Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra
Question: If the Devil (shaytan) was cast out of Heaven after refusing to bow down to Adam and refusing to show him respect, how is it that he was able to tempt Adam in heaven into disobeying Allah?
Answer: Wa alaikum salam,
Thank you for your question.
Firstly, it was only with Allah Most High’s permission (though not approval) that the Devil (shaytan) was able to find a way to tempt Adam and Hawa (peace be upon them) after his expulsion. His expulsion from Paradise was not meant to make it impossible for him to reach them. This momentous incident in history, after all, is what brought about the fall from Paradise to this world, which is the reason why we are all here today. Clearly, this happened as part of the Divine plan and wisdom.
The exact nature of how Shaytan tempted Adam is differed upon. There is no conclusive evidence as to how this happened in the Islamic primary sources, only various speculations.
Imam al-Qurtubi mentions that the strongest opinion was that Shaytan tempted them with his voice only, saying this was the opinion of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas and the majority of the scholars.
He also cites weaker opinions that closely followed the Genesis 3:1 account, or that Shaytan used his minions, along with the ability to whisper in the hearts. [al-Qurtubi, Tafsir]
The Old Testament of the Bible in Genesis 3:1 says that Iblis took the form of a snake and tempted Hawa in the Garden of Eden, however this cannot be relied upon.
Imam al-Baydawi mentions many opinions as well without choosing any one. Among the opinions are that Iblis was not allowed to enter Paradise with honor as he once did with the angels, but was able to enter in a humiliated state, or that he deceived the guards of Paradise. Or, he may have simply whispered from outside the gates. In the end, he says ,”the knowledge of it is with Allah Exalted and Most High.” [al-Baydawi, Tafsir: Anwar al-Tanzil]
Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani
Sidi Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He converted to Islam in 2001 and completed a degree in Business Administration. In 2005, he left Canada to pursue Islamic studies. He now lives in Amman, Jordan with his wife and two daughters, where he studies various Islamic sciences and concurrently serves as the Study Abroad Director at the Qasid Institute.