Surah Jinn

Surah Jinn

Surah Jinn (سورة الجن) is one of the chapters in the 29th part of the Quran. It is divided into two parts; the first narrates the state of the jinn in their words and they describe their state before hearing the Quran and believing and some of the beliefs they held. The next part talks about God’s revelations to the Holy Prophet.

Facts about Surah Jinn

Surah Jinn is the 72nd chapter of the 30th juz’ of the Quran. the first part of the chapter narrates the words of the Jinn and how they came to believe in the Quran and Islam and what acts they were allowed to do before and after their belief as well as what their beliefs about God are. The next part of the chapter speaks of God’s commands and revelations to the Prophet; to be steadfast, seek refuge in Him, regarding prayers, knowledge of the unseen and who it belongs to etc.

72 Surah no.

Juz’ 29 Place

Makki Makki/Madani

40 Order of revelation

28 No. of verses

286 No. of words

1109 No. of letters


Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Jinn


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, most merciful

قُلْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ أَنَّهُ اسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْآنًا عَجَبًا ﴿1﴾

Say, ‘It has been revealed to me that a team of the jinn listened [to the Quran] and they said, “Indeed we heard a wonderful Quran,

يَهْدِي إِلَى الرُّشْدِ فَآمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ وَلَن نُّشْرِكَ بِرَبِّنَا أَحَدًا ﴿2﴾

Which guides to rectitude. Hence, we have believed in it and we will never ascribe any partner to our Lord.

وَأَنَّهُ تَعَالَىٰ جَدُّ رَبِّنَا مَا اتَّخَذَ صَاحِبَةً وَلَا وَلَدًا ﴿3﴾

Exalted be the majesty of our Lord; He has taken neither any spouse nor son.

وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ يَقُولُ سَفِيهُنَا عَلَى اللَّـهِ شَطَطًا ﴿4﴾

The foolish ones among us used to speak atrocious lies concerning Allah.

وَأَنَّا ظَنَنَّا أَن لَّن تَقُولَ الْإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَى اللَّـهِ كَذِبًا ﴿5﴾

We thought that humans and jinn would never utter any falsehood concerning Allah.

وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ رِجَالٌ مِّنَ الْإِنسِ يَعُوذُونَ بِرِجَالٍ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَزَادُوهُمْ رَهَقًا ﴿6﴾

Indeed some persons from the humans would seek the protection of some persons from the jinn, thus only adding to their rebellion.

وَأَنَّهُمْ ظَنُّوا كَمَا ظَنَنتُمْ أَن لَّن يَبْعَثَ اللَّـهُ أَحَدًا ﴿7﴾

They thought, just as you think, that Allah will not raise anyone from the dead.

وَأَنَّا لَمَسْنَا السَّمَاءَ فَوَجَدْنَاهَا مُلِئَتْ حَرَسًا شَدِيدًا وَشُهُبًا ﴿8﴾

Indeed we made for the heaven and found it full of mighty sentries and flames.

وَأَنَّا كُنَّا نَقْعُدُ مِنْهَا مَقَاعِدَ لِلسَّمْعِ ۖ فَمَن يَسْتَمِعِ الْآنَ يَجِدْ لَهُ شِهَابًا رَّصَدًا ﴿9﴾

We used to sit in its positions to eavesdrop, but anyone listening now finds a flame waiting for him.

وَأَنَّا لَا نَدْرِي أَشَرٌّ أُرِيدَ بِمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ أَمْ أَرَادَ بِهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ رَشَدًا ﴿10﴾

We do not know whether ill is intended for those who are on the earth, or whether their Lord intends good for them.

وَأَنَّا مِنَّا الصَّالِحُونَ وَمِنَّا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ كُنَّا طَرَائِقَ قِدَدًا ﴿11﴾

Among us some are righteous and some are otherwise: we are various sects.

وَأَنَّا ظَنَنَّا أَن لَّن نُّعْجِزَ اللَّـهَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَن نُّعْجِزَهُ هَرَبًا ﴿12﴾

We know that we cannot frustrate Allah on the earth, nor can we frustrate Him by fleeing.

وَأَنَّا لَمَّا سَمِعْنَا الْهُدَىٰ آمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ فَمَن يُؤْمِن بِرَبِّهِ فَلَا يَخَافُ بَخْسًا وَلَا رَهَقًا ﴿13﴾

When we heard the [message of] guidance, we believed in it. Whoever that has faith in his Lord will fear neither privation nor oppression.

وَأَنَّا مِنَّا الْمُسْلِمُونَ وَمِنَّا الْقَاسِطُونَ ۖ فَمَنْ أَسْلَمَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ تَحَرَّوْا رَشَدًا ﴿14﴾

Among us some are Muslims and some of us are perverse.” ’ Those who submit [to Allah]—it is they who pursue rectitude.

وَأَمَّا الْقَاسِطُونَ فَكَانُوا لِجَهَنَّمَ حَطَبًا ﴿15﴾

As for the perverse, they will be firewood for hell.

وَأَن لَّوِ اسْتَقَامُوا عَلَى الطَّرِيقَةِ لَأَسْقَيْنَاهُم مَّاءً غَدَقًا ﴿16﴾

If they are steadfast on the path [of Allah], We shall provide them with abundant water,

لِّنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَن يُعْرِضْ عَن ذِكْرِ رَبِّهِ يَسْلُكْهُ عَذَابًا صَعَدًا ﴿17﴾

So that We may test them therein, and whoever turns away from the remembrance of his Lord, He will let him into an escalating punishment.

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّـهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّـهِ أَحَدًا ﴿18﴾

The places of worship belong to Allah, so do not invoke anyone along with Allah.

وَأَنَّهُ لَمَّا قَامَ عَبْدُ اللَّـهِ يَدْعُوهُ كَادُوا يَكُونُونَ عَلَيْهِ لِبَدًا ﴿19﴾

When the servant of Allah rose to pray to Him, they almost crowded around him.

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَدْعُو رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِهِ أَحَدًا ﴿20﴾

Say, ‘I pray only to my Lord, and I do not ascribe any partner to Him.’

قُلْ إِنِّي لَا أَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا رَشَدًا ﴿21﴾

Say, ‘I have no power to bring you any harm or good [of my own accord].’

قُلْ إِنِّي لَن يُجِيرَنِي مِنَ اللَّـهِ أَحَدٌ وَلَنْ أَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا ﴿22﴾

Say, ‘Neither can anyone shelter me from Allah, nor can I find any refuge besides Him.

إِلَّا بَلَاغًا مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَرِسَالَاتِهِ ۚ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَإِنَّ لَهُ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ﴿23﴾

[I have no duty] except to transmit from Allah, and [to communicate] His messages; and whoever disobeys Allah and His apostle, there will indeed be for him the fire of hell, to remain in it forever.’

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا رَأَوْا مَا يُوعَدُونَ فَسَيَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ أَضْعَفُ نَاصِرًا وَأَقَلُّ عَدَدًا ﴿24﴾

When they see what they are promised, they will know who is weaker in supporters and fewer in numbers.

قُلْ إِنْ أَدْرِي أَقَرِيبٌ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ أَمْ يَجْعَلُ لَهُ رَبِّي أَمَدًا ﴿25﴾

Say, ‘I do not know if what you are promised is near, or if my Lord has set a [long] term for it.’

عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ أَحَدًا ﴿26﴾

Knower of the Unseen, He does not disclose His [knowledge of the] Unseen to anyone,

إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ مِن رَّسُولٍ فَإِنَّهُ يَسْلُكُ مِن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ رَصَدًا ﴿27﴾

Except to an apostle He approves of. Then He dispatches a sentinel before and behind him

لِّيَعْلَمَ أَن قَدْ أَبْلَغُوا رِسَالَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَأَحَاطَ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ وَأَحْصَىٰ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدًا ﴿28﴾

So that He may ascertain that they have communicated the messages of their Lord, and He encompasses all that is with them, and He keeps a count of all things. 1

The following are the topics discussed in this article:

Benefits of Reciting Surah Jinn

The following has been narrated regarding this chapter from Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him and his household):

“Whoever reads it will be granted good deeds equal in number to all the Jinns and Satans who believed or disbelieved in Muhammad (peace be on him and his household).”

In another tradition from Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him) it has been narrated:

“Whoever recites it quite often will not receive any harm from the eyes of the Jinns, from their sorcery or mischief, and he will join the company of Muhammad (peace be on him and his household).” 2

What are Jinn?

The whole of creation is not just summarized into things that are visible but also contains many things we cannot see. Jinn are one of those creations and many verses of the Quran speak about them, describing them and their characteristics; some of which are described below.

Characteristics of the Jinn according to the Quran

  • The jinn were created before man: and We created the jinn earlier 3
  • They have a position similar to that of man as the goal of their creation is the same of human beings: I did not create the jinn and the humans except that they may worship Me. 4
  • They are also given commands and prohibitions, are addressed and face the consequences of their actions: O company of jinn and humans! 5
  • They have free will and therefore some are believers while others are disbelievers
  • They are made of fire and Satan is from them as well: He was one of the jinn 6
  • He and the jinn can see us but we can’t see them: Surely, he and his tribe see you from where you cannot see them. 7

The Jinn and Quran

قُلْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ أَنَّهُ اسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْآنًا عَجَبًا ﴿1﴾

Say, ‘It has been revealed to me that a team of the jinn listened [to the Quran] and they said, “Indeed we heard a wonderful Quran,

From this first verse of Surah Jinn, we find out that the jinn heard the Quran being recited and God ordered the Prophet to narrate this for the people and that the Jinn found the Quran to be wondrous and amazing due to the transcendental contents of it and that it showed them the wrongness of their previous beliefs. 8

Guidance to Reality

يَهْدِي إِلَى الرُّشْدِ فَآمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ وَلَن نُّشْرِكَ بِرَبِّنَا أَحَدًا ﴿2﴾

Which guides to rectitude. Hence, we have believed in it and we will never ascribe any partner to our Lord.

The word ‘rushd’ (رشد) in this verse means to arrive at the reality of any view and the Quran’s guidance towards rushd is its invitation towards the right and true beliefs and actions that make the agent reach true happiness and felicity. 9

This verse of Surah Jinn indicates that the jinn were polytheists and then after hearing the verses of the Quran they brought faith in it and promised they would not ascribe any partners to God. 10

Denying Partners for God in Surah Jinn

وَأَنَّهُ تَعَالَىٰ جَدُّ رَبِّنَا مَا اتَّخَذَ صَاحِبَةً وَلَا وَلَدًا ﴿3﴾

Exalted be the majesty of our Lord; He has taken neither any spouse nor son.

وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ يَقُولُ سَفِيهُنَا عَلَى اللَّـهِ شَطَطًا ﴿4﴾

The foolish ones among us used to speak atrocious lies concerning Allah.

These verses of Surah Jinn indicate that like the Arabs of the Age of Ignorance, it was believed among the jinn as well that God had a spouse and children; however, after hearing the verses of the Quran, they understood that this belief is wrong.

The word ‘shatat’ (شطط) or false words refers to the belief that God has a wife and children and those who had spread such falsehoods were deemed as foolish after hearing the words of the Quran. 11

Acknowledging a Mistake

وَأَنَّا ظَنَنَّا أَن لَّن تَقُولَ الْإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَى اللَّـهِ كَذِبًا ﴿5﴾

We thought that humans and jinn would never utter any falsehood concerning Allah.

In this verse, the jinn admit and confess that they assumed no one from among the jinn and men ever ascribes falsehoods to God and they thought what was said regarding God was true, i.e. having a wife and children and therefore, they believed it and thought they were on the right path until they heard the Quran and the truth became clear for them.

Their words show that they followed blindly what was said to them and proves that this is wrong and false regarding the principles of religion and that it is incumbent to follow arguments and proofs in this regard. 12

Men Seeking Refuge in Jinn

وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ رِجَالٌ مِّنَ الْإِنسِ يَعُوذُونَ بِرِجَالٍ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَزَادُوهُمْ رَهَقًا ﴿6﴾

Indeed some persons from the humans would seek the protection of some persons from the jinn, thus only adding to their rebellion.

The word «‘awz» (عوذ) means to seek refuge in another.

It was a custom among Arabs that when they traveled at night and reached a desert they would seek refuge in the guardian of the jinn from the evil of beasts and troublesome jinn. It is also possible that it could mean they would refer to priests and ask them to invoke the jinn to help them achieve their desires. 13

This is something the jinn are reporting and condemning as it is polytheism and since they promised they would not be polytheists it was necessary that they condemn this superstition as well. 14

False Impression

وَأَنَّهُمْ ظَنُّوا كَمَا ظَنَنتُمْ أَن لَّن يَبْعَثَ اللَّـهُ أَحَدًا ﴿7﴾

They thought, just as you think, that Allah will not raise anyone from the dead.

In this verse of Surah Jinn, the believing jinn are addressing the disbelievers among them and telling them that these people seek refuge in jinn or people due to their weak faith because they – just like you – assumed that God would not appoint any Prophet for mankind or that God will not revive the dead on Qiyamah. 15

Ascending to the Skies

وَأَنَّا لَمَسْنَا السَّمَاءَ فَوَجَدْنَاهَا مُلِئَتْ حَرَسًا شَدِيدًا وَشُهُبًا ﴿8﴾

Indeed we made for the heaven and found it full of mighty sentries and flames.

These are the words of the jinn who heard the Quran to their tribe. This verse of Surah Jinn and the next few verses show that before this even took place (hearing the verses), they would ascend to some parts of the heavens to listen to the words of the angels and they would encounter guards in all parts of the heavens and that shooting stars would drive them away while ascending. 16

According to narrations, this change was simultaneous with the start of the Prophetic mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him and his household), i.e. Mab‘ath (مبعث) and revelation of the Quran and as a result, the jinn were no longer able to eavesdrop on the angels and learn of the news of the unseen. 17

A Wondrous Event

وَأَنَّا كُنَّا نَقْعُدُ مِنْهَا مَقَاعِدَ لِلسَّمْعِ ۖ فَمَن يَسْتَمِعِ الْآنَ يَجِدْ لَهُ شِهَابًا رَّصَدًا ﴿9﴾

We used to sit in its positions to eavesdrop, but anyone listening now finds a flame waiting for him.

وَأَنَّا لَا نَدْرِي أَشَرٌّ أُرِيدَ بِمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ أَمْ أَرَادَ بِهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ رَشَدًا ﴿10﴾

We do not know whether ill is intended for those who are on the earth, or whether their Lord intends good for them.

These verses clearly state that previous to the occurrence of the aforementioned event, the jinn had special places in the heavens; however, after the Prophet’s appointment to Prophet-hood and the start of his Prophetic mission, when they tried to approach the heavens they were shot down.

From this change, according to verses of Surah Jinn, the jinn understood that a great and wondrous event would take place; however, they didn’t know if it was good or bad. It was, of course, a good event. 18

Categories of Jinn according to Surah Jinn

وَأَنَّا مِنَّا الصَّالِحُونَ وَمِنَّا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ كُنَّا طَرَائِقَ قِدَدًا ﴿11﴾

Among us some are righteous and some are otherwise: we are various sects.

The righteous in this verse refers to those who are righteous according to their primary nature and in their social life and dealing are naturally agreeable, not righteous in regards to belief; if that was what the verse intended it would be more suitable that this verse come after verse thirteen which speaks of believing after hearing guidance. 19

God’s Will is All-Powerful

وَأَنَّا ظَنَنَّا أَن لَّن نُّعْجِزَ اللَّـهَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَن نُّعْجِزَهُ هَرَبًا ﴿12﴾

We know that we cannot frustrate Allah on the earth, nor can we frustrate Him by fleeing.

According to this verse of Surah Jinn the jinn are saying that they cannot obstruct God’s will on earth through corruption and in this way frustrate or weaken Him and stop the order and system that He created on earth to take its course; this is because even their corruption is one of God’s decrees not that it has frustrated or weaken Him. They can also not escape from Him should He chose to apprehend them. 20

The Guidance of the Quran and Faith

وَأَنَّا لَمَّا سَمِعْنَا الْهُدَىٰ آمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ فَمَن يُؤْمِن بِرَبِّهِ فَلَا يَخَافُ بَخْسًا وَلَا رَهَقًا ﴿13﴾

When we heard the [message of] guidance, we believed in it. Whoever that has faith in his Lord will fear neither privation nor oppression.

The guidance mentioned in this verse refers to the Holy Quran. The word ‘bakhs’ (بخس) refers to a defect or imperfection but not just any type of that; rather, it refers to an oppressive and unrighteous defect. The word ‘rahaqa’ (رهقَ) means for man to be engulfed and enveloped by something that is disagreeable.

As the verses of Surah Jinn indicate, when the jinn heard the verses of the book of guidance they instantly believed. This is because whoever believes in the Quran, has actually brought faith in his Lord and whoever does so has no more fear; neither fear of defect in goodness in the sense that, for example, God would make his goodness imperfect through oppression on him nor fear that something detestable would encompass him. Why should such a person not hasten in bringing faith in God and doubt doing so and fear if he does so the two fears mentioned above would come to pass. 21

Two Groups of Jinn in Surah Jinn

وَأَنَّا مِنَّا الْمُسْلِمُونَ وَمِنَّا الْقَاسِطُونَ ۖ فَمَنْ أَسْلَمَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ تَحَرَّوْا رَشَدًا ﴿14﴾

Among us some are Muslims and some of us are perverse.” ’ Those who submit [to Allah]—it is they who pursue rectitude.

The jinn are divided into two groups: a group who submits to God’s will and obeys Him and a group that deviates from submitting to His will even though He is true and right.

The word ‘taharri’ (تحرّي) means to search in order to find something and those who submit to God’s will rise to seek and find truth and reality. 22

Firewood

وَأَمَّا الْقَاسِطُونَ فَكَانُوا لِجَهَنَّمَ حَطَبًا ﴿15﴾

As for the perverse, they will be firewood for hell.

This verse of Surah Jinn explains that those among the jinn who are deviated will be wood for the fire of Hell and will burn in punishment in it just like the deviated from among human beings which has been indicated in verses like the following:

… فَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ الَّتِي وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ…

… Then beware the Fire whose fuel will be humans… 23

God’s Revelations to the Prophet

The verses from the beginning of Surah Jinn up until this verse were the words of the jinn and as a result, this verse is associated with the first sentence of the first verse: Say, ‘It has been revealed to me. And therefore, all in all, it would mean: say, it has been revealed to me that a group of jinn heard the Quran… (the words of the jinn in the subsequent verses) and it has been revealed to me that if the jinn and men persevered on the path of Islam, such and such would happen which will be discussed below. 24

The Steadfast

وَأَن لَّوِ اسْتَقَامُوا عَلَى الطَّرِيقَةِ لَأَسْقَيْنَاهُم مَّاءً غَدَقًا ﴿16﴾

If they are steadfast on the path [of Allah], We shall provide them with abundant water,

If the jinn and men would persevere and be steadfast in the path of Islam, i.e. in submission to God would bless them with abundant sustenance. As a result, this verse of Surah Jinn would have a meaning similar to the following one:

وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْقُرَىٰ آمَنُوا وَاتَّقَوْا لَفَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِم بَرَكَاتٍ مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ…

If the people of the towns had been faithful and Godwary, We would have opened to them blessings from the heaven and the earth… 25

The Outcome of the Deviators according to Surah Jinn

لِّنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَن يُعْرِضْ عَن ذِكْرِ رَبِّهِ يَسْلُكْهُ عَذَابًا صَعَدًا ﴿17﴾

So that We may test them therein, and whoever turns away from the remembrance of his Lord, He will let him into an escalating punishment.

Those who are steadfast and as a result are bestowed with abundant sustenance, that is not the end of the story for the; rather, they will be tested through that sustenance.

The word ‘erad’ (إعراض) means lack of steadfastness. The second part of the verse then would mean that those who deviate from their Lord’s remembrance would be severely punished. 26

Training and a Hadith

There are two points to mention regarding these two verses:

  • One of the best ways of training and education is though comparison of two things. One verse mentions steadfastness and rain; while the other mentions turning away and punishment. Through comparison these two states of the matter of truth and falsehood becomes clearer.
  • According to Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir (peace be on him), they are steadfast on the path [of Allah], refers to steadfastness in the path of the Ahlulbait (peace be on them) and Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him) narrates that if people were steadfast on their mastership (wilayah) they would be successful in abundant knowledge. 27

The Places of Worship

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّـهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّـهِ أَحَدًا ﴿18﴾

The places of worship belong to Allah, so do not invoke anyone along with Allah.

The places of worship mentioned in this verse of Surah Jinn could have different meanings according to the commentators. However, according to narrations they refer to the seven parts of the body that must touch the ground in prostration according to Islam and that they belong solely to God, i.e. prostration is for God alone. This does not mean that other parts of the body are not for God, all creation existentially belongs to Him; rather, it indicates that these parts of the body canonically are specifically for God also. 28

Prayer and invoking God in the verse refers to worship of God. 29

Astonishment at the Prophet’s Actions

وَأَنَّهُ لَمَّا قَامَ عَبْدُ اللَّـهِ يَدْعُوهُ كَادُوا يَكُونُونَ عَلَيْهِ لِبَدًا ﴿19﴾

When the servant of Allah rose to pray to Him, they almost crowded around him.

The servant in this verse refers to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his household). The word ‘libada’ (لبداً) means a dense gathering.

As this verse of Surah Jinn indicates, when the Prophet would stand in prayer to God to worship Him, the polytheists would gather around him such that that they were close to becoming a crowd around him. 30

Explaining His Worship in Surah Jinn

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَدْعُو رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِهِ أَحَدًا ﴿20﴾

Say, ‘I pray only to my Lord, and I do not ascribe any partner to Him.’

God then commanded the Prophet to explain this aspect of worship to God for them so that their astonishment would disappear since they were seeing actions and hearing words from him that no one had so far seen or heard.

As a result, they called his actions a deception and ruse through which he wanted to destroy their idols and achieve his own materialistic goals.

The Prophet, therefore, as this verse of Surah Jinn shows, explained to them that in performing the actions that you see I have none of the intents that you are accusing me of; rather, I am only worshipping and invoking my One God and do not believe in any partners for Him and a person’s action in relation to one whom he considers his Lord is something to be astonished or blamed about. 31

Lack of Power to bring Harm or Good

قُلْ إِنِّي لَا أَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا رَشَدًا ﴿21﴾

Say, ‘I have no power to bring you any harm or good [of my own accord].’

According to God’s command and as indicated by this verse of Surah Jinn, the Prophet explains his position in regards to God – which was mentioned in the previous verse, i.e. he calls to Him and takes no partners for Him – and in regards to people.

In regards to people, he explains that he is human being like them and as such and like them, he does not have power (independently and without God’s permission and power) over his own harm and good and therefore, neither does he have power over theirs; rather, he is only a messenger from God and invites them towards Him and he has no alternative but to worship Him. 32

No Refuge besides God

قُلْ إِنِّي لَن يُجِيرَنِي مِنَ اللَّـهِ أَحَدٌ وَلَنْ أَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا ﴿22﴾

Say, ‘Neither can anyone shelter me from Allah, nor can I find any refuge besides Him.

إِلَّا بَلَاغًا مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَرِسَالَاتِهِ ۚ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَإِنَّ لَهُ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ﴿23﴾

[I have no duty] except to transmit from Allah, and [to communicate] His messages; and whoever disobeys Allah and His apostle, there will indeed be for him the fire of hell, to remain in it forever.’

As the Prophet explains in this verse of Surah Jinn, there is no one he knows who would be able to protect him from God’s punishment (should he deserve it) or the sinners and neither does such a refuge exist. There is also no ‘multahid’ (ملتحد) i.e. place where one who is suffering seeks refuge.

The only refuge is to obey God and communicate His commands, messages and the religious laws to others.

The polytheists then too, have no resort but to obey God and His Prophet or else be punished in Hell. 33

The Disbelievers considered the Believers to be Weak

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا رَأَوْا مَا يُوعَدُونَ فَسَيَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ أَضْعَفُ نَاصِرًا وَأَقَلُّ عَدَدًا ﴿24﴾

When they see what they are promised, they will know who is weaker in supporters and fewer in numbers.

In this verse of Surah Jinn we learn that the disbelievers considered the believers to be weak and small in number until the day when they see the punishment that has been promised, i.e. the fire of Hell. 34

When is the Punishment?

قُلْ إِنْ أَدْرِي أَقَرِيبٌ مَّا تُوعَدُونَ أَمْ يَجْعَلُ لَهُ رَبِّي أَمَدًا ﴿25﴾

Say, ‘I do not know if what you are promised is near, or if my Lord has set a [long] term for it.’

عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ أَحَدًا ﴿26﴾

Knower of the Unseen, He does not disclose His [knowledge of the] Unseen to anyone,

It is as though the first of these two verses of Surah Jinn is an answer to a question that someone may have asked and that is: when is this promised punishment? 35

In reply to this the Prophet replied that he doesn’t know whether it is close or far. 36

The next verse of the chapter is an argument for this and explains that knowledge of the unseen, including knowledge of Qiyamah is something that God knows and He does not make others aware of the unseen. 37

God Gives the Knowledge of the Unseen to some Chosen Ones

إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ مِن رَّسُولٍ فَإِنَّهُ يَسْلُكُ مِن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ رَصَدًا ﴿27﴾

Except to an apostle He approves of. Then He dispatches a sentinel before and behind him

This verse of Surah Jinn explains an exception to the rule mentioned in the previous of knowledge of the unseen belonging only to God.

The exception is that He makes aware whichever prophets He wishes from among the Prophet to the amount of unseen that belongs to Him that He wishes.

This shows that knowledge of the unseen primarily belongs to God; however, others can also secondarily have it through His teaching and to the extent He wishes.

Revelation is also part of the unseen knowledge and God protects it through angels between Him and the Prophet and between the Prophet and people so that it is preserved as it is without any changes. 38

God’s Encompassing Knowledge in Surah Jinn

لِّيَعْلَمَ أَن قَدْ أَبْلَغُوا رِسَالَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَأَحَاطَ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ وَأَحْصَىٰ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدًا ﴿28﴾

So that He may ascertain that they have communicated the messages of their Lord, and He encompasses all that is with them, and He keeps a count of all things. 1

Knowledge here in this verse of Surah Jinn refers to the manifestation and actualization in the external world.

God’s encompassment is an emphasis on the infallibility of the Prophets, i.e. God is aware of what is within them and He knows they would not change revelation in any way.

The last part of the verse is regarding the all-encompassing nature of His knowledge; His knowledge encompasses not only the Prophets but He also has a count and knowledge of all things till the end. 39

Types of Knowledge of the Unseen in Surah Jinn

There are two types of unseen knowledge:

  • Specific only to God which none of His creations have knowledge over
  • Given to Prophets, angels and the Infallible Imams

Therefore, verses of the Quran that speak of knowledge of the unseen being specific only to Him are referring to the first type while verses that state that other possess this knowledge refer to the second type of knowledge of the unseen. 40

Summary of Surah Jinn

The first part of Surah Jinn speaks of the Jinn, creatures who are made from fire and how they brought faith after hearing the Quran. They too – like human beings – have the responsibility to worship God and are divided into groups of believers and disbelievers. The verses describe the state of the jinn and some of the beliefs they held.

The next part of Surah Jinn speaks of the revelations of God to the Prophet, like steadfastness on the path of God, worship – specifically the Islamic prayers and explaining this type of worship to the polytheists, knowledge of the unseen, seeking refuge in God, etc.


References

  1. Qarai translation
  2. Al-Islam
  3. وَ الْجَانَّ خَلَقْناهُ مِنْ قَبْل…; [15: 27] Qarai translation
  4. وَ ما خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَ الْإِنْسَ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُون; [51: 56] Qarai translation
  5. يا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَ الْإِنْسِ…; [6: 130] Qarai translation
  6. … كانَ مِنَ الْجِن…; [18: 50] Qarai translation
  7. … إِنَّهُ يَراكُمْ هُوَ وَ قَبيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا تَرَوْنَهُم…; [7: 27] Safarzadeh translation. Qaraati, M. Tafsir Nur. Commentary of verses 1-2
  8. Qarashi, A. A. (1377). Tafsir-i Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 11, pp. 373-374
  9. Tabatabai, M. H. (1374). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Transl. by Seyed Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani). Jamiat al-Modarresin Publications. Vol. 20, p. 59
  10. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 374
  11. Ibid.
  12. Tabarsi, F. (1360). Majma‘ al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran. Translated by a group of translators. Farahani Publications. Vol. 25, pp. 372-373
  13. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 64 & 65
  14. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 375
  15. Gonabadi, S. M. (1372). Tafsir Bayan al-Sa‘adah fi Maqamat al-‘Ibadah. (Transl. by Khani, R & Riyazi, H. A.). Payam Nur University Press. Vol. 14, p. 326
  16. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 376
  17. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 66
  18. Ibid. p. 70
  19. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 377
  20. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 68
  21. Ibid. p. 69
  22. Ibid. pp. 69-70
  23. [2: 24]. Qarai translation; Ibid.
  24. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 71
  25. [7: 96]. Qarai translation
  26. Qarashi. A. A. Ibid. p. 388
  27. Qaraati, M. Tafsir Nur. Commentary of verses 16-17.
  28. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 77
  29. Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 18-21
  30. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 78
  31. Ibid. pp. 78-79
  32. Ibid. p. 79
  33. Ibid. pp. 79, 80 & 81
  34. Ibid. p. 82
  35. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 391
  36. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 82
  37. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid.
  38. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 83 & 84
  39. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 392.
  40. Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 26-28

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