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Saturday, October 21, 2017

THE JINN – A SHORT ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE! Part 1:


DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A SCHOLAR AND I AM NOT QUALIFIED TO GIVE FATAWA (RELIGIOUS RULINGS). I ALSO DO NOT HAVE ANY CONNECTIONS TO THE ‘ULEMA (RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS) AND THEREFORE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEEK ANY FATWA ON ANYONE’S BEHALF.

A`udhu billahi min al-shaytan al-rajim, bismillah al-rahman al-rahim:

While most of the cultures talked about goblin, elves, fairies, ghosts and demons, the verifiable knowledge about the existence of an entity called Jinn was almost unknown.  In Hinduism, they may be identified with “Rakshas”, Asuras, Vetala, etc.  Then, Pseudepigraphia or Testimony that is ascribed to Solomon describes how Solomon was able to get the Temple built by commanding  the demons  through the magical work of a Ring that was given to him by Archangel Michael.  Even the Bible speaks of demons such as Beelzebul and the power of Jesus to drive out demons by the Spirit of God.  
With the advent of Islam a broader picture of Jinn (plural of Jinni/genie) emerged.  Many books have been written on this matter. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned a great deal on this topic in his books. There is also a book entitled al-Marjaan fi Bayaan Ahkaam al-Jaan, by al-Shibli, which is a useful book. There are other books written on this topic as well. You can look for them and ask for them in any bookstore. You could also read the books of Tafseer and learn from the commentary on Soorat al-Jinn and the other aayahs from Soorat al-Ahqaaf and elsewhere which speak of the jinn. You can learn a lot from what the exegists (mufassireen) (may Allaah have mercy on them) said about the jinn, both the good and the bad among them. 
It may be remembered that the foundation of Islam is the belief in the Unseen.  This belief in the unseen is the first description that is ascribed to Muttaqeen (firm believer) by Allah (swt) in Surah Baqra, verses 1-3 of the Holy Quran.  Therefore, every Muslim should believe in the Unseen and should not cast any doubt or be suspicious about it.  The Unseen is unknown to us and we were informed about it by Allah and Prophet Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam). The root meaning of the Arabic word Jinn is “hidden from sight”.  Jinn are normally unseen as they inhabit the unseen world beyond the dimensions of visible world, but they can make themselves visible at their pleasure. Allah (subhanahu 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).  It therefore follows that what you don’t see doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.  According to al-Qazwini, it is held that the Jinn are aerial animals, with transparent bodies which can assume various forms. Animals such as dogs and donkeys can see them.  It is recorded in Musnad of Ahmed and Sunan of Abu-Dawud that the Prophet (sal Allahu 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”. Thus, generally, no one among the Muslim sects deny their existence so that in modern world, the knowledge about Jinn has become almost a common place even among non-Muslims.  Jinn may be from different religions, or Muslims of different sects.  However, according to Ahmadi religious sect, jinn is nothing other than some invisible organisms, which feed on rotting bones, dung,  etc. 
Those who deny the existence of Jinn have no proof to back their claim.   The Holy Quran and the ahadith are sufficient to prove their existence.  The word “Jinn” has been used 22 times in the Holy Qur’an.  We are told in the Holy Quran that the original Jinn were created from the fire of samum: “And the jinn did We create aforetime from the fire of Samum” (15:27).  Ibn Mas`ud has defined that fire as “one of seventy parts of the fire of Jahannam” (Tafsirs of al-Tabari and Ibn Abi Hatim, al-Tabarani, al-Hakim, al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman).  Ar-Rabee‘ Ibn Anas said  “Allah created the angels on Wednesday, and He created the jinn on Thursday and He created Adam on Friday.  According to a prophetic tradition narrated by ibn Marduya from Mother of Believers, Aisha ®, Prophet Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) stated that Angels were created from Light, Jinn from Fire, and Adam was created out of clay.  It needs to be clarified here that the words Fire and Clay should not be taken literally, but in the sense of nature of things or ‘Asal’.  For example, it is well-known that when Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) was on his heavenly ascendence (Meraj) along with Gabriel, an Afreet (a malignant devil) came with a flaming torch and the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) could see him all around him. At that time Angel Gabriel told him that he could teach him (s) some Quranic verses that could dampen the torch and would make the Afreet disappear.  It thus becomes clear that if the devils were made of fire, why would they need a flaming torch to frighten Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam).  It is also related by Al-Nasa’i in conformity with the authenticity condition of Al-Bukhari on the authority of `Aisha ®: While the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) was performing prayer, Satan came to him. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) took him and strangled him, and said: “I did so till I felt the coldness of his tongue on my hand and had not been for the invocation of my brother Sulayman, he would have been bound until people would see him.” Related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud on the authority of Abu Sa`id with the wording: I kept strangling him with my hand until I felt his saliva between my two fingers: the thumb and the index. Abu Huraira reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying: A highly wicked one amongst the Jinn escaped yester-night to interrupt my prayer, but Allah gave me power over him, so I seized him and intended to tie him to one of the pillars of the mosque in order that you, all together or all, might look at him, but I remembered the supplication of my brother Sulaiman:" My Lord, forgive me, give me such a kingdom as will not be possible for anyone after me" (Qur'an, xxxvii. 35). {Sahih Muslim Book 4 Chapter 52 Hadith 1104} & {Muslim Book 5 Hadith 49}  Also, it is related by Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) that devil runs through the veins of human beings. If the devils were made of fire, the vein would burn.  According to Islamic scholars, Although the jinn were originally created from fire, we cannot deny that Allah can make their bodies bigger and alter their characteristics from fire into other different shapes and forms.  The above examples prove that the Jinn or devils are not fire per se. Then, though human beings are created out of clay it is possible to give punishments with the clay itself.  Also, human beings are created from water but it is possile to give punishment by means of water.  Likewise, the Jinn who are created from the fire of scorching wind are not fire now, as we already noted above.  Therefore, Allah says:   I will fill Hell with Jinn and men all together" (32:13).  The Ulema are agreed that we should not take the literal meaning unless it is supported by evidence.  The best thing to say is that Allah is capable of doing anything. 
The first ones to dwell on earth were the jinn. Then some of the jinn disbelieved.  They caused mischief therein, shedding blood and killing one another.  The angels used to come down to earth to fight them, and there was bloodshed and corruption on earth.  Al-Hakim has reported a narration by Ibn Abbas ® that "Two thousand years before (mankind) was created, there were Jinn on (the Earth), and they caused corruption on it and shed blood. Then Allah sent against them a troop of Angels who beat them and cast them away to islands in the seas. So, when Allah said: ‘I am placing (mankind) generations after generations on Earth,’ They (the Angels) said, ‘Will You place therein one who will cause corruption and shed blood’ (Al Baqarah, 2:30), i.e.  Just as those Jinn did!  Then Allah said: ‘I know that which you do not know.’"  
Before we delve further into the subject, it is relevant to go back to the ancestor of the Jinn – Iblis or Satan.  According to some sources Jinn are children of Jaan and those who do evil are the shaitans and are offsprings of Iblis. Al-Jaan is sometimes used as a name for Iblis, as in Quranic Surah 15:27: And the Jann [the father of the Jinn i.e. Iblis] we had created before [i.e. before the creation of Adam] of the fire of the Samum [i.e. smokeless fire]." Jann also signifies "a serpent," as in other passages of the Qur'an, and is used in the same book as synonymous with Jinn.   Hasan Basri and Tabari are of the opinion that Iblis is the ancestor of the Jinn, supported as they are by Muqatil, Qatada and Ata.
Iblis was not an angel but from the Jinn since there is not even a single explicit statement in the Quran which categorically states that Iblis was an angel.  The idea of Iblis being an Angel is only through implications based on some Quranic verses where Angels are told to prostrate:  And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith (2:34).  When We said to the angels, "Prostrate yourselves to Adam", they prostrated themselves, but not Iblis: he refused (20:116).  Behold! We said to the angels: "Bow down unto Adam": They bowed down except Iblis: He said, "Shall I bow down to one whom Thou didst create from clay?" (17:61). Such other statements are found in the Quran in: 15:28,  38:71 and 7:11.  We shall not discuss the Arabic grammer that Islamic scholars have pointed out to justify the case where the majority also includes the minority.  To put it in simple English, suffice it to say that when we address a group, “hey guys come on,” the group may comprise both men and women or a single one in a major group of either.  This sentence cannot be demonstrated to prove that the women in the group are actually men or vice versa.  On the other hand, we have the explicit Quranic verses to show that Iblis was an entity different from Angel and humans.  According to the Surah Al-Hijr of Holy Quran, verse 26: We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape;  27. And the Jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind. In Sura al-Araf (v.12) it is stated: (Allah) said: "What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay."  In Surah ar-Rahman, v.15 it is stated: And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke.  Then in Surah Kahf (18:50):  Behold! We said to the angels, "Bow down to Adam": They bowed down except Iblis. He was one of the Jinn, and he broke the Command of his Lord. So without doubt, Satan was a Jinn who  was created from fire, and with his free will he disobeyed Allah.  Angels don’t have free will.  They obeyed the command of Allah and bowed down.  According to Ibn Kathir,  “When Allah Most Exalted commanded angels to prostrate before Adam, Satan was also included in this command. For, although he was not of their kind, he resembled them and performed their deeds. Therefore, Satan was also included in this command which was directed to angels. And he was condemned because he did not fulfill the command.”  In short, the Jewish concept of “Fallen Angel” cannot be accepted because it contradicts the Holy Quran!

…Continued in Part 2

NASIR