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And He created the jinn from a smokeless flame of fire. (Qur'an 55:15)

So, if they are made of fire, we must be able to see them. Why can't we see them?

Is there something special about "smokeless fire"??

Logical answer along with quotations expected...

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There could be some responses concerning your interesting inquiry. For instance:

  • The initial and the most significant reason would be related to the want of Allah which is considered as the good attention of Allah (Maslehat) to create them like that. E.g. it mentioned at the holy Quran that: Jinn devils see you but you do not see them… (A’raf : 27)

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ لَا يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ كَمَا أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْآتِهِمَا ۗ إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿٢٧

O children of Adam, let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise, stripping them of their clothing to show them their private parts. Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them. Indeed, We have made the devils allies to those who do not believe. (27)

  • Jinn is a creature which is related to the fire and weather (has created from the fire), that’s why they have thin and transparent bodies and it is not feasible for the human to see them easily.
  • Jinn is a sort of the creature, and that’s why it is said that Jinn is counted as impalpable creatures. محمد تقي مصباح، معارف قرآن، ص 215. (Mohammad Taqi Mesbah, Ma’aaref-al-Quran, Pg.215.1)
  • … And it was something from the things which Iblis asked Allah that I and my children see the humans (adams), but they do not see. تفسیر قمی ؛ المیزان ، ج8 ، ص84 (Tafsir Qomi Al-Mizan, Vol.8, pg.84)
  • Of course it ought to be paid attention that Allah has give this ability to some groups of Jinns and devils to be able to appear themselves for some people and vise versa (that some humans could see them as well (which is limited…)
  • Indicating another issue from scientific aspect could be beneficial to know that Jinn has the ability to be tensile (Enbesat) and contraction (shrinkage or Enghebaaz). In the common case, they are at the tensile mood who are not seeable, but they would be seeable on the opposite mood. (Mohammad Taqi Mesbah, Ma’aaref Quran, Page316)

References:

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It is just a personal idea, but smokeless fire may mean something other than usual fire. It may be some kind of energy which is not visible because of the spectrum of light, just like we don't see ultraviolet light. Also think about human body. It is made of earth, but does it look like earth? When you take some earth or mud into your hands, and if you don't know anything about the biology of human body, can you imagine that a piece of mud can be transformed into a brain?

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A fire with smoke is the fire as we know it (candle, stove, furnace, engine, campfire, stars, etc.). When anything is set to fire, it starts burning and spreads smoke by consuming its fuel.

What is smoke? It is the gaseous burnt fuel (CO2, SO2 etc.) which leaves the object that is burning. As the object continues to burn, smoke continues to spread till the object is fully burnt and the object expires.

The phrase "smokeless fire" in Quran is a sign that jinn are not created by the fire that we know. Because otherwise, they would expire (actually, this is also a possibility if we think their expiration is their death). It is a different type of fire that we may never know. From what I understand from the verse (7:27) in Quran is that Shaytan and his tribe (I believe some of the jinns are in this category) can see us (humans) from a point of view that we can't (and we won't be able to) see them. Kind of like the interrogation rooms in police stations, where the suspects can't see what's behind the glass but the officers can see the suspects.

Consider electricity (current caused by the flow of electrons). You can see it when there is a spark or something like a lightning but when it is in its regular flow within the cables, you can't see the electricity. Possibly, just an example to a different type of fire in a sense.

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In Christian tradition, there is the Pentacost where "the holy spirit descended in tongues of flame" on the gathered disciples of Jesus.
In Jewish tradition, one writer says the Torah was "written in black fire on white fire," in discussing the eternal origins and spiritual energy of these words. So the idea of smokeless fire being non-ordinary fire, fire of the spirit or unseen world, seems to fit with the beliefs of our religious ancestors.

However, as a person who works with fire, it bothers me to call CO2 or H20 "smoke." (I can see the spiritual sense of it, but even in ancient times smoke is not invisible - it's something you can see. I don't know if the Arabic word implies the same thing as the English word, or not.)
In English, smoke is the smudge in the air - the grey, sooty, tarry, particulate matter carried aloft from a dirty-burning fire. Most cooking fires, camp fires, torches, and cheap oil lamps produce some amount of smoke. Fire which is burned cleanly, such as a gas lantern, or a "fox stove," or a well-made and well-tended oil lamp or candle, these trim and tidy fires do not produce smoke and soot.

For a person to produce a smokeless fire, they must come to understand the world in a different way. In order to make a fire burn smokeless, you have to pay attention and give it exactly what it needs - just the right mix of fuel and air - not just "good enough" amounts of fuel and air to get what you need from it. Most cooks don't bother to make a smokeless fire; they are focused on the food, not the fire. But someone who tends a fire for its own sake, or as part of a sacred duty that allows time to study the fire, might learn this art. (Such as religious leaders tending a memorial fire or eternal flame, or night watchmen shepherding people or livestock through dangerous lands.)

Some faith traditions look at the natural world as "the big book," and consider that exploring and studying it is a way to come closer to understanding the mind of God, they call Scripture the "little book" and study both. Perhaps in ancient times, a person who could make a smokeless fire would be understood to have a special knowledge or interaction with the unseen world.

If this is what is meant, I don't know why jinn would come only from smokeless fire, and not from wakeless boats, or perfect music, or flawless medical doctoring, or other actions showing near-perfect understanding. Maybe other acts call forth other kinds of spirits... or maybe this type of "smokeless fire," as a physical master craft, is not what is meant in the origins of jinn.

Fox stoves (partially underground, smokeless stoves dug as a tunnel out of dirt) were used on at least 5 continents going back thousands of years, including parts of the middle East and central Asia. They remain perennially popular as a stealthy way to cross enemy/rival territory without the smoke from a cooking fire giving away your location. (The "Dakota Fire Pit" is a variation that's popular on YouTube).

This might be the most common way a traveller would encounter literally smokeless fire. If this reference is literal, a traveller such as the Prophet mentioning "smokeless fire" might remind listeners of subtle scouts and desert nomads, moving unseen through vast landscapes, and making mischief or helping others at will.

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