Someone from Jordan asked Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, a question about the following verse of Surah ar-Rahman:
لَمۡ يَطۡمِثۡھُنَّ اِنۡسٌ قَبۡلَھُمۡ وَلَا جَآنٌّ
[“… whom neither man nor Jinn will have touched before them…” (Surah ar-Rahman, Ch.55: V.57]
He asked what the term “jinn”, mentioned in this verse, meant. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 18 October 2021, provided the following answer to this question:
“The word jinn is frequently used in the Holy Quran and the ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa with various connotations. The precise meaning of the word is determined by its context. Generally, the word jinn means something that is hidden, whether it is hidden owing to its form or its behaviour. The word takes on numerous connotations as it changes cases or is inflected in other ways. Nevertheless, the concept of being hidden or obscure is common across all of these connotations.
“The following words, for example, that are derived from the root j-n-n, carry the above-mentioned connotation:
janna [جَنَّ], for example, means ‘to cast a shadow’ or ‘to cast a mantle of darkness’.
janin [جَنِين] is the foetus hidden in the mother’s womb.
junun [جُنُون] refers to the illness which covers the intellect.
jinan [جِنَان] denotes the heart, hidden in one’s chest.
jannah [جَنَّة] is the garden, whose thick shade from the trees covers the soil.
majannah [مَجَنَّة] refers to the shield behind which the warrior hides.
jaann [جَانّ] is applied to the snakes that live in hiding in the ground.
janan [جَنَن] refers to the tomb that hides the dead in itself.
junnah [جُنَّة] applies to the veil that covers the head and the body.
“Moreover, the word jinn is also used for veiled women. It is also used for such chieftains and the elite who do not mix with the public. It is also used for people of nations that live in geographically remote areas and are cut off from the rest of the world.
“Similarly, the word [jinn] is also used for nocturnal animals that stay in the dark and for very small insects or microorganisms such as germs etc. That is why the Holy Prophetsa instructed that eating utensils be kept covered at night. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-ashribah, Bab al-’amri bi taghtiyati l-ina’i wa ika’i s-siqa’i wa ighlaqi l-abwab) He also forbade the usage of bones for cleaning after attending to the call of nature and said that they were the food of the jinn, i.e., ants, termites and other bacteria. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-manaqib, Bab dhikri l-jinn)
“Furthermore, the word jinn is also used for hidden evil spirits, i.e., Satan and for the hidden good spirits, i.e., angels as has been stated that:
مِنَّا الصَّالِحُونَ وَمِنَّا دُونَ ذَلِكَ
“[‘Some of us are righteous and some of us are otherwise.’] (Surah al-Jinn, Ch. 72: V. 12)
“Thus, as mentioned above, the word will have different meanings depending on the context. In your question, you have quoted the following verse of Surah ar-Rahman:
لمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إنْسٌ قْبلَهُمْ وَلَا جَانٌّ
“[‘… whom neither man nor Jinn will have touched before them…’ (Surah ar-Rahman, Ch.55: V.57]
“The word ‘jinn’, which has been used in this verse in contrast to ‘ins’, denotes the elite, those of great rank and position, the rich, chieftains and leaders. And the meaning of the verse is that Allah the Exalted has prepared such heavenly gardens for His righteous servants in which there will be such unique blessings that will be exclusively for those dwellers of Paradise and before them, these blessings would have been beyond the reach of the ordinary as well as the elite.”