Can Jinn take the form of man?

There are signs both in the Quran and hadiths that spirit beings can be take the forms of men or animals, that is, they can be seen by human beings. For instance, the fact that Hazrat Gabriel (Jibril) became visible to Hazrat Mary (Maryam) in the form of a decent man is an indication of it. Moreover, Gabriel became apparent to our Prophet both in its original form and in the shape of Dihyatul-Kalbi, who was one of the Prophets companions. The Angel was not only seen by the Holy Prophet but also by his companions. This hadith is very sound and won renown as The Gabriel Hadith.

In the Islamic sources, there are some views that Azrael, Gabriel and some other angels and jinn can, with the permission of Allah, be visible to people in different forms. We want to mention some of those views:

Both the verses that Hadrath Solomon subjugated the jinn to himself which is pointing out to the fact that the spirit beings can take other forms and become visible to us, and some other verses like then We sent her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects all indicate to becoming apparent of the spirit beings and their being subjugated to us. But the attracting of good spirits alluded to here, is not in the manner of 'the cultured', to be disrespectful to spirits in that most utterly serious world and attract them to their own places and to certain playthings, but like one group of the saints like Muhyiddin al-Arabi, who, most seriously and for a serious purpose, met with spirits when they wanted, it is to be attracted to them and to form a relation, and by going to their place and to a degree drawing close to their world, to benefit from their spirituality. It is this that the verses allude to, and within the allusion, make it understood that they are encouraging towards it. And they trace the furthest limit of hidden arts and sciences of this sort, and show them in the best form.

As is understood from some verses and sound hadiths, it seems possible for angels, jinn and some other spirit beings to take the form of. human beings. After all, Virgin Mary, who saw Gabriel in its normal outward appearance, was not a prophet. The question, then, comes to our minds why cannot the rest of the people see them considering that she saw those beings?. It is known that some people from the tribe and ummah of Prophet Solomon (pbuh) saw a demon from the jinn and that those jinn worked for Hazrat Solomon in buildings and hunted treasure under the sea and served him for some other purposes in their own forms. Some of our Holy Prophets companions primarily Ibn Masud, Abu Hurayra and Abu Eyyub al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with them) said they saw the jinn in different shapes and upon this our Prophet described some of them as Satan and the others as jinn. Since unbeliever jinn are called Satan, the observed being was also one of the jinn. Thus, depending on some hadtihs regarding the issue, some of the Islamic scholars came to the conclusion that the Satan and jinn can disguise themselves as other figures and they can also be seen in their own forms. In order to bring evidence to this, they showed the case in which our Prophet overcame the Satan attacking him during the prayer, his choking it and the verse A stalwart of the Jinn said: "I will bring it to thee before thou rise from thy council: indeed I have full strength for the purpose, and may be trusted." The Ants (An-Naml) (39). (5)

Some other Islamic scholars warned us and drew the attention to the drawbacks of accepting it on the grounds that angels, jinn and devils are not capable of changing their dispositions and taking other forms apart from their own shapes. For example, Ar-Razi syas that accepting the notion that jinn can take other forms and disguise themselves as humans can bring about distrust among the people and may lead to the suspicion for some people that their mothers, fathers, friends, wives and daughters might be jinn. (6) In addition, Ar-Razi states that they cannot take the shapes of prophets because, otherwise, religion and Islamic law cannot be credited at all. He also states that they are unable to disguise themselves as scholars and devotees of Islam since, if the case were otherwise, killing them, tearing their works into pieces would be a must for Muslims.(7). Abu Yala al-Farra said that jinn, devils, and angels cannot change their original forms and cannot disguise themselves as other beings except with the permission of Allah. (8)

(1) an-Najm, 52/6-14; Karş. Yazır, Hak Dini, I,
(2) Bukhari, Fadailul-Quran, 1;
(3) Comp. Sâd, 38/38; Anbiya, 21/82; Naml, 27/40.
(4) Sözler (Words), (20), 235.
(5) Ayni, Umdatul-Qari, VII, 102.
(6) Razi, Mafatihul-Ghayb, XIV, 54.
(7) Razi, ibid., XXVI, 208.
(8) al-Farra, al-Mutamad fi Usulid-Din, p. 174-175;

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