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By Islamic tradition, the djinn (jinn, genii) are a race of creatures parallel to that of humans. According to the Qur’an, the djinn are bright and radiant creatures, composed of smokeless flame.

Frequently mentioned in the Qur’an and throughout Islamic literature, the djinn are roughly the equivalent of demons in Judaic and Christian tradition. In Christianity, spiritual entities are divided between angels and demons, with angels being righteous and demons wicked but, in Islam, the djinn are portrayed more similarly to humans, in that some of them are good, while others are evil, with the vast majority somewhere in between.

The djinn are capable of acting independently of Allah, just as people are, although some factions of Islam deny them the capacity of free will. Commonly, the djinn are portrayed as being able to choose to do good or to do evil, which differs considerably from Christian angels and demons.

Interestingly, not all djinn hold to the Islamic faith, with some subscribing to Islam, others to Judaism, others to Christianity, and others to atheism or idolatry, much like humanity.

While mostly hidden from humans, the djinn raise families, eat foot, have cities and governments, and so on. The djinn are able to act non-physically, their bodies being described as ethereal or incorporeal. When they appear to humans, they may appear as clouds or shadows, in human or animal form, and often something in between. Some are viewed as beautiful while others appear to be hideous.

Although individual djinn have been known to act kindly toward people, overall they are believed to harbor animosity toward the human race.

Particularly malevolent djinn are believed to inhabit areas associated with filth, refuse and death, graveyards and garbage dumps being typical haunts. Mohammad is reported to have said that bones and feces were the food of the djinn, and to have forbidden men from urinating in holes because the djinn dwell in such holes. They are also said to haunt human houses.

The origins of the djinn are unclear. Some Islamic scholars hold that they originated as evil spirits living in deserts and unclean places, and that they often took the form of animals. Others suggest that they were originally pagan deities who became marginalized when other deities assumed more significant roles.

There is documentation that djinn were worshipped by Arabs during the pre-Islamic period, but that they were not believed to be immortal. Although their mortality placed them below that of the immortal deities, the djinn played a more important role in the lives of pre-Islamic Arabs than that of the gods. The djinn were thought to be the source of inspiration for soothsayers, philosophers, and poets.

The djinn also participated in the affairs of mankind in pre-Islamic culture, with tribes of djinn allying themselves with Arab tribes at war with other Arab tribes. In battle, the djinn were feared because they could shift into other shapes, including invisible forms in which they could attack without being seen.

Storms, disease, and other maladies were often attributed to the djinn.

In Islamic tradition, Muhammad was sent as a prophet to both human and djinn communities, and other prophets and messengers were also sent to both communities.

Al-Baqara, the second chapter of the Quran, holds that God sent the angels to create Adam as a successor on earth, and some Islamic scholars believe. that the djinn were the predecessor. In Solomon, the djinn were portrayed as nature spirits, while Solomon was gifted by God to talk to animals and spirits. Later, God gave Solomon authority over the rebellious djinn and the devils, after which he forced them to build the First Temple.

In other Islamic writings, the Quran speaks of pagan Arabs who called for the djinn for help rather than to God.

However, a belief in djinn is not included in the six articles of Islamic faith, while the belief in angels is.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the djinn, who were also known as jinn or genie, although the latter term is sometimes reserved for devils.





Feature Article

The Djinn


The Djinn are not well known in the Western world where, if they are known at all, it is as genies -- the magical and enormous entity found in the Arabian Nights story of Aladdin. To the Western mind, genies grant three wishes when a lamp that the inhabit is rubbed.

However, the Djinn (Jinn) is actually an Islamic entity with origins in Arabian lore. In Islam, the Djinn is often mentioned in the Qur'an, with an entire chapter, specifically the 72nd sura, talking about this supernatural creature.

The Djinn is a spiritual creature with supernatural powers. It is said that they are of equal stature with angels, but that the latter live in heaven while the Djinn live on earth. They live in a parallel world, here on earth, where they cannot be seen by humans, and through which the Djinn can cross over and interact with people, often interfering in human affairs.

The Djinn are invisible unless they choose otherwise, but they are master shape shifters, their most common forms being snakes and black dogs, although they have the ability to take on any form they wish -- be it that of an insect, human, alien, ghost, fairie, angel, or pretty much anything.

According to Islamic teaching, the Djinn are one of three sapient creations of Allah, the others being angels and humans. Angels are made of a spiritual light while humans are made of clay and water. The Djinn, on the other hand, are made of smokeless fire, yet are physical in nature, have free will, and may be either good or evil, or something in between.

The Djinn have existed since antiquity, and have been known prior to their appearance in Islamic lore. They are said to live very long lives, yet they are not immortal and can be killed. They are usually invisible to the human eye, but many animals have the ability to see them. They often live in lonely places, such as the desert and caves, but sometimes reside in the same homes as humans, but in another dimension.

The Djinn can be summoned through magical rites and can sometimes be controlled by humans, used for their ability to grant wishes and do tasks using their powers. However, they have disdain for the human race, are difficult to control, and are angered easily, making them dangerous and malicious. They are master tricksters. When they grant wishes to humans, they are often able to twist and maneuver the results to the detriment of the wisher.

One of the human beings said to have controlled the Djinn successfully is the Biblical King Solomon. The Qur'an relates a story where Solomon is given a copper and iron ring by God that contained several Djinn creatures. According to tradition, copper and iron are said to weaken the Djinn, and for this reason, King Solomon was able to control them and to protect himself from their powers. King Solomon branded the Djinn as his slaves and ordered them to build the Temple of Jerusalem and the entire city.

According to the Qur'an, the Djinn had inhabited the earth more than two thousand years before Adam and Eve were created. When Allah created Adam, he ordered the angels and the Djinn to bow down to him. Angered by this, particularly because the Djinn considered themselves to be superior to the newly created humans, Iblis, the Djinn leader, refused to do so and, as a result, together with the rest of the Djinn, he was cast out of paradise. Iblis became known as Shaytan and became a figure comparable to the Devil, or Satan.

According to Islam, the Djinn were created by Allah to serve the same purpose as humans, to worship Allah. Islamic writings have it that Muhammad encountered the Djinn during his lifetime, and was able to convert many of them to Islam by reading the Qur'an to them.

The Djinn are not confined to either the Middle East or the past. They still exist until today, and dwell on earth. Although they live in a parallel world, they have the ability to enter the world of humans and to interact with humans at will. They often appear to humans as demonic figures, but may also appear as beautiful and seductive.

The Djinn are both male and female, and can produce children. They are often attracted to humans, to mate with them, and to produce children who are half human and half Djinn. Queen of Sheba, who existed during King Solomon's time, is said to be an offspring of a human and a Djinn.

The Djinn are supernatural creatures, but they are not immortal and they do many of the things that humans do. They eat, sleep, play, and even have pets. They have communities with their own leaders and kings, as well as their own set of laws. As noted earlier, they often prefer remote areas such as the desert, caves and tunnels, but also reside in places of impurity such as graveyards and trash dumps. However, they can also live in the same houses where humans live, residing in places between the shade and the light. They move around at dusk, when the first signs of darkness start to appear, and often the humans with whom they share a home are unaware of their existence.

The Djinn can be summoned through rituals and spells but they are hard to control and are very malicious. They can be asked to do things using their magical powers but they often twist wishes in order to wreak havoc on human's lives. Even when a Djinn has established a love relationship with a human, the Djinn considers himself to be the superior. As a species, they have never forgiven the humans for having displaced them on the earth.

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