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The Jinn and the Nature of the Relationship Between It and the Human



Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmat Allahu wa Barakatu my Sheikh,

It is known that the evidence in the Aqeedah is either rational or through transmitted proofs. However the belief in Jinn is present only for their existence of transmitted evidence, for the lack of any significant physical evidence of their presence leads to belief in their presence rationally.

So the question: How does it agree with the afore-mentioned, that scholars say that the presence of touch and possession and such of physical interactions between Jinn and humans?

And also how can it be said that Jinn have a connection to Hasad (envy) and what a person can be also afflicted by of illness or crisis (losing a job, an accident…)?

And finally, how can the Ayahs and Hadiths dealing with articulations of touch and the like be interpreted, if you do not understand what those scholars understood from them?


Wa Alaikum Assalam wa Rahmat Allahu wa Barakatu

1. The Jinn are from the matters of the unseen; we cannot see them. Allah (swt) says,

((يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ))

“He sees you, he and his tribe, from where you see them not” [al-A’rāf: 27],

that is, Iblīs and his people, or in other words, the Jinn, given that Iblīs is from the Jinn:

((إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ))

“Except Iblīs – he was from the Jinn” [al-Kahf: 50].

2. The foundation or origin of our relationship with them is that they are able to whisper to us and entice us [waswasa]. Allah (swt) says,

((فَوَسْوَسَ لَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ))

“So Shaytān whispered to them both” [al-A’rāf: 20];

and He (swt) says,

((فَوَسْوَسَ إِلَيْهِ الشَّيْطَانُ))

“So Shaytān whispered to him” [Tāhā: 120],

and Shaytān here is Iblīs and he is from the Jinn.

3. The Shayātīn do not have a compelling authority over man, except if man chooses to follow the Shaytān of his own free will. The Exalted says,

((وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدْتُكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَنْ دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي))

“And Shaytān shall say after the affair is decided: Surely Allah promised you the promise of truth, and I gave you promises, then failed to keep them to you, and I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you answered me.” [Ibrāhīm: 22]

And He (swt) says,

((إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ إِلَّا مَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْغَاوِينَ))

“You have no authority over my slaves, except he who follows you of the deviant.” [al-Hijr: 42]

And He (swt) says,

فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ • إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ • إِنَّمَا سُلْطَانُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ بِهِ مُشْرِكُونَ

“When you recite the Qur’ān seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytān. Indeed he has no authority of those who believe and place their trust in their Lord. His authority extends only to those who befriend him and those who associate partners with Allah.” [al-Nahl: 99-100]

4. Any material relationship other than this fundamental relationship which Allah has clarified requires a particular text establishing it. If a text exists explaining any such relationship then we affirm it in accordance with that text. For example the authority of Sulaymān (as) over the Jinn and his ability to command and prohibit them is a matter about which a text has come, thus we affirm it. Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Naml about Sulaymān (as),

((قَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِي بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ • قَالَ عِفْرِيتٌ مِنَ الْجِنِّ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَقُومَ مِنْ مَقَامِكَ وَإِنِّي عَلَيْهِ لَقَوِيٌّ أَمِينٌ))

“He said, ‘O Chiefs! Which of you shall bring her throne to him before they come to him in submission? An audacious one among the jinn said: I will bring it to you before you rise up from your place; and most surely I am strong (and) trusty for it.” [al-Naml: 38]

And He, the Exalted, says,

وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ غُدُوُّهَا شَهْرٌ وَرَوَاحُهَا شَهْرٌ وَأَسَلْنَا لَهُ عَيْنَ الْقِطْرِ وَمِنَ الْجِنِّ مَنْ يَعْمَلُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِ وَمَنْ يَزِغْ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ أَمْرِنَا نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ • يَعْمَلُونَ لَهُ مَا يَشَاءُ مِنْ مَحَارِيبَ وَتَمَاثِيلَ وَجِفَانٍ كَالْجَوَابِ وَقُدُورٍ رَاسِيَاتٍ اعْمَلُوا آلَ دَاوُودَ شُكْرًا وَقَلِيلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ

“And (We made) the wind (subservient) to Sulaymān, which made a month’s journey in the morning and a month’s journey in the evening, and We made a fountain of molten copper to flow out for him, and of the jinn there were those who worked before him by the command of his Lord; and whoever turned aside from Our command from among them, We made him taste of the punishment of burning. They made for him what he pleased of fortresses and images, and bowls (large) as watering-troughs and cooking-pots that will not move from their place; give thanks, O family of Dawūd! and very few of My servants are grateful.” [Saba’: 12]

5. The Messenger of Allah (saw) would treat any material occurrence as a human matter, so long as no revelation came establishing that the Jinn had a relation to the matter. All matters were in origin taken as human affairs. If a dead man were found for instance it would not be thought that the Jinn killed him unless a text about such were found. Such was the case in the incident of the dead man found in Khaybar where the search was directed at who from amongst the people killed him, and did not extend to even the possibility of the Jinn having done so.

Muslim relates in His Sahīh that Abdullah ibn Sahl and Muhayyisah set out for Khaybar out of severe fatigue. When Muhayyisah found out that Abdullah ibn Sahl have been killed and thrown into a well he went to the Jews and said, “By Allah, you have killed him!” They replied, “By Allah, we did not kill him.” When the matter reached the Messenger of Allah (saw) he said, “Either they pay the blood-money of your companion or they declare war (by refusing to comply with the Shari’ah rules).” So he (saw) wrote to them and they wrote back,

«إِمَّا أَنْ يَدُوا صَاحِبَكُمْ وَإِمَّا أَنْ يُؤْذِنُوا بِحَرْبٍ فَكَتَبَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِلَيْهِمْ فِي ذَلِكَ فَكَتَبُوا إِنَّا وَاللَّهِ مَا قَتَلْنَاهُ…»

“By Allah, we did not kill him.”… The incident is well-known. Important to our current discussion, at no point did the question of the Jinn having played any role enter the discussion in any way.

6. Hence so long as a text mentioning a material relationship regarding any given incident is not found, the relationship between Jinn and man remains limited to whispering and incitement. Further, because the message of the Messenger (saw) is the seal of the messages, where after the revelation ceased and no new text will come, therefore no material relationship between Jinn and man can be established. There remains only the possibility of whispering and incitement, and as we have mentioned there is no authority in the whispering of the Jinn over man except if man responds to that whispering by his own choice.

This is how material matters were treated in the time of the Khulafa’ al-Rāshideen, such that at the occurrence of no material event, be it murder, theft, deception, or fraud, did the mind turn to the Jinn. It always turned to men, because the relation of Jinn is one of whispering and incitement, except if a text exists to say otherwise. Since no specific texts can come after the Messenger of Allah (saw), all material occurrences are from men, not from the Jinn, for their world is different to ours, and their relationship with us is a relationship of whispering alone.

Therefore if someone falls ill there is no connection of this with the Jinn. The illness is to be treated according to the Islamic injunctions, that is, through therapy. This treatment can be material (medicine) or through du’a and ruqya.

As for the former it is like what came in the hadith from Usāmah ibn Sharīk that he said, “I came to the Prophet (saw) and his Companions who were as if they had birds on their heads. I greeted them and sat down. Then came bedouins from various areas and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, should we take medicine’? He replied,

«تَدَاوَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَمْ يَضَعْ دَاءً إِلاَّ وَضَعَ لَهُ دَوَاءً غَيْرَ دَاءٍ وَاحِدٍ الْهَرَمُ»

‘Take medicine for indeed Allah has not made an illness except that he has created its cure, except only one illness, death.’ (Abu Dāwūd)

As for the latter, it is like what came in the hadith related by Muslim from Aisha, the mother of the believers (ra), that, “The Messenger of Allah used to recite this incantation (ruqyah),

«أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يَرْقِي بِهَذِهِ الرُّقْيَةِ أَذْهِبْ الْبَاسَ رَبَّ النَّاسِ بِيَدِكَ الشِّفَاءُ لاَ كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ»

‘Lord of the people, remove the trouble for in your Hand is the cure; none is there to relieve him but you.’ This and the like supplications from the Qur’an and Sunnah or that which accords with them can be used.

As for resorting to those who claim to have a material connection with the Jinn in order to cure an illness, then this is fraud and deception from those fraudsters who fool the common people and unjustly consume their wealth.

7. As for the interpretation of the Ayah that contains “touch”, it is as if you mean Ayah 275 in Al-Baqara which is:

((الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا))

“Those who swallow usury will not rise, except as someone knocked by Satan from the touch. That is because they say, “Commerce is like usury.” But God has permitted commerce, and has forbidden usury. Whoever, on receiving advice from his Lord, refrains, may keep his past earnings, and his case rests with God. But whoever resumes-these are the dwellers of the Fire, wherein they will abide forever.” [al-Baqara: 275]

And here is the following about its interpretation:

1. Allah (swt) has made an example for those who swallow usury as the one who flounders due to epilepsy, he stands and falls so he is confused in his walk and standing and sitting so insanity has defeated him, and that is because he used to consider usury like commerce, and Allah (swt) has prohibited usury and permitted commerce.

((الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا))

“Those who swallow usury” [al-Baqara: 275]

Or those who take it, and he generalizes all who benefit from it. And the word ﴿يَأْكُلُونَ “swallow” [al-Baqara: 275] is used in the Quran to indicate fault,

((إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ الْيَتَامَى ظُلْمًا إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ نَارًا))

“Those who consume the wealth of orphans illicitly consume only fire into their bellies; and they will roast in a Blaze.” [al-Nisa’: 10]

((يَتَمَتَّعُونَ وَيَأْكُلُونَ كَمَا تَأْكُلُ الْأَنْعَامُ وَالنَّارُ مَثْوًى لَهُمْ))

“They enjoy themselves, and eat as cattle eat, and the Fire will be their dwelling.” [Muhammad: 12]

Here as well. ((لَا يَقُومُونَ)) “will not rise” [al-Baqara: 275]

i.e. the Day of Resurrection.

((إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ))

“except as someone who is being beaten by Satan” [al-Baqara: 275]

or they will be sent from their graves, and arise like the floundering epileptic in this world – or the insane – and that is a disgrace for them on that day and it is an allegory for the forbiddance of usury whose forbiddance is repeated in these Ayahs.

((مِنَ الْمَسِّ))

“from the touch” [al-Baqara: 275]

Or insanity, and it is said: The man was touched then he is touched so he is insane. And Khabt (abnormal movement) is uneven blows like erratic movements.

And many explanations were given in the interpretation of

((إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ))

“except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity.” [al-Baqara: 275]

And the most correct of them is that when a person is afflicted by insanity the Shaytan has a greater influence on him through his whisperings, so he imagines many things which leads the insane person to be confused.

As for saying that the Shaytan is the one who caused him to become insane, the Ayah does not state that, for Allah Almighty did not say (the Shaytan beats him with the touch) meaning that the Shaytan afflicted him with insanity, but instead he said:

((يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ))

“beaten by Satan from the touch” [al-Baqara: 275]

Meaning that the Shaytan beats him due to his insanity, so the insanity was prior to the beating of the Shaytan.

This is most preponderant in my opinion regarding the interpretation of the Ayah, that the swallower of usury is as the one who the Shaytan beats from the touch, or due to insanity, as in the insanity is prior to the beating of the Shaytan of the person, so the person is insane for some reason then the Shaytan beats him with his whispering and imagination.

So the Shaytan does not make one insane, or else the Ayah would be (the one who the Shaytan beats with the touch) with the “Ba’” affixed to insanity, meaning that he afflicted him with insanity, and this allegory is a stark sensory description due to the severity of the crime of the one who swallows usury…

Your brother,

Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah

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