72 - Al Jinn (The Jinn)

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 72.1


Say, O Muhammad (s), to people: ‘It has been revealed to me, that is to say, I have been informed by way of revelation from God, exalted be He, that (annahu: the [suffixed] pronoun is that of the matter) a company of the jinn, the jinn of Nasībīn. This was at the time of the morning prayer at Batn Nakhla, a location between Mecca and Tā’if — these [jinn] being those mentioned in God’s saying, And when We sent a company of jinn your way…’ [Q. 46:29] — listened, to my recitation, then said, to their people upon returning to them: “We have indeed heard a marvellous Qur’ān, whose clarity, the richness of its meanings and other aspects one marvels at,


Say, "It has been revealed to me that a company (nafar) of jinn listened, then said, "We have indeed heard a marvellous Qurʾān,He said:They were nine in number and had proceeded from Yemen. The word nafar refers to a number between three and ten. They came to the Prophet while he was reciting Qurʾān in his prayer. They were among the best of their people in religion, and when they heard it, they were moved by it (raqqū lahu) and they believed in it. Then they returned to their people as warners, and said, "We have indeed heard a marvellous Qurʾān,! which guides to rectitude" [72:1, 2], meaning, "It guides [people] to follow the ways of Muṣṭafā ".Sahl said:Once I saw in the place that was home to the ʿĀd people of old, a city built of stone, within which there was a magnificent palace that that had been carved out of the rock, which was a refuge for the jinn. I entered the palace to reflect [upon it], and I saw a large person standingin prayer facing the Kaʿba, wearing a long white woollen garment (jubba) which had a certain freshness (ṭarāwa) about it. I was impressed with its freshness, so I waited until he had finished his prayer and then I said: "Peace be upon you." He replied: "And upon you be peace, Abū Muḥammad. Were you impressed with the freshness of my garment which has been on me for nine hundred years, and in which I met with Jesus son of Mary (peace be upon them both) and Muḥammad, and believed in them both? Know, O Abū Muḥammad, that bodies [in themselves] do not wear out clothes, but rather, illegitimate sources of food, and persistencein committing sins."Then I asked, "Who are you?" He replied, "I am one of those concerning whom God, Exalted is He, said, Say, "It has been revealed to me that a company of jinn listened""Sahl was then asked, "Do the jinn enter Paradise?" He replied:I have heard that in Paradise there are lands which the jinn inhabit, and where they eat and drink, and in the Qurʾān there is evidence of this as God said, Exalted is He: [of modest gaze] who have not been touched by man or jinn before [55:56].His words, Exalted is He:

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This shows that the jinn at that time were not visible to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace), nor he knew that they were hearing the Qur'an being recited, but Allah informed him of the incident afterwards by Revelation. Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas also has, in connection with this incident, stated: "The Holy Messenger of Allah had not recited the Qur'an before the jinn, nor did he see them." (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Jarir).

The words in the original are: Qur an-an 'ajaba. Qur an means "something which is read again and again", and the jinn probably used this word in this very meaning, for they were introduced to this Divine Revelation for the first time, and they did not perhaps know then that what they were hearing, was the Qur'an itself. 'Ajab is a superlative, which is used in Arabic for a wonderful thing. So, what the jinn said means: "We have heard such a wonderful recital which is unique both in its language and in its subject-matter."

This also shows that the jinn not only hear what human beings say but also understand their language fully, although it is not necessary that all the jinn might know all the human languages. It is possible that those of them who live in a particular region of the earth might know the language of the people of that region. But in any case this statement of the Qur'an clearly shows that the jinn who listened to the Qur'an at that time were so conversant with the Arabic language that they not only appreciated the matchless eloquence of the Divine Word but also understood its sublime subject-matter fully well.

This throws light on several things:

(1) That the jinn do not deny Allah's existence and His being Lord and Sustainer;

(2) that among them also there are polytheists, who like polytheistic human beings ascribe divinity to others than Allah: thus, the community of the jinn whose members heard the Qur'an was polytheistic;

(3) that the Prophethood and revelation of Divine scriptures does not exist among the jinn, but whoever of them believe, they believe in the Prophets raised among human beings and in the Books brought by them. This same thing is confirmed by Al-Ahqaf: 29-30, where it has been stated that the jinn who had then heard the Qur'an, were from among the followers of the Prophet Moses, and they after having heard the Qur'an, had invited their people to believe in the Revelation that had been sent down by God confirming the previous scriptures. Surah ArRahman also points to the same, for its whole subject-matter shows that the audience of the Holy Prophet's invitation are both the men and the jinn.

From this we know two things;

(1) That these jinn were either from among the Christian jinn, or they were followers of a different religion in which Allah was regarded as having children and families.

(2) That at that time the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was reciting some such part of the Qur'an hearing which they realized the error of their creed and knew that it was sheer ignorance and impudence to ascribe wife and children to the High and Exalted Being of Allah.

The word safihuna as used in the Text can be spoken for an individual as well as for a group. If it is taken for a foolish individual, it would imply Iblis and if for a group, it would imply a group of foolish jinn who said such things.

That is, "We were misled by those falsehoods because we could never think that the men or the jinn could ever dare forge a lie about Allah, but having heard this Qur'an we now know that they were, in fact, liars."

Ibn `Abbas says that in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance when the Arabs had to spend a night in some uninhabited, desolate valley, they would shout out: "We seek refuge of the jinn, who is owner of this valley." In other traditions of the pre-Islamic ignorance also the same thing has been reported frequently. For example, if in a place they ran short of water and fodder, the wandering Bedouins would send one of their men to some other place to see if water and fodder were available; and when they reached the new site under his direction, they would shout out before they halted to pitch the camp: "We seek refuge of the sustainer of this valley so that we may live here in peace from every calamity." They believed that every un-inhabited place was under the control of one or another jinn, and if someone stayed there without seeking his refuge, the jinn would either himself trouble the settlers, or would let others trouble them. These believing jinn are referring to this very thing. They meant that when man, the vicegerent of the earth, started fearing them without any reason, and started seeking their refuge instead of God's, it caused their people to become even more arrogant, haughty and wicked, and they became even more fearless and bold in adopting error and disbelief.

Another meaning of this sentence can be: "Allah will not resurrect anyone after death." As the wards are comprehensive they can be taken to mean that, as among human beings, so among the jinn too there were the people who denied both the Prophethood and the Hereafter. However, in view of the theme that follows, the meaning that we have given in the text above is preferable, for according to it these believing jinn tell the people of their community: "Your view is proved wrong that Allah will not appoint anyone as a Messenger. In fact, the gates of heavens have been closed on us only because Allah has already appointed a Messenger. "

This is the reason why these jinn were now out searching as to what particularly had happened, or was going to happen, on the earth, which had necessitated strict security measures against eavesdropping so that they were driven away from wherever they tried to eavesdrop in any way.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (Say (O Muhammad): It is revealed unto me): '(Say (O Muhammad): It is revealed unto me) say, O Muhammad, to the disbelievers of Mecca that Gabriel has come down and informed me (that a company of the jinn) nine of the jinn of Nusaybin which is near Yemen (gave ear, and they said) after accepting faith and returning to their folk: O our folk! (Lo! it is a marvellous Qur'an) we have listened to the recitation of a marvellous, illustrious and noble Qur'an which resembles the Scripture of Moses, this is because they were followers of the Torah,