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Will you, then, take him (Satan) and his offspring for guardians... (Al-Kahf 18:50)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūratu’l-Kahf (The Cave)

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أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ ۚ بِئْسَ لِلظَّالِمِينَ بَدَلًا
Will you, then, take him (Satan) and his offspring for guardians (to rely on and refer your affairs to) rather than Me, when they are an enemy to you? How evil an exchange for the wrongdoers! (Al-Kahf 18:50)

Based on the expression of “Satan’s offspring” in the verse, some commenta-tors have opined that Satan has wife(s) and children. It is worth mentioning the following two points concerning the matter:

1. Even though Satan is married and has wife(s) and children, this can be related to a different dimension of existence or a different realm. It is similar to the way we eat, drink, get married, or get sick in our dreams—all of these happen in a different dimension. Presumably, we should evaluate Satan’s having wife(s) and children from this perspective. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was reported to say: “Bones are the food of the jinn.”[1] This also points to one of these different dimensions or realms of existence.

2. It is not necessary to understand the word of “offspring” in its literal meaning. Satan can really have offspring of his kind; however, the verse may be referring to Satan-like people among humankind. There are reports from our Prophet confirming the second meaning, and certain historical examples suggest it as well. For instance, while Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, was teaching the prayer to be said at the time of sexual intercourse between the married couples, he added: “If a woman conceives a child as a result of the intercourse during which this prayer is said, Satan will not touch the child.” It may be that during the centuries when believers recited this prayer, many good, pure generations that served Islam were brought up. Later on, devilish generations emerged as a result of the neglect in or even the abandonment of Islamic way of life. More than that, generations which outwitted Satan in wickedness appeared.

In conclusion, it is possible to take the term “Satan’s offspring” both literally and metaphorically. Certain other expressions of the Qur’ān such as “satans of humankind and jinn” (Al-An‘ām 6:112) and “brothers/sisters of satans” (Al-Isrā’ 17:27) may be referring to satanic people among human-kind.

[1] Muslim, Salāh, 150; Tirmidhī, Tahārah, 14.