J is for Jinn #atozchallenge

Posted April 11, 2013 in A-Z Challenge / 11 Comments

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp

Today I’m continuing with the Blogging from A-Z Challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of awesome bloggers. My theme is: Elements and features of speculative fiction and entertainment. So throughout April I will be blogging about characters, objects and themes that appear in sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian series. Today’s post is all about Jinn.

Stories of jinn or djinn can be found in various Muslim cultures around the world. They are spirits mentioned in the Qurʾān who inhabit an unseen world in dimensions that are not visible to humans. Jinn, humans and angels are believed to be the three sentient creations of God. They are made of smokeless and ‘scorching fire’. Unlike angels, they have freewill and can be good, evil or neutral. Jinn means ‘hidden from sight’ in Arabic, as they are not normally visible to humans. However, they can take on the form of nearly any creature to allow humans to see them.

The jinn are divided into five classes based on the strength of their magic:

1) Jann-very little ability apart from transforming themselves into animals
2) Jinn
3) Sheytans-evil jinn
4) Efrits-powerful evil jinn who prefer to live in abandoned buildings
5) Marids-the most powerful class. They are evil and have an affinity with water, usually dwelling in lakes or wells.

The lifespan of a jinni far outweighs that of a human. They can be killed, but how this is achieved is unclear. Like faeries, they are believed to be afraid of iron. There are many stories of jinn being captured and forced to do a human’s bidding. King Solomon was rumoured to posses a magic ring which allowed him to control and enslave jinn that were confined in vessels of brass.

In the English-speaking world, jinn are known as genies. The most famous example is the genie from Aladdin, who was confined in a lamp and had the power to grant humans three wishes. In the Western world genies are perceived as mythological beings, whereas in the East many people believe in the presence of jinn.

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11 responses to “J is for Jinn #atozchallenge

  1. I guess that genies, with all their powers, still have to be at the mercy of the human beings who tell them what they are allowed to do with their powers.

  2. Jinn are intriguing figures of myth, aren't they? If they are real, we should tread lightly on their turf!

    My Samuel McCord bears the ring of King Solomon, though he refuses to tap its power to control the spirit world — he cannot abide slavery of any kind. 🙂

  3. a friend published a short story where the jinn had a main role and was used to get two people together. I was not familiar with the concept and your blog helped my understanding

  4. I remember the first time I came across a Jinn, took me a long time to realize it was basically a genie. This is a great post about them. I never knew they could be so diverse with how they were classified.

  5. @Cynthia-yep, despite their powers they are essentially still slaves

    @Rosie-thanks for linking me, I will check out your blog too.

    @Patricia-yeah maybe she would be willing to share it with us?

    @Roland-Samuel McCord sounds like a jolly decent fellow! I wonder how many of us could resist such power?

    @sassyspeaks-glad you got something from my post. The possibilities for jinn interfering in romances is endless and a great source of comedy.

    @Janeal-yeah I wasn't familiar with the term and all the different types until recently either. There is still a lot more I need to research on the subject to understand it fully.

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