Fruits for the Week

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4. The food, drink and marriage of the jinn

(1) Their food and drink

The jin - including the Satan – eat and drink. In Saheeh al-Bukhari it is narrated from Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) commanded him to bring him some stones to use to clean himself after defecating, and said to him, do not bring me bones or dung.” When Abu Hurairah (ra) asked the Messenger (saw) afterwards, about the reason why he had told him not to bring him bones or dung, he said: “They are the food of jinn. A delegation of the jinn of Nusaybeen came to me – and what good jinn they are – and asked me for provision. I prayed to Allah for them and asked that they should not pass by any bone or dung but they would find food on it.” (Bukhari) 

In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Ibn Mas’ud that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “A caller from among the jinn came to me, and I went with him and recited Qur’an to them.” Ibn Mas’ud said: “He took us and showed us their footsteps and traces of their fires. They asked him for provision and he said: “You will have every bone over which the name of Allah has been mentioned; when it falls into your hands it will have plenty of meat on it. And all droppings are food for your animals.” Then the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Do not use them (bone and dung) to clean yourselves, after relieving yourselves, for they are the food of your brothers (among the jinn).” (Muslim)

The fact that dung is the food of the jinn or of their animals is not the only reason why we are not allowed to use it to clean ourselves after relieving ourselves. The Messenger of Allah (saw) mentioned another reason, as he stated clearly that dung is rijs (filth).

The Messenger (saw) told us that the Satan eats with his left hand, and he commanded us to differ from him in that. Muslim narrated in his Saheeh from Ibn Umar (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said: “When any one of you eats, let him eat with his right hand, and when he drinks, let him drink with his right hand, for the Satan eats with his left hand and drinks with his left hand.” (Muslim)

Saheeh Muslim narrated yet another hadith: “When a man enters his house and mentioned Allah upon entering and when eating, the Satan says, ‘There is no place for you to stay and no dinner.’ If he enters his house and does not mention upon entering, the Satan say, ‘You have a place to stay.’ And if he does not mention Allah when eating, the Satan says. ‘You have a place to stay and you have dinner.’” (Muslim)

These texts definitely prove that the devils eat and drink. Just as man is forbidden to eat meat over which the name of Allah has not been mentioned, the Messenger (saw) allocating for the believing jinn every bone over which the name of Allah has been mentioned. So they are not allowed to eat things over which the name of Allah has not been mentioned; such things are left for the devils who are kuffar among the jinn. The devils regard as permissible if the name of Allah has not been mentioned over it. Because of that, some of the scholars were of the view that the meat of an animal that died without being slaughtered properly is the food of the devils, because the name of Allah has not been mentioned over it.

Ibn al-Qayyim understood the ayah: “O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, stone altars for offering sacrifices to idols, and arrows for seeking luck are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork.” (Qur’an 5: 90).

This means that intoxicants are the drinks of the Satan, so he drinks of the drinks that his friends make by his command, and that he participates with them in making them and in drinking them, and he shares the sin and punishment with them.

(2) The jinn get married and multiply

It seems that the jinn get married. Some of the scholars understood this to be the case based on the verse in which Allah says of the wives of the people of Paradise: “With whom no man or jinn has had sexual intercourse before them.” (Qur’an 55: 56).

Al-Safaareeni mentioned a hadith which says: “The jinn produce offspring, just as the sons of Adam produce offspring, but they are greater in number.” Allah (swt) told us that the Satan has offspring. Allah says, rebuking those who take the Satan and his offspring as friends: “Will you then take him (iblees) and his offspring as protectors and helper rather than Me while they are enemies to you?” (Qur’an 18: 50)

(To be continue)

by Dr. Omar Al-Ashqar