Are jinn real? This question comes up as a frequent search term that brings traffic to my website. Apparently, people want to know. Maybe they want to believe. Meanwhile, I mentioned in a blog post last week that my current genie hero, Zubis, is an Ifrit jinni. What? There are types of genies? Yes. Here’s what I can tell you about the jinn:
The jinn, or genies, have been around for thousands of years. The Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights) brought these entities out of oral myth and into the fringes of Middle Eastern society. They were further legitimized when the Prophet Mohammed dedicated a book of the Koran to genies. It’s Sura 72 and is called Al-Jinn. This book will tell you that genies are older than humans: “We created the jinn before, from the fire of hot wind.” [15:26-27]
Incidentally, the concept that genies were around before humans is the basis for the plot in The Genie Smolders (coming out later this year from Boroughs Publishing Group). In my vision of the genie past, the jinn ruled the earth over 10,000 years ago but were usurped by humans. Now they’re back. Can the jinn and humans love and live side-by-side?
In The Genie Smolders, the antagonist is a female genie named Imtiri. She’s an Ifrit jinni; a stunning, wicked, vengeful vamp. Think of her as a major ratings draw if they ever do a Housewives of Jinnistan (I need to pitch this to the SyFy channel). Zubis, our hero, is an Ifrit as well. While he’s also powerful, he’s more measured with an innate sense of justice. He’s my sexy poster boy for the concept that not all Ifrit are evil. But they are the more powerful (read, scarier) than the other two types of genies: Marid and Ghul.
- Ifrit are strong and powerful spirits that are not necessarily evil. They are the reference for the description in the Koran of genies as behaving, living, and looking very similar to humans.
- Marid are wicked and malicious spirits, more like devils and demons as described in Western literature and religious lore. Marid function in The Zubis Chronicles as soldiers who do the bidding of Iblis. (More on Iblis later. He’s the oldest and most evil of all jinn and happens to be an Ifrit. Also known as Shaitan, he is the basis for the Satan legend.)
- Ghuls are lesser phantoms who mostly cause mischief and don’t appear to humans, like ghosts and ghouls. The image of Middle Eastern ghuls is probably where the Western idea of ghouls came from. Look for some on your street this Halloween.
Are genies real? I think they are. But I also think that despite the definitions and the literature, we don’t fully understand what they are. They could be organisms on a molecular level that haven’t been defined by science yet. That’s when folklore steps in to describe things. In the meantime, I’ll keep describing the jinn as I think they exist.
What do you believe?
Catch up on the jinn, read The Genie Ignites today.