Islamic Beliefs on Demons

demon6Every belief system seems to include the alleged existence of demons. As you will notice, National Paranormal Society is compiling a series of articles detailing how those who follow each belief system view demons, and exploring whether or not any proof of demons exists.

Islam is the second most commonly practiced religion in the world. Dating back to 622 AD, Islam is based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (570-632AD), who is considered by Muslims (those who practice Islam) as the last of the prophets of Allah, according to EncyclopaediaBritannica ( These teachings given to Muhammad are detailed in The Qur’an, the sacred book of Islam.

THE JINN: The Qur’an references the creation of entities called Jinn, which were said to be created from smokeless flame or fire for the purpose of worshipping Allah. Abdul Barr in his book, “The World of Jinn and Devils” states that there are different types of Jinn. Most relevant to this article are the aamar, who live among man; the shaitan who are evil and work against man; and the stronger, more dangerous afreet. Barr goes on to describe shayteen, or “satan” or “devil”, defined as jinn and man who are disbelieving and disobedient.

Similar to the story of creation of man in Christianity and Judaism, the Qur’an teaches that Adam was created the first man, and was made from clay. Allah instructed the angels and jinn to prostrate themselves before his creation Adam. One of the jinn, Iblis (Satan), refused to prostrate himself before Adam and was banished from the heaven by Allah. The Qur’an references shaytaan (plural of shayteen) as being both jinn and human in form, human followers being “hizh”. Followers, both disobedient jinn and man are condemned to hell by Allah. The Qur’an states that the influence of the jinn who chose to be disobedient is in whispering evil into the hearts of man. These whispers are intended to lead man to commit acts contrary to their faith. Some are said to be possessed by Jinn. Those who practice Islam are encouraged to whisper “I seek refuge in Allah” when shaytaan whisper to them, in order to repel the entity.

“The Jinn are beings created with free will, living on earth in a world parallel to mankind. The Arabic word Jinn is from the verb ‘Janna’ which means to hide or conceal. Thus, they are physically invisible from man as their description suggests. This invisibility is one of the reasons why some people have denied their existence.” (Invitation to Islam) This article further states that some jinn chose to be Muslim while others chose not to follow Allah, but rather to follow Iblis. “That which clearly distinguishes the Jinn from mankind, are their powers and abilities. Allah has given them these powers as a test for them. If they oppress others with them, then they will be held accountable. By knowing of their powers, we can often make sense of much of the mysteries which go on around us. One of the powers of the Jinn, is that they are able to take on any physical form they like.” (ibid) The article further discusses the possibility that what humans have perceived as aliens may in fact be jinn; likewise that alleged demonic possession is also the work of evil jinn, as well as activities that fall under the category of the occult.

DEMONS: The Qur’an does reference Muhammad and Jesus casting out demons. There is disagreement among Islamic scholars, however, regarding whether demons and jinn are 2 distinct entities, or one and the same. Their actions and abilities to possess a human, as well as cover great distances in seconds and take on various forms are the same.

BUT DO THEY EXIST? As in other belief systems, there is no undeniable proof that jinn or demons exist. While anecdotal evidence is plentiful, personal experience, from a scientific standpoint, is not considered proof. The first link provided alleges to be proof of a jinn lurking in a mosque: However, it appears to simply be a person on all fours dressed in black.

The second link provided depicts an alleged possession of a woman by a jinn: A number of possible natural explanations for this alleged possession may be presented to debunk. An investigator would need to consider Tourette Syndrome. Tourette’s is a neurological/psychiatric disorder which at times presents with uncontrolled inappropriate verbalizations, which are frequently strained (possibly due to the individual’s attempts to fight the verbal tics; possibly simply a part of the disorder itself). Other physical conditions may manifest with strained speech as well, such as cerebral palsy and other disorders which impact the vocal musculature. Outright fraud must also be considered. The woman who is alleged to be possessed is not present in the video; therefore we have no idea what is in reality transpiring. Unfortunately falsified evidence is quite common in the paranormal, and therefore cannot be ruled out. In short, there remains no irrefutable evidence of demons under the Islamic belief system.

The Qur’an
“The World of Jinn and Devils” by Ibn Abdu Barr (Muhammad Prophet of Islam by: Seyyed Hossein Nasr)
Invitation to Islam, Issue 4, January 1998
The Jinn (In the Qur?an and Sunnah) by Mustafa Ashour
The Jinn by Abu Al Hasan (Al Jumuah Magazine)

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

Lisa Shaner-Hilty

I am a supervisor for several programs assisting individuals with intellectual and mental challenges. I have 2 Masters Degrees from Penn State in Communication Disorders and Psychology. My first experiences with the paranormal were around age 5. I’ve been fascinated ever since. I have been an investigator for over 10 years (first 5 years with a team, then leaving to form my own more than 5 years ago, and have taught classes on investigation, evidence analysis (especially EVP) and debunking at local community college. I also have abilities, some of which began at age 5 and others around puberty. Therefore my fields of major interest are investigation and psychic and empath. While I am open to considering all aspect and viewpoints, I am dedicated to seeking natural explanations first before anything is considered evidence.
Lisa Shaner-Hilty

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