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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article is about the mythological creature. For the American air-to-air nuclear missile, see AIR-2 Genie. For the Internet service provider, see GEnie. For Genie - the Wild Child see here. The Seal of Solomon is said to have given Sulayman power over the jinn.

"Genie" is the English term for the Arabic "jinni | جن". In pre-Islamic Arabian mythology and in Islam, a jinni (also "djinni" or "djini") is a member of the jinn (or "djinn"), a race of spirits.
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Contrary to popular belief, genie is not an Anglicization of the original Arabic term jinn. It was first used in English as geny to mean a guardian spirit, with the first recorded use in 1655. The word came from the French genie, which in turn came from the original Latin word genius, for a spirit. The extension of meaning to the powerful spirit of Muslim mythology appeared in 1748 by French translators using the French term genie.
The definition referring to the powerful mythological spirit has since become dominant.[edit]

Jinn in pre-Islamic mythology

For the ancient Semites, jinn were spirits of vanished ancient peoples who acted during the night and disappeared with the first light of dawn; they could make themselves invisible or change shape into animals at will; these spirits were commonly believed to be responsible for diseases and for the manias of some lunatics. Types of jinn include the ghul (night shade, which can change shape), the sila (which cannot change shape) and the ifrit.
The Arabs believed that the jinn were spirits of fire, although sometimes they associated them with succubi, demons in the forms of beautiful women, who visited men by night to copulate with them until they were exhausted, drawing energy from this encounter just as a vampire is supposedly sustained by his victim's blood.[edit]

Jinn in Islam

Traditionally, Muslims believe that jinn are real beings. The jinn are said to be creatures with free will, made of smokeless fire by God, much in the same way humans were made of earth. In the Qur'an, the jinn are frequently mentioned and even Surat 72: Al-Jinn is entirely about them. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad was said to have been sent as a prophet to "humans and jinn."
The jinn have communities much like human societies, they eat, marry, die etc. But they also, according to mythology, have supernatural capabilities such as invisible cloaking, instantaneous teleportation, ability to shape-shift and even space travel. Also, they can see us, yet we cannot see them. However, sometimes they accidentally or deliberatly come into view.
Jinn are not to be confused with the Kareen قرين mentioned in the Qur'an in Surat An-Nas and in Islamic mythology. Jinn are beings much like humans, possessing the ability to be good and bad. According to the majority of Islamic scholars, clear evidence exists in the Qur'an that the Devil was never actually an angel, but a jinn, citing the Quranic verse "And when We said to the angels:"Prostrate yourselves unto Adam." So they prostrated themselves except Iblis (The Devil). He was one of the jinn..." Surat Al-Kahf, 18:50. According to Islam, angels are different physical beings made out of light, and unlike the fiery nature of jinn, they are beings of goodness and cannot choose to disobey God, nor do they possess the ability to do evil.
A Kareen is an evil spirit, intent on tricking people into committing sins. As they are unique to each individual, Kareens would be the ones a psychic would summon after a person's death, such as in a séance, for the soul goes to God and the unruly Kareen would remain on earth and would, conforming to his malevolent nature, impersonate the deceased whose character he's familiar with.
In Islam-associated mythology, the jinn were said to be controllable by magically binding them to objects, as Suleiman (Solomon) most famously did; the Spirit of the Lamp in the story of Aladdin was such a jinni, bound to an oil lamp.
Jinn do not have the ability to possess human beings.[edit]

Jinn in the Occult

In sorcery books Jinn are classified into four races after the classical elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. They are collected in tribes, usually seven, each with a king. Each king controls his tribe and is controlled by an Angel. The Angel's name is torture to the jinn king as well as his specific tribe.
Unlike white and evil witches, Jinn have free will; yet, they could be compelled to perform both good and evil acts. In contrast a demon would only hurt creatures, and an angel would only have benevolent intentions (white witchcraft). Knowing what to ask what spirit to perform is key as asking a spirit to perform a chore runs counter to its natural tendencies, possibly angering the sprit into retaliating against the sorcerer.[edit]

Genies in Western culture

In Western fiction, after the Aladdin tale in the Western version of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, genies typically come from small oil lamps and grant three wishes to the person who rubbed the lamp to release the genie while more mischevious ones take advantage of poorly worded wishes. Alternately, they may grant a single wish per day.
See also: Aladdin (1992 film), Castle in the Air, I Dream of Jeannie[edit]

Djinn in Popular Culture

In recent years, there has been greater awareness about the origins of the genie myth, and the use of the original spelling djinn has become more common. Usually, the term djinn is used by authors who wish to convey a more serious interpretation of the mythical creature, rather than the comical genies the Western public has become used to.
Examples include:

  • Mr. Beaver in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe conjectures that the White Witch Jadis was not human as was her claim but in fact half giantess and half Jinn, a descendant of Lilith. This view of Jadis's ancestry would seem, however, to be superceded by C.S. Lewis's later work, the Magician's Nephew, in which we discover that she is from another world entirely.
  • The horror film Wishmaster features a hateful and evil djinni as its villain. The series has spawned three sequels.
  • In the roleplaying game In Nomine by Steve Jackson Games, a band of demons in Hell's service are called Djinn.
  • In the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering there are nearly two dozen djinn-related cards and a dozen ifrit/efreet cards.
  • Several references to djinn occur in the final short story, entitled "Ramadan," of Neil Gailman's sixth The Sandman collection, Fables and Reflections.
  • In the role-playing video game series Golden Sun, the djinn are small creatures associated with the four elements (fire, wind, water, & earth). They can grant the user greater physical strength and mental abilities, or can be used to call on powerful spirits (summons).

See also


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