The Jinn’s Hearing of the Quran from the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and their Acceptance of Islam 

During the evening stopover on the return from Ta’if, a journey in which only Addas heeded the call, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- recited some Quran and was overheard by a group of jinn. All of them realized the truth and declared their faith in the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-. They returned to their people with the duty of invitation. (Ibn Saad, I, 212)

Ibn Abbas –Allah be well-pleased with him- further explains:

“With some companions by his side, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- left with the intention of going to the Ukaz Fair.

This was when demons, from among the jinn, were prevented from eavesdropping on news coming from the heavens.[1] Those with a habit of doing so were even bombarded with flaming stars.[2] They thus returned to their folk empty-handed.

‘Why haven’t you brought any news?’ they were asked.

‘We found we are now prevented by a barrier placed between us and the heavens. Not only were we unable to steal any news, we were chased with flaming stars…so we had to flee!’ they responded.

‘This must be due to something new that has just happened. Roam East and West and come back with news’, they were told.

Thus the jinn divided into separate groups and headed towards different directions. The group that went towards Tihamah stumbled across the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- offering fajr salat with his Companions near Nakhlah on the way to the Ukaz Fair. Hearing the Quran, they were all ears:

‘So this must be what prevents us from gathering news from the heavens!’ they decided.

Then they returned to their folk. ‘We have heard a wonderful Quran, which guides to the right path’, they assured. ‘So we believe in it and no longer will we ascribe any partners to our Lord!’

Thereupon the Almighty revealed Chapter al-Jinn, informing the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- how the relevant jinn overheard him recite the Quran and the words of wisdom they conveyed to their tribe:

“Say: It has been revealed to me that a party of the jinn listened, and they said: Surely we have heard a wonderful Quran, Guiding to the right way, so we believe in it, and we will not ascribe any partner to our Lord.” (al-Jinn, 1-2) (Bukhari, Tafsir, 72; Adhan, 105; Muslim, Salat, 149; Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 72/3324)

The Almighty further explains the event in Chapter al-Ahqaf as follows:

“And when We turned towards you a party of the jinn who listened to the Quran… When they came to it, they said: Be silent! Then when it was finished, they turned back to their people to warn them. They said: O our people! We have heard a Book revealed after Musa verifying that which is before it, guiding to the truth and to a right path. O our people! Accept the Divine caller and believe in Him, He will forgive you of your faults and protect you from a painful punishment. And whoever does not accept the Divine caller, shall not escape in the earth; neither shall they have guardians besides Him, for they will be in manifest error. (al-Ahqaf, 29-32)

The Quran explains the following in relation to the barring of the jinn from eavesdropping on the heavens:

“And we sought to reach heaven, but we found it filled with strong guards and flaming stars. And we used to sit in some of the sitting-places thereof to steal a hearing, but he who would try to listen now would find a flame lying in wait for him; and we know not whether evil is meant for those who are on earth or whether their Lord means to bring them good.” (al-Jinn, 8-10)[3]

Outwardly, the Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- only gain from the Ta’if journey was the guidance of Addas –Allah be well-pleased with him-. But in reality, the Compassionate Allah provided many more blessings. Included among this, for instance, is that he was given the sultanate of both worlds. First, even before he returned to Mecca, the jinn heard the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- recite the Quran which inspired them to begin the call among their own people. A short time later, the Almighty was to grant His beloved the Ascension or the Miraj, making him the sultan of the heavens.

As the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- had left Mecca with his own consent, according to Arabian custom, to return to the town he needed the protection of a Meccan. Thus on his way towards Mecca from Nakhlah, the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- sent a Meccan who he came across near Mount Hira, first to Ahnas ibn Sharik, and then to Suhayl ibn Amr and Mutim ibn Adiyy, with the message:

“Will you have me under you protection until I communicate the task of prophethood given to me by my Lord?”

The first two declined. Mutim, however, accepted and the Light of Being -upon him blessings and peace- was able to spend the night at Mutim’s house. Come morning, Mutim gathered his sons and clan around him, ordering them:

“Arm yourselves and remain on guard next to the pillars of the Kaabah!”

When they reached the Kaabah, Mutim made an announcement to the Meccans:

“Listen up, Quraysh! I have Muhammad under my protection. Nobody shall touch him!”

Mutim and his sons stood guard by the Kaabah until the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- circumambulated and performed two rakahs of salat. (Ibn Saad, I, 212; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, III, 182)

Years later, Mutim was slain at the Battle of Badr, unfortunately without the honor of being a Muslim. Following the battle, amid discussions regarding what to do with the Meccan prisoners, the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- expressed his appreciation to Jubayr, the son of Mutim:

“Had your father been alive and wanted me to free the prisoners, I would have freed them without asking for the least ransom.” (Bukhari, Khumus, 16, Ibn Hisham, I, 404-406)

Loyalty that extends even to a nonbeliever, for easing the path for the call of Islam, could only be an expression of supreme morals.

[1] “The jinn used to ascend to the heavens and eavesdrop on Revelation. Upon overhearing a word, they would add to it ninety-nine words of their own. One word would remain true, while the rest would be fabricated. Once the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- was sent as a Prophet, from then on, they were hindered from ascending to their posts in the heavens by flaming stars. Previously, no jinn had been targeted with them in the skies.” (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 72/3324)

[2] Shihab, in Arabic, which means a flare of fire, is especially used to describe the flame that appears in the skies simultaneously with a shooting star. Contemporary commentators have said that shihabs could signify meteors.

[3] The great Mawlana Rumi describes the incident by use of metaphor:

“Demons used to ascend to the skies and listen in on the secrets of the heavens.

Just as they would be about to take flight with a small number of secrets, blazing stars would drive them out of their corners.

‘A Prophet has been sent’, would resonate. ‘Go to where he is and acquire from him whatever it is that you want.’

‘If a precious pearl is what you search, then enter houses through their doors!’*

‘Rattle the loop of that door and wait at its threshold…for heavens provide no road for you and those like you.’

‘Besides, there is no need for you to venture out onto distant journeys…for We have placed the greatest mystery of all in our servant whom We have fashioned from mud.

‘If you are sincere, then go to his presence, the Caliph of the Divine. Even if you are a hollow cane, you shall become a cane full of sugar with his help and companionship.’”

* “Enter houses through their doors.” (al-Baqara, 189) In the Age of Ignorance and during the first years of Islam, after donning the consecrated state (ihram) for pilgrimage, one would not enter his house or garden by their door. If a townsman, he would instead open a whole in the roof through which he would go in and out of his house. If a desert Arab, he would then rip open the back part of his tent, in preference to entering through the front. To do so until they were out of ihram, they assumed, was of great virtue and goodness. By revealing the 189th ayah of al-Baqarah, the Almighty proclaimed otherwise. (Wahidi, p. 56-57) The Divine expression has since come to be used as an allusion to ‘doing things the right way’; and Mawlana Rumi –may his soul be sanctified-, here, affords a sufi commentary of the ayah: to find Allah, one must resort to ahlullah, His people, who are virtually His doors.

Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, The Prophet Muhammed Mustafa the Elect, Erkam Publications