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Period of Revelation

This Surah was revealed during the early stages of the prophet's residence at Makkah.

Major Issues, Divine Laws and Guidance
  1. A beautiful speech of the jinn who embraced Islam after hearing the Qur'an.Jinn also have different religions and sects, there are some Muslims and some deviators from the truth.
  2. The reality of Jinn (for details see the following pages).
  3. Mosques are built for the worship of Allah, so invoke no one else besides Him.
  4. Rasools do not have the power to harm or benefit anyone, his mission is just to convey Allah's message.
  5. Only Allah knows the unseen, He reveals it to whom He chooses from the Rasools.

Verses #8-10 indicate that, before the appointment of Muhammad (peace be upon him as a Rasool, the jinn had the opportunity to eavesdrop in the heavens in order to hear news from the unseen. But after the appointment of Muhammad (pbuh) they suddenly found that angels had been set as guards and meteorites were being shot at them from every side, so much so that they could find no place of safety from where they could hear the secret news. They then started searching for the unusual things that occurred on the earth, or were going to occur, because of which security measures were tightened up. Probably since then, many companies of the jinn must have been moving about in search of any unusual occurrence and one of them, after having heard the Qur'an from the Prophet (pbuh), must have formed the opinion that it was the very thing for the sake of which all the gates of the heavens had been shut against the jinn.

This Surah reflects 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 that. 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 mentioning this conversation of theirs with their people in the Qur'an.

The people are admonished: "If you refrain from polytheism and firmly follow the way of righteousness, you will be blessed; otherwise, if you turn away from the admonition sent down by Allah, you will meet with a severe punishment." The disbelievers of Makkah are reproached: "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." The disbelievers are further warned: "Today you are trying to overpower and suppress the Rasool 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 are told: "The Knower of the unseen is Allah Alone. The Rasool 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 that it does not admit any external interference whatever.

Reality of Jinn

Many people have the misunderstanding that the jinn are not real, but an ancient superstition and myth. Their opinion is not based on the realities and truths about the universe and they have no direct knowledge that the jinn do not exist nor can they claim to possess any such knowledge. They have assumed, without reason and proof, that nothing exists in the universe except what they can see, whereas the sphere of human perception in accordance with the vastness of this great universe is not even comparable to a drop of water in the oceans. The person who thinks that what he does not see, 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, thus he cannot admit the existence of God, not to say admitting any other unseen reality.

Those Muslims who have been influenced by such opinions have given strange interpretations of the clear statements of the Qur'an about the jinn, Iblees and Satan. They say that the word jinn does not refer to any hidden creature, which may have its own independent existence, but it sometimes implies man's own animal forces, which have been called Satanic, and it sometimes implies savage and wild mountain tribes, and to 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. The Qur'an frequently mentions the jinn and the men in a manner as to indicate that they are two separate creations. For example:

Surah Al-A'raf: 12, Al Hijr : 26-27 and Ar-Rahman : 14-19, expressly state that man was created out of clay and jinn out of fire.

Surah Al Hijr: 27, states that the jinn had been created before man. The same thing is testified by the story of Adam and Iblees, which has been cited at seven different places in the Qur'an, and at every place it confirms that Iblees was already there at the creation of man.

Surah Al-K'ahf: 50, states that Iblees was a jinn. Surah Al-A'raf: 27, states in clear words that the jinn see human beings, but human beings do not see them.

Surah Al-Hijr: 16-l8, Surah As-Saffat: 6-10 and Surah Al-Mulk: 5, state that the jinn can ascend to the heavens but 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 will not be allowed to do so. If they try to eavesdrop they will be driven away by meteorites. By this, the belief of the polytheistic Arabs that the jinn possess knowledge of the unseen, or have access to Divine secrets, has been refuted.

Surah Saba: 14 affirms the same facts.

Surahs Al-Baqarah: 30-34 and Al-K'ahf: 50 state that Allah has entrusted man with the vicegerency of the earth and that mankind 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, the animals likewise have been given some powers greater than man, but these provide no argument that the animals are superior to man.

The Qur'an also explains that the jinn, like men, are a creation and are given the power and authority to choose between right and wrong, obedience and disobedience, belief and disbelief. This fact has been confirmed by the Qur'an in the story of Adam, where Iblees (Satan) refused to obey Allah's order to bow down to Adam. A similar event where jinn affirm Faith is stated in Surahs Al-Ahqaf and Al-Jinn. At various places in the Qur'an, it has also been stated that Iblees, 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 forcibly make him do something. However, they inspire him with evil suggestions, beguile him and make evil seem good to him. (Examples of this phenomenon are given in Surah An-Nisa' 117-120, Al-A'raf: 11-17, Ibrahim: 22, Al-Hijr: 30-42, An-Nahl 98-100, Bani Israel 61-65.) The Qur'an also states that in the pre Islamic ignorance, the polytheistic Arabs regarded the jinn as associates of God, worshipped them and thought they had descended from God. For reference see Surahs A1-An'am: 100, Saba : 40-41, As-Saffat: 158.

From these details, it becomes clear that the jinn have their own existence, are an invisible creature and of an entirely different nature. Because of their mysterious qualities, ignorant people have formed exaggerated notions and concepts about them and their powers, and have even worshipped them.