By Hiba F. & JabalMaryam
Every culture has its own myths and legends, superstitions that are either wedged between fear and awe or skepticism. The supposedly ‘murky’ and ‘mystical’ concept of jinn in Muslim culture, otherwise also spelt as djinn, jinni, genie etc., is similarly confused and misunderstood. Aside from the obvious question of their existence, there are a lot of other consequential puzzles that arise. What are they? Can we see them? Can they harm us?
As Muslims, we are required to believe in the unseen, and therefore, we do not deny the existence of the Jinn. In fact, some scholars say that belief in the jinn is mutual with the pillar of Iman that requires us to believe in the angels.Their existence is also affirmed by the Quran and sunnah. Most noticeably in our times, mention of the jinn comes up in cases of afflictions and illnesses that can’t be pinned to physical causes – strange occurrences that happen in the daily lives of many.
Case study based on testimony, names changed:
“This might sound awkward, but I was onced possessed. I’ve been Muslim since birth, but around two years ago, I changed into a completely different person. I don’t know how it started, but I definitely was possessed at the time.
As Muslims, we do not drink alcohol, consume marijuana or do any kind of drugs, and yet at the time of my possession, I started doing them all. A Muslim’s foundation is built on Tawheed; we follow only one God, Allah, yet I started questioning His existence.
We live a lifestyle of kindness and honesty, but I started arguing with my family. It even escalated into physical fights every now and then. Maybe you’ll read this and think, “Well, that’s all pretty normal,” but I assure you it wasn’t normal behaviour for me.
I can’t tell you all how bizarre I became back then. I started to like Hindu idols like Shiva and Durga. Whenever I went out, I’d see things that I’d never seen before. I started roaming around dense trees, and stared at them mindlessly for hours on end. I started eating like crazy. I ate twice more than I used to eat normally. Saying Bismillah before eating made me feel nauseous. I’d sit in front of mirrors and stare till my eyes would go red. It was all really scary, but nothing I did could prevent it.
My possession was confirmed when an imam visited our house. Internally, I regarded imams with skepticism, thinking that they were all gold-diggers who did not have any actual expertise in religion. In retrospect, even that skepticism was influenced by the jinn, out of its own fear. I don’t know why, but my legs started shaking and my hands trembled as the imam read Qur’an. I let out weird, high-pitched sounds that I could hear even in my daze. When he asked for my name, I started doing weird actions like shaking my head left and right, as if I was searching for something. The odd noises kept coming from me.
Soon enough, weirder occurrences followed. I was sitting straight on the sofa but slowly, I started bending myself forward. Both my feet stretched apart and I was starting at the ground so hard, my eyes started to hurt. The imam stood up immediately, grabbed my hands and told me to look up. I thought he was going to hit me, but when he looked deep into my eyes, he only exclaimed, “Ya Allah.” He then told my mom that I was definitely possessed. They held me tight to the sofa when I tried to get away, but I felt stronger than the both of them combined. I could have pushed them away if I tried.
The imam started reciting surahs with his palm resting on my forehead, and then he blew air around my face. He asked my mother to bring water on which he recited the Qur’an, asking me to drink it.
The weird sounds still came. I thought the imam was foolish for reciting the Qur’an so loudly, it’d scare away the kittens. Which was funny, because we never had any kittens at home. After a while, I settled a bit and started to listen closely to the Quran. It was like with every breath, my body and mind was becoming clearer and clearer. It felt good listening. I closed my eyelids and concentrated. Alhamdulillah, the jinn that possessed me had left. After he finished reciting, he told my mom to continue reciting the Qur’an loudly and regularly at home, and for myself to also join in on the recitations. It took me about five or six months to fully go back to normal.
Fast forward to now, I’m completely normal and healthy, alhamdulillah. As a matter of fact, the imam visited me very recently. I discussed my own ailment with him and how it could have happened. He told me that jinn possess people who they think look beautiful, among many other reasons. Beautiful does not mean a slim body or big eyes. The jinn have their own standards to what ‘beautiful’ entails. Another reason jinns possess humans is because their world was different from ours, although they both coexist. Possessing humans meant they could take a look at our world, and since they had the means to, many of the deviant jinns took the opportunity.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but I remember that in one exam season, pressure got to me and I stopped reciting Qur’an and even performing my prayers for a good three months. The lax attitude stuck even after my exams ended. Furthermore, I started hanging out with older friends and smoked cigarettes with them. All of this could have contributed to my being an easy target for the jinn to possess me.
I know a lot of you are studying the sciences, maybe even future scientists, but my case wasn’t something that could be medically explained. I was simply possessed by a jinn. As Muslims, we have to stick to our roots. Pray to Allah, preach His path. He’s the Creator of both humankind and the jinn, so who better to seek protection from? When people stop believing in God, they subject themselves to a higher risk of jinn possession, even magic or the evil eye. Remember Allah always; definitely in your trials but also in your happy days. Think of Him optimistically, because God is to His servant what he thinks of Him. Talk to Him in your prayers, complain like you would complain to your therapist. Whatever you do, don’t sever that connection.”
Allah says in the Quran, “And we created Jinn from a smokeless flame of the fire.”
We should understand that the Jinn are a paranormal species created by Allah, and while they can see us, we can’t see them. They were the inhabitants of the Earth before the creation of Adam and the onset of humanity.
When Allah created Adam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), Iblees became jealous of the superior status granted to him by Allah. After all, why would he – who was created before, and from a superior element – bow down to this measly clay doll?
The progeny of Iblees (the Shayateen) are just as jealous of the children of Adam as Iblees was of Adam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) himself. And thus began their legion, sworn to destroy humanity till its last breath, with its armies, horses, false promises, you name it.
As grim as they may sound, the jinn are nothing to actually fear. Rather they’re a test from Allah in their own right, entities to understand and protect yourself from. Among the Jinn, there are righteous Jinn as well as those who disobey Allah, just like there are among the Insaan.
The jinn were granted capabilities that Allah (ﷻ) gave to them as a test, and the rebellious Jinn used them to cause mischief. Their capacities are something you’d imagine seeing only in comics: super strength, super speed, possession, teleportation and metamorphosis among other things. They can harm us in many different ways, some of the usual patterns being through possession, black magic, jealousy and evil eye. These spiritual ailments have side-effects too, some of them very physical and others psychological, both of which we, sometimes, mistakenly ascribe to medical causes. Among them are: depression, anger, suicidal thoughts, diabetes, weight gain, OCD, separation between spouses, loss, blockages in life etc.
The Prophet (ﷺ) taught us to seek protection against them and their evil, in many more ways than one. We’re taught to recite our morning and evening adhkar promptly, whose words bespeak our helplessness and need for Allah’s protection against the forces of the Shayateen. (Pro tip: The Fortress of the Muslim by Sa’id ibn Wahf al-Qahtani is a go-to pocketbook that compiles not only the morning/evening athkar, but duas for any situation imaginable.)
Think of a person who does his daily adhkar like a person with a fully-equipped shield around him. Anything you throw at it bounces right off the shield. He is fully protected and guarded by Allah (ﷻ). Although we cannot see the shield in its physical form, it’s existence is as sure as the sun’s rising every morning. Not only does it protect us from tangible evils that we are prone to during our day, it also diverts the jinn away from us and deflects catastrophes that we’d never imagined to prepare for.
Maintaining personal hygiene, dusting our bed before sleep, saying Bismillah before eating, drinking, undressing etc, are other seemingly minuscule but just as important habits that protect us from the jinn and their leering eyes. “Bismillah” is an incarnation we take for granted, quite unfortunately. It is a stronghold, our guarantee to safety. An act performed with Allah’s name has the jinn screeching and running away like you’ve quite literally tasered them. Make it a practice to say Bismillah before virtually anything you do! Namely before entering houses, markets and especially deserted places that have been vacated for too long.
If you suspect that you could be affected by jinni influences, don’t fret. Worrying just makes it worse. It gives the jinn confidence and power over you, spiraling you further into harm and self doubt.The Prophet (ﷺ) taught us to treat the harm caused by a Jinn using ruqyah.
Allah says in the Quran:
“And we sent down of the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe.” (27:82)
Aishah (RA) narrated:
“When the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him was ill, Jibreel (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) performed Ruqyah on him.” (Muslim, 2192)
Ruqyah is treatment of Sihr, Jinn possession, evil eye, envy, even physical, mental and psychological disorders through the recitation of the Quran, the names of Allah and the authentic Duas. In fact, ruqyah is not restricted to treatment of spiritual illnesses, rather the Prophet (ﷺ) prescribed it to even those who suffered from physical illnesses. You simply cannot go wrong with ruqyah. But, yes, when it comes to afflictions of the Jinn, the only cure is ruqyah.
Unfortunately, there are many people who claim to do ruqyah, but in reality, are con men seated to scam you. These people want to steal your faith, and your wallets while they’re at it! Be careful who you go to for ruqyah, and check whether what they do is from the Sunnah or has roots in Shirk or Satanic practices.When someone pretends to know the unseen, informs you of your mom’s name, the purpose of your visit or something of that sort, realize that he’s communicating with your Qareen. They’ll ask you to sacrifice animals in names other than Allah, or ask you money for sacrifice. They’ll write some random mumbo jumbo on papers, draw weird symbols or murmur things you don’t understand, things that you know are definitely not from the Qur’an.
Don’t be fooled by these people. They are interacting with the Jinn and stealing your Imaan. Sometimes, it’s surprising really, even they themselves don’t realize that they are worshipping the Jinn.
The correct way to do ruqyah is to start with believing that only Allah can cure a person and using ruqyah as a tool to seek the cure. Ruqyah is only a means to your cure, but ultimately, know that only the one who allowed you to be afflicted with your trial can thus cure you from it – Allah.
In fact,the best ruqyah is usually the ruqyah you do on yourself! After all, you’re the one who will call out to Allah with the most sincerity for the cure of your own illness – way more than anyone else can for you. There are no tedious rituals or occult seances involved. Proceed to recite the Quran and Duas from the Sunnah sincerely. There are a few specific surahs (Fatihah, Baqarah, Aal Imran, Ikhlas, Falaq, and Naas) and duas
(أَذْهِبِ الْبَأْسَ رَبَ ّ النَّاسِ وَاشْفِ أَنْتَ الشَّافِي لَا شِفَاءَ إِلَّا شِفَاؤُكَ شِفَاءٌ لَا يُغَادِرُ سَقَمَاً). It works best when you understand the meanings of the verses and/or the duas that you recite.
Ustadh Muhammad Tim Humble has written and taught extensively about ruqyah, some sources to get you started can be found here:
- A Simple Guide to self Ruqyah
- Ruqyah, the Jinn, Magic, the Evil Eye, and Related Topics
- Ustadh’s website dedicated to ruqyah with resources, blog posts, advice and videos.
In conclusion, the jinn are a real part of our lives, whether we acknowledge them or not. But we were not left defenseless against an invisible enemy. The Sunnah of the Prophet, though sadly ignored, shows us many a different defense strategies for our own fool-proof fortress against the Jinn. Ruqyah especially, is powerful ammunition that both protects us against and assaults the jinni forces. All we have to do is educate ourselves, and use the treasures we’ve been left behind.
Copyright © 2021 Hiba F. & JabalMaryam
About the Authors
Hiba F is a high school senior who is frequently mistaken for a university professor. She completed her memorization of the Quran at age 14 and has since gotten into studying tafsir and Arabic. She’s a serial bullet journaling bookworm. Her other interests include drawing, embroidery and writing. She aspires for a career as an author, business woman and a naturopath. It’s only impossible till someone does it, you know?
JabalMaryam is a first-year university student who excels at procrastination and last minute submissions.