What is a jinn?

 

What is a jinn? Allah (God) has created three types of intelligent beings: angels, jinns, and humans (55:14-15). The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam ) said:

 

خُلِقَتْ الملائِكَةُ من نُوْرٍ، و خُلِقَ إِبْلِيْسُ من مَارِج من نار و خُلِقَ آدَمُ مما وُصِفَ لَكُم

 

“The angels were created from light, Iblees (the first jinn, Satan) was created from a spark of fire, and Adam was created from what has been described to you (in the Quran, like 55:14)”1

 

These are three distinct, separate creations which were created from different substances. They do not become one another (i.e. a human cannot become an angel, an angel cannot become a devil2, etc.). Iblees (Satan)3 was and has always been a jinn. He was never an angel. Allah says in the Quran:

 

و إِذْ قُلْنَا لِلمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِأَدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلّا إِبْلِيْسَ كَانَ مِن الجِنّ

 

And mention when We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate yourselves to Adam.’ So they prostrated themselves except Iblees (Satan) – he was one of the jinn” 18:50

 

The Scholar of Tafsir, Ibn Kathir, said (translated), “When matters are crucial, every vessel leaks that which it contains and is betrayed by its true nature. Iblees used to do what the angels did and resembled them in their devotion and worship, so he was included when they were addressed, but he disobeyed and went against what he was told to do. So Allah points out here that he was one of the jinn, i.e. he was created from fire, as He says elsewhere:

 

قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَار و خَلَقْتَهُ من طِيْن

 

(Iblees) said: ‘I am better than him, You created me from fire and You created him from clay’” (38:76)

 

“Al Hasan Al Basri said: ‘Iblees [Satan] was not one of the angels, not even for a second. He was the origin of the jinn just as Adam was the origin of mankind.’ This was narrated by Ibn Jarir [At-Tabaree] with a saheeh chain.”4

 

Jinn and humans both have free will (i.e the choice to either obey Allah and be rewarded for that, or disobey Allah and possibly face punishment for that). Whereas the angels do not. The angels only obey Allah and they don’t disobey Him.

 

يَخَافُوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ مِن فَوْقِهِم و يَفْعَلُوْنَ مَا يُؤْمَرُوْنَ

 

They (the angels) fear their Lord (Who is) above them and they do what they are commanded” 16:50

 

Since Jinn and humans have free will, they are threatened with Allah’s punishment if they don’t obey Him (by becoming Muslim firstly and after that obeying His Commands).

 

و تَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِن الجِنَّةِ و النَاس أَجْمَعِيْن

 

And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled (i.e. His Saying), ‘Surely, I shall fill Hell with jinns and men all together.’” (11:119)

 

Likewise the Jinn and humans are promised Paradise if they obey Allah5. The jinn were created for the same reason humans were – to worship Allah alone, not worshiping anything with Him6. And the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) was sent to both jinn and mankind.

 

وَإِذْ صَرَفْنَا إِلَيْكَ نَفَرًا مِّنَ الْجِنِّ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقُرْآنَ فَلَمَّا حَضَرُوهُ قَالُوا أَنصِتُوا فَلَمَّا قُضِيَ وَلَّوْا إِلَى قَوْمِهِم مُّنذِرِينَ

 

“And [mention] when We sent towards you (O Muhammad- sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) a group of the jinn (quietly) listening to the Qur’an. When they stood in the presence thereof, they said, ‘Listen in silence!’ And when it was finished they returned to their people as warners.

 

قَالُوا يَا قَوْمَنَا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَابًا أُنزِلَ مِن بَعْدِ مُوسَى مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ وَإِلَى طَرِيقٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

 

“They said, ‘O our people! Verily we have heard a Book (this Qur’an) sent down after Moses7, confirming what came before it, it guides to the truth and to the Straight Path (i.e. Islam).

 

يَا قَوْمَنَا أَجِيبُوا دَاعِيَ اللَّهِ وَآمِنُوا بِهِ يَغْفِرْ لَكُم مِّن ذُنُوبِكُمْ وَيُجِرْكُم مِّنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

“’O our People! Respond (with obedience) to Allah’s Caller (i.e. the Prophet Muhammad – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) and believe in him. He (Allah) will forgive you of your sins, and will save you from a painful punishment (i.e. the Hell-fire).’” 46:29-31

 

Ibn Kathir said (translated), “’O our people! Respond to Allah’s Caller’ This is [one] proof that Muhammad [sallallahu alayhe wa sallam] has been sent to both the human beings and the jinns.” And Allah’s statement:

 

و ما أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلّا كَافَةً لِلنَّاسِ بَشِيْراً و نَذِيْراً

 

And We have not sent you except as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all the people.” 34:28

 

Ibn Kathir said (translated), “So Allah sent him (Muhammad – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) to the jinn and human beings…”

 

Some of the jinn are Muslim, and some are disbelievers.8 Most of the time we can’t see the jinn9. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) did not know the jinn were listening to the Qur’an when he was praying. Allah revealed to him later what happened:

Say: ‘It has been revealed to me that a group of jinn listened to the Qur’an..’” 72:1

 

And from the evidence that the jinn sometimes take the form of humans and talk to humankind are:

 

1.When a shaytaan (devil) came to the disbelievers on the day of the Battle of Badr in the form of a man and lied to them:

 

و إذ زيّن لهم الشيطانُ أعمالَهُم و قال لا غالِبَ لكم اليوم من الناس و إنّي جارٌ لكم

 

And (mention) when shaytaan made their evil deeds seem good to them and said, ‘No one from mankind can defeat you today, and indeed I am your neighbor (for every help)’” (8:48)

 

2.The well-known hadeeth about Abu Huraira (radiallahu anhu) guarding the zakatul fitr. Someone came three nights in a row and was stealing the zakatul fitr. Abu Hurairah let him go the first two nights but on the third night he told him he was definitely going to take him to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam). The shaytaan begged him not to do that and told him about the benefit of reciting ayatul kursee (2:255) at bedtime. Abu Huraira later went to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) and informed him of what happened. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) told him (translated), “He told the truth even though he is a tremendous liar. That was shaytaan.”10

 

3.The great hadeeth scholar of our time, Shaikh Albanee, rahimahullah, mentions in his book: The Anti-Christ and Descending of Jesus (peace be upon him)11, from the hadeeth of Abu Umamah (translated):

 

And from his (the Anti-Christ’s) afflictions is that he will say to a Bedouin, ‘What do you think if I raise alive your father and mother, would you testify that I am your Lord?’ He will answer in the positive. Then two devils will stand up in the image of his father and mother and they will say, ‘O little son, follow him because he is your Lord.’”12

 

Some of the important benefits we get from this above hadeeth are:

 

1.That the jinn can morph into a human shape.

 

2.That the bad jinn (i.e. devils) sometimes pretend to be dead people.

 

3.That the bad jinn (devils) pretend to be dead people to misguide others and try to get them to die upon disbelief.

 

Taken from the book, “When I die…” by Umm Muhammad Zawjatu ‘Abdul Malik

 

https://sughayyirah.wordpress.com/when-i-die/

 

 

1Saheeh Muslim, Kitaabuz Zuhd wa Raqaa’iq (Book of Abstaining and Heart Softening), ch: Miscellaneous Ahadeeth, my translation

2 Devil – an evil jinn (shaytan), but it can also mean an evil human

3 Iblis is the first jinn Allah created and their father-like Adam is the first human Allah created and the father of mankind. Iblis is a bad jinn or shaytaan (devil) and he is Satan- the one who tricked Adam and Hawwa (Eve) in the Garden (20:120, 18:50). While the rest of the jinn will live their lives and die, Allah has given Iblis respite (from death) until the Day of Judgement (15:36-38). Until then Iblis and his followers try to harm mankind, but he will only be able to harm those who follow and obey him (15:39:42, 16:99,100). Iblis and his followers will be thrown into Hell on the Day of Resurrection (15:43, 26:95) (except those who repent by becoming Muslim [(3:102)-”And definitely don’t die except as Muslims”, (3:19)- “Indeed the religion (acceptable) with Allah is Islam”, (3:51)- Jesus, the son of Mary, the Prophet, told his people (translated), “Indeed Allah (God) is my Lord and your Lord, so worship only Him-that is the correct religion (straight path)”, (3:85)- “Whoever seeks to be upon a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him and he will in the Next Life be of the losers”.])

As for the verses that mention the Jews and Christians and anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day getting a reward- then these verses are referring to those nations before the Prophethood of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) who had CORRECT belief about Allah. Meaning they worshiped ONLY Him and did not worship anything else and they believed in ALL the Prophets and Messengers, not disbelieving in even one of them. So it is referring to those Jews who worshiped only Allah and they obeyed and followed their Messenger-Moses. Then when Jesus the son of Mary came, they believed in him (being a servant and Messenger of God) and obeyed him and followed his example (NOT worshiped him). And it is referring to those Christians who worshiped only God and followed and obeyed their Messenger – Jesus, son of Mary. Then when Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) came, they believed in him (being a servant and Messenger of God) and obeyed him and followed his example (Tafsir al Qurtubi 2:62). One example of a person who did this was the cousin of the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) wife-Khadijah (see Bukhari, Book of the Beginning of the Revelation).

And these people were in reality Muslim because they worshiped Allah alone-not worshiping anything with Him, and they believed in ALL the Prophets and Messengers, not denying any of them ({3:52,3} – “He (Jesus, son of Mary) said , ‘Who will help me in Allah’s Cause?’ The Hawariyoon (his Companions) said, ‘We will be helpers in Allah’s Cause. We have believed in Allah (with the correct belief) so bear witness that we are Muslims. O our Lord! We have believed in what You have sent down and we have followed your Messenger (Jesus, son of Mary), so record us among he witnesses!’”, {2:127,8} – “And mention when Abraham and Ishma’el were building the House (Ka’bah in Makkah) and they were saying, ‘O our Lord! Accept this from us, indeed You alone are the The All-Hearing, The All-Knowing. O our Lord! Make us Muslims submitting to You (worshiping ONLY You) and from our offspring a Muslim Nation submitting to You’”) . As for those Christians and Jews and people upon religions other than Islam who, after the Prophethood of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) disbelieved in Muhammad being the Messenger of Allah, and they refused to obey Allah when He commanded mankind and jinn to be Muslims (3:102), and didn’t believe Allah when He told them that no religion other than Islam will be accepted (3:85), then no, these people are not included in these types of verses (2:62). Rather, the Jews, Christians and other than them are in need of becoming Muslim by bearing witness that none deserves to be worshiped except Allah (God-The Creator) and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. “So if they dispute with you (O Muhammad-sallallahu alayhe wa sallam), say, ‘I have submitted my face to Allah (as a Muslim-aslamtu) and so have those who follow me. And say to those who were given the Book (Jews and Christians) and the illiterates (pagan Arabs), ‘Are you going to become Muslim?’ If they become Muslim (aslamoo), then they are rightly guided, and if they turn away, it is only upon you to convey the Message. And Allah is All-Seer of His servants.” (3:20)

4Taken from Tafsir Ibn Kathir, tafsir of verse 18:50, translated by a group under supervision of Safiur Rahman alMubarakpuri, published by Darussalam

5See 55:46-78, note in the oft-repeated verse (translated): “Then which of the blessings of your Lord do you both [i.e. humans and jinn] deny?”, the dual form is used. And the First and most important things we have been commanded with is to become Muslim :

و لا تَمُوتُنَّ إلا و أنْتُم مُسلِمون “And definitely do not die except as Muslims” 3:102 Also see 3:85

6“And I did not create the Jinn and Mankind except to worship Me (alone )” 51:56

7These Jinn were Jewish before becoming Muslim. The Book sent down to Prophet Jesus, son of Mary – peace be upon him, before the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) was sent, was called the Injeel (which is not the Bible )

872:14

9When a house is thought to be “haunted” in reality a jinn or several jinn are living there and they are the ones causing the noises, apparitions, lights turning on and off, etc. The jinn have different personalities like people-some are jokesters/pranksters, others are evil and like causing harm (and you have other types of personalities). If a person is not doing what The Creator has told us to do-like saying Bismillah (With the Name of God) before we eat and when entering the house, saying the du’a (supplication) we say before entering the bathroom, reciting ayatul kursee (2:255) before going to bed, reciting Qur’an, remembering Allah with the remembrances the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) taught us, etc.- then we don’t have protection against the jinn, so it is not advised to move to a house where the jinn are going to harass its human occupants. If a person wants to be protected from the jinn, they should pray only to God, The Creator-Whose proper Name is Allah-and do not pray to other than Him. And He is One, Indivisible, All-Powerful, All-Hearing, All-Knowing, All-Seeing, and there is nothing whatsoever like Him. And He has commanded us to become Muslims. “Say: Allah is One, Indivisible (can not be divided into parts), Allah is The Self-Sufficient Master Whom all of His creation needs and Who Himself is free from all needs, He does not beget, nor was He begotton, and there is nothing whatsoever co-equal or comparable to Him” (ch.112-Ikhlas) “And there is nothing whatsoever that is like Him, And He is The All-Hearing, The All-Seeing” (42:11); “And definitely do not die except as Muslims” (3:102) (see also 3:19,85).

10One wording of the hadeeth is in Saheeh Bukhari, Book of the Virtues of the Qur’an, ch. 10: The superiority of Suratul Baqarah. Some people think this hadeeth is a proof that it is okay to take knowledge from anyone, even liars, but this is not correct. It is actually proof for consulting the Scholars before acting . Because when Abu Huraira heard what this unknown person said about reciting Ayatul Kursee, what did he do? Did he go home and start reciting ayatul kursee at bedtime? No, rather he consulted the most knowledgeable person he knew – the Prophet Muhammad – sallallahu alayhe wa sallam. And only after he was told by the truthful and trustworthy Prophet that what the shaytaan said was correct – only then did he start doing it.

11The Arabic title is longer than the English translation. Published by Darussalam (UK), first edition (2002). This is an excellent book. In the first section, Shaikh Albanee mentions why he wrote the book and refutes some of the false beliefs concerning the Dajjal and Esa (Jesus, son of Mary). In the third section he goes through the hadeeth of Abu Umamah (mentioned in the second section) sentence by sentence, checking each sentence for authenticity and bringing supporting narrations (where applicable). In the fourth section he mentions the names of the narrators of the ahaadeeth he mentioned in section three. In the fifth section he brings together in order the authentic narrations regarding the Dajjaal and what happens after he is killed – the book is worth this section alone!

12This section from the hadeeth of Abu Umaamah is mentioned as part 16 on page 44 and the Shaikh’s checking of it (and two ahadeeth in support of it) are mentioned as part 16 on p. 86-90. The hadeeth (above ) is mentioned as part 17 on page 150 in section five of the book (translator’s translation)

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