There are some illnesses which inflict people and which they ascribe to the Jinn. There are also people who claim to see and hear the Jinn, and to command them and carry out many actions through controlling them, or through their controlling people. What is the reality of this? Is there any material, sensorially-perceivable relationship between man and Jinn?
1. The Jinn are from the matters of the unseen; we cannot see them. Allah (swt) says,
«يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ»
“He sees you, he and his tribe, from where you see them not” (al-A’rāf: 27),
that is, Iblīs and his people, or in other words, the Jinn, given that Iblīs is from the Jinn:
«إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ»
“Except Iblīs – he was from the Jinn” (al-Kahf: 50).
2. The foundation or origin of our relationship with them is that they are able to whisper to us and entice us [waswasa]. Allah (swt) says,
«فَوَسْوَسَ لَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ»
“So Shaytān whispered to them both” (al-A’rāf: 20);
and He (swt) says,
«فَوَسْوَسَ إِلَيْهِ الشَّيْطَانُ»
“So Shaytān whispered to him” (Tāhā: 120),
and Shaytān here is Iblīs and he is from the Jinn.
3. The Shayātīn do not have a compelling authority over man, except if man chooses to follow the Shaytān of his own free will. The Exalted says,
«وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدْتُكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَنْ دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي»
“And Shaytān shall say after the affair is decided: Surely Allah promised you the promise of truth, and I gave you promises, then failed to keep them to you, and I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you answered me.” (Ibrāhīm: 22))
And He (swt) says,
«إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ إِلَّا مَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْغَاوِينَ»
“You have no authority over my slaves, except he who follows you of the deviant.” (al-Hijr: 42))
And He (swt) says,
«فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ • إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ • إِنَّمَا سُلْطَانُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ بِهِ مُشْرِكُونَ»
“When you recite the Qur’ān seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytān. Indeed he has no authority of those who believe and place their trust in their Lord. His authority extends only to those who befriend him and those who associate partners with Allah.” (al-Nahl: 100)
4. Any material relationship other than this fundamental relationship which Allah has clarified requires a particular text establishing it. If a text exists explaining any such relationship then we affirm it in accordance with that text. For example the authority of Sulaymān (as) over the Jinn and his ability to command and prohibit them is a matter about which a text has come, thus we affirm it. Allah (swt) says in surah al-Naml about Sulaymān (as),
«قَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِي بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ • قَالَ عِفْرِيتٌ مِنَ الْجِنِّ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَقُومَ مِنْ مَقَامِكَ وَإِنِّي عَلَيْهِ لَقَوِيٌّ أَمِينٌ»
“He said, ‘O Chiefs! Which of you shall bring her throne to him before they come to him in submission? An audacious one among the jinn said: I will bring it to you before you rise up from your place; and most surely I am strong (and) trusty for it.” (al-Naml: 38)
And He, the Exalted, says,
«وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ غُدُوُّهَا شَهْرٌ وَرَوَاحُهَا شَهْرٌ وَأَسَلْنَا لَهُ عَيْنَ الْقِطْرِ وَمِنَ الْجِنِّ مَنْ يَعْمَلُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِ وَمَنْ يَزِغْ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ أَمْرِنَا نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ • يَعْمَلُونَ لَهُ مَا يَشَاءُ مِنْ مَحَارِيبَ وَتَمَاثِيلَ وَجِفَانٍ كَالْجَوَابِ وَقُدُورٍ رَاسِيَاتٍ اعْمَلُوا آلَ دَاوُودَ شُكْرًا وَقَلِيلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ»
“And (We made) the wind (subservient) to Sulaymān, which made a month's journey in the morning and a month's journey in the evening, and We made a fountain of molten copper to flow out for him, and of the jinn there were those who worked before him by the command of his Lord; and whoever turned aside from Our command from among them, We made him taste of the punishment of burning. They made for him what he pleased of fortresses and images, and bowls (large) as watering-troughs and cooking-pots that will not move from their place; give thanks, O family of Dawūd! and very few of My servants are grateful.” (Saba’: 12)
5. The Messenger of Allah (saw) would treat any material occurrence as a human matter, so long as no revelation came establishing that the Jinn had a relation to the matter. All matters were in origin taken as human affairs. If a dead man were found for instance it would not be thought that the Jinn killed him unless a text about such were found. Such was the case in the incident of the dead man found in Khaybar where the search was directed at who from amongst the people killed him, and did not extend to even the possibility of the Jinn having done so.
Muslim relates in His Sahīh that Abdullah ibn Sahl and Muhayyisah set out for Khaybar out of severe fatigue. When Muhayyisah found out that Abdullah ibn Sahl have been killed and thrown into a well he went to the Jews and said, “By Allah, you have killed him!” They replied, “By Allah, we did not kill him.” When the matter reached the Messenger of Allah (saw) he said, “Either they pay the blood-money of your companion or they declare war (by refusing to comply with the Shari’ah rules).” So he (saw) wrote to them and they wrote back, “By Allah, we did not kill him.”...The incident is well-known. Important to our current discussion, at no point did the question of the Jinn having played any role enter the discussion in any way.
6. Hence so long as a text mentioning a material relationship regarding any given incident is not found, the relationship between Jinn and man remains limited to whispering and incitement. Further, because the message of the Messenger (saw) is the seal of the messages, where after the revelation ceased and no new text will come, therefore no material relationship between Jinn and man can be established. There remains only the possibility of whispering and incitement, and as we have mentioned there is no authority in the whispering of the Jinn over man except if man responds to that whispering by his own choice.
This is how material matters were treated in the time of the Khulafa’ al-Rāshideen, such that at the occurrence of no material event, be it murder, theft, deception, or fraud, did the mind turn to the Jinn. It always turned to men, because the relation of Jinn is one of whispering and incitement, except if a text exists to say otherwise. Since no specific texts can come after the Messenger of Allah (saw), all material occurrences are from men, not from the Jinn, for their world is different to ours, and their relationship with us is a relationship of whispering alone.
Therefore if someone falls ill there is no connection of this with the Jinn. The illness is to be treated according to the Islamic injunctions, that is, through therapy. This treatment can be material (medicine) or through du’a and ruqya.
As for the former it is like what came in the hadith from Usāmah ibn Sharīk that he said, “I came to the Prophet (saw) and his Companions who were as if they had birds on their heads. I greeted them and sat down. Then came bedouins from various areas and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, should we take medicine’? He replied, ‘Take medicine for indeed Allah has not made an illness except that he has created its cure, except only one illness, death.’ (Abu Dāwūd)
As for the latter, it is like what came in the hadith related by Muslim from Aa’isha, the mother of the believers (ra), that, “The Messenger of Allah used to recite this incantation (ruqyah), ‘Lord of the people, remove the trouble for in your Hand is the cure; none is there to relieve him but you.’ This and the like supplications from the Qur’an and Sunnah or that which accords with them can be used.
As for resorting to those who claim to have a material connection with the Jinn in order to cure an illness, then this is fraud and deception from those fraudsters who fool the common people and unjustly consume their wealth.