When Allah created Adam and breathed into him his spirit, He commanded the angels to
prostrate themselves before him. Satan, who was not an angel but from the Jinn, was in
their company, had been worshipping Allah along with them.
Allah addresses Satan as well as the angels with His command because Satan was in the company of the angels and was behaving like them. However, when they were all commanded to prostrate before Adam, Satan refused and was cursed.
Allah says: “And remember when we said to the angels: ‘Prostrate before Adam’ and they all prostrated except for Satan. He refused and was haughty and was one of the unbelievers.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah
Allah also says: “And remember when we said to the angels: ‘Prostrate before Adam’ and
they all prostrated except for Satan. He was one of the Jinn and disobeyed the command
of his Lord.” [Sûrah al-Kahf
The reason he refused to bow before Adam was because of his pride, envy, and rancor.
His punishment was to be cursed and banished from Allah’s mercy. However, this filthy
creature grew in his hatred of Adam and Adam’s progeny and requested from Allah to
grant him respite until the Day of Resurrection. This Allah granted him.
What Satan said next is related in the Qurân: “He said: ‘Because You have thrown me out of the way, I will lie in wait for them on Your straight way. Then will I assault them from
before them and behind them, from their right and their left. You will find most of them
to be ungrateful.’” [Sûrah al-A`râf
That is how Satan swore he would lead Allah’s servants from the progeny of Adam
astray. He would take them off the path of truth and salvation. He would cause them to
abandon the worship of Allah or bring them to polytheism. He would lead them to any
path that would cut them off from all that is good and enamor them of all that is evil.
Allah also relates to us the following words of Satan:
“(Satan) said: ‘O my Lord! Because You have put me in the wrong, I will make wrong
fair-seeming to them on the Earth, and I will put them all in the wrong except Your
servants among them, sincere and purified.’ ” [Sûrah al-Hijr
“(Satan) said: ‘See You this one whom You have honored above me? If You will but
grant me respite to the Day of Judgment, I will surely bring his descendants under my sway – all but a few!’ ” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’
Satan, with his deceptions and whisperings, is still relentlessly pursuing Adam’s descendants. He caused Adam to fall from Paradise. He first caused Adam’s son to kill his brother. This was not enough for him. As the ages went by and the descendants of Adam became more distanced in time from their father and prophet, Satan made idolatry fair seeming to them. He deceived them and achieved his aim.
This first happened to the people of Noah who were idol worshippers. They worshipped Widd, Siwâ`, Yaghûth, Ya`ûq, and Nasr. These names originally belonged to righteous people among their forefathers. When they had died, Satan inspired the people to erect statues in their honor. They did this but refrained from worshiping them. When that generation passed away and knowledge dwindled, Satan got their descendants to worship those statues. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî
(6/73) as related from Ibn `Abbâs]
Ibn Jarîr al-Tabarî, in his commentary of the Qur’ân, relates the following from
Muhammad b. Qays [Tafsîr al-Tabarî
They were righteous people from the progeny of Adam (peace be upon him). They had followers who emulated them. When they died, their followers said: “If we make likenesses of them, it will be a reminder to us and make us more earnest in our worship.” So they made statues commemorating them.
Then, when that generation had died, Satan came to those who came after them and informed them that their forefathers used to worship those statues and through them the rains were brought forth. So people began worshipping the statues.
This is how idolatry got started. Satan beguiled the people into worshipping idols.
However, Allah in his knowledge, wisdom, and mercy, did not leave his servants to be
Satan’s victims. He sent Messengers to clarify to them the true faith and to warn them
against idolatry. Allah did this as a mercy to His servants and in order to establish the
proof against them “so that he who would perish might perish by clear proof, and he who
would live might live by clear proof.” [Sûrah al-Anfâl
Allah describes his Messengers as: “bringers of glad tidings and warnings, in order that
humanity might have no argument against Allah after the Messengers. Allah was ever
Mighty, Wise.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’
Allah also says: “We send not the Messengers save as bearers of good news and of
warnings. Whoever believes and does right, they shall have no fear upon them nor shall
they grieve. But as for those who deny Our revelations, torment will afflict them for that
they used to disobey.” [Sûrah al-An`âm
Ibn Mas`ûd relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “No one is more
jealous than Allah. This is why he forbids all licentious acts, both visible and hidden. And
no one loves extolment more than Allah and that is why Allah extols Himself. This is
why he revealed His book and sent His Messengers.”[Sahîh Muslim
(4/2114 and 4/2114)]
Sa`d b. `Ubâdah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No one is more fond
of accepting an excuse than Allah. This is why He sent the Messengers as givers of glad
tidings and as warners.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî
(8/174) and Sahîh Muslim
So Allah sent His Messengers to establish the proof to all of His Creation and to give the
opportunity for excuses. The Message that He sent with them is one of His great
blessings to humanity. Our need for this Message is truly our most dire need. It is greater
than our need for food, drink, and medicine. Death is the worst thing that can befall us if
we are deprived of our worldly sustenance. The Message, on the other hand, is what we
need to rectify both our worldly lives and our eternal lives in the Hereafter.
There can be no good for us in the Hereafter except by following Allah’s Message, and likewise nothing in our worldly lives can be deemed good unless we do so.