Contents > Chapter 6: Back from the Barzakh > Refuting the Argument of Observed Phenomenon


Observed Phenomenon

The argument put forth by the proponents of the soul’s return is, ‘Observable Phenomenon’, as Mufti Abdur Rahim Lajpuri said, “The Soul can and does come. Events and observations bear witness to this fact.” This ‘Observable Phenomenon’ may be in the form of a vision of a dead person, or the voice of a dead person, etc.  Even though, such observations are unusual, the Jinn can easily accomplish them!


The Jinn are a creation of Allah, created from smokeless fire. They live in communities of their own. Like human beings, they also have the ability to think and reflect. They are in general invisible to us, but have the power to lift heavy objects, travel long distance at very fast speeds and, possess animate and inanimate objects.[1]

Jinn are of two kinds – pious believers and foul disbelievers. The disbelieving Jinn are termed as Shayateen (sing. Shaytaan, meaning devil.) They help their human counterparts to create mischief in the land and spread Shirk. Since, ancestor worship, saint worship and grave worship have been one of the most effective ways of propagating Shirk, Shayateen pretend to be returned souls of the dead and deceive people into believing in the powers of the dead. They perform extraordinary feats, inform about lost or hidden articles and claim to inform the future.[2] Ultimately, they lead people towards worship of the dead, which is in reality worship of the Shaytaan.[3]

A good example of the Shaytaan’s appearance in the human form to spread mischief is the incident of the Battle of Badr. A devil approached the polytheist of Quraysh in the form of Suraqah Ibn Malik. He came to encourage them to fight the Muslims. This incident is related in the Qur’aan in Soorah al-Anfal (8): 48: “(Remember) when Shaytaan made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said: ‘No one of mankind can overcome you this day (of the battle of Badr) and verily, I am your neighbor (for each and every help).’ But when the two forces came in sight of each other, he ran away and said: ‘Verily, I have nothing to do with you. Verily! I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allah for Allah is severe in punishment.”[4]


[1] These devils (Shayateen) can be driven out by the recitation of ‘Basmallah’ (i.e. Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem upon entering the house) and certain Qur’aanic verses, mentioned in the Sunnah, especially Ayat al-Kursi (i.e. a portion of Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 255) as mentioned Saheeh al-Bukharee] and Soorah al-Baqarah.

[2] How does the Shaytaan know about future events?

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “When Allah decrees some order in the Heaven, the Angels flutter their wings indicating complete surrender to His saying which sounds like chains being dragged on rock. And when the state of fear disappears, they ask each other, ‘What has your Lord ordered?’ They say that He has said that which is true and just, and He is the Most High, the Most Great.’” [Soorah Saba (34): 23] “Then, the stealthy listeners (devils) hear this order, and these stealthy listeners are like this, one over the other. (Sufyan, a sub-narrator demonstrated that by holding his hand upright and separating the fingers.) A stealthy listener hears a word, which he will convey to that which is below him and the second will convey it to that which is below him till the last of them will convey it to the wizard or foreteller. Sometimes, a flame (fire) may strike the devil before he can convey it, and sometimes he may convey it before the flame (fire) strikes him, whereupon the wizard adds to that word a hundred lies. The people will then say: ‘Didn’t he (the fortuneteller) tell such-and-such a thing on such-and-such date?’ So that fortuneteller is said to have told the truth because of the statement which has been heard from the Heavens.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee vol: 6, no: 324]

[3] Worship of Shaytaan - “And verily, there were men among mankind who took shelter with the masculine among the Jinns, but they (Jinns) increased them (mankind) in sin and disbelief.” [Soorah al-Jinn (72): 6] Imaam Ibn al-Katheer (rahimahullah) mentions in his Tafseer of this verse: “One of the major reasons behind the misguidance of Jinns was the practice of some human beings, who when they entered forests or wilderness would seek refuge in the Jinns. As was the practice of the Arabs in the age of ignorance that when they would camp, they would say: “We seek refuge in the big Jinn of this forest.” They believed that by saying so they would be protected from the evil of all Jinn. This was similar to their practice of seeking refuge in one of the chiefs of the city, so that their enemies could not harm them. When the Jinn saw that the humans seek refuge in them, their misguidance increased and they began to trouble them (the humans) more than ever and it is possible that the Jinn began scaring the people because of this condition. In reality, the Jinn used to fear the humans, like the humans do, rather more than that. They feared the humans so much that if humans reached some wilderness, the Jinn would leave those places and run away. But since the people of Shirk started to seek refuge in them, the Jinn thought that these humans themselves seek refuge in us and they increased in their might and they started to scare and harass people and also increased in sins and misguidance.”

[4] Soorah al-Anfal (80): 48.