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Jinn (جن ǧinn, singular جني ǧinnī ; variant spelling djinn) or, as Romanized more broadly, genies are said to be supernatural creatures that occupy a parallel world to that of mankind. Belief in jinn was common in pre-Islamic Arabia, where they were thought to inspire poets and soothsayers. Their existence is confirmed in Islam as they are mentioned in the Qur'an, hadith, other Islamic texts and Arab folklore. The Jinn are believed to exist in many sub-species themselves, with some living in the air, others as humans on land, and some like "snakes and dogs". Together, the various jinns, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of Allah. Like human beings, the jinn can also be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent.
The jinn are mentioned frequently in the Qur'an. There is a surah titled Sūrat al-Jinn (the 72nd chapter of the Qur'an), and verse 67:5 discusses the stars from the "lowest heaven" which are used as missiles against any mischievous jinn that attempts to eavesdrop on conversations between angels.
In Islamic theology jinn were created from smokeless fire by Allah as humans were made of clay. According to the Qur'an, a jinn named ʾIblīs refused to bow to Adam when Allah ordered angels and jinn to do so. For disobeying Allah, he was expelled from Paradise and called "Šayṭān" (Satan). The Qur'an also mentions that Prophet Muhammad was sent as a prophet to both "humanity and the jinn," and that prophets and messengers were sent to both communities. In Surah al-Jinn, the Qur'an describes a contingent of jinn being sent by Allah to Muhammad to hear and then convey his message to other jinns.
The Qur'an also describes Sulayman (Solomon) has having had an army of jinn that god had made subservient to him.
Jinn are usually invisible to humans, and humans do not appear clearly to them. Frequenting toilets, they feed on faeces and bones, have the power to travel large distances at extreme speeds and are thought to live in remote areas, mountains, seas, trees, and the air. Like humans: jinn can also choose to become Muslims, will be judged on the Day of Judgment, and will accordingly be sent to Paradise or Hell.
While many Islamic scholars today reject the possibility of jinn possession, there is classical precedent for belief in jinn's ability to possess and interact with human beings in this and numerous other ways. Most famously, Ibn Taymiyyah (a famous 'proto-Salafist' movement scholar who taught other influential figures including Ibn Kathir) was a proponent of this view in his Essay on the jinn (Ibn Taymiyyah also claimed to know and to have mastered the "poetry of the jinn").
All qualities and behaviours of the jinn other than possession and certain types of interactions with humans, however, are agreed upon (such as those stated above), as they are stated in explicit terms in Islamic scriptures.
In the Muslim world
Belief in jinn and some form of black magic and jinn-human communion is an inextricable part of Islamic doctrine, however the details of jinns' interaction with human beings is less explicitly formulated in Islamic scripture. Still, belief in jinns' ability to: engage in specific black magic contracts with human witches and warlocks, possess human bodies, fall in love with human beings, rape human beings, haunt houses, etc. is wide-spread in the Muslim world. Many Muslim-majority countries have laws explicitly outlawing the practice of black magic as well as black-magic squads employed by the state to hunt down alleged sorcerers. Exorcism (Ruqya as conducted by Raqis, or exorcists) as a cure for jinn-possession is also extremely commonplace in the Muslim world and in many places constitutes a multi-million dollar industry. Exorcists are infamous for abusing their patients under the guise of exorcising jinns.
In the West
In many modern cultures, a Genie is portrayed as a magical being that grants wishes. The earliest of such jinn stories in folklore originate in the book of the One Thousand and One Nights, but the idea of jinns granting magical acts through black magic to sorcerers was a well-established in pre-Islamic Arabia (and Islam confirmed this).
Supposed jinn possessions and exorcisms have been recorded in the UK in the 21st century as have services to remove jinn (among other Islamic superstitions such as Evil Eye affliction, Envy, and Black Magic).
The Jinn are described in the Qur'an as having been made of a smokeless flame:
And the jinn did He create of smokeless fire.
Which were created before humans:
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.
The first part of Surah al-Jinn discusses the activities and thoughts of a group of Jinn who encountered Muhammad:
1. Say (O Muhammad): It is revealed unto me that a company of the Jinn gave ear, and they said: Lo! we have heard a marvellous Qur'an,
2. Which guideth unto righteousness, so we believe in it and we ascribe no partner unto our Lord.
3. And (we believe) that He - exalted be the glory of our Lord! - hath taken neither wife nor son,
4. And that the foolish one among us used to speak concerning Allah an atrocious lie.
5. And lo! we had supposed that humankind and jinn would not speak a lie concerning Allah -
6. And indeed (O Muhammad) individuals of humankind used to invoke the protection of individuals of the jinn, so that they increased them in revolt against Allah);
7. And indeed they supposed, even as ye suppose, that Allah would not raise anyone (from the dead)
8. And (the Jinn who had listened to the Qur'an said): We had sought the heaven but had found it filled with strong warders and meteors.
9. And we used to sit on places (high) therein to listen. But he who listeneth now findeth a flame in wait for him;
10. And we know not whether harm is boded unto all who are in the earth, or whether their Lord intendeth guidance for them.
11. And among us there are righteous folk and among us there are far from that. We are sects having different rules.
12. And we know that we cannot escape from Allah in the earth, nor can we escape by flight.
13. And when we heard the guidance, we believed therein, and whoso believeth in his Lord, he feareth neither loss nor oppression.
14. And there are among us some who have surrendered (to Allah) and there are among us some who are unjust. And whoso hath surrendered to Allah, such have taken the right path purposefully.
The interaction between men and jinn is further stressed here:
On the day when He shall muster them all together: 'Company of jinn, you have made much of mankind.' Then their friends among mankind will say, 'Our Lord, we have profited each of the other, and we have reached the term determined by Thee for us. He will say: 'The Fire is your lodging, therein to dwell forever' - except as God will; surely thy Lord is All-wise, All-knowing.
Both jinn and mankind can be lead astray:
1. Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
2. The King of mankind,
3. The god of mankind,
4. From the evil of the sneaking whisperer,
5. Who whispereth in the hearts of mankind,
6. Of the jinn and of mankind.
Prophets are sent to both humans and jinn:
'Company of jinn and mankind, did not Messengers come to you from among you, relating to you My signs and warning you of the encounter of this your day?' They shall say, 'We bear witness against ourselves.' They were deluded by the present life, and they bear witness against themselves that they were unbelievers.
Jinn are aware of at least some previous revelations given to and used by humans (mentioning Moses), and spread the word to warn other jinn:
29. And when We turned to thee a company of jinn giving ear to the Quran; and when they were in its presence they said, 'Be silent!' Then, when it was finished, they turned back to their people, warning.
30. They said, 'Our people, we have heard a Book that was sent down after Moses, confirming what was before it, guiding to the truth and to a straight path.
31. O our people, answer God's summoner, and believe in Him, and He will forgive you some of your sins, and protect you from a painful chastisement.
Ibn Taymiyyah believes this confirms that Muhammad and the Quran is for both mankind and jinn:
..The fact that Muhammad was sent to both mankind and jinn can also be seen in the Quran, wherein Allah has mentioned a group of jinn heard the Qu'ran and believed in it.
And some scholars believe like Muslim jinn today there have been Jewish jinn in the past:
Fourteenth-century jurist Badr al-din al-Shibli (b. 1312) understood these verses refer to the incident when the jinn came to see the Prophet Muhammad, and indicated these jinn were specifically Jews, because they mention Moses.
El-Zein, Dr Amira. Islam, Arabs, and the Intelligent World of the Jinn (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East) (p. 17). Syracuse University Press.
It is unclear how rules around e.g. circumcision and eating halal/kosher are followed or if they are at all relevant.
The jinn can create buildings/structures and transport people to far locations instantly:
The Qur'an states that Sulayman (Solomon) had control over an army and workforce comprised of jinns and animals, among others:
And there were gathered together unto Solomon his armies of the jinn and humankind, and of the birds, and they were set in battle order;
12. And unto Solomon (We gave) the wind, whereof the morning course was a month's journey and the evening course a month's journey, and We caused the fount of copper to gush forth for him, and (We gave him) certain of the jinn who worked before him by permission of his Lord. And such of them as deviated from Our command, them We caused to taste the punishment of flaming Fire.
13. They made for him what he willed: synagogues and statues, basins like wells and boilers built into the ground. Give thanks, O House of David! Few of My bondmen are thankful.
14. And when We decreed death for him, nothing showed his death to them save a creeping creature of the earth which gnawed away his staff. And when he fell the jinn saw clearly how, if they had known the Unseen, they would not have continued in despised toil.
The Qur'an describes a jinn from Sulayman's forces delivering to Sulayman, in the blink of an eye, the throne of the Queen of Sheba:
38. He said: O chiefs! Which of you will bring me her [the queen of Sheba's] throne before they come unto me, surrendering?
39. A stalwart of the jinn said: I will bring it thee before thou canst rise from thy place. Lo! I verily am strong and trusty for such work.
40. One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: I will bring it thee before thy gaze returneth unto thee [in the "twinkling" of an eye]. And when he saw it set in his presence, (Solomon) said: This is of the bounty of my Lord, that He may try me whether I give thanks or am ungrateful. Whosoever giveth thanks he only giveth thanks for (the good of) his own soul; and whosoever is ungrateful (is ungrateful only to his own soul's hurt). For lo! my Lord is Absolute in independence, Bountiful.
Romantic and sexual relations
The verses describing the virgin women of heaven claim they will not be touched by either humans or jinn:
Therein are those of modest gaze, whom neither man nor jinni will have touched before them.
Whom neither man nor jinni will have touched before them
With the implication being according to many scholars that it is possible for them to have intercourse with humans, such as in classical tasfirs, and rulings from shaykhs. And many ruling that jinn can technically perform marriages with humans, but it is not lawful.  
The Qur'an describes Satan (Iblis) as having been of the Jinn:
And (remember) when We said unto the angels: Fall prostrate before Adam, and they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He was of the jinn, so he rebelled against his Lord's command. Will ye choose him and his seed for your protecting friends instead of Me, when they are an enemy unto you? Calamitous is the exchange for evil-doers.
The Qur'an says that Satan has a team of invisible entities spying over mankind. In the eyes of exegetes, these are the Jinn:
O Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you as he caused your (first) parents to go forth from the Garden and tore off from them their robe (of innocence) that he might manifest their shame to them. Lo! he seeth you, he and his tribe, from whence ye see him not. Lo! We have made the devils protecting friends for those who believe not.
While some classical Islamic scholars differentiated between the "shayateen" (plural of Satan, or Shaytan, and translatable as "demons") and the jinn, most simply understood the shayateen to be the group of jinn who committed themselves to serving Shaytan (the head evil Jinn) or who engaged in evil black magic contracts with people. The Qur'an describes such demons as having helped propagate the secrets of black magic that had been revealed to the people of Babylon by two angels:
And follow that which the devils falsely related against the kingdom of Solomon. Solomon disbelieved not; but the devils disbelieved, teaching mankind magic and that which was revealed to the two angels in Babel, Harut and Marut. Nor did they (the two angels) teach it to anyone till they had said: We are only a temptation, therefore disbelieve not (in the guidance of Allah). And from these two (angles) people learn that by which they cause division between man and wife; but they injure thereby no-one save by Allah's leave. And they learn that which harmeth them and profiteth them not. And surely they do know that he who trafficketh therein will have no (happy) portion in the Hereafter; and surely evil is the price for which they sell their souls, if they but knew.
Blocked from reaching upper skies/heavens by stars/meteors
The rebellious jinn, referred to as satans, are blocked from reaching the 'Exalted Assembly' (listed in secondary Islamic literature as a group of angels with special knowledge) who they would steal information from. Stars with clear flames are thrown at them by the guardian angels, with the author seemingly conflating stars and meteors (see: Scientific Errors in the Quran#Meteors as stars fired at devils):
Indeed, We have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars And as protection against every rebellious devil [So] they may not listen to the exalted assembly [of angels] and are pelted from every side, Repelled; and for them is a constant punishment, Except one who snatches [some words] by theft, but they are pursued by a burning flame, piercing [in brightness].
And verily We have beautified the world's heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for the devils, and for them We have prepared the doom of flame.
And verily in the heaven we have set mansions of the stars, and We have beautified it for beholders. And We have guarded it from every outcast devil, save him who stealeth the hearing, and them doth a clear flame pursue.
And we have sought [to reach] the heaven but found it filled with powerful guards and burning flames. And we used to sit therein in positions for hearing, but whoever listens now will find a burning flame lying in wait for him.
Madness and Possession
Pre-Islamic Arab beliefs supported the claim of jinn possession:
Pre-Islamic Arabs believed evil jinn bring madness upon people as well. In fact, the term majnun (possessed/mad/insane in Arabic) literally means “to be possessed by a jinni.” The terms jinn and majnun both are derived from the same linguistic root j-n-n.
El-Zein, Dr Amira. Islam, Arabs, and the Intelligent World of the Jinn (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East) (p. 74). Syracuse University Press.
The devil's (a jinn) touch making one mad has been interpreted by many classical commentators to confirm jinn possession as a cause or the cause of madness:
Those who exact usury will not stand but like one deranged by the Devil’s touch.
That is because they say, ‘Trade is just like usury.’ While Allah has allowed trade and forbidden usury. Whoever relinquishes [usury] on receiving advice from his Lord shall keep [the gains of] what is past, and his matter will rest with Allah. As for those who resume, they shall be the inmates of the Fire and they shall remain in it [forever].
A much longer list of scholars citing the Islamic evidence for jinn possession, including the hadith, can be found via this Salafi website (Salafi Research Institute) webpage - Evidences for Jinn Possession.
Bones and animal dung are food for jinn's:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
That once he was in the company of the Prophet (ﷺ) 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 (ﷺ) said, "Who is this?" He said, "I am Abu Huraira." The Prophet (ﷺ) 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 Jinns. The delegate of Jinns of (the city of) Nasibin came to me--and how nice those Jinns 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."
Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud: A deputation of the jinn came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: O Muhammad, forbid your community to cleans themselves with a bone or dung or charcoal, for in them Allah has provided sustenance for us. So the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade them to do so.
Abdullah bin Mas'ud narrated that: Allah's Messenger said: "Do not perform Istinja, with dung, nor with bones. For indeed it is provisions for your brothers among the Jinn."
Jinn frequently visit toilets:
Narrated Zayd ibn Arqam: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: These privies are frequented by the jinns and devils. So when anyone amongst you goes there, he should say: "I seek refuge in Allah from male and female devils."
Jinn snatch items away at night as well as children:
Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Cover your utensils and tie your water skins, and close your doors and keep your children close to you at night, as the Jinns spread out at such time and snatch things away. When you go to bed, put out your lights, for the mischief-doer (i.e. the rat) may drag away the wick of the candle and burn the dwellers of the house." Ata said, "The devils." (instead of the Jinns).
Jabir b.Abd Allah reported the Prophet (ﷺ) as saying: Gather your children when darkness spreads, or in the evening (according to Musaddad), for the jinn are abroad and seize them.
Jinns listen to the Qur'an - though this is bizarrely told to the prophet by a tree:
Narrated `Abdur-Rahman: "I asked Masruq, 'Who informed the Prophet (ﷺ) 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 (ﷺ) about them.' "
Satan, who is believed to be a jinn, causes yawning:
“Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Yawning is from Satan and if anyone of you yawns, he should check his yawning as much as possible, for if anyone of you (during the act of yawning) should say: 'Ha', Satan will laugh at him."
Urinates in people's ears causing oversleeping:
Narrated 'Abdullah : A person was mentioned before the Prophet (p.b.u.h) and he was told that he had kept on sleeping till morning and had not got up for the prayer. The Prophet said, "Satan urinated in his ears."
And sometimes hides in people's noses during the night, which can (seemingly) be gotten rid off by cleaning it:
Abu Huraira reported: The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said. When any one of you awakes up from sleep and performs ablution, he must clean his nose three times, for the devil spends the night in the interior of his nose.
Shapeshifts into black dogs:
Abu Dharr reported:
The Messenger of 'Allah (ﷺ) said: When any one of you stands for prayer and there is a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him and in case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, his prayer would be cut off by (passing of an) ass, woman, and black Dog. I said: O Abu Dharr, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguish it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil.
This lead to Muhammad even supposedly ordering the killing of black dogs for this reason:
Abu Zubair heard Jabir b. 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) saying:
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) ordered us to kill dogs, and we carried out this order so much so that we also kill the dog coming with a woman from the desert. Then Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) forbade their killing. He (the Prophet further) said: It is your duty the jet-black (dog) having two spots (on the eyes), for it is a devil.
Satan can appear with fire to burn you, but are repelled by certain prayers:
Abu Darda' reported:
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) stood up (to pray) and we heard him say:" I seek refuge in Allah from thee." Then said:" curse thee with Allah's curse" three times, then he stretched out his hand as though he was taking hold of something. When he finished the prayer, we said: Messenger of Allah, we heard you say something during the prayer which we have not heard you say before, and we saw you stretch out your hand. He replied: Allah's enemy Iblis came with a flame of fire to put it in my face, so I said three times:" I Seek refuge in Allah from thee." Then I said three times:" I curse thee with Allah's full curse." But he did not retreat (on any one of these) three occasions. Thereafter I meant to seize him. I swear by Allah that had it not been for the supplication of my brother Sulaiman he would have been bound, and made an object of sport for the children of Medina.
God also gave power to Muhammad to seize jinn, who originally intended to tie one to a mosque pillar, but thought otherwise after thinking of Suliman (Solomon):
Narrated Abu Huraira:
"The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Last night a big demon (afreet) from the Jinns came to me and wanted to interrupt my prayers (or said something similar) but Allah enabled me to overpower him. I wanted to fasten him to one of the pillars of the mosque so that all of you could See him in the morning but I remembered the statement of my brother Solomon (as stated in Quran): My Lord! Forgive me and bestow on me a kingdom such as shall not belong to anybody after me (38.35)." The sub narrator Rauh said, "He (the demon) was dismissed humiliated."
We are given confirmation of the jinn from listening to 'the exalted assembly' of angels and stealing information, getting attacked with shooting stars, and often embellishing it with lies before passing the information on:
'Abdullah. Ibn 'Abbas reported: A person from the Ansar who was amongst the Companions of Allah's Messenger (pbuh reported to me: As we were sitting during the night with Allah's Messenger (pbuh), a meteor shot gave a dazzling light. Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: What did you say in the pre-Islamic days when there was such a shot (of meteor)? They said: Allah and His Messenger know best (the actual position), but we, however, used to say that that very night a great man had been born and a great man had died, whereupon Allah's Messenger pbuh) said: (These meteors) are shot neither at the death of anyone nor on the birth of anyone. Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, issues Command when He decides to do a thing. Then (the Angels) supporting the Throne sing His glory, then sing the dwellers of heaven who are near to them until this glory of God reaches them who are in the heaven of this world. Then those who are near the supporters of the Throne ask these supporters of the Throne: What your Lord has said? And they accordingly inform them what He says. Then the dwellers of heaven seek information from them until this information reaches the heaven of the world. In this process of transmission (the jinn snatches) what he manages to overhear and he carries it to his friends. And when the Angels see the jinn they attack them with meteors. If they narrate only which they manage to snatch that is correct but they alloy it with lies and make additions to it.
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that:
The Prophet said: "When Allah decrees a matter in heaven, the angels beat their wings in submission to his decree (with a sound) like a chain beating a rock. Then "When fear is banished from their hearts, they say: 'What is it that your Lord has said?' They say: 'The truth. And He is The Most High, The Most Great." He said: 'Then the eavesdroppers (from among the jinn) listen out for that, one above the other, so (one of them) hears the words and passes it on to the one beneath him. The Shihab (shooting star) may strike him before he can pass it on to the one beneath him and the latter can pass it on to the soothsayer or sorcerer, or it may not strike him until he has passed it on. And he ads one hundred lies to it, and only that word which was overheard from the heavens is true."
- ↑ Genie - Wiktionary, accessed April 27, 2012
- ↑ Britannica.com. History & Society. Entry on Jinni.
- ↑ Hughes, Thomas Patrick (1885). "Genii". Dictionary of Islam: Being a Cyclopædia of the Doctrines, Rites, Ceremonies . London, UK: W.H.Allen. pp. 134–6. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
- ↑ El-Zein, Amira. "Jinn," 420-421, in Meri, Joseph W., Medieval Islamic Civilization - An Encyclopedia.
- ↑ The World of Jinn - Invitation to Islam, Issue 4, January 1998
- ↑ Quran 55:14-15
- ↑ Quran 51:56
- ↑ Muḥammad ibn Ayyūb al-Ṭabarī, Tuḥfat al-gharā’ib, I, p. 68; Abū al-Futūḥ Rāzī, Tafsīr-e rawḥ al-jenān va rūḥ al-janān, pp. 193, 341
- ↑ Sunan Abu Dawud 1:6
- ↑ Sahih Bukhari 5:58:200
- ↑ Tafsīr; Bakhsh az tafsīr-e kohan, p. 181; Loeffler, p. 46
- ↑ The Fisherman and the Jinni - from The Arabian Nights, translated by Sir Richard Burton in 1850
- ↑ Possession, Jinn and Britain's backstreet exorcists - BBC website, 19 December 2012
- ↑ For example, https://sincerityruqyah.co.uk and https://www.hijamainlondon.com/jinn-ashiq
- ↑ https://kalamullah.com/Books/Ibn%20Taymiyahs%20Essay%20on%20the%20Jinn.pdf
- ↑ https://islamqa.org/hanafi/daruliftaa/7923/human-jinn-inter-marriages/
- ↑ https://www.islamawareness.net/Jinn/fatwa_marry.html
- ↑ https://fiqh.islamonline.net/en/may-a-human-marry-a-jinni/