The Muslim loudly professes his belief in the supernatural creatures found between men and angels, namely the Jinn. According to Muslim tradition the Jinn were created of fire some thousands of years before Adam. The Jinn are considered to be like men, capable of future salvation and damnation; they can accept or reject God’s message; they are believers or non-believers. According to the Quran Muhammad was sent to convert the Jinn to Islam as well as the Arabs (Suras 72:1-7 and 15:27). The Jinn are reported to be eaves-droppers and constantly trying to go behind the curtains of heaven in order to steal God’s secrets. For this reason the good angels throw stones at them, that is shooting stars, and the common name given to these demonic transgressors is therefore “the stoned ones” Ar rajim ( See the commentaries on Suras 55:14; 51:56; 11:120, etc.). The general abode of all these spirits or demons is said to be the mountains of Qaf which are supposed to encircle the world.

Although Muhammad destroyed polytheism with its priesthood and idols, the substratum of paganism remained and was incorporated into Islam by his revelations on Jinn. Wellhausen has shown how belief in Jinn was universal in Arabia before Islam. Among the names for Jinn the following are female: ghul, si’lat, ’aluq and ’auluq. The male Jinn are called ’afrit and ’azab, etc. The word ’afrit occurs in the Quran (Surah 27:39).

Professor Macdonald in his “The Religious Attitude and Life in Islam”, throws considerable light on the doctrine of Jinn both before and after the rise of Islam. He tells how Hasan ibn Thabit, a close friend of Muhammad, and one, who praised him in his poetry, was initiated into his verses by female Jinn. “She met him in one of the streets of Medina, leaped upon him, pressed him down and compelled him to utter three verses of poetry. Thereafter he was a poet, and his verses came to him as the other Arabs from the direct inspiration of the Jinn. He refers himself to his ’brothers of the Jinn’ who weave for him artistic words, and tells how weighty lines have been sent down to him from heaven in the night season. The curious thing is that the expressions he uses are exactly those used of the ’sending down’,’ that is the revelation of the Quran.”

Dr. Macdonald points to the close parallel between the terms used in the story of Hassan ibn Thabit’s inspiration and the account we have of the first revelation of Muhammad. “Just as Hassan was thrown down by the female spirit and had verses pressed out of him, so the first utterances of prophecy were pressed from Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. And the resemblances go still farther. The angel Gabriel is spoken of as the companion (qarin) of Muhammad, just as though he were the Jinni accompanying a poet, and the same word, naphtha, ’blow upon,’ is used of an enchanter, of a Jinni inspiring a poet and of Gabriel revealing to Muhammad.”

 

The Jinn are referred to in the Quran in the following passages.

The whole of the chapter of Al-Jinn, namely, chapter 72:

> “Say: It has been revealed to me that a company of Jinns listened (to the Quran). They said, ‘We have really heard a wonderful Recital! ‘It gives guidance to the right, and we have believed therein: we shall not join (in worship) any (gods) with our Lord.  ‘And Exalted is the Majesty of our Lord: He has taken neither a wife nor a son ……………..)

> “Yet they make the Jinns equals with Allah, though Allah did create the Jinns; and they falsely, having no knowledge, attribute to Him sons and daughters. Praise and glory be to Him! (for He is) above what they attribute to Him! To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: How can He have a son when He hath no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things. (Al-An’am 6:100,101)

> “One day will He gather them all together, (and say): “O ye assembly of Jinns! Much (toll) did ye take of men.” Their friends amongst men will say: “Our Lord! we made profit from each other: but (alas!) we reached our term which thou didst appoint for us.” He will say: “The Fire be your dwelling-place: you will dwell therein for ever, except as Allah willeth.” for thy Lord is full of wisdom and knowledge, (Al-An’am 6:128)

> “He will say: “Enter ye in the company of the peoples who passed away before you men and jinns, into the Fire.” Every time a new people enters, it curses its sister-people (that went before), until they follow each other, all into the Fire. Saith the last about the first: “Our Lord! it is these that misled us: so give them a double penalty in the Fire.” He will say: “Doubled for all” : but this ye do not understand. Then the first will say to the last: “See then! No advantage have ye over us; so taste ye of the penalty for all that ye did !” (Al Araf 7:38,39)

>”any are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell: They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning). (Al Araf  7:179)

> ” Or do they not recognise their Messenger, that they deny him? Or do they say, “He is possessed”? (’He is possessed by a jinn?) Nay, he has brought them the Truth, but most of them hate the Truth. (Al-Mu’minun 23:69,70)

> “Say: “I do admonish you on one point: that ye do stand up before Allah,- (It may be) in pairs, or (it may be) singly, and reflect (within yourselves): your Companion is not possessed: (there is no jinn in your companion) he is no less than a warner to you, in face of a terrible penalty.” (Saba’ 34:46)

> “And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke: (Al-Qamar 55:15)

> “O ye assembly of Jinns and men! If it be ye can pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, pass ye! not without authority shall ye be able to pass! (Al-Qamar 55:33)

 

Muhammad’s Personal experience of the Jinn

The heathen of Mecca considered the jinn as the sons and daughters of Allah. When Islam came this relation was denied, but the existence of the jinn and their character remained unchanged. Dr. Macdonald quotes a number of instances in the history of Islam where the saints met with God through the Jinn (pp. 139-152). We need not marvel at these stories of later tradition for we find in Muslim books a number of instances given where Muhammad himself held conversation with jinn. The following is a typical example:” One day the Prophet prayed the Morning Prayer with us in the Mosque of Al-Madina. Then when he had finished, he said,’ which of you will follow me to a deputation of the jinn to-night? But the people kept silence and none said anything. He said ’which of you? He said it three times; then he walked past me and took me by the hand, and I walked with him until the mountains of al-Madina were distant from us and we had reached the open country. And there were men, tall as lances, wrapped completely in their mantles from their feet up. When I saw them a great quivering seized upon me, until my feet would hardly support me from fear. When we came near to them the Prophet drew with his great toe a line for me on the ground and said, ’sit in the middle of that.’ Then when I had sat down, all fear which I had felt departed from me. And the Prophet passed between me and them and recited the Quran in a loud voice until the dawn broke. Then he came past me and said ’Take hold of me.’ So I walked with him, and we went a little distance. Then he said to me, ’Turn and look; dost thou see any one where these were?’ I turned and said,’ O Apostle of God, I see much blackness!’ He bent his head to the ground and looked at a bone and a piece of dung, and cast both to them. Thereafter he said, ’They are a deputation of the jinn of Nasibin; they asked of me travelling provender; so I appointed for them all bones and pieces of dung.’”

Muslim tradition leaves no doubt as to the dealings which Muhammad had with these inhabitants of the air as seen in the following tradition as found in the Sahih of Muslim (pp. 452-453). “We were with the Prophet one night, and we missed him; so we searched for him in the valleys and watercourses, and said (to ourselves), ’He has been either taken away quickly, as though birds have carried him away, or has been beguiled, taken away to a place, and there slain.’ we spent that night in the worst way that any people could spend; but when the morning dawned, he came from the direction of Hira, and we said to him, ’ O apostle of God, we missed you and therefore searched for you, but did not find you and spent the night in the worst manner that a party could spend (it),upon which the Prophet replied, ’A caller of the genii came to me, so I went away with him and recited the Quran to them.’ He then went away with us and showed us the traces of their fires; the (genii) then asked him for travelling provisions and he said (to them),

’For you is every bone over which the name of God has been taken (at the time of slaughtering), which you may take and which will fall into your hands with the largest quantity of flesh (over it) and all the globular dung as fodder for your animals.’ The Prophet then said (to us), ’Do not clean yourselves with them for they are the food of your brethren.’”

Again (p.455), “Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and an-Nasa’i relate, on the authority of Abu-Hurairah, that the Prophet said, ’An Afrit (a wicked genii) out of the genii came suddenly upon me last night, desiring to disturb me in my prayer, so I strangled him and wished to tie him to one of the columns of the mosque, but I remembered the words of my brother, (the prophet) Sulaiman.’”

The following story is also related on good authority. It is given by Damiri (p.461). “I was with the Apostle of God outside the mountains of Mecca, when an old man approached leaning on a staff. The Prophet said, ’The walk is that of a genii and so is his voice,’ and he replied, ’Yes,’ The Prophet then asked him, ’From what kind or tribe of genii? And he replied, ’I am Hamah b. al Himmor b. Him b. Lakis b. Iblis,’ upon which the Prophet said, ’I see that only two generations have passed between you and him (Iblis),’ and he replied, ’I have eaten (lived through) the (whole) world excepting a little of it; during the nights when Cain (Kabil) killed Abel (Habil). I was only a boy, a few years old, and used to ascend high hills to look down, and used to incite discord between mankind.’ The Apostle of God thereupon said, ’Wretched was the action!’ but he replied, ’O apostle of God, leave off reproaching me, because I am one of those who believed in Noah and repented through him’; I then reproached him for his prayer (against his people – al Quran 71:27), upon which he cried and made me cry, and said, ’I am by God, verily one of those who have repented and I take refuge with God from being one of the ignorant ones. I then met Hud and believed in him, and I met Abraham with whom I was in the fire when he was thrown into it, and I was with Joseph when he was thrown into the well, preceding him to the bottom of it; I met Jethro (Shu’aib), and Moses and Jesus the son of Mary, who told me. “If you meet Muhammad greet him with my salutation” and now I have delivered to you his message and have believed in you.’ The Prophet thereupon said, ’Salutation to Jesus and to you! What is it you want, O Hamah? and he replied, ’Moses taught me the Pentateuch, and Jesus taught me the Gospel and now teach me the Quran.’” In another version it is said that the Prophet taught him ten chapters out of the Quran.

 

Conclusion

According to Muhammad Ibn Abdallah al-Shibi who died in 789 A.H (Akam ul Mirjan fi Ahkam al Jann)

1. Muslims believe in the existence of Jinn and this is confirmed by the People of the Book, the infidels of the Arabs and great philosophers and physicians.

2. Their origin is fire; there are different kinds, bodies and residences of jinn; demons have ability of diversification; some dogs are of the jinn; man’s companion is of the jinn, (the Qarina); jinn eat and drink (the devil eats and drinks with his left hand); the jinn went to the Prophet and heard him; infidels of the jinn enter the fire, believers enter Paradise; A jinn passed between the hands of a praying man.

3) The jinn can be influenced by verses of the Quran and obey amulets; Jinn can cast down men, enter men’s bodies and the evil eye is caused by jinn.
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