Question # 264: My parents tell me not to go out at Maghrib time to walk as this is the time the Jinn (spirits) and devils come out and that they will possess any children outside. Is there any basis to this in Islam?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: In authentic ahadith, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “When the wings of the night spread (after the sun has set) – or when evening comes – keep your children in, for the devils come out at that time…” Hence, there is fear for children at that hour, because the najaasah (impurity) that the shayaateen (devils) seek is usually present in them at that time, and the dhikr (remembrance of Allah) that would protect them is usually absent from children, and when the shayaateen spread out they hang on to whatever they can and the children may be subjected to such harm.

Long Answer: It is narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “When the wings of the night spread – or when evening comes – keep your children in, for the devils come out at that time. Then when part of the night has passed, let them go. And close the doors and mention the name of Allah, for the shaytaan (devil) does not open a closed door. And tie up your waterskins and mention the name of Allah, and cover your vessels and mention the name of Allah, even if you only put something over them, and extinguish your lamps.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said concerning the first hadith: “The wings of the night” refers to when night comes after the sun has set. As for the words “then let them go” – Ibn al-Jawzi said: Rather there is fear for children at that hour, because the najaasah (impurity) that the shayaateen (devils) seek is usually present with them at that time, and the dhikr (remembrance of Allah) that would protect them is usually absent from children, and when the shayaateen spread out they hang on to whatever they can hang on to. Hence there is fear for children at that time. The reason why they spread out at that time is that they are more able to move about at night than during the day, because darkness is more conducive to devil forces coming together than any other time. (Fath al-Baari)

Muslim also narrated from Jaabir (رضي الله عنه) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Do not let your animals and children go out when the sun has set, until the first part of the night is over, for the devils come out when the sun sets, until the first part of the night is over.”

al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “This hadith includes a number of types of goodness and etiquette which combine the interests of both this world and the Hereafter. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) enjoined these etiquettes which are the cause of safety from the harm of the shaytaan (devil), and Allah has made all of these means causes of being safe from his harm. He is not able to uncover vessels or untie waterskins or open doors or harm children or others if these means are followed. This is like what it says in the saheeh hadith, (authentic narration) that if a person says Bismillah when entering his house, the shaytaan (devil) says “No place to stay” i.e., we have no authority to stay overnight with these people. And if a man says when having intercourse with his wife, “O Allah, keep the shaytaan away from us and keep the shaytaan away from what You bestow upon us (of offspring),” that will be a cause of the child being kept safe from the harm of the shaytaan. This is similar to this hadith, which is well known among sahih ahadith.

This hadith encourages us to remember Allah in these cases and other similar situations. Our companions said: It is mustahabb (preferred) to mention the name of Allah over everything that matters, and to praise Allah at the beginning of everything that matters, because of the well-known hasan hadith (sound narrations).

The words “wings of the night” is a well-known phrase that refers to the darkness of the night. And it was said that it refers to when the darkness of night comes.  The words of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) “Keep your children in” mean: prevent them from going out at that time. The words “for the devils come out at that time” mean that there is the fear at this time that children may be subjected to the devils’ harm because there are so many of them at that time. And Allah knows best. (Sharh Muslim)

(The above reply is based on answer provided by Islamqa.info on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam