All societies have heard of or have had some experience with “paranormal activity”, whether named extra-terrestrial, ghosts, spirits or evil forces, there is a universal understanding that something exists alongside us. Some scientists may explain these events with the idea of life in space, realists suggest it is matters of the mind, and others may take on a more spiritual approach i.e. demonic possession. Islam acknowledges this activity and “other” being as the Jinn, and culturally this essentially means mental health problem. There is so much to cover, and much that has been left out – but this is a little attempt in trying to condense the world of the Jinn into a short (longer than normal) post to try and clear up any misconceptions between the jinn world and mental health issues.
Who and what are the Jinn?
The word Jinn (جن) comes from the word Ij-tinaan (إِجْتِنَان) and to conceal, and in context to the physicality of Jinn’s in their natural form, they remain unseen and invisible to the human eye. Perhaps this is why jinn and mental health related problems are clustered together because both are abstract and unseeable. The Jinn have a parallel realm to humans, we co-exist but there are no clashes between civilisations unless of course, communication is induced. The differences between us and them start with their origin, a smokeless flame of fire which Allah created them from, before He created humans from clay.
“And He created the Jinn from a smokeless flame of fire.” [55:15]
“And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud. And the Jinn We created before from scorching fire”. [15:26-27]
Unlike the Jinn and the Angels, mankind do not have subcategories or specified roles i.e. there is an angel responsible for blowing the trumpet on the day of judgment, one for death and one in control of the rain and many more. Whilst the Jinn do not have such noble duties, there are 3 broad categories of Jinn:
The Prophet (saws) 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” [Tabari & Al-Hakim]
These types of Jinn can be further divided into 2 groups, believers and disbelievers, Muslims and Non-Muslims. It is important to understand that the Jinn can be good practicing Muslims and we cannot deny this, despite how much trouble we may have trying to get our head around the idea. The misconceptions of them just being evil could have originated from the belief that Jinn’s can only become Muslims after an exorcism where the Raqi helps them take their shahada as they exit the body – however this is not the case at all. Allah has made it evident for us in the Qur’an what the Jinn have spoken about believers being amongst them with varying religious sects as well as righteousness. This confirms that Jinn’s have the same free will that humans have been given, as well as deviation and division that the ummah also faces.
“And some of us are Muslims, and of us some are al-qaasitoon (disbelievers – those who have deviated from the Right Path). And whosoever has embraced Islam, then such have sought the Right Path. And as for the qaasitoon, they shall be firewood for Hell” [72:14-15]
“There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary; we are groups, each having a different way (religious sects, etc.)” [72:11]
Amongst the disbelievers of the Jinn there have been further categories classified:
Ibn Abdul Barr said: “The jinn, according to the scholars of languages are of different types:
- The jinn of themselves – “jinni”
- The jinn that live among mankind – “aamar”.
- The Jinn that bother the young – “arwaah”
- The evil Jinn that bother humans are “shayateen”
- The strongest, and most harmful of the Jinn is called – “afreet”
[Ashqar, trans Zarabozo 1998]
Another type of Jinn is the “Qareen” which the Prophet (saw) told us about, the Qareen is important to be aware of in order to try to avoid the fitna which the Qareen causes such as encouraging to pursue temptations and evil whisperings:
Ibn Masood said, “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “There is not one of you who does not have a jinn appointed to be his constant companion.” They said, “And you too, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Me too, but Allah has helped me and he has submitted, so that he only helps me to do good.”” [Muslim]
It may be handy to know that the Jinns also consume, just like us. Their food however, may not be as tasty as ours.“Do not clean yourself with dung or with bones for they are food for your brothers among the Jinn.” [Tirmidhi] This is why it is also encouraged to always say bismillah before you eat because you do not want shaytaan to be sharing your morself.
Why were Jinns created?
“And I did not create Jinn and Mankind except to worship Me” [51:56]
Knowing our purpose in life has to be the most fundamental component of knowledge that is needed to make our life worth living, and that is why Allah makes it clear, without any riddles, metaphors or doubts. Our, including the Jinns, purpose in life is to worship Allah alone. That is the essence of why we were created, to be tested of our covenant to Allah, acquire ihsaan, live with imaan, and have love for the next in order to get the ultimate reward – and all of this applies to the Jinn. Perhaps they are tested differently and will be judged for different things due to their abilities and powers, just like the differences among humans have varying levels of accountability such as the disabled man vs the able, the poor vs the rich, the mother vs the father.
On this note, it would only make sense to clear up the notion that all Jinn are devils. Jinn are the descendents of Shaytaan, however Allah has given them intellect and mental faculties to choose their own paths of right and wrong. Just like how humans are descendents of Adam (as), and we have the ability to choose. It would be unreasonable to assume that all Jinn are destined for disbelief when they are a creation of Allah and have been prescribed the same purpose as us.
“… Will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you?…” [18:50] (Referring to shaytaan and his “kind”)
Ibn Taymiyyah and his student Ibn Al-Qayyim also called Satan the father of jinn in various places in Majmu’ al-Fataawa (4/346, 235)
The powers and abilities of the Jinn
“And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” [17:70]
We can see that humans are the best of creation, and have been honored and given such a preference that it is stated in the Qur’an. It is important to keep this in mind when discussing the power and abilities of the Jinn because it may seem that they have been given extraordinary capabilities and in comparison, humans appear “normal”. However, our “normality” is what has given us a high status. So, keep this in mind as we go on to talk about particular powers and abilities that the Jinn have been given that we do not possess.
- The jinn remain invisible to us, and we can only see them when they take on a physical form i.e. snake, or dogs (refer to previous hadith)
- They can have been given great speed and can travel great distances such as when a Jinn retrieved the throne of Bilqis before the Prophet Sulaymaan could get up from his seat: “A powerful one from among the jinn said, “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place, and indeed, I am for this [task] strong and trustworthy.”. [27:39] or when Allah states that the lowest heaven has been armed to defeat the Jinns who would come up to listen to what the angels are saying: “And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with stars and have made [from] them what is thrown at the devils and have prepared for them the punishment of the Blaze.” [67:5]
How do they affect us?
There is no orderly fashion to go about this, or any chronological order to set them in, so bear in mind there is no stage succession that an individual has to go through to be affected nor for the Jinn to affect.
As the Jinn can transform into physical objects in our world of visibility, they can also enter the human body. AKA Jinn possession. Through Jinn possession, the body is taken over and although what happens to the human “within” is not clear, we could say that it has been hidden by the Jinn who can now control the body in terms of actions, speech and thought. Humans who have been possessed often exhibit enormous amounts of strength and energy, weird speech, abnormal and prohibited behaviour as well as having strong reactions to “Islamic” things such as; Qur’an recitation, someone praying or making dua. This is where the lines get blurry between mental health and jinn related issues, particularly with Psychosis, Schizophrenia and Bipolar because the symptoms of these mental health disorders may correlate with some of the characteristics of a jinn possession such as hearing voices, seeing things, being paranoid, doing random out of character things and having irregular mood swings. It is important to remember that this is not the person speaking or doing these things, they are simply being used as a means for the Jinn inside, like a puppet. Jinns may possess an individual for many reasons, such as a desire for that person, perhaps the human did something wrong accidentally, revenge, the human did not protect themselves properly or the Jinn is just evil. This may seem a little scary, but do not be alarmed – keep reading and you will find a little bit of comfort.
On a lower and less intrusive level, we have black magic (sihr). Black magic is such a huge umbrella of subtopics and ties into shirk. We have things like Astrology, fortune telling, invocating strange objects/people/events, doing certain things to hair or nails* etc (which are all strictly forbidden as it nullifies Tawheed) but the main theme is that this type of magic is induced. Whether that be by a magician, or someone seeking this type of “help”. Of course not everyone who suffers from the effects of black magic asks for it, there are ways to protect yourself (keep reading). However common and forbidden ways are through talismans and amulets which are a form of shirk as it is seeking help from something other than Allah (this could be a whole other post on its own)
*The Prophet saw saw in a dream that his hair was attached to a comb with the skin of a date palm which someone had done magic on and had caused him discomfort in dreams. [Bukhari]
Some people may ask “how are fortune tellers so accurate?. Well, here we go back to the powers and abilities of the Jinn. First we have to understand that these black magicians have done some sort of sacrilege or made some contract between themselves and their Jinn to cause harm, and so they become partners and support each other to con people. Thus, fortune tellers/astrologers may appear accurate because the Jinn have the ability to go to the lowest of heavens and hear certain things about certain people, and the appointed jinn of that magician will come back and report to them. The magicians’ jinn may even communicate with the Qareen of the individual seeking the service to gain extra insight of the individual’s characteristics, past experiences and future plans.
Another question maybe “why do some things come true when invoking other than Allah?”*, i.e. a Jinn may stop bothering an individual when a “Raqi” does their “Ruqyah” or dodgy self-ruqya tips take place such as invocating Shaytaan, eating non-sunnah things, or wearing different types of amulets, but this maybe because the Jinn has gotten what it wants and therefore may leave temporarily in order for you to believe in the wrong. However, this opens the door for more harm.
*“Abdullaah ibn Masud’s wife, Zaynab, reported that once when Ibn Masud saw a cord necklace around her neck and he asked what it was, she replied, “It is a cord in which a spell has been placed to help me.” He snatched it from her neck, broke it up and said “Surely the family of Abdullaah has no need for shirk! I have heard Allah’s Messenger say, “Verily spells, talismans and charms are shirk.” Zaynab replied, “Why are you saying this? My eye used to twitch, and when I went to so and so, the Jew, he put a spell on it and it stopped twitching!” Ibn Masud replied, “Verily it was only a devil prodding it with his hand so when you had it bewitched he left it alone. It would have been sufficient for you to have said as the Prophet saw used to say: “Allaahumma ath-habil-ba’sa Rabban-naas washfi, fa antash-shaafee, laa shifaa’a illaa shifaa’uk, shiffaa’an laa yughaadiruhu saqamaa.” (Remove the suffering, O Lord of mankind, and heal (me) perfectly, as You are the true healer. There is no cure except Your cure, a cure which is not followed by sickness.”” [Abu Dawood. Dua is also in Bukhari and Muslim] This hadith shows that Jinns may leave you alone due to it getting what it wants as mentioned before.
How can we protect ourselves from the evil Jinn?
You have to bear in mind that there is protection, and then treatment. They are 2 seperate things that may have overlapping methods, but are still 2 individual aspects of healing that occur at separate times. The ways of protection should not be mixed up with treatment, and vice versa as they may not have the desired outcome. However, as it is all from the Qur’an and Sunnah, they may contribute i.e. taking your preventative inhaler every day to regulate your asthma would have more an impact that taking it whilst you are having an asthma attack. It may reduce symptoms, but you will remain chesty and breathless.
Let’s start this final part with:
“And if Allah should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him; and if He intends for you good, then there is no repeller of His bounty. He causes it to reach whom He wills of His servants. And He is the Forgiving, the Merciful” [10:107]
Just knowing, with conviction and true understanding that if the whole of the Jinn world is against you but Allah is with you, they can do nothing to you – is already a form of protection. Knowing full well that you are an honored and preferred creation of Allah can give you the courage to stand tall and not be shaken by foolish attempts of shaytaan and his descendants to try and break you.
This applies to the remedies of Ruqyah – one of the conditions is that you must believe that shifaa is not within Ruqyah, rather it is with Allah and without His Healing, Ruqyah would make no difference. It is also very important, and we cannot stress enough how important it is to know the full conditions of Ruqyah (and a Raqi) as being aware of this will keep you away from committing wrong and can give you the ability to make a distinction between a genuine Raqi and a not so genuine one.
- It must be with the speech of Allah, His names and attributes, or the speech of His Messenger (saws) to ensure that you are using the right and unique words.
- It must be in Arabic, or have the same meaning to the words in other languages.
- To believe that Ruqyah has no benefit by itself, but the cure is from Allah.
- Not to perform Ruqyah in a state of impurity or in an impure place such as a bathroom or a graveyard due to the possibility of shirk taking place.
Ruqya with Shirk
The total opposite of that mentioned above. So if you come across someone who claims to have the remedy to all your jinni related problems, has bizarre “tools” and asks you to do nonsensical acts, says things in a language you do not understand, claims that Ruqyah will only work if you believe in the things this Raqi says, and charges an extortionate price whilst dismissing other forms of support and help (counselling, support groups, confiding in friends and family)- then that should ring alarm bells. It is a shame to say that these types of people and practices are common in heavily Muslim/south Asian populated areas of the UK, and it is crucial that they are not taken lightly or joked around with, for all aspects of your health. You can listen in for more detail as our Islamic Advisor and Co-Founder discuss more in this month’s podcast.
There are also ample ways to protect yourself as stated in the Qur’an and Sunnah, from specific adiyaah, surah’s and adkhaar to say numerous or specific times of the day. There’s even food from the sunnah and you can find all these tips and general protective points in one place here. We recommend that you do not overdo it, take from your buffet of protection a little bit at a time because you do not want to overwhelm yourself. Of course you should make these tips a part of your routine, but do not expect yourself to be a jinn buster overnight.
In general, trying to strengthen your islamic identity, doing something new every day for the sake of Allah, adding to your scales of good deeds can help in many ways and not just for the sake of protection.
Just a few points to leave you with:
- As always, do not be scared of the Jinn, we are equipped and can defend ourselves in the best of ways with the name of Allah.
- We should not focus on what could be but rather keep our eyes on what is. More often than not, people end up scaring themselves. Whilst it is important to be fearful of what the Jinn can do and how we could potentially sin- protecting ourselves should balance this out with hope and trust in Allah.
- We do not recommend delving into too much detail about the world of the unseen, what Allah has revealed to us is enough as His knowledge encompasses all, He has chosen to reveal the “whats” and “whys”, we do not need to know the “hows” and “what ifs”. It is a dangerous territory and may be feeding our minds and bodies with things that it should not be preoccupied with.
- At Inspirited Minds we always recommend a holistic approach, regardless of whether it is just a jinn or mental health related issue. If you receive both ruqyah and counselling, you are covering your back from all avenues, and there is no harm or shame in getting both.
- The Ruqyah series were not written by professionals, we are all keen mental health advocates and accountable Muslims who have done their research to bring you these articles in order to educate, raise awareness and benefit readers to get the right support and aid. If there is any good in these posts it is from Allah, and if there is anything false, it is from ourselves and shaytaan.
If you would like to add or have any questions, or need some support, please get in touch!
“La illaha ilAllahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul Mulku, wa lahul Hamdu, yuhyee wayu meethu, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in Qadeer”
There is no deity but Allah alone. He has no Partner. Sovereignty and Praise and Thanks are Him, The Giver of Life and Death and He has Power over all things