—and other endless tales.
Growing up as a Muslim, there was one subject that riled up, and then promptly entranced any group of youth without fail: stories about the Jinn kind.
We find ourselves taken by things of the Unseen much like the way movies fascinate us. With movies though, you can end it and remember fairly fast that it was just a movie. With Jinn stories, there really is no way of confirming whether the event occurred or not, and thus we’re at liberty of relishing the tale for as long as it excites us.
I’ve heard several in my time on the planet—an assortment of far-fetched ones, more possible ones, some witnessed by very close family members, some depicted in stories. Other things included little anecdotes—how jinns take the form of cats (not confirming or denying, but for sure often causing me to stare steadily at passerby felines on Karachi streetways) or how jinns hang around mithai shops at night.
The most interesting account of a Jinn story in my experience was ironically not of the ones that keep you fearfully awake the entire night, but rather one that explained the loving brotherhood between us and them.
Sheikh Omar Suleiman makes several points in episode 33 of his Beginning and the End series that change the perspective of the Jinn we are used to.
I always describe Sheikh Omar as “milk & honey” to people. He has such a soft demeanor and gentle way of talking, and he always smiles—something about him reminds me of the pleasant nature of milk & honey. His way of conveying the information in this video is so nicely done that I would find it subtractive to reiterate the episode in my own words. It’s a short 10-minute video, however I would be happy to transcribe it upon request.
The first thing we should do is talk about their rights upon us. And particularly, remember that there are believers amongst the jinn…we have some amongst the jinn that we should actually feel affinity towards, even though we don’t reach out to them and even though we don’t see them, so we should be extra careful when dealing with them.
—Sheikh Omar Suleiman
My favorite aspect of this video is that the historical accounts and explanations absolve the Jinn from the frightful distortion we’ve made them out to be. We’ve spent our lives using stories to create an atmosphere, some of us not even saying the word Jinn for fear that something bad will happen, but the information in this video dispels a lot of that and helps us identify that amongst them are ones with whom we share the strongest bond possible—that of faith.
The part about the bones containing sustenance for the Jinn and how our saying Bismillah before eating may be sadaqah to them, or the part about how when we recite Assalamu alaina wa ibadillahis-saaliheen in salah and how that includes the Jinn as saaliheen too—these things free us of the fear instilled by horror stories and focus on the loving brotherhood we share with the Jinn.
Consequently, while eating, while praying, I was able to remember them and be considerate towards them in a way I wasn’t aware I could do before. It felt nice and so valuable to have that, despite the divide of completely different physical worlds.