Jinn, the spirits of fire

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Not just “lamp geniuses”, jinns have a very deep tradition in the Islamic world, even having a surah dedicated to them in the Quran.

Jinn, born of fire

According to the Quran, the jinn are spirits created by fire in the same way that men were created from the earth. Precisely with this condition is associated the disobedience of Iblis, who, refusing to prostate himself at the feet of Adam, was damned forever, acquiring the name of Shaytan, or the Devil. However, unlike the biblical world, where spirits are mostly associated with demons and evil figures, in Islam they are simply another form of living beings, not necessarily evil.

jinn
A Marid

There are in fact episodes in which the jinn help prophets or convert to Islam, moreover they can generate offspring and within them there are several families, such as the marid and the ifrits. The true distinction between the two has not yet been fully understood, but it would seem that the latter are the most powerful and inclined to deceive humans. In addition to being of fire, however, their most important feature is that of being placed in a different dimension from the human one, thus resulting invisible.

Ghosts and spirits

The word Jinn derives from جَنّ which means “hide”, “conceal” and this immediately suggests the function of these spirits. They represent all that huge part of supernatural events observed by us but not yet understood, identifying a precise phenomenon in each area. In Morocco, for example, a country where the testimonies of jinn are most widespread in the world, it seems that the latter practice possessions towards men and beasts; very different from Egypt, where they essentially cause paralysis.

jinn
An ifrit

This is due to the fact that the category of jinn has, in a certain sense, gone to represent creatures present in every culture, but never fully defined and always abandoned in an aura of mystery that complicates their identification. Inserting them into the Koran like beings like angels is probably the way used by Islam to make them harmless even to the simplest of minds, first prey to witches and wizards. In fact, to chase them away, it will be enough to pronounce verses from the Koran, making them completely harmless and thus managing to restore peace. Furthermore, the fact that they can themselves be Muslim can only be a further reassurance for the faithful that they could find, paradoxically, a great ally among them. The belief in their “granting wishes” comes from a fable of “The Thousand and One Nights“, the first way with the jinns they returned to Europe (the genius were Roman gods). Contrary to what is true for angels, the belief in the existence of jinn is not present in the 6 articles of faith of Sunni Islam.

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