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The Original Disputant

The purpose of language is to communicate the truth. Discussions amongst people form the basis of exchanges, wherein views and ideas are shared. Through such productive interactions, the expansion of knowledge enables humankind to progress, improve and grow, individually and collectively.

There are other methods of communication, less useful and more harmful - argumentation. When exchanges between people descend into conflicts, the possibility of agreement and compromise are lost. Proving a point and being right becomes more important than attaining truth.

The original Disputant is Satan. He who contended with his Creator, openly disobeyed and rebelled against HIM. The Devil was determined not to confess to his fault nor to accept responsibility for his actions. He blamed his Sustainer for the state he found himself in, and promised to drive HIS most favoured creature - Man - into the hellish abode he was destined for.

Argumentation in human relations reveals lack of respect, patience, tolerance, compassion, humility and generosity - beautiful traits which only the best of people possess and never forget. Even during the most testing of times. Satan's reach does not extend to those who are always conscious of the Presence of their Creator.

Manipulation, exaggeration and distortion are the tools used in language for the purposes of diverting attention - away from the truth and toward falsehood. Arrogance in speech often leads to argumentation, it prevents peaceful dialogue and is concentrated only upon gaining acendancy. Arrogance is the principle characteristic of Satan:

Surah 7 Al-Ar'aaf, Verses 11-18
Yea, indeed, WE have created you, and then formed you; and then WE said to the Angels, "Prostrate yourselves before Adam!" - whereupon they (all) prostrated themselves, save Iblees: he was not among those who prostrated themselves.
(And God) Said: "What has kept you from prostrating yourself when I commanded you?"
Answered (Iblees) : "I am better than he: YOU have created me out of fire, whereas him YOU have created out of clay."
(God) Said: "Down with you, then, from this (state) - for it is not meet for you to show arrogance here! Go forth, then: verily, among the humiliated shall you be!"
Said (Iblees) : "Grant me a respite till the Day when all shall be raised from the dead."
(And God) Replied: "Verily, you shall be among those who are granted a respite."
(Whereupon Iblees) said: "Now that YOU have thwarted me, I shall most certainly lie in ambush for them all along YOUR Straight Way,
and shall most certainly fall upon them openly as well as in a manner beyond their ken, and from their right and from their left: and most of them YOU will find ungrateful."
(And God) Said: "Go forth from here, disgraced and disowned! (And) as for such of them as follow you - I will most certainly fill Hell with you all!"


The preceding dialogue between The Creator and Satan reveal many truths about his nature and character -

1) Satan has been given a choice between obedience and disobedience. He excercises his will freely.
2) He is formed from fire - and the subsequent exchange following upon his refusal to submit to the Command of his Sustainer, is an exhibition of his fiery, heated temperament. Fire is destructive: and punishment for evil is always associated with the "Fires of Hell." This reference to the material from which he is created is also the first instance of racism. Modern forms of which are nationalism, tribalism, casteism and sectarianism.
3) He blames God for his act of rebellion, and categorically refuses to accept responsibility for his conduct.
4) He is aware of Judgment and Resurrection.
5) He has been granted a degree of insight into the nature of Man - "most of them YOU will find ungrateful."
6) He will use all concievable and inconcievable devices in order to misguide his arch rival - the one whom his Creator has preferred over him.
7) The state of humiliation in which he finds himself is in marked contrast to his own elevated and exaggerated sense of self-importance. See also Q15:39-40, 17;62, 38:73-84.

Though Satan defies the Will of his Creator, he has full knowledge about his own limited abilities. That, in fact, he is weak and powerless, with no independant means of doing his worst. He can work within certain defined parameters, that too only with those who are receptive to his deceptive and seductive voice. Ultimately, he acknowledges his destination to be a wretched one, as fiery and destructive as his own unstable nature.

Since God creates everything in accordance with the Truth and for a particular purpose, Satan's existence too has meaning. The permission granted to him to tempt Man away from his Bountiful Sustainer, is founded upon HIS All-Encompassing Knowledge - many will succumb, and many others will not. As humankind have been blessed with knowledge of good and bad, right and wrong, true and false, descent into persistent acts of evil - being unnecessarily argumentative and given to futile disputations included - cannot ever be justified or excused:

Surah 14 Abraham, Verse 22
And when everything will have been decided, Satan will say: "Behold, God promised you something that was bound to come true! I, too, held out (all manner of) promises to you - but I decieved you. Yet, I had not power at all over you: I but called you - and you responded to me. Hence, blame not me, but blame yourselves. It is not for me to respond to your cries, nor for you to respond to mine; for, behold, I have (always) refused to admit that there was any truth in your erstwhile belief that I had a share in God's Divinity."


Thus will Satan abandon his hated adversary on the Day of Judgment. As he refused to acknowledge blame in his earlier act of disobedience against his Creator, so again will he deny all responsibility before human beings for their dreadful state. The original disputant remains in character to the very end.


Translations from:
"The Message Of The Qur'an" by Muhammad Asad

 
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