Protection from the harm of the jinn
Because the jinn can see us while we cannot see them, the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) taught us many ways to protect ourselves from their harm, such as seeking
refuge with Allaah from the accursed Shaytaan, reciting Soorat al-Falaq and Soorat
al-Naas (the last two Soorahs of the Qur'aan), and reciting the words taught by Allaah in the
Qur'aan (interpretation of the meaning): "Say: 'My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the
whisperings (suggestions) of the shayaateen (devils). And I seek refuge with You, my
Lord, lest they may attend (or come near) me.'" [al-Mu'minoon 23:97-98]
Saying Bismillaah (in the Name of Allaah) before entering one's home, before eating or
drinking, and before having intercourse will also keep the Shaytaan from entering the house or
partaking with a person in his food, drink and sexual activity. Similarly, mentioning the name of
Allah before entering the toilet or taking off one's clothes will prevent the jinn from seeing a person's
'awrah or harming him, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, "To put
a barrier that will prevent the jinn from seeing the 'awrah of the sons of Aadam, let any
one of you say 'Bismillaah' when entering the toilet." (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 551; Saheeh
Strength of faith and religion in general will also prevent the jinn from harming a person, so much so
that if they were to fight, the one who has faith would win. 'Abd-Allah ibn Mas'ood (may Allaah be
pleased with him) said: "A man from among the Companions of Muhammad met a man from
among the jinn. They wrestled, and the human knocked down the jinn. The human said to him,
'You look small and skinny to me, and your forearms look like the front paws of a dog. Do all
the jinn look like this, or only you?' He said, 'No, by Allaah, among them I am strong, but let us
wrestle again, and if you defeat me I will teach you something that will do you good.' The human
said, 'Fine.' He said, 'Recite, 'Allaah! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the
Ever-living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists.' [Aayat al-Kursi -
al-Baqarah 2:255 - interpretation of the meaning]. The human said, 'Fine.' He said, 'You will
never recite this in your house but the Shaytaan will come out of it like a donkey breaking wind, and
he will never come back in until the next morning.'" (Reported by al-Daarimi, 3247).
This is a brief summary about the jinn, and their nature and characteristics. Allaah is the Best of
protectors and the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.
Belief in the Jinn
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Last time, we talked about the unseen world of angels, and mentioned that having the correct
belief in the angels is a requirement of faith. This time, we are going to discuss another unseen
world: that of the jinn. Some people are skeptical of the existence of the jinn, while others
resort to far-fetched, distorted interpretations of these creatures in order to suit their whims and
personal fancies, such as claiming that the jinn are microbes. In this country, a certain heretical
group teaches that the white man is the devil (evil jinn). This preposterous idea would imply either
that the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu `alayhe wa-sallam was black, or that he was a devil
(Allah forbid!). Both of these conclusions are clear blasphemy, for they contradict conclusive
historical facts and common sense.
What are the jinn?
The reality, which it is obligatory to affirm, is that the jinn are an established world, unseen to us.
They eat, drink and procreate, and among them are both righteous and wicked individuals. The word
jinn itself comes the Arabic root meaning "something hidden which cannot be seen."
The existence of the jinn is firmly corroborated by the Qur'an, authentic sunnah and consensus
of scholars (Ijma`), and thus one who denies their existence is outside the pale of Islam. Suffice it to
say that the word jinn and its derivatives occur at least 29 times in the Qur'an, and the word shaytaan
and its plural shayaateen together occur more than 80 times. In fact, there is an entire surah called
Surat al-Jinn (72), which speaks in clear, explicit terms about the jinn.
Ibn `Abbas radiallahu `anhu said, "Two thousand years before [mankind] was created, there were
jinn on [the earth], and they caused corruption on the earth and shed blood. Then, Allah sent against
them a troop of angels who beat them and then cast them away to the islands in the seas. So,
when Allah said, (translated), "'I am placing a viceregent upon the earth,' they said,
'Will You place therein one who will cause corruption therein and shed blood,'" [2
(Al-Baqarah), 30] i.e. just as those jinn did? Then, Allah said, (translated), "I know that which
you do not know." (Related by Al-Hakim.) Thus, jinn were created before mankind, as attested
to clearly by the Qur'an also. Their origin is from fire. "And verily, We created mankind . . . and
the jinn We had created before from smokeless fire." [15 (Al- Hijr), 26-27] They are the
descendants of Iblees, who disobeyed Allah's command to prostrate to Adam, and became known
as the Satan (Shaytaan).
We cannot ordinarily see them, unless they materialize. When they materialize, it is usually in an
unpleasant or ugly form, such as a snake or a black dog, as opposed to angels (who materialize
into pleasant and handsome forms).
In the battle of Badr, Iblees materialized into the form of a man named Suraqah ibn Malik, and urged
on the disbelievers, saying, "There is none who can overcome you today," [8 (Al-Anfaal),
48] Then, Allah sent the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) against him, and when Iblees saw him he cried out to
the disbelievers, "I have nothing to do with you! I see that which you do not see! I fear Allah, and Allah
is severe in retribution," and then he fled.
They are accountable, just as human beings are. "I created jinn and mankind only in order
that they might worship Me." [51 (Adh-Dhaariyaat), 56] There are believers amongst
them, who will be rewarded, and disbelievers, who will be punished. "And indeed, there are
amongst us Muslims and amongst us wrongdoers. As for those who accept Islam,
they have sought out the right path. And, as for the wrongdoers, they will be firewood
for Jahannam." [72 (Al-Jinn), 14-15] Whenever Allah sent a prophet to mankind, the jinn of that
time could also receive his message. Thus, some of them received the message of Prophet Moses
`alayhis-salam.Some jinn came to the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu `alayhe wa- sallam one night,
and he went with them, recited Qur'an to them, and taught them about Islam. (Related by Muslim.)
They eat and drink, and have high regulations similar to ours. Just as we eat meat of animals over
whose slaughter the name of Allah was recited, the jinn are allowed to eat bones of such animals,
and therefore the Prophet sallallahu `alayhe wa-sallam has instructed us not use these for istinjaa'.
On the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Umar: the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhe wa-sallam said,
"When one of you eats, he should eat with his right hand, and when one of you drinks,
he should drink with his right hand, for Satan eats with his left hand and drinks with his
left hand." (Related by Muslim.) Satan also partakes of our food if we neglect to mention the name
of Allah before eating.
A verse of the Qur'an indicates that they have conjugal relations. "Therein [in Heaven] are
[women] of modest gaze, whom neither human being nor jinn have touched before.
" [55 (Al- Rahman), 56] Another verse establishes that they beget children. "Will you then
take [Iblees] and his offspring as protectors in preference to Me, although they are
an enemy to you?" [18 (Al- Kahf), 50]
Although the jinn tend to have longer life spans than ours, they also die and pass away, as
evidenced by the Qur'an [7 (Al- A`raaf), 38] Iblees, however, has been given respite up to the
Day of Arising. "[Allah] said, You are, then, among those given respite, up to the day
of the time known [and appointed]" [38 (Saad), 81-82]
The shayaateen (devils)
The shayaateen (devils; the singular is shaytaan) are the disbelieving jinn, but the word shaytaan
is also used for those disbelieving human beings who are active in corruption and fighting Islam.
"Thus have We made, for every Prophet, an enemy, the shayaateen of mankind and
jinn, inspiring one another with flowery discourses by way of deception." [6 (Al-An`aam),
112] As for those jinn who are prominent in mischief making, they are referred to as mareed
(plural: maradah), meaning forward or rebellious. "Among mankind is he who disputes about
Allah&127; without knowledge, and follows every forward shaytaan." [22 (Al- Hajj), 3]
Iblees has his throne in the sea, and he sends out his dispatchments who aggravate people. The
greatest of them before him is the one who has caused the most fitnah. One of his workers comes
and tells him, "I did not leave [my victim] until I brought about separation between him and his wife."
Iblees draws him near, and says to him, "Yes! You (are the best!)" (Related by Muslim.)
Eavesdropping on the heavens
The shayaateen go up into the heavens, trying to eavesdrop on the angels. `A'ishah radiallahu
`anha said that she asked the Prophet sallallahu `alayhe wa-sallam about how it is
that the fortune-tellers sometimes foretell something which turns out true. He replied
that that is the word of truth which the jinn manages to catch, and so he comes and
whispers it in the ear of the fortune-teller, and to one truth he adds a hundred lies. (
Related by Bukhari and Muslim.) Allah sends meteorites against these eavesdropping shayaateen,
but sometimes one of them might pass on what he has heard to another jinn.
Their effect on humans
Every human being is always accompanied by a jinn, who tries to incite him to evil, but the Prophet
sallallahu `alayhe wa-sallam's jinn was unable to harm him. On the authority of Ibn Mas`ud: The
Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "there is not any one of
you except that he has been assigned his companion from among the jinn and his
companion from among the angels." They said, "Even you, O Messenger of Allah?"
He replied, "Even me, except that Allah has helped me against him, so that I am
unharmed (or, so that he has accepted Islam), and so he orders me to do nothing but
good." (Related by Muslim.) Thus, terrible thoughts may sometimes occur to us, but we are not
responsible for these promptings provided we neither allow them to take root within us, nor act upon
them. The fact that we recognize them as evil is itself a sign of our faith.
Satan runs through the children of Adam with the running of blood. It is possible for jinn to enter human
beings and possess them. "Those who consume interest (ribaa) do not arise except as
he arises whom Satan has driven to madness by his touch." [2 (Al- Baqarah), 275]
Protection from the shayaateen
In the authentic hadith related by Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet sallallahu `alayhe wa-sallam has
instructed us to recite the following supplication before having intercourse with our wives.
"Bismillaah. Allaahumma jannibnash- shaytaana wa-jannibish- shaytaana maa
razaqtanaa." (In the name of Allah. O Allah! Spare us from Satan, and repel Satan
from that wherewith You have provided us.) Then, if a child is conceived, Satan will never harm
The shayaateen like to frequent filthy areas such as restrooms. Thus, we should ensure that we recite
the sunnah supplication (narrated by Bukhari and Muslim) before entering the restroom, "Allaahumma
innee a`oodhu bika minal-khubuthi wal-khabaa'ith." (O Allah! I seek refuge with You from
male and female devils.)
Reciting Ayat al-kursiyy [2 (Al-Baqarah), 255] at bedtime ensures that no devil will come close to
you until the morning. (Related by Bukhari.) Saying "Laa ilaaha illallaahu wahdahoo laa
shareeka lahoo lahul-mulku wa lahul- hamdu wa-huwa `alaa kulli shay'in qadeer"
(There is no god but Allah, alone, without any partner, His is the kingdom, and His is
praise, and He has power over all things) 100 times in the morning provides protection from
Satan till the evening. (Related by Bukhari and Muslim)
In general, frequent remembrance of Allah and obedience to Him provides immunity from the
shayaateen. "Whoever withdraws himself from the rembrance of [Allah] Most Gracious,
We assign to him a shaytaan, to be his comrade." [43 (Az-Zukhruf), 36] "[Satan] has no
authority over those who believe and place trust in their Lord." [16 (An-Nahl), 99]