Jinns: Some Commonly-Asked Questions

Sayyid Abul Qasim Rizvi


What is the significance of Jinns in Islam? 

The Holy Qur'an has been revealed for both humans and Jinns as it says, "Say: If men and Jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Qur'an, they could not bring the like of it, though some of them were aiders of others." (17:88) Several other verses from the Holy Qur'an indicate that worship of Allah is required from both the Jinns and humans.

During the revelation of Sura Jinn, according to a tradition, Ibn Abbas said: "When the Holy Qur'an was revealed, Jinns were prevented from ascending towards the skies and several other prayers. Experiencing this, several Jinns came to Mecca to know the reason behind this abandonment. When they entered, they saw and heard Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) reciting Qur'anic verses during Fajr prayer. Hearing his beautiful speech, Jinns became influenced by the Holy Prophet."

Then the first two verses of Sura Jinn (chapter 72) were revealed to the Prophet as, "Say: It has been revealed to me that a party of the Jinn listened, and they said: 'Surely we have heard a wonderful Qur'an, Guiding to the right way, so we believe in it, and we will not set up any one with our Lord.'" Thus, the party of the Jinn immediately accepted the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad and the Qur'an as the holy book.

Now, it is proved that the Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad for both humans and Jinns. Lovers of Prophet exist from both humans and Jinns. Similarly, enemies of the Prophet exist from among the humans and Jinns.

The enemies of Islam used to ascribe various things to Allah, and some of them even associated Jinns with Allah. In this context, a verse was revealed which said, "And they make the Jinn associates with Allah, while He created them, and they falsely attribute to Him sons and daughters without knowledge; glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him)." (6:100) Another verse says, "And thus did We make for every prophet an enemy, the satans from among men and Jinn, some of them suggesting to others varnished falsehood to deceive (them), and had your Lord pleased they would not have done it, therefore leave them and that which they forge." (6:112)

What materials are Jinns created of?

Allah has created humans from clay, angels from light, and Jinns from fire. The common factor between Jinns and angels is that both can appear in any form and shape; human, however, does not possess this ability. This appearance of angels is always of a pure kind, whereas Jinns may be impure. Angels possess only intellect, whereas Jinns possess intellect and desire like humans. This would further imply that due to their desires, Jinns are not always pure.

Coming back to the question, there are 37 instances in the Holy Qur'an where Jinns have been mentioned. As the Qur'an says, "And the Jinn We created before, of intensely hot fire..." (15:27) Another instance about the creation of Jinn mentioned in the Holy Qur'an is, "And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke." (55:15) Thus, it is firmly established that Jinns are created by hot fire, free from smoke.

Is it possible for a Jinn to possess a human being?

Before answering this question, let us consider this verse, "And I have not created the Jinn and the men except that they should serve Me." (51:56) As both of them have been bestowed with wisdom and desires, the duty of all humans and Jinns is to serve the Almighty by controlling their desires and practicing wisdom in the Right Path.

Therefore, Jinns whose desires empower their wisdom (or intellect) are those affected by Shaitan. Those Jinns who are influenced by Shaitan are capable of harming anyone, just like those humans who are influenced by Shaitan are capable of harming anyone.

How can one stay away and be saved from possession by Jinns?

Firstly, if a human lives with Taharat (spiritual purity) and remembrance of God, then no Jinn can cause harm to him. Secondly, one can be saved from the possession of Jinns if one recites Sura Jinn (chapter 72) and Sura Naas (chapter 113) from the Holy Book, and then can do several activities like blowing these chapters on a glass of water and drinking it.

Can evil Jinns or Jinns influenced by Shaitan enter holy shrines, mosques, Islamic centers, or such places?

It is not probable that a Jinn influenced by Satan could enter an Islamic center or such places, as these places are pure and filled with the intent and action of worship. It is also very difficult for Jinn to cause harm to anyone or anything in such places.

Is the Day of Judgment applicable to Jinns as well?

As the Qur'an says, "And on the day when He shall gather them all together: O assembly of Jinn! you took away a great part of mankind. And their friends from among the men shall say: Our Lord! some of us profited by others and we have reached our appointed term which Thou didst appoint for us. He shall say: The fire is your abode, to abide in it, except as Allah is pleased; surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing." (6:128) This verse explains that the field of Mahshar, where everyone will be gathered, is for both humans and Jinns. Therefore, the Day of Judgment is applicable to Jinns too.

There are several other verses from Sura Rahman which tell us that Jinns will also be accounted during the Day of Reckoning. The Qur'an also states, "On that Day no question will be asked of man or Jinn as to his sin." (55:39) Jinns will also be punished and rewarded, as the Qur'an states, "This is the Hell which the Sinners deny" (55:43) and regarding the rewards of getting damsels "Whom no man or Jinn before them has touched" (55:74).

Understanding this, it implies both men and Jinn will be accounted. Thus, both of them should live a life of awareness with knowledge, wisdom, and fear of Allah. If they become ignorant and show negligence, they will be sent to hell. With respect to this, the Qur'an says, "And certainly We have created for hell many of the Jinn and the men; they have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear; they are as cattle, nay, they are in worse errors; these are the heedless ones." (7:179)

It implies that those Jinns who do not make use of hearts, eyes, and ears are worse than animals because of their ignorance and negligence.

How did some Jinns work for Prophet Solomon?


It was God's special mercy on Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) that He gave him the army of both humans and Jinns. The successors of Prophet Solomon were among the Jinns who were very powerful and audacious. The Qur'an states, "And his hosts of the Jinn and the men and the birds were gathered to him, and they were formed into groups." (27:17)

The reason for these Jinns working and possessing such great powers for the prophet can be derived from the Qur'anic verses: "One audacious among the Jinn said: 'I will bring it to you (the throne of Bilqees) before you rise up from your place; and most surely I am strong (and) trusty for it.' One who had the knowledge of the Book said: 'I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye.' Then when he (Solomon) saw it settled beside him, he said: 'This is of the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, he is grateful only for his own soul, and whoever is ungrateful, then surely my Lord is Self-sufficient, Honored.'" (27:39-40)

So, the Jinn had the power and knowledge of the book, and that is the reason for him to be a great successor. Other inference that can be derived from this verse is that the power and knowledge of the book are essential requirements to be a successor of a Prophet. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) possessed an unmatched physical power and the entire knowledge of the book compared to the Jinn who possessed only a part of it, thus making it a greater cause for Imam Ali to be the rightful successor of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon hims and his progeny).

Contrary to these Jinns, there were some other bad Jinns in the kingdom of Queen Bilqees (Saba) who were worshipped. The Qur'an states about the people who worshipped them: "They shall say: 'Glory be to You! You are our Guardian, not they.' Nay! They worshipped the Jinn; most of them were believers in them." (34:41) Thus, there are disbelievers from both among the Jinns and humans who will be responsible for their accounting.

How long do the Jinns live and where do they live?

When Allah ordered angels to prostrate before Adam (peace be upon him), Iblees, who was among the Jinn, disobeyed. Considering this, Iblees is the oldest living Jinn who got the permission to influence people till the Day of Judgment. Normally, like humans, Jinns do not have a stable life period. Some of them live long, and some of them live short lives.

When Iblees asked for permission from Allah to influence people all their lives, he told that he would reside in their hearts and run in their veins. These are the places where this Jinn resides. He resides in the veins through the prohibited income we earn and the impermissible food we consume, which further goes in our body to produce blood and influence us as Shaitan. He resides in the hearts of desires and hearts of various diseases, such as envy, hatred, selfishness, misery, etc.

Coming back to where do they live, normal Jinns can live anywhere. They reside among us, but we cannot normally see them. However, Allah has given them the power to see us.

Who is the better creation, Jinn or man?

Allah has bestowed some exclusive faculties in Jinns which are not present in humans, and vice versa. But the best creation of Allah is man. When Prophet Adam was created, all angels and Jinns were asked to prostrate before the superior creation and Allah's vicegerent. The Qur'an also confirms the superiority of human beings over all creation in this verse, "And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference." (17:70)

Do people see them? If so, why/when/how? Why do jinns seem to 'share' Qur'an with us instead of having own prophets and revelation? Is time different for them than for us?DoDo people interact with Jinns? If yes, why and how?

As far as interaction is concerned, Allah has created us as free being. Now, once that freedom is controlled or forced by anyone, then it is an offence to Allah's wisdom. As all creatures are created for the sake of Allah only, they should not try to control what they do not understand and should remain aware of their limits. Narrations say that these interactions with Jinns occur through certain supplications and recitations. Allah is the most Merciful and Knowledgeable.

Both Jinn and men are ordered to worship Allah only, and it not appropriate to mingle among each other instead of what we are commanded to do.

Can humans harm Jinns and vice versa?

Yes, both of them can harm each other. We should not forget our true aim in life of serving Allah and should not harm or control Jinns for our purposes.

In special circumstances, can humans see Jinns?

They can. There has been no denial about this.


Sayyid Abul Qasim Rizvi is the resident scholar of the Panjtan Society of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.


Editor's Note: Islamic Insights would like to thank Brother Jafar Hasan for transcribing this interview.