Lughawee Tidbit: إلاّ

“So the Angels prostrated themselves, all of them except Iblees (Satan)…” – the ‘Arabic word إلاّ illaa, which ordinarily means except and is used as indicating Isthithnaa’ (exception), is sometimes used to indicate Isthithnaa’ Munqati`(an exception where the thing excluded is not of the same type as the thing that was mentioned before the word illaa).

It is grammatically correct in ‘Arabic to say:” jaa-al qawm illaa himaaran”, the meaning of which is that “all the people came except a donkey”; the people and the donkey belonging to two different classes. It is exactly in  this sense that the word illaa is used here; the Angels and Iblees belonged to two different classes. However, some scholars are of the view that Iblees originally belonged to the category of Angels, but incurred the eternal curse of Allaah (Exalted be He) when he disobeyed His command and persisted in rebellion.

May Allaah grant us success and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta

Excerpts taken from: Q/A #3 under Fatwaa #511 via

“The Creation & Destiny of Iblees.”

Related Blog Entry: Why the Devil is Called Shaytaan


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