One More Time on the Arabized Nominal Form Iblīs
AbstractThe name Iblīs appears on eleven occasions in the Qurʾān in reference to the Devil. In all cases, it is used to denote a figure other than that represented by Satan (Šayṭān < ሰይጣን; Nöldeke 1910: 47; Kropp 2005: 93–102) in his role as tempter; specifically, it refers to the chief of the hosts of evil. Moreover, the term was generally employed in Islamic literature to identify – as it does in the Qurʾān – the Devil of Judeo-Christian tradition.
Admittedly, the view that Iblīs derives from the Greek διάβολος is not only convincing but also, from a purely linguistic standpoint, wholly logical (Monferrer-Sala 2011: 227). While linguistics is clearly an essential element in the complex task of teasing out and clarifying concepts and terms in religious texts, however, it is not always the only possible source of enlightenment. The issue under discussion here may be a case in point.