The Djinn

Mysterious and Powerful Shape Shifting Spirits

The term “Djinn,” “Jinn” or “Jnn;” originates from the Semitic family of middle eastern languages known as Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic—which translate or refer to these beings as “hidden” or “concealed.”  

The term “genie” is also associated with the Djinn, as it was popularized in the early 18th-century translation of the literary masterpiece One Thousand and One Nights, also known as, Arabian Nights

There is a great mystery surrounding the origin of the Djinn. While attempting to ascertain their purpose and interaction within the physical plane, one must consider various theoretical and theological explanations, which date back to 2400 BC. According to the Qur’an, these powerful and sentient spirits were created by Allah out of “smokeless fires;” and “scorching winds” of the Sahara Desert (Simoon). The Djinn were considered the masters of Earth before the presence of man; however, Allah was angered by how they chose to embrace their gift free of will and fell out of favor with him. It is said they can access an ethereal realm, called Jinnistan, which overlaps the physical realm of Earth. The overlapping properties of the two realms allow the Djinn to move freely between both worlds. The Djinn can become invisible or shapeshift into various objects, animals and other people to observe, corrupt or destroy humans or others of their kind.

The Djinn differ from “angels” and “demons,” as they do not abide by a single core theological methodology. They utilize the gift of free will to guide their actions and deeds throughout their long mortal existence, as they have not been judged by “Allah.” This existence, in many sociological aspects closely parallels that of humanity, as they coalesce within a distinct hierarchical ideology. This axiom is further intertwined within the same mortal scrutiny of otherworldly judgment. According to the Qur’an, the Djinn will also succumb to the fate of God as he passes judgment over them assessing their deeds and actions.

The Djinn are classified within five different groups;

The marida are a violent, unyielding, and arrogant group of Djinn. They are considered very powerful, as they possess great knowledge of magick and are said to be able to grant wishes if persuaded to do so. Choose your words wisely!

The Ghul is an aggressive shape shifting carnivorous Djinn that is said feast upon the flesh of mankind—alive or dead. Similar to a zombie or "ghoul," this Djinn resides in isolated areas within the desert and can assume the form of any animal in attempts to lure unsuspecting victims to their death.

The ‘Ifrit are the living embodiment of magickal fire, appearing as large fiery winged creatures. This type of Djinn is said to be malevolent towards mankind. This negative attitude towards humanity; which is also common amongst other Djinn, emanates from their vulnerability to human magick through the utilization of metal (iron and copper).

The Jann are considered the most benevolent of all the Djinn, as they are even tempered and generally curious about humans. They live in remote locations in the desert and possess the ability to hide or reveal treasure, magickal locations, or sources of water.

The Hinn are the children of the Djinn. They are young, playful, and mischievous, as they often appear to mortals as black dogs or small animals.

King of the Djinn

The King of the Djinn, Iblis (one of various kings mentioned), who was the most powerful, gained the attention of Allah—believing he would be a “worthy pupil.” He was invited into Heaven to hear his words and “walk” with the Angels. For a time, Iblis did hear the words of Allah and spoke them to the angels; however, this situation changed when Adam was created.

Upon the creation of Adam; Allah had commanded the Djinn and Angels to bow and shower him with love and devotion; however, Iblis did not.

(Allah) “What prevented thee from prostrating when I commanded thee?”

(Iblis) “I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay.”

(Allah) “Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures).

Be thou among those who have respite.”

(Iblis) “Because thou hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way: Then I will assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left. Nor wilt thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for thy mercies).”

(Allah) “Get out from this, disgraced and expelled. If any of them follow thee, Hell will I fill with you all.”

Upon committing this rebellious atrocity, Iblis and the rest of the Djinn were to be banished to the fiery depths of hell, however Iblis pleaded with Allah to reconsider his decision– which he does. Ultimately it is decided that the Djinn will be allowed to lead their free-willed lives until the “Day of Judgment,” when the Djinn will be individually judged within the scope of their deeds and actions in accordance with the laws of the universe and “heaven.”

In this brief summation, I believe it is possible to observe at least a few interesting points. First of which is the direct parallel within the creation story of the Djinn and Christian folklore pertaining to the “fall,” which tells the story Lucifer disobeying God and “falling” from grace—creating a polarizing figure and antagonist to God. Whether or not people believe in the “fall” folklore, I believe there is an important message within—rebellion. There is a time to seek salvation and a time to rebel against oppression or what does not serve.  

There is an additional point to consider within the folklore of the Djinn— their ambivalent nature and demeanor, which suggests not all spirits are set to work against you, nor are they all allies. Just as we create relationships in the physical world and they wax and wane, so too do our relationships with spirits vary among the witched.

Written by Timothy Shay