Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Islam and the belief in Jinns

There are many things that Muslims are obliged to believe that defy common sense and contradict scientific knowledge. The problem arises from having to take the Qur'an as the literal, uncreated word of God. Thus when Christians read of Old Testament prophets living to hundreds of years old and fathering children in their dotage, of a man being swallowed by a fish and living in its belly for three days, or of Adam and Eve... they can take such stories as allegories if they wish, whereas Muslims MUST take every word as true if Mohammad happened to include it in the Revelation.  

One of the more bizarre of these beliefs is that sprites or spirits called Jinns exist. It doesn't take a great leap of imagination to see where stories of evil desert spirits playing havoc with the Bedouin's possessions may have originated. Anyone who has spent any time in the desert will be familiar with the mini twisters that seem to erupt for no reason. If you have never witnessed one, please play the video...  And yet many Muslims seem to delight in the stories of these super-natural creatures. Some have created whole websites devoted to explaining their origins and powers .  

These creatures, according to Islamic belief as written in the Qur'an and reliable hadith, have the following characteristics:
 i. Allah created them from a special smokeless fire (And the jinns did He create from a smokeless flame of fire. (55:16)
ii. They will go to Hell in the same was as men, if they are bad or fail to believe in Allah (And surely, We have created many of the jinns and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones) 7:179. This verse is also interesting in that it tells us that the merciful Allah creates people (and jinn) specifically to go to Hell where presumably Allah will delight in burning the skins off their back for eternity...
iii. The jinn were created for no purpose other than to worship Allah - just like humans... (And I (Allâh) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).) 51:56
iv. Some of the jinn are Muslims and some are unbelievers (And of us some are Muslims (who have submitted to Allâh, after listening to this Qur'ân), and of us some are Al-Qâsitûn (disbelievers those who have deviated from the Right Path)'. And whosoever has embraced Islâm (i.e. has become a Muslim by submitting to Allâh), then such have sought the Right Path.") 72:14 Note that in the above ayat the jinn are quoted directly. That is because surah 72  (Al -jinn) is devoted to a description of what a small group of jinn said to Muhammad Say (O Muhammad: "It has been revealed to me that a group (from three to ten in number) of jinns listened (to this Qur'ân). They said: 'Verily! We have heard a wonderful Recital (this Qur'ân)!   From this surah we also learn that the jinn bizarrely deny God ever had a wife or kids: And exalted be the Majesty of our Lord, He has taken neither a wife, nor a son 72:3 So the jinn also seem to share the misapprehension that the Christians believe God married Mary to sire Jesus... Presumably the jinn quoted in the Qur'an a) heard a pre-publication copy of the book they themselves appear in b) were all Muslim jinn and not the unbeliever sort. So Muslims are asked to believe that the pagan Bedouin belief in evil sprites that obviously originated in the desert dwellers' fear of the strange noises and phenomena of the desert are in reality an important part of their supposedly monotheistic religion.

When are the intelligent, intellectually curious Muslims going to rise up and start to question this gibberish?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This post was originally published momentarily in July before blogger became confused (because I was posting from France at the time) and deleted it after a couple of hours.
    My apologies if this therefore seems familiar...

  3. Hi all

    Well how can intelligent muslims believe this; well that is fairly straightforward. The general bread and butter argument for djinn by these "intellectuals" are:-

    1. Science may discover them in the future. Just because there is no evidence now, does not mean they don't exist. if this fails to impress move to two.
    2. They are in a another realm They are undetectable. again if this fails to impress move to next.
    3. You are misinterpretting what they are. if this fails move on to
    4. The quran is perfect and djinns therefore exist. if this again fails.
    5. you know its true and you are lying to yourself. If this fails then the ultimate step.
    6. Allah has veiled your eyes and you therefore cannot see what is obvious.

    For those curious step 2 invalidate 1.

    Majority of supernatural claims follow this same pattern. So don't feel to down if they don't get it because at the end of the day they usually don't want to get it.

    A little food for thought on point 6. When a muslim makes this point, how do muslims distinguish whether or not they may infact be the ones actually blind and the accused may actually be right?.

    HINT- The answer is not "i believe the quran to be true and it says its true, so anything contrary is false"

    for those muslims struggling to see why that is an invalid argument, then i kindly suggest picking up a neutral book explaining reason, logic and critical thinking. preferably one NOT written by muslim apologists (those whos job it is to convert).


  4. Jinns exist - there is evidence for them and of people having Jinn trapped inside them.
    PLEASE research this some more. You are misleading people.

    1. Really! Your evidence for djinn is possessions and here i thought muslims would have a rational explanation. "possessions" can easily be diagnosed as mental disorders. A little google search on scizophrenia might enlighten some for a start.

      Your last statement is very common response to criticisms. Anyone who disagree's with your ideas has to do more research because muslims are never wrong. Well; contrary to your belief, people who actually do proper UNBIASED and HONEST research find the djinn claim (among others) laughable.

      And indeed gullible people are bieng mislead but by irrational beliefs in the supernatural.


  5. Muhammad Asad says Jinns are a metaphor and I agree

    1. @ Jasmine
      Metaphor smetaphor
      The last bastion of the reasonable person who can't conceive of existence without God.
      "Ah yes - Adam and Eve - metaphor! Noah's flood - metaphor! Fiery hell - metaphor! Virgins with no hair - metaphor!"
      How about "God - metaphor!"...?
      Have you ever wondered, if Allah was so keen on making the Qur'an clear and understandable, why he used so many metaphors which the poor Muslims have misinterpreted for 1,400 years as literal and caused untold suffering as a result?
      Doesn't his strike you as one giant oversight on the part of the perfect deity?

    2. @jasmine If djinns are a metaphor, why this whole obssession with possessions, black magic and curses. Muslims wont take it lightly with someone implying the are gullible idiots bieng duped for 1400 years of misinterpretations. I know this because i've tried in much nicer ways.

      Your whole idea that the quran can be interpreted different ways, whether in context, hadiths or reason for revelation, makes it invalidate the Quran you hold so dear.

      Why?; you may ask, well because different interpretation make it impossible to validate any claims at all and this leaves all the Quran challenges baseless and meaningless. "Truth" becomes subjective and trying to verify it objectively is like trying to divide a number by 0.


    3. I am a Muslim and one of the things I have to believe in is the existence of Jinn.
      I disagree they are a metaphor. If Allah had meant for us to treat them as a metaphor he would have siad as much.
      Where in the Qur'an does it tell us to take the Jinn not as real but as a metaphor? And as a metaphor for what?

  6. @ Everyone - they must be a metaphor, for the dark parts of ourselves: you know like in Tom and Jerry - the angel appears on one shoulder, the little devil on the other?
    As for possessions: I call this schizophrenia, and black magic - I call that voodoo (and by Islam's definition, idol worship of some kind or another).

    @Anon, Metaphor smetaphor (lol!) Yeah, I know it gets very tiring indeed - and yes, it is indeed the last bastion (LMFAO!) but I think a lot of things are metaphors - especially in religious texts...actually make that ESPECIALLY (in CAPS!). Much like the story of the toirtoise and the hare, I do believe that all of these stories aim to teach a moral, or relate a lesson: rather than act as historical documents chronicling events. Religion is trying to make people good - its not trying to make people historians. As for a perfect deity that communicates in a way that absolutely everyone understands - I would say that understanding (whilst pivoting on what is said to succeed) relies very heavily on the listener as well.

    @Cultural Muslim: because they are still stuck in the pre-Islamic superstitions, in spite of the fact that all of this is explicitly banned in the Quran.

    @Anon who believes in the existence of Jinn - fair enough, although I am quite sure the word "metaphor" is relatively recent, and most likely lost on arab Bedouin tribes circa: 2000 years ago.

    1. @jasmine

      I can see where you are coming from when you state that the djinns are a metaphor. However are you not just trying to justify a belief which at it's basis is nothing more than fiction. I went through this same process trying to fit evidence to my belief (in a quran only phase) and reinterpreting, It comes to a point where we don't actually know what the prophet claimed is true or just conjecture/guessing. Eventually you realise either you have to go all in Sunni/shia islam blindly or abandon it entirely.

      also do you not run the risk of just let you own biases lead to an understanding.

      I have a small question for religious adherents to mull over. Name as many benefits that religion offers that can NOT be achieved by secular means?.

      What i mean by this is name the benefits of religion that can only be achieved with the assertion of authority (i.e GODs wrath etc) rather than an understanding of reality.

      Also a perfect diety would perhaps know better than to transmit orally to a desert tribe, and rely on the word of mouth and copied down centuries by fallible humans(in some case superhuman i.e bukhari memory claims) to reach a time in human society that has a requirement for evidence(verifiable) based explanations. Ive heard muslims(some) claim that the 6th century and "goldenage" of islam was and will reamain pinnacle of human society. And the whole corpus of hadith literature is full of end times stories and the decedant ways of modern life.


    2. @Anon, well for me the Quran is a very powerful work which needs to be understood - finding myself unable to argue for or against anything, until I feel that I understand (I think its my literature & teaching background). So when I am speaking about these things, I am speaking about them in and of itself. I am not arguing that "if Jinns are a metaphor, then the Quran must be true" and I am not arguing "if Jinns are real the Quran must be true" - I am merely trying to understand the Quran as a book & addressing the Jinns issue, the same way when reading Macbeth you address the jealousy issue, then the Moor issue, and so on and so forth.

      re: your comment about secularism - I think religion is responsible for a lot of our moral development (as civilizations through history): and that yes, maybe in this day and age we have enough history, literature, stories and films and values to teach morals: but maybe in whatever year BC and since, it was not the case until religion came about, and I am not just talking about the Abrahamic religions either: before the Abrahamic religions, there was always an unknown consequence for people to fear.

      today, we have laws, police, CCTV, and so on that does the same job - and so religion is not so neccessary - but i am quite sure that had you lived in 500BC ou would be grateful for the fear of God in people, as that was really your only safeguard against wrongdoing

  7. I would also like to add (as an afterthought) that all this black magic stuff only exists in the countries where they believe in it - how come no one in UK gets possessed & black magicked? It's clearly a manifestation of psychology - otherwise it would be everywhere

    1. The BBC recently did the documentary about backalley exorcisms and the faith healers in the UK. It does happen(more than you realise) and i have first hand knowledge of charms/necklaces(taveez) that can be bought sometimes in bulk from saints(pirs) in the UK. It is acually a rampant belief in the southasian muslim community atleast. It doesn't not matter where one is but the general trend is the more someone tries to understand science and critical thinking the less superstitious they become.

      Also when core muslim belief holds that anything that goes against the aqeedah a muslim follows is the devils trap to mislead us. Many go as far as to imply that also scientific facts or evidence that go against the islamic theology are planted by shaitan and also their to test our faith in GOD.

      when someones perception is that skewed it really makes one weep for the future of the humanrace.


    2. 40% of Americans believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old and that we were all descended from Adam and Eve. Many of them believe we co-existed with dinosaurs.
      It's not just poor Muslims who are still being hoodwinked by religious nutters.
      Weep indeed.
      Good luck with the blog man.

    3. @anon 1 - so that proves my point really doesnt it? if its in the UK but frequented by a non-UK community, its black magic etc - but its being imported rather than homegrown

  8. @All,
    Now just because none of us have seen a Jinn, that doesn't mean they cannot exist, right? I mean, as unlikely as it may be, there's probably a small possibility that they just might exist.

    1. Jinn? Seriously?

      Jinns existing have same probability of Smurfs and flying unicorns existing.

      I like the Jinn as metaphor angle, but that kind of goes against the so called "literal truth of Quran". Still, if it helps you maintain your belief, than who am I to argue?

      Religion provides 3 things.
      1. Symbolic immortality. Believers have difficulty being rational when it comes to their own religion. Fight or flight.
      1.5 Resolve death anxiety. We are subconsciously anxious about our death, and this is one way to resolve it.
      2. Self esteem. An eternal, all powerful, all knowing God cares about us. Big moral booster.
      3. Community. Believers are part of a community.

      1 and 1.5 are the same thing.

  9. Check sura 3 verse 7. It says Allah "al ilah" ie the one God gave us stories in the quran in allegorical format and those in non-allegorical format. The Jinn may very well be allegory for Evil thoughs such as the Devil. They may also serve the purpose of scaring those who follow blindly and do not use their reason to listen to the Quran and follow its commands. If everyone followed the Quran perfectly then we would be living in a Utopia.

    The fear of punishment after death is absolutely necessary for people not to screw other people over.

    Look at Dr Jeffrey Lang for a rational approach to the Quran and what he got out of it. The Quran indicates that those who use their reason will get far more out of it than those who simply follow blindly.

    Also in the Quran Noah's flood is a localized event and not global like in the Bible story.