And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves unto Adam.” So they prostrated themselves except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord. Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you? What an evil is the exchange for the wrong-doers. (50)
In the Qur’an, the only place where the story of Aadam alayhi salaam occurs twice consecutively back-to-back is in Surah Israa (17) and Surah Kahf (18). The story of Aadam alayhi salaam is mentioned in other surahs such as A’raaf and Baqarah, but here in these two surahs, his story is mentioned in the middle of the surahs right after one another.
Suratul Kahf is directed more to the Christians, so Allah ta’ala addresses their main ideology with this story.
Allah ta’ala begins by saying,وَإِذْ, and mention:
Allah azza wa jal ordered the angels to make sajdah (prostration) to Aadam alayhi salaam.
Sajdah is of three kinds:
1- Sajdah of worship. It is a physical prostration like we do in our salah.
2- Sajdah of greeting and respect. This type of sajdah is like a gesture, for example someone may lower their head out of respect.
3- Sajdah of servitude. The creation of Allah do sajdah to Allah, not as a physical prostration but of obeying Him.
The sajdah here is the sajdah of greeting and honor; all of the angels prostrated out of obedience to Allah ta’ala except for Iblees, who was also commanded to prostrate. Allah ta’ala describes him as being from the Jinn; making it clear that he was never an angel.
Allah ta’ala says about him, “he disobeyed the Command of his Lord.” Fasaq is from fisq, and fisq literally gives the meaning of when a flower emerges from the bud or when a date is over-ripe and the it breaks through the date skin. Fisq means to go beyond the limits set by Allah. Iblees departed from the command of Allah ta’ala by not prostrating.
The Christians say that Iblees was not a Jinn, but he was an angel. They took the theological component of this story and said he was a fallen angel, but Allah ta’ala clarifies: “he was from the jinn”, telling the Christians what they need to hear.
Allah ta’ala also added something else: “he violated the commands of his Rabb“. Why is that important for Christians? They systematically violated the commands of their Rabb by abandoning the law of Musa alayhi salaam after the depature of Esa alayhi salaam.
أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ, “Will you then take him (Iblis).” Ittakatha means to take, but it also gives the meaning of preferring.
أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ, “Will you then take him (Iblees) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you?”
Thurriyah, Children, can mean according to the scholars of Tafseer:
1- refers to the real children of Iblees
2- refers to the followers of Iblees
With regards to the real children of Iblees, we do not know how or why, so we say as we learned in the previous ayaat: Allah is Most Knowing.
We do learn that shaytan does have followers and armies. In Saheeh Muslim, Jabir reported that Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: Iblees places his throne upon water; he then sends detachments (for creating dissension) ; the nearer to him in rank are those who are most notorious in creating dissension. One of them comes and says: I did so and so. And he says: You have done nothing. Then one amongst them comes and says: I did not spare so and so until I sowed the seed of discord between a husband and a wife. The Satan goes near him and says: ‘You have done well.’
This is the job of Shaytan; to create dissension between us and take us from the obedience of Allah ta’ala.
Allah mentions that Shaytan is a clear enemy, so we should be alert. Nowadays, when leaders or famous people go to dangerous places that an enemy of theirs may be lurking…how do they act? They are staying in a secure house, they ride in a bullet-proof car, with a vest, multiple body guards and they do not stay out too long. Likewise we must take precautions with Shaytan, because Allah azza wa jal has told us he is our real enemy…so how can we take him and his children as auliyaa?
Auliyaa is from wali, and a wali is not only a friend, but a close protecting friend that takes care of you. A wali is someone that you befriend and that you listen too and obey. Allah ta’ala is speaking to each and every one of us: have we befriended shaytan and his children over Allah, Al-Wali?
Have we done this while, وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ “they are enemies to you?” Instead of taking Allah as a Wali, you have taken Shaytan and his children as your Wali?
Allah ta’ala ends the ayah by exclaiming, “What an evil is the exchange for the wrong-doers”. The dhaalimoon replaced Allah azza wa jal with Shaytan as their close protecting friend. Dhulm literally means to place something where it does not belong; their dhulm is taking the wrong Auliyaa for themselves and the consequences they are going to face in the hereafter.
How bad is this exchange of taking Shaytan as a close friend and leaving Allah azza wa jal.
I (Allah) made them (Iblees and his offspring) not to witness (nor took their help in) the creation of the heavens and the earth and not (even) their own creation, nor was I (Allah) to take the misleaders as helpers. (51)
Allah ta’ala did not make shaytan and his followers a witness in the creation of the heavens and earth or the creation of themselves. Ishhaad is to call someone to witness and observe. The purpose of witnessing is to aid, support and advice. If they were not even made a witness to their own creation and they did not share in the creation, then how can they share in the worship? How can they be deserving of worship? The Creator is the Maalik, Khaaliq and Mudabbir, The Owner, Creator and Sustainer.
Allah ta’ala continues, “nor was I to take the misleaders as helpers.” Muddilleen are not those who are astray, but those who lead others astray. Allah does not take those who lead astray as “adhudaa“. ‘Adhud is used for the upper arm and figuratively is used for strength (in English we say, my “right hand man”). ‘Adhud is used for an assistant or helper.
This is Allah’s Attitude: if He has not taken them as helpers, then who are we to take them as helpers and associate them in worship with Allah azza wa jal? If we want to walk upon the right path, then as in ayah 28, we take righteous company and as we learn in this ayah, leave the company of those who are astray.
Who have you taken as a close friend and helper? What exchange have we made?