Some people have attempted to deny the reality of the Jinn about whom the Qur’an has devoted a whole chapter, Soorah al-Jinn (72). By relying on the literal meaning of the word Jinn which comes from the verb Janna, Yajunnu: “to cover, hide or conceal”, they claim that the word Jinn really refers to “clever foreigners”. Others have even stated that a Jinn is a human who does not have a true mind in his head but he has a fiery nature. But, the reality is that the Jinn represent another creation of Allah, which co-exists with man on the earth. Allah created the Jinn before He created mankind, and He also used a different set of elements than those used for man.
Allah said: “Verily we created man from dried clay, from black putrid mud. And we created the Jinn before that from a fiery wind.” (Surah al-Hijr 15:26)
They were named Jinn because they are hidden from the eyes of mankind. Iblees (Satan) is from the world of the Jinn, even though he was among the angels when they were commanded by Allah to prostrate to Adam. When he refused to prostrate and was asked why, Allah said: “He said, ‘I am better than he is. You (Allah) created me from fire and You created him from clay!” (Surah Saad; 38:76)
‘Aa’esha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)said, “The angels were created from light and the Jinn from smokeless fire.” (Sahih Muslim)
Allah also said, “And when We told the angels to prostrate to Adam, they all prostrated except Iblees. He was of the Jinn.” (Surah al-Kahf, 18:50)
Therefore it is incorrect to consider him a fallen angel or the like.
The Jinn may first be divided into three broad categories in relation to their modes of existence. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are three types of Jinn: One type which flies in the air all the time, another type which exists as snakes and dogs, and an earthbound type which resides in one place or wanders about. ” (At-Tabaree and al-Haakim)
The Jinn may be further divided into two categories in relationship to their faith: Muslims (believers) and Kaafirs (disbelievers). Allah refers to the believing Jinn in Soorah al-Jinn as follows: “Say: It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened and said, “Verily we have heard a marvellous Qur’an. It guides unto righteousness so we have believed in it. And, we will never make partners with our Lord. He, may our Lord’s glory be exalted, has not taken a wife nor a son. What the foolish ones among us used to say about Allah is a horrible lie.”(Surah al-Jinn 72:1-4)
“And there are among us Muslims and others who are unjust. Whoever accepts Islam has sought out the right path. As for those who are unjust, they will be fuel for the Hell fire.”(Surah Jinn 72:14)
The disbelievers among the Jinn are referred to by various names in both Arabic and English: ‘Ifreet, Shaytaan, Qareen, demons, devils, spirits, ghosts, etc. They try to misguide man in various ways. Whoever listens to them and becomes a worker for them is referred to as human Shaytaan (devil).
Allah said: “Likewise, we have made for every Prophet an enemy, Shaytaans from among mankind and the Jinn.” (Surah al-An’aam 6:112)
Every human has an individual Jinn accompanying him referred to as a Qareen (i.e. companion). This is a part of man’s test in this life. The Jinn encourage his lower desires and constantly try to divert him from righteousness. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) referred to this relationship as follows, “Everyone of you has been assigned a companion from the Jinn. ” The Sahaabah asked, “Even you, O Messenger of Allah?” And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied, “Even me, except that Allah has helped me against him and he has submitted. Now he only tells me to do good.”(Muslim)
Prophet Sulayman (Solomon) (peace be upon him) was given miraculous control over the Jinn, as a sign of his prophethood. Allah said: “And, we gathered for Sulayman his army from the Jinn, mankind and the birds.” (Surah an-Naml 27:17) and they were all kept in order and ranks.
But this power was not given to anyone else. No one else is allowed to control the Jinn and no one can. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Verily an ‘Ifr-eit from among the Jinn spat on me last night trying to break my Salah. However Allah let me overpower him and I wanted to tie him to one of the columns in the masjid so that you all could see him in the morning. Then, I remembered my brother Sulayman’s prayer: ‘Oh my Lord, forgive me and bestow on me a kingdom not allowed to anyone after me.’ (Surah Sad 38:35) (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Man cannot gain control over the Jinn as this was a special miracle given only to Prophet Sulayman (peace be upon him). In fact, contact with the Jinn in circumstances other than possession, or accident is most often made by the performance of sacrilegious acts despised and forbidden in the religion. The evil Jinn summoned in this fashion may aid their partners in sin and disbelief in Allah. Their goal is to draw as many others as they can into the gravest of sins, the worship of others besides or along with Allah.
Once contact and contract with the Jinn are made by fortune-tellers, the Jinn may inform them of certain events in the future. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) described how the Jinn gather information about the future. Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) related that the Jinn were able to travel to the lower reaches of the heavens and listen in on some of the information about the future, which the angels pass among themselves. They would then return to the earth and feed the information to their human contacts. (Bukhari and Muslim) This used to happen a lot prior to the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and fortune-tellers were very accurate in their information. They were able to gain positions in the royal courts and enjoyed much popularity and were even worshipped in some regions of the world.
After the Prophet Muhammad(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)began his mission the situation changed. Allah had the angels guard the lower reaches of the heavens carefully, and most of the Jinn were chased away with meteors and shooting stars. Allah described this phenomena in the following Qur’anic statement made by one of the Jinn, “We (the Jinn) had sought out the heavens but found it filled with strong guardians and meteors. We used to sit on high places in order to listen, but whoever listens now finds a flame waiting for him..”‘
Allah also said, “And We have guarded it (the heavens) from every cursed devil, except the one who is able to snatch a hearing and, he is pursued by a brightly burning flame.” (Surah al-Hijr 15:17)
Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)and a group of his companions set out for the Ukadh market, the devils were blocked from hearing information in the heavens. Meteors were let loose on them, so they returned to their people. When their people asked what happened, they told them. Some suggested that something must have happened, so they spread out over the earth seeking the cause. Some of them came across the Prophet and his companions while they were in Salaah and they heard the Qur’an. They said to themselves that this must have been what blocked them from listening. When they returned to their people they told them, ‘Verily we have heard a marvellous Qur’an. It guides unto righteousness so we believed in it. And we will never make partners with our Lord.’ (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ahmad)
Thus, the Jinn could no longer gather information about the future as easily as they could before the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)mission. Because of that, they now mix their information with many lies. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “They (the Jinn) would pass the information back down until it reaches the lips of a magician fortune-teller. Sometimes a meteor would overtake them before they could pass it on. If they passed it on before being struck, they would add to it a hundred lies.” (Al-Bukhari and Tirmidhi)
‘Aa’eshah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that when she asked Allah’s messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) about fortune-tellers, he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)replied that they were nothing. She then mentioned that the fortune-tellers sometimes told them things, which were true. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “That is a bit of truth which the Jinn steals and cackles in the ear of his friend; but he mixes along with it a hundred lies.” (al-Bukhari, Muslim)
Once while ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) was sitting, a handsome man, Sawaad Ibn Qaarib passed by him. ‘Umar said: “If I’m not wrong, this person is still following his religion of pre-Islamic times or perhaps he was one of their fortune-tellers.” He ordered that the man be brought to him and asked him about, what he suspected. The man replied, “I have never seen a day like this where a Muslim is faced with such accusations.” ‘Umar said, “Verily I am determined that you should inform me.” The man then said, “I was their fortune-teller in the time of ignorance.” On hearing that ‘Umar asked, “Tell me about the strangest thing which your female Jinn told you.” The man then said, “One day, while I was in the market, she came to me all worried and said, ‘Have you not seen the Jinns in their despair after their disgrace? And their following of she-camels and their riders.” ‘Umar interjected, “It is true.” (Al-Bukhari)
The Jinns are also able to inform their human contact of the relative future. For example, when someone comes to a fortune-teller, the fortune-teller’s Jinn gets information from the man’s Qareen (the jinn assigned to every human being) of what plans he had made prior to his coming. So the fortune-teller is able to tell him that he will do this or that, or go here or there. By this method, the real fortune-teller is also able to learn about a stranger’s past in vivid detail. He is able to tell a total stranger of his parents’ names, where he was born, the acts of his childhood, etc. The ability to vividly describe the past is one of the marks of a true fortune-teller who has made contact with the Jinn. Because the Jinn are able to traverse huge distances instantaneously, they are also able to gather huge stores of information about hidden things, lost articles and unobserved events. Proof of this ability can be found in the Qur’an, in the story about Prophet Sulayman and Bilqees, the Queen of Sheba. When Queen Bilqees came to see him, he asked the Jinn to bring her throne from her land. “An Ilfreet from among the Jinns said, I will bring it for you before you can get up from your place. Verily, I am strong and trustworthy for the assignment.” (Surah an-Naml)