Overview - Surah 72: al-Jinn (The Jinn )

Naming Convention of the Surah

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This Surah takes its name from the first Ayat, قُلْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ أَنَّهُ اسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْآنًا عَجَبًا "Say, [O Muhammad], "It has been revealed to me that a group of the jinn listened and said, 'Indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur'an." [72:1].

There are 28 Ayat in this Surah.

Overview

Total Ayat28
Total Words285
Root Words106
Unique Root Words4
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 40th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation*
Events during/before this Surah*
N/A
Events during/after still to occur*
N/A
Names of Prophets Mentioned
No Prophets names are mentioned in this Surah
Surah Index
God (has no consort) , God (has no son) , God (knows that beyond comprehension) , Angels, Communications (overhearing the Host on high) , Future (learning of it through divination forbidden) , Heaven (filled with mighty guards and flames) , Hell, Iblis, Jinn,

Central Theme

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In this Surah in v. 1-15, we are informed about the impact of the Qur’an on the company of the Jinn; when they heard it and what they said to their fellow Jinn when they returned to them. God, in this connection, has not cited their whole conversation but only those particular things which were worthy of mention. That is why the style is not that of a continuous speech but sentences have been cited to indicate that they said this and that. If one studies these sentences spoken by the Jinn carefully, one can easily understand the reason for the narration of this event; of their affirming the faith and mentioning their conversation with their people in the Qur’an.

After this, in v. 16-18, the people have been admonished, informing them that if they refrain from polytheism and firmly follow the way of righteousness, they will be blessed. Otherwise, if they turn away from the admonition sent down by God, they will meet a severe punishment. Then, in v. 19-23, the disbelievers of Makkah have been reproached for the manner in which they surround and mob the Messenger of God, informing them that the duty of the Messenger is only to convey the message and that he does not have any power to bring any gain or cause any harm to the people.

Then, in v. 24-25 the disbelievers have been warned about trying to overpower and suppress the Messenger, perceiving him to be weak and without many helpers, and that a time will come when they will know who in actual fact is weak and less in number. Whether that time is far off or near at hand, the Messenger has no knowledge thereof, but it will come to pass in any case. In conclusion, the people have been told that the Knower of the unseen is God alone. The Messenger receives only that knowledge which God gives him. This knowledge pertains to matters connected with the duties of Prophethood and it is delivered to him securely without any external interference whatsoever, from Jinns or anything else.

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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The details about the Jinn mentioned in this Surah does not occur in any other Surah.

Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • Surah Nuh [71] and Jinn [72] both have 28 Ayat.
  • In Surah Jinn [72], the listening of the Jinns to the Qur'an was mentioned that how they were influenced when they listened to the Qur'an. In Surah al-Muzzammil [73], the Muslims have been advised to listen and recite it. 

The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat)

Unique Root Words to this Surah only


4 unique root words that do not appear in any other Surah

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah

Root Word Frequency
in Surah
Frequency
in Qur'an
أ ل ه 10 2851
ر ب ب 8 980
ق و ل 8 1722
أ ح د 6 85
ك و ن 6 1390
س م ع 5 185
ظ ن ن 4 69
ر ش د 4 19
ر س ل 4 513
و ج د 3 107

Period of Revelation

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According to a hadith narrated in the books of Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Abdullah ibn Abbas (a famous companion), once the Prophet was going to visit the fair of Ukaz with some of his companions. On the way he led the fajr (morning) prayer at Nakhlah. At that time a company of the Jinn happened to pass that way. When they heard the Qur’an being recited, they stopped and listened to it attentively. This very event has been described in this Surah.

Most of the commentators, on the basis of this hadith, believe that this relates to the Prophet’s well known journey to Ta’if, which had taken place three years before the Hijrah in the 10th year of the Prophethood. But this is not correct for several reasons. The Jinn’s hearing the Qur’an during the journey to Ta’if has been related in Surah al-Ahqaf 29-32. A cursory reading of those verses shows that the Jinn who had believed after hearing the Qur’an on that occasion were already believers in the Prophet Moses and the previous scriptures. On the contrary, v. 2-7 of this Surah clearly show that the Jinn who heard the Qur’an on this occasion were polytheists and deniers of the Hereafter and Prophethood. Then, it is confirmed historically that in his journey to Ta’if none accompanied the Prophet except Zayd bin Harithah. On the contrary, concerning this journey Ibn Abbas says that the Prophet was accompanied by some of his Companions. Furthermore, the hadith also agree that in that journey the Jinn heard the Qur’an when the Prophet had stopped at Nakhlah on his return journey from Ta’if to Makkah, and in this journey, according to the hadith of Ibn Abbas, the event of the Jinn’s hearing the Qur’an occurred when the Prophet was going to Ukaz from Makkah. Therefore, in view of these reasons what seems to be correct is that in Surah al-Ahqaf and Surah al-Jinn, one and the same event has not been narrated, but these were two separate events, which took place during two separate journeys.

As far as Surah 46: al-Ahqaf, in which a similar event is narrated, it is agreed that that event occurred on the return journey from Ta’if in the 10th year of Prophethood. As for the question, when this second event took place, it’s answer is not given by the narration of Abdullah ibn Abbas, nor does any other historical narration/tradition show when the Prophet had gone to the fair of Ukaz. However, a little consideration of v 8-10 of this Surah shows that this could only be an event of the earliest stage of Prophethood.

In these verses it has been stated that before the appointment of the Prophet to the divine mission, the Jinn used to eavesdrop in the lowest heaven (the universes) in order to hear news of the unseen or future.  The news of the future events were informed to the angels by God, who would pass this information through the heavens until it reached the lowest heaven, where the Jinn would sit and wait to catch something being spoken about. 

After the revelation began, they suddenly found that angels had been set as guards and meteorites were being shot on every side so that they could find no place of safety from where they could hear such secrets. Thereupon they realized that this must be due to some major event occurring for which the secrets were being hidden from them.

The Jinn were therefore moving about in search of an unusual occurrence on the earth and a group of them, on hearing the Qur’an from the Prophet, immediately understood that this was the very thing for which the secrets of the heavens had now been guarded against them.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections

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  • A beautiful speech of the jinn who embraced Islam after hearing the Qur'an.Jinn also have different religions and sects, there are some Muslims and some deviators from the truth.
  • The reality of Jinn.
  • Mosques are built for the worship of Allah, so invoke no one else besides Him.
  • Messengers do not have the power to harm or benefit anyone, his mission is just to convey Allah's message.
  • Only Allah knows the unseen, He reveals it to whom He chooses from the Messengers.

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Miscellaneous Issues

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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.