Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Jinn - Demon - 2

Sajjada wrote:

This is why Allah made Muhammad the Final Prophet and sent him to all humans and Jinn. What are Jinns? Please let us know.


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Dear Sajjad Sahab,

If you want to learn more.

Buy this:

The Jinn (demons) By Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips:

Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips was born in Jamaica, but grew up in Canada, where he accepted Islam in 1972. He completed a diploma in Arabic and a B.A. from the College of Islamic Disciplines (Usool ad-Deen) at the Islamic University of Madeenah in 1979. At the University of Riyadh, College of Education, he completed a M.A. in Islamic Theology in 1985, and in the department of Islamic Studies at the University of Wales, he completed a Ph.D. in Islamic Theology in 1994. Abu Ameenah taught Islamic Education and Arabic in private schools in Riyadh for over ten years and for three years he lectured M.Ed. students in the Islamic Studies department of Shariff Kabunsuan Islamic University in Cotobato City, Mindanao, Philippines. Since 1994 he has founded and directed the Islamic Information Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (which is now known as Discover Islam) and the Foreign Literature Department of Dar al Fatah Islamic Press in Sharjah, UAE. Presently, he is a lecturer of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the American University in Dubai and Ajman University in Ajman, UAE.

Spirit-Possession By Aboo Ameenah Bilaal Philips:

The most commonly used term for spirit-possession in Arabic is sara‘. This term is also applied to epilepsy and the fits associated with it. The possessed person is called masroo‘. These terms come from the root sara‘a, which basically means “to throw down on the ground.” The passive form verb suri‘a means to be affected with epilepsy, diabolical possession or madness.[1]

Another frequently used term is mass, coming from the root massa which literally means “to touch with hand.” Mass is also used to mean madness or diabolical possession, as in the phrase bihee mass, “in him is madness.” One possessed is called mamsoos.[2]

Among the meaning of the term “khabtah” (literally, “a strike or hit”) is “a touch, stroke of diabolical possession or insanity.”[3]

In Arabic the insane person is called majnoon, which is derived from the same root as the word jinn, thereby indicating that insanity, at least in some cases, was considered to be the product of
jinn-possession. E.W. Lane’s entry for majnoon reads: “possessed by a jinnee or by jinn, or by a devil, or demon; a demoniac: and hence meaning bereft of reason; or mad, insane, unsound in mind or intellect or wanting therein: (see junoon:) it may generally be rendered possessed; or mad, or insane.”[4]


[1] Arabic-English Lexicon, vol. 2, p. 1678.

[2] Ibid., pp. 2711-2712.

[3] Ibid., vol. 1, p. 698.

[4] Ibid., p. 464.

According to the Islâmic conception of the world of created spiritual beings, the conclusion drawn from the evidence presented in the previous chapters was that the only possible source which could be involved in spirit-possession of humans would be the jinn. The is the view held by the majority of the Sunnee scholars, past and present. However, there is a minority of Muslim scholars, philosophers and scholastic theologians who have questioned the possibility of possession. Some have denied this possibility altogether, while others have offered different explanations for the phenomenon of madness and epilepsy.

Among the many statements from outstanding classical scholars confirming the reality of possession is that of Imâm Ahmad.[1] ‘Abdullaah reported that when he asked his father, Ahmad bin Hanbal, “There are some people who claim that the jinnee cannot enter the body of a human,” his father replied, “O my dear son, they are lying; for that is one [jinnee] speaking with his tongue.”[2] Ibn Taymeeyah expressed the position of the majority of the Muslim scholars, stating, “The existence of the jinn is an established fact, according to the Book (i.e. the Qur’aan), the Sunnah and the agreement of the early scholars. Likewise, the penetration of a jinnee into a human body is also an established fact, according to the consensus of leading Sunnee scholars. It is also a fact witnessed and experienced by anyone who reflects on it. The jinnee enters the one seized by fits and causes him to speak incomprehensible words, unknown to himself; if one seized by fits is struck a blow sufficient to kill a came, he does not feel it.” Elsewhere he also said, “There is no one among the major Muslim scholars who denies the [possibility of] a jinnee entering the body of one seized by fits, as well as the bodies of others. Whoever denies the jinn possession and claims that the divine law (sharee‘ah) belies it, has lied against the divine law. For there does not exist among the evidences of the divine law anything which repudiates demonic possession.”[ 3]

Even some of the leading scholars of the Mu‘tazilees have confirmed the occurrence of jinn-possession of humans. For example, al-Qaadee ‘Abdul-Jabbaar al-Hamadhaanee[ 4] was reported to have said, “There is nothing to prevent them (i.e. the jinn) from entering out bodies, just as air and shifting breath – which [in my opinion] is the soul (rooh) – enters our bodies by penetration and rarefaction.” [5] Further on he commented on Aboo ‘Uthmaan ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubayd’s[6] statement, “Surely, one who denies that the jinn can enter the bodies of humans is an atheist or will give birth to an atheist.” Al-Hamadhaanee remarked, “He (i.e. Aboo ‘Uthmaan) only said that because the fact that jinn can possess humans is as well-known and obvious as information about formal prayer (salaah), fasting, hajj and zakaah. Just as whoever rejects this basic information is judged as an apostate, whoever rejects knowledge which may only be obtained through the Messenger (like the jinn-possession of humans) is a disbeliever.” [7]

Evidence for Possession

Qur’ânic Evidence

Evidence for spirit-possession can be found in both the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. From the Qur’aan the most commonly quoted support for jinn-possession is the following verse:

“Those who devour interest rise up like one stumbling from Satan’s touch.” Qur’aan, 2:275

Al-Qurtubee commented on this verse in his exegesis, saying, “This verse contains proof of the
incorrectness of those who deny possession (sara‘) by way of the jinn, claiming that it is the result of natural causes, as well as those who claim that Satan does not enter human nor does he touch them.”[8] Aboo Ja‘far ibn Jareer[9] said the following in his commentary on the verse, “He (i.e. Allaah), whose praise is great, said to those who deal in interest: He whom we have so described in this life will rise up in the next life from his grave like one stumbling from Satan’s touch rises up. He meant that Satan drives him insane in this life. He is one whom Satan causes to stumble, and he overpowers and knocks him down by the touch – that is madness.”[10] Ibn Katheer’s view on the interpretation of the verse was as follows: “That is, they rise up from their graves on the Day of Judgment unbalanced like an insane person in a fit of madness. His fumbling around under Satan’s touch means that he will rise up unbalanced. Ibn Abee Haatim[11] reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said, ‘One who devours interest will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment insane in a suffocating fit of madness.’ ‘Awf ibn Maalik,[12] Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr,[13] as-Suddee[14] ar-Rabee‘ ibn Anas,[15] Muqaatil ibn Hayyaan[16] and Qataadah.[17]” [18] In a treatise on this subject, Ibn Taymeeyah[19] stated the following, “Although some Mu‘tazilees, like al-Jubbaa’ee[ 20] and Aboo Bakr ar-Raazee[21] , erroneously rejected the possibility that jinn enter the bodies of madmen, they did not deny the existence of jinn, because the former is less evident than the latter. Thus al-Ash‘aree mentioned among the doctrines of orthodox Muslims (Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jamaa‘ah) that they believed that the jinn entered the bodies of madmen, as stated by the Almighty in the verse, ‘Those who devour interest rise up like one stumbling from Satan’s touch.’[22]

Evidence from the Sunnah:

In the authentic texts of the Sunnah there are a number of traditions which indicate that the jinn may and do enter the body. Some of these hadeeths are rather general, while others are quite specific. The most widely quoted of the general texts is one in which the Prophet () was reported by his wife, Safiyyah, to have said: “Verily, Satan flows in the bloodstream of Aadam’s descendents.” [23] According to the Sunnee scholars who use this hadeeth as evidence, it clearly indicates that Satan – and by extension the jinn – is able to invade human body and permeate its
various parts, similar to the way blood circulates within the limbs.

Ya’laa ibn Murrah said: “I saw the Allaah’s Messenger () do three things which no one before or after me saw. I went with him on a trip. On the way we passed by a woman sitting at the roadside with a young boy. She called out, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, this boy is afflicted with a trial, and from him we have also been afflicted with a trial. I do not know how many times per day he is seized with fits.’ He said, ‘Give him to me.’ So she lifted him up to the Prophet (). He then placed the boy between himself and the middle of the saddle, opened the boy’s mouth and blew in it three times, says, ‘In the name of Allaah; I am the slave of Allaah. Get out, enemy of Allaah!’ Then he gave the boy back to her and said, ‘Meet us on our return at this same place and inform us how he has faired.’ We then went. On our return, we found her in the same place with three sheep. When he said to her, ‘How has your son faired?’ she replied, ‘By the One who sent you with the truth, we have not detected anything [unusual] in his behaviour up to this time…’”[24]

This authentic narration - and others which are weaker but still strong enough to be used as supportive evidence – portrays the Prophet () apparently commanding an entity within this boy seized by fits of “madness” to leave. If there was nothing really possessing this boy, it would mean that the Prophet () was involved in folly and deception. Since he knew that his actions would be imitated by his followers, he would not engage in such deviation. The idea of him being deceitful is totally inconsistent with the Islâmic concept of prophethood and its responsibilities – that of clarity and guidance. Consequently, the vast majority of orthodox Muslim scholars conclude that such narrations confirm the concept of diabolic possession of humans.

Logical Evidence:

The Mu‘tazilee judge, Abdul-Jabbaar Al-Hamadhaanee, [25] was reported to have rationally argued in favor of spirit-possession. He said:

If what we have proven concerning the fineness and delicacy of their (i.e. the jinn’s) bodies and that they are gaseous is correct, there is nothing to prevent them from entering our bodies, just as air and shifting breath – which is the soul – enters our bodies by penetration and rarefaction. And that does not lead to the [impossible] combination of two substances in a single location, because they only combine by being adjacent to each other and not by one occupying the place of the other. They penetrate our bodies the way thin bodies enter crevices. If it is said that the entrance of jinn into our body orifices would necessitate the orifices being torn apart or the dismemberment of the devils – because whenever bodies enter narrow locations the penetrating body is always broken – then it may be said that the breaking of the penetrating body would occur if the penetrating body is dense like iron or wood. As for a gaseous penetrating body, this would not be the case. [Therefore], it may be similarly said of devils that they are not dismembered by entering human bodies, because they will either completely penetrate as one body or partially penetrate as one cohesive whole without being torn apart.[26]

Evidence Against Possession:

The body of Muslim scholars who denied the possibility of demonic possession also used Qur’ânic verses and logic to support their arguments. Although most of them belonged to the deviant Mu‘tazilee philosophical school of thought, some were Sunnees, and to this day some Sunnee scholars deny it. Al-Aaloosee recorded the following in his exegesis of the Qur’aan, “The Mu‘tazilees and al-Qaffaal[27] from among the Shaafi‘ees[28] state that the claim that epilepsy (sara‘) and insanity (junoon) were from the Satan is false, because he does not have the ability to do that.”[29] Fakhruddeen ar-Raazee quoted the Mu‘tazilee scholar, al-Jubbaa’ee, as saying, “People say the reason for the state of the epileptic fit is that Satan touched [the victim] or possessed him. This is false, because Satan is weak and unable to possess or kill humans.”[30]

Qur’ânic Evidence

The verse most commonly quoted by those who deny the possibility of spirit-possession is the following:

“And Satan will say when the matter is decided, ‘It was Allaah who gave you a truthful promise. I too promised you, but I broke my promise to you. I had no authority over you except to call you, but you answered my call…’” Qur’aan 14:22

Fakhruddeen ar-Raazee made the following comment in his Qur’ânic exegesis of this verse, “This is unambiguous and unequivocal evidence that Satan does not have the ability to possess, kill or harm [humans].”[31]

Regarding the verse, “Those who devour interest rise up like one stumbling from Satan’s touch,”[32] az-Zamakhsharee stated,

That is, they rise up when they are resurrected from their grave like one thrown to the ground in convulsions (takhabbut) by Satan, i.e., the possessed. [The concept of] satanic convulsion is among the erroneous claims of the Arabs, whereby they falsely assert that Satan can throw a person down in convulsions and possess him. The word khabt refers to an aimless journey, as in the phrase ‘khabt al ashwaa’ (reckless), but it is mentioned [in the Qur’aan] according to their beliefs. The word ‘mass’ means ‘madness’, and a man in that state is mamsoos. It is also among the Arab fables that a jinnee can touch a man and cause his mind to become mixed up. Similarly,
the phrase junna ar-rajul means that a jinnee has struck him. I have observed them (i.e., the Arabs) regarding [their ideas about] the jinn [as mentioned] in their stories, reports and remarkable tales. According to them, denial of these fables is the same as denial of visually observable phenomenon.[ 33]

Two well-known Sunnee Qur’ânic exegetes, al-Baydaawee and Aboo Su‘ood,[34] both followed az-Zamakhsharee’ s view. These scholars were of the opinion that jinn do not have powers of possession. They though that only in order to get points across, the Qur’ân addressed the Arabs in expressions familiar to them and in terms of their beliefs and claims. According to al-Qaffaal,
the Arabs had a habit of describing ugly things in terms of the devil. For example, they used this claim to explain the description given by Allaah for the tree of Zaqqoom, which grows from the bottom of Hell and which will be among the sources of torment for sinners:

“The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of the devils.” Qur’aan 37:65[35]

Fakhruddeen ar-Raazee was of the opinion that the “madness” (takhabbut) mentioned in the verse (Qur’aan, 2:275) was not directly from Satan, but from his touch (mass) by way of harming whisperings, which, in turn, cause convulsions and subsequent madness (sara‘). He further likened the meaning of his verse to another in regard to Prophet Ayyoob:

“Remember when Our servant Ayyoob cried out to his Lord, ‘Satan has afflicted (‘massanee’, literally, ‘touched’) me with distress and suffering!’ ” Qur’aan 38:41

And he added, “The madness occurs with these whisperings because Allaah, Most High, created man with a weak disposition, the black bile (as-sawdaa’)[ 36] being victorious over him, whereby he becomes fearful when the whispering occur. By not being courageous [enough to withstand the mental pressure] he goes mad, just as the cowardly are driven mad by vacant locations. Due to that, this form of madness does not happen to noble humans who have attained perfection and those who are resolute and intelligent, but it exists among those possessing weak temperament and mental imbalance.”[37]

Logical Evidence:

Fakhurddeen ar-Raazee quoted in his Qur’ânic exegesis the main arguments of the Mu‘tazilee, al-Jubbaa’ee, which later became the standard line of logical reasoning used by those who rejected spirit possession:

Satan can be said to have either a dense body or a fine body. If he has the former, he must be visible. For, if it were possible for him to have a dense form and be present and invisible, it would also be possible for suns, peals of thunder, flashes of lightning and mountains to be in our presence without us seeing them; that would be greatly irrational. If he has a dense shape, then how would it be possible for him to enter into the insides of a human body? If, on the other hand, he were fine-bodied like air, such a being could not be solid or powerful and could not be able to possess a human or kill him.

If Satan were able to possess and kill [humans], it would also be possible for Stan to do acts similar to the miracle of the Prophets. This would lead to the defamation of prophethood.

If he were able to do that (i.e. possess), why does he no possess all of the believers? Why does he not send all of them into convulsions, considering the severity of his enmity towards the faithful? Why does he not steal their wealth, corrupt their affairs, expose their secrets and drive them all mad? All of that is obviously not taking place.

Those who claim that Satan can do these things may bring as evidence the report concerning the devils who used to do hard labor during the era of Sulaymaan ibn Daawood (May peace be upon him). This is based upon what Allaah told about them (i.e., the devils) making whatever he [i.e., Prophet Sulaymaan] wished of arches, statues, basins as large as reservoirs, and [cooking] cauldrons fixed in place.[38] If this is brought as proof, the response is that Allaah, Most High, charged them with such tasks during Sulaymaan’s era and gave them the power to do those works as indications of a miracle for Prophet Sulaymaan (peace be upon him).[39]

Among modern scholars following the symbolic approach of ar-Raazee and others towards the jinn, al-Ghazzaalee has presented an interpretation of the hadeeth of Safiyyah in which she quoted the Prophet () as saying, “Verily, the devil flows in the bloodstream of Aadam’s descendants.” He claims this is not the actual occupying of the human body, but refers to demonic whispering (waswasah).[ 40] Another recent Muslim scholar, Muhammad Rasheed Ridaa,[41] considered epilepsy (sara‘) and other mental illnesses to be sicknesses of the nervous system. He claimed that these are caused in part by microbes, and due to their invisibility he considered them to be a species of the entities known in Islaam as jinn.[42]

Analysis of the Arguments:

From the aforementioned arguments, it may be concluded that those who deny the possibility of diabolical possession rely on only two sources – Qur’ânic texts and logic – while those who affirm it rely on three – Qur’ânic texts, texts from the Sunnah and logic. According to the correct methodology of Qur’ânic interpretation outlined by Ibn Katheer in the introduction of his exegesis of the Qur’aan,[43] the interpretation of the Sunnah are essential for determining the correct understanding of the Qur’ânic text. Ibn Katheer wrote,

If it is asked what is the best method of interpretation, the reply is that the most correct method is that of [interpretation of] the Qur’aan by the Qur’aan. This is because what has been generalized in one place has been specified in another. If an explicit explanation is not found in another verse, then the answers are found in the Sunnah, for it explains and clarifies the Qur’aan. In fact, Imaam Muhammad ibn Idrees ash-Shaafi‘ee said, “Whatever the Messenger of Allaah () ruled was based upon what he understood from the Qur’aan. The Almighty said:

“Surely, We revealed the Book to you in truth that you may judge between people by what Allaah has shown you. So do not plead for the treacherous.” Qur’aan, 4:105

“We have revealed the Book to you in order that you may clarify for them the things about which they differ…” Qur’aan, 16:64

“Verily, We have revealed the Reminder (i.e. the Qur’aan) to you [O Muhammad] so that you may explain to the people what has been revealed to them…” Qur’aan, 16:44

Due to this fact, the Messenger of Allaah () stated,

‘I have been given the Qur’aan and something similar to it along with it.’[44]

He meant the Sunnah, because the Sunnah was revealed to him as the Qur’aan was revealed, except that it was not recited as the Qur’aan was recited.”[45]

If one applies the Sunnah to the interpretation of the Qur’ânic texts in question, then it can only be concluded that spirit-possession of human beings by the jinn is not only possible, but real. Thus, it is not surprising to find that the majority of the orthodox scholars support this view.

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