Class 4 ‘Possession (Al-Mass)’

Class 4


Linguistically: In the Arabic language this is when the jinn afflicts and touches a person. It was then more commonly used to mean possession.

In the terminology of the shariah, possession is when a person is harmed by a jinni from within his body, or outside of it or both; it is more general than convulsions (al-sar‘).

Types of Possession (al-Mass):

  1. Kulli’ – Complete possession: this is when the jinni afflicts the whole body, like those people who have convulsions.
  2. ‘Juz’i– Partial possession: this is when the jinni afflicts a certain limb or part of the body, such as the leg, shoulder, or tongue.
  3. ‘Da’im’ – Continuous possession: this is when the jinni Remains in the body for a long period of time.
  4. ‘Ta’if – Partial possession: this is when the effects are only felt for a few minutes, like severe nightmares.

Symptoms of Possession (al-Mass):

Before we discuss the symptoms of possession, the following should be noted:

For every illness there are symptoms which usually indicate its presence. We say ‘usually’ because certain illnesses may share the same symptoms. This is why it is important for the one treating that he checks and verifies the illness in front of him; this does not happen without experience, skill and success granted by Allah. Since possession is from the illnesses a person is afflicted with, it shares certain symptoms with other illnesses, however, the experienced person who is pious in his sayings and actions will usually be able to diagnose it. In many cases, certain people who recite over the possessed hasten in their judgement, so one person may say: it is possession, whilst another may claim it is magic, and a third person may say it is the evil eye. It is obligatory upon the one who recites [over others] to fear Allah and to remember His saying:

And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not) that of which yon have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the hearty of each of those one will be questioned (by Allah).” (Surah al-Isra’, verse 36)

Also, let it be known that speaking without knowledge in these affairs has many evil consequences. We will mention a story that we witnessed when a shaykh recited upon somebody. One raqu recited upon a girl and on doing so she collapsed and began to scream but the reciter continued to recite over her, and whilst reciting she said: “Do I have possession (al-mass)?” He replied: “There is nothing wrong with you,” and at this she calmed down and relaxed. After he finished reciting, he asked her brothers about this, and they informed him that someone who had previously recited upon her had told her she was possessed. This psychologically affected her and she started collapsing whenever she was recited upon. After she realised that there was nothing wrong with her, she returned back to normal. So, we advise all those who recite [over others] against making haphazard and random statements.

Let it also be known that this confusion which takes place amongst those who recite, also takes place amongst doctors, especially those who do not believe in the jinn and this type of possession. Hence, it may be that the patient is possessed but the doctors consider it to be a mental illness. We once met with a consultant, who informed us that when he receives patients of this nature, some of them leave without any change but after a while they become better and inform him that they went to someone who recited over them; they were cured by the will of Allah. The situation of the patient must be verified and properly diagnosed.

Reasons behind incorrect diagnosis:

There are many reasons why people are diagnosed incorrectly and without verification. The most prominent of these are:

1. Lack of fear of Allah; this is the reason for failure in everything.

2. Embarrassment – the correct diagnosis may not always be clear, but because the reciter does not want to seem ignorant in front of the patient and his/her family, he will give any answer rather than state that he does not know. This again comes back to the lack of fear of Allah.

3. Constant pressure from people on those who cure and recite upon others is another reason. In many instances, these people do not accept ‘no’ for an answer. This may cause that person to give any answer in order to be left alone; this is not something permissible for those that cure. We advise people not to pressurise the reciter/curer if he does not know the exact cause of the illness.

4. Confusion between illnesses and their symptoms – whether amongst those who cure [others] or amongst doctors. For example, those that recite over others may recite over one who is possessed, but because the jinm does not speak to him for a reason, he says it is “ayn* (the evil-eye). This is incorrect; just because the jinni does not speak, it does not mean he is absent. It may be that the jinni fled whilst the recitation took place or that it is mute. 

Likewise, a person who is inflicted with the evil-eye, (which is a dangerous condition, as will be explained in the appropriate chapter),may be diagnosed as possessed. Sometimes the symptoms of magic, the evil-eye and possession may be similar to symptoms of physical and psychological illnesses. For example, from the symptoms of possession is anxiety, but this does not mean that every person who has anxiety is possessed (al-mass). This is because many psychological illnesses are a cause of anxiety, just as turning away from the remembrance of Allah is also a cause of anxiety. Allah says:

But whosoever turns away from My Reminder verily, for him is a life of hardship,                                              and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.                                                                                (Surah Ta-Ha, verse 124)

Also, headaches can arise as a result of possession or as a result of physical illnesses. Ibn Hajr stated: “The reasons for headaches are many: from them is a tumour in the stomach or its veins, or a harsh trapped wind because it is full. They [i.e. headaches] may be due to violent movement such as sex and vomiting, or lack of sleep, or too much talking. Also from the causes are worry, grief, sadness, hunger and fever. Being struck on the head, having a brain tumour, lifting something heavy on the head, and over-heating or exposing the head to excessive cold can all lead to headaches.”(Fath Al Bari) So, does each headache necessarily mean there is possession involved?

5. The lack of belief amongst some people that possession (i.e. jinn possession) exists, especially amongst psychologists; this causes them to diagnose something which is on the opposite side of the spectrum from possession.

6. Lack of experience and knowledge; this leads to a downfall in everything. Ibn al-Qayyim mentions that the proficient doctor is the one who pays attention to twenty matters whilst seeking a cure. We will mention a few:

  • i. To view the illness and correctly identify it.
  • ii. To see what the illness was a result of, and the causes of its appearance.
  • iii. The habits of the patient.
  • iv. To cure the illness in a way that ensures that another more serious illness does not appear in its place.
  • v. To look at the illness and decide whether it is curable or not. If it is not curable, he does not give the patient false hope or cure him under false pretences.
  • vi. That he should have experience of the illnesses of the heart and soul and know their cure.
  • vii. To be kind and gentle with the patient, just as one is with a child.
  • viii. That he uses both natural and divine cures. 

Symptoms of Possession:

Possession has many symptoms which indicate its presence; these symptoms can be for possession and for other illnesses. From these symptoms are those which take place whilst saying the adhan or reciting upon the afflicted, and also from them are those which take place whilst asleep and others which take place whilst awake:

1. Symptoms whilst saying the adhan or reciting:

The one who has been possessed (al-mass) will normally faint or collapse when the adhan is said in his ear or when he is recited upon. He may also go into convulsions or start to scream or cry whilst collapsing, or he may gaze at the sky or to the right and left.

2. Symptoms which occur whilst awake:

It should be noted that these symptoms are not specific to possession (al-mass), but may also be symptoms for other physical and psychological illnesses. These symptoms are:

  • a) Insomnia and anxiety.
  • b) Preferring to be alone and secluded.
  • c) Constant headaches for which there are no medical explanation.
  • d) Laziness and being absent minded.
  • e) Convulsions and epilepsy.
  • f) Lack of concern in matters of cleanliness and hygiene.
  • g) It is possible that none of these symptoms are present, or that there are other symptoms which are present. It should be known that these symptoms also occur in the one afflicted by magic.

3. Symptoms which occur whilst asleep:

Likewise, these symptoms are also not specific to possession:

  • a) Nightmares.
  • b) Disturbing dreams, such as seeing oneself on a desolate road, or seeing black cats and ghosts/phantoms etc.
  • c) Excessive laughing, or crying and screaming whilst asleep. 

Situations in which a jinni enters a person

There is a difference between what causes the jinn to enter a person and the situation in which this will take place. The first refers to the reasons for which the jinn possess, whereas the second refers to the most likely state a person will be in when this possession occurs. In this section we will mention the second issue, as for the first issue then this will be mentioned shortly Insha Allah.

The situations [and states a person is likely to be in when] a jinni enters a person are:

  • a) Extreme anger.
  • b) Extreme fear.
  • c) Extreme happiness.
  • d) Extreme forgetfulness and negligence.
  • e) Drowning in one’s desires.
  • f) When one hurts and harms the jinn.



Linguistically, it means to throw on the earth; it is used to refer specifically to humans collapsing in convulsions, referring to this well-known illness.

In the terminology of the shariah, it is an illness which prevents, but not totally, the physical limbs from moving, sensing and standing.

Convulsions (al-sar‘) are a disorder which afflicts a person in the brain, sometimes to the extent that he does not realise what he is saying. He is unable to connect what he has said with what he wishes to say. As a result of these convulsions a person may suffer from memory loss, and accompanying this disorder in the brain is a disorder which affects his movements, so he cannot command where he is going. He may even lose the ability to walk straight or at a normal pace.

Types of Convulsions (al-Sar):

They are of two types:

  1. Convulsions caused by the jinn.
  2. Medical convulsions.

Ibn al-Qayyim said: “Convulsions are of two types: a type that is a result of the mixing of evil spirits, and the other type is that which the doctors discuss and cure.” Here we will discuss the first of these two types; the second type can be found in the books of medicine.

The existence of convulsions [caused by jinn] has been proven by the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah, as well as by the ijma’ (consensus) of the scholars, and by intellect (‘aql). 

Those who eat riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaytan leading him to insanity”. (Surah al-Baqarah, verse 275)

Ibn Kathir said in explanation of this verse: “This means they will stand from their graves on the Day of Judgement, like the one who has had convulsions and then stands from his illness after the striking of shaytan; that is an uneven and imbalanced standing.”

Imam al-Qurtubl said: “In this verse, there is proof against those who deny convulsions from the jinn, those who instead claim it is only natural and that shaytan does not possess people nor does he afflict them with possession (al-mass).”

Reasons which cause the jinn to enter a person:

There are many reasons which cause the jinn to enter a person:

1. A test and trial from Allah

Indeed, Allah due to His infinite wisdom tests and tries His slaves with many calamities; convulsions are from these calamities.

Allah says: “…and we shall make a trial of you with evil and with good. And to Us you will be returned”. (Surah al-Anbiya’, verse 35)

It is incumbent upon the one who has been afflicted to be patient, and to seek the reward of Allah whilst utilising the permissible means to cure himself.

2. A punishment from Allah

This may be as a result of the slave committing sins. Allah says: “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much”. (Surah al-Shura, verse 30)

So as a person becomes more and more distant from his Lord and Creator, shaytan is able to overcome and overpower him. Hence, his life becomes miserable. Allah mentions: “And whosoever turns away blindly from the remembrance of the Most Gracious (Allah), We appoint for him shaytan to be a companion to him”. (Surah al-Zukhruf, verse 36)

Ibn al-Qayyim stated: “The majority of [cases of] possession by these spirits is as a result of the possessed having very little religion and their hearts and tongues being negligent of the remembrance of Allah, and seeking His protection. Consequently, these evil spirits meet the one who has isolated himself and has no weapon, and is in a sense naked, and thus are able to affect him. ” (Zad al-Ma’ad, vol. 4, p. 69.)

This is something we witnessed commonly in those we recited upon, for many of them had weak faith (tman) and were negligent of their religious duties, whilst others were drowning in their desires. Returning to Allah and leaving sins is an important way with which one can repel shaytan.

3. Due to desire, passion and love

A jinni may be attracted to a human, as Ibn Taymiyyah said, “This is from evil which has been made hardm (unlawful) by Allah, just as it is for humans even if they agree. So what if it is by force? This is evil coupled with oppression. The jinni should be made aware of the evil and oppression it is committing, and the fact that the law of Allah and His Messenger is also applicable to it.”

4. A means of revenge

Ibn Taymiyyah affirmed, “And it may occur – and this is the most common reason- out of hatred and revenge. For example, a human may harm one of them by urinating on them, or throwing hot water on them or killing them, (whether knowingly or unknowingly). The jinn are ignorant and oppressive by nature so they take revenge with that person with more than he deserves.”

So if this is the case and the person did it unknowingly, it should be explained to the jinn that a person who does something unintentionally does not deserve to be punished. If the incident took place in the person’s own house, the jinn are made aware that the person owns the house and thus has the right to do in it as he pleases from the lawful things. Rather it is not allowed for them to be in someone’s property without their permission, for they have their own places of dwelling such as ruins and caves etc.

5. Foolishness on the part of the jinn

Just as there are amongst humans those who harm others out of foolishness, then likewise this is also present amongst the jinn. Ibn Taymiyyah said: “It may be as a result of frivolity and wickedness; this is the least serious of cases. ”

6. As a result of magic

A magician may send a jinni into the person he wishes to place magic upon, so it enters and harms him. We have witnessed this in cases where the jinn have mentioned that they possess a person due to magic.


  1. Do not have to memorise the ayahs or hadeeths word for word and their references, but remember their meanings and the msg being given.
  2. Remember the symptoms & reasons of possession.



There will be an Assignment Question asked in the Test. Marks will be given based on the following: –

  1. Invite atleast 15 people to the course (can invite via WhatsApp, Facebook, Email, telegram or word of mouth) 7 Marks. (check the note below for exceptions)


  1. Those who have already invited whether on Whatsapp, Email or FB, do not need to invite again.
  2. It does not whether people join or not, our job is to invite.
  1. Talk about any 3 topics from this week’s classes with atleast 3 people. 7 Marks.
  1. Pray for the Ummah, pray for the ease of all the poor & oppressed Muslims and pray that Allah make us all strong in imaan and give us the hidayah to work for the aakhirah and to help each other. – 2 Marks