Jinn possessions, exorcists, and all that jazz! Part 1

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The Hasanat fiasco on social media has once again brought up, amongst other things, the topic of jinn possessions. I’ve been overwhelmed by those affected (either directly or indirectly) by this topic to provide some clarity – particularly those who (via my work) have positively changed their attitude towards the Qur’an and have begun to personally engage with God, thus heightening their godly intuitions and critical thinking.

Now an allegedly agnostic raqi has been charging people to perform exorcises he doesn’t believe in, taking advantage of the beliefs (and vulnerabilities) of sincere Muslims. Of course, this phenomenon is widespread, but we tend to see it most commonly in matters related to the realm of the paranormal. What I’d like to do is open up these beliefs for critical contemplation. To be clear, I’m not into debating or discussing irrelevant issues or theological views that are of little consequence. (I leave my theoretical shar’i musings for people of shar’i learning, intellect and civility.) And before it’s said that I’m merely trying to court controversy let’s be real: it’s only deemed controversial because some might not like it – not because it’s true or false.

The topic of jinn possession is very important. For many ethno-religious communities in the UK, it’s had massive social and religious ramifications, nearly all problematic. It’s warped theology and focus, uncultivated God-centredness (theocentricity), and entrenched irrationality and superstitious attitudes, many of which often veer towards shirk, all of which lead to regression. I think that regardless of their position on the matter, most would be hard-pressed to argue otherwise. Even many raqis speak out against the prevalent culture and attitude.

Those around me have heard me discuss this topic for years, long before it became an internet ‘controversy’ – so I’d like to make clear that this is not reactionary. I’ve only not addressed this sooner because I didn’t believe the context was appropriate. For a number of reasons, I believe it is now. This discussion fits into the greater project of godliness (rabbaniyyah), faith (imaan), Abrahamic monotheism (hanifiyyah), reason (aql) and revelation (wah’y). We all want to be proper worshippers of God and truly subservient. These posts are an exploration of how we might be so.

A few important points to note:

  • The reality of jinn possession is a matter of ijhtihad. Believing that jinns possess human beings will neither get you into paradise nor keep you out of hell. Theologically, it’s not that deep. And no, a position either way doesn’t situate you in orthodoxy/heterodoxy. Inherently, it’s not an inherent aspect of faith (imaan).
  • The discussion is presented in posts, dealing with several key aspects to this topic. I keep it brief and somewhat reductive for social media. It’s not a technical presentation (and shouldn’t be). Furthermore they’re posts and not responses to anyone specifically (lest someone thinks I’m responding to them as the posts progress). I’ve cut the discussion into pieces so that they’re digestible. I’d like people not only to understand what I’ve written but also to take some time in contemplating the posts from various viewpoints, and I strongly believe that you’ll all come to the same conclusions I have. BUT if not, I’m happy to live and let live.
  • I’d like to keep things mature and intelligent, and engage in good faith (as always). The discussion here is with me – the arguments are mine. This discussion has been initiated by many people independently. Please leave those discussions with those advocates (whether it’s for or against). What they’ve argued and how they’ve done so has little to do with me. As Moses said to God, “I have authority over no one except myself…” (Moses included his brother Aaron but that doesn’t go for me!). Judge what I’m saying based on the merit of what I say, and to the extent it resonates with your intellect (as Imam al-Shafi’i put it).
  • These posts are educational, not polemic. There’s a time place for everything, and HERE the purpose will be to explain a position with some clarity so people can gain a clear picture, not debate it – that can be done elsewhere.If people want, they can access the arguments FOR jinn possession elsewhere – obviously there’s another position. If you’re staunchly against the position explained here, that’s cool, do you. But no, you’re not the last bastion of truth nor will subservience to God (islam) crumble because people dismiss possession by evil spirits.

May God aid us all to overcome the devil and become the best possible versions of ourselves.

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