Islamic Sufism Spirituality

The Jinn from Islamic perspective

Posted on: June 4, 2008

The Qur’an and Sunnah (Prophet’s sayings) indicate that the Jinn exist, and that there is a purpose for their existence in this life, which is to worship Allah Alone, with no partner or associate. Allah says (interpretation of the meanings):

“And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and humans, except they should worship Me (Alone).” [Al-Thariyat 51:56]

“O assembly of Jinn and mankind! Did there not come to you Messengers from amongst you, reciting unto you My Verses…?” [Al-An’aam 6:130]

The world of the Jinn is an independent and separate world, with its own distinct nature and features that are hidden from the world of humans. Jinns and humans have some things in common, such as the possession of understanding and the choice between the way of good and the way of evil. The word Jinn comes from an Arabic root meaning “hidden from sight”. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… Verily he (Shaytaan / Satan) and his qabeeluhu [his soldiers from the Jinn or his tribe] see you from where you cannot see them…” [al-A’raaf 7:27]

Allah has told us in His Book the essence from which the Jinn were created. He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And the Jinn, We created aforetime from the smokeless flame of fire.” [Al-Hijr 15:27]

“And the Jinn did He create from a smokeless flame of fire.” [al-Rahmaan 55:15]

According to a hadeeth narrated by ‘Aa’ishah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“The angels were created from light, the Jinn were created from fire, and Adam was created from that which has been described to you (soil).” (Reported by Muslim, 5314).

Types of Jinn

Allah has created different types of Jinn. Among them are some that can take on different forms, such as dogs and snakes; some who are like flying winds with wings; and some that can travel and rest. Abu Tha’labah al-Khushani said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

‘The Jinn are of three types: a type that has wings, they fly through the air; a type that looks like snakes and dogs; and a type that stops for a rest then resumes its journey.” Saheeh (authentic).

The Jinn and the sons of Adam

Every individual among the sons of Adam has a Jinn who has been appointed to be his constant companion (qareen). Ibn Mas’ood said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

‘There is not one of you who does not have a Jinn appointed to be his constant companion.’ They said, ‘And you too, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘And me too, but Allah has helped me and he has submitted (became a believing Muslim), so that he only helps me to do good.'” (Reported by Muslim, 2814).

Their Powers

Allah has given the Jinn powers that he has not given to humans. Allah has told us about some of their powers, such as the ability to move and travel quickly. An ‘ifreet (genie) from among the Jinn guaranteed to the Prophet Sulaymaan (Solomon), peace be upon him, that he would bring the throne of the Queen of Yemen to Jerusalem in a moment faster than that needed for a man to get up from where he was sitting. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“An ‘ifreet (strong genie) from the Jinns said: ‘I will bring it [her throne] to you before you rise from your place (council). And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work.’ One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: ‘I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!’ – then when Sulaymaan saw it placed before him, he said, ‘This is by the Grace of my Lord…'” [al-Naml 27:39-40]

The food and drink of the Jinn

The Finn eat and drink. Ibn Mas’ood said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

‘Someone from among the Jinn called me, and I went with him and recited Qur’an for them.’ He took me and showed me the traces of where they had been and the traces of their fires. They asked him for food and he said, ‘You can have every bone on which the name of Allah has been mentioned that comes into your possession, as meat, and all the droppings as food for your animals.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘So do not use [these things] for cleaning yourselves [after relieving oneself], for they are the food and provision of your brothers.'” (Reported by Muslim, 450).

The believing Jinn may eat any bone on which the name of Allah has been mentioned, because the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not permit them to have anything on which Allah’s name has not been mentioned – those are for the kuffaar (disbelievers) among the Jinn.

The beasts of the Jinn

According to the hadeeth narrated by Ibn Mas’ood, that we have quoted above, the Jinn asked the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for provision, and he said to them: “…and [you can have] all the droppings as food for your animals.”

The dwelling-places of the Jinn

The Jinn live on this earth where we do. They are mostly to be found in ruins and unclean places like bathrooms, dunghills, garbage dumps and graveyards. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught us to take precautions when entering such places, by reciting the athkar (prayers) prescribed by Islam. One of these was reported by Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him), who said:

“When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) entered the toilet, he would say, ‘Allahumma innee a’oothu bika min al-khubuthi wa’l-khaba’ith (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the evil ones, male and female).'” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 142; and Muslim, 375).

Some Jinns are Muslims and some are kaafirs (disbelievers )

Allah tells us that some of the Jinn said (interpretation of the meaning):

“And some of us are Muslims, and of us some are al-qaasitoon (disbelievers – those who have deviated from the Right Path). And whosoever has embraced Islam, then such have sought the Right Path. And as for the qaasitoon, they shall be firewood for Hell.'” [Al-Jinn 72:14-15]

The Muslims among the Jinn are of different levels as regards righteousness and taqwa (God- consciousness). Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“[Some Jinn said:] ‘There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary; we are groups, each having a different way (religious sects, etc.)'” [Al-Jinn 72:11]

The story of how the first Jinn of this ummah ( nation) became Muslim was narrated by ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abbaas, who said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went out with a group of his Companions heading for the marketplace of ‘Ukaath. This was when the shayaateen (devils) were prevented from getting any news from heaven, and shooting stars had been sent against them. The shayaateen went back to their people, who said, ‘What is the matter with you?’ They said, ‘We cannot get news from heaven, and shooting stars were sent against us.’ Their people said, ‘Nothing is stopping you from hearing news from heaven except some new event that must have happened. Go and look in the east and the west of the earth, and see if you can find out what it is that is stopping you from hearing news from heaven.’

Those who went out in the direction of Tihaamah came upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in Nakhlah, when he was on his way to ‘Ukaath, and found him leading his Companions in Fajr prayer. When they heard the Qur’aan, they listened to it and s

aid, ‘By Allah, this is what is stopping us from hearing news from heaven.’ When they went back to their people, they said,

‘O our people, we have heard a wonderful Recital (the Qur’an). It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein, and we shall never join (in worship) anything with our Lord (Allah). [Al-Jinn 72:2 – interpretation of the meaning]

Then Allah revealed to His Prophet (peace be upon him) the words (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened (to this Qur’an)…’ [al-Jinn 72:1], and Allah revealed to him what the Jinn had said.” (Reported by al-Bukhari, 731).

Their reckoning on the Day of Resurrection

The Jinn will be called to account on the day of Resurrection. Mujahid (May Allah have mercy on him) said, concerning the ayah (verse) (interpretation of the meaning): “… but the Jinn know well that they have indeed to appear (before Him) (i.e., they will be brought to account)” [al-Saffat 37:158]
“They will be brought to judgement.” [Saheeh al-Bukhari]

Protection from the harm of the Jinn

Because the Jinn can see us while we cannot see them, the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us many ways to protect ourselves from their harm, such as seeking refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytaan, reciting Soorat al-Falaq and Soorat al-Naas (the last two Soorahs of the Qur’aan), and reciting the words taught by Allah in the Qur’an (interpretation of the meaning):

  • “Say: ‘My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the shayateen (devils). And I seek refuge with You, my Lord, lest they may attend (or come near) me.'” [Al-Mu’minoon 23:97-98]

2 Responses to "The Jinn from Islamic perspective"

Mashallah very nicely covered without including unwanted hikayaats and riwaayaat etc, which in fact misguide us on almost all topics. Jazak Allah Khair, Dr. Shahab Masroor

Assalamu Alaikum, this is indeed a wonderful and excellent piece of teaching. I am very glad to see the attempt of the kind and prudent ones among us in protecting us from the evil of the Jinns. It hurts me so much to see how many Muslims make themselves vulnerable to the Jinns and that makes them find it easier to get into their lives. The only way to avoid this havoc from them is to adhere to the teachings of the Holy Prophet (saw). My only advice to fellow Muslims is to improve upon their faith, the more you make your faith grows, the farther a Jinn would keep away from You. Wassalmu Alaikum.

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