The qareen is a spiritual creature that shadows or acts as a double for a human until the end of the latter’s natural life. The being is primarily considered to be evil and will lead the person astray. It is particularly prevalent among Islamic communities in the Middle East and North Africa.

This creature is not to be confused with the qarinah, a female spirit that latches onto humans, destroys their relationships, and even tries to kill their children. In contrast, the qareen can be male or female, and every human is assigned one of these spirits. However, just like the qarinah, qareen tend to be malevolent and jealous beings that will cause immense harm to their humans’ relationships.

Islamic teachings say everyone has a Qareen

Every human child receives a qareen when they are born: boys are shadowed by a female qareen and girls a male qareen. The demon being does not die when their human passes away, but according to some Islamic legends, it will remain in the human’s grave until the Day of Judgement when it will emerge and speak on behalf of their human. The qareen will then pass into Hell.

A malevolent qareen
Girls are said to have male qareen and boys a female one. Usually, they are said to be malevolent and sometimes petty. Pic credit:

Even Mohammad and the Prophet Jesus had a qareen, but because they were both free from sin, their qareens were not malevolent, two out of only a few rare exceptions.

Theqareen appears in the Quran Chapter 50, Verse 27, “One’s devilish associate will say, ‘Our Lord! I did not make them transgress. Rather, they were far astray on their own.'” The “devilish associate” in question is widely thought to be a qareen.

The spirit is also referenced in the Sunnah Hadith, which documents the actions of the Prophet Muhammad. In the Sunnah, a woman asks Muhammad about the qareen. To quote the Sunnah directly: “[She asked] If there was a devil [a qareen] accompanying her. He answered that there is indeed a devil with everyone – and even himself – but that Allaah The Almighty granted him control over his devil and he was subdued, so now he only enjoins him to do good.”

Methods to dissuade a Qareen and protect your children

Many Islamic teachings claim that the qareen is a type of shaitan jinn that was created by God. They have free will but are primarily malevolent. One method to try to get rid of a qareem or at least dispel its worst excesses is to recite Verse 250 in Chapter Al-Baqarah of the Quran.

In 1939, Samuel Zwemer released Studies in Popular Islam, a study of some regional beliefs and superstitions with Islamic communities in North Africa. The following three chapters summarize his findings on the qareen.

The qareen is invisible to most people except “idiots” and prophets. However, at night, the being usually took on the appearance of a cat, a dog, or another household animal (This is another characteristic shared with the qarinah). Zwemer claimed in his study that many Egyptians still refrained from kicking or injuring a cat after nightfall for fear of angering a qareen.

Many communities in North Africa would take measures to protect their children, born and unborn, against the qareen, who is jealous of their human’s relationships with others. Children often wore amulets, beads, and other talismans to ward off the beings.

Newborn babies were considered particularly at risk during the first seven days, but they could be guarded by reciting passages from the Quran or, in some cases, a jug of water and candles were kept close to the baby’s head. During these seven days, the mother must not strike a cat or risk death to both her and the baby. Most of the measures and beliefs mentioned in the last three paragraphs are primarily prevalent in North Africa and lie outside of mainstream Islamic teachings.

The true origins of Qareen may be a mystery

Similarly to the qarinah, the qareem may have roots in prehistoric religions and legends from ancient Egypt or the Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations up to nearly 10,000 years ago.

a man pictured with a guardian angel
The qareen are similar to the idea of guardian angels in Christianity, though they are usually the opposite sex and often jealous or evil. Pic credit:

Many more modern civilizations also have legends of a spirit that accompanies or shadows a human, such as a Guardian Angel, in Christian cultures.

References, “Trying to Understand the Qareen,” accessed April 4, 2024., “Jinn Comrade (Qareen): How to Get Rid of It?” accessed April 4, 2024., “Evidence from the Quran and Sunnah of the existence of the Qareen (companion),” accessed April 9, 2024., “Qaf 50:27,” and “Al-Baqarah,” accessed April 9, 2024.

Zwemer, Samuel. “Studies in Popular Islam,” (1939), The Sheldon Press, accessed April 4, 2024.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments