Source : KHALID BIN AL-WALID MASJID
by Dr. Umar Sulaiman al-Ashqar
Adapted from ‘ The World of JINN and Devils ‘
- What are the JINN?
- Where were they created?
- Raving no concrete Knowledge of them is not a proof that they do not exist
- Satan And The Jinn
- Was Satan the origin of the jinn or was he merely one of them
- Marriage between Jinn & humans
- Do Jinns & devils die?
- The Residence Of Jinn
- Specific animals accompanied by the devil
- The Ugliness of Satan
- The Devils Abilities & Strengths
- The Jinn are Responsible for Their actions
- The Nature Of Satan
Many people do not know that other creatures share this world with us. Among which are Jinn and Devils. What about these creatures which are known to be living right here with us on the earth? They share our houses and they eat and drink with us. In fact, they are even capable of spoiling our thoughts and hearts. They drive us to destroy our own species. They can make us associate them (in worship) with Allah so that we will deserve our Lord’s worth and anger.
Fortunately, texts of the Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah reveal to us the secrets of the jinn’s and devil’s existence. Such texts provide us with enough information about the details of their lives. They also tell us about the enmity between them and mankind, a one that has been alive since Prophet Adam, alayhes salaam, wascreated in heaven. Evidence is also found of the intriguing actions that they go through in order to mislead and destroy the children of Adam.
The jinn are a world of their own, different from that of the humans or the Angels. They do, however, possess somecharacteristics in common with human beings, such as the ability to think and reflect. Likewise, they have the ability to choose between good and evil. However, they substantially differ from humans in one very important characteristic or rather property: their origin.
They are called ‘jinn’ because they are obscured from human sight. Allah, sub hanahu wata’ala, said: “ Verily he (Satan) and Qabiluhu (his solders from the jinnor his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them”( 7:27 ).
We are informed by Allah that the jinn was created from ‘marijin min nar’ (i.e., fire) as He says in the Glorious Qur’an: “ And thejinn, We have created aforetime from the smokeless flame of fire”(55:27).And: “ And the jinn: He created from a smokeless flame offire”(55:15).
According to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid,AlHasan al-Basri and others; the meaning of marijin min nar is the extremity ofthe flame, and in one narration it is described as the purest and best (of fire)In his commentary on Sahih Muslim Imam An-Nawawi said; The smokeless flame of fire is that mixed with the blackness of the fire In a hadeeth recorded byMuslim on the authority of Aisha, the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallamsaid: “ The angels were created from light, the jinn were created from a smokeless flame of fire and Adam was created from what has been described to you[by Allah in the Qur’an]”.
It needs no special stressing that the jinn were created before mankind, as Allah says: “ And indeed, We created man out of clay of altered sound mud And the jinn, We created aforetime from a scorching flame of fire”[ 15:26 -27].
The verse clearly states that the jinn were created before mankind. Some of the earlier Islamic scholars claimed that the jinn were created a thousand years before mankind, but they did not provide any evidence for their statement, either from the Qur’an or the Sunnah. There is no room for the denial of the existence of the jinn: Very few people still deny the existence of the world of the jinn.
Some of the pre-Islamic polytheists claimed that the word’ jinn’ meant the souls of the planets. Some philosophers (both modern and contemporary) claim that the jinn refer to those evil inclinations in the souls of mankind while the angels refer to the good intentions planned by mankind.
A number of contemporary scientists, however, believe that the jinn are the microorganisms discovered every day by modern science. In his interpretation of Suratul Jinn (Chapter 72 in the Glorious Qur’an), Muhammadal-Bahi says that the jinn are the angels. To him, the jinn and angles are one entity; there are no distinguishing characteristics that can differentiate one species from the other. His evidence is that both are invisible to mankind. Heconcluded, though, that the jinn are more like humans as far as belief in Allahis concerned: some believe in Him, others do not.
Those who deny the existence of the jinn have no proof to support their denial, but they say that they cannot believe in that of which they possess no tangible knowledge. Doing so, they seem tobelittle the faculties of the human mind that can encompass things that are notfelt to the human five senses. Allah, Subhanahu wa tatala, says: “ Nay,they have belied the knowledge whereof they could not comprehend and what has not been fulfilled”[ 10:39 ].
It is of course likely that someone who lived and died hundreds of years ago could have denied the fact that sounds travel through hearing the air. But not sounds that are being transmitted does not do not exist mean that they because the invention of the radio made it possible for everyone to hear them. The same can be said of the jinn. They constitute a species on their own, different from angles or humans. They are intelligent beings. They are also responsible for their own actions, and they have received ordainments from Allah to perform certain deeds and abstain from others. Although several eyewitness accounts are heard every now and then of people who are reported to have seen the jinn, we humans do not have the ability to see them. However, such animals as dogs and donkeys can see them. It is recorded in Musnad of Ahmed and Sunan of Abu-Dawud that the Prophet,sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said: “ If you hear the barking of dogs or the braying of donkeys during the night, seek refuge in Allah from Satan, because they can see what you cannot”.
Satan, which is recurrently mentioned inthe Qur’an, belongs to the world of the jinn. He lived among the angles and worshipped Allah. But ever since he refused to prostrate to Allah, out of vanity; pride, arrogance and envy, he was cast out of Heaven and out of Allah’s mercy.
After Satan had lost hope of ever receiving mercy from Allah, he was named ‘Iblees‘ which derives from the Arabic root ‘alabalas’denoting one who has no good in ruin; and when transformed into past participle’ublisa’ it means ‘despaired and lost.’ Many of the early Islamic scholars believed that Satan’s original name was ‘Azaazeel’.
No textual evidence (that is text from the Qur’an or the Sunnah) can confirm that Satan was the origin of all the jinn; he was simply one of them as stated in the Qur’an: “ ….except Iblees (Satan).He was one of the jinn”[l8:50]. However, Ibn Taymiyyah is of the opinion that Satan is the origin of all the jinn.
The jinn, including Satan, eat and drink, marry and reproduce. The first two characteristics, those of eating and drinking, can be inferred from the saying of the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa salam: “ When one of you eats, he should eat with his right hand. And when one of you drinks he should drink with his right hand. Verily, Satan eats and drinks with his left hand”. As for the two other characteristics, they can be deducted from the Qur’an in that context where Allah describe the spouses of the believers in Paradise : “Wherein both will be Qasirat-ut-Tarf [chaste females (wives) restraining their glances, desiring none except their husband, with whom no man or jinn has ever touched”[55:56].
In many instances, stories are being toldof some men marrying one of the jinn or of some woman being proposed to by one of the jinn. As-Suyooti mentioned a few reports from the early generations pointing to the occurrence of marriage between the jinn and humans. This was supported by Ibn Taymiyyah who said:” Humans and jinn have got married and have had children as a result of their marriage”. However, and assuming that it is possible, Islamic scholars have expressed their disapproval of such copulation, deriving their evidence from the Qur’an where it is stated that Allah hascreated for mankind spouses of their own species: “ And among His Signs isthis, that He created from you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflects”(30.21).
This means that if marriage between humans and jinn could occur, it would not be possible for either party to have the companionship and love described due to their different origins; and thus, the wisdom behind marriage would be fast.
However, what points to the possibility of marriage between the two species is the verse from the Qur’an mentioned above [6O;56]. And in any case, if such marriages occur toady or have occurred before, they are certainly rare and must be regarded as ‘strange.’ Besides, from an Islamic perspective, if one is said to be doing it, he is in a sense possessed’ and has no way to control it.
Do Jinns & devils die?
Undoubtedly, all species (including the jinn and the devils) do die. This has been confirmed by the Qur’an: “Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish. And the face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honor will remain forever”(55:26-27).
Inaddition, the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam, is reported to have said: “ I seek refuge, by Your Glory, the One, Whom there is no other god but You, the One who dies not, and the jinn and mankind do die”.
Regarding the span of their lives, there is not certain knowledge except what Allah has said concerning the accused Satan who has been respite and life until the day of Resurrection: “ Satan said: Reprieve till the day they are Resurrected. (Allah) said: You are of those reprieved”(7:14-15).
The jinn live on the earth as humans do, but most of them are found among the ruins and those places contaminated with ritual impurity such as bathrooms, cemeteries and animal yards. Many of them are also found in spots where money transaction (the root of the evil) take places. The following advice was given by the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam, tohis Companions: “ If you can, do not be the first one to enter the marketplace. And do not be the last to leave it For it is Satan’s abode and therein he raises his banner”.
Some animals such as the camels are usuallyaccompanied by the devils. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam, said: “Verily, the camel has been created from devils. And behind every camel there is a devil”. and also: “ Do not make salah in the pastures of thecamels, for they are from the devils. But make salah in the field of the sheep, for they are blessed”.
Satan is a repulsive-looking colossus of body. The branches of Zaggoom (a tree in Hell) is compared in the Qur’an to the heads of devils: “ Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom ofHell-Fire. The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils”(37.64-65).
During the Middle Ages, Satan was depicted as black man with a pointed beard, raised eyebrows, and a mouth that emits blazing fire. His legs were hoofed like goats and he had a tail with a pointed arrow.
The Qur’an tells us that the jinn have been given such power and ability to which human no access. Of these great speed is the most significant. We have been told that a stalwart of the jinn promised King Solomon that it would only take him a shorter time than that taken by someone standing from his sitting place to bring the throne of Sheba to Jerusalem . Another one, yet, said that he could do within the twinkling of an eye: “ A ‘I frit (strong one) from the jinn said: I will bring it to you before you rise from your place (council). And verily, I am indeed strong, and trust-worthy for such work.. One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eve! Then when he [Sulaiman(Solomon)1 saw it placed before him, he said: this is by the Grace of my Lord”(27:39-40).
The jinn also used to go to the lowest heaven in order to eavesdrop on the inhabitants of the heavens and so would be able to find out what was happening therein. When this was detected, the number of guards (including meteors and comets) were increased, blazing down fire on dropping jinn. Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an: “ 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 listen now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush”(72:8-9).
The jinn have the ability to take on the shapes of humans and animals. On the day of the battle of Badr, Satan approached the Prophet’s enemies in the form of a man called ‘Suraqa Ibn Malik’and promised them aid and triumph. On that occasion Allah has revealed the following verse: “ And remember when Shaitan (Satan) made their (evil)deeds seem fair to them and said: No one of mankind can overcome you this day(of the battle of Badr) and verily, I am your neighbor (for each and every help). But when the two armies met and Satan saw the angels descending from the sky to support the Muslims side, he fled. [the above verse continues]. But when the two forces came in sight of each other, he ran away and said: Verily, I have nothing to do with you. Verily, I see what you see not. Verily! I fear Allah for Allah is severe in punishment”(8:48).
The devils may also take on the appearance of certain animals, such as camels, donkeys, cows, dogs, or cats. But a black dog is their favorite attire.
Snakes that appear in front of Muslims in their houses may be jinn that have embraced Islam; and therefore the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam, has forbidden us to kill them before the name of Allah has been mentioned three times to them as a warning and a protection. If they continue to be present, they are devils and hence should be killed.
Satan is able to flow within the human body as does blood in vessels: This fact has been asserted(in various versions) by the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam. The sayings are recorded in the two big compilations of authentic Ahadeeth: Bukhari andMuslim.
However, the devils have no power over the pious and loyal worshippers of Allah. This means that the power granted by Allah to Satan and his tribe is not without limits. Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an: “Verily, My slaves you have no authority over them. And All-sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian”(17:65). “ And indeed Iblees (Satan) did prove true his thought about them: and they followed him, all except a group of true believers (in the Oneness of Allah). And he (Iblees-Satan) had no authority over them except that We might test him who believes in the Hereafter from him who is in doubt about it”(34:20-2l).
And as can be inferred from the following verse, Satan him-self recognizes that fact and he acts in accordance with that knowledge: “ [Iblees (Satan)] said:0 my Lord! Because you mislead me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all. Except Your chosen, (guided) slaves among them”(15:39-40).
This mean that the sinful and wrongdoers among the believers may also be misled by Satan. We have been told in the Qur’an about that slave of Allah who was granted divine signs, but then turned his back to them. Satan took advantage of the man’s disobedience, and seduced him. Allah says: “ And recite (0 Mohammed) to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.),but he threw them away; so Shaitan (Satan) followed him up, and he became of those who went astray”(7:175).
Like humans, the jinn cannot go beyond the limits set to them by Allah, for He says in the Glorious Qur’an: “ 0 assembly of jinn and men! If you have power to pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, then pass beyond (them)! But you will never be able to pass them, except with authority (from Allah!)”(55:33).
Also, they are not able to open closed doors that have had the name of Allah mentioned over them. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam,said: “ Close your doors and cover your vessels and tie up your water skins and put out your lamps, for Satan (and the jinn) do not open a closed door, nor do they take off a cover or untie water skins”.
The Jinn are Responsible for Their actions
Both the jinn and mankind were created for the same purpose; to worship Allah, in the fullest sense of the word worship: “ And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they worship Me (Alone)”(50:56).
Therefore, the jinn are responsible for their own actions. They have been ordered to perform certain acts and to abstain from performing others. And on the day of Resurrection the jinn and mankind will be addressed by Allah with the following words: “ 0you assembly of jinn and mankind! Did not there come to you Messengers from amongst you, reciting unto you My verses and warning you of the meeting of this day of yours? They will say: We bear witness against ourselves. It was the life of this world that deceived them. And they will bear witness against themselves that they were disbelievers”(6:130).
But according to Ibn Taymiyyah, what the jinn are ordered to do or prohibited from is not necessarily identical to what humans are ordered to do or prohibited from. His discussion is based on the nature of each of the two species. As the two species are fundamentally different, at least in the substance they have been created from, the responsibilities charged upon each must be different as well.
As the jinn were created with the ultimate purpose of worshipping Allah (alone), the claim that there is some sort of lineage or affinity between them and the Almighty Allah must be a sheer fabrication. The Jews and the pre-Islamic polytheists believed that Allah took wives from among the jinn, and that the offspring resulting from that relationship consisted of the angels. This has been stated in the Glorious Qur’an as follow: “ And they have invented a kinship between Him and the jinn, but the jinn know well that they have indeed to appear (before Him) (i.e., they will be called to account). Glorified is Allah! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him)!”(37:158-139).
Since the jinn are responsible for their own actions, there is no doubt that Allah’s Word must have reached them, but how? Did they have messengers from among themselves? Or were human messengers sent to them? The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam, was sent to both the jinn and mankind. This is because the Glorious Qur’an posed to both of collectively, the challenge of composing a work similar to that of the Qur’an: “ Say: 1f the mankind and the jinn were to come together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another”(27:88).
This verse is also supported by the following verse from the Qur’an: “Say (0 Muhammad): It has been revealed to me that a group (from three to ten in number) of jinn listened (to this Qur’an). They said: Verily, we have heard a wonderful Recitation (this Qur’an)! If guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein, and we shall never join (in worship) anything with our Lord (Allah)” [72:1-2].
Those who listen to the Qur’an and believed in it returned to their follow jinn asking them to follow the Right Path: “ And (remember) when We sent towards you (Muhammad) 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. They said: O our people! Verily, we have heard a Book (this Qur’an) sent down after Muosa (Moses), confirming what come before it; it guides to the truth and to the Straight Path (i.e., Islam)” [46:29-30].
The incident suggests that the jinn listened to the Qur’an as though the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam, being aware of their presence. Later, however, a delegation of the jinn met with the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam, to gain knowledge from him. TheProphet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam, taught them what Allah prescribed for them. This latter incident took place in Makkah before the Prophet’s migration to Madinah. A full account of it is found in Sahih Muslim. It says that on that night the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, missed the Prophet,sallallahu alayhe wa salam. No trace of him was found in Makkah. They thought he was kidnapped by the jinn, or got killed. As dawn approached, they saw him towards them. He explained that he was invited by a group of jinn to recite the Qur’an and answer their questions.
The jinn are of different ranks in terms of piety or impiety. Some are fully devoted to righteous deeds; others are less so. Some are heedless; others are disbelieves. They speak of themselves in the Qur’an: “There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary; we are groups having different ways (religions sects)”[72:11].
Satan used to worship Allah along with the angels before he became an ingrate. Only then did he become evil and sought it even though he was well aware that it would be the cause of his punishment in the hereafter. Is it possible for a devil to embrace Islam?
According to the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa salam, it is possible for a devil to embrace Islam. The hadeeth was interpreted in many different ways. However, there is evidence that the devil encountered by the Prophet, sallallahu alayhewa salam, embraced Islam. There are some who believe that the word Shaitan(devil) is only used to describe a disbeliever of the jinn. But this does not mean that a devil cannot be converted to Islam This is a brief summary about the jinn and their nature and characteristics. Allah is the Best of protectors and the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.