The Quran describes an event regarding a feud that took place among the “bil-mala-i-l-aʿlā” ( بِٱلْمَلَإِ ٱلْأَعْلَىٰٓ ). The word al-mala-i ( ٱلْمَلَإِ ) means chiefs or leaders, while i-l-aʿlā ( ٱلْأَعْلَىٰٓ ) means the highest or most exalted. Hereonout, it will be referenced as the High Society.
[38:67] Say, “Here is awesome news.
[38:68] “That you are totally oblivious to.
[38:69] “I had no knowledge previously, about the feud in the High Society.
قُلْ هُوَ نَبَؤٌا۟ عَظِيمٌ
أَنتُمْ عَنْهُ مُعْرِضُونَ
مَا كَانَ لِىَ مِنْ عِلْمٍۭ بِٱلْمَلَإِ ٱلْأَعْلَىٰٓ إِذْ يَخْتَصِمُونَ
|6||bil-mala-i||بِٱلْمَلَإِ||in the chiefs / assembly / Society,|
|7||l-aʿlā||ٱلْأَعْلَىٰٓ||the exalted / Highest|
|8||idh||إِذْ||when [in the past]|
This High Society is only referenced in one other verse of the Quran in regards to the devils being incapable of listening in on the High Society.
[37:6] We have adorned the lowest heaven with adorning planets.
[37:7] We guarded it from every evil devil.
[37:8] They cannot spy on the High Society; they get bombarded from every side.
[37:9] They have been condemned; they have incurred an eternal retribution.
[37:10] If any of them ventures to charge the outer limits, he gets struck with a fierce projectile.
إِنَّا زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنْيَا بِزِينَةٍ ٱلْكَوَاكِبِ
وَحِفْظًا مِّن كُلِّ شَيْطَـٰنٍ مَّارِدٍ
لَّا يَسَّمَّعُونَ إِلَى ٱلْمَلَإِ ٱلْأَعْلَىٰ وَيُقْذَفُونَ مِن كُلِّ جَانِبٍ
دُحُورًا وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ وَاصِبٌ
إِلَّا مَنْ خَطِفَ ٱلْخَطْفَةَ فَأَتْبَعَهُۥ شِهَابٌ ثَاقِبٌ
|2||yassammaʿūna||يَسَّمَّعُونَ||they can listen (spy)|
|4||l-mala-i||ٱلْمَلَإِ||the leaders / assembly / Society|
|5||l-aʿlā||ٱلْأَعْلَىٰ||[the] exalted / High,|
|6||wayuq’dhafūna||وَيُقْذَفُونَ||and they are pelted / bombarded|
In Sura 72, Jinns (Al-Jinn / الجن ), we read the following passage that the jinns used to have a place to sit and listen to the High Society, but afterwards were pursued by a powerful projectile if they continued to attempt to do so.
[72:8] “‘We touched the heaven and found it filled with formidable guards and projectiles.
[72:9] “‘We used to sit there in order to spy (listen). Then anyone who listens is now pursued by a powerful projectile.
وَأَنَّا كُنَّا نَقْعُدُ مِنْهَا مَقَـٰعِدَ لِلسَّمْعِ فَمَن يَسْتَمِعِ ٱلْـَٔانَ يَجِدْ لَهُۥ شِهَابًا رَّصَدًا
وَأَنَّا لَا نَدْرِىٓ أَشَرٌّ أُرِيدَ بِمَن فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ أَمْ أَرَادَ بِهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ رَشَدًا
|1||wa-annā||وَأَنَّا||” ‘And that we|
|2||kunnā||كُنَّا||[we] used to|
|5||maqāʿida||مَقَـٰعِدَ||place of sitting / station / positions|
|6||lilssamʿi||لِلسَّمْعِ||for the hearing,|
|7||faman||فَمَن||but (he) who|
|10||yajid||يَجِدْ||he will find|
|12||shihāban||شِهَابًا||a flaming fire / projectile|
|13||raṣadan||رَّصَدًا||lying in wait.|
This indicates that there was a time when the Jinns used to be able to sit and listen among the High Society, but presumably, after the feud, they were banished.
Additionally, we see this narrative regarding the jinns being pursued by projectiles at the outer limits in several other places in the Quran as well.
[15:16] We placed galaxies in the sky, and adorned it for the beholders.
[15:17] And we guarded it against every rejected devil.
[15:18] If any of them sneaks around to listen, a mighty projectile will chase him back.
وَلَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ بُرُوجًا وَزَيَّنَّـٰهَا لِلنَّـٰظِرِينَ
وَحَفِظْنَـٰهَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْطَـٰنٍ رَّجِيمٍ
إِلَّا مَنِ ٱسْتَرَقَ ٱلسَّمْعَ فَأَتْبَعَهُۥ شِهَابٌ مُّبِينٌ
|4||l-samʿa||ٱلسَّمْعَ||the hearing (*sneaks to listen),|
|5||fa-atbaʿahu||فَأَتْبَعَهُۥ||then [it] followed him / chased him|
|6||shihābun||شِهَابٌ||a burning flame / projectile|
|7||mubīnun||مُّبِينٌ||manifest / profound.|
[55:33] O you jinns and humans, if you can penetrate the outer limits of the heavens and the earth, go ahead and penetrate. You cannot penetrate without authorization.
[55:34] Which of your Lord’s marvels can you deny?
[55:35] You get bombarded with projectiles of fire and metal, and you cannot win.
يَـٰمَعْشَرَ ٱلْجِنِّ وَٱلْإِنسِ إِنِ ٱسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَن تَنفُذُوا۟ مِنْ أَقْطَارِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ فَٱنفُذُوا۟ لَا تَنفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَـٰنٍ
فَبِأَىِّ ءَالَآءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ
يُرْسَلُ عَلَيْكُمَا شُوَاظٌ مِّن نَّارٍ وَنُحَاسٌ فَلَا تَنتَصِرَانِ
[67:3] He created seven universes in layers. You do not see any imperfection in the creation by the Most Gracious. Keep looking; do you see any flaw?
[67:4] Look again and again; your eyes will come back stumped and conquered.
[67:5] We adorned the lowest universe with lamps, and guarded its borders with projectiles against the devils; we prepared for them a retribution in Hell.
ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَـٰوَٰتٍ طِبَاقًا مَّا تَرَىٰ فِى خَلْقِ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ مِن تَفَـٰوُتٍ فَٱرْجِعِ ٱلْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ
ثُمَّ ٱرْجِعِ ٱلْبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيْنِ يَنقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ ٱلْبَصَرُ خَاسِئًا وَهُوَ حَسِيرٌ
وَلَقَدْ زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنْيَا بِمَصَـٰبِيحَ وَجَعَلْنَـٰهَا رُجُومًا لِّلشَّيَـٰطِينِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابَ ٱلسَّعِيرِ
|6||wajaʿalnāhā||وَجَعَلْنَـٰهَا||and we made it|
|8||lilshayāṭīni||لِّلشَّيَـٰطِينِ||for the devils,|
|9||wa-aʿtadnā||وَأَعْتَدْنَا||and we prepared|
|12||l-saʿīri||ٱلسَّعِيرِ||the Blaze / Hell.|
This event seems to be correlated with the banishment of Satan, as after discussing the feud in 38:69, it references the exiling of Satan (38:71-88).
The Quran also informs us that after this event that the wicked were banished from working in God’s kingdom or witnessing their own creation.
[18:50] We said to the angels, “Fall prostrate before Adam.” They fell prostrate, except Satan. He became a jinn, for he disobeyed the order of His Lord. Will you choose him and his descendants as lords instead of Me, even though they are your enemies? What a miserable substitute!
[18:51] I never permitted them to witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor the creation of themselves. Nor do I permit the wicked to work in My kingdom.
وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ ٱسْجُدُوا۟ لِـَٔادَمَ فَسَجَدُوٓا۟ إِلَّآ إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِۦٓ أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُۥ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُۥٓ أَوْلِيَآءَ مِن دُونِى وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّۢ بِئْسَ لِلظَّـٰلِمِينَ بَدَلًا
مَّآ أَشْهَدتُّهُمْ خَلْقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَا خَلْقَ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَمَا كُنتُ مُتَّخِذَ ٱلْمُضِلِّينَ عَضُدًا
Rashad Khalifa goes into detail regarding this feud in the introduction and Appendix 7 of his translation of the Quran. He indicates that this is the event the caused the stratification of God’s creatures between angels, jinns, animals, and humans.
We also see some references to this High Society and the feud, mentioned in the Bible as well.
1 God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:
2 “How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”;
you are all sons of the Most High.’
7 But you will die like mere mortals;
you will fall like every other ruler.”
8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are your inheritance.
5 The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome than all who surround him.
8 Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
16 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the Lord.
17 They keep saying to those who despise me,
‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’
18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord
to see or to hear his word?
Who has listened and heard his word?
19 See, the storm of the Lord
will burst out in wrath,
a whirlwind swirling down
on the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he fully accomplishes
the purposes of his heart.
In days to come
you will understand it clearly.
21 I did not send these prophets,
yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
yet they have prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds.
23 “Am I only a God nearby,”
declares the Lord,
“and not a God far away?
24 Who can hide in secret places
so that I cannot see them?”
declares the Lord.
“Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord.
1 Kings 22
19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’
“One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’
22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.
“‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.
“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’
The following passage from Genesis also discusses a rebellion conducted by so-called heavenly creatures that led to their exile.
Genesis 6 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
These references to “gods” or the “sons of God” is a metaphorical depictions and obviously not to be taken literally, and are clarified in the following passage from the Gospel of John.
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
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