8. Appendix: Jinn
Some questions relating to what are known as jinn are answered
in this Appendix. Please study these in conjunction with the section
What are jinn?
The jinn mentioned in the Holy Quran are certainly not the
genii of fairy tales or what people usually imagine them to be. This
word indicates "something hidden from view", and is used in
the Quran with several different meanings referring to people or beings
who are remote and not seen.
It is applied to leaders, as contrasted with the ordinary public,
and to people of foreign lands. For instance, the Quran says:
"O assembly of jinn and men, did there not come
to you messengers from among you. . ." (6:131).
As messengers from God only came to human beings, the jinn here
are also humans, and the address "jinn and men" is to
the leaders and the ordinary people. Similarly, the Quran twice mentions
some jinn as accepting its teachings (46:29; 72:1). In the first
case, a tribe of Jews is meant, and in the second some Christians are
meant, being called jinn because of their remoteness.
The word jinn is also used for a type of invisible, non-physical
creation who stir up the lower desires in a person's mind. This is in
contrast to the angels who draw a person's mind to the doing of good.
So the jinn (of the second kind) and the angels pull a person's mind
in opposite directions?
Yes, if you are talking about jinn in the second sense mentioned
above. The Holy Prophet has said that each human being has a jinn
and an angel associated with him (or her). He was asked whether it was
the same with him as well. The Holy Prophet replied: "It is the
same with me, but Allah has helped me against my jinn, so that
he has submitted to God, and does not tell me to do anything but good."
So the angels and the jinn represent the opposite forces pulling
a man to good and bad, respectively. If you overcome the urge to do
wrong, then it changes into an urge to do good.
And just like angels, these jinn are not physical beings, and
therefore cannot be seen or heard with the physical senses of man.
It is said that the devil was an angel who disobeyed God by refusing
to submit to Adam. Is this true?
Angels have no will of their own, so the question of an angel disobeying
God does not arise. The devil is described in one place in the Quran
clearly as "one of the jinn" (18:50), so he could not be one
of the angels.
Briefly, what the Quran tells us is that God gave knowledge of all
things to Adam, and then all the angels submitted to Adam, but the devil
refused to do so and misled Adam and his wife. The meaning is that man,
because of the knowledge that he possesses, can bring nature under his
control, but he cannot control himself from wrong-doing. Therefore God
sends revelation to enable man to resist the promptings of the devil.
What does the Quran mean when it says that God created jinn from fire?
This refers to those human beings who rebel against God and goodness,
following the prompting of the jinn. Due to their rebellious
and arrogant nature, and due to the fact that their hearts burn with
the fire of evil desires, greed and envy, they are described as having
been created from fire. Similarly, man is described as having been created
from "dust" because true human nature is humble and submissive
So the jinn mentioned in the Quran are quite different from how they
are generally imagined to be?
That is right. The Holy Quran and the Hadith do not support the popular
picture of jinn as creatures who perform super-human feats, who
can appear in human form and interfere in people's affairs, or who can
"possess" human beings and affect them with diseases. None
of these ideas is accepted by Islamic teachings.