The questions that appear in this column were received by Dr Khalid Zaheer in response to his article 'Experiencing Jinn' published in this issue. (Editor)
Severing Ties with Usman the Jinn
Question: How did you break relations with him? Did he bother you after that?
Answer: There was a process of calling him. When I realized that he was evil, I stopped calling him, and my communication with him has stopped ever since then, at least in that form. He probably might have tried to harm me indirectly (I mean, through the better known Satanic way) but, alhamdulillah, there has been no direct disturbance. Probably, he belonged to a more 'decent' class of jinn.
Interaction with Pious Jinn
Question: It seems Usman Sahib was a deceiver. Have you entertained any pious Jinn?
Answer: As I have mentioned in my article, I approached Usman Sahib with a hope that he would turn out to be a pious jinn; however, I found him to be otherwise. There is not doubt that there are pious jinn as well, but I have a very strong feeling that they don't establish communication with men in the manner I tried. If the Almighty arranges for them to serve some pious men in some special way, as was done in the case of the Prophet Solomon (sws), then it is a different case. My experience has taught me that because they are invisible and because we know very little about them, there is a great danger that whenever we will attempt to get in touch with their unseen world, we will be deceived. Our test of this life is that we should believe in the unseen realities of God, divine revelation (wahi) sent to the prophets, life hereafter, angels etc. The very idea of making an effort to peep into the unseen world, although perhaps an outcome of human curiosity, is extremely dangerous. We should remain within our human limits of this seen world and learn about the unseen one only through the Qur'an and Sunnah. The unseen realities discovered by science like x-rays etc. are different in that they can be fully explained. What cannot be scientifically explained through a clear cause and effect relationship should be considered a no go area, or else Satan will get an opportunity to lead you astray.
Countering Mischievous Jinn
Question: If the jinn can harm us, what would be the antidote? Many humans are bothered by them so they resort to saints and faqirs to help them get rid of them. You do not necessarily have to be their 'disciple' for that.
Answer: According to the Qur'an, the reason why Satan is allowed to influence us is that we stay away from remembering the Almighty:
The one who stays away from remembering the Most Gracious, We appoint a Satan for him who becomes his companion. (43:36)
The most effective way of staying away from Satan therefore is to remain involved in remembering Allah Almighty through the Qur'an and other ways. If you have confidence in the Almighty's complete control over everything, then no evil force would be able to affect you, inshaAllah. The Qur'an assures us:
He (Satan) does not have power over those who believe and place their trust in their Lord. (16:99)
Although I don't rule out the possibility of an outside party being useful in getting rid of the influences of the jinn, I must warn you that it is a very dangerous business. We don't know who is genuinely sincere in his efforts and who is doing it for his ulterior motives. One can be often misled by appearances in these cases. Since those who are allegedly thought to possess cures to such ailments are considered gifted with extraordinary non-physical abilities, there is every possibility that their ability is exaggerated, even if they are not doing anything deliberately wrong. However, if someone is confident that he/she would take adequate measures not to be influenced by the ill-effects of this process, then outside help can also be considered in the more serious cases. One should however be extremely careful in avoiding all traces of shirk or religious innovation in the entire process.
Women being possessed by a Jinn
Question: If the Jinn can possess women who go to graveyards wearing perfume, then can psychiatry help them? Sometimes Pirs may help for they might have the art to do so.
Answer: It is for the psychologists and psychiatrists to decide whether they can be of any help in these cases. Probably, they will have to first agree that there are jinn involved at least in some such cases. I also feel that the discipline of psychology can help even without a formal acknowledgement that the jinn are involved in some disorders, because the involvement of these creatures is only indirect and invisible, and the harm they cause is something the experts can observe. If they start working on the cure, it can still be effective. It is for instance not always necessary for a doctor to know what caused a certain injury to the patient for him to cure it. A heart specialist would not always know what domestic problem caused the anxiety in his patients which was the ultimate cause of the problem. He can start curing on identifying the apparent condition of the patient.
Going to a Pir for curing the problem is however a completely different ball game. There, you have no known rules. Everything is based on a mysterious trust in an individual, whose modus operandi and intentions are both completely unknown. Moreover, they are very likely to cause religious harm, which one ought to avoid under all circumstances. Therefore, one should be very careful in going to them.
Reliability of Occult Knowledge
Question: Even though, your conclusion was much in contrast to the entire text of the narration (and relieving too!), I cannot help but think that the entire episode only serves to strengthen the theology of the sufis. After all, upon discovering the discrepancy, you tried to stick to your 'pre-beliefs'. If the sufis acquire much knowledge that is reliable, then you cannot really argue with them over the fact that they acquire the unreliable as well. They'll want consistency in their beliefs as much as you would like in yours. My only point is: it was your faith prior to your expeditions that got you back on track; on the other hand, if a sufi disciple (nurtured under a different faith claimed to be 'non-shirk'), then he'll just end up strengthening his beliefs. How does he know it's Satan? How could the Christian lady tell it was not the holy spirit?
Answer: You are assuming in your question that all humans are primarily born idiots, who have no idea whatsoever as to what is right and what is wrong, at least in the religious sense. People believe in one thing or the other without any good reason, probably because they are born in a family where they find an ideology, which they start believing in or probably they like the beard of the person whose beliefs they then start admiring. On the contrary, the Qur'an is very emphatic about its claim that man is born with a clear conscience and a sound intellect which enables him to distinguish right from wrong. Those who follow the wrong path don't do so because they were cleverly misled by someone while they were innocent and had no way to know that they were being deceived. People start following the wrong path, despite knowing from inside that it is wrong, because of their weaknesses and worldly temptations. In case, if there are some people who are misled despite their good intentions, the Almighty, hopefully, will excuse them.
I therefore believe that my article doesn't serve to support the case of Sufis. If a Sufi is a Muslim, he ought to bring the proofs of his religious claims from the Qur'an and Sunnah. If he will bring any proofs for his religious ideas from his own 'spiritual' experiences which go against these sources, I have no doubt that the Almighty would inform him that the source of all such experiences was Satan, the great deceiver.
True 'Jinn' Vision or Hallucination
Question: I am not really convinced that the Sufis ever get 'in touch' with anything (Satan can harm man otherwise as well…right?). Either these are hallucinations, or…they're money-making ventures. Give me the name and location of one Sufi today who does not 'run' Sufism but who, rather, 'practices' it.
Answer: How can you claim that Sufis cannot get in touch with anything like what I have mentioned in my article? This information can only be passed on to you with unchallengeable authority by the Almighty Himself, because no one else has the knowledge of all that is hidden. I can't know the hidden motivations of anyone. How can I decide whether a person is telling the truth or not when he is claiming to have gone through some experiences. For someone who hasn't gone through them to claim that they don't happen is similar to the claim of a person who denies the fact that man has reached the moon because he himself didn't have the pleasure of landing on it.