In a time where the use of reason without bounds is sacrosanct amongst the dominating  global cultural order, the following verses accompanied with their commentary in Tafsir ibn Katheer is an apt reminder of the rightful place and limits that reason or logic has in Islam. Whilst ration is essential to enter one into Islam in the first instance, equally, ration recognises the limits of human reason and ability. This realisation is all the more important in an age where the seemingly apparent threatens to dictate our actions at the expense of textual certainties. Thus, it was revelation that showered Musa (AS) with confidence despite the apparent helplessness when facing the sea with Fir’awn on his heel, it was the promise of Allah (SWT) to bani Israeel that they be granted the Holy Land that strengthened Talut and the mere 300 followers (from the initial 80000) despite the seemingly gross mismatch against Jalut’s army, it was the promise of Allah (SWT) to the Prophet (SAW) and the Sahabah that assured them of victory during the immense hardship and fear during the battle of the trench despite the hypocrites mocking the promises. The examples from the seerah and the previous prophets abound. However, here we revisit the first to use false logic and analogy such that it led to his destruction: Allah (SWT) says:

قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلاَّ تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ قَالَ أَنَاْ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ

(7:12.) “What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you” Iblis said: “I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.”) Allah said,

مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلاَّ تَسْجُدَ

(What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate) (7: 12)

meaning, what stopped and hindered you from prostrating after I ordered you to do so, according to Ibn Jarir. This meaning is sound, and Allah knows best. Iblis, may Allah curse him, said,

أَنَاْ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ

(I am better than him (Adam)

this excuse is worse than the crime itself! Shaytan said that he did not obey Allah because he who is better cannot prostrate to he who is less. Shaytan, may Allah curse him, meant that he is better than Adam, “So how can You order me to prostrate before him” Shaytan said that he is better than Adam because he was created from fire while, “You created him from clay, and fire is better.” The cursed one looked at the origin of creation not at the honor bestowed, that is, Allah creating Adam with His Hand and blowing life into him. Shaytan made a false comparison when confronted by Allah’s command,

فَقَعُواْ لَهُ سَـجِدِينَ

(“Then you fall down prostrate to him”)(38:72)

Therefore, Shaytan alone contradicted the angels, because he refused to prostrate. He, thus, became `Ablasa’ from the mercy, meaning, lost hope in acquiring Allah’s mercy. He committed this error, may Allah curse him, due to his false comparison. His claim that the fire is more honored than mud was also false, because mud has the qualities of wisdom, for – bearance, patience and assurance, mud is where plants grow, flourish, increase, and provide good. To the contrary, fire has the qualities of burning, recklessness and hastiness. Therefore, the origin of creation directed Shaytan to failure, while the origin of Adam led him to return to Allah with repentance, humbleness, obedience and submission to His command, admitting his error and seeking Allah’s forgiveness and pardon for it. Muslim recorded that `Aishah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

خُلِقَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ مِنْ نُورٍ وَخُلِقَ إِبْلِيسُ مِنْ مَارِجٍ مِنْ نَارٍ وَخُلِقَ آدَمُ مِمَّا وُصِفَ لَكُم

The angels were created from light, Shaytan from a smokeless flame of fire, while Adam was created from what was described to you

ibn Jarir recorded that Al-Hasan commented on Shaytan’s statement,

خَلَقْتَنِى مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ

You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.

Iblis used Qiyas (analogy), and he was the first one to do so. This statement has an authentic chain of narration. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Sirin said, “The first to use Qiyas was Iblis, and would the sun and moon be worshipped if it was not for Qiyas” This statement also has an authentic chain of narration.