Devil's Advocate: Ayn al-Quāt's Defence of Iblis in Context

Mohammed Rustom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The writings of Ayn al-Quāt Hamadānī (d. 525/1131) anticipate some of the major trends that characterize the post-Avicennan ikmat tradition. But modern scholarship has as of yet not completely come to grips with the far-reaching implications of Ayn al-Quāt's teachings, many of which are framed in terms of the symbolic language and imagery of the Persian Sufi school of passionate love (madhhab-i ishq) and the defence of the devil's monotheism (tawīd-i Iblīs). The focus in this article will be upon this latter aspect of Ayn al-Quāt's Sufi doctrine. Upon closer inspection, his "Satanology"(for lack of a better term) turns out to not only be concerned with a defence of the devil as a tragic, fallen lover of God; it is also intimately related to our author's robust theodicy, as well as his theory of human freedom and constraint. At the same time, Ayn al-Quāt's defence of Iblis demonstrates his understanding of philosophical and theological discourse as themselves symbolic representations of another, higher form of being and knowing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-100
Number of pages36
JournalStudia Islamica
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Ayn al-Quāt
  • Iblis
  • Persian Sufism
  • agency
  • love
  • metaphysics
  • myth
  • theodicy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Law


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