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The abilities that Allah has given them

Allah has given the jinn abilities which He has not given to humans, and Allah has told us about some of their abilities which include:

(i) The ability to move quickly from one place to another

An ifreet from among the jinn made a promise to the Prophet of Allah Sulaiman to bring the throne of the queen of Yemen to Bait al-Maqdis (Jerussalem) in a period no longer than it took a man to rise from his seat. The one who had knowledge of the book said, I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye: “An ifreet (strong one) from the jinn said, ‘I will bring it to you before you rise from your place (council). And verily, I am indeed strong and trustworthy for such work.’ One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said, ‘I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!’ Then when he (Sulaiman) saw it placed before him, he said, ‘This is by the grace of my Lord.’” (Qur’an 27: 39-40)

(ii) They reached space before man did

In the ancient past, the jinn used to ascend to places high up in the heaven, where they would try to eavesdrop on the news of heaven and find out about events before they happened. When the Messenger (saw) was sent, the protection of the heavens was increased: “And we have sought to reach the heaven; but found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires. And verily, we used to sit there in stations, to (steal) a hearing, but any who listens now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush.” (Qur’an 72: 8 – 9)

The Messenger (saw) explained how they try to eavesdrop. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (saw) told him: “When Allah decrees a matter in heaven, the angels beat their wings in submission to what He says, with a sound like a chain beating on a rock. Then when fear is banished from their angels’ hearts, they (angels) say, ‘What is it that your Lord has said?’ They say, ‘The truth. And He is the Most High and the Most Great.’” (Qur’an 34: 23)

(iii) Their knowledge of building and handicrafts

Allah has told us that He subjugated the jinn to His Prophet Sulayman, and they used to do a great deal of work for him that required strength, intelligence and skill: “And there were jinn that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord. And whosoever of them turned aside from Our Command, We shall cause him to test of the torment of the blazing fire. They worked for him as he desired, making high rooms, images, basins as large as reservoirs, and cooking cauldrons fixed in their places.” (Qur’an 34: 12-13).

Perhaps long ago they made discoveries like radio and television. Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned that one of the ‘shaikhs’ who was in contact with the jinn told him that “The jinn has shown him something shining like water and glass, and they showed him in it the things about which he asked for information.” He said: “So I tell the people about that, and it conveys to me the words of whoever among my companions seeks help through me, and I respond to him, and they convey my response to him.” 

 (iv) The ability to change shape

The jinn have ability to take on the form of human or animals. The Satan came to the mushrikeen on the day of Badr in the form of Suraqah ibn Malik, and he promised victory to the mushrikeen. Concerning this the following verse was revealed: “And (remember) when Satan made their evil deeds seem fair to them and said,’ No one of mankind can overcome you this day (of battle of Badr) and verily, I am your neighbour (for each and every help).” (Qur’an 8: 48)

But when the two armies met, and the angels came down from heaven to help, he turned and fled: “But when the two forces came in sight of each other, he ran away and said, ‘Verily, I have nothing to do with you. Verily, I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allah.”’ (Qur’an 8: 48) 

This devil may appear in the form of a man, or he may appear in the form of an animal: a camel, donkey, cow, dog, or cat and snake. The form most frequently taken is that of a black dog passes in front of one, this invalidates one’s prayer, and the reason he gave for that was that “The black dog is a devil.” (Muslim). Ibn Taimiyyah said: “The black dog is the devil of dogs, and the jinn often appear in this form, or in the form of a black cat, because black concentrates more devilish strength in it that other colours and it holds the power of heat.”

(To be continue)

by Dr. Omar Al-Ashqar