The difference between angels, Jinns and devils
Fatwa No: 16265

  • Fatwa Date:9-2-2012 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 17, 1433
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What is the difference between angels, Jinns and devils? Do Jinns exist on earth with us? How are Jinns divided into good and disbelieving ones? How can the disbelieving Jinns be avoided? In what way do good Jinns influence humans?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.


There are many differences between angels and Jinns and there are three very important ones:

1- Angels are created from light while Jinns are created from fire - and they reproduce through a process similar to that of humans.

2- All the angels are believers who are infallible and they only ever enjoin others to do good. Among the Jinns, there are Muslims and disbelievers, as well as those who enjoin good and those who enjoin evil.

3- Angels do not have desires, unlike Jinns who have desires just like humans.

Al-Haafith Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him clarified the difference between Jinns and devils. He mentioned that according to the scholars of language, there are different categories: if Jinns are mentioned generally, one of them is called a Jinni. If they are referring to the Jinni that lives with people, they call him ‘Aamir. If Jinns are seen by young children, they call them ghosts. If it is a wicked Jinn that bewitches others, he is called a devil. If he is stronger and more powerful, he is called ‘Ifreet.

Jinns exist on earth and this fact is proven by the Quran, the Sunnah, and the consensus of recognized scholars. Allaah The Almighty Says about Iblees (Satan), the father of the Jinns, and Aadam (Adam)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention the father of mankind, and Hawwaa’ (Eve) (what means):

{[Allaah] said, "Descend, being to one another enemies. And for you on the earth is a place of settlement and enjoyment for a time." He said, "Therein you will live, and therein you will die, and from it you will be brought forth."} [Quran 7:24,25] 

{And [mention, O Muhammad], when We directed to you a few of the Jinn, listening to the Qur'an. And when they attended it, they said, "Listen quietly." And when it was concluded, they went back to their people as warners. They said, "O our people, indeed we have heard a [recited] Book revealed after Moosa (Moses) confirming what was before it which guides to the truth and to a straight path.} [Quran 46:29-30]

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , ordered us not to let our houses be like graves, for Satan flees from the house in which Chapter Al-Baqarah [Chapter 2] is recited [Muslim]

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that when Satan hears the call to prayer, he turns his back and breaks wind so as not to hear the call being made, but when the call is finished he turns back, and when he hears the second call to prayer he again runs away so as not to hear it. When it subsides, he returns and whispers to the person to distract him while he prays. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

On the authority of Jaabir  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, stressed that one should mention the name of Allaah The Almighty when he is about to enter his house. If a person mentions the name of Allaah The Almighty when entering his house and at meal times, Satan says to his companions, "You have no place to spend the night and no evening meal." However, if a person enters his house without mentioning the name of Allaah The Almighty, Satan says, "You have found a place to spend the night and an evening meal."  [Muslim]

It is narrated that some Muslim Jinns asked the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, about their food. He told them that their food is every bone over which the name of Allaah The Almighty was mentioned and the dung of camels. Then he ordered the Companions not to make Istinjaa’ (ritual purification) with these two things for they are the food of their brothers of the Jinns. [Muslim]

There are Muslims and disbelievers among Jinns. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

{And among us are Muslims [in submission to Allaah], and among us are the unjust. And whoever has become Muslim - those have sought out the right course. But as for the unjust, they will be, for Hell, firewood.} [Quran 72:14-15]

{O our people, respond to the Messenger of Allaah and believe in him; Allaah will forgive for you your sins and protect you from a painful punishment. But he who does not respond to the Caller of Allaah will not cause failure [to Him] upon earth, and he will not have besides Him any protectors. Those are in manifest error."} [Quran 46:31-32]

Finally, Allaah The Almighty may make the believing Jinns a means of help to mankind.

Allaah Knows best.

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