God created both the seen world and the unseen world. Among God’s creations in the unseen world are the Angels and the Jinn. The ‘Jinn’ are supernatural creatures that exist in a world parallel to our own. Almost every culture boasts stories and legends of unseen creatures. We know of Jinn and the unseen world because of their numerous mentions throughout the Holy Quran, and narrations of our last and final Prophet, Muhammad peace be upon him. The Holy Quran features a full chapter named ‘The Jinn’. It is an obligatory part of our Islamic creed to believe in the unseen world and Jinn.
Contrary to popular belief, Jinn are not ghosts in the sense that they are souls or spirits of dead people, nor can dead people return to this world in any form after they pass away. These beliefs come from ancient folk tales and fantasy. Like many other things, Islam explains the realm of the unseen and the world of the Jinn which help us come to understand many modern-day mysteries.
The word ‘Jinn’ comes from an Arabic root word which translates to mean hidden from sight, concealed, invisibility, seclusion, and remoteness. Jinn were created by God the Almighty before the existence of man. Jinn are created from smokeless fire; from the edge of the fire, in fact, the hottest and purest form of the flame.
“And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud. And the jinn We created before from scorching fire” (Quran 15:26-27)
Jinn do not have a physical body and are unseen spirits invisible to the human eye. Whereas Jinn can see mankind and have access to our world and our dimension, they are not allowed to cross the barrier into our domain. Mankind, in turn, cannot enter their world/dimension.
“…Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them…” (Quran 7:27)
Like man, Jinn possesses free-will, knowledge, perception, the ability to understand and reason, and the ability to distinguish and choose between good and evil, truth and falsehood. Jinn also were created to worship God the Almighty and follow Islam. This world is a test for both mankind and Jinn. God, the Almighty, states:
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” (Quran 51:56)
There are both believing, Muslim Jinn and non-believing, non-Muslim Jinn.
“And [mention, O Muhammad], when We directed to you a few of the jinn, listening to the Qur’an. And when they attended it, they said, “Listen quietly.” And when it was concluded, they went back to their people as warners. They said, “O our people, indeed we have heard a [recited] Book revealed after Moses confirming what was before it which guides to the truth and to a straight path. O our people, respond to the Messenger of Allah and believe in him; Allah will forgive for you your sins and protect you from a painful punishment. But he who does not respond to the Caller of Allah will not cause failure [to Him] upon Earth, and he will not have besides Him any protectors. Those are in manifest error” (Quran 46:29-32)
The Holy Quran references Iblis, the first unbelieving Jinn who tempted Prophet Adam and his wife, Eve, may peace and blessing be upon them. Iblis’ decedents and helpers, that exist until this day, are referred to as shaitan or shayateen (in the plural form) and are unbelieving, evil and rebellious Jinn.
The religion of Jinn is the same as the religion of men. Individual Jinn follow Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Jinn speak their own languages, and they can learn the language of men to communicate with them. Jinn have their ethnicities and tribes.
That which differentiates Jinn from humankind is their unique powers and abilities, bequeathed by our Creator as a test. Like man, Jinn also will be held accountable for their actions and will answer to Allah, the Most-High, for their Final Reckoning, destined to enter either Paradise eternally or the Hellfire.
By learning and knowing the powers and special abilities of the Jinn, man often comes to comprehend many of the mysteries that linger around us. One such power the Jinn possesses is the ability to transform to any physical form of their preference, except for the appearance of our last and final Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him. Jinn can appear as humans, animals, trees, and other objects.
In many aspects of their world, Jinn are like mankind in that they have their own laws, civilization, scholars, etc. Jinn eat and drink, they marry, they procreate, and they die. Their life span, however, is much longer than ours and—unlike us—they can bear thousands of children. They can fly.
Jinn do not have unlimited power in the same manner that God does; therefore, their powers are limited. The average Jinn is stronger than the average man, although specific men can be stronger than certain Jinn. Jinn can teleport from one place to another and travel at the speed of light. Whereas Jinn have several powers that humans do not possess, mankind possesses more wisdom overall. Jinn also have their own varieties of animals and beasts.
Jinn are divided into different varieties. Some have wings and fly in the air, some exist as snakes and dogs, and some Jinn are Earthbound beings who live and attach themselves to people and objects in our world. Disbelieving Jinn (Shayateen) whisper evil thoughts into people’s minds and constantly try to divert man from the path of righteousness. Some Jinn constantly instills doubts in human minds. Jinn can make humans think certain thoughts, leading them to misidentify these thoughts as their own notions. Jinn can make us dream certain things. The strongest, evilest variety of Jinn is called Ifrit, and they are rare.
Unbelieving Jinn that can be found in ruins and filthy locales like bathrooms and garbage dumps. They also reside in deserted and isolated areas like graveyards and deserts. Jinn can reveal themselves to people and take on different forms, which they do to terrify humans. Whereas Jinn possesses certain powers unique only to them, we humans possess far more intellect and wisdom. Humankind should not fear Jinn any more than they would fear a snake or a wild dog. It has been reported that animals are capable of seeing Angels and Jinn. Our Prophet narrated when a rooster sees an angel, it crows and when a donkey brays it is seeing a Jinn.
No human being can control Jinn. The power to control Jinn was given only to Prophet Solomon peace be upon him, as a gift particular to him. Often Jinn act as a primary element in Black Magic, Voodoo, Poltergeists, Witchcraft, and illusions. Since Jinn can travel a long distance in a matter of seconds, they can offer great value to magicians. Certain magicians and entertainers call upon the help of Jinn to perform their acts of illusion. However, Jinn usually ask for a hefty price in return. They often require the magician or the person requesting their services to sell their souls, thus engaging in shirk (giving the rights and powers of Allah the Glorious to those other than Allah). Contracts and agreements are usually agreed upon by both parties, leading to dire consequences for the human involved. When deals are made with the Jinn, the Jinn will eventually lure their human collaborator into disobedience, then eventually into acts of shirk— which is the greatest sin one can commit.
Fortunetellers and soothsayers often called upon the help of the Jinn before the time of our Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Whereas Jinn cannot tell the future, they can travel to the lowest level of heaven and listen in to the Angels conversing about events of the Future, which the Angels directly hear from Allah the Glorious. The Jinn then would inform the fortunetellers of these facts of the future, again for a hefty price. Upon Prophet Muhammad’s arrival, however, the Heavens came to be guarded by Angels and Jinn that attempt to listen in can potentially get attacked by comets and shooting stars.
“And We have placed within the Heaven great stars and have beautified it for the observers. And We have protected it from every devil expelled [from the mercy of Allah] Except one who steals a hearing and is pursued by a clear burning flame” (Quran 15:16-18)
Our Prophet narrated: ‘They (the Jinn) would pass the information back down until it reaches the lips of a magician or fortuneteller. 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’ Therefore, while some fortunetellers get a few of their predictions of the future correct, many of their predictions are wrong.
Jinn can possess and overtake the minds and bodies of other creatures, including human beings, exacting a power given to them by God the Almighty. This act, however, has been prohibited to them—as it is considered a great sin of oppression to possess another being. In the event of possession of a Jinn, an exorcism would be needed to remove the Jinn from the being of their victim. Whereas the Jinn can be removed in several ways—for instance, one can call upon another, stronger Jinn to remove them—this act is prohibited. In an event of a Jinn possession, humans can respond only through the recitation of the Holy Quran, and the prayers taught to us by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
Human beings have at their disposal a few other modes of protection against the evil Jinn and their harm. Knowledge is power, and the more one knows about Jinn, their characteristics, and their abilities, the less one would fear them. Jinn can harm a person only in the physical sense, as they have limited powers and strengths. The more one fears Jinn, the more power one gives them. Whereas we cannot see Jinn, we still have the advantage of knowledge, intellect, and wisdom from God the Almighty. We have the ultimate resource of Islam to help combat and protect us from Jinn and their harm. One’s level of Iman (faith) and practice of religion can help shield one from the harms of the Jinn. The stronger one’s religious and righteous convictions, the less likely that Jinn can harm them.
One may seek help against the Jinn by constantly engaging in the practice of Dhikr (the remembrance of Allah, the Glorious) and reciting his Holy Book, the Qur’an, especially Ayat al-Kursi (The Verse of the Throne). Our Prophet peace be upon him stated: ‘Whoever recites it will remain under the protection of Allah and no Shaytaan (devil) will approach him until the morning.’ Nothing protects one from these evil forces more than the Holy Quran, so recite it frequently.
Begin by saying, ‘A’oodhu Billaahi min al-Shaytan ir-rajeem’ (I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan). Recite the last two Verses of the second Chapter of the Holy Quran and Recite the two short Chapters of the Holy Quran, Chapters 113 and 114 frequently for protection of Jinn and the evil eye. Recite the second Chapter of the Holy Quran, as our Prophet narrated, ‘Indeed, the shaytan flees from the house in which Surah AI-Baqarah is recited’ Say Bismillah (in the Name of Allah) and recite prayers (dua) before starting a new task, even basic activities such as entering one’s home, eating, drinking, sleeping, and entering the bathroom.
“That is only Satan who frightens [you] of his supporters. So, fear them not, but fear Me, if you are [indeed] believers” (Quran 3:175)