Jinn: The Demon That Turned Into a Wish-Granting Genie

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By: Andrej Jovanovski

Are You Worthy of Wishes?

The jinn is a supernatural creature that can be found in early Arabic mythology, which later got adopted into Islam.

Throughout their history, the jinn has been represented as spirits that are neither good nor evil, but sentient spirits whose attitude depends on their acceptance of God.

However, since jinn may refer to any kind of supernatural creature, they have often been represented as evil demons, more often than not being a synonym for the devil.

Yet, to classify the jinn as demons would be wrong. In Thousand and One Nights, for the first time, we can see the portrayal of the jinn as a gentle genie that grants wishes.

With this new portrayal of the jinn, we’ve come to also see their gentle nature.

True Nature of the Jinn

As a being that has appeared in Arabic, Turkish and Balkan folklore, the jinn are one of the most common creatures.

One thing the jinn and humans have in common is that they are both created with fitra, which means that the jinn, just like us humans, are born neither inherently good nor evil, but their personality depends on the way they grow up and the things they learn.

Being made of fitra means that the jinn is also mortal, they need to eat and drink, they reproduce just like humans, the only difference being that the jinn is invisible to us.

This does not mean that we can’t confront them, as it’s believed that duels between humans and jinn have taken place before.

Although they aren’t gods, in the past the jinn was celebrated as such, often having cults that revolved around a certain jinn.

Once the jinn was introduced in Islam they were described with two key attributes, one being invisible and being the opposite of shape. With this, every angel and demon is a jinn, but not every jinn is an angel or demon.

Although being invisible, the jinn is a well-known shapeshifter made of fire and air, so when it comes to its appearance, the jinn is often divided into three categories, that being, zoomorphic, anthropomorphic, and the wildly spread storms and shadows.

jinn drawing

Jinn and Witchcraft

Around the Middle East, witchcraft, sihr, is often associated with jinn, in a sense that a sorcerer is capable of summoning and forcing a jinn to perform orders, mostly revolving around demonic possessions.

Yet, there were those jinn that was in contact with soothsayers, often providing information to the soothsayer that has called a jinn.

Most summonings were performed with the aid of talismans, however, it is believed that a jinn could be subjugated by inserting a small piece of iron into their skin.

This is effective since the jinn is afraid of iron, to the point where they can’t even touch it.

Jinn in Popular Culture

The jinn is a creature that needs no introduction. They have been mentioned in countless stories throughout the ages, still, they had received a huge boost in their popularity in recent years.

The jinn, or more commonly known as a genie, has appeared in a lot of movies and video games, and often they have been referenced in songs.

One of the most famous songs being Cristina Aguilera’s Genie in a Bottle which references the genie we find in the previously mentioned Thousand and One Nights. A similar song that references the same genie is Roger Waters, Three Wishes.

A genie’s lamp.

Although it’s not referencing the nature of the jinn, David Bowie’s Jean Genie has helped to introduce the jinn to the public eye.

When it comes to film, we must mention Disney’s Aladdin which was a loose adaptation of one of the stories in Thousand and One Nights. The jinn in this movie is a friendly spirit that is trapped within a lamp, which once is freed will grant three wishes.

Yet one of the most famous jinns is the beloved internet genie known simply as Akinator, who has the ability to guess any celebrity that you might be thinking of.

Showing the true power of the jinn while remaining neutral in nature.

Misconceptions About the Jinn

As previously mentioned a lot of people think that the jinn are demons, and although all demons are jinn by nature, this doesn’t work the other way around since all angels are jinn as well.

Jinn is a creature who is able to harm humans but also help them, with this in mind, the jinn is a creature that is no different from humans when it comes to their behavior.

Another popular misconception is that a jinn can be found in a lamp and if you free it, it’ll grant you three wishes. This is not true since the first recorded instance of a jinn granting wishes comes from the story Arabian Nights, which has nothing to do with the actual jinn.

jinn in a cavern drawing

Yet to consider the jinn as simply ghosts is wrong, since they are children of Jann, who is the interior of a human being, the animal soul hidden from the senses, the jinn should rather be classified as souls that don’t have a physical body, yet are able to take form when they feel the need to.

Although the jinn isn’t evil by nature, they have been known to punish humans and have been responsible for many diseases and natural disasters.

It is believed that whirlwinds only occur when a jinn is frustrated and takes the form of a whirlwind, wreaking havoc wherever it goes.

One of the most popular misconceptions is that the jinn is immortal. This is simply not true, but they do however have a longer lifespan than us, which resulted in our perception of them as being eternal.

So simply put, the jinn is just like us humans, in the sense that they are born, grow old and die of old age.

With all of this being said there’s only one thing we can ask ourselves.

Should we fear them?

Should we show respect out of fear or should we treat them like we would treat another person?

This is all up to you, but remember, if you offend a jinn there is nothing that can save you!


Angels & Jinn,
http://newmuslimessentials.com/angels--jinn.html, Accessed 23 August 2021
Jinn, Oxford-Lexico,
https://www.lexico.com/definition/jinn, Accessed 22 August 2021
Baal Kadmon, Jinn Magick: How to Bind the Jinn to do Your Bidding, Baal Kadmon, November 2015
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