Getting to Know Allah
Allah and the Jinn
The Myth and the Reality
Of all the inhabitants of the Koran, jinns (Allah refers to them collectively as the jinn) are the most fascinating. They are Allah’s most versatile and mischievous creation. They even have a chapter of the Koran named after them, surah 72, The Jinn.
Pre-Islamic Arabs believed in the existence of the jinn and this may explain their significant presence in the Koran. The jinn are said to be spirits which inhabit another dimension. Allah created the jinn from fire before He created man. The caricature of the genie is undoubtedly based on this creature of the Koran.
The jinn may not be unlike humans in appearance as representation of the genie in film and literature would also suggest.
7:179 And We have created for Hell multitudes of jinn and men. They have hearts, but do not understand; and they have eyes, but do not see; and they have ears, but do not hear. Those are like cattle, or rather are even more misguided. Those are the heedless ones.
Like the angels, men and jinn were created to worship Allah, not to look after Him, He can feed himself, and He will feed the wrongdoers, just don’t rush Him.
51:56 I have not created the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.
51:57 I do not desire provision from them, and I do not want them to feed Me.
51:58 Surely, Allah is the All-Provider, the Mighty One, the Strong.
51:59 The wrongdoers will have a portion like the portions of their fellows; so let them not rush Me.
51:60 Woe unto the unbelievers on that Day which they have been promised.
Allah created the jinn out of fire before he created man whom, in one version of Adam's creation, He moulded out of clay and slime.
15:26 And We have created man from potter’s clay, moulded out of slime.
15:27 And the jinn We created before that from blazing fire.
55:15 And He created the jinn from tongues of fire.
Some people, at one point in time, worshipped the jinn instead of Allah. Allah was under the impression that these wrongly-guided individuals had worshipped His angels. On Judgement Day His angels will set Him straight.
34:40 On the Day that He will muster them, then say to the angels: “Are those the ones who used to worship you?”
34:41 They will say: “Glory be to You; You are our protector, apart from them.” No, rather, they used to worship the jinn, most of them believing in them.
34:42 Today, none of them has the power to profit or harm the other, and We will say to the wrongdoer: “Taste the punishment of the Fire which you used to question.”
There is no relationship between Allah and the jinn, no matter what they allege, and they will be treated like everybody else on Judgment Day.
37:158 And they alleged a kinship between Him and the jinn, whereas the jinn know very well that they will be summoned.
37:159 May Allah be exalted above their allegation.
37:160 Except for Allah’s sincere servants.
37:161 Surely, neither you nor what you worship,
37:162 Against Him can ever turn anyone;
37:163 Except he who will be roasting in Hell.
Allah does not share power with the jinn.
6:100 They set up the jinn as Allah’s partners, although He created them; and they falsely ascribe to Him sons and daughters without any knowledge. Glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe to Him!
Bad jinns can be persuaded to do good if given the proper incentive. Some less than cooperative jinn, with a little prodding from Allah, helped Solomon build the first temple.
34:12 And We subjected the wind to Solomon, blowing in the morning the space of a month and in the evening the space of a month; and We smelted for him the fount of brass. Of the jinn some worked before him, by the Leave of his Lord, and whoever of them swerved from Our Command, We shall make him taste the punishment of the blazing Fire.
34:13 To fashion for him whatever he wished of palaces, statues, basins like water-troughs and immovable cooking-pots. “Work thank-fully, O David’s House; for few of My servants are truly thankful.”
How the Jinn Heard About the Koran etc.
The jinn, according to Allah, had no knowledge of the Koran, or perhaps its contents. This was in spite of having eavesdropped on conversations between Allah and his angels and they talking among themselves for possibly eons. A group of the jinn did, however, become Muslim after hearing His Messenger recite verses from the Book.
In the Name of Allah,
the Compassionate, the Merciful
72:1 Say (Muhammad): “It was revealed to me that a company of jinn listened; then they said: ‘We have indeed heard a wonderful Qur’an;
72:2 ‘“It guides to rectitude; so we believed in it, and we shall never associate anyone with our Lord;
The Koran is not clear, but the verses heard by these jinn, judging by their response, was probably about Allah denouncing those who would say he had consorted with a female or ever had a son i.e. Jesus.
72:3 ‘“And that He, may our Lord’s majesty be exalted, has not taken a consort or a son;
The jinn who happened upon the Prophet Muhammad reciting verses from the Koran now considered themselves Muslims; they now thought it foolish to have been disrespectful or to have believed that Allah would reveal anything but the truth.
72:4 ‘“And that our fools used to speak impertinently of Allah;
72:5 ‘“And that we thought that neither mankind nor the jinn will impute to Allah any falsehood;
From the sayings of the Prophet we get additional information about this fortuitous stealth encounter of the jinn and the Prophet.
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The Prophet set out with the intention of going to Suq Ukaz (market 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 Tuhama came across the Prophet at a place called Nakhla and it was on the way to Suq 'Ukaz and the Prophet was offering the Fajr prayer with his companions.
When they heard the Qur'an they listened to it 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.
In another hadith, it was a tattle-tale tree which informed the Prophet about the jinn's presence, but perhaps not what Allah revealed was the impact on the jinn of hearing His Messenger recite from the Koran.
I asked Masruq, "Who informed the Prophet about the Jinns at the night when they heard the Qur'an?"
He said, "Your father Abdullah informed me that a tree informed the Prophet about them."
Some humans sought refuge with the jinn. This Allah may have considered an unnatural relationship considering His use of the word "perversion" in the following verse.
72:6 ‘“And that some individual humans used to seek refuge with some men of the jinn, and so they increased them in perversion;
The jinn, like the Prophet, once thought that Allah could not raise the dead.
72:7 ‘“And that they thought, as you thought, that Allah will not raise anybody from the dead;
The jinn admit that they have been eavesdropping on Paradise, that Allah is fully aware of what they have been doing, and that even bigger rocks, the comets in the following verse, will now be aimed in their direction if they persist.
72:8 ‘“And that we reached out to heaven, but we found it fill with mighty guards and comets;
72:9 ‘“And that we used to sit around it eavesdropping; but whoever listens now will find a comet in wait for him;
Meteorites are understood to be rocks thrown by angels to keep evil jinn away from Paradise. The devils in the following verse are probably jinn.
67:5 We have adorned the lower heaven with lamps, and We turned them into missiles launched against the devils; and We have prepared for them the punishment of the Fire.
After listening in on Allah’s conversations with his angels for who knows how long, the jinn confess to still not knowing Allah’s plans for the people on earth. It did not matter whether they were good or bad jinn, both "persuasions" were clueless about what Allah intended for His earth-bound bipeds.
72:10 ‘“And that we do not know whether ill was intended for whoever is on earth, or whether their Lord intended rectitude for them;
72:11 ‘“And that some of us are righteous and some are less than that for we were of diverse persuasions;
Two verses about the believing jinn’s confession-like ramblings from which you can draw your own conclusion.
72:12 ‘“And that we knew that we will not thwart Allah on earth, and that we will not thwart Him by flight;
72:13 ‘“And that when we heard the Guidance, we believed in it; for he who believes in his Lord need not fear to be stinted or over-burdened;
There are jinn who submit and jinn who don’t.
72:14 “And that some us are submitting and some are diverging.’ Those who have submitted have surely sought rectitude.”
And just like the humans who will not submit, the bad jinn are Hell’s firewood. They may have been created “from blazing fire” but that does not mean that they cannot be burnt over and over, especially when no water will be available.
72:15 But those who have diverged, have been firewood for Hell;
72:16 And that had they followed the Right Path, We would have given them abundant water to drink;
72:17 So as to test them thereby. He who refrains from the mention of His Lord, He will afflict him with terrible punishment;
The jinn may have wanted to intercept the Prophet when he flew up to heaven on al-Burak, taking off from “the farthest Mosque” i.e. Temple Mount in Jerusalem, to meet with Allah, and the reason they may not have let him pass:
72:18 And that mosques are Allah’s; so do not call, besides Allah, upon anyone else;
72:19 And that when the Servant of Allah (the Prophet Muhammad) got up calling on Him, they almost set upon him in throngs.
72:20 Say: “I only call upon my Lord, and I do not associate with Him anyone else.”
72:21 Say: “I have no power to harm or guide you rightly.”
Not unlike the Christian tradition of an angel rebellion, Allah had a falling out with one of the jinn who would be the progenitor of all evil jinn.
18:50 And [remember] when we said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves to Adam”, and they all did except Satan; he was one of the jinn, then he disobeyed the Command of his Lord. Will you, then, take him and his progeny as protectors, besides Me, while they are all your enemies” Evil is the exchange for the wrongdoers!”
Considering the importance of the jinn in the Koran it is surprising that belief in the jinn is not one of the Pillars of Faith.
Jinn and Men Together on Judgement Day
6:128 And on the Day when He shall gather them all together [saying]: “O, company of jinn, you have mislead a great many men.” Their supporters among men will say: “Lord, we have profited much from each other and we have attained the term that you assigned for us.” Then He will say: “The Fire is your resting-place, abiding therein forever, except as Allah wills. Your Lord is truly Wise, All-Knowing.”
6:129 And thus We cause some of the evildoers to dominate the others, because of what they used to do (the evil they committed).
Messengers to the Jinn
6:130 O company of jinn and men, did there not come Messengers from among yourselves to you, reciting to you My Revelations and warning of seeing this Day of yours? They will say: “We bear witness against ourselves?” They were deluded by the earthly life and will bear witness against themselves that they were unbelievers.
6:131 That is because your Lord would not destroy cities on account of their people’s wrongdoing without warning them (by sending a Messenger to them).
Orderly processing of sinners, jinn and men, will be the order of the Day.
6:132 And to all are assigned ranks according to what they have done; and your Lord is not unaware of what they do.
Jinn and men, be advised that your All-Sufficient Merciful Lord may or may not destroy you, and that’s a promise.
6:133 Your Lord is the All-Sufficient, the Merciful. If He wishes, He will destroy you and bring out after you, as successors, whomever he wishes, as He had produced you from the seed of another people.
6:134 Indeed, whatever you are promised will surely come to pass, and you are not able to escape [it].
In typical Allah fashion, He issues a warning about misbehaving after He has brought on the end of times.
Of all the gods who exist in the past, present and future simultaneously Allah, it seems, has the most difficulties keeping his “times” straight. Then again, this may just be His Way, and His Way is, of course, the best Way.