The jinn form a world other than that of the world of mankind and the world of angels. They have some things in common with mankind in the sense that they are described as possessing reason and understanding, and therefore the ability to choose between good and evil. They are unlike mankind in some other ways, the most important of which is that the origin of the jinn is different from that of man.  

They are called jinn because they concealed themselves (ijtinaan) from people’s sight. Ibn Aqeel said: “The jinn are so called because they concealed them selves from people’s sight. The word janeen (foetus) comes from the same root, and the mijann (shield) is so called it conceals the fighter in war.” Allah (swt) said in the Qur’an: “Verily, he (the satan) and his soldiers from jinn see you from where you cannot see them.” (Qur’an 7: 27)

  1. 1. Their origin and creation

(1). The origin from which they were created.

Allah (swt) tells us that the jinn were created from fire, as He says: “And the Jinn, We created aforetime from the smokeless flame.” (Qur’an 15: 27). And in Surah Ar-Rahman He says: “And the jinn He created from a smokeless flame of fire.” (Qur’an 55: 15).

An-Nawawi said in his contemporary on Muslim: “The smokeless flame means the flame which is mixed with the blackness of the fire.” (Muslim). According to a hadith narrated by Muslim, Aishah (ra) said: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “The angels were created from light, the jinn were created from smokeless fire, and Adam was created from that which has been described to you.”

(2). The beginning of their creation

Undoubtedly the creation of the jinn came before the creation of man. Allah (swt) said: “And indeed, we created man from dried clay of altered mud. And the jinn, We created aforetime from the smokeless flame of fire.” (Qur’an 15: 26-27).

This verse clearly states that the jinn were created before man. Some of the early scholars narrated that they were created two thousand years before man, but there is no evidence for this in the Qur’an or Sunnah.

(3). How the jinn were created

We do not know anything about their creation, forms or faculties except that which Allah has told us. We do know that they have hearts, as Allah (swt) says: “And surely, We have created many of the jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray.” (Qur’an 7: 179).

Allah (swt) clearly states that the jinn have hearts, eyes and ears. The Satan also has a voice. Allah (swt) says: “And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice.” (Qur’an 17: 64). It is proven in the hadiths that the Satan has a tongue, and that the jinn eat, drink, laugh, and do other things.

(4). The various types of jinn and their names in Arabic

Ibn Abdul Barr said: “Among the scholars of Arabic language the jinn have several names:

(a)   If a jinn is mentioned in general terms, they say jinni

(b)  If they refer to one of those who live with people, they say ‘aamir (hunter)

(c)   If it is one of those that attach themselves to children, they say arwaah (souls)

(d)  If it is evil and tries to cause harm, they say Satan (devil)

(e)   If it is worse than that, they say maarid (rebellious or defiant; demon or evil spirit)

(f)   If it is even worse than that and stronger, they say ‘ifreet (strong) 

  1. 2. Proof of the existence of the jinn

(1) There is no room for denying the world of the jinn

A few people deny that the jinn exist at all. Some of the Mushrikin claim that what is meant by the jinn is the souls of the planets. A group of philosophers claimed that what was meant by the jinn was the evil inclinations of the human soul, and that what was meant by the angels was the good inclinations of the human soul. A group of modernists claimed that the jinn are the germs and microbes that have been discovered by modern science

The best that these liars can come up with is to say that they have no knowledge of their existence; but not knowing does not prove anything. It reflects badly on an intelligent person to deny something just because he does not know that it exists. This is something for which Allah criticised the kuffar (disbelievers): “Nay, they have belied the knowledge whereof they could not comprehend.” (Qur’an 10: 39).

(To be continued)

by Dr. Omar Al-Ashqar