The World of Jinn (Spirits)

The spirit beings that are found in so many sources about Islām. What are they? Do they possess people? Are they Muslims?
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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 one. With some people, these spirits are no more then the souls of dead people- 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 Islām. Like every other way, Islām also claims to explain this realm of the unseen. It is from this realm that Islām explains to us about the world of the Jinn. The Islamic explanation of the Jinn provides us with so many answers to modem day mysteries. Without the knowledge of this world, the Muslims would become like the non-Muslims and be running around looking for any old answer to come their way. So, who or what are the Jinn?

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 Allāh then any other way.

Existence

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 modem denial of one of Allāh’s creation. The origins of the Jinn can be traced from the Qurʾān and the Sunnah. Allāh says:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن صَلْصَالٍ مِّنْ حَمَإٍ مَّسْنُونٍ ‎﴿٢٦﴾‏
 وَالْجَانَّ خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن قَبْلُ مِن نَّارِ السَّمُومِ ‎﴿٢٧﴾‏

“Indeed We created man from dried clay of black smooth mud. And We created the Jinn before that from the smokeless flame of fire.” 
(Sūrah al-Ḥijr, 15:26-27)

Thus the Jinn were created before man. As for their physical origin, then the Prophet ﷺ has confirmed the above verse when he said: “The Angels were created from light and the Jinn from smokeless fire”.1 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 Allāh and follow Islām. Their purpose in life is exactly the same as ours, as Allāh says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ ‎﴿٥٦﴾‏

“I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” 
(Sūrah al-Dhāriyāt, 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 Shaytan.2 Consequently, these disbelieving Jinns are also called shaytans (devils). As for the Jinns who become Muslims, then the first of them did so in the time of the Prophet ﷺ when a group of them were amazed by the recitation of the Qurʾān. Allāh orders the Prophet to tell the people of this event:

قُلْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ أَنَّهُ اسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْآنًا عَجَبًا ‎﴿١﴾‏ يَهْدِي إِلَى الرُّشْدِ فَآمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ وَلَن نُّشْرِكَ بِرَبِّنَا أَحَدًا ‎﴿٢﴾‏

“Say (‘O Muḥammad): It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened and said; ‘Indeed we have heard a marvellous Qurʾān. It guides unto righteousness so we have believed in it, and we will never make partners with our Lord.”
(Sūrah 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 Allāh the Most High. They will be present with mankind on the Day of Judgement and will either go to Paradise or Hell.

Abilities

That which clearly distinguishes the Jinn from mankind, are their powers and abilities. Allāh has given them these powers as a test for them. If they oppress others with them, then they will be held accountable. By knowing of 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 utilised 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 commercialised. 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!3 Only through Islām can we understand such a phenomena. We know as Muslims, that Jinns 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 ṣallallāhu ͑alayhī wa-sallam 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 Qurʾān frequently in our houses as the Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Indeed, the shayṭān flees from the house in which Sūrah aI-Baqarah (the 2nd chapter of the Qurʾān) is recited”.4

If a person does become possessed, then the name of Allāh 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 Allāh 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 Allāh to exorcise the Jinn.5 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 Allāh i.e. commit shirk. The Jinn often returns when the exorcist leaves, as it knows that nothing except the words of Allāh 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 Allāh. 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. Ganesh6 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.

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Published: May 29, 2007
Edited: January 6, 2022

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