Lena Felton is a multiplatform editor at The Lily.
Previously, she was a politics editorial fellow at the Atlantic.
Throughout the Quran, Hadith and history of Islam, there has not been many topics that captivated the minds like the subject of Jinn. The simple thought of these amorphous beings roaming the earth alongside us is strange but incredibly thrilling.
Yet, we know so little about them.
That might be the reason why a respected academic scholar wrote a seemingly innocent and informative thread on Twitter about how these incredible creatures interact with humans. While it was in fact informative, it also stirred some pots and left many users in total shock, disarray, and craving for more.
So, who and what are these entities that Allah named an entire Surah after?
Jinn are shapeless, shapeshifting and invisible beings, who are – according to the Quran and Hadith – made of smokeless fire.
“and the jinn We created earlier from scorching fire.” (27:15) Al-Hijr
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Angels were created from light, Jinns were created from a smokeless flame of fire, and ‘Adam was created from that which you have been told (i.e., sounding clay like the clay of pottery).” Muslim.
Surah Al-Jinn fully reviewed their various conditions, their position on the message of Islam, the diversity of their sects, in additon to the glorification of their believers to God, glory be to Him. There is hardly an era that went by without mentioning people viewing what appears to be Jinn and as well as Muslims; Christians, Jews, the Sabeans and others believed in their existence.
While they might be completely different beings than humans, they do share certain commonalities.
Jinn eat, drink, sleep, procreate, and die. They think, contemplate and have the freedom of choice to be and do good or evil. They are part of Allah’s creation who are subject to commands and prohibitions, just like human beings. There are believers, disbelievers and scholars agree unanimously that they are accountable for their actions.
The complete comprehension of our fellow inhabitants is mystifying and is utterly strenuous, because they are part of the world of the unseen, a world out of our reach. However, the opposite is not true for them.
The djinn are said to interact with humankind in variety of ways. We can categorize them as:
— Ali A Olomi (@aaolomi) October 30, 2019
Scholar, writer and historian Ali Olomi took to his Twitter to share his knowledge and expertise on how the world of Jinn interferes with the parallel world – ours.
He categorized them as visitations, influence, possession, marriage, and abduction. The first type being the most common as Jinn can transform and take the shape of a human or an animal. The most aggressive is possession and abduction, which Olomi says can go as far as snatching children and infants.
Of course, marriage seems to be inconceivable, but since Jinn are like humans, in that they fulfil physical and psychological needs such as hunger, thirst and sleep, they also fall in love.
Marriages happen through means of possession, and it can also go the other way around.
Naturally, people passing time on Twitter, patiently waiting for Chrissy Teigen to roast her famous husband or clapback on a hater, stopped scrolling and were taken aback.
Asma thought highly of the thread, and while her 14-year-old son was fascinated as well, it seemed like he was a tiny bit spooked. A sentiment that another Twitter user, Kalia shares, as she took some precautionary measures just to make sure no Jinn were visiting or planning anything else.
Another Twitter user amusingly mentioned a category that is probably not researched in depth, a woke type of Jinn.
Besides the obvious fun and entertainment this contributed to the Twitter-sphere, genuine interest and allure was even more clear. We believe these almost magical, but actually real, beings only prevail on movie screens or the pages of a book. Yet, the stories around them forces us to take a step back and think,
Can we actually connect with Jinn? Have we already done so? Did we, by chance, mingle with some?
The possibilities are endless.
They can be identified by something being off about them. Usually their eyes.
In this form they generally are just there to observe. One can ask them to leave if they appear inside the home. Forcefully but with respect
— Ali A Olomi (@aaolomi) October 30, 2019