The Arabic Language utilizes an intricate root system to classify its vocabulary which enables it to express interrelated concepts with beautiful imagery.
We’ll take a look at the usage of the word “jinn” in the 50th ayah of Surah Kahf to get an idea of this.
وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ
And when we said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam,” so they all prostrated themselves except Iblis, who was one of the Jinns and disobeyed the command of his Lord…
Allah says that Iblis was one of the “jinn,” which of course carries the standard definition that he was a creature created from fire who was given free will, but a closer look reveals even deeper meaning.
Taken literally, “jinn” means “hidden one”, and comes from the Arabic root “jan,” meaning hidden. We find a whole collection of Arabic words that also stem from this root and add depth to its meaning.
For example paradise, the hidden garden, is called “Jannah”, while the mother’s womb is called a “janeen” because it hides a baby inside. Furthermore, a shield is called a “junna” becuase it hides and protects from attack.
So what relevance does this root have in the context of this ayah? Besides describing the apparent hidden nature of Iblis to the human perception, it also suggests that he was concealing or hiding something in this instance.
That hidden object was his arrogance. As we know, Iblis was one of the greatest worshippers of Allah for an extremely long period of time, and it was not until he was asked to humble himself before what he perceived to be a lesser creation, that his arrogance, which he developed and hid all along, was exposed.
We ask Allah to hide our hearts from the arrogance that sent Iblis out of Jannah, the hidden garden, and to hide our sins so that we may enter it. Ameen.