On the Jinn [Required Reading]
by Shaikh Syed Abul A’ala Mawdudi
In these verses it has been stated that before the appointment of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to Divine Mission, the jinn used to have one or another opportunity to eavesdrop in the heavens in order to hear news of the unseen, but after it they suddenly found that angels had been set as guards and meteorites were being shot on every side so that they could find no place of safety from where they could hear the secret news. Thereupon they had set about searching for the unusual thing that had occurred on the earth, or was going to occur, because of which the security measures had been tightened up. Probably since then many companies of the jinn must have been moving about in search of the unusual occurrence and one of them after having heard the Qur’an from the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) must have formed the opinion that that was the very thing for the sake of which all the gates of the heavens had been shut against the jinn.
Before one starts the study of this Surah [72; The Jinn] one must clearly know what is the reality of the jinn so as to avoid any possible mental confusion. Many people of the modern times are involved in the misunderstanding that the jinn are not real, but only a figment of the ancient superstition and myths. They have not formed this opinion on the basis that they have known all the realities and truths about the universe and have thus discovered that the jinn do not exist. They cannot claim to possess any such knowledge either. But they have assumed without reason and proof that nothing exists in the universe except what they can see, whereas the sphere of human perceptions as against the vastness of this great universe is not even comparable to a drop of water as against the ocean. Here, the person who thinks that what he does not perceive, does not exist, and what exists must necessarily be perceived, in fact, provides a proof of the narrowness of his own mind. With this mode of thought, not to speak of the jinn, man cannot even accept and acknowledge any reality, which he cannot directly experience and observe, and he cannot even admit the existence of God, to say nothing of admitting any other unseen reality…
In surah Al-Hijr: 16-l8, surah As- Saaffat: 6-10 and surah Al-Mulk: 5, it has been said that although the jinn can ascend to the heavens, they cannot exceed a certain limit; if they try to ascend beyond that limit and try to hear what goes on in the heavens, they are not allowed to do so, and if they try to eavesdrop they are driven away by meteorites. By this the belief of the polytheistic Arabs that the jinn possess the knowledge of the unseen, or have access to Divine secrets, has been refuted. The same error has also been refuted in Saba: 14…
At scores of places in the Qur’an, it has also been stated that Iblis at the very creation of Adam had resolved to misguide mankind, and since then the Satanic jinn have been persistently trying to mislead man, but they do not have the power to overwhelm him and make him do something forcibly. However, they inspire him with evil suggestions, beguile him and make evil seem good to him. For this, see An-Nisa 117- 120, Al-Araf: 11-17, Ibrahim: 22, Al-Hijr: 30-42, An-Nahl 98-100, Bani Israil 61-65…
From these details, it becomes abundantly clear that the jinn have their own objective existence and are a concealed creation of an entirely different species from man. Because of their mysterious qualities, ignorant people have formed exaggerated notions and concepts about them and their powers, and have even worshiped them, but the Qur’an has explained the whole truth about them, which shows what they are and what they are not…
The World of the Jinn __ Invitation to Islam, No 4, Jan. 1998
Throughout history man has always had a deep attraction for the supernatural and the unseen. The existence of a world parallel to our own has always fascinated people. This world is commonly referred to as the spirit world, and almost every set of people have some concept of it. With some, these spirits are no more then the souls of dead or ghosts. With others, spirits are either the forces of good or the forces of evil – both battling against one another to gain influence over humanity. However, both of these explanations are more in tune with folk tales and fantasy. The true explanation of such a world comes from Islam. The Islamic explanation of the Jinn provides us with many answers to modern day mysteries.
The Jinn are beings created with free will, living on earth in a world parallel to mankind. The Arabic word Jinn is from the verb ‘Janna’ which means to hide or conceal. Thus, they are physically invisible from man as their description suggests. This invisibility is one of the reasons why some people have denied their existence. However, (as will be seen) the affect which the world of the Jinn has upon our world, is enough to refute this modern denial of one of Allah’s creations. The origins of the Jinn can be traced from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah says:
“Indeed We created man from dried clay of black smooth mud. And We created the Jinn before that from the smokeless flame of fire” [Surah Al-Hijr 15:26-27]
Thus the Jinn were created before man. As for their physical origin, then the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) has confirmed the above verse when he said:
“The Angels were created from light and the Jinn from smokeless fire.”
It is this description of the Jinn which tells us so much about them. Because they were created from fire, their nature has generally been fiery and thus their relationship with man has been built upon this. Like humans, they too are required to worship Allah and follow Islam. Their purpose in life is exactly the same as ours, as Allah says:
“I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me” [Surah Ad-Dhariyat, 51: 56]
Jinns can thus be Muslims or non-Muslims. However, due to their fiery nature the majority of them are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Jinns form a part of the army of the most famous Jinn, Iblis, the Shaitan. Consequently, these disbelieving Jinns are also called Shaitans (devils). Jinns who become Muslims did so in the time of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) when a group of them were amazed by the recitation of the Qur’an. Allah orders the Prophet to tell the people of this event:
“Say (O’ Muhammad): It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened and said; ‘Indeed we have heard a escripti Qur’an. It guides unto righteousness so we have believed in it, and we will never make partners with our lord’” [Surah Al-Jinn, 72:1-2]
In many aspects of their world, the Jinn are very similar to us. They eat and drink, they marry, have children and they die. The life span however, is far greater then ours. Like us, they will also be subject to a Final Reckoning by Allah the Most High. They will be present with mankind on the Day of Judgement and will either go to Paradise or Hell.
That which clearly distinguishes the Jinn from mankind, are their powers and abilities. Allah has given them these powers as a test for them. If they oppress others with them, then they will be held accountable. By knowing their powers, we can often make sense of much of the mysteries which go on around us. One of the powers of the Jinn, is that they are able to take on any physical form they like. Thus, they can appear as humans, animals trees and anything else. Over the last few years the interest in the subject of aliens and UFO’s has become heightened. Programmes such as the X-files and the Outer Limits have increased the popularity of the theory that aliens exist. Thousands of people have sighted strange looking creatures all over the world. These sightings however, have still not proven substantially that aliens exist. Rather – and it seems more plausible, all the sightings of such creatures were just Jinns parading in different forms. So the next time you see something that looks like E.T, its most probably just a wicked Jinn trying to scare and confuse you!
The ability to possess and take over the minds and bodies of other creatures is also a power which the Jinn have developed greatly over the centuries. This however, is something which has been prohibited to them as it is a great oppression to possess another being. Human possession is something which has always brought about great attention. But the true knowledge of this subject is rare amongst the people. Over the last 3 decades the subject of possession has become very intensified. During the 70’s films such as The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby were used to educate people about possession. However, because such institutions (the film industry) were heavily influenced by Christianity, knowledge of the subject was non-existent. Rather then educate people about Jinn possession, films such as The Exorcist just tended to scare the living daylights out of us! Only through Islam can we understand such phenomena. We know as Muslims, that Jinn possess people for many reasons. Sometimes it is because the Jinn or its family has been hurt accidentally. It could be because the Jinn has fallen in love with the person. However, most of the time, possession occurs because the Jinn is simply malicious and wicked. For this reason we have been told by the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) not to loiter in those places where the Jinns reside, e.g. graveyards, ruins, deserts, market places etc. We have also been commanded to recite the Qur’an frequently in our houses as the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: “Indeed, the shaytan flees from the house in which Surah Al-Baqarah (the 2nd chapter of the Qur’an) is recited”.
If a person does become possessed, then the name of Allah has to be used in expelling the Jinn. If we look at the practice of the Prophet and his companions, we find many duas (supplications) to exorcise the Jinn. All these duas invoke Allah to help the possessed person. How contrary this is to many modern-day exorcists. Many exorcists, Muslim and non-Muslim, often invoke the names of others besides Allah to exorcise the Jinn. When the Jinn does leave, these people believe that their way was successful. However, this is a ploy of the Jinn, as it knows that if it obeys the exorcist, then it has succeeded in making him worship others besides Allah i.e. commit shirk. The Jinn often returns when the exorcist leaves, as it knows that nothing except the words of Allah can stop it from oppressing others.
It is not only humans which are possessed, but also animals, trees and other objects. By doing this, the evil Jinn hope to make people worship others besides Allah. The possession of idols is one way to do this. Not so long ago the world-wide phenomenon of Hindu idols drinking milk, shocked the world. From Bombay to London, Delhi to California, countless idols were lapping up milk. Ganesh the elephant god, Hanuman the monkey god and even Shiva lingam, the male private organ(!), all seemed to guzzle down the milk as if there was no tomorrow! Unfortunately people were taken in by this (including Muslims) and many flocked to feed (?) the Hindu gods. Anyone who knows about Jinn possession, will undoubtedly know that this is a classic attempt to make people commit shirk. And it worked, as many people started to worship these lifeless pieces of wood and marble. Anyone with half a brain would say to themselves, ‘why on earth does a god need to be fed?!! Surely if Ganesh, Hanuman or Shiva were divine then they wouldn’t need feeding?’ However, such common sense seemed to be lacking as the Jinns played havoc with these gullible people.
Through their powers of flying and invisibility, the Jinn are the chief component in occult activities. Voodoo, Black magic, Poltergeists, Witchcraft and Mediums can all be explained through the world of the Jinn. Likewise, so can the illusions and feats of magicians. Because the Jinn can traverse huge distances over a matter of seconds, their value to magicians is great. In return for helping them in their magic, the Jinns often ask for the magicians to sell their souls to them and even to Iblis. Thus the magicians take the Jinn and Iblis as lords besides Allah. In our day, some of the feats performed by magicians and entertainers are without doubt from the assistance of the Jinn. Making the Statue of Liberty disappear, flying across the Grand Canyon and retrieving a ship from the Bermuda Triangle, have all been done by the Jewish magician David Copperfield. There is NO way that a man could do such things without the assistance of the Jinn. It would not be surprising therefore, if David Copperfield had sold his soul to Iblis himself. Because of their involvement with the Jinn, and its result in shirk, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said:
“The prescribed punishment for the magician is that he be executed by the sword.”
(Authentic – Reported by Tirmidhi)
Some may argue that this is barbaric, but if the likes of David Copperfield truly had powers, then they could just put their heads back on again!!
One of the most frequent activities associated with the Jinn, is fortune telling. Before the advent of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) fortune-tellers and soothsayers were wide spread. These people would use their associates from the Jinn to find out about the future. The Jinns would go to the lowest heaven and listen to the Angels conversing amongst themselves about events of the Future which they heard from Allah. The Jinns would then inform the fortune-tellers. This is why before the time of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) many fortune-tellers were very accurate in their predictions. However, upon the Prophet’s arrival the heavens were guarded intensely by the Angels, and any Jinn who tried to listen was attacked by meteors (shooting stars):
“And We have guarded it (the heavens) from every accursed devil, except one who is able to snatch a hearing and he is pursued by a brightly burning flame.” [Surah Al-Hijr, 15:18]
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) also said:
“They (the Jinn) would pass the information back down until it reaches the lips of a magician or fortune-teller. Sometimes a meteor would overtake them before they could pass it on. If they passed it on before being struck, they would add to it a hundred lies.” (Bukhari – Eng. Trans. Vol.7, p.439, No.657)
Thus, it is clear from this as to how fortune-tellers get predictions of the future right. It is also evident as to why they get so many wrong. Men like Nostradamus are an example, as some of his predictions of the future were correct whilst many were completely wrong. Unfortunately, the amount of fortune telling which occurs amongst the Muslims is also increasing. By visiting Muslim lands such as Morocco, one is able to see as to how much inter-Jinn-fortune-teller activity there really is. If you look up at the sky on a clear night in Morocco, you will see the heavens ablaze with shooting stars: a clear display of the devils being chased away from the heavens.
Fortune-tellers also operate through the Qareen. The Qareen is the Jinn companion which is assigned to every human being. It is this Jinn which whispers to our base desires and constantly tries to divert us from righteousness. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said:
Everyone of you has been assigned a companion from the Jinn. The companions asked: Even you O’ Messenger of Allah? And the Prophet replied: Even me, except that Allah has helped me against him and he has submitted. Now he only tells me to do good.
Because the Qareen is with a person all his life, it knows all that has happened to the person from the cradle to the grave. By making contact with the Qareen, the fortune-teller is thus able to make out that it is he who knows about the person. He looks in his crystal ball or the palm of a person and proceeds to amaze him with knowledge which no one else knows. The severity of going to a fortune-teller is such that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said:
The prayer of one who approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything, will not be accepted for forty days or nights” and: “Whosoever approaches a fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammed.
The effects of the Jinn are not just limited to fortune-tellers. Other activities such as oujia boards used to contact the dead, are manipulated by the Jinn. ‘Are you there Charlie? Speak to us Charlie!!’ are the sort of words spoken by anxious relatives seeking to make contact with their loved ones. And it is when the Jinn starts to talk and communicate as ‘Charlie’, that the people are truly fooled.
One of the biggest manipulations of the Jinn is through visions. Through these visions the Jinns are more likely to lead people away from the worship of Allah then any other way. When a person sees a vision in front of his eyes it is something which is very hard to explain away. Only by having knowledge of the world of the Jinn and conviction in Allah, can a person fight such a trial. The countless numbers of visions of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary over the centuries has been a popular choice for the devils. It almost seems as if leading Christians astray is the easiest of tricks for the Jinn! Not only are Christians fooled by these visions, but often the Jinn possess and begin to talk from their voices. To the Christians this is known as the tongues of the Angels and thus a proof for their faith. However, the amount of unintelligible nonsense and rubbish which is heard is a clear proof that this is in fact the tongues of the devils! For other people, visions of their parents or relatives are commonplace. By taking on the form of parents, relatives and loved ones, Jinns convince people that the souls of dead still mix with the people of the earth. This is why so many people believe in ghosts.
The onslaught of satanic visions has also hit the Muslims. Many Muslims claim to have seen visions of the Prophet Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) and even Allah! By doing this, Shaitan is able to lead astray the weak Muslims. Through such visions, Muslims are often told that the commands of Islam are not applicable to them. The Jinns tell them that Prayer, Fasting, Hajj etc. are not obligatory for them. It is a great deception and unfortunately one which has been very effective. The extent of satanic visions still continues to this day. The recent death of Diana Princess of Wales sparked off great love and adoration for this woman. In fact the grief of the British people was such, that it was as if Diana was something divine. No sooner had the mourning of Diana reached its peak, that visions of her were already being seen at Hampton Court Palace! If these visions did occur, the desire of Iblis and his army of Jinn to profit from this event was evident. Such visions are clear attempts by Iblis to lead mankind away from the path of Allah.
The world of the Jinn is one which is both sinister and intriguing. By knowing about this world we can explain many of the mysteries and issues which bother us. By doing this we can avoid the extremes which the people have gone to; nothing being more extreme then worshipping others besides Allah. By learning the Tawheed of Allah, we defend ourselves from these hidden allies of Iblis:
Indeed he (Iblis) and his tribe watch you from a position where you cannot see them. [Surah Al-A’raf, 7:27]
Maybe there is a Jinn sitting in the corner of your room right now, or even one behind you. If so, then how will you deal with this creation of Allah? Learn Islam properly and you will be able to deal with all of Allah’s creation – and not just the Jinn. By becoming true Muslims and followers of Islam, the fear of Iblis, Jinns and anything else will leave us – nothing will touch the Believer unless Allah wills.
References and Comments:
Muslim – Eng. Trans. Vol. 4, p.1540, No.7134
It must be remembered that Iblis is a Jinn and not an Angel. The concept of the Devil being a fallen Angel is from Christianity and not Islam.
When The Exorcist was first shown on cinema, it was so scary that many people fainted and one even died!
Whilst Christians invoke the name of Jesus, many Muslims invoke the name of pious Muslim saints! The rituals which are conducted by many Muslims are more akin to voodoo then the exorcism by the Prophet and his companions!!
Ganesh, the elephant headed deity, seemed to be the biggest drinker! In fact it didn’t just stop at milk. At the time of these occurrences, a woman in India decided to see if Ganesh would drink anything else – so she offered him whiskey!! And Lo and behold Ganesh drank the Whiskey!!! Suffice to say, the woman was kicked out of India.
The ship which was recovered by Copperfield was more then 50 years old. It subsequently caught alight and was conveniently destroyed.
See: Bukhari – Eng. Trans. Vol.7, p.439, No.657
See: Muslim – Eng. Trans. Vol.4, p.1472, No.6757
The classic example of how fortune tellers can be wrong is the case of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed. Both went to see a fortune teller who told Diana that she would live a long and happy life. A few weeks later, on August 31st 1997, Diana and Dodi Fayed were dead. After this the fortune tellers flew for cover, as their evil art showed its decadence.
Muslim – Eng. Trans. Vol.4, p.1211, No.5540
Informative books on the world of the Jinn is Ibn Taymeeyah’s Essay on the Jinn translated by Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips, and The jinn in the Qur’an and Sunnah by Mustafa Ashour.