In my previous post, I wrote about my sister’s regular visions of the unseen. I learned about it first when we were in grade school, so naturally I talked about it with my classmates and friends, who had their own ghostly tales to share. We concluded that my sister was blessed with a special gift that allowed her to see the dead. Others thought it was a curse. A girl in my class explained to me that the reason why my sister saw them and I didn’t was because my sister had a third eye, located at the middle of her forehead. I went to check my sister’s forehead for a third eye after school, but didn’t find any. Years later, another friend was certain that ghosts or spirits (of the dead) were trying to communicate with my sister, possibly asking for help. But why her? So it was explained to me that my sister’s channels or portals are open, allowing the flow of energy, making her sensitive to their presence.
But what does Islam have to say about ghosts?
Regarding ghosts of the dead returning, whether to convey a message or take revenge, has no basis in Islam. Allah mentions in the Qur’an:
“And behind them is a barrier until the day when they are raised.” [Al Mu'minoon:100]
So when a person dies, the soul remains in the grave and a barrier is set up. This means that a soul can not return to the place of the living, neither can they ascend to heaven or hell just yet. Can we, the living, talk to them? The answer is no.
“Verily, you can not make the dead hear and you can not make the deaf hear the call when they turn their backs and retreat.” [An Naml: 80]
There is only one instance when the dead can hear. According to prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him):
“After the deceased is placed in his grave and his companions turn to leave, he hears the shuffling of their feet as they walk away. Then there comes to him two angels.” [related by al Bukhari and Muslim]
This is a momentary possession of the faculty of hearing, which stops at the point when the two angels come to the dead for questioning him/her.
Since the dead do not return from their graves, what are these visions?
Islam explains the realm of the unseen: the jinn. The jinn are creations of Allah that live in the world parallel to us. Jinn is an Arabic word derived from the verb, Janna, which means to conceal or hide. As their name suggests, jinn are physically invisible from us. And this invisibility is probably the reason why some of us have been denying their existence. Regarding the jinn’s origin, it is mentioned that:
“Indeed, We have created man from dried clay of black smooth mud. And We have created the jinn before that from the smokeless flame of the fire.” [Al Hijr 15:26-27]
Like ourselves, Allah has created and has required the jinn to worship Him.
“I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” [Al Dhariyat 51:56]
However, jinn do possess some powers and abilities that distinguish them from us, which include taking on a different physical form, like that of a human, for instance. Some jinn, like us, abuse the powers and capabilities given to them by Allah. One of the several ways that these jinn manipulate their powers is through visions.
“Indeed, he (Iblis) and his tribe (jinn) watch you from a position where you can not see them.” [Al A'raf 7:27]
For some, like my sister, visions of dead people (whether familiar or strangers) or those of the ‘unseen’ are common. Those who do not believe in the jinn as God’s creation would be convinced that these are indeed the souls of the departed trying to tell us something. And this is exactly what the jinn is trying to do: lead us astray – from our beliefs and the truth.
Other ways these jinn manipulate us into shirk is through fortune telling, black magic, whispering into our hearts, or trying to communicate with us.
How should we protect ourselves from these jinn?
Maybe there’s a jinn sitting in the corner of your room right now, or even one behind you. If so, then how will you deal with this creation of Allah? Learn Islam properly and you will be able to deal with ALL of Allah’s creations, and not just the jinn [source]
It is recommended that we recite the Holy Quran regularly in our homes and keep ourselves clean. The prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said:
“Indeed, the shaytan flees from the house in which Surah Al Baqarah is recited.” [Tirmidhi]
But of course, not all jinn are mischievous. There are those who worship Allah and recite the Quran. Because just like us, jinn will also be held accountable for their deeds on the Day of Judgment.
“Say (O Mohammad): It has been revealed to me that a group of jinn listened and said, ‘Indeed, we have heard a marvelous Quran. It guides us unto righteousness so we have believed it, and we will never make partners with our Lord.” [Al Jinn, 72:1-2]
“And among us (the jinn) there are the righteous folks and among us there are those that are far from that..” [Al Jinn:11]
Is it possible that the good and pious jinn would, by appearing in front of us or merely whispering in our thoughts, warn us of a possible danger? I don’t know.
And why are some people sensitive to these visions while others aren’t? I don’t know about that either.
What I do know is that we should always be careful of what we see, hear, and believe, and have faith that only Allah can protect us against anything.