Can the jinn appear in human form? Do the jinn have a real form?.
The question is composed of two parts.
1 – Do the jinn appear in human form?
2 – Do the jinn have a real form?
With regard to the first question, it may be said:
Firstly: it should be noted that the basic principle
concerning the jinn is that they are concealed from mankind, hence they are
called jinn, because the Arabic root janna refers to a single
original meaning which is to cover and conceal, as Ibn Faaris said in
Maqaayees al-Lughah. The jinn are so called because they are concealed from
mankind, and the foetus is called janeen in Arabic because he is
concealed in his mother’s womb, and a garden is called jannah because
it is concealed by trees, and an insane person is called majnoon
because his mind is covered, and so on in all derivations from this root.
Allaah has told us of this when He said (interpretation of
“O Children of Adam! Let not Shaytaan (Satan) deceive you,
as he got your parents [Adam and Hawwaa’ (Eve)] out of Paradise, stripping
them of their raiments, to show them their private parts. Verily, he and
Qabeeluhu (his soldiers from the jinn or his tribe) see you from where you
cannot see them”
Secondly: can they appear in human form?
The answer to that is that it is proven in the Sunnah and
from real life that the jinn appear in different forms, such as the forms of
people and animals, etc. Among the clearest evidence of that from the Sunnah
is the story narrated by al-Bukhaari (3275) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be
pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) put me in charge of guarding the zakaah of
Ramadaan. Someone came to me and started scooping up some of the food, and I
said, “By Allaah, I will take you to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him).” He complained of being in need and having
dependents, so Abu Hurayrah took pity on him and let him go. This happened
three times, and on the third occasion, Abu Hurayrah said: “I will take you
to the Messenger of Allaah. This is the third time and each time you say
that you will not come back, then you come back.” He said, “Let me go and I
will teach you something by means of which Allaah will benefit you.” I said:
“What is it?” he said: “When you go to bed, recite Aayat al-Kursi,
‘Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He),
Al-Hayyul-Qayyoom (the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all
that exists)…’ [al-Baqarah 2:255] until you complete the verse, then you
will always have a protector from Allaah, and no devil will come near you
until morning comes. So I let him go, and the next morning I told the
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) what
had happened. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) said: “He told you the truth, although he is a liar. Do you know
who you have been speaking to for three nights, O Abu Hurayrah?” He said:
“No.” He said: “That was a devil (a shaytaan).”
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said in al-Fath: This hadeeth
teaches us a number of things… that one of the characteristics of the
Shaytaan is lying, and that he may appear in various forms that may be seen,
and that the words of Allaah, “Verily, he and Qabeeluhu (his soldiers
from the jinn or his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them”
[al-A’raaf 7:27], apply to when he is in the form with which he was
It was narrated that the
Shaytaan appeared to Quraysh in the form of Suraaqah ibn Maalik ibn Ju’sham
and encouraged them to fight the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him). That happened during the battle of Badr. Ibn Jareer al-Tabari
narrated in his Tafseer (12564) that ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr said:
When Quraysh decided to march, mention was made of what was
between them and Bani Bakr – i.e., war – and that almost made them change
their minds. Then Iblees appeared to them in the form of Suraaqah ibn
Ju’sham al-Madlaji, who was one of the nobles of Banu Kinaanah, and said: “I
will protect you against Kinaanah so that Kinaanah will not be able to do
you any harm.” So they went ahead with their plan. This was also quoted by
Ibn Katheer in al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah, 5/62.
In Saheeh Muslim (2236) it is narrated that Abu Sa’eed
al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of
Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “In Madeenah
there is a group of the jinn who have become Muslim, so whoever sees any of
these creatures let him give it a warning three times, then if it appears
after that he may kill it, for it is a devil.”
The word translated as “creatures” here refers to kinds of
snakes that appear in houses; they are not to be killed until they have been
given a warning three times, because they may be jinn. See Ghareeb
al-Hadeeth by Ibn al-Atheer.
Al-Nawawi said: What this means is that if they do not
disappear after being warned, then they are not the kind of creatures that
inhabit houses and they are not among the jinn who have become Muslim,
rather that is a devil so there is no sin on you if you kill it and Allaah
will never give the Shaytaan a way to prevail over you by taking revenge,
unlike the creatures (snakes) and jinn who have become Muslim. And Allaah
knows best. Sharh Muslim, 14/236.
There have been many such incidents. Shaykh al-Islam (Ibn
Taymiyah) said: The jinn may appear in human and animal form, so they may
appear as snakes and scorpions etc, or in the form of camels, cattle, sheep,
horses, mules and donkeys, or in the form of birds, or in the form of
humans, as the Shaytaan came to Quraysh in the form of Suraaqah ibn Maalik
ibn Ju’sham when they wanted to set out for Badr. Majmoo’ al-Fataawa,
Thirdly: The jinn have led many people astray by appearing in
the forms of awliya’ (“saints”) and righteous people etc. Shaykh al-Islam
said: The Shaytaan often appears in the form of the person who is being
called upon and asked for help, if he is dead or sometimes if he is alive,
without the person who called upon him realizing it. Indeed the Shaytaan may
appear in his form and the misguided mushrik who is seeking that person’s
help may think that the person himself has responded to him when in fact it
is the Shaytaan. This also happens to the kuffaar who seek the help of those
of whom they think well, whether they are dead or alive, such as the
Christians who seek the help of George or others of their saints, and it
happens to those so-called Muslims who commit shirk and follow misguidance
by seeking the help of those who are dead or absent. The Shaytaan appears to
them in the form of the one upon whom they call, without him realizing that…
More than one person has told me that they sought my help, and each of them
told me a different story. I told each one of them that I did not answer any
one of them and I did not know that they were seeking my help. It was said
that this was an angel, but I said: Angels do not help mushriks, rather that
was a devil who wanted to misguide him.
Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 19/47-48.
One of the greatest ways in which a Muslim may seek help
against the devils is to “fortify” himself with adhkaar and reciting Aayat
al-Kursiy, as stated in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah quoted above.
See also questions no. 22816.
With regard to the second
part of the question, which is whether the jinn have a true form:
With regard to this matter of photographs of the jinn, which
have fascinated many people and become widespread on some websites, it is
not possible to verify the authenticity of what is in these websites,
especially nowadays when people are highly skilled in producing in all kinds
of deceptive pictures. Moreover researching such matters brings no spiritual
or worldly benefit and serves no purpose. It is better to occupy oneself
with things that will bring spiritual or worldly benefit such as reading and
understanding what is in the Qur’aan and the saheeh Sunnah, and what a
person needs to know and do of correct belief and worship, and the proper
attitude and etiquette which the Muslim should develop, and so on. It should
also be noted that publishing pictures of animate beings is haraam according
to sharee’ah as is stated in the texts. See questions no.
We ask Allaah to protect you and raise you in status and
forgive your sins and bless you with knowledge and good deeds, for He is the
Best One to be asked.
May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad
and his family and companions.