The world of Jinn

The world of Jinn
The world of Jinn

Human beings have always been fascinated by the existence of a world parallel to our own or the spirit world, which is a realm that is not visible and cannot be subjected to empirical evidence. The literature suggests that belief in Jinn is substantial across the Muslim world and the Islamic diaspora places the rate of belief in Jinn above 70 to 80% among adherents of Islam. Muslims believe that Jinn could cause physical and mental health problems in humans. However, as Jinn are mentioned several times in the Qur’an and in the Sunnah, it becomes mandatory upon Muslims to believe in their existence.

Islam provides us an explanation of the unseen world (al-ghayb) and it is from this realm that Islam explains to us about the world of the Jinn. Hence, the word ‘Jinn’ itself implies the existence of something that cannot be seen and was created from a smokeless flame of fire. Jinns, like humans, are believers and non-believers and will be judged on the Day of Judgment as promised by Allah. Like human beings, the Jinn must nourish their bodies with food and have the capacity to breed. Allah has given the Jinn power and ability, including great speed and movement. The Jinn may appear in human and animal form, so they may appear as snakes and scorpions, etc., or in the form of camels, cattle, sheep, horses, mules, and donkeys, or in the form of birds, or the form of humans.

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This article examines the existence and types of Jinn from the Qur’an, Sunnah, and statements from scholars. Muslims are required to have a firm belief, with no shadow of a doubt, in the existence of the Jinn. From the evidence of the Qur’an and Sunnah, it is clear that the world of the Jinn exists. Allah, the Almighty, has created different types of Jinn. Every individual has a Jinn who has been appointed to be his constant companion. Sūrat Al- Jinn 72 reveals that there are categories of Jinn: believers, disbelievers, misguided, and guided. There are different categories of Jinn including Aamar, Arwaah, Shaytan, Maarid, and Ifreet. From a theological perspective, why people are afraid of the Jinn is one of the greatest misconceptions. There is a misperception that Jinn possessed some divine qualities which is in total opposition to the Islamic creed. The supplications to and the use of Jinn are considered Shirk (the worship of anything but Allah). The lack of knowledge of Tawheed, ignorance, spreading myths and failure to protect oneself from the harm of the Jinn have been put forward as the causes of widespread misinformation and misperception.

Jinn possession is real for Muslims and Jinn can possess humans. The signs and symptoms may vary from individual to individual depending on the nature and type of Jinn possession and the nature of the individual. Those with Jinn-related possession appear to suffer from intense fear, psychological disorders (for example, depression, anxiety), physical sickness, hallucinations, creating animosity between individuals (couples, friends, etc.), sexual problems, and causing damage to material possessions (with fire, for example), hysteria, mania, Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder. Jinn possession can manifest with a range of bizarre behaviors and unusual movements which could be interpreted as several different psychotic and non-psychotic disorders. 

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It is common for health professionals to misdiagnose Jinn possession as dissociative disorders and Jinn possession with psychotic states such as schizophrenia. 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. There is no certainty or clear diagnosis that an individual has been possessed by Jinn until after the Qur’an has been recited over them, so these symptoms should not be taken as definitive evidence of Jinn's possession. In this chapter, a brief overview of dissociative disorders is presented, the causes of humans being possessed by Jinn are examined, and Jinn-related effects and signs and symptoms of Jinn possession are identified.

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