الفاطميون - The Fatamids - a Different Egypt


The Fatimid Caliphate (Arabic: الفاطميون, al-Fāṭimiyyūn) was the fourth Islamic caliphate and belonged to the Isma'ili Shi'a school of faith.
Its sovereignty spanned a large area of North Africa, from the Red Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
Originally based in Tunisia, the dynasty ruled across the Mediterranean coast of Africa and ultimately made Egypt the center of the caliphate.
At its height, the caliphate included in addition to Egypt varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, and Hijaz.
The Fatimids were mainly descent from Fatima the daughter of Prophet Muhammad.
The Fatimid state took shape among the Berber Kutama, the people of Algeria.
In 909 Fatimid established the Tunisian city of Mahdia as their capital city.
In 948 they shifted their capital to Al-Mansuriya.
In 969 they conquered Egypt and built the city of Cairo, which became the capital of the caliphate, and Egypt became the political, cultural, and religious centre of the state.
The ruling elite of the state belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism.
The leaders of the dynasty were also Shia Ismaili Imams, hence they had a religious significance to Muslims of that branch.
They are also part of the chain of holders of the office of Caliph, as recognized by orthodox Muslims. Therefore, this constitutes a rare period in history in which the descendants of Ali via the daughter of the prophet, Fatimaeh (hence the name Fatimid), and the Caliphate were united to any degree, except for the final period of the Rashidun Caliphate under Ali himself.
The term Fatimite is sometimes used to refer to citizens of the caliphate.
The caliphate often exercised a great degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam as well as towards Jews, Maltese Christians, and Coptic Christians.
The Fatimid caliphate was also distinguished by the central role of Berbers in its initial establishment and development especially on military and political levels.
In the course of the later eleventh and twelfth century, however, the Fatimid caliphate declined rapidly, and in 1171 the country was invaded by Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn (Saladin), who founded the Ayyubid dynasty and reincorporated the state into the Abbasid Caliphate.

Origins of the Fatamids

The Fatimid Caliphate's religious ideology originated in an Ismaili Shia movement launched in Syria by the ninth Imam Abd Allah al-Akbar.
He claimed descent through Ismail, the seventh Shia imam, from the Prophet's daughter Fatimah and her husband ʻAlī ibn-Abī-Tālib, the first Shīʻa Imām, hence the name al-Fātimiyyūn "Fatimid".
The ninth to eleventh Imams (Abadullah, Ahmed and Husain) remained hidden and worked for the movement against that time's Abbasid rulers.
Among the Berber Kutama, the people of Algeria,in 899 Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, the 12th Imam, became leader of the movement.
He fled Middle East from his enemies to Sijilmasa in Morocco, where he proselytized under the guise of being a merchant.
Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi had been imprisoned in Sijilmasa due to his Ismaili beliefs.
Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, the man who was later known as the founder of the Fatamid dynasty accompanied by his son al-Qasim, arrived in the Maghrib in 905.
Ubayed Allah and his son made their way to Sijilmassa, fleeing persecution by the Abbasids, who found their Isma'ili Shi'ite beliefs not only unorthodox, but also threatening to the status quo of their caliphate. According to legend, ‘Ubayed Allah and his son were fulfilling a prophecy that the مهدي‎ madhi would come from Mesopotamia to Sijilmassa.

In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi (Arabic: مهدي‎  - Guided One) is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine or nineteen years- (according to various interpretations) before the Day of Judgment (yawm al-qiyamah / literally, the Day of Resurrection) and will rid the world of evil.
Isa (Jesus) will return to aid Mahdi, or the guided one, against Masih ad-Dajjal, the false messiah, and his followers. He will descend at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes with his head anointed. He will then join the Mahdi in his war against the Dajjal. Isa will slay Dajjal, and unite humanity.

They hid among the population of Sijilmassa for four years under the countenance of the Midrar rulers, specifically one Prince Yasa'.
Al-Mahdi was supported by dedicated Shi'ite Abu 'Abdullah al-Shi'i, and al-Shi'i started his preaching after he encountered a group of Berbers during his hajj.
These men bragged about the country of the Kutama in western Ifriqiya (today part of Algeria), and the hostility of the Kutama towards, and their complete independence from, the Aghlabid rulers.
This triggered al-Shi'i to travel to the region, where he started to preach the Ismaili doctrine.
The Berber peasants, who had been oppressed for decades by the corrupt Aghlabid rule, would prove themselves to be a perfect basis for sedition.
Instantly, al-Shi'i began conquering cities in the region: first Mila, then Sétif, Kairouan, and eventually Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital.
In 909 Al-Shi'i sent a large expedition force to rescue the Mahdi, conquering the Khariji state of Tahert on its way there.
After gaining his freedom, Ubayd Allah became the leader of the growing state and assumed the position of imam and caliph.
The Fatimids existed during the so-called 'Islamic Golden Age'.
The dynasty was founded in 909 by the twelfth Imam ʻAbdullāh al-Mahdī Billah.
For the first half of its existence the empire's power rested primarily on its strength, as its army conquered northern Africa, Palestine, Syria, and for a short time, Baghdad.
A new capital was established at al-Mahdiyya.
The Muslim Mahdia was founded by the Fatimids under the Caliph Abdallah al-Mahdi in 921 and made Ifriqiya their capital city.
It was chosen as the capital because of its proximity to the sea and the promontory on which an important military settlement had been since the time of the Phoenicians.


The Fatimid Caliphate grew to include Sicily and to stretch across North Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to Libya.
Abdullāh al-Mahdi's control soon extended over all of central Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, which he ruled from Mahdia, his newly built capital in Tunisia. Al-Mansuriya, or Mansuriyya (Arabic: المنصوريه ‎), near Kairouan, Tunisia, was the capital of the Fatimid Caliphate during the rules of the Imams Al-Mansur Billah (r. 946–953) and Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah (r. 953–975).
The Fatimid general Jawhar conquered Egypt in 969, and he built a new palace city there, near Fusṭāt, which he also called al-Manṣūriyya.
Under Al-Muizz Lideenillah, the Fatimids (see Fatimid Egypt) conquered the Ikhshidid dynasty, founding a new capital at al-Qāhira (Cairo) in 969.
The name was a reference to the planet Mars, "The Subduer", which was prominent in the sky at the moment that city construction started.
Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army, though the actual administrative and economic capital of Egypt was in cities such as Fustat until 1169.
After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria, as well as Sicily.
Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the center of an empire that included at its peak North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Tihamah, Hejaz, and Yemen.
Egypt flourished, and the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
Their trade and diplomatic ties extended all the way to China and its Song Dynasty, which eventually determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages.
The Fatimid focus on long-distance trade was accompanied by a lack of interest in agriculture and a neglect of the Nile irrigation system.

Administration and Culture

Unlike other governments in the area, advancement in Fatimid state offices was based more on merit than on heredity.
Members of other branches of Islam, like the Sunnis, were just as likely to be appointed to government posts as Shiites.
Tolerance was extended to non-Muslims such as Christians and Jews, who occupied high levels in government based on ability, and tolerance was set into place to ensure the flow of money from all those who were non-Muslims in order to finance the Caliphs' large army of Mamluks brought in from Circassia by Genoese merchants.
There were exceptions to this general attitude of tolerance, however, most notably by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, though this has been highly debated, with Al-Hakim's reputation among medieval Muslim historians conflated with his role in the Druze faith.
The Fatimids were also known for their exquisite arts.
A type of ceramic, lustreware, was prevalent during the Fatimid period.
Glassware and metalworking was also popular.
Many traces of Fatimid architecture exist in Cairo today; the most defining examples include the Al Azhar University and the Al Hakim mosque.
The Al Azhar University was the first university in the East and perhaps the oldest in history.
The madrasa is one of the relics of the Fatimid dynasty era of Egypt, descended from Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad. Fatimah was called Az-Zahra (the brilliant), and the madrasa was named in her honor.
It was founded as a mosque by the Fatimid commander Jawhar at the orders of the Caliph Al-Muizz when he founded the city of Cairo.
It was (probably on Saturday) in Jamadi al-Awwal in the year 359 A.H.
Its building was completed on the 9th of Ramadan in the year 361 A.H.
Both Al-'Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah added to its premises.
It was further repaired, renovated, and extended by Al-Mustansir Billah and Al-Hafiz Li-Din-illah. Fatimid Caliphs always encouraged scholars and jurists to have their study-circles and gatherings in this mosque, and thus it was turned into a university that has the claim to be considered as the oldest still-functioning University.
The intellectual life in Egypt during the Fatimid period reached a great degree of progress and activity due to the number of scholars who either lived in Egypt or came from outside, as well as to the number of books available.
The Fatimid Caliphs gave prominent positions to the scholars in their courts and encouraged the students.
Fatimids paid attention to establishing libraries in their palaces so that the scholars might polish up their knowledge and get the benefit of what their predecessors had done.
Perhaps the most significant feature of Fatimid rule was the freedom of thought and reason extended to the people, who could believe in whatever they liked provided they did not infringe on the rights of others.
Fatimids reserved separate pulpits for different Islamic sects, where the scholars expressed their ideas in whatever manner they liked.
Fatimids gave patronage to scholars and invited them from every place, spending money on them even when their beliefs conflicted with those of the Fatimids.
The history of the Fatimids, from this point of view, is in fact the history of knowledge, literature, and philosophy.
It is the history of sacred freedom of expression.
The Fatimid palace in Cairo had two parts. It stood in the Khan el-Khalili area at Bayn El-Qasryn street.

Military System

The Fatimid military was based largely on the Kutama Berber tribesmen brought along on the march to Egypt, and they remained an important part of the military even after Tunisia began to break away.
After their successful establishment in Egypt, local forces were also incorporated into the army, though they remained a relatively minor part of the Fatimid forces (and of succeeding dynasties as well).
A fundamental change occurred when the Fatimid Caliph attempted to push into Syria in the later half of the 10th century.
The Fatimids were faced with the now Turkish-dominated forces of the Abbasid Caliph and began to realize the limits of their current military.
Thus during the reign of Abu Mansur Nizar al-Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the Caliph began incorporating armies of Turks and later Black Africans (even later, other groups such as Armenians were also used).
The army units were generally separated along ethnic lines, thus the Berbers were usually the light cavalry and foot skirmishers, while the Turks would be the horse archers or heavy cavalry (known as Mamluks).
The black Africans, Syrians, and Arabs generally acted as the heavy infantry and foot archers.
This ethnic-based army system, along with the partial slave status of many of the imported ethnic fighters, would remain fundamentally unchanged in Egypt many centuries after the fall of the Fatimid caliph.
The Fatimids put all their military power toward the defense of the Islamic world whenever it was menaced by dangers and threats.
The Fatimids were able to meet these threats and repel attacks, especially during the rule of Al-Muizz Lideenillah.
During his reign, the Byzantine Empire was ruled by Nikephoros II Phokas, who had clashed with Muslims in Crete in 961.
He conquered Tartus, Al-Masaisah, 'Ain Zarbah, and other places, and as Ibn-ul-Athir says, he set upon reconquering the whole Roman Empire.
His objectives were fulfilled due to fighting among the Muslim rulers, and he ravaged the Islamic territories.
His method was to attack small villages, plunder, devastate, and capture them. He gained complete control of the Iraq and Syrian borders.
The Muslims were terrified and were quite convinced that the Byzantines would occupy all of Syria, Egypt, Al-Jazira (Northern Iraq), and Diyar Bakr, but the armies and the navy of the Fatimids defeated the Byzantines.

Civil War and Decline

While the ethnic-based army was generally successful on the battlefield, they began to have negative effects on the Fatimid's internal politics.
Traditionally the Berber element of the army had the strongest sway over political affairs, but as the Turkish element grew more powerful they began to challenge this, and eventually by 1020 serious riots began to break out among the Black African troops who were fighting back against a Berber-Turk Alliance.
By the 1060s, the tentative balance between the different ethnic groups within the Fatimid army collapsed as Egypt was suffering through a serious span of drought and famine.
The declining resources accelerated the problems between the different ethnic factions and outright civil war began, primarily the Turks and Black African troops were fighting each other while the Berbers shifted alliance in between the two sides.
The Turkish forces of the Fatimid army would end up seizing most of Cairo and held the city and Caliph at ransom while the Berbers troops and remaining Sudanese forces roamed the other parts of Egypt, making an already bad situation much worse.
By 1072 the Fatimid Caliph Abū Tamīm Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah in a desperate attempt to save Egypt recalled the general Badr al-Jamali, who was at the time the governor of Acre, Palestine.
Badr al-Jamali led his troops into Egypt and was able to successfully suppress the different groups of the rebelling armies, largely purging the Turks in the process.
Although the Caliphate was saved from immediate destruction, the decade long rebellion devastated Egypt and it was never able to regain much power.
As a result of this event, Badr al-Jamali was also made the vizier of the Fatimid caliph, becoming one of the first military viziers ("Amir al Juyush"(Arabic: امير الجيوش‎, Commander of Forces of the Fatimids that would dominate the late Fatimid politics.
Al-Jam`e Al-Juyushi(Arabic: الجامع الجيوشي‎, The Mosque of the Armies) or Juyushi Mosque was built by Badr al-Jamali.
The mosque was completed in 478 H/1085 AD under the patronage of the then Caliph and Imam Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah.
It was built on an end of the Mokattam Hills which would ensure a view of the Cairo city.
This Mosque/mashhad was also known as a victory monument commemorating vazier Badr's restoration of order for the Imam Mustansir.
As the military viziers effectively became heads of state, and the Caliph himself was reduced to the role of a figurehead.
Badr al-Jamali's son, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, succeeded him in power as vizier.

Decline and Fall

In the 1040s, the Berber Zirids (governors of North Africa under the Fatimids) declared their independence from the Fatimids and their recognition of the Sunni Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad, which led the Fatimids to launch devastating Banū Hilal invasions.
After about 1070, the Fatimid hold on the Levant coast and parts of Syria was challenged first by Turkic invasions, then the Crusades, so that Fatimid territory shrank until it consisted only of Egypt.
The reliance on the Iqta system also ate into Fatimid central authority, as more and more the military officers at the further ends of the empire became semi-independent and were often a source of problems.
After the decay of the Fatimid political system in the 1160s, the Zengid ruler Nūr ad-Dīn had his general, Shirkuh, seized Egypt from the vizier Shawar in 1169.
Shirkuh died two months after taking power, and the rule went to his nephew, Saladin.
This began the Ayyubid Sultanate of Egypt and Syria.

Fatimid Heritage

After caliph `Adid, the Fatimids were deposed from rule over Egypt by the Ayyubids.
Currently two groups lay claim to the Fatimid legacy.
The Taiyabi (including the Dawoodi Bohra) claim that their Da`is (see List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra) are successors in authority to 21st Imam Taiyab, the son of 20th Imam Amir (10th Fatimid calipha) (the office of Da`i being instituted by Sulayhid queen of Yemen Arwa al-Sulayhi).
Dawoodi Bohra are presently headed by their 52nd Dai Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin.
The current claimant to be genealogical heir of the Nizari line is the Aga Khan.
Imam Abdul Salam, Imam Ghareeb Mirza and continued Imamat as a next Imams after Imam Mustansir Billah and started imamat series of Nizari ismailies now as an Imam is Shah karim Al Hussaini Agha Khan IV as 49th Hazir Imam.

الجن - The Jinn


The jinn, or genies, are spiritual creatures mentioned in the Qur’ān and other Islamic texts who inhabit an unseen world in dimensions beyond the visible universe of humans.
Together, the jinn, humans and angels make up the three sapient creations of God.
The Qur’an mentions that the jinn are made of a 'smokeless fire', but also physical in nature, being able to interact physically with people and objects, and likewise be acted upon.
Like human beings, the jinn can also be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent and hence have freewill like humans and unlike angels.
The jinn are mentioned frequently in the Qurʾan, and the 72nd surah is titled Sūrat al-Jinn.

Etymology and Definitions

Jinn is a noun of the collective number in Arabic literally meaning "hidden from sight", and it derives from the Arabic root j-n-n (pronounced: jann/ junn جَنّ / جُنّ) meaning "to hide" or "be hidden".
Other words derived from this root are majnūn 'mad' (literally, 'one whose intellect is hidden'), junūn 'madness', and janīn 'embryo, fetus' ('hidden inside the womb').
The Arabic root j-n-n means 'to hide, conceal'.
A word for garden or Paradise, جنّة jannah, is a cognate of the Hebrew word גן gan 'garden', derived from the same Semitic root.
In arid climates, gardens have to be protected against desertification by the use of walls; this is the same concept as in the word "paradise" from pairi-daêza, an Avestan word for garden that literally means 'having walls built around'.
Thus the protection of a garden behind walls implies its being hidden from the outside.
Arabic lexicons such as Edward William Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon define jinn not only as spirits, but also anything concealed through time, status, and even physical darkness.
The word genie in English is derived from Latin genius, meant a sort of tutelary or guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at their birth.
English borrowed the French descendant of this word, génie; its earliest written attestation in English, in 1655, is a plural spelled "genyes."
The French translators of  كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة  (The Book of One Thousand and One Nights) used génie as a translation of jinnī because it was similar to the Arabic word in sound and in meaning.

The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, South Asia and North Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Caliphate era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hazār Afsān (Persian: هزار افسان‎, lit. A Thousand Tales) which in turn relied partly on Indian elements.

In Arabic, the word jinn is in the collective number, translated in English as plural (e.g., "several genies"); jinnī is in the singulative number, used to refer to one individual, which is translated by the singular in English (e.g., "one genie"), therefore, the word jinn in English writing is treated as a plural.

Jinn in the Pre-Islamic Era

Among archaeologists dealing with ancient Middle Eastern cultures, the spirits made after the angels and before mankind are often referred to as a jinni, especially when describing stone carvings or other forms of art.
Inscriptions found in Northwestern Arabia seem to indicate the worship of jinn, or at least their tributary status, hundreds of years before Islam.
For instance, an inscription from Beth Fasi'el near Palmyra pays tribute to the "jinnaye", the "good and rewarding gods".
In the following verse, the Qurʾan rejects the worship of jinn and stresses that only God should be worshipped:

"Yet, they join the jinn as partners in worship with Allah, though He has created them (the jinn), and they attribute falsely without knowledge sons and daughters to Him. Be He glorified and exalted above (all) that they attribute to Him." (Quran 6:100)

In 'One Thousand and One Nights', there are depicted several types of jinn that coexist and interact with humans: shayṭān, the ghūl, the marīd, the ‘ifrīt, and the angels.
The 'One Thousand and One Nights' seems to present ifrits as the most massive and strongest forms of jinn, and marids are a type of jinn associated with seas and oceans.


Ifrit—also spelled, efreet, efrite, ifreet, afreet, afrite, and afrit (Arabic: ʻIfrīt: عفريت, pl ʻAfārīt: عفاريت) —are supernatural creatures in Arabic and Islamic folklore.
They are in a class of infernal Jinn noted for their strength and cunning.
An ifrit is an enormous winged creature of fire, either male or female, who lives underground and frequents ruins.
Ifrits live in a society structured along ancient Arab tribal lines, complete with kings, tribes, and clans. They generally marry one another, but they can also marry humans.
While ordinary weapons and forces have no power over them, they are susceptible to magic, which humans can use to kill them or to capture and enslave them.
As with the jinn, an ifrit may be either a believer or an unbeliever, good or evil, but he is most often depicted as a wicked and ruthless being.
Traditionally, Arab philologists derive it from عفر afara "to rub with dust".
Western philologists, such as Johann Jakob Hess and Karl Vollers, attribute the word to Middle Persian afritan which corresponds to Modern Persian آفريدن ("to create").
An Ifrit is mentioned in the Qur'an, Sura An-Naml (27:39-40):

'An ifrit (strong one) from the jinn said: "I will bring it to you before you rise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work." One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: "I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!" Then when Solomon saw it placed before him, he said: "This is by the Grace of my Lord - to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his ownself; and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself). Certainly my Lord is Rich (Free of all needs), Bountiful.'

Stories of ifrits were highly prevalent in Egyptian culture up until the Second World War.
British soldiers visiting the pyramids reported that they had been warned by the locals of ifrits living in the desert in the form of a dog which would lead them astray until they became lost.
At this time Ifrits were also said to have the power to turn humans into animals themselves.

Jinn in Islam

In Islamic theology jinn are said to be creatures with free will, made from the 'smokeless fire' by Allah as humans were made of clay.
According to the Quran, jinn have free will, and Iblīs abused this freedom in front of Allah by refusing to bow to Adam when Allah ordered angels and jinn to do so.
For disobeying Allah, he was expelled from Paradise and called "Shayṭān" (Satan).
Jinn are frequently mentioned in the Quran: Surah 72 (named Sūrat al-Jinn) is named after the jinn, and has a passage about them.
Another surah (Sūrat al-Nās) mentions jinn in the last verse.
The Qurʾan also mentions that Muhammad was sent as a prophet to both "men and the jinn," and that prophets and messengers were sent to both communities.
An appellation of Muhammad is Rasûl-üs-Sakaleyn because Muhammad met several times the jinns at night.
A masjid (mosque) (Masjid-i Jinn) was built at a future date to the memory of this phenomena.
Similar to humans, jinn have free will allowing them to do as they choose (such as follow any religion). They are usually invisible to humans, and humans do not appear clearly to them.
Jinn have the power to travel large distances at extreme speeds, and are thought to live in remote areas, mountains, seas, trees, and the air, in their own communities.
Like humans, jinn will also be judged on the 'Day of Judgment', and will be sent to Paradise or Hell according to their deeds.

Classifications and Characteristics

The social organization of the jinn community resembles that of humans; e.g., they have kings, courts of law, weddings, and mourning rituals.
A few traditions (hadith), divide jinn into three classes: those who have wings and fly in the air, those who resemble snakes and dogs, and those who travel about ceaselessly.
Other reports claim that ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mas‘ūd (d. 652), who was accompanying Muhammad when the jinn came to hear his recitation of the Quran, described them as creatures of different forms; some resembling vultures and snakes, others tall men in white garb.
They may even appear as dragons, onagers, or a number of other animals.
In addition to their animal forms, the jinn occasionally assume human form to mislead and destroy their human victims.
Certain hadiths have also claimed that the jinn may subsist on bones, which will grow flesh again as soon as they touch them, and that their animals may live on dung, which will revert to grain or grass for the use of the jinn flocks.
Ibn Taymiyyah believed the jinn were generally "ignorant, untruthful, oppressive and treacherous," thus representing the very strict interpretations adhered by the Salafi schools of thought.
Ibn Taymiyyah believes that the jinn account for much of the "magic" perceived by humans, cooperating with magicians to lift items in the air unseen, delivering hidden truths to fortune tellers, and mimicking the voices of deceased humans during seances.
In Sūrat al-Raḥmān, verse 33, God reminds jinn as well as mankind that they would possess the ability to pass beyond the furthest reaches of space only by His authority, followed by the question: "Then which of the favors of your Lord do you deny ?"
In Sūrat Al-Jinn, verses 8–10, Allah narrates concerning the jinn how they touched or "sought the limits" of the sky and found it full of stern guards and shooting stars, as a warning to man.
It goes on further to say how the jinn used to take stations in the skies to listen to divine decrees passed down through the ranks of the angels, but those who attempt to listen now (during and after the revelation of the Qurʾan) shall find fiery sentinels awaiting them.


A related belief is that every person is assigned one's own special jinnī, also called a qarīn, of the jinn and if the qarin is evil it could whisper to people's souls and tell them to submit to evil desires.
The notion of a qarīn is not universally accepted among all Muslims, but it is generally accepted that Shayṭān whispers in human minds, and he is assigned to each human being.
In a hadith recorded by Muslim, the companion Ibn Mas‘ud reported:
'The Prophet Muhammad said: 'There is not one of you who does not have a jinnī appointed to be his constant companion (qarīn).' They said, 'And you too, O Messenger of Allah?' He said, 'Me too, but Allah has helped me and he has submitted, so that he only helps me to do good.' '

Relationship of Prophet Solomon and the Jinn

According to traditions, the jinn stood behind the learned humans in Solomon's court, who in turn, sat behind the prophets.
The jinn remained in the service of Solomon, who had placed them in bondage, and had ordered them to perform a number of tasks.
"And before Solomon were marshalled his hosts,- of jinn and men and birds, and they were all kept in order and ranks." (Quran 27:17)
The Qurʾan relates that Solomon died while he was leaning on his staff.
As he remained upright, propped on his staff, the jinn thought he was still alive and supervising them, so they continued to work.
They realized the truth only when Allah sent a creature to crawl out of the ground and gnaw at Solomon's staff until his body collapsed.
The Qurʾan then comments that if they had known the unseen, they would not have stayed in the humiliating torment of being enslaved.
"Then, when We decreed (Solomon's) death, nothing showed them his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his staff: so when he fell down, the jinn saw plainly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have tarried in the humiliating penalty (of their task)." (Qurʾan 34:14)

Difference in Perception of Jinn between East and West

There is a significant difference in how these beings are perceived in East (as jinn) and in West (as genies).
Western natives moving to Eastern countries may experience a bout of culture shock when they are confronted with the perceived presence of jinn by people who believe in them, and two good examples of the struggle to adapt to a culture which believes in jinn are 'The Caliph's House' and 'In Arabian Nights' by Tahir Shah, which describe his family's experiences in moving from London to a supposedly jinn-inhabited home in Morocco.

Protection from Jinn

Muslims believe that all protection and help only comes from Allah, as it is a central Islamic tenet to believe that there is no power nor might save God's.
These sorts of practices are widespread in the Islamic world.
The Muslim faithful believe that reciting the 'Verse of the Throne' (Qurʾan 2:255) is the most effective means of seeking protection from satanic whispers and evil creatures.

'Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of all existence.
Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep.
To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth.
Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission ?
He knows what is presently before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills.
His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not.
And He is the Most High, the Most Great.'