Surah Jinn (Arabic: الجن) is the 72nd Surah of the Qur’an and is classified as a Meccan Surah. It consists a total of 28 ayats or verses and English is titled “Jinn” or “The Unseen Beings”.
This surah discusses the invisible hidden creatures (the jinn) and their views and belief on the Prophet, Islam, resurrection and the disbelievers.
Below you can read the complete Surah Jinn with translation and transliteration. At the end of the Surah we’ve included various different tafseer including Ibn kathir.
“And when we heard the guidance, we believed in it. And whoever believes in his Lord will not fear deprivation or burden.”
Surah Jinn Ayat 13
Read Surah Jinn with Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
قُلْ أُوحِىَ إِلَىَّ أَنَّهُ ٱسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌۭ مِّنَ ٱلْجِنِّ فَقَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْءَانًا عَجَبًۭا
Qul oohiya ilaiya annna hustama’a nafarum minal jinnni faqaalooo innaa sami’naa quraanan ‘ajabaa
1. Say, [O Muhammad], “It has been revealed to me that a group of the jinn listened and said, ‘Indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur’an.
يَهْدِىٓ إِلَى ٱلرُّشْدِ فَـَٔامَنَّا بِهِۦ ۖ وَلَن نُّشْرِكَ بِرَبِّنَآ أَحَدًۭا
Yahdeee ilar rushdi fa aamannaa bihee wa lan nushrika bi rabbinaaa ahadaa
2. It guides to the right course, and we have believed in it. And we will never associate with our Lord anyone.
وَأَنَّهُۥ تَعَـٰلَىٰ جَدُّ رَبِّنَا مَا ٱتَّخَذَ صَـٰحِبَةًۭ وَلَا وَلَدًۭا
Wa annahoo Ta’aalaa jaddu Rabbinaa mat takhaza saahibatanw wa la waladaa
3. And [it teaches] that exalted is the nobleness of our Lord; He has not taken a wife or a son
وَأَنَّهُۥ كَانَ يَقُولُ سَفِيهُنَا عَلَى ٱللَّهِ شَطَطًۭا
Wa annahoo kaana yaqoolu safeehunaa ‘alal laahi shatataa
4. And that our foolish one has been saying about Allah an excessive transgression.
وَأَنَّا ظَنَنَّآ أَن لَّن تَقُولَ ٱلْإِنسُ وَٱلْجِنُّ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ كَذِبًۭا
Wa annaa zanannaaa al lan taqoolal insu wal jinnu ‘alal laahi kazibaa
5. And we had thought that mankind and the jinn would never speak about Allah a lie.
وَأَنَّهُۥ كَانَ رِجَالٌۭ مِّنَ ٱلْإِنسِ يَعُوذُونَ بِرِجَالٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلْجِنِّ فَزَادُوهُمْ رَهَقًۭا
Wa annahoo kaana rijaa lum minal insi ya’oozoona birijaalim minal jinni fazaa doohum rahaqaa
6. And there were men from mankind who sought refuge in men from the jinn, so they [only] increased them in burden.
وَأَنَّهُمْ ظَنُّوا۟ كَمَا ظَنَنتُمْ أَن لَّن يَبْعَثَ ٱللَّهُ أَحَدًۭا
Wa annahum zannoo kamaa zanantum al lany yab’asal laahu ahadaa
7. And they had thought, as you thought, that Allah would never send anyone [as a messenger].
وَأَنَّا لَمَسْنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ فَوَجَدْنَـٰهَا مُلِئَتْ حَرَسًۭا شَدِيدًۭا وَشُهُبًۭا
Wa annaa lamasnas sa maaa’a fa wajadnaahaa muli’at harasan shadeedanw wa shuhubaa
8. And we have sought [to reach] the heaven but found it filled with powerful guards and burning flames.
وَأَنَّا كُنَّا نَقْعُدُ مِنْهَا مَقَـٰعِدَ لِلسَّمْعِ ۖ فَمَن يَسْتَمِعِ ٱلْءَانَ يَجِدْ لَهُۥ شِهَابًۭا رَّصَدًۭا
Wa annaa kunnaa naq’udu minhaa maqaa’ida lis’sam’i famany yastami’il aana yajid lahoo shihaabar rasada
9. And we used to sit therein in positions for hearing, but whoever listens now will find a burning flame lying in wait for him.
وَأَنَّا لَا نَدْرِىٓ أَشَرٌّ أُرِيدَ بِمَن فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ أَمْ أَرَادَ بِهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ رَشَدًۭا
Wa annaa laa nadreee asharrun ureeda biman fil ardi am araada bihim rabbuhum rashadaa
10. And we do not know [therefore] whether evil is intended for those on earth or whether their Lord intends for them a right course.
وَأَنَّا مِنَّا ٱلصَّـٰلِحُونَ وَمِنَّا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ كُنَّا طَرَآئِقَ قِدَدًۭا
Wa annaa minnas saalihoona wa minnaa doona zaalika kunnaa taraaa’ilqa qidadaa
11. And among us are the righteous, and among us are [others] not so; we were [of] divided ways.
وَأَنَّا ظَنَنَّآ أَن لَّن نُّعْجِزَ ٱللَّهَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَن نُّعْجِزَهُۥ هَرَبًۭا
Wa annaa zanannaaa al lan nu’jizal laaha fil ardi wa lan nu’jizahoo harabaa
12. And we have become certain that we will never cause failure to Allah upon earth, nor can we escape Him by flight.
وَأَنَّا لَمَّا سَمِعْنَا ٱلْهُدَىٰٓ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦ ۖ فَمَن يُؤْمِنۢ بِرَبِّهِۦ فَلَا يَخَافُ بَخْسًۭا وَلَا رَهَقًۭا
Wa annaa lammaa sami’nal hudaaa aamannaa bihee famany yu’mim bi rabbihee falaa yakhaafu bakhsanw wa laa rahaqaa
13. And when we heard the guidance, we believed in it. And whoever believes in his Lord will not fear deprivation or burden.
وَأَنَّا مِنَّا ٱلْمُسْلِمُونَ وَمِنَّا ٱلْقَـٰسِطُونَ ۖ فَمَنْ أَسْلَمَ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ تَحَرَّوْا۟ رَشَدًۭا
Wa annaa minnal muslimoona wa minnal qaasitoona faman aslama fa ulaaa’ika taharraw rashadaa
14. And among us are Muslims [in submission to Allah], and among us are the unjust. And whoever has become Muslim – those have sought out the right course.
وَأَمَّا ٱلْقَـٰسِطُونَ فَكَانُوا۟ لِجَهَنَّمَ حَطَبًۭا
Wa ammal qaasitoona fa kaanoo li jahannama hatabaa
15. But as for the unjust, they will be, for Hell, firewood.’
وَأَلَّوِ ٱسْتَقَـٰمُوا۟ عَلَى ٱلطَّرِيقَةِ لَأَسْقَيْنَـٰهُم مَّآءً غَدَقًۭا
Wa alla wis taqaamoo ‘alat tareeqati la asqaynaahum maa’an ghadaqaa
16. And [Allah revealed] that if they had remained straight on the way, We would have given them abundant provision
لِّنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَن يُعْرِضْ عَن ذِكْرِ رَبِّهِۦ يَسْلُكْهُ عَذَابًۭا صَعَدًۭا
Linaftinahum feeh; wa many yu’rid ‘an zikri rabbihee yasluk hu ‘azaaban sa’adaa
17. So We might test them therein. And whoever turns away from the remembrance of his Lord He will put into arduous punishment.
وَأَنَّ ٱلْمَسَـٰجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا۟ مَعَ ٱللَّهِ أَحَدًۭا
Wa annal masaajida lillaahi falaa tad’oo ma’al laahi ahadaa
18. And [He revealed] that the masjids are for Allah, so do not invoke with Allah anyone.
وَأَنَّهُۥ لَمَّا قَامَ عَبْدُ ٱللَّهِ يَدْعُوهُ كَادُوا۟ يَكُونُونَ عَلَيْهِ لِبَدًۭا
Wa annahoo lammaa qaama ‘abdul laahi yad’oohu kaadoo yakoonoona ‘alaihi libadaa
19. And that when the Servant of Allah stood up supplicating Him, they almost became about him a compacted mass.”
قُلْ إِنَّمَآ أَدْعُوا۟ رَبِّى وَلَآ أُشْرِكُ بِهِۦٓ أَحَدًۭا
Qul innamaaa ad’oo rabbee wa laaa ushriku biheee ahadaa
20. Say, [O Muhammad], “I only invoke my Lord and do not associate with Him anyone.”
قُلْ إِنِّى لَآ أَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ ضَرًّۭا وَلَا رَشَدًۭا
Qul innee laaa amliku lakum darranw wa laa rashadaa
21. Say, “Indeed, I do not possess for you [the power of] harm or right direction.”
قُلْ إِنِّى لَن يُجِيرَنِى مِنَ ٱللَّهِ أَحَدٌۭ وَلَنْ أَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِۦ مُلْتَحَدًا
Qul innee lany yujeeranee minal laahi ahad, wa lan ajida min doonihee multahadaa
22. Say, “Indeed, there will never protect me from Allah anyone [if I should disobey], nor will I find in other than Him a refuge.
إِلَّا بَلَـٰغًۭا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرِسَـٰلَـٰتِهِۦ ۚ وَمَن يَعْصِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَإِنَّ لَهُۥ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَبَدًا
Illaa balaagham minal laahi wa risaalaatih; wa many ya’sil laaha wa rasoolahoo fa inna lahoo naara jahannama khaalideena feehaaa abadaa
23. But [I have for you] only notification from Allah, and His messages.” And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger – then indeed, for him is the fire of Hell; they will abide therein forever.
حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا رَأَوْا۟ مَا يُوعَدُونَ فَسَيَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ أَضْعَفُ نَاصِرًۭا وَأَقَلُّ عَدَدًۭا
Hattaaa izaa ra aw maa yoo’adoona fasaya’lamoona man ad’afu naasiranw wa aqallu ‘adadaa
24. [The disbelievers continue] until, when they see that which they are promised, then they will know who is weaker in helpers and less in number.
قُلْ إِنْ أَدْرِىٓ أَقَرِيبٌۭ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ أَمْ يَجْعَلُ لَهُۥ رَبِّىٓ أَمَدًا
Qul in adreee a qareebum maa too’adoona am yaj’alu lahoo rabbeee amadaa
25. Say, “I do not know if what you are promised is near or if my Lord will grant for it a [long] period.”
عَـٰلِمُ ٱلْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِۦٓ أَحَدًا
‘Aalimul ghaibi falaa yuzhiru alaa ghaibiheee ahadaa
26. [He is] Knower of the unseen, and He does not disclose His [knowledge of the] unseen to anyone
إِلَّا مَنِ ٱرْتَضَىٰ مِن رَّسُولٍۢ فَإِنَّهُۥ يَسْلُكُ مِنۢ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِۦ رَصَدًۭا
Illaa manir tadaa mir rasoolin fa innahoo yasluku mim baini yadaihi wa min khalfihee rasadaa
27. Except whom He has approved of messengers, and indeed, He sends before each messenger and behind him observers
لِّيَعْلَمَ أَن قَدْ أَبْلَغُوا۟ رِسَـٰلَـٰتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَأَحَاطَ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ وَأَحْصَىٰ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ عَدَدًۢا
Liya’lama an qad ablaghoo risaalaati rabbihim wa ahaata bima ladihim wa ahsaa kulla shai’in ‘adadaa
28. That he may know that they have conveyed the messages of their Lord; and He has encompassed whatever is with them and has enumerated all things in number.
Tafseer of Surah Jinn
Those who find it difficult to read the Qur’an will benefit twice for their effort, Sunan Ibn Majah 3779. We should make it a habit to read the Quran everyday.
But one thing we should not forgot is that the Qur’an was a revelation to all people that Islam is the one true religion and is a complete book for guidance. We should not only read the Quran but make it a study.
There’s no one right way to do this, each person has a different learning style. We can listen to lectures or an alternative is we can read the various tafseer. We personally believe the tafseer provides a more structured format and is more dense then a formal talk. You can branch off easily and explore different ayat of different Surahs as needed. We’ve included three different sources below, if you have any recommendations you can send an email to our team.
Tafsir by Ibn Kathir of Surah Jinn
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Jinn, and all praises and thanks are due to Allah.
[72:1] Say, “It has been revealed to me that a group from Jinn has listened (to the Qur’ an), and said (to their people), ‘Indeed we have heard an amazing Recital (Qur’an)
It seems necessary to know a few facts before the start of the study of the Surah, which are as follows:
Before the advent of the Holy Prophet ﷺ the devils used to go up to the heavens and eavesdrop on the conversations of the angels. After his advent, they were pelted with a piercing flame if they attempted to go up and eavesdrop. It is mentioned in Surah Al-Ahqaf that a group of jinn went up to the Holy Prophet to investigate the reason for this new phenomenon.
It was customary in the Days of Ignorance that when people halted in a jungle or valley in the course of a journey, they uttered the following words:
اعوذ بعزیز ھذا الودی من شر سفھاء قومہ
“I seek refuge in the leader of this valley from the foolish mischief-makers of his nation” – believing that the leader of the valley (a Jinn) would protect them.
A terrible famine held Makkah in its grip for several years as a result of the Holy Prophet’s ﷺ prayer.
When the Holy Prophet ﷺ called the pagans towards Islam, they opposed him tooth and nail. The first two incidents are taken from Tafsir Durr Manthur and the last two incidents are taken from Tafsir Ibn Kathir.
نَفَرٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ (…a group from Jinn….72:1). The word nafar is used for a group consisting of three to ten people. The Jinn referred to here are said to be a group of nine Jinns from a place called Nasibin.
Reality of Jinn
Jinn is one of the Divine creatures. They have body and soul. They, like human beings, have intellect and senses, but they are hidden from human eyes. This species of creation is called ‘Jinn’ because it literally means ‘hidden’ or ‘invisible’. They, like human beings, are created from the four primal elements: dust, water, air and fire, but the element of fire predominates in them, whereas in man the element of dust predominates. They, like human beings, are males and females; and they, like human beings, marry and procreate. Apparently, the word shaitan [pl. shayatin] ‘Shaitan’ refers to the ‘arrogant mischief-making Jinn’. The existence of Jinn and angels is established by conclusive and incontestable evidence in the Qur’an and Sunnah, the denial or rejection of which amounts to disbelieving the Qur’an. [Tafsir Mazhari].
قُلْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ Say, (It has been revealed to me 72:1). This shows that the Holy Prophet ﷺ did not see the group of Jinn who heard him recite the Qur’an. Allah informed him by the revelation of Surah Al-Jinn.
Circumstances of Revelation
Sayyidna Ibn Abbas narrates, as recorded in Sahih of Bukhari, of Muslim, and in Tirmidhi and other collections, that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ did not by deliberate design make the Jinn listen to the Qur’an, nor did he see them. The true story is that the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، with his Companions, was going to the marketplace of Ukaz. This incident took place at a time when the devils were barred from going to the skies and eavesdropping on the conversations of the angels by being pelted with piercing flames. When the Jinn realised that they were no longer free to eavesdrop, they discussed among themselves that the incident could not be coincidental. There must be a genuine reason for that. So they divided themselves into groups and each group went in different direction to investigate the cause of the new phenomenon. One of the groups arrived at a place called Nakhlah in Tihamah where Hijaz is situated. At that juncture, the Holy Prophet ﷺ was leading the Sahabah in Fajr salah and the Jinn had the opportunity to hear the Qur’an. When this group of Jinn heard the Qur’an, they listened to it very attentively and concluded on oath that it was the Qur’an that prevented them from eavesdropping in the heavens. Then they returned to their fellow Jinns and recounted to them the entire episode, which is mentioned in the following verse:
فَقَالُوا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْآنًا عَجَبًا (…and said [to their people], Indeed we have heard an amazing Recital [Qur’an]….72:1). Allah informed His Messenger about the entire incident of the Jinn in the verses under discussion.
Abu Talib’s Death and the Holy Prophet’s ﷺ Journey to Ta’if
Most commentators say that after the death of Abu Talib the Holy Prophet ﷺ felt lonely, having no friend or supporter in Makkah. So, he undertook a journey to Ta’if where he approached Banu Thaqif for assistance against the hostility and persecution of his people. According to Muhammad Ibn Ishaq’s narration, when the Holy Prophet ﷺ arrived in Ta’if, he approached the three brothers of Banu Thaqif. They were recognized as the leaders and honorable members of the tribe. The three brothers were ` Umair’s sons, their names being ` Abd Yalil, Sa’ ud and Habib. They had a Quraishite lady in their house. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ invited them to the call of Islam and mentioned about his people’s hostility and persecution and asked for help. But they responded very harshly and did not speak to him about anything.
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ saw that these three people were the most respected leaders of Banu Thaqif, from whom he expected a favourable response, but he was disappointed. He said to them that if they did not wish to help him, they should at least keep his arrival and request for help confidential and not tell his people; because if they came to know about it, they would persecute him even more harshly. But the oppressors did not concede to this either. On the contrary, they let loose on him foolish hooligans, slaves and hoodlums, so that they may revile him and make violent noises in public places against him. When they made violent noises, more hoodlums and young violent criminal elements joined in. In order to save himself from the mischief of the hooligans and hoodlums, the Holy Prophet ﷺ took refuge in a vineyard which belonged to two brothers, namely ` Utbah and Shaibah. The brothers themselves were in the vineyard at the time. The hooligans and hoodlums left him and went back. The two brothers were watching him, and they also watched how violently the foolish people behaved towards him. Just then the Quraishite lady, who was in the house of the oppressors, came to the Holy Prophet ﷺ . He complained to her how her in-laws persecuted him.
When the Holy Prophet ﷺ felt a bit settled in the vineyard, he prayed to Allah. The wordings of the supplication are unusual and on no other occasion such wordings are recorded:
اللَّھُمَّ اِنِّی اَشکُوا الَیکَ ضُعفَ قُوَّتِی وَ قِلَّۃَ حِیلَتِی وَ ھَوَانِی عَلَی النَّاسِ وَ اَنتَ اَرحَمُ الرَّاحِمِینَ وَ اَنتَ رَبُّ المُستضعفِینَ فَاَنتَ رَبِّی اَلیٰ مَن تَکِلنِی اِلیٰ بَعِیدِ یَتَھَجَّمُنِی اَو اِلیٰ عَدُوِّ مَّلَّکتَہ اَمرِی اِن لَّم تَکُن سَاخِطاً عَلَیَّ فَلَآ اُبالِی وَ لٰکِنَّ عَافِیَتَکَ ھِیَ اَوسعُ لِی۔ اَعُوذُ بِنُورِ وَجھِکَ الَّذِیُ اَشرَقَت لَہُ الظُّلُمَاتُ وَ صَلُحَ عَلَیہِ اَمرُ الدُّنیَا وَ الاٰخِرَۃِ مِن ۔ (مظھری باختصار)
“0 Allah, I complain to you the weakness of my strength and the shortage of my options, and lack of respect for me in the sight of people. You are the Most Merciful of all, and You are the Cherisher and Sustainer of the weaklings. You are my Cherisher. To whom are You handing me over? – to a stranger who would attack me? Or to an enemy whom You have given control over me (so that he may do as he wishes)? If You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your caring about me is better (which I pray for). I seek refuge in the light of Your blessed Being which dispels all darkness and on the foundation of which all matters related to this world and the next world are set a right. If You send down Your wrath on us, our task is to exert ourselves until we gain Your good pleasure. And there is neither strength nor power except through You.” [condensed from Mazhari].
When Rabi ah’s sons Utbah and Shaibah saw this, they felt compassion for him in their heart. They called one of their Christian slaves, Addas by name, and asked him to break a bunch of grapes, place it in a plate and give it to that person and ask him to eat. Complying with the instructions, ` Addas kept the plate of grapes in front of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . He recited bismil-lah ‘In the name of Allah’ and stretched his hand towards it. ` Addas was watching all this and said: By Allah! this speech [referring to the formula of basmalah] is not used by the inhabitants of this city. The Holy Prophet ﷺ asked him as to where he was from and what his religion was. He replied that he was a Christian and hailed from Nineveh. Then the Holy Prophet ﷺ said to him that this means ‘you are from the village of Yunus Ibn Matta علیہ السلام . He asked: “What do you know about Yunus Ibn Matta.” The Holy Prophet ﷺ replied: “He was my brother. He was Allah’s Prophet. I too am Allah’s Prophet.” At this, ` Addas fell to the Holy Prophet’s ﷺ feet. He kissed the blessed head of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and his hands and legs. ` Utbah and Shaibah watched the whole incident. One of them said to the other: “I hope he has not set our slave awry.” When ‘Addas returned to them, they asked him: “What has happened? You were kissing his hands and feet?” He replied: “My masters, at this time there is no person better than he on the face of the earth. He has taught me something which none other than a Prophet can teach.” They said: “You miserable wretch, may it not happen that this man turns you away from your religion, because your religion in any case is better than his.” When the Holy Prophet ﷺ was completely despaired of Thaqif’ s assistance, he returned from Ta’if to Makkah. On his way back, he halted at Nakhlah and towards the latter part of the night he performed salat-ut-tahajjud. The delegation of Jinns of Nasibin of Yemen had also gone there. They heard the Qur’an and embraced the faith. They went back to their people and recounted to them the whole incident which Allah has mentioned in the verses under comment. [Mazhari]
A Jinn Companion of the Holy Prophet
Ibn Jauzi, in his book Sifat-us-Safwah, through his own chain of authorities, reports from Sahl Ibn ` Abdullah ؓ that he saw an old Jinn, in a place, who was performing salah in the direction of Ka’bah. He was wearing a woolen cloak that looked beautiful on him and in which he looked graceful. After he completed his prayer, Sayyidna Sahl ؓ greeted him. Replying to his greeting, he said: ‘You seem to be admiring the beauty of this cloak. This cloak is on my body for seven hundred years. I have met Holy Prophet ` Isa (علیہ السلام) in this cloak, and in the same cloak I met Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and I am from among those Jinns about whom Surah Al-Jinn was revealed.’ According to the Hadith narratives that recount the incident of the ‘Night of Jinn’, (i.e. the night in which the Jinns visited the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ was with the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، and the Holy Prophet ﷺ met the Jinns in a valley near Makkah for the specific purpose of inviting them to the call of Islam and making them hear the Qur’an by deliberate design. Apparently, this incident occurred after the incident mentioned in Surah AI-Jinn. ` Allamah Khafaji has said that reliable Ahadith confirm that the Jinn delegations met the Holy Prophet ﷺ six times. Thus there is no contradiction between the two versions of the incident, because they are two separate incidents. The Holy Prophet ﷺ was not even aware of the incident of the Jinn’s coming to him and listening to the Qur’an that is mentioned in Surah Jinn. He only learnt about it later through revelation. This incident happened at Nakhlah on his way back from Taif. The other narratives from which we gather that the Holy Prophet ﷺ met the Jinn by deliberate design in a valley near the city of Makkah to preach to them and make them hear the Qur’an – is a separate incident which took place after that.
[72:2] that guides to the right way, so we have believed in it, and we will never associate a partner with our Lord.
[72:3] and (then the Jinns started talking to each other) that exalted is the Glory of our Lord; He has taken neither a wife, nor a son,
وَأَنَّهُ تَعَالَىٰ جَدُّ رَبِّنَا (and [then the Jinns started talking to each other] that exalted is the Glory of our Lord;….72:3). The word jadd means ‘majesty/glory’ used for Allah. Instead of saying .jadduhu’ with a third person pronoun referring to Allah, the attributive name ‘rabb’ ‘Lord’ is expressly retained which indicates the exalted position of Allah. The Being who is the Cherisher and sustainer of His creation must, of necessity, occupy the lofty position. Commentators have discussed the grammatical conjunctive construction ‘wa annahu’ at length in this verse. It might be of no interest to the general readers.
[72:4] and that the fools among us used to attribute to Allah extremely wrong things,
وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ يَقُولُ سَفِيهُنَا عَلَى اللَّـهِ شَطَطًا ﴿4﴾ وَأَنَّا ظَنَنَّا أَن لَّن تَقُولَ الْإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَى اللَّـهِ كَذِبًا ﴿5﴾
…and that the fools among us used to attribute to Allah extremely wrong things, and that we thought that the humans and the Jinn would never tell a lie about Allah, [therefore, we had followed them in shirk under this impression]. (72:5)
The word shatat means ‘vile words, extravagant or exorbitant or enormous lies’. The word also means ‘to transgress or act wrongfully, unjustly or exceed the legitimate bounds’. The believers from amongst Jinn used to put forward their excuse for being involved in disbelief and idolatry thus: The foolish people from amongst their nation uttered vile slander against Allah, whilst they did not think it possible for a human being or a Jinn to impute a lie to Allah. They were thus far caught up in the foolish people’s vile words and committed kufr and shirk, but they had now heard the Qur’an and the reality had later opened up.
[72:5] and that we thought that the humans and the Jinn would never tell a lie about Allah, (therefore, we had followed them in shirk under this impression),
[72:6] and that some people from human beings used to seek refuge with some people of the Jinn, and thus they increased them (the Jinns) in arrogance,
وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ رِجَالٌ مِّنَ الْإِنسِ يَعُوذُونَ بِرِجَالٍ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَزَادُوهُمْ رَهَقًا ﴿6﴾
(…and that some people from human beings used to seek refuge with some peoples of the Jinn, and thus they increased them (the Jinns) in arrogance, [72:6] ‘
This verse describes the situation that it was customary for people in the Days of Ignorance that when they halted in a valley in the course of a journey, they sought refuge in the Jinn leader of that valley from the foolish mischief-makers of his nation believing that the leader of the valley will protect them. This made the Jinn think that they are better than human beings. That is why, they seek refuge in their leader but this increased the wickedness of the Jinn.
Rafi` Ibn ` Umair’s ؓ Islam on account of the Jinn
Mazhari cites in his Tafsir that it is reported in Hawatif-ul-Jinn through his chain of narrators on the authority of Sayyidna Said Ibn Jubair ؓ that the Holy Prophet’s ﷺ Companion Rafi` Ibn ` Umair ؓ recounts an incident of his embracing the Islamic faith, thus:
‘One night I was travelling in a desert. Suddenly I was overcome by sleep. So, I alighted from my camel, and before I went off to sleep I uttered the following formula in keeping with the custom of my people:
انِّی اعوذ بعظیم ھٰذا الوادی من الجنّ
“I seek refuge in the leader of the Jinn of this valley from the foolish mischief-makers of his nation.”
I saw in my dream that there is a sword in a person’s hand who wants to place it on my camel’s chest. I woke up in a shock and looked around in all directions, but found nothing. So, I said to myself that this was some Shaitanic nightmare. It was not a true dream and fell back into deep sleep and became completely oblivious to my surrounding. I experienced the same dream again. I got up and looked all around the camel, but found nothing. This time, however, I found the camel shivering. I went back to my place and slept away and saw the same dream. I awoke and found my camel tossing about restlessly. Then I saw a youngster in whose hand was a weapon. This was the same person whom I had seen attacking the camel the first time. I saw he was holding the hand of an old man who is stopping him from attacking the camel. Just then three wild zebras appeared. The old man said to the youngster, ‘Choose any one of these zebras, and let go this man’s camel.’ The youngster took one of the zebras and took leave. The old man then looked at me and said, ‘You fool, when you seek refuge in a valley, and you fear any danger from the jinn or devils, recite thus:’
اعوذ باللہ ربِّ محمّد من ھول ھٰذا الوادی
“I seek refuge in Allah, the Lord of Muhammad, from the horrors of this valley. Do not seek refuge in any Jinn because that time is gone when human beings used to seek refuge in Jinn.”‘
I asked him who that person was. He replied that he was the Arabian Holy Prophet ﷺ ، neither eastern nor western. He was raised with his Prophetic mission on a Monday. I asked him where he lived. He replied that he lived in Yathrib which is an area where dates grow abundantly. As soon as the morning dawned, I set for Madinah and urged my mount to move faster and faster until I reached Madinah. When the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw me, he recounted to me the entire episode before I could tell him anything. He invited me to the call of Islam and I embraced the Islamic faith.
Having narrated this story, Sayyidna Said Ibn Jubair ؓ said that the following verse was revealed in this connection. وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ رِجَالٌ مِّنَ الْإِنسِ يَعُوذُونَ بِرِجَالٍ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ (and that some people from human beings used to seek refuge with some people of the Jinn…72:6)
[72:7] and that they (humans) thought as you (0 Jinns) thought that Allah would never resurrect anyone,
[72:8] and that we sought (to reach) the sky, but we found it filled with stern guards and flames,
وَأَنَّا لَمَسْنَا السَّمَاءَ فَوَجَدْنَاهَا مُلِئَتْ حَرَسًا شَدِيدًا وَشُهُبًا (…and that we sought [to reach] the sky, but we found it filled with stern guards and flames….72:8). The word sama’ is used in two different senses: ‘sky’ as well as ‘cloud’. It would appear that here the word is used in the latter sense.
The Jinn Used to Go only up to the Clouds to Eavesdrop, Not to the Sky
The Jinn and the devils used to go up to the sky means that they used to go to the ‘clouds’, take up positions there to sit and eavesdrop. The proof of this is found in Sahih of Bukhari on the authority of Sayyidah ` A’ishah ؓ عنہا who reports:
سمعت رسول اللہ ﷺ یقول ان الملایٔکۃ تنزل فی العَنَان و ھو السحاب فتذکر الامر الذی قضی فی السماء فتسترق الشّیاطین السمع فتسمعہ فتتوجّہ الی الکُھّان فیکذبون معھا مایٔۃ کذبۃ من عند انفسھم (اس مظھری)
” I have heard the Messenger of Allah say that the angels descended in the ‘anan of sama’ meaning the ‘cloud’. There they discussed the decisions Allah has issued in the sky. The devils listened to their private conversations without them knowing about it and passed the information to the soothsayers, mixing it with a hundred lies from their side.”‘ [Mazhari].
A narration is record in Sahih of Bukhari on the authority of Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ and in Muslim on the authority of Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہما to the following effect:
When Allah issues an order in the sky, the angels flap their wings in readiness to obey the order. When the issuance of the order is over, they discuss among themselves. The devils eavesdrop on this discussion, and pass the information to the soothsayers, admixing it with many lies.
This Hadith apparently contradicts the narration of Sayyidah ` A’ishah ؓ but in actual fact, there is no conflict between the two narratives. This narrative does not prove that the devils go inside the sky to eavesdrop. Probably, when the order is issued in the first instance by Allah, it filters down to the angels from the upper level to the lower level, until the angels come down to the cloud where they discuss it. The devils steal the information from here as mentioned by Sayyidah ` A’ishah ؓ [Mazhari].
At any rate, before the advent of the Holy Prophet ﷺ the Jinn and devils had free access to the heavenly information. They used to position themselves in the cloud and eavesdrop on the conversations of the angels and pass the information to the soothsayers. At the advent of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، there arose the need to protect the heavenly revelation. As a result, the access of devils to the upper region was stopped in such a way that if a devil attempted to go up, he would be repelled by piercing flames. This was the new phenomenon that excited the curiosity of the devils and Jinn and, dividing themselves into groups, they went to the east and to the west to investigate. One of the groups arrived at a place called Nakhlah where its members heard the Qur’an and embraced the faith of Islam as mentioned in Surah Al-Jinn.
Meteors Existed Since the Inception of Time, but were not Used to Repel the Devils before the Advent of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . It happened only after his Advent
A doubt that may arise here is that the existence of Meteors, which in common parlance are called inqidad-ul-kaukab the ‘falling stars’, is not a new phenomenon. This verse, however, indicates that they showed up to repel the devils as if they are new-age phenomena of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . In response, it may be stated that there is no denying that the meteors did exist since the inception of time and space before the advent of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، and that there is no contradiction between what humanity experienced since the beginning of the world, scientific explanations and the Qur’anic statement. Philosophers and scientists explain that the meteors may originate from the earth or stars or disintegrating planets, and wander in space at enormous speeds and fall to the earth. Some fiery matter may arise from the surface of the earth and heat up at some point, or the speed of the meteors makes them glow and burn, or a flame emits from a star – and this may have habitually continued ever since. These flames, however, were not used to serve a particular purpose before the advent of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ; they were merely a natural phenomena. After the advent of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، meteoric flames were used to serve the purpose of shooting the devils if they attempted to go up and listen furtively the conversation of the angels. See also Ma` ariful Qur’ an, Vol. 5/pp 303-305, under [15:17-18].
[72:9] and that we used to sit at places therein to listen; but if one will (try to) listen now, he will find a flame in ambush for him,
[72:10] and that we do not know whether it is a bad end that is intended for those on earth, or their Lord has intended for them a right thing,
وَأَنَّا لَا نَدْرِي أَشَرٌّ أُرِيدَ بِمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ أَمْ أَرَادَ بِهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ رَشَدًا (and that we do not know whether it is a bad end that is intended for those on earth, or their Lord has intended for them a right thing,….72:10). The Jinn and devils were barred from having access to heavenly news. In this case it would be a punishment for the inhabitants of the earth. However, if Allah intends them to be rightly guided, He has barred the Jinn and Shaitan from having access to the heaven, so that they do not interfere with Divine revelation. Therefore, they expressed their reservations about this to the effect that they had no idea as to whether it was a bad end that was intended for the inhabitants of the earth or whether Allah intended them to be rightly guided.
[72:11] and that some of us are (already) righteous, and some of us are otherwise, and we were on different ways.
[72:12] And that we have now believed that we can never frustrate Allah on the earth, nor can we baffle Him by escape,
[72:13] and that when we heard the Guiding Discourse, we believed in it; so if one believes in his Lord, he will have no fear of either any curtailment (in his reward) or any excess (in his punishment),
فَمَن يُؤْمِن بِرَبِّهِ فَلَا يَخَافُ بَخْسًا وَلَا رَهَقًا (…so if one believes in his Lord, he will have no fear of either any curtailment [in his reward] or any excess [in his punishment]…72:13). The ward bakhs, with ba’ carrying fatha] and kha’ carrying sukun, means ‘to reduce the right’ and the word rahaq means ‘disgrace’. In other words, anyone who believes in Allah need fear neither curtailment in the reward of his good deeds, nor disgrace by excess in his punishment in the Hereafter.
[72:14] and that some of us are Muslims, and some of us are unjust; so those who submitted to Islam have found out the right path,
[72:15] As for the unjust, they have become firewood for Hell.”
[72:16] ” (And it is also revealed to me) that if they (the people of Makkah) had stood firm on the (right) way, We would have supplied water to them in abundance,
[72:17] so that We test them thereby; and if one turns away from the remembrance of his Lord, He will thrust him into a severe torment,
[72:18] and that masajids (mosques) belong to Allah; so, do not invoke anyone along with Allah,
وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّـهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّـهِ أَحَدًا (…and that masajid (mosques) belong to Allah; so, do not invoke anyone along with Allah….72:18). The word masajid is the plural of masjid. Here the word could be taken in its popular sense, that is, mosques or places of worship dedicated for the performance of prayers. In this case, it would mean that all mosques belong to Allah, dedicated to His sole worship and therefore we are not permitted to call on anyone else besides Allah, like the Jews and Christians commit shirk in their places of worship. In sum, the mosques must be kept clear of all false beliefs and vile deeds.
The word masajid could also have another sense. It could be the plural of masjad, with the letter jim carrying fath, in which case it would be masdar mimi ‘infinitivity’ and mean ‘to prostrate or prostration’. The verse in this sense would signify that worship is reserved exclusively for Allah. It is not permitted to prostrate to anyone, because if he calls on anyone else for help, it is as though he is prostrating to him which must be avoided.
[72:19] and that when Allah’s slave stood invoking Him, they almost rushed on him in crowds.”
[72:20] Say, “I invoke my Lord, and do not associate with Him anyone.”
[72:21] Say, “I possess no power to cause you any harm or bring you to a right way.”
[72:22] Say, “No one can ever save me from Allah, and I can never find a refuge save with Him.
[72:23] However, (I have been given mandate) to convey (commands) from Allah, and His messages. And the one who disobeys Allah and His Messenger, for him there is the fire of Hell, wherein they will live forever.
[72:24] (And the disbelievers will continue to deny the truth and mock at it) until when they will see what they are promised, they will know whose supporters are weaker, and whose numbers are less.
[72:25] Say, “I do not know whether that which you are promised is near, or my Lord has appointed for it a distant term.
By common consent of the scholars, prostration to anyone other Allah is totally forbidden. According to some scholars, it is tantamount to
قُلْ إِنْ أَدْرِي أَقَرِيبٌ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ أَمْ يَجْعَلُ لَهُ رَبِّي أَمَدًا عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ أَحَدًا
(Say, I do not know whether that which you are promised is near, or my Lord has appointed for it a distant term. [He is the] Knower of the Unseen. So He does not let anyone know His Unseen….72:25-26)
The non-believers demanded that the Holy Prophet ﷺ should show them the exact time and date when the Resurrection will occur. In verse  he is enjoined to say to them that it was not for him to say when the threatened punishment would come, but come it must.
[72:26] (He is the) Knower of the Unseen. So He does not let anyone know His Unseen,  except a messenger whom He chooses (to inform through revelation), and then He appoints (an
Verse  is the proof of the preceding verse. The Holy Prophet ﷺ does not know whether the promised day is close or whether a longer time is appointed for it, because Allah alone is the knower of the Unseen. That is His exclusive characteristics, and therefore He does not divulge His Unseen to anyone. The definite article alif lam in al-ghaib ‘the Unseen’ is grammatically referred to as alif lam for istighraq lil jins ‘the article encompassing and indicating the entire genus’ [as stated in Ruh with reference to Radi, that is, He is Omniscient – knowing every species of the Unseen and all genera of the Unseen. In the idafah [possessive case] construction ghaibihi ‘His Unseen’, the possessive pronoun refers to ‘Allah’ and reinforces His predominance over the Unseen. Allah’s knowledge comprehends and encompasses every infima species [species of species] and every summum genus [genus of genera] of His creation. This is a specialized attribute of Allah. He does not divulge His Unseen to anyone indiscriminately, so that he may store and retrieve the secrets of the unknown world as and when he wishes.
The purport of the verse under comment is to affirm the totality of Allah’s knowledge of the Unseen so that He alone is fully aware of every particle of His creation, and to negate such total knowledge of the Unseen for anyone other than Allah. It was possible that an unintelligent person might surmise that the Holy Prophet ﷺ did not have any knowledge of the Unseen – so, how can he be a Messenger? Allah reveals to a Messenger thousands of secrets of the Unseen. Anyone to whom no revelation comes down cannot be a Prophet or a Messenger. Thus the following verse makes an exception:
إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ مِن رَّسُولٍ فَإِنَّهُ يَسْلُكُ مِن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ رَصَدًا ﴿27﴾
(…except a messenger whom He chooses [to inform through revelation], and then He appoints [angels as] watching guards before him and behind him, [so that devils may not tamper with the divine revelation,]…. 72:27)
[72:27] gels as) watching guards before him and behind him, (so that devils may not tamper with the divine revelation,)
Difference between ‘Knowledge of the Unseen’ and ‘Reports of the Unseen Events’
The exception made here is the response to the doubt raised by unintelligent people. The negation of the total knowledge of the Unseen does not necessarily entail absolute negation of every unknown secret. For the office of risalah, a Messenger needs a certain amount of knowledge of unseen things which Allah grants him through revelation. When Allah sends down the revelation to His Holy Prophet ﷺ ، He sends it down under His special protection, and is completely secure against being distorted or tampered with by devils. First of all, the word rasul [Messenger] determines the type of knowledge granted to a Prophet or a Messenger. Evidently, it is the knowledge of the sacred laws and injunctions in its totality, and of the unseen events according to the exigency of time. The next statement states the heavily protected manner in which the unseen knowledge is granted. It is sent down through angels around whom are posted other angels as sentinels. This explanation clarifies the point that the exceptive sentence that affirms the unseen knowledge granted to a Holy Prophet ﷺ and a Messenger is a specialized unseen knowledge which is essential and relevant to the proper functioning of a Prophetic office.
Technically, this ‘exception’, in Arabic grammar, is referred to as istithna’ munqati` which may be defined as the exceptive sentence in which the exception is severed from, or wholly different in kind from, the general description given before. In this sense, whilst the basic sentence negated total Unseen Knowledge in general terms for anyone besides Allah, the exceptive sentence does not affirm it. It merely affirms specialized acquaintance with some reports of the unseen events which the Qur’an frequently describes as anba’ul ghaib أَنبَاءِ الْغَيْبِ , thus, for instance:
تِلْكَ مِنْ أَنبَاءِ الْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهَا إِلَيْكَ
‘These are some reports from the unseen [events] which We reveal to you. [11:49] ‘
Some unintelligent people do not grasp the distinction between ‘Knowledge of the Unseen’ and ‘reports of the unseen events’. As a result, they attempt to prove ‘total knowledge of the Unseen’ for the Prophets of Allah, especially for the Last Prophet ﷺ . They believe that the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، like Allah, is omniscient – having knowledge of every particle of the universe. This is clearly shirk – assigning to the Holy Prophet ﷺ the status of Godhead, God forbid! If any person discloses a secret to a friend of his, of which no one else has that piece of knowledge or information, such a friend cannot be described as omniscient. Likewise, Allah has granted thousands of pieces of information of the unseen world through revelation to His Holy Prophets ﷺ ، but it is not true to say that they are omniscient. The ignorant laity do not understand the difference between the concepts. When they are told that the Holy Prophet ﷺ is not omniscient, they understand this statement to imply that the Holy Prophet ﷺ [God forbid!] did not have any information about anything unseen. No believer in the world ever holds such a belief, nor can he ever do so because if anyone does so the whole structure of nubuwwah and risalah would come crumbling down. It is not possible for any believer to behave in this way.
[72:28] so that He knows that they (angels) have conveyed the messages of their Lord. And He has encompassed all that is with them, and has comprehensive knowledge of everything by numbers.
The concluding part of the last verse says:
وَأَحْصَىٰ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدًا (…and has comprehensive knowledge of everything by numbers….72:28). In other words, Allah alone encompasses the perfect knowledge of everything and keeps a meticulous count of it. He has the knowledge of the exact number of particles in the mountains. He has the knowledge of the exact number of drops in all the oceans of the world. He has the knowledge of the exact number of drops in every rain. He alone has the knowledge of the exact number of leaves on all the trees in the world. Thus it is made clear that the totality of the knowledge of the Unseen is reserved exclusively for Allah, so that there should be no misunderstanding about the above ‘exception’ clause.
The question of the Unseen Knowledge is fully discussed under [27:65]
قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ
Say, “No one in the heavens and the earth has the knowledge of the Unseen except Allah.” [27:65]
72. Surah Al Jinn (The Jinn)
“Al-Jinn” is the name of this Surah as well as the title of its subject matter, for in it the event of the Jinn’s hearing the Qur’an and returning to their people to preach Islam to them, has been related in detail.
Period of Revelation
According to a tradition related in Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas, once the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was going to Visit the Fair of Ukaz with some of his Companions, On the way be led the Fajr Prayer at Nakhlah. At that time a company of the jinn happened to pass that way. When they heard the Quran being recited, they tarried and listened to it attentively. This very event has been described in this Surah.
Most of the commentators, on the basis of this tradition, believe that this relates to the Holy Prophet’s well known journey to Taif, which had taken place three years before the Hijrah in the 10th year of the Prophethood. But this is not correct for several reasons. The jinn’s hearing the Qur’an during the journey to Taif has been related in Al-Ahqaf 29-32. A cursory reading of those verses shows that the jinn who had believed after hearing the Qur’an on that occasion were already believers in the Prophet Moses and the previous scriptures. On the contrary, vv. 2- 7 of this surah clearly show that the jinn who heard the Qur’an on this occasion were polytheists and deniers of the Hereafter and Prophethood. Then, it is confirmed historically that in his journey to Taif none accompanied the Holy Prophet except Hadrat Zaid bin Harithah. On the contrary, concerning this journey Ibn Abbas says that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was accompanied by some of his Companions. Furthermore, the traditions also agree that in that journey the jinn heard the Qur’an when the Holy Prophet had stopped at Nakhlah on his return journey from Taif to Makkah, and in this journey, according to the traditions of Ibn Abbas, the event of the jinn’s hearing the Qur’an occurred when the Holy Prophet was going to Ukaz from Makkah. Therefore, in view of these reasons what seems to be correct is that in Surah Al-Ahqaf and Surah Al Jinn, one and the same event has not been narrated, but these were two separate events, which took place during two separate journeys.
As far as Surah Al-Ahqaf is concerned, it is agreed that the event mentioned in it occurred on the return journey from Taif in the 10th year of Prophethood. As for the question, when this second event took place, its answer is not given by the tradition of Ibn Abbas, nor any other historical tradition shows as to when the Holy Prophet had gone to the Fair of Ukaz along with some of his Companions. However, a little consideration of vv 8-10 of this surah shows that this could only be an event of the earliest stage of Prophethood. In these verses it has been stated that before the appointment of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to Divine Mission the jinn used to have one or another opportunity to eavesdrop in the heavens in order to hear news of the unseen, but after it they suddenly found that angels had been set as guards and meteorites were being shot on every side so that they could find no place of safety from where they could hear the secret news. Thereupon they had set about searching for the unusual thing that had occurred on the earth, or was going to occur, because of which the security measures had been tightened up. Probably since then many companies of the jinn must have been moving about in search of the unusual occurrence and one of them after having heard the Qur’an from the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) must have formed the opinion that that was the very thing for the sake of which all the gates of the heavens had been shut against the jinn.
Reality of Jinn
Before one starts the study of this Surah one must clearly know what is the reality of the jinn so as to avoid any possible mental confusion. Many people of the modern times are involved in the misunderstanding that the jinn are not real, but only a figment of the ancient superstition and myths. They have not formed this opinion on the basis that they have known all the realities and truths about the universe and have thus discovered that the jinn do not exist. They cannot claim to possess any such knowledge either. But they have assumed without reason and proof that nothing exists in the universe except what they can see, whereas the sphere of human perceptions as against the vastness of this great universe is not even comparable to a drop of water as against the ocean. Here, the person who thinks that what he does not perceive, does not exist, and what exists must necessarily be perceived, in fact, provides a proof of the narrowness of his own mind. With this mode of thought, not to speak of the jinn, man cannot even accept and acknowledge any reality, which he cannot directly experience and observe, and he cannot even admit the existence of God, to say nothing of admitting any other unseen reality.
Those of the Muslims who have been influenced by modernism, but cannot deny the Qur’an either, have given strange interpretations of the clear statements of the Qur’an about the jinn, Iblis and Satan. They say that this does not refer to any hidden creation, which may have its own independent existence, but it sometimes implies man’s own animal forces, which have been called Satan, and sometimes it implies savage and wild mountain tribes, and sometimes the people who used to listen to the Qur’an secretly. But the statements of the Qur’an in this regard are so clear and explicit that these interpretations bear no relevance to them whatever.
The Qur’an frequently mentions the jinn and the men in a manner as to indicate that they are two separate creations. For this, see Al Araf: 38, Hind : 119, Ha Mim As-Sajdah: 25,29, Ahqaf: 18, Adh Dhariyat: 56, and the entire surah Ar-Rahman, which bears such clear evidence as to leave no room to regard the jinn as a human species.
In Surah Al-Araf: 12, Al Hijr : 26-27 and Ar-Rahman : 14-19, it has been expressly stated that man was created out of clay and jinn out of fire.
In Surah Al Hijr: 27, it has been said that the jinn had been created before man. The same thing is testified by the story of Adam and Iblis, which has been told at seven different places in the Qur’an, and at every place it confirms that Iblis was already there at the creation of man. Moreover, in surah Al-Kahf: 50, it has been stated that Iblis belonged to the jinn.
In surah Al-Araf: 27, it has been stated in clear words that the jinn see the human beings but the human beings do not see them.
In surah Al-Hijr: 16-l8, surah As- Saaffat: 6-10 and surah Al-Mulk: 5, it has been said that although the jinn can ascend to the heavens, they cannot exceed a certain limit; if they try to ascend beyond that limit and try to hear what goes on in the heavens, they are not allowed to do so, and if they try to eavesdrop they are driven away by meteorites. By this the belief of the polytheistic Arabs that the jinn possess the knowledge of the unseen, or have access to Divine secrets, has been refuted. The same error has a]so been refuted in Saba: 14.
Al-Baqarah: 30-34 and Al- Kahf: 50 show that Allah has entrusted man with the vicegerency of the earth and the men are superior to the jinn. Although the jinn also have been given certain extraordinary powers and abilities an example of which is found in An-Naml 39, yet the animals likewise have been given some powers greater than man, but these are no argument that the animals are superior to man.
The Qur’an also explains that the jinn, like men, are a creation possessed of power and authority, and they, just like them, can choose between obedience and disobedience, faith and disbelief. This is confirmed by the story of Satan and the event of the jinn affirming the faith as found in Surahs Al-Ahqaf and Al-Jinn.
At scores of places in the Qur’an, it has also been stated that Iblis at the very creation of Adam had resolved to misguide mankind, and since then the Satanic jinn have been persistently trying to mislead man, but they do not have the power to overwhelm him and make him do something forcibly. However, they inspire him with evil suggestions, beguile him and make evil seem good to him. For this, see An-Nisa 117- 120, Al-Araf: 11-17, Ibrahim: 22, Al-Hijr: 30-42, An-Nahl 98-100, Bani Israil 61-65.
The Qur’an also tells us that in the pre Islamic ignorance the polytheistic Arabs regarded the jinn as associates of God, worshiped them and thought they were descended from God. For this, see A1-An’am: 100, Saba : 40-41, As Saffat: 158.
From these details, it becomes abundantly clear that the jinn have their own objective existence and are a concealed creation of an entirely different species from man. Because of their mysterious qualities, ignorant people have formed exaggerated notions and concepts about them and their powers, and have even worshiped them, but the Qur’an has explained the whole truth about them, which shows what they are and what they are not.
Theme and Topics
In this Surah in vv. 1-15, it has been told what was the impact of the Qur’an on the company of the jinn when they heard it and what they said to their fellow jinn when they returned to them. Allah, in this connection, has not cited their whole conversation but only those particular things which were worthy of mention. That is why the style is not that of a continuous speech but sentences have been cited so as to indicate that they said this and this. If one studies these sentences spoken by the jinn carefully, one can easily understand the real object of the narration of this event of their affirming the faith and or mentioning this conversation of theirs with their people in the Qur’an. The explanations that we have given of their statements in our Notes will be of further help in understanding this object.
After this, in vv 16-l8, the people have been admonished to the effect:”If you refrain from polytheism and follow the way of righteousness firmly, you will be blessed; otherwise if you turn away from the admonition sent down by Allah, you will meet with a severe punishment.” Then, in vv. 19-23, the disbelievers of Makkah have been reproached, as if to say: When the Messenger of Allah calls you towards Allah, you surround and mob him from every side, whereas the only duty of the Messenger is to convey the messages of Allah. He does not claim to have any power to bring any gain or cause any harm to the people.” Then, in vv. 24-25 the disbelievers have been warned to the effect: “Today you are trying to overpower and suppress the Messenger seeing that he is helpless and friendless, but a time will come when you will know who in actual fact is helpless and friendless. Whether that time is yet far off, or near at hand, the Messenger has no knowledge thereof, but it will come to pass in any case.” In conclusion, the people have been told: The Knower of the unseen is Allah alone. The Messenger receives only that knowledge which Allah is pleased to give him. This knowledge pertains to matters connected with the performance of the duties of Prophethood and it is delivered to him in such security which does not admit of any external interference whatever.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
1-15 A beautiful speech of the jinns who embraced Islam after hearing Al-Quran and Jinns also have different religions and sects, among jinns there are some Muslims and some deviators from the Truth
(72:1) Say, (O Prophet), it was revealed to me that a band of jinn attentively listened1 to (the recitation of the Qur’an) and then (went back to their people) and said: (72:2) “We have indeed heard a wonderful Qur’an2 which guides to the Right Way; so we have come to believe in it, and we will not associate aught with Our Lord in His Divinity”;3 (72:3) and that “He – exalted be His Majesty – has not taken to Himself either a wife or a son”;4 (72:4) and that “the foolish among us5 have been wont to say outrageous things about Allah”; (72:5) and that “we had thought that men and jinn would never speak a lie about Allah”,6 (72:6) and that “some from among the humans used to seek protection of some among the jinn, and thus they increased the arrogance7 of the jinn”; (72:7) and that “they thought, even as you thought, that Allah would never raise anyone (as a Messenger)”;8 (72:8) and that “we tried to pry (the secrets of) the heaven, but we found it full of terrible guards and shooting meteors”; (72:9) and that “we would take up stations in the heaven to try to hear but anyone who now attempts to listen finds a shooting meteor in wait for him”;9 (72:10) and that “we do not know whether evil is intended for those on the earth, or whether their Lord intends to direct them to the Right Way”;10 (72:11) and that “some of us are upright and some of us are otherwise for we follow widely divergent paths”;11 (72:12) and that “we thought that we will neither be able to frustrate Allah on earth, nor frustrate Him by flight”;12 (72:13) and that “when we heard the teaching of the Right Way we came to believe in it; he who believes in His Lord shall have no fear of suffering loss or being subjected to any injustice”;13 (72:14) and that “among us some are Muslims (Those who have submitted to Allah), and some of us are deviant. So those who became Muslims found the Right Course; (72:15) but those who deviated from the Truth, will be the fuel for Hell.”14
1. This shows that the jinn at that time were not visible to the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor he knew that they were hearing the Quran being recited, but Allah informed him of the incident afterwards by revelation. Abdullah bin Abbas has also, in connection with this incident, stated: The Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah had not recited the Quran before the jinn, nor did he see them. (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Jarir).
2. The words in the original are: Quran-un-ajaba, which means “something which is read again and again”, and the jinn probably used this word in this very meaning, for they were introduced to this divine revelation for the first time, and they did not perhaps know then that what they were hearing, was the Quran itself. Ajab is a superlative, which is used in Arabic for a wonderful thing. So, what the jinn said means: We have heard such a wonderful recital which is unique both in its language and in its subject-matter.
This also shows that the jinn not only hear what human beings say but also understand their language, although it is not necessary that all the jinn might know all the human languages. It is possible that those of them who live in a particular region of the earth might know the language of the people of that region. But in any case this statement of the Quran clearly shows that the jinn who listened to the Quran at that time were so conversant with the Arabic language that they not only appreciated the matchless eloquence of the divine word but also understood its sublime subject-matter.
3. This throws light on several things:
(1) That the jinn do not deny Allah’s existence and His being Lord and Sustainer.
(2) That among them there are polytheists also, who like polytheistic human beings ascribe divinity to others than Allah: thus, the community of the jinn whose members heard the Quran was polytheistic.
(3) That the Prophethood and revelation of divine scriptures does not exist among the jinn, but whoever of them believe, they believe in the Prophets raised among human beings and in the Books brought by them. This same thing is confirmed by( Surah Al-Ahqaf, Ayats 29-30), where it has been stated that the jinn who had then heard the Quran, were from among the followers of the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), and they after having heard the Quran, had invited their people to believe in the revelation that had been sent down by God confirming the previous scriptures. Surah Ar-Rahman also points to the same, for its whole subject-matter shows that the audience of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) invitation are both the men and the jinn.
4. From this we know two things:
(1) That these jinn were either from among the Christian jinn, or they were followers of a different religion in which Allah was regarded as having children and families.
(2) That at that time the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reciting some such part of the Quran hearing which they realized the error of their creed and knew that it was sheer ignorance and impudence to ascribe wife and children to the High and Exalted Being of Allah.
5. The word safihuna as used in the text can be spoken for an individual as well as for a group. If it is taken for a foolish individual, it would imply Iblis and if for a group, it would imply a group of foolish jinn who said such things.
6. That is, we were misled by those falsehoods because we could never think that the men or the jinn could ever dare forge a lie about Allah, but having heard this Quran we now know that they were, in fact, liars.
7. Ibn Abbas says that in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance when the Arabs had to spend a night in some uninhabited, desolate valley, they would shout out: We seek refuge of the jinn, who is owner of this valley. In other traditions of the pre-Islamic ignorance also the same thing has been reported frequently. For example, if in a place they ran short of water and fodder, the wandering Bedouins would send one of their men to some other place to see if water and fodder were available; and when they reached the new site under his direction, they would shout out before they halted to pitch the camp: We seek refuge of the sustainer of this valley so that we may live here in peace from every calamity. They believed that every un-inhabited place was under the control of one or another jinn and if someone stayed there without seeking his refuge, the jinn would either himself trouble the settlers, or would let others trouble them. These believing jinn are referring to this very thing. They meant that when man, the vicegerent of the earth, started fearing them without any reason, and started seeking their refuge instead of God’s, it caused their people to become even more arrogant, haughty and wicked, and they became even more fearless and bold in adopting error and disbelief.
8. Another meaning of this sentence can be: Allah will not resurrect anyone after death. As the words are comprehensive, they can be taken to mean that, as among human beings, so among the jinn were those who denied both the Prophethood and the Hereafter. However, in view of the theme that follows, the meaning that we have given in the text above is preferable, for according to it these believing jinn tell the people of their community: Your view is proved wrong that Allah will not appoint anyone as a Messenger. In fact, the gates of heavens have been closed on us only because Allah has already appointed a Messenger.
9. This is the reason why these jinn were now out searching as to what particularly had happened or was going to happen on the earth, which had necessitated strict security measures against eavesdropping so that they were driven away from wherever they tried to eavesdrop in any way.
10. This shows that such extraordinary measures were adopted in the heavens only on two kinds of occasions. First, when Allah might decide to inflict the dwellers of the earth with a torment, and the divine will might be that before it was actually inflicted the jinn might not know and convey its news to warn their friendly human beings of the impending disaster. Second, that Allah might appoint a Messenger on the earth, and strict security measures might be adopted so that neither the messages being conveyed to him be interfered with by the satans nor should they be able to know beforehand what instructions were being given to the Messenger. Thus, the saying of the jinn means: When we noticed that strict security measures had been adopted in the heavens for the safeguard of the news, and the meteorites were being showered profusely, we wanted to know which of the two things had happened: Whether Allah had caused a torment to descend suddenly on some people of the earth, or a Messenger had been raised somewhere on the earth. We were on the lookout for the same when we heard the wonderful revelation, which guides to the right path, and we came to know that Allah had not sent down a torment but had raised a Messenger to show the right way to the people. For further explanation, see (E.Ns 8 to 12 of Surah Al-Hijr); (E.N. 7 of Surah As-Saffat) and (E.N. 11 of Surah Al-Mulk).
11. That is, morally there are also good and bad jinn among us, and from the viewpoint of creed as well, all do not follow one and the same religion, but we are divided into different groups. With these words the believing jinn want to convince the other jinn of their community that they certainly stood in need of finding out the right way and could not dispense with this need.
12. That is, we were led by this very idea to the way of success. As we were not fearless of Allah and we believed that we would not be able to avoid His punishment if we disobeyed Him. So when we heard the divine revelation that had been sent to show the right way, we could not have the courage and boldness to persist in the beliefs that our foolish people had spread among us after we have known the truth.
13. Fear of deprivation: Fear of being given a lesser reward than what one actually deserves for one’s good deeds. Injustice: That one may be deprived of the reward for the good deeds done but duly punished for the errors committed or punished innocent; no believer has any fear of such an injustice from Allah.
14. Here, one may ask: When, according to the Quran, the jinn have been created from the fire, what harm can the fire of Hell do them? The answer is: Even according to the Quran, man has been created out of the earth; why does then man feel hurt when a clod of earth is thrown at him? The truth is that although the whole body of man has been made from the earthly substances, when a living man of flesh and blood is molded from them he becomes an entirely different thing from those substances; then other things made from the same substances become a means of causing harm to him. Likewise, although the jinn have also been created from the fire, when a living and sentient creation has been made from it, the same fire becomes a means of causing harm and hurt for it. (For further explanation, see (E.N. 15 of Surah Ar-Rahman).
16-19 Mosques are built for the worship of Allah, so invoke no one else besides Him
(72:16) If15 people were to keep firmly to the Right Way, We would have vouchsafed them abundant rain16 (72:17) so that We might try them through this bounty.17 Whoso turns away from the remembrance of his Lord,18 He will cause him to suffer a grievous chastisement; (72:18) and that “mosques belong to Allah, so do not invoke anyone with Him”;19 (72:19) and when Allah’s servant20 stood up to call on Him, they well-nigh swarmed him.
15. The conversation of the jinn having come to an end, with this begins the speech of Allah.
16. This is the same thing as has been said in (Surah Nuh Ayats 10-11). Seek forgiveness of Allah. He will send abundant rains for you from heaven. (For explanation, see (E.N. 12 of Surah Nuh). Abundance of water has been used for abundance of blessings metaphorically for human life, and habitations also depend on water. Without water there can be no human settlement, nor can man’s basic needs be fulfilled, nor his industries work and prosper.
17. We might try them by that blessing: We might see whether they remain grateful after having received the blessing or not, and whether they put Our blessing to right use or not.
18. Turns away from the remembrance of his Lord, means that one may reject the advice and admonition sent down by Allah, or one may disdain giving ear to Allah’s remembrance, or one may turn away from His worship.
19. The commentators generally have taken mosques to mean the places of worship. Accordingly, the verse means: None should be associated in the worship of Allah in the places of worship. Hasan Basri says: The entire earth is a place of worship, and the verse means to say: Polytheism ought not to be committed anywhere on God’s earth, He has reasoned out this meaning from the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Hadith: For me the entire earth has been made a place of worship and a means of obtaining purity. Saeed bin Jubair has interpreted masajid to imply the parts of the body on which one prostrates oneself, i.e. the hands, the knees, toes and forehead. According to this explanation, the verse means: These limbs have been made by Allah; no one should prostrate oneself on these before anyone other than Allah.
20. Servant of Allah: the Prophet (peace be upon him).
20-28 Rasools do not have the power to harm or benefit anyone, his mission is just to convey Allah’s message and Only Allah knows the unseen, He reveals it to whom He chooses from
(72:20) Say, (O Prophet): “I call on my Lord alone, and I do not associate aught with Him in His Divinity.”21 (72:21) Say: “Surely neither it is in my power to hurt you nor to bring you to the Right Way.” (72:22) Say: “None can protect me from Allah, nor can I find a refuge apart from Him. (72:23) (My task is no more than) to deliver Allah’s proclamation and His messages.22 And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, surely the Fire of Hell awaits him; therein he will abide in perpetuity.”23 (72:24) (They shall not change their ways) until they see that against which they had been warned, and then they will know whose helpers are weaker and whose supporters are fewer in number.24 (72:25) Say: “I know not whether what you are promised is near or whether my Lord will prolong its term.25 (72:26) He is the Knower of the Unseen, and He does not disclose His Unseen to anyone26 (72:27) other than to a Messenger whom He chooses27 (for the bestowal of any part of the knowledge of the Unseen), whereafter He appoints guards who go before him and behind him,28 (72:28) so that He may know that they have delivered the messages of their Lord.29 He encompasses in His knowledge their surroundings and keeps a count of all things.”30
21. That is, to call upon Allah is no objectionable thing, which may so provoke the people. The evil thing, however, is that one should associate another with Allah in His divinity, and this I never do; this is done by those who mob and surround me when they hear God mentioned by me.
22 That is, I do not claim to have any share or role in the Godhead of Allah, nor that I possess any power in making or marring the people’s destinies. I am only a Messenger and the mission that has been entrusted to me is no more than that I should convey the messages of Allah to you. As for the powers of Godhead, they wholly belong to Allah. Not to speak of benefiting or harming others, I do not have the power to cause good or harm even to myself. If I disobey Allah, I cannot seek and have refuge anywhere from His punishment, and I have no helper and protector beside Allah. (For further explanation, see (E.N. 7 of Surah Ash-Shura).
23. This does not mean that every sin and act of disobedience will cause one to live in Hell forever, but in view of the context in which this thing bas been said, the verse means: the one who does not accept the invitation to Tauhid given by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) and does not refrain from polytheism will suffer in Hell forever.
24. The background of this verse is that those of the Quraish who used to mob and surround the Prophet (peace be upon him) as soon as they heard his invitation calling to Allah were under the delusion that they had a strong band at their back and that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had only a handful of men with him, and therefore, they would easily overwhelm him. At this it is being said: Today these people find the Messenger (peace be upon him) helpless and friendless and they themselves supported and strengthened by great hosts and, therefore, feel encouraged and emboldened to suppress the invitation to the truth. But when the evil time with which they are being threatened comes, they will know who in fact is helpless and friendless.
25. The style itself shows that this is an answer which has been given without citing the question. Probably, hearing what has been said above, the opponents might have asked mockingly and tauntingly: When will the time come with which you are threatening us. In response, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was commanded to say: The time will certainly come, but I have not been told the date of its coming. Allah alone knows whether it will come soon or whether a distant term has been set for it.
26. That is, the knowledge of the unseen entirely rests with Allah: He does not give the whole of this knowledge to anyone.
27. That is, the Messenger (peace be upon him) by himself is no knower of the unseen, but when Allah chooses him to perform the mission of Prophethood, He grants him the knowledge of those of the unseen truths which He is pleased to grant.
28. Guards: Angels, that is, when Allah sends down the knowledge of the unseen realities to the Messenger (peace be upon him) by revelation, He appoints angels on every side to safeguard it so that the knowledge reaches the Messenger in a safe condition, free from any kind of adulteration. This is the same thing which has been expressed in verses 8-9 above, saying: After the appointment of the Messenger (peace be upon him) the jinn found that all the doors to the heavens had been closed, and they noticed that strict security measures had been adopted because of which no room had been left for them to eavesdrop.
29. This can have three meanings: (1) That the Messenger (peace be upon him) may know that the angels have delivered the messages of Allah to him precisely and accurately. (2) That Allah may know that the angels have conveyed the messages of their Lord to His Messenger (peace be upon him) precisely and accurately. (3) That Allah may know that the Messenger (peace be upon him) has conveyed the messages of his Lord to His servants precisely and accurately. The words of the verse are comprehensive and may possibly imply all the three meanings. Besides, the verse also points out two other things. First, that the Messenger (peace be upon him) is given that knowledge of the unseen which is necessary for him to perform his mission of Prophethood. Second, that the angels keep watch that the revelation reaches the Messenger (peace be upon him) safely and also that the Messenger (peace be upon him) conveys the messages of his Lord to His servants precisely and accurately.
30. That is, Allah’s power so encompasses the Messenger (peace be upon him) as well as the angels that if they swerve even a little from His will, they can be detected immediately. Moreover, a complete record has been kept of each letter of the messages sent down by Allah. The Messengers (peace be upon him) and the angels cannot dare add or subtract even a letter from them.