By Sancheet Hoque
Jinn are creatures made by Allah that cannot be seen by the human eye. They were created before the first of mankind. Allah has given the knowledge to understand them through the Quran and the sunnah. In folklore, they are sometimes referred to as genies, but they are very real. Unlike the idea of ghosts or spirits of the dead. These creatures are a separate entity just like how Allah has created cats, dogs, birds, and other species. It’s just that they are more unique and have a similar purpose in life to humans. By the end of this article, the reader will have a basic understanding of what they are and what our relations regarding them should be like.
Composition of Jinn
Let’s talk about the composition of Jinn and why humans cannot see them. There are multiple verses in the Quran that explain this.
“And He created the jinn from a smokeless flame of fire.” [55:15]
According to the Quran, Allah created them from a smokeless flame of fire. This flame is different from the usual fire that humans utilize in their regular living. It’s similar to how Allah created humans from dirt, but we are not the same as the dirt on the ground, but share the same properties. The materials that Allah used are a different type of fire or dirt that only he has access to. This idea of being created from different materials can be seen in the history between Iblees the jinn and Adam the human. When Allah first made Adam and breathed life into him, Allah asked all present to prostrate before Adam.
The parties that were present were all the Angels and a Jinn named Iblees. Iblees worshipped Allah regularly and was elevated due to his devotion.
Everyone prostrated except Iblees. He believed that he was better than Adam because he was made of fire while Adam was made out of Earth.
Except for Iblees; he refused to be with those who prostrated. [Allah] said, “O Iblees, what is [the matter] with you that you are not with those who prostrate?” He said, “Never would I prostrate to a human whom You created out of clay from an altered black mud.” [15:31-33]
This earned him the wrath of Allah and he was cursed till the end of time. He now has the title of Shaytan, the one whose primary goal is to lead mankind astray. Allah gave him extra abilities and power to test mankind with.
And indeed, upon you is the curse until the Day of Recompense.”……
[Iblees] said, “My Lord, because You have put me in error, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them [i.e., mankind] on earth, and I will mislead them all. [15:35,39]
Iblees isn’t the only jinn and there are many other jinns as well. They are all made out of the same flame, but they have differing abilities. They can fly, move extremely fast, and transform into other creatures! One example is shown in the history of the prophet Solomon.
One mighty jinn responded, “I can bring it to you before you rise from this council of yours. And I am quite strong and trustworthy for this ˹task˺.” But the one who had knowledge of the Scripture said, “I can bring it to you in the blink of an eye” So when Solomon saw it placed before him, he exclaimed, “This is by the grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful, it is only for their own good. But whoever is ungrateful, surely my Lord is Self-Sufficient, Most Generous.” [27:39-40]
Allah gave power to Solomon to be able to order jinn and other certain animals. With their physical might, Solomon was able to achieve many beneficial acts of worship. He was always grateful to Allah’s generosity.
Overall though they are physically stronger than humankind, but so are many animals on Earth. The main difference that humans and jinn both have over animals is that they have free will!
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The Purpose of Jinn
Jinn were created for the same purpose as mankind and that is to worship Allah and follow his messengers.
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” [51:56]
One might think, don’t all creatures worship Allah? Well, that is correct, but the difference is that both creatures have the freedom to do whatever they want even if it goes against the commandment of Allah and his messenger. Due to this there are believing and disbelieving Jinn. They have communities, families, jobs, and seek out sustenance just like humans. Of course, the way they go about it is different due to their abilities and makeup. The messenger gave us some insight regarding their sustenance.
Allah’s Messenger said: “Do not perform Istinja, with dung, nor with bones. For indeed it is provisions for your brothers among the Jinn.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 18]
Believers should not use bones or dung to clean after relieving themselves because jinn use it one way or another.
There are also jinn who have listened to the message and have accepted Islam just like early human Muslims.
“Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “It has been revealed to me that a group of jinn listened ˹to the Quran,˺ and said ˹to their fellow jinn˺: ‘Indeed, we have heard a wondrous recitation.” [72:1]
The jinn that do not believe and misguide are the ones referred to as shayateen or devils in English. There are also human shayateen as their goals align with the evil jinn.
Likewise, since jinn have free will, they will be put on trial for their actions on the Day of Judgement along with humans.
“We will soon attend to you for judgment O two multitudes of jinn and humans.” [55:31]
So one should pray for all believers including our Muslim brother and sisters among the jinn as they will face the same judgment after this world is over.
Jinn’s Relation with Magic
In the modern-day, magic is considered as either a pastime trick or non-existent. Muslims believe in magic as there is evidence in the Quran through many stories, but there is a massive cost in learning it. Allah sent down two angels Harut and Marut to teach people magic but warned them that it is a test.
They ˹instead˺ followed the magic promoted by the devils during the reign of Solomon. Never did Solomon disbelieve, rather the devils disbelieved. They taught magic to the people, along with what had been revealed to the two angels, Hârût and Mârût, in Babylon. Yet people learned ˹magic˺ that caused a rift ˹even˺ between husband and wife; although their magic could not harm anyone except by Allah’s Will. They learned what harmed them and did not benefit them—although they already knew that whoever buys into magic would have no share in the Hereafter. Miserable indeed was the price for which they sold their souls, if only they knew! [2:102]
The shayateen also taught magic and helped humans in exchange for their worship. While humans obtained the ability to do certain actions making them feel powerful. The massive cost is losing the reward of the hereafter. What a loss! Not only that, the effects of magic only happen through the will of Allah, so one could learn some arts, but it might not even work. 100% losing paradise vs maybe learning functional magic, it doesn’t take much to see that there is only loss here.
Jinn were also involved in soothsaying or psychic arts. They were able to fly to the border of the first sky out of seven, and would eavesdrop on the discussions that were taking place among the angels and cause corruption on earth using that information. They would give this information to help “Psychics” seem as if they were predicting the future. Of course, these people would make trades as Jinn wouldn’t just do it for free. This is no longer possible though according to the Quran:
˹Earlier˺ we tried to reach heaven ˹for news˺, only to find it filled with stern guards and shooting stars. [72:8]
This verse says that after the Quran was sent down to Prophet Muhammed(pbuh), the jinn found that it was well guarded by angels and by meteors that would chase them.
More Interactions with Humans
Jinn in general are very weak in their ability to affect humans. There are specific rare cases such as jinn possessing people. This is when a jinn temporarily takes hold of a human that has lost the protection of Allah.
Quran shows evidence for this in the following verse:
“Those who devour interest rise up like one stumbling from Satan’s touch.” [2:275]
This verse speaks of how people who dealt with interest will rise on the day of judgment similar to that of being possessed on Earth by a shaytan. There is also a well-known hadith in which the messenger said:
“Verily, Satan flows in the bloodstream of Adam’s descendants.” [Sunan Abi Dawud 4719]
This is just to give proof that it can happen, but it is impossible if one is protected by Allah. The next section covers some ways to protect oneself.
Please be aware that jinn possession is very rare and unfortunately many people conflate it with mental sickness. As soon as someone is depressed or shows signs of anxiety, that does not mean a jinn is involved. Be wary of charlatans that say that one’s family member is possessed so they can perform abhorrent actions to “cure” said person. Simply reading certain parts of the Quran is enough. Always use kindness and compassion whenever people are down. Just listening to see what they are going through will help one understand the root issue. Some symptoms of possession would be an abnormal aversion to the Quran, the possessed person acting/sounding in a way they have never done before. Always talk to someone knowledgeable in the different sciences of Islam, preferably someone that one can trust
Jinn, being able to transform into other creatures, sometimes appear to humans in a form to frighten them. Abnormal creatures, ghosts, or other scary forms are some examples. Usually, this is a defense mechanism for them and no harm usually comes if one remembers Allah. Below is part of the story when Ayatul-Kursi was revealed narrated by Abu Huraira. The entire hadeeth can be found in the sources
I had been placed in charge of the zakāt of Ramadān by God’s messenger, and when someone came to me and began to take up handfuls of the food, I seized him and told him I was certainly going to take him before God’s messenger. But when he said, “I am needy, have children dependent on me, and my need is great,” I let him go………“He asserted that he would teach me some words by which God would benefit me.” He said, “He has certainly told you the truth though he is a great liar. Do you know to whom you have been talking for, three nights?” When I replied that I did not, he said, “That was a devil.” [Mishkat al-Masabih 2123]
This shows that Jinn can also transform into humans and learn, pray, interact alongside real humans. There’s no way of knowing if one is speaking to a jinn just as Abu Huraira didn’t until the messenger revealed that information to him.
There is always a jinn, sometimes referred to as a qareen, with each human which for the most part misguided.
“Every one of you has been assigned a companion from the Jinn.”
The companions asked: Even you O Messenger of God?
And the Prophet replied: “Even me, except that God has helped me against him and he has become a Muslim. Now he only tells me to do good.” [Muslim]
On the flip side, some angels are present that are trying to guide. One needs to align the self with angelic whisperings and push to do good deeds whenever possible to weaken the whispers of shaytan.
Protection From All Evil Including Jinn
This section will talk about some ways to protect oneself on a daily basis from all things evil.
Seek Refuge in Allah
As said previously, Jinn are awfully weak creatures when proper actions are taken. First and foremost seeking refuge with Allah whenever a situation does not feel right. Allah is the creator of jinn and has put mankind as a creation above them. The one who created all things can easily protect anyone from any creature let alone a jinn
“I seek refuge in Allah from Satan the outcast”
Stay in a state of wudhu
Another form of protection is to stay in a state of purification. Make wudhu whenever it breaks as it is a form of worship that not only protects one from evil but also keeps one spiritually clean.
Reciting the last three surahs of the Quran
Reciting the Al Mu’awwidhatayn (Falaq and Nas) and surah Ikhlas are forms of protection from all sorts of evil. It is confirmed by the sunnah as a powerful means of protection. Recite them once after every prayer and before going to sleep.
Reciting Ayatul Kursi
Reciting Ayatul-Kursi (2:255) after prayers and before going to bed as well as it reminds one of the powers of Allah.
There are others, but remembering Allah in times of hardship and trial is the best way to protect oneself!
“Remember Me; I will remember you. And thank Me, and never be ungrateful.” [2:152]
Hopefully, many questions regarding the jinn were answered in this article. Many humans fear the unknown be it the person next door or a small insect on the ground. If it’s perceived as a threat initially, then fear will take place. It’s important to continue seeking knowledge of whatever one fears so they can overcome it as Allah is the only one that should be feared. It is an honorable feat to overcome fears for the sake of giving full devotion to the lord of the world. Pray for the believing jinn and mankind and may peace be with you!
What do you think? Share your reflections below!
- “Jinn Take Different Shapes and Forms” En.alukah.net, en.alukah.net/Fatawa_Counsels/0/4788/#_ftn1.
- Nadwi, Mohammad Akram. “Who Really Are the Ones Possessed by Evil Jinn?” Al-Salam Institute, 10 May 2018, alsalam.ac.uk/possessed-by-evil-jinn/.
- “Trying to Understand the Qareen.” About Islam, aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/trying-to-understand-the-qareen/.