Surah Jinn in Arabic with English Transliteration and Translation

72. Al-Jinn (The Unseen Beings) – الجن

Al-Jinn is the 72nd surah (chapter) of Al-Qur’an. It consists of 28 ayat (verses) that were all revealed in Mecca.


REVEALED not later than during the last two years of the Prophet’s sojourn in Mecca, this surah takes its name from the plural noun al-jinn in the first verse.

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 1

قُلْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ أَنَّهُ اسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْآنًا عَجَبًا

Qul oohiya ilaiya annna hustama’a nafarum minal jinni faqaalooo innaa sami’naa quraanan ajaba

1. SAY: “It has been revealed to me that some of the unseen beings gave ear [to this divine writ],1 and thereupon said [unto their fellow-beings]: “‘Verily, we have heard a wondrous discourse,


1 I.e., had heard and accepted it: this being the meaning, in the above context, of the verbal form istama’a.

As regards the various meanings attributable to the plural noun jinn (rendered by me here as “unseen beings”), see Appendix On The Term And Concept Of Jinn. As pointed out there, the jinn are referred to in the Qur’an in many connotations. In a few cases—e.g., in the present instance and in Al-Ahqaf [46]: 29-32—this expression may possibly signify “hitherto unseen beings”, namely, strangers who had never before been seen by the people among and to whom the Qur’an was then being revealed. From Al-Ahqaf [46]: 30 (which evidently relates to the same occurrence as the present one) it transpires that the jinn in question were followers of the Mosaic faith, inasmuch as they refer to the Qur’an as “a revelation bestowed from on high after [that of] Moses”, thus pointedly omitting any mention of the intervening prophet, Jesus, and equally pointedly (in verse 3 of the present surah) stressing their rejection of the Christian concept of the Trinity. All this leads one to the assumption that they may have been Jews from distant parts of what is now the Arab world, perhaps from Syria or even Mesopotamia. (Tabari mentions in several places that the jinn referred to in this surah as well as in Al-Ahqaf [46]: 29 ff. hailed from Nasibin, a town on the upper reaches of the Euphrates.) I should, however, like to stress that my explanation of this occurrence is purely tentative.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 2

يَهْدِي إِلَى الرُّشْدِ فَآمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ وَلَنْ نُشْرِكَ بِرَبِّنَا أَحَدًا

Yahdeee ilar rushdi fa aamannaa bihee wa lan nushrika bi rabbinaaa ‘ahada

2. guiding towards consciousness of what is right; and so We have come to believe in it. And we shall never ascribe divinity to anyone beside our Sustainer,


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 3

وَأَنَّهُ تَعَالَىٰ جَدُّ رَبِّنَا مَا اتَّخَذَ صَاحِبَةً وَلَا وَلَدًا

Wa annahoo Ta’aalaa jaddu Rabbinaa mat’takhaza saahibatanw wa laa walada

3. for [we know] that sublimely exalted is our Sustainer’s majesty: no consort has He ever taken unto Himself, nor a son!


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 4

وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ يَقُولُ سَفِيهُنَا عَلَى اللَّهِ شَطَطًا

Wa annahoo kaana yaqoolu safeehunaa ‘al allahi shatata

4. “‘And [now we know] that the foolish among us were wont to say outrageous things about God,2


2 If we accept the supposition that the beings spoken of here were Jewish strangers, the “outrageous things” (shatat) which they mention would appear to be an allusion to the deep-set belief of the Jews that
they were “God’s chosen people”—a belief which the Qur’an consistently rejects, and of which the new converts now divested themselves.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 5

وَأَنَّا ظَنَنَّا أَنْ لَنْ تَقُولَ الْإِنْسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا

Wa annaa zanannaaa al lan taqoolal insu wal jinnu ‘al allahi kaziba

5. and that [we were mistaken when] we thought that neither man nor [any of] the invisible forces would ever tell a lie about God.3


3 In this and the next verse, the term jinn (rendered here as “invisible forces”) apparently refers to what is described as “occult powers'” or, rather to a person’s preoccupation with them (see Appendix On The Term And Concept Of Jinn). Irrespective of whether these “forces” are real or mere products of human imagination, they “tell lies about God” inasmuch as they induce their devotees to conceive all manner of fantastic, arbitrary notions about the “nature” of His Being and of His alleged relations with the created universe: notions exemplified in all mystery-religions, in the various gnostic and theosophical systems, in cabalistic Judaism, and in the many medieval offshoots of each of them.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 6

وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ رِجَالٌ مِنَ الْإِنْسِ يَعُوذُونَ بِرِجَالٍ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَزَادُوهُمْ رَهَقًا

Wa annahoo kaana rijaalun minal insi ya’oozoona bi rijaalin minal jinni fa zaadoohum rahaqa

6. Yet [it has always happened] that certain kinds of humans would seek refuge with certain kinds of [such] invisible forces:4 but these only increased their confusion—


4 Lit., “that men (rijal) from among the humans used to (kana) seek refuge with men from among the jinn“. Since the reference to “the humans” (al-ins) applies to men and women, the expression rijal is obviously used here—as so often in the Qur’an—in the sense of “some persons” or “certain kinds” of people. “Seeking refuge” is synonymous with seeking help, protection or the satisfaction of physical or spiritual needs: in the context of the above passage, this is evidently an allusion to the hope of “certain kinds of humans” that the occult powers to which they have turned would successfully guide them through life, and thus make it unnecessary for them to look forward to the coming of a new prophet.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 7

وَأَنَّهُمْ ظَنُّوا كَمَا ظَنَنْتُمْ أَنْ لَنْ يَبْعَثَ اللَّهُ أَحَدًا

Wa annahum zannoo kamaa zanantum al lany yab’asal laahu ‘ahada

7. so much so that they came to think, as you [once] thought, that God would never [again] send forth anyone [as His apostle].5


5 Thus Tabari (on the authority of Al-Kalbi) and Ibn Kathir. The overwhelming majority of the Jews were convinced that no prophet would be raised after those who were explicitly mentioned in the Old Testament: hence their rejection of Jesus and, of course, Muhammad, and their “reaching out towards heaven” (see next verse) in order to obtain a direct insight into God’s plan of creation.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 8

وَأَنَّا لَمَسْنَا السَّمَاءَ فَوَجَدْنَاهَا مُلِئَتْ حَرَسًا شَدِيدًا وَشُهُبًا

Wa annaa lamasnas samaaa’a fa wajadnaahaa muli’at harasan shadeedanw wa shuhuba

8. “‘And [so it happened] that we reached out towards heaven:6 but we found it filled with mighty guards and flames,7


6 The above may be understood as alluding not only, metaphorically, to the arrogant Jewish belief in their
being “God’s chosen people”, but also, more factually, to their old inclination to, and practice of, astrology as a means to foretell the future. Apart from this—and in a more general sense—their “reaching out towards heaven” may be a metaphorical description of a state of mind which causes man to regard himself as “self-sufficient” and to delude himself into thinking that he is bound to achieve mastery over his own fate.

7 See notes 16 and 17 on Surah Al-Hijr [15]: 17-18.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 9

وَأَنَّا كُنَّا نَقْعُدُ مِنْهَا مَقَاعِدَ لِلسَّمْعِ ۖ فَمَنْ يَسْتَمِعِ الْآنَ يَجِدْ لَهُ شِهَابًا رَصَدًا

Wa annaa kunnaa naq’udu minhaa maqaa’ida lis’sam’i famany yastami’il ‘aana yajid lahoo shihaabar rasada

9. notwithstanding that we were established in positions [which we had thought well-suited] to listening to [whatever secrets might be in] it:8 and anyone who now [or ever] tries to listen will [likewise] find a flame lying in wait for him!9


8 I.e., “we failed notwithstanding our status as descendants of Abraham, and despite all our ability and learning”.

9 As the sequence shows (and as has been pointed out in note 17 on Al-Hijr [15]: 18), this relates to all attempts at predicting the future by means of astrology or esoteric calculations, or at influencing the course of future events by means of “occult sciences”.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 10

وَأَنَّا لَا نَدْرِي أَشَرٌّ أُرِيدَ بِمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَمْ أَرَادَ بِهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ رَشَدًا

Wa annaa laa nadreee asharrun ureeda biman fil ardi ‘am ‘araada bihim rabbuhum rashada

10. “‘And [now we have become aware] that we [created beings] may not know whether evil fortune is intended for [any of] those who live on earth, or whether it is their Sustainer’s will to endow them with consciousness of what is right:10


10 Thus, as in verses 2 and 21 of this surah, “consciousness of what is right” (rashad or rushd) is equated with the opposite of evil fortune, i.e., with happiness.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 11

وَأَنَّا مِنَّا الصَّالِحُونَ وَمِنَّا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ كُنَّا طَرَائِقَ قِدَدًا

Wa annaa minnas saalihoona wa minnaa doona zaalika kunnaa taraaa’iqa qidada

11. Just as [we do not know how it happens] that some from among us are righteous, while some of us are [far] below that: we have always followed widely divergent paths.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 12

وَأَنَّا ظَنَنَّا أَنْ لَنْ نُعْجِزَ اللَّهَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَنْ نُعْجِزَهُ هَرَبًا

Wa annaa zanan naaa al lan nu’jizal laaha fil ardi wa lan nu’jizahoo haraba

12. “‘And, withal, we have come to know that we can never elude God [while we live] on earth, and that we can never elude Him by escaping [from life].


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 13

وَأَنَّا لَمَّا سَمِعْنَا الْهُدَىٰ آمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ فَمَنْ يُؤْمِنْ بِرَبِّهِ فَلَا يَخَافُ بَخْسًا وَلَا رَهَقًا

Wa annaa lammaa sami’nal hudaaa aamannaa bihee famany yu’min bi rabbihee falaa yakhaafu bakhsanw wa laa rahaqa

13. Hence, as soon as we heard this [call to His] guidance, we came to believe in it: and he who believes in his Sustainer need never have fear of loss or injustice.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 14

وَأَنَّا مِنَّا الْمُسْلِمُونَ وَمِنَّا الْقَاسِطُونَ ۖ فَمَنْ أَسْلَمَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ تَحَرَّوْا رَشَدًا

Wa annaa minnal muslimoona wa minnal qaasitoona faman aslama fa ulaaa’ika taharraw rashada

14. “‘Yet [it is true] that among us are such as have surrendered themselves to God—just as there are among us such as have abandoned themselves to wrongdoing. Now as for those who surrender themselves to Him—it is they that have attained to consciousness of what is right;


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 15

وَأَمَّا الْقَاسِطُونَ فَكَانُوا لِجَهَنَّمَ حَطَبًا

Wa ammal qaasitoona fa kaanoo li jahannama hataba

15. but as for those who abandon themselves to wrongdoing – they are indeed but fuel for [the fires of] hell!'”11


11 With this assertion ends, according to all classical commentators, the “confession of faith” of the beings described at the beginning of this passage as jinn. Whatever be the real meaning of this term in the present instance—whether it signifies “unseen beings” of a nature unknown to man or, alternatively,
a group of humans from distant lands—matters little, for the context makes it abundantly clear that the “speech” of those beings is but a parable of the guidance which the Qur’an offers to a mind intent on attaining to “consciousness of what is right”.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 16

وَأَنْ لَوِ اسْتَقَامُوا عَلَى الطَّرِيقَةِ لَأَسْقَيْنَاهُمْ مَاءً غَدَقًا

Wa alla wis taqaamoo ‘alat tareeqati la asqaynaahum maa’an ghadaqa

16. [KNOW,] THEN, that if they [who have heard Our call] keep firmly to the [right] path, We shall certainly shower them with blessings abundant,12


12 Lit., “water abundant”: a metaphor of happiness, echoing the allegorical reference, so frequently occurring in the Qur’an, to the “running waters” of paradise (Abu Muslim, quoted by Razi).


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 17

لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَنْ يُعْرِضْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ رَبِّهِ يَسْلُكْهُ عَذَابًا صَعَدًا

Linaftinahum feeh; wa many yu’rid ‘an zikri rabbihee yasluk hu ‘azaaban sa’ada

17. so as to test them by this means: for he who shall turn away from the remembrance of his Sustainer, him will He cause to undergo suffering most grievous.13


13 I.e., God’s bestowal of blessings is not just a “reward” of righteousness but, rather, a test of man’s remaining conscious of, and therefore grateful to, Him.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 18

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا

Wa annal masaajida lil laahi falaa tad’oo ma’al laahi ‘ahada

18. And [know] that all worship14 is due to God [alone]: hence, do not invoke anyone side by side with God!


14 Lit, “the places of worship” (al-masajid): i.e., worship as such.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 19

وَأَنَّهُ لَمَّا قَامَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ يَدْعُوهُ كَادُوا يَكُونُونَ عَلَيْهِ لِبَدًا

Wa annahoo lammaa qaama ‘abdul laahi yad’oohu kaadoo yakoonoona ‘alaihi libada

19. Yet [thus it is] that whenever a servant of God stands up in prayer to Him, they [who are bent on denying the truth] would gladly overwhelm him with their crowds.15


15 Lit, “would almost be upon him in crowds (libad, sing. libdah)”—i.e., with a view to “extinguishing God’s [guiding] light” (Tabari, evidently alluding to At-Taubah [9]: 32). Most of the commentators assume that the above verse refers to the Prophet Muhammad and the hostility shown to him by his pagan contemporaries. While this may have been so in the first instance, it is obvious that the passage has a general import as well, alluding to the hostility shown by the majority of people, at all times and in all societies, to a minority or an individual who stands up for a self-evident—but unpopular—moral truth. (In order to be understood fully, the above verse should be read in conjunction with Surah Maryam [19]: 73-74 and the corresponding notes.)


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 20

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَدْعُو رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِهِ أَحَدًا

Qul innamaaa ad’oo rabbee wa laaa ushriku biheee ‘ahada

20. Say: “I invoke my Sustainer alone, for I do not ascribe divinity to anyone beside Him.”


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 21

قُلْ إِنِّي لَا أَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ ضَرًّا وَلَا رَشَدًا

Qul innee laaa amliku lakum darranw wa laa rashada

21. Say: “Verily, it is not in my power to cause you harm or to endow you with consciousness of what is right.”


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 22

قُلْ إِنِّي لَنْ يُجِيرَنِي مِنَ اللَّهِ أَحَدٌ وَلَنْ أَجِدَ مِنْ دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا

Qul innee lany yujeeranee minal laahi ‘ahadunw, wa lan ajida min doonihee multahada

22. Say: “Verily, no one could ever protect me from God, nor could I ever find a place to hide from Him


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 23

إِلَّا بَلَاغًا مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِسَالَاتِهِ ۚ وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَإِنَّ لَهُ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا

Illaa balaagham minal laahi wa risaalaatih; wa many ya’sil laaha wa rasoolahoo fa inna lahoo naara jahannama khaalideena feehaaa ‘abada

23. if I should fail to convey16 [to the world whatever illumination comes to me] from God and His messages.”

Now as for him who rebels against God and His Apostle—verily, the fire of hell awaits him, therein to abide beyond the count of time.17


16 Lit., “except through an announcement” (illa balaghan). In this instance, however, the particle illa is evidently a contraction of in la (“if not”): thus, the above phrase signifies “if I do not [or “if should fail to”] convey…”, etc. (Tabari, Zamakhshari, Razi).

17 This obviously relates to “those who are bent on denying the truth”—i.e., consciously—and thus destroy their own spiritual identity. The people alluded to in this particular instance are those who “would gladly overwhelm God’s servant with their crowds” (verse 19).


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 24

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا رَأَوْا مَا يُوعَدُونَ فَسَيَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ أَضْعَفُ نَاصِرًا وَأَقَلُّ عَدَدًا

Hattaaa izaa ra aw maa yoo’adoona fasaya’lamoona man ad’afu naasiranw wa aqallu ‘adada

24. [Let them, then, wait] until the time when they behold that [doom] of which they were forewarned:18 for then they will come to understand which [kind of man] is more helpless and counts for less!19


18 I.e., on the Day of Judgment. Cf. the second paragraph of Surah Maryam [19]: 75, which is similarly phrased.

19 Lit., “is weaker as to helpers and less in numbers”—i.e., less significant despite its greater numbers.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 25

قُلْ إِنْ أَدْرِي أَقَرِيبٌ مَا تُوعَدُونَ أَمْ يَجْعَلُ لَهُ رَبِّي أَمَدًا

Qul in adreee a qareebum maa too’adoona am yaj’alu lahoo rabbeee ‘amada

25. Say: “I do not know whether that [doom] of which you were forewarned is near, or whether my Sustainer has set for it a distant term.”


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 26

عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ أَحَدًا

‘Aalimul ghaibi falaa yuzhiru alaa ghaibiheee ‘ahada

26. He [alone] knows that which is beyond the reach of a created being’s perception, and to none does He disclose aught of the mysteries of His Own unfathomable knowledge,20


20 The possessive pronoun “His” in the phrase ‘ala ghaybihi evidently indicates God exclusive knowledge of “that which is beyond the perception of any created being” (al-ghayb): hence the above, somewhat free, rendering of this truly untranslatable phrase.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 27

إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ مِنْ رَسُولٍ فَإِنَّهُ يَسْلُكُ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ رَصَدًا

Illaa manir tadaa mir rasoolin fa innahoo yasluku min baini yadaihi wa min khalfihee rasada

27. unless it be to an apostle whom He has been pleased to elect [therefor]:21 and then He sends forth [the forces of heaven] to watch over him in whatever lies open before him and in what is beyond his
ken22


21 Cf. Surah Al ‘lmran [3]: 179—”And it is not God’s will to give you insight into that which is beyond the real of human perception: but [to that end] God elects whomsoever He wills from among His apostles”.

22 For an explanation of this rendering of the phrase min bayni yadayhi wa-min khalfihi (lit., “from between his hands and from behind him”), see note 247 on Surah Al-Baqarah [2]: 255. In the present context the phrase implies that the very fact of his being graced by divine revelation protects every apostle, spiritually, in all concerns of his life, irrespective of whether these concerns are obvious to him or are beyond his ken.


Surah Al-Jinn Ayat 28

لِيَعْلَمَ أَنْ قَدْ أَبْلَغُوا رِسَالَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَأَحَاطَ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ وَأَحْصَىٰ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدًا

Liya’lama an qad ablaghoo risaalaati rabbihim wa ahaata bi maa ladaihim wa ahsaa kulla shai’in ‘adada

28. so as to make manifest that it is indeed [but] their Sustainer’s messages that these [apostles] deliver: for it is He who encompasses [with His knowledge] all that they have [to say],23 just as He takes count, one by one, of everything [that exists].


23 Lit., “all that is with them”, i.e., of knowledge and wisdom.


Source: The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad