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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

The reality of the Jinn in light of the Qur’an and Sunnah

Do the Jinn really exist? As established by the Qur’an and Sunnah, the whole Ummah unanimously believes in the existence of the Jinn as a creation of Allah, the Exalted, like many other creatures. As most of the devils belong to the Jinn, the word ‘shayatin’ (sing: shaitan) has also been used on numerous occasions in the Qur’an to refer to the Jinn. The Holy Qur’an talks about the jinn as many as more than 20 times. The Qur’an also includes a complete chapter named after the jinn. This short article doesn’t allow me to quote all the verses here. However, a few such verses are presented below:

  1. And [mention, O Muhammad], when We directed to you a few of the jinn, listening to the Qur'an. And when they attended it, they said, "Listen quietly." And when it was concluded, they went back to their people as warners.(46:29)
  2. "O company of jinn and mankind, did there not come to you messengers from among you, relating to you My verses and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" (6:130)
  3. Say, [O Muhammad], "It has been revealed to me that a group of the jinn listened and said, 'Indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur'an. (71:1)
  4. And there were men from mankind who sought refuge in men from the jinn, so they [only] increased them in burden.” (72:6)

We also find mention of the jinn in a number of Hadiths reported from the Messenger of Allah() who was sent as prophet for entire humanity and the jinn as well.

  1. Ibn Mas'ud (RZ) said: We were in the company of the Messenger of Allah () one night and then we missed him. We searched for him in the valleys and the hills and thought that perhaps he had either been taken away (by jinn) or has been secretly killed. He (the narrator) said. We spent the worst night which people could ever spend. When it was dawn we saw him coming from the side of (the mountain) Hira. He (the narrator) reported. We said: O Messenger of Allah, we missed you and searched for you, but we could not find you and we spent the worst night which people could ever spend. He (the Holy Prophet) said: There came to me an inviter on behalf of the Jinn and I went along with him and recited to them the Qur'an. He (the narrator) said: He then went along with us and showed us their traces and traces of their embers. They (the Jinn) asked him (the Holy Prophet) about their provision and he said: Every bone on which the name of Allah is recited is your provision. The time it will fall in your hand it would be covered with flesh, and the dung of (the camels) is fodder for your animals. The Messenger of Allah () said: Don't perform istinja with these (things) for these are the food of your brothers (Jinn). (Sahih Muslim)
  2. Abdullah ibn Abbas (RZ) narrated: The Prophet () set out with the intention of going to Suq `Ukaz (bazaar of `Ukaz) along with some of his Companions. At the same time, a barrier was put between the devils and the news of heaven. Fire commenced to be thrown at them. The Devils went to their people, who asked them, "What is wrong with you?" They said, "A barrier has been placed between us and the news of heaven. And fire has been thrown at us." They said, "The thing which has put a barrier between you and the news of heaven must be something which has happened recently. Go eastward and westward and see what has put a barrier between you and the news of heaven." Those who went towards Tihama came across the Prophet while he was at Nakhla,enroute to the bazaar of ‘Ukaz and was offering the Fajr prayer with his Companions. When they heard the Qur'an, they listened to it attentively and said, "By Allah, this is the thing which has put a barrier between us and the news of heaven." They went to their people and said, "O our people; verily we have heard a wonderful recital (Qur'an) which shows the true path; we believed in it and would not ascribe partners to our Lord." Allah revealed the following verses to his Prophet (Sura 'Jinn') (72): "Say: It has been revealed to me." And what was revealed to him was the conversation of the Jinn. (Bukhari & Muslim)
  3. 'A'isha (RZ) reported that the Messenger of Allah () said: "Angels were created from light, jinn were created from a smokeless flame of fire, and Adam was created from that which you have been told (i.e., sounding clay like the clay of pottery)." (Muslim)

Besides, there are a number of verses in the Qur’an as well as a great number of Prophetic reports that unequivocally establish the existence of the Jinn and are enough for people of the faith to believe. Jinn are not a myth or imaginary creatures as the atheists believe. They have a real existence and are required just like men to abide by the Divine injunctions and prohibitions and similarly will be admitted to Paradise or thrown into the Hell after being judged on the Day of Judgment.  Allah the Exalted says: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (51:56)Another proof of their existence lies in the stories of the Prophets that talk about interaction with the jinn. Relying on the evidences contained in the Qur’an and Sunnah no Islamic sect has ever denied their existence. Next to the Muslims, the Christians also believe in their existence as living sapient creatures with a free will. The jinn also eat as humans do but they have certain different foods. They also marry and beget children. There are good and evil jinn as there are good and evil human beings. However, they live longer than us. Though we are unable to see them yet as some Hadiths suggest many animals can perceive them. (Abu Dawud and Musnad Ahmad)

Interaction of the noble Prophet () with the jinn: The Messenger of Allah () was sent as a universal prophet for all mankind and the jinn as the Ummah unanimously believes. During his lifetime he met a number of delegations from the jinn on different occasions. One such famous incident took at Nakhla when a group of the jinn heard him reciting the Qur’an in Salah. They were so moved by hearing the Qur’an that they embraced Islam right away and went back to their fellow jinn telling them what they had heard and inviting them to accept Islam too. Before the advent of the Revelation to the noble Prophet (), the jinn used to ascend to the heavens in an attempt to overhear some the things being decided there and then report them to the soothsayers. But as the Revelation started they were banned from reaching there to protect secrecy of the Divine Revelation. Now whenever the devils tried to eavesdrop, piercing burning flame was thrown at them as mentioned in a verse of the chapter entitled ‘Al-Jinn’.

What substance the jinn are created from? Allah the Exalted says in the Qur’an:“And the jinn We created before from scorching fire.” (15:27), “And He created the jinn from a smokeless flame of fire.” (55:15) When Allah the Exalted created Adam and asked the angels to prostrate before him, all did as were asked except for Iblis. When he was asked by Allah the Exalted as to what made him defy, he said: "I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay." (7:12) Moreover, the narration of ‘Ayesha (RZ) has just passed in which she reported from the Messenger of Allah () that the jinn were created from a smokeless flame of fire. All these and other Qur’anic verses and Prophetic statements unequivocally affirm the fact that the jinn were essentially created from fire.

When the jinn were created? Allah the exalted says: “And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud.And the jinn We created before from scorching fire.” (15:26-27) As clear from the above quoted verse 27 of Surat al-Hijr (15:27), creation of the jinn took place before creation of the human beings.

Where do the jinn live? As a number of reports suggest, the earth was inhabited by the jinn before Adam. But after the creation of mankind, they chiefly resorted to deserts, ruins, woods, graveyards and the dark and unclean places like garbage dumps and toilets. Nevertheless, jinn by far outnumber human beings.

Types of jinn: With regard to their looks and habits, jinn are divided into three categories: those who have wings and fly in the air, those who resemble snakes and dogs, and those who travel about ceaselessly, as reported from the Messenger of Allah (). (Narrated by Tabarai, Hakim and Baihaqi with a sound chain of transmission)

What do the jinn eat? Bukhari narrated from Abu Huraira (RZ) that once he was in the company of the Prophet () carrying a water pot for his ablution and for cleaning his private parts. While he was following him carrying it (i.e. the pot), the Prophet () said, "Who is this?" He said, "I am Abu Huraira." The Prophet () said, "Bring me stones in order to clean my private parts, and do not bring any bones or animal dung." Abu Huraira went on narrating: So I brought some stones, carrying them in the corner of my robe till I put them by his side and went away. When he finished, I walked with him and asked, "What about the bone and the animal dung?" He said, "They are of the food of Jinn. The delegate of Jinn of (the city of) Nasibin came to me--and how nice those Jinn were--and asked me for the remains of the human food. I invoked Allah for them that they would never pass by a bone or animal dung but find food on them."

Another Hadith reported by Muslim includes: “Every bone on which the name of Allah is recited is your provision. The time it will fall in your hand it would be covered with flesh, and the dung of (the camels) is fodder for your animals.”

Powers of the jinn: Jinn are generally granted such powers and abilities that distinguish them from human beings. Allah the Exalted has mentioned some of the powers granted to them such as flying to far-off places in a short time. A powerful jinni (ifrit) said to Sulaiman (AS) thathe would bring the throne of the queen of Sheba before he rises from his place while a person who had knowledge from the Scriptures aid, "I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you." (27:39-40) Despite having more powers than human beings, it is the human beings who overpower the jinn. The last chapter of the Qur’an ‘An-Nas’ mentions that the devils whisper evil to the hearts of mankind but at the same time it guides people to repel them away by seeking refuge in Allah from their mischief. Verse 76 of the chapter ‘Al-Nisa’’ says that “the plot of Satan has ever been weak”. The devil may whisper evil but it certainly has no power to compel a man to doing evil.  Similarly, verse 22 of the chapter ‘Ibrahim’ also clearly suggests that the devil has no authority over human beings. It is only that he tries to mislead people and they fall into his trap. But a person who refuses to fall prey to his alluring whisper and seeks refuge in Allah, the devil fails to entice him no matter how much he tries.

Is satan or devil a separate creature? Satan (Shaitan) is not a different creature like angles, jinn and mankind. Rather the word denotes the evil elements from among the jinn as well as human beings. An evil and misguided jinni or human being who defies Allah and tries to mislead others is called satan. The head of all the devils, Iblis, also belongs to the jinn as the Qur’an says in chapter ‘Al-Kahf’, verse 50: “And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam," and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn.” (18:50) Allah the Exalted also says: “And thus We have made for every prophet an enemy - devils from mankind and jinn, inspiring to one another decorative speech in delusion. But if your Lord had willed, they would not have done it, so leave them and that which they invent.” (6:112) The devils from the jinn are invisible and only whisper evil to people’s hearts while the devils from among the human beings can been seen and they are none other than those among us who entice us to do wrong and cause evil thoughts strike our mind. Therefore, the Qur’an asks us to seek refuge from both kinds of evil whisperers.

Do the jinn penetrate into human body? In the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah the Ummah unanimously believes that Allah the Exalted protects men against the mischief of the jinn to maintain order in the world and that we the human beings as the noblest of all creatures finally have an upper hand over the jinn. People fear lions and snakes and other dangerous animals but at the end of the day it is us the human beings who control them. As a matter of fact, jinn do enter deep into a human body sometimes. However, such incidents are rare and therefore people should be careful about the fraud conjurors and bogus faithhealers mushrooming all around whose only intention is to make money by fooling people. They neither know how to repel a devil spirit away nor do they have any jinni under their command.


The jinn cannot open a door locked by pronouncing Allah’s name on it: The Messenger of Allah () said: Close the doors and mention the name of Allah while closing, for the Satan cannot not open a door closed by pronouncing the name of Allah upon it. (Abu Dawud & Musnad Ahmad)

Reciting the supplication before entering a toilet protects from the jinn: The Messenger of Allah () said: These privies are frequented by the jinn and devils. So when anyone amongst you goes there, he should say: اللَّهُمَّإِنِّيأَعُوذُبِكَمِنَالْخُبْثِوَالْخَبَائِثِ(I seek refuge in Allah from male and female devils.) (Abu Dawud & Musnad Ahmad)

Placing hand over one’s mouth while yawning prevents the devil from entering the body through it:

The Prophet () said, "Allah loves sneezing but dislikes yawning; so if anyone of you sneezes and then praises Allah, every Muslim who hears him (praising Allah) has to say Tashmit (Yarhamuka-Allah) to him. But as regards yawning, it is from Satan, so if one of you yawns, he should try his best to stop it, for when anyone of you yawns, Satan laughs at him." (Abu Dawud and others)

Ta’awwudh (reciting: ‘A’udhu bi-Allahi min al-Shaitan al-Rajim) protects one from evil of the jinn:

The Messenger of Allah () said: Whoever recites أَعُوذُبِاللَّهِمِنَالشَّيْطَانِالرَّجِيمِ(I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan) ten times a day, Allah appoints an angel for him who protects him against the devil. (Majma’ al-Zawa’id wa Manba’ al-Fawa’id– the Book of Supplications)

Reciting Surat al-Baqarah protects from the jinn:

The Messenger of Allah () said: "Do not turn your houses into graves. Indeed Ash-Shaitan does not enter the house in which Surat Al-Baqarah is recited." (Tirmidhi)

Ayat al-Kursi protects from devils:

Abu Huraira (RZ) narrated:Allah's Messenger () ordered me to guard the Zakat revenue of Ramadan. Then somebody came to me and started stealing from the foodstuff. I caught him and said, "I will take you to Allah's Messenger ()!" Then Abu Huraira (RZ) described the whole narration and said: That person said (to me), "(Please don't take me to Allah's Messenger () and I will tell you a few words by which Allah will benefit you.) When you go to your bed, recite Ayat-al-Kursi, (2.255) for then there will be a guard from Allah who will protect you all night long, and Satan will not be able to come near you till dawn." (When the Prophet () heard the story) he said (to me), "He (who came to you at night) told you the truth although he is a liar; and it was Satan." (Bukhari)

Similar incidents of interaction with jinn have been reported in the Hadith books from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (RZ) and Ubay ibn Ka’b. In short, Ayat al-Kursi serves as a shield against the jinn and devils as proved by a number of incidents faced by different Companions.

Al-Mu’awwadhatain (Surat al-Falaq and Surat Al-Nas) protect from the jinn:

'Ayesha (RZ) narrated:Whenever the Prophet () went to bed every night, he used to cup his hands together and blow over it after reciting Surat Al-Ikhlas, Surat Al-Falaq and Surat An-Nas, and then rub his hands over whatever parts of his body he was able to rub, starting with his head, face and front of his body. He used to do that three times. (Bukhari)

Abdullah ibn Khubayb (RZ) narrated:We went out one rainy and intensely dark night to look for the Messenger of Allah () to lead us in prayer, and when we found him, he asked: Have you prayed?, but I did not say anything. So he said: Say, but I did not say anything. He again said: Say, but I did not say anything. He then said: Say. So I said: What am I to say? He said: Say: "Say, He is Allah, One," i.e., Surat al-Ikhlas) and al-Mu'awwadhatan three times in the morning and evening; they will serve you for every purpose. (Abud Dawud, Tirmidhi and Nasa’i)

'Uqbah bin 'Amir (RZ) narrated:"The Messenger of Allah () ordered me to recite Al-Mu'awwidhatain after every Salah." (Tirmidhi & Abu Dawud)

Some narrations suggest inclusion of Surat al-Ikhlas in the al-Mu’awwadhat (supplications for protection from the jinn and other evil things).

Keeping children indoors at Maghrib time (sunset):

Allah's Messenger () said, "When night falls (or when it is evening), stop your children from going out, for the devils spread out at that time. But when an hour of the night has passed, you can let them free. (Sahih al-Bukhari: Book of Beginning of Creation, Chapter: The characteristics of Iblis (Satan) and his soldiers)

Develop a habit of reciting the Qur’an regularly:

Allah the Exalted says: “And We send down of the Qur'an that which is healing and mercy for the believers.” Hence, recitation of the Qur’an serves as an effective remedy for all our spiritual and physical illnesses.

In short, reciting Ta’awwudh (أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ), Surat al-Fatihah, Ayat al-Kursi, Surat al-Baqarah especially its last three verses, the starting ten verses of Surat al-Saffat and the four Quls (Surahs starting with the word ‘qul’ (say) i.e. Al-Kafirun, Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq and Al-Nas) protect us from the jinn and the devils. Similarly, staying away from evil deeds and observing the religious obligations such as Salah, Sawm and Zakah etc. also help us protecting ourselves from the devils. Sadly, nowadays many of those who are considered punctual to Salah fail or act lazy when it comes to wake up for Fajr Salah and offer it on time. Many of us spend these precious and blessed hours in sleep forgetting the Prophetic statement which says that the Satan pees into the ears of those keep sleeping till morning and miss the prayer. (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim) If we really are careful and want to be protected from evil of the Satan we should observe all the obligatory prayers on time including the Fajr Salah.

Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi