Were jinn created before human beings? Are jinn superior to human beings? Will the realm of jinn be different in the hereafter?

The Details of the Question

Were human beings or jinn created earlier? How are jinn tested? Were jinn given more properties than those given to human beings? Will the realm also change for jinn when Doomsday strikes?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Allah states the following about the creation of these two species in a verse regarding the issue:

“We created man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape; And the Jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind.” (al-Hijr, 15/26-27)

As it is understood from the verse, Jaann (jinn, the ancestor of jinn) were created beforehuman beings. If it is considered that the creation ofhuman beings is the last ring of the creation of the universe, jinn were created as the second last ring. 

Man, who was sent as the vicegerent above all jinn and beings, is superior to jinn in terms of his nature, creation as well as his intelligence, intellect, memory, reasoning and worshipping. Some jinn who have not learned any lessons from a heavenly religion do not accept this superiority of man due to the lessons they have received from Satan and are jealous of man. 

Allah states the following in the Quran regarding the issue:

“We have indeed created man in the best of molds.” (at-Tin, 95/4)

Thus, He states that man is superior to not only jinn but also all beings.  

Jinn do not accept the superiority of human beings; in addition, they put human beings in difficult positions and do their best in order to make them need them. Those who do not know the nature and structure of jinn expect help from them. Spiritualists and healers make use of these gullible and ignorant people.

Those who do not know the nature, essence and structure of jinn sometimes overestimate them. They regard them and show them as beings that know everything, that can do everything, that are talented and that are superior to human beings. This is sheer delirium.

Who lived in the world before human beings?

It is understood from some expressions in the Quran that some beings that were held responsible like human beings were lived in the world before human beings. However, it is not possible to say something definite about what kind of beings they were. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi sates the following regarding the issue:

“I will create a vicegerent on earth.” (al-Baqara, 2/30) The word ‘vicegerent (khalifa)’ in the verse suggests that before conditions on the earth were readied for human life, there were intelligent creatures for whose lives, conditions during the earth’s early epochs were suitable. This view is in conformity with wisdom. The most widely held view is that these creatures were a species of jinn, but they spread corruption on the earth so were succeeded by mankind." (1)

Abdullah Aydemir, who gathered the views of hadith and fiqh scholars, states in his book called “Tefsirde İsrailiyyat” the following verse, which forms the basis for evidence about the views put forward regarding the issue, that tafsir scholars mention many things while interpreting this verse and that one of them is the information about the inhabitants of the earth before Hz. Adam:

“Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not.".” 

Abdullah Ibn Umar states the following: 

“Jinn, who were called Sons of Jaann, were in the world two thousand years before the creation of Hz. Adam. Allah sent an army consisting of angels against them because they caused mischief and chaos in the world, shed blood and committed murders. These mischief-makers, who were punished by angels, saved their lives by taking refuge on the islands in the sea. Thereupon, God Almighty said to angels, “I will create a vicegerent on earth …” 

Ibn Abbas states the following: 

"Man was created out of mud. Jinn used to live in the world first. They shed blood on the earth and killed one another. Allah sent an army consisting of angels under the command of Iblis against them. Iblis and the angels under his command fought those jinn and drove them away to the islands in the sea and on mountains. After gaining this victory, Iblis felt conceited and boasted: “I have done something that nobody else has done.” Allah knew this conceit in the heart of Iblis. The angels that were with Iblis did not know about it. God Almighty said to the angels that were with Iblis, “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” Thereupon, the angels said, “Will You place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood like the jinn You ordered us to drive away?” (2)


(1) İşaratü’l-İ'caz, p. 201.
(2) Tabari, Tafsir, I/195-214;Tarikh, I/1,107-112.



To hide, to remain hidden, invisible secret (hidden) forces.

An individual of jinn is called a jinni. The word "jaann" is synonymous with jinn. Ghoul and ifrit are other types of jinn.

Before Islam, jinn were the "satyrs" and "nymphs" of the desert in Arabia. They represented the part of the natural life that were not dominated by human beings and that remained as enemies. However, during the allegiance of the Prophet (pbuh), jinn were among the important and unknown deities. Makkan Arabs say that there is a close kinship between jinn and Allah (as-Saffat, 37/158); they even elevated jinn to the level of Allah's partners (al-An'am, 6/128) and they asked help from them. (al-Jumua, 62/6)

The existence of jinn is definite by the Quran and the Sunnah. Living creatures do not consist of the human beings in this material world only and the animals whose varieties we do not know. There are also some beings that can be seen only by prophets and pure slaves of Allah; they are angels and jinn. They are created in a form that can take various shapes. Angels never disobey Allah. They live in the sky but descend to the earth upon the order of Allah and ascend to the sky again. Jinn live on the earth like human beings. There are believers and unbelievers among them. Since the existence of angels and jinn is definite by the Quran and the Sunnah, denying them will damage the Islamic creed.

Jinn are held responsible like human beings; prophets were sent to jinn too: "O ye assembly of Jinn and men! Came there not unto you apostles from amongst you, setting forth unto you My signs, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" (al-An'am, 6/130)

"And as for us, since we have listened to the Guidance, we have accepted it: and any who believes in his Lord has no fear, either of a short (account) or of any injustice." (al-Jinn, 72/13)

"Behold, We turned towards thee a company of Jinns (quietly) listening to the Qur'an: when they stood in the presence thereof, they said, "Listen in silence!" When the (reading) was finished, they returned to their people, to warn (them of their sins). They said, "O our people! We have heard a Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it: it guides (men) to the Truth and to a Straight Path. "O our people, hearken to the one who invites (you) to Allah, and believe in him: He will forgive you your faults, and deliver you from a Penalty Grievous. "If any does not hearken to the one who invites (us) to Allah, he cannot frustrate ((Allah)'s Plan) on earth, and no protectors can he have besides Allah. such men (wander) in manifest error." (al-Ahqaf, 46/29-32)

Hadith narrators hold different views whether the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saw jinn or not. According to the narration from Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud included in Muslim, the Prophet accepted the invitation of the jinn, saw them and guided them. According to the narration from Ibn Abbas included in Bukhari and Muslim, Hz. Prophet led the morning prayer in "Nahla" on the way to Uqaz Fair with his Companions; a group of jinn came and listened to the Quran; they became Muslims. God Almighty informed us about it in the first verses of the chapter of al-Jinn. (al-Jinn, 72/1-3)

Tafsir scholar Imam Qurtubi interprets these two narrations as follows: According to the narration of Ibn Abbas, Hz. Prophet did not see jinn in that incident; God Almighty informed him later that they listened to the Quran and became Muslims. However, the incident that Ibn Mas'ud narrates is different. As a matter of fact, Ibn Mas'ud said, "One night, we were with the Messenger of Allah. He suddenly disappeared. We looked for him in the valleys and on the mountains but we could not find him. We were very worried that night. In the morning, we saw him coming from the direction of Hira. We said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! We lost you. We looked for you but we could not find you. Therefore, we spent the whole night anxiously’ He said, ‘A jinni came to invite me. I went with him. I read the Quran to them.‘" (Qurtubi, al-Jami' li-Ahkamil-Qur'an, Beirut 1967, XIX, 2 ff.)

The jinn did not know the unseen. (Saba, 34/14) They cannot find out what Allah informed His prophets about: "Indeed they have been removed far from even (a chance of) hearing it." (ash-Shuara, 26/212)

Jinn were created before human beings. It is stated in the Quran that they were created from a poisonous fire:

"And the Jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind." (al-Hijr, 15/27)

There are male and female jinn. They get married, reproduce, eat and drink. There are old ones and young ones. They are also held responsible like human beings; they have to obey Allah's orders and prohibitions: "I have only created Jinn and men, that they may serve Me." (adh-Dhariyat, 51/56)

The nature of Jinn is suitable for taking different shapes and doing hard work. As a matter of fact, as it is stated in the Quran (an-Naml, 27/39), when Hz. Sulayman (Solomon) wanted the throne of Balqis to be brought from Yemen, a jinni said he would bring it before Hz. Sulayman got up from his throne and that he had the power to do it. Hz. Sulayman was in Jerusalem and the throne was in Yemen. To bring it in a second meant to have a big speed and power. Hz. Sulayman made the jinn do hard jobs: Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me in submission?" Said an 'Ifrit, of the Jinn: "I will bring it to thee before thou rise from thy council: indeed I have full strength for the purpose, and may be trusted."  Said one who had knowledge of the Book: "I will bring it to thee within the twinkling of an eye!" Then when (Solomon) saw it placed firmly before him, he said: "This is by the Grace of my Lord."

"…And there were Jinn that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord, and if any of them turned aside from our command, We made him taste of the Penalty of the Blazing Fire." (Saba, 34/12)

Satan is also from jinn. Allah ordered him to prostrate before Hz. Adam but Satan did not prostrate stating that he was created out of fire and that Adam was created out of dust. Thereupon, Allah dismissed him from His mercy and Satan became an unbeliever. (al-Baqara, 2/24) The leader of Satan is called Iblis. Satan resorts to various ways in order to deceive human beings. It is necessary to avoid him:

"And to Solomon (We made) the Wind (obedient): Its early morning (stride) was a month's (journey), and its evening (stride) was a month's (journey); and We made a Font of molten brass to flow for him; and there were Jinn that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord, and if any of them turned aside from our command, We made him taste of the Penalty of the Blazing Fire?" (Yasin, 36/60)

"Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy." (Fatir, 35/6).

Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said,

"Allah made a jinni a friend for you each.” The Companions asked, "O Messenger of Allah! You too?" The Messenger of Allah said, "Yes. However, Allah helped me against him and he became a Muslim. He orders me only good deeds now." (at-Taj, V, 233)

It is understood from this hadith that Satan makes man go astray. According to Ahl as-Sunnah belief, Satan harms man’s body and mind.

Most philosophers, especially Ibn Sina and Farabi do not accept the existence of jinn but some of them do. They call jinn low souls. They claim that jinn respond faster than the heavenly spirits but that they are weaker.

On the other hand, the nations who believe in prophets and have certain shari'ahs accepted the existence of jinn without hesitation but they put forward different opinions about their nature. Some say they are aerial beings; that is, they were created from the wind and that they could take various forms. Some of them say they are essence and that they are not properties or matter. They divide these essences into some parts with various natures. Some of them are good, righteous and charitable. Others are bad, vile and evil. Only Allah knows their number.

Some madhhabs say jinn are material but that their nature are different and that their attributes are the same. Their attributes are as follows: they take up space, they are three dimensional, such as having length, width and depth. Jinn are divided into parts like subtle, lofty and low. It is not impossible for aerial, subtle things not to resemble other objects in terms of nature. Therefore, they have their own knowledge, they can do hard jobs that people cannot do and they can take various forms and shapes. This is because God Almighty gave them this power. Some madhhabs say that things are equal in terms of their nature and that body was not necessary for being alive. Imam Abul-Hasan al-Ash'ari and his followers hold this view.

On the other hand, Mu'tazila does not accept this view and the existence of jinn. They claim that body is necessary for being alive and that the body must be solid in order to able to do difficult things. This view has been rejected by the majority. For, those who hold this view deny extraordinary things and reject the things whose existence is definite by the Book and the Sunnah.

Jinn are also dealt with in two parts in terms of the religion of Islam: believers and unbelievers. Jinn are to believe in the Prophet (pbuh) like human beings. For, the Prophet was sent also to them. Therefore, the jinn who believe in him are included in the group of believers and enter Paradise with believers. Those who do not believe in him will be with devils and go to Hell.

Since jinn are held responsible for Islam, they must be informed about it and the religion of Islam must be conveyed to them. At this point, the contact of jinn with the Prophet is in question.

When jinn were not yet aware of the prophethood of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), they used to ascend to the sky and listen secretly to what was spoken there. They used to add many things to what they heard and convey them to people. They had not known about the prophethood of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) yet when they tried to hear things in the sky as they usually did on one occasion. However, this time, they encountered burning fires and violent guardians. They started to investigate the reason for this. They flocked to the earth. A group among them found the Prophet while praying in Nahla. They listened to the Quran; they were astonished by its beauty and perfection. It is stated that there were three to ten of them or nine of them.

Our Prophet (pbuh) taught them Islam (Muslim, 1, 332, Kitabus-Salat, hadith no: 150-153, Abu Dawud, 1, 10, hadith no: 39). It should be reminded immediately that jinn re creatures that are totally opposite to us. Only Allah and His Messenger know how they are held responsible for Islam. We only need to believe it.

Şâmil İA

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