Islamic beliefs and information
Belief in the Jinn
Maulana Adnan Chishti Attari Madani
Along with humans, the worldly realm is home to several other types of creation. Some exist only in legends, such as the Phoenix, while others have ceased to exist, like dinosaurs. We can see some of these creations, such as humans, animals, and birds, whereas others are merely felt but not seen, like the wind, and fragrances.
Pathogens, haemoglobins in our red blood cells, amino acids, and vitamins are all around us. Yet, we cannot see or sense them with the naked eye. As with the wind and fragrances, the inability to see these aspects of creation is not enough to justify the denial of their existence.
You may assume that we simply cannot reject their existence because many people have confirmed their existence. Although we may not have observed them ourselves, it would be unreasonable to belie such a large body of experts. In the same vein, there is a type of creation that we cannot see with our eyes, but Allah Almighty, His messengers and prophets, the honourable Sahabah, their Followers, saints, and scholars of Islam have confirmed that this imperceptible species, called the Jinn, is real and exists parallel to human beings. The scriptural body of evidence on this matter is conclusive and definitive to the point that believing in the existence of these creatures is a fundamental aspect of faith while denying their existence is tantamount to disbelief in the Quran.
Denying the existence of Jinn?
A person may not explicitly deny the existence of Jinn but make remarks that imply denial, such as believing the term Jinn to be synonymous with ‘evil,’ implying that the Jinn are not an actual independent species of creation. Considering Jinn or Satan as nothing more than alternative labels for evil is in fact a denial of their physical existence, and this is blasphemous. Mufti Muhammad Amjad Ali A’zami رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states: ‘denying the existence (of jinn) or naming an evil force as jinn or Satan is disbelief (Kufr). (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 1, p. 97)
There is an entire chapter in the Quran by the name of ‘Chapter of the Jinn,’ so denying their existence is akin to denying the truth of the Quran because Allah Almighty states:
وَ مَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَ الْاِنْسَ اِلَّا لِیَعْبُدُوْنِ(۵۶)
And I have created Jinn and human beings, only for this; that they should worship Me.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 27, Surah Al-Zariyaat, Verse 56)
وَ الْجَآنَّ خَلَقْنٰهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ مِنْ نَّارِ السَّمُوْمِ(۲۷)
And created Jinn before him, from smokeless fire.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 14, Surah Al-Hijr, Verse 27)
What are the Jinn?
The term ‘Jinn’ literally means ‘something that is hidden, covered or concealed.’ This particular species of creation was named ‘Jinn’ because they are hidden from the eyes of normal people. In the Era of Ignorance (Jahiliyyah), people referred to angels as ‘Jinn’ because they too were unseen by humans. (Umda-tul-Qaari, vol. 10, p. 644, summarised)
Types of Jinn
The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said that there are three types of Jinn:
1. Those that have wings and fly in the air.
2. Those that take the form of snakes and dogs.
3. Those who travel and stay. (Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 254, Hadith 3754)
Many Hadith speak of the Jinn, describing the delegations of Jinn who visited the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم to learn the Quran, to ask about their food, and for other matters.
When Allah Almighty wills, one can sense their existence. Once, the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم addressed the honourable companions, ‘I have been instructed to recite the Quran to the Jinn; who will accompany me?’ The honourable companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم remained silent. The same happened the second time. When he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم asked for the third time, Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Mas’ood رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ answered, ‘I will go with you.’ Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Mas’ood رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ reports:
Only I accompanied the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. We walked until we reached a valley of Makkah called Shi’b-ul-Hajoon. The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم drew a circle and commanded me to sit inside it, emphasising that I not leave the circle until his return. Then he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم left and began reciting the Quran whilst standing up. Hearing [sounds like] the flapping of wings of vulture-like birds, I became worried for the Noble Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Then, many black things formed a barrier between me and the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم until I could not even hear his blessed voice. Then they started to disperse like clouds until they disappeared. Fajr time had already entered. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم returned and enquired, ‘Did you go to sleep?’ I said, ‘By Allah! No! O Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! Many times I tried to call for help, but I heard you say, ‘Sit down’ whilst hitting the Jinn with your blessed stick. Then the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘Had you left from here, you would not have remained safe. Any one of those Jinn could have gripped you.’ Then the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘Did you see anything?’ I replied, ‘Yes, I saw some black coloured men wearing white clothes.’ The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: ‘They were the Jinn of Nasibeen.’ I added, ‘I also heard a lot of noises,’ to which he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied, ‘They were discussing the verdict of a murder victim, then they asked me to make the verdict and so I made a fair judgement between them.’ (Al-Jami’-li-Ahkam-ul-Quran, Al-Ahqaaf, under the verse 29, Juzz 16, vol. 8, p. 153)