Does Islam believe that there are extraterrestrials?

Sura 51 verse 56Ghosts called Djinn

"And I only made the jinns and humans to serve me."

To grasp the meaning of this verse, we need to place it in the context of Islamic cosmology. The universe is structured hierarchically and consists of three areas: firstly the physical or material area, secondly the intermediate or the area of ​​imagination (imago), and thirdly the area that can be grasped by the intellect or the heavenly area.

The Koran series is explained as a multimedia presentation

There are also seven heavens and seven earths. They differ from each other and from our earth. All have their own nature and inhabitants.

Amira El-Zein has dealt intensively with the Jinn belief. (priv.) The abundance and breadth of the cosmos is constantly being expanded and renewed, as God repeatedly destroys worlds and creates new ones.

Muslims always open their prayer by reciting the first sura in the Koran. In it God is addressed as "Lord of the Worlds" ("rabb al-‘âlamîn"). As Muslims pray several times a day, they are constantly reminded that the cosmos is filled with various forms of life and that the earth is not the center of the world. From this cosmological perspective, it is not surprising to Muslims that a special species of creature called the jinn is mentioned in the Quran.

Djinn are neither angels nor demons, but intermediate beings. Islam took them over from the time before it came into being, but without demonizing them. They are considered part of creation. And even if belief in their existence is not part of the five pillars of Islam, it would still be impossible to be a Muslim without believing jinn to be true.

Meanwhile, it is astonishing that the holy book often couples jinn and humans, as in the verse quoted at the beginning, when God emphasizes that he created both for the purpose of worshiping him. There is even a whole chapter of the Koran that is addressed to both creatures: Sura 55, called "al-Rahmân" - "The Merciful".

But why would God couple humans and jinn? Ultimately, they are very different. Humans were made of clay, jinns of fire. People are visible, jinn barely perceptible, invisible beings who rarely reveal themselves to us. Djinn can predict the future - not because of their intellectual superiority, but because they have incredible physical powers. In the twinkling of an eye they can cross the dimensions while the human being is restricted in his mobility. In addition, Djinn are crooks and shape-shifters. They can easily lure people, especially those with weak faith and intellect.

So why humans and jinns in the same breath? The answer is: there are also common characteristics. First, and most importantly, both genres are considered intelligent and rational in Islam. Some are good, some are bad - just like humans. Both are mortal, with jinn living extremely long - many centuries. It is said that sometimes jinns fall in love with people and vice versa.

Prophets were sent to both of them. Some jinn converted to Islam, others stayed in their old beliefs. Djinn are held responsible for their actions and how people will be judged on Judgment Day.

Do the similarities mean that both species are the same? In this regard, one thing is clear in Islam: no matter how much they resemble each other, people remain completely superior to jinns. God has made people his vicarious rulers on earth. They are the ones who create knowledge. Djinn don't do it. Humans have imaginations, jinn not - despite their access to many realms of existence.

The audio version had to be shortened due to the airtime.