You are reading a tafsir for the group of verses 46:29 to 46:32

The Story of the Jinns listening to the Qur'an

Imam Ahmad recorded from Az-Zubayr that he commented on the Ayah;

وَإِذْ صَرَفْنَآ إِلَيْكَ نَفَراً مِّنَ الْجِنِّ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقُرْءَانَ

(And (remember) when We sent towards you a group of the Jinn, to listen to the Qur'an.) "They were at a place called Nakhlah while Allah's Messenger ﷺ was performing the `Isha' prayer, and

كَادُواْ يَكُونُونَ عَلَيْهِ لِبَداً

(they crowded on top of each other to hear him.) (72:19)" Sufyan said, "They stood on top of each other like piled wool." Ahmad was alone in recording this. Imam Ahmad and the famous Imam, Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi in his book Dala'il An-Nubuwwah, both recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Allah's Messenger ﷺ never recited Qur'an to the Jinns, nor did he see them. Allah's Messenger ﷺ was heading with a group of his Companions towards the `Ukaz market. At that time, the devils had been prevented from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens, and they were being attacked by burning flames (whenever they tried to listen). When the devils went back to their people, they asked them what happened to them, and they answered, `We have been prevented from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens, and burning flames now attack us.' Their people told them, `You have only been prevented from eavesdropping on the information of the heavens because of something (major) that has happened. So go all over the earth, east and west, and see what is it that has obstructed you from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens.' Thus they traveled all over the earth, east and west, seeking that which had obstructed them from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens. A group of them went towards Tihamah, and found Allah's Messenger ﷺ while he was at a place called Nakhlah along the way to the `Ukaz market. He was leading his Companions in the Fajr prayer. When the Jinns heard the recitation of the Qur'an, they stopped to listen to it, and then they said: `By Allah! This is what has prevented you from eavesdropping on the news of the heavens.' Then they returned to their people and told them: `Our people! We certainly have heard an amazing recitation (the Qur'an), it guides to the right path. So we have believed in it, and we will join none in worship with our Lord.' So Allah revealed to His Prophet ,

قُلْ أُوحِىَ إِلَىَّ أَنَّهُ اسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ

(Say: It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinns have listened (to the Qur'an).) (72:19) Thus, what was revealed to him was only the saying of the Jinns." Al-Bukhari recorded a similar narration, and Muslim recorded it (as it is here). At-Tirmidhi also recorded it, as did An-Nasa'i in his Tafsir. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud reported that the Jinns came down upon the Prophet while he was reciting the Qur'an at a place called Nakhlah. When they heard him,

قَالُواْ أَنصِتُواْ

(They said: "Listen quietly.") meaning, hush! They were nine in number, and one of them was called Zawba`ah. So Allah revealed,

وَإِذْ صَرَفْنَآ إِلَيْكَ نَفَراً مِّنَ الْجِنِّ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقُرْءَانَ فَلَمَّا حَضَرُوهُ قَالُواْ أَنصِتُواْ فَلَمَّا قُضِىَ وَلَّوْاْ إِلَى قَوْمِهِم مُّنذِرِينَ

(And when We sent toward you a group of Jinns, to listen to the Qur'an. When they attended it, they said: "Listen quietly!" And when it was concluded, they returned to their people as warners.) until His saying:

ضَلَـلٍ مُّبِينٍ

( manifest error.) Thus, this report along with the above one by Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, indicate that Allah's Messenger ﷺ was not aware of the presence of the Jinns at that time. They only listened to his recitation and went back to their people. Later on, they came to him in groups, one party after another, and one group after another. As for Allah's saying,

وَلَّوْاْ إِلَى قَوْمِهِم مُّنذِرِينَ

(they returned to their people as warners.) It means that they went back to their people and warned them about what they heard from Allah's Messenger ﷺ. This is similar to Allah's saying,

لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ فِى الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ

(...that they may obtain understanding in religion and warn their people when they return to them, so that they might be cautious (of evil).) (9:122) This Ayah has been used as evidence that the Jinns have warners from among themselves, but no Messengers. There is no doubt that Allah did not send Messengers from among the Jinns, because He says,

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ إِلاَّ رِجَالاً نُّوحِى إِلَيْهِمْ مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَى

(And We did not send before you as Messengers any but men, to whom We revealed from among the people of cities.) (12:109) And Allah says,

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ إِلاَّ إِنَّهُمْ لَيَأْكُلُونَ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشُونَ فِى الاٌّسْوَاقِ

(And We never sent before you any of the Messengers but verily they ate food and walked in the markets.) (25:20) And He says about Ibrahim Al-Khalil, upon him be peace,

وَجَعَلْنَا فِى ذُرِّيَّتِهِ النُّبُوَّةَ وَالْكِتَـبَ

(...And We placed in his descendants prophethood and Scripture.)(29:27) Thus, every Prophet whom Allah sent after Ibrahim was from his offspring and progeny. As for Allah's saying in Surat Al-An`am,

يَـمَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالإِنْسِ أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِّنْكُمْ

(O company of Jinns and human beings! Did there not come to you Messengers from among you) (6:130) It only applies to the two kinds collectively, but specifically pertains to just one of them, which is the human. This is like Allah's saying,

يَخْرُجُ مِنْهُمَا الُّلؤْلُؤُ وَالمَرْجَانُ

(From both of them (salty and fresh waters) emerge pearl and Marjan.) (55:22) Although He said "both of them" this applies to only one of the two types of water (the salty water). Allah then explains how the Jinns warned their people. He says,

قَالُواْ يقَوْمَنَآ إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَـباً أُنزِلَ مِن بَعْدِ مُوسَى

(They said: "O our people! Verily, we have heard a Book sent down after Musa...") They did not mention `Isa, peace be upon him, because the Injil that was revealed to him contained admonitions and exhortations, but very few permissions or prohibitions. Thus, it was in reality like a complement to the legislation of the Tawrah, the Tawrah being the reference. That is why they said, "Sent down after Musa." This is also the way that Waraqah bin Nawfal spoke when the Prophet told him about his first meeting with Jibril, An-Namus, peace be upon him. He said: "Very good, very good! This is (the angel) that used to come to Musa. I wish that I was still a young man (to support you)."

مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ

(confirming what came before it,) meaning, the Scriptures that were revealed before it to the previous Prophets. They then said,

يَهْدِى إِلَى الْحَقِّ

(it guides to the truth) means in belief and information.

وَإِلَى طَرِيقٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

(and to the straight path.) which means, in deeds. For verily, the Qur'an contains two things: information and commandments. Its information is true, and its commandments are all just, as Allah says,

وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقاً وَعَدْلاً

(And the Word of Your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice.) (6:115) Allah says,

هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ

(It is He Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth.) (9:122) The guidance is the beneficent knowledge, and the religion of truth means the righteous good deeds. Thus, the Jinns said,

يَهْدِى إِلَى الْحَقِّ

(it guides to the truth) in matters of belief,

وَإِلَى طَرِيقٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

(and to the straight path.) meaning, in regard to actions.

يقَوْمَنَآ أَجِيبُواْ دَاعِىَ اللَّهِ

(O our people! Respond to Allah's Caller,) This is proof that Muhammad ﷺ has been sent to both the human beings and the Jinns. Thus, Allah says,

أَجِيبُواْ دَاعِىَ اللَّهِ وَءَامِنُواْ بِهِ

(Respond to Allah's Caller and believe in him.) Then Allah says,

يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ مِّن ذُنُوبِكُمْ

(He will then forgive you some of your sins,) Some scholars say that "some" here is auxiliary, but this is questionable since it is rarely used to strengthen an affirmative meaning. Others say that it means partial forgiveness.

وَيُجِرْكُمْ مِّنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

(and protect you from a painful torment.) meaning, He will protect you from His painful punishment. Then Allah informs that they said,

وَمَن لاَّ يُجِبْ دَاعِىَ اللَّهِ فَلَيْسَ بِمُعْجِزٍ فِى الاٌّرْضَ

(And whosoever does not respond to Allah's Caller, he cannot escape on earth,) meaning, Allah's power encompasses him and surrounds him.

وَلَيْسَ لَهُ مِن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَآءُ

(and he will not have besides Allah any protectors.) meaning, no one can protect him against Allah.

أُوْلَـئِكَ فِى ضَلَـلٍ مُّبِينٍ

(Those are in manifest error. ) This is a threat and warning. Thus, those Jinns called their people with encouragement and warning. Because of this, many of the Jinns took heed and came to Allah's Messenger in successive delegations; and verily, Allah is worthy of all praise and gratitude, and Allah knows best.