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Shayṭān (شيطان) is the equivalent in Islam of Satan in Christianity and Judaism. The Islamic view of Satan, has both commonalities and differences with Christian and Jewish views.

While Shayṭān (شيطان, from the root šṭn شطن) is an adjective (meaning "astray" or "distant" or "illusionist") that can be applied to both Man ("al-Ins", الإنس) and Jinn, Iblis is the personal name of the Shaitan who is mentioned in the Qur'anic "Genesis", and whose origin is unclear.

Whenever the Qur'an refers to the creature who refused to prostrate before Adam at the time of the latter's creation, it refers to him as Iblis.

  • For a more full account of the creation of Adam, the refusal of Iblis to prostrate before him, and a description of the devil in Islam see Iblis.

Shayṭān (English: Satan) and Adam and Eve

As per the Qur'an, before the creation of Man, God (Arabic: Allah) created the Angels (which were made from light) — which had no free will — and the Jinn (from the smokeless fire).

Later when God created Adam from clay, He ordered the beings in His presence to prostrate to Adam. All the angels did so yet the Jinn Iblis (English: Lucifer ) did not. Iblis was proud and considered himself superior to Adam, since Adam was made from clay and he was created from smokeless fire. For this act of disobedience, God damned him to hell for eternity, but gave him respite till the Day of Judgement at his request. Iblis obtained permission from God that he would use this time to lead all men astray to burn in hell.

After their creation, Adam and Eve (Arabic: Ħawwā') (حواء, Eve) were allowed to dwell freely in al-Jannah Paradise (الجنة), but God forbade them to go near a tree. According to the Qur'an, Iblis tricked Adam and Hawwa' into eating a fruit from the tree. God then expelled all of them from Heaven and onto Earth, to wander about, as a punishment. Then Adam sought to repent to God, and God taught him the words by which to do so. God forgave Adam and Ħawwā' and told them "Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Qur'ān 2:38)." Iblis will try to influence as many of their descendants as he possibly could into sin, so as to be his companions in his final destiny into Hell.

Thus Muslims consider Satan or Iblis, the greatest enemy and a test towards mankind, the result of which will determine one's fate in the hereafter (Paradise or Hell). However Satan is an alternative name of Malak Ta’us the peacock angel, the more benevolent angel of the Yazidi religion of the Kurds, who often claim that the term Satan was created by Muslims purely to discredit Yazidi. Because of this, Yazidi has been frequently mistaken for a form of Satanism by western scholars who mistake the benevolent Malak Ta'us, right hand of god and supreme arch-angel, for Satan due to his name.

Uses of the name Shayṭān in contemporary fiction

Kong: King of Skull Island

In Joe DeVito's Kong: King of Skull Island, the people of Kong's Island were said to have been controlled by an evil cult called the Shaitan until Kong killed its high priest.


In Frank Herbert's "Dune" universe, Shaitan is also one of the many names by which the Fremen refers to the sandworms of Arrakis. The Fremen, whose culture and language display an Arabic influence, regards the sandworms collectively as a great and terrible supernatural force, with anthropomorphic overtones. This is the final incarnation chosen by the God Emperor in his Golden Path for the salvation of mankind.

Wheel of Time

In Robert Jordan's series, "The Wheel of Time", Shai'tan is the name of the more commonly known "Dark One", the antithesis of the Creator.

Angels and Demons

In Dan Brown's first novel featuring Robert Langdon, this character explains the origin of the fictional Illuminati by mentioning it as the first satanic cult, called the "Shaitan" by the Catholic Church.


In Brian Lumley's Necroscope series "Shaitan The Unborn" is the first Wamphyri (Vampire) seeded by a spore from swamps on the Vampire home world. In these novels Wamphyri are created via a symbiotic relationship between a vampiric leech and host.

Satanic Verses

In Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses", the protagonist Gibreel Farishta is nicknamed "Shaitan" by his mother in a complex dream sequence. The mutated Saladin Chamcha is also, albeit more appropriately given his satyr-like appearance, called Shaitan in various encounters with people.

Vampire: The Masquerade

In the White Wolf roleplaying game, Shaitan is a powerful vampire of the Baali bloodline, supposed to live in Mexico. It appears in the game supplement Chaos Factor.

See also

External links