The Jinn, or D’Jinn as they are sometimes referred to, come to us from folklore that was inherited by Islam pre-dating Christianity, Judaism and the Muslim religion. Jinn is what the beings are known by as a whole, similar to all people on our planet being called human. The singular description is Jinni, and the primary meaning of the word is “to hide” or “to conceal.” One of the westernized versions of this word is Genie, which is what we have become familiar with in the movies from Hollywood and on television reruns. For those of us who grew up in the bobbing blonde Barbara Eden era, you will remember one of my favorite shows! For you youngins who have never seen “I Dream of Jeanne”, you can link to what I am talking about here.
The Jinn are similar to humans in that they have free-will and live in a society that is very similar to our own. They marry, farm, have children, and even die, later to be judged and sent to heaven or hell, but that is where the similarities end. The Jinn are supernatural beings who live much longer than humans and live in a parallel dimension that is unable to be sensed by us mere mortals. They have magic powers, even the ability to shape-shift, and can use those powers for good or evil depending on their disposition.
They are said to live among us, beyond a veil that our senses can’t lift. It kind of reminds me of the movie from the 80s with Roddy Piper “They Live” and if you have never seen it, I’m not suggesting it, unless you are totally into John Carpenter movies and have nothing better to do on a Saturday night. The movie isn’t about the Jinn, but does have the same premise in that there are creatures that live among us that we can’t detect.
According to what I found during my research, the Jinn were created before humans, and after the Angels, although it is not clear how long before or after that might be. It is written that the Jinn were created by God using a smokeless fire, and there are some that put Angels and Demons in the same category as the Jinn, although for the most part, they are three different spiritual entities.
Unlike the Genies in western pop culture, the Jinn don’t live in bottles and grant wishes, although there are various sub-cultures of the Jinn that are either helpful or harmful that you might want to become familiar with. You know, just in case you run into one. The Quran makes mention of the Djinn, in particular, ‘ifrit and marid, but there are a host of other names that they can be known by.
A ghul (aka ghoul) is a shape-shifter than feeds on the flesh of humans, and we will be finding more out about these lovely creatures in a post to come. The hinn are weak and like to appear as dogs, while the marid, also known as “blue” djinn, is the most powerful and is associated with wish granting. ‘Ifrit in lore is evil and difficult to control, jann are shape-shifters that take the form of whirlwinds and white camels in the desert, and the palis is vampiric foot-licker (ewww) which isn’t so smart and can be easily outwitted (lord let’s hope so).
This topic didn’t have a lot of clear cut evidence as to where the stories originated from, and the clip I link to below was the most straight forward explanation I could find. Since the Jinn theoretically can’t be seen, I did take some liberties and am leaving you with my favorite depiction of all time. I know now that Jinnis aren’t blue or grant wishes, but I sure did love Robin Williams in this role!
For more information, you can check out the links below, and make sure that you follow my website so you can get my Mythical Creature Posts sent to you every Monday! In the meantime, need to get back to researching some more creatures I am dying to use in my #WIP. What kind of creatures are you using in your writing? I would love to know so comment below!
Happy Writing! XO
One of my favorite songs from Aladdin:
This was an interesting lecture on the topic: