropriate ranking of the Prophets and the close friends of Allah according to their worship by their striving against the enemies of Allah, their party and their wrongdoings, and seeking refugee with Allah from them and fleeing to Him and seeking His protection from their evil and their plots. And that leads the slaves of Allah to benefits both in this life and in the next which they would not have achieved otherwise.

و منها أنه سبحانه جعل إبليس عبرة لمن خالف أمره و تكبر عن طاعته و أصر على معصيته.

And from the the wisdom is the He, Exalted is He, made Iblis a lesson for those who oppose His command, and exalt themselves above His obedience, and persist in sin.

و منها أنه محك امتحن الله به خلقه ليتبين به خبيثهم من طيبهم .

And from the wisdom is that it is a test by which Allah tries His creation to clarify the evil ones from the good ones among them.

و منها إظهار كمال قدرة الله تعالى في خلق الأضداد مثل جبريل و الملائكة , و إبليس و الشياطين .

And from the wisdom is Allah, Elevated is He, perfectly demonstrates His Power by the creation of opposites, such as Jibreel and the angels vis-a-vis Iblis and the devils.

و منها أن خلق أحد الضدين من كمال حسن ضده , فإن الضد إنما يطهر حسنه بضده , فلولا القبيح لم تعرف فضيلة الجميل و هكذا .

And from the wisdom is that in the creation of a pair of opposites is the perfection of their positive component. For the excellence of one thing is not demonstrated except by its opposite, for without the loathsome, one cannot know the excellence of beauty, and so on.

و من هذه الحكم أنه سبحانه يحب أن يشكر بحقيقة الشكر و أنواعه , ولا ريب أن أولياءه نالوا بوجود عدو الله إبليس و جنوده و امتحانهم به من أنواع شكره ما لم يكن يحصل لهم بدونه . فكم بين شكر آدم وهو في الجنة قبل أن يخرج منها و بين شكره بعد أن ابتلي بعدوه ثم اجتباه ربه وتاب عليه و قبله

And from this wisdom is that He, Exalted is He, loves to be thanked with true appreciation and its forms, and there is no doubt that, due to the presence of Iblis, the enemy of Allah, and his minions and his trials, the close friends of Allah have achieved various forms of gratefulness which they would not have grasped otherwise. How great was the difference between the gratefulness of Adam when he was in Paradise before being exiled from it compared to his gratefulness after he had been tested by his enemy and then His Lord chose him and he repented and Allah accepted his repentance.

[Taken from the Dr. Naasir ibn ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Jaree’ ‘s commentary of “Aqeedah al-Salaf wa Ashaab al-Hadeeth” by Imam al-Saboonee, pages 138-139, who in turn cites Ibn al-Qayyim’s “Shifa’ al-‘Aleel”, pages 236-240]

See also: We have made for every prophet an enemy: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Dealing with the human shayaateen and the jinn shayaateen: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: A sin may be beneficial for a person: Ibn al-Qayyim

See also: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali on relative and absolute evil in Allah’s creation

See also: What is the wisdom of abrogating a command before it can be acted on?: Imam al-Shinqitee

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