Suratul Jinn was revealed in Makkah after Suratul A’raf and before the revelation of Surah Yasin and is the fortieth Surah to be revealed to Prophet Muhammad (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family). This Surah is the seventy-second Surah in the present compilation of the Qur'an and contains twenty-eight verses.
According to scholars, a total of 1,024 verses were revealed before this Surah, and 5447 verses appear before this Surah in the present compilation of the Qur'an.
This Surah contains 285 words, or as some scholars have stated, 235 words. The number of letters in the Surah is also debatable. Some scholars say that there are 870, while others state that there are 759.
In the explanation of Ayat 29 to 32 of Suratul Ahqaf, various incidents of revelation which were related to that Surah have been narrated, which are the same as that which have been mentioned for this Surah. This denotes that both of these Surahs are related to one particular event. We will take a brief look at these three ayat.
The verses of Suratul Ahqaf (46) that discuss the Jinn are the following:
وَإِذْ صَرَفْنَا إِلَيْكَ نَفَرًا مِنَ الْجِنِّ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقُرْآنَ فَلَمَّا حَضَرُوهُ قَالُوا أَنْصِتُوا ۖ فَلَمَّا قُضِيَ وَلَّوْا إِلَىٰ قَوْمِهِمْ مُنْذِرِينَ
“And when We turned a party of the Jinn towards you [Muhammad] to listen to the Qur'an, then when they attended (a Qur'anic recitation) they said to each other, ‘Be silent,” and when it was over, they turned back to their people in warning [them]’” (46:29).
قَالُوا يَا قَوْمَنَا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَابًا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ وَإِلَىٰ طَرِيقٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ
“And they said, “Our people, indeed we have listened to the recitation of a Book revealed after Musa. It confirms the Books revealed before and guides to the Truth and the Right Path.” (46:30).
يَا قَوْمَنَا أَجِيبُوا دَاعِيَ اللَّهِ وَآمِنُوا بِهِ يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ مِنْ ذُنُوبِكُمْ وَيُجِرْكُمْ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
“O' our people! Respond favourably to the one [Muhammad] who invites people to Allah and believe in Him. He will forgive your sins and rescue you from the painful torment.” (46:31).
1. The Prophet Muhammad (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) was traveling from Makkah to the ‘Ikadh market in Taif so as to invite the throngs of people who used to flock there into the fold of Islam. However at this gathering, none of those present accepted his invitation.
On his way back, the Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) reached a place which was referred to as the Valley of the Jinn. He stayed there for the evening and was absorbed in the recitation of the Holy Qur'an. A group of Jinn, who were present and listening to him, immediately accepted the faith of Islam. After this, they returned to their own group to spread and propagate the teachings which they had accepted.1
2. Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that, “The Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) was busy in the recitation of Salat al-Fajr in which he was reading (a Surah) of the Holy Qur'an.
A group of the Jinn who were investigating into why their flow of information which they used to receive from the Heavens had been stopped, happened to hear Muhammad (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) reciting the Qur'an. They said to each other, 'The reason for the halt in the transmission of information from the Heavens is because of this.' They returned to their group and proceeded to invite them into the religion of Islam.2
3. After the death of Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), the responsibilities that rested on the shoulders of the Prophet of Allah (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) became much more difficult and thus he proceeded to go towards the area of the ‘Arabian Peninsula known as Taif in hopes of finding some helpers.
The noble people of Taif severely belied him and threw so many rocks at the Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) that blood was gushing forth from his entire body - even from the blessed feet of the Prophet!
Tired and troubled, he stopped near a garden. At that place, he came across a servant of the owner of the garden whose name was ‘Adas. This slave accepted the teachings of Islam and after this, the Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) continued on his journey back home to Makkah.
During that night, he arrived near a forest of trees and while busy in Salat, a group of Jinn from the area of Nasibain or Yemen who happened to be passing by that area heard the recitation of the Qur'an of the Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) in his Salat al-Fajr and accepted the teachings of Islam right there.3
The same information has been narrated from a group of Commentators of the Qur'an in regards to the revelation of Suratul Jinn, however there are also other occasions of revelation in regards to this Surah which differ from what has just been mentioned.
One such narration is from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) when he asked a group of companions, 'Were any of you companions with the Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) on the evening when the event with the Jinn took place?'
They replied that none of them were there when this occurrence happened. They continued by saying that on that evening, they did not find the Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) anywhere in the city of Makkah and however much they searched, they found no trace of him.
Upon not being able to locate him, they were extremely worried that maybe the Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) had been killed. They continued searching all the areas of Makkah when all of a sudden they saw him coming towards them from the direction of the Cave of Hira.
They addressed the Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) saying, “Where were you O' Messenger of Allah? We have been worried about you, and because of this, last night was one of the worst nights of our lives.”
The Prophet (prayers of Allah be upon him and his family) replied, “Last night, an invitation from the Jinn came to me and thus, I went to where they live so to be able to recite the Qur'an to them.”4
- 1. Tafsir ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim according to the narration (summarized) from the Tafsir Nur ath-Thaqalain, Volume 5, Page 19.
- 2. Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Muslim and the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, according to the (summarized) narration from In the Shade of the Qur’an, Volume 7, Page 429.
- 3. Tafsir Majma’ Al-Bayan, Volume 9, Page 92; History of Ibn Hisham, Volume 2, Page 62 and 63 (Summarized).
- 4. Tafsir Majma’ Al-Bayan, Volume 10, Page 368.