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
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 salam, was created 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 some characteristics 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
They are called 'jinn' because they are obscured
from human sight. Allah, sub hanahu wa ta'ala, said:“
Verily he (Satan) and Qabiluhu (his solders from the jinn or
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 the jinn, We have created aforetime from the smokeless
flame of fire”(55:27). And:“
And the jinn: He created from a smokeless flame of fire”(55:15).
According to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, AlHasan al-Basri
and others; the meaning of marijin min nar is the extremity
of the 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
by Muslim on the authority of Aisha, the Prophet, sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam said:“
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
And indeed, We created man out of clay of altered sound mud
And the jinn, We created aforetime from a scorching flame of
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), Muhammad
al-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.
He concluded, though, that the jinn are more like humans as
far as belief in Allah is 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 to
belittle the faculties of the human mind that can encompass
things that are not felt 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 in the 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 told of 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 has created for mankind spouses of
their own species:“
And among His Signs is this, 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.
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).
In addition, 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
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, to his 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 usually accompanied 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 the camels, 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
Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of
Hell-Fire. The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads
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
humans have 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
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:I 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
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 and Muslim.
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
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
Like humans, the jinn cannot go beyond the
limits set to them by Allah, for He says in the Glorious
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”.
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:“
0 you 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
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
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
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. The Prophet, 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 Sahib
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'anL:“
There are among us some that are righteous, and some the
contrary; we are groups having different ways (religions
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 alayhe wa 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.