What is a Jinn?
The word ‘jinn’ comes from the Arabic ‘Janna’, which means to ‘cover or hide’. Unlike the other creations of Allah (SWT) that we are able to see, the reality of the jinn is hidden from us. Allah mentions them at many places in Al-Qur’an, and there is an entire Surah titled Al-Jinn. Al-Qur’an and the authentic statements of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) help us understand what the jinn are made of, when they were created, what the purpose of their creation is, and what happens to them when they obey or disobey Allah’s command.
Allah tells us in Al-Qur’an jinns reality that He created the jinn from the fire before He created man.
“And indeed, We created man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. And the jinn, We created aforetime, from the smokeless flame of fire.” (Qur’an 15: 26-27)
Stating the purpose of their creation, Allah says He created the jinn to worship Him alone.
“And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).” (Qur’an 51: 56)
However, Allah gave the jinn the freedom to choose between right and wrong. Those who choose the right way will enter Paradise, whereas those who pick the wrong way will end up in Hell. Allah clearly mentions the reality of the jinn of both groups in Surah Al-Jinn.
“Say (O Muhammad): It has been revealed to me that a group of jinn listened (to this Qur’an). They said: ‘Verily, we have heard a wonderful Recitation. It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein, and we shall never join (in worship) anything with our Lord (Allah). And He, exalted be the Majesty of our Lord, has taken neither a wife nor a son. And that the foolish among us used to utter against Allah that which are an enormity in falsehood.” (Qur’an 72: 1-4)
‘And some of us are Muslims (who have submitted to Allah, after listening to this Qur’an), and of us some are Al-Qasitun (disbelievers – those who have deviated from the Right Path)’. And whosoever has embraced Islam (i.e. has become a Muslim by submitting to Allah), then such have sought the Right Path.” And as for the Qasitun, they shall be firewood for Hell.” (Qur’an 72: 14-15)
Who is Iblis?
The jinn oft-mentioned in Al-Qur’an is Iblis, who refused to obey Allah when He told him to prostrate to Adam. Iblis argued that since he was made of fire, a superior element, he could not worship man-made of inferior clay. [Iblis (Satan) said:
“I am better than he; You created me from fire, and You created him from clay.” (Qur’an 38: 76)
Allah rejected Iblis’s argument, cursed him, and condemned him forever. In return, Iblis vowed that he would not leave any stone unturned to mislead humanity. Allah made it clear to him that he could not deceive His devoted people. At the same time, Allah repeatedly warns people to beware of the evil tricks of Satan, the greatest enemy of man.
“…and follow not the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy.” (Qur’an 2: 168)
Evil Jinn (Qareen):
According to the Prophet (PBUH), an evil jinn (Qareen) accompanies every human being all the time and tries to misguide him/her. The Prophet said that Allah turned his Qareen into a good jinn (Muslim, vol. 4, p.1472, No. 6757).
The evil jinn can distract human beings even when the latter are engaged in a good act.
Once the Prophet was offering his Salah when Ifreet, a wicked jinn, tried to meddle with his prayer. The Prophet wished to tie him to the masjid pole for everyone to see in the morning, but he quickly remembered that Allah had given that power only to Prophet Sulaymaan. (Bukhari, vol.1, p.268, no. 75; Muslim, vol.1, p.273, no. 1104)
In the past, the jinn could steal information from the Angels and pass it on to their human partners, but after the commencement of Prophet Muhammad’s mission, their ability to steal information was curtailed, and whatever little information they could steal they mixed it with several lies before sharing it with the fortunetellers.
‘And we have sought to reach the heaven, but found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires. And verily, we used to sit there in stations to (steal) a hearing, but any who listens now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush.” (Qur’an 72: 8-9)
Elaborating it, the Prophet said:
“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.” (Bukhari, vol.8, p.150, no. 232)
Jinns in Many Forms:
The jinn can take various forms and reside in many different places. While their glance can adversely affect a person, they can also possess human beings. Such evil effects of the jinn can be undone by adhering to Al-Qur’an and the authentic statements of the Prophet. The recitation of Surahs Al-Falaq, An-Naas, Al-Baqarah, and Ayat al-Kursi are some of the solutions prescribed by the Prophet and recorded in the authentic books of Hadith.
The Prophet told Ali ibn Abi Taalib to recite the last two chapters of Al-Qur’an, Al-Falaq and An-Naas, to cast off the spell of a jinn on him. (Bukhari, vol. 6, p. 495, no. 535; Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1195, no. 5440).
Moreover, the Prophet said,
“Verily Satan flees from a house in which Surah Al-Baqarah is read.” (Muslim, vol. 1, p.337, no. 1707)
Without a doubt, jinns reality is Allah’s creations whose only purpose in life is to worship Allah alone. Those who do so go to Paradise, while those who defy Allah end up in Hell. Although Allah has given them the freedom to mislead humanity, He also warned people against following Satan’s footsteps to save themselves from the punishment of Hellfire.