Ata Abu Rishta released a fatwa in 2013 stating that Jinn cannot possess man. Ata Abu Rishta is otherwise known as the world-wide leader of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an organisation that seeks to establish the Islamic State in the Muslim land albeit it having severely shrunk to an almost non-existent influence ever since Ata took over.
The English translation of the full fatwa by Ata can be seen here: http://www.khilafah.com/qaa-the-relationship-between-humans-and-jinn/
The fatwa details how Iblis, the devils (Shayateen) and other Jinn made of fire cannot physically possess man. The fatwa states that they can only influence man to do bad things. Whilst this is correct, the fatwa has some vital misunderstandings regarding the reality of the unseen. The fatwa assumes:
The unseen cannot be seen by human beings.
The unseen creatures in question are only of one type; creatures made from fire.
A human being cannot be possessed by a creature other than the Jinn.
A core condition of every single fatwa is that it must be based on the reality. If it contradicts reality, then it simply is not applicable for mankind to observe. Scholars will differ on what the sources of Shariah may be, whether it includes Qiyas, Ijmaa as-Sahaba, Ijmaa al-Ulema etc, however these issues are secondary in Fiqh as the fatwa is nothing but myth if it has an incorrect view of reality.
This article is based on a study of reality.
The unseen world can be seen
The unseen (‘ghaib’ in Arabic) world cannot be seen with the naked human eye, for that is exactly what the term ‘unseen’ implies. Rather, there are other different techniques that can be used to look into the unseen world, for example, the use of the mystical eye.
Seeing the unseen world is an ability possible for every human being, however most humans are blocked from seeing the unseen world. With effort and the correct technique, the block can be lifted. The clarity of the vision is not necessarily linked to someone’s closeness to Allah, for many non-Muslims can also see the unseen world. It is well known amongst many cultures for thousands of years that there are ways where humans can see things without the use of their physical eyes.
When a person dreams, the soul rises out of the body during sleep and travels into the dream world in which the soul will witness many things. There are instances when more than one person dream of the same thing at the same time i.e. they all see things which exist but cannot be seen with the physical eye and all of them can describe in detail what was seen in the dream.
In the field of Ruqyah, it is possible for people to see a vision which is initiated by the Ruqyah whilst their eyes are closed. More than one person can see the same vision at the same time. In fact, in visual Ruqyah sessions, it is possible to use more than one visualiser in order to work on the same mystical problem, therefore each visualiser will see the impact the other is doing in the unseen world and can assist each other to expedite and intensify the Ruqyah effect. With the vision, it is possible to physically remove illnesses and problems in the mystical world that affect the patient’s physical world therefore improving the patient’s health in manners that physical medicine can never reach.
Therefore, the reality of the human being is that there is capability to view the unseen world using mystical sight and other forms of sight. Imagination is not a factor in this because more than one person can view the same thing without communication to each other.
There are different types of unseen creatures
A common belief is that there is only one type of unseen creature which can potentially possess man i.e. the Jinn made of fire. This belief emanates from the story of how Allah (SWT) created Adam (AS) from clay and then ordered the Angels (made of light) and the Jinn (made of fire) to bow down to Adam (AS) as a form of respect. However one of the Jinn, called Iblis, refused to bow down as he believed that fire is stronger and superior to clay. Allah (SWT) therefore out-casted Iblis from Heaven and sent him to Earth. Iblis made a promise to Allah (SWT) that he would try his best to misguide everyone on Earth.
The belief that the only type of unseen creature that can possibly possess man are Jinn is an unsophisticated approach. For example, in the Quran, it is mentioned:
“Lawful to you is the game of the sea and its food…” Al Maidah: 96
Allah (SWT) has not detailed the full spectrum of what is in the sea, although science states that approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface is made of water, therefore most of the physical creatures on earth are under the sea and oceans. Allah (SWT) has given us the intellect to investigate the sea and whatever resides in the sea is food for humans.
In the same way, Allah (SWT) has not detailed the full spectrum of unseen creatures and merely mentioned that there are creatures made from fire called Jinn, which includes Iblis and the devils (Shayateen). These types of creatures have their own intellect (‘Aql) so will be judged on whether they follow the laws of Allah (SWT) or not.
Other creatures from the unseen are Angels, which have no capacity to disobey Allah as they are created for the sole purpose of obeying Allah. The Buraaq is a type of creature that carried the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in the night journey to Jerusalem and to the Heavens. Demons, Wraiths and Hybrids are also common creatures created by Allah using different substances. The types of creatures in the unseen world is vast and studying it takes much longer than studying the physical world.
Jinn of fire cannot possess man but Demons can
It is true that the Jinn of fire i.e. Iblis and his followers as well as the Jinn that are Muslim cannot possess a man. The reason behind this is because fire cannot destroy clay. As man is made of a special clay (from heaven), fire has no strength over this special clay hence cannot overpower a human being’s body or mind. The most the Jinn can do is influence the human and they do this by influencing the thoughts and emotions.
During Ruqyah, the patient may get possessed e.g. by suddenly gaining super-human strength or speaking in a language he or she doesn’t have any knowledge of. The human at this state is considered possessed since no form of mental illness can miraculously allow a person to converse in a language he or she has no knowledge of, nor suddenly develop unnatural super human strength.
As the Jinn made of fire cannot possess man, by rational deduction, another type of unseen creature which we have not be told about in the Quran and Hadith must be possessing the person.This type of possessing creature is a Demon. There is no Arabic word for Demon. It is a Demon that speaks through the person with the use of different languages and the super-human strength is the strength of the Demon. Demons are created from a substance stronger than heavenly clay therefore is able to possess a human being.