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The Quran and hadith say that Jinns are creatures made out of smokeless fire. They climb to heaven to listen to the conversations of the Exalted Assembly. There was a pagan Arab myth of invisible creatures called jinn. Islamic sources provide greater detail of this story.
We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars, (For beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits, (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly but be cast away from every side, Repulsed, for they are under a perpetual penalty, Except such as snatch away something by stealth, and they are pursued by a flaming fire, of piercing brightness.
And we have, (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire.
And (the Jinn who had listened to the Qur’an said): We had sought the heaven but had found it filled with strong warders and meteors. And we used to sit on places (high) therein to listen. But he who listeneth now findeth a flame in wait for him.
Narrated ‘Aisha: Some people asked the Prophet regarding the soothsayers. He said, “They are nothing.” They said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Some of their talks come true.” The Prophet said, “That word which happens to be true is what a Jinn snatches away by stealth (from the Heaven) and pours it in the ears of his friend (the foreteller) with a sound like the cackling of a hen. The soothsayers then mix with that word, one hundred lies.”
'Abdullah. Ibn 'Abbas reported: A person from the× Ansar who was amongst the× Companions of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) reported to me: As we were sitting during the night with Allah's Messenger (ﷺ), a meteor shot gave a dazzling light. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: What did you say in the pre-Islamic days when there was such a shot (of meteor)? They said: Allah and× Messenger know best (the actual position), but we, however, used to say that that very night a great man had been born and a great man had died, whereupon Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: (These meteors) are shot neither at the death of anyone nor on the birth of anyone. Allah, the× Exalted and Glorious, issues× Command when He decides to do a thing. Then (the Angels) supporting the× Throne sing His glory, then sing the dwellers of heaven who are near to them until this glory of× God reaches them who are in the heaven of this world. Then those who are near the supporters of the× Throne ask these supporters of the Throne: What your× Lord has said? And they accordingly inform them what He says. Then the dwellers of heaven seek information from them until this information reaches the heaven of the world. In this process of transmission (the jinn snatches) what he manages to overhear and he carries it to his friends. And when the× Angels see the jinn they attack them with meteors. If they narrate only which they manage to snatch that is correct but they alloy it with lies and make additions to it.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "When Allah has ordained some affair in the Heaven, the angels beat with their wings in obedience to His statement, which sounds like a chain dragged over a rock." (`Ali and other sub-narrators said, "The sound reaches them.") "Until when fear is banished from their (angels) hearts, they (angels) say, 'What was it that your Lord said? They say, 'The truth; And He is the Most High, the Most Great.' (34.23) Then those who gain a hearing by stealing (i.e. devils) will hear Allah's Statement:-- 'Those who gain a hearing by stealing, (stand one over the other like this). (Sufyan, to illustrate this, spread the fingers of his right hand and placed them one over the other horizontally.) A flame may overtake and burn the eavesdropper before conveying the news to the one below him; or it may not overtake him till he has conveyed it to the one below him, who in his turn, conveys it to the one below him, and so on till they convey the news to the earth. (Or probably Sufyan said, "Till the news reaches the earth.") Then the news is inspired to a sorcerer who would add a hundred lies to it. His prophecy will prove true (as far as the heavenly news is concerned). The people will say. 'Didn't he tell us that on such-and-such a day, such-and-such a thing will happen? We have found that is true because of the true news heard from heaven."
The above hadith is also narrated by Abu Huraira, starting: "When Allah has ordained some affair..." In this narration the word 'foreteller' is added to the word 'wizard'.
Veracity of the Story
The story is ; Allah writes our fates and narrates it to the angels. But the jinns climb to heaven and eavesdropp on their conversation. So some stars (meteors) are shot on them. There are several loopholes in this story:
- The Quran says that the lowest heaven is full of stars and some stars are used as missiles on the jinn. Stars however, are huge gaseous bodies. They are similar to our Sun but several times larger. The nearest stars are Proxima Centauri and Alpha Centauri which are more or less at the same distance from Earth (4 light years).
- Therefore if any star enters our Solar System, life on Earth would perish. It is an absurd overkill if Allah uses giant stars as weapons against creatures whose size though not explicitly mentioned is definitely less than the earth.
- The next inconsistency is the failure to distinguish stars from meteors. Meteors are small asteroids that burn out upon entering the Earth thanks to atmospheric friction. The only other external force acting on them is gravitational pull of the Earth. It is virtually impossible to target and hit a living being using meteors.
- There are more strong questions to ask. What were the places that jinn sat on in heaven?
- Let us assume that jinn are prevalent only in Arabia (since other ancient peoples never heard of this legend or of jinn themselves). Why do meteors fall all over the Earth? Are the angels so ill-trained at using meteors?
- The Earth is round. If jinn are not unique to Arabia, which is the correct direction to climb?
- The Earth rotates on its own axis. The chain of climbing jinn will also rotate with it. Aren't they outright blundering in their quirk to spy on Allah and his angels, unless the latter too are in the Earth's atmosphere and rotating with it?
- The Quran is clear that stars are used to guard against the jinn. If jinn cross the Earth's atmosphere, how far can they go in a brief period of time that the nearest star might ill hurt them? Again, what about the point on rotation of the Earth affecting their orientation?
- According to Islamic scripture, the first heaven is decked with Stars; Allah and his throne are above the seventh heaven. But we know that stars are all over the Universe and the Observable Universe is 93 billion light years long. How can the jinn ever get to Allah and bother him?