"In Arabian mythology and Islam, a Djinn (also jinn, genie, from Arabic جني jinnī) is a supernatural creature which occupies a parallel world to that of mankind, and together with humans and angels makes up the three sentient creations of Allah. Possessing free will, Djinn can be either good or evil.
The Djinn are mentioned frequently in the Qur'an, and there is a Surah entitled Al-Jinn. While Christianity maintains that Lucifer was an angel that rebelled against God's orders, Islam maintains that Iblis was a Djinn who had been granted special privilege to live amongst angels prior to his rebellion. Although some scholars have ruled that it is apostasy to disbelieve in one of God's creations; the belief in Jinn has fallen comparably to the belief in Angels in other Abrahamic traditions" --from Wikipedia
As a big fan of urban fantasy, I recently came across a series of books by Rachel Cain and they feature the djinn. I must admit that I really do not know very much about them. I was wondering if anyone here comes from or has worked in a tradition which works with the djinn and can say if they a benevolent, malovelent, or benign race and how one would recognize them if one should engage them.
They are there - called out in Islam's holiest book. They are the djinn. Among the Muslim devout, there can be no question that these beings are among God's creation, right alongside humans and angels. The djinn are genies, jinn, jnun. The term means "the hidden." And, indeed, these mythological figures have been hidden in human consciousness since ancient, pre-Islamic times, revealing themselves through stories and superstition, but also through fervent belief.
While there are countless stories about djinn, most famously those in The Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights), existence of the djinn became legitimized with the words passed to the Prophet Mohammed. One particular passage from the Koran, Sura 72, called the Al-Jinn, is addressed entirely to djinn. The Koran reveals dictates for living and behavior of both djinn and humans.
Western lore interprets the existence of djinn primarily as Middle Eastern fable. Yet, some aspect of the djinn has been incorporated into European and American tales of fairies and evil spirits. Most cultures describe their own pantheon of spirits that bear startling similarities to the three types of djinn: marid are wicked and malicious spirits, like devils and demons; ifrit are strong and powerful spirits that are not necessarily evil; ghuls are lesser phantoms who can fly, much like ghosts and ghouls.
GIVEN FREE WILL
Shaitan is the best known and most feared of the marid. He was once known as Iblis, a djinn who was obedient to God. But, when commanded by God to bow to Adam, he refused and was cast out of Paradise. He was called Shaitan. This sequence may sound familiar to followers of the Bible as the story of Satan, a fallen angel. Yet, Muslims believe that angels, beings of supreme goodness and purity, are incapable of disobedience. It was the djinn who, possessing free will like humans, chose to defy God.
According to the Koran, God created humans from the clay of the earth, angels from celestial light, and the djinn from the smokeless fire. It is stated in one verse that djinn are older than humans: "We created the djinn before, from the fire of hot wind." [15:26-27]
The djinn are subject to the same laws of creation as man. And when they sin, they are cursed; considered to be followers of Iblis. However, not all djinn are evil. There are those among the djinn who are intelligent, even reverent. Like humans, djinn are born, marry, bear children, and interact in the world. Granting wishes is not among the purported capabilities of the djinn, however; this characteristic has been mythologized.
Like humans, djinn die. The Koran is in agreement with the Bible when it is stated that "all upon the earth perishes." However, the lifespan of djinn is exceptionally longer than that of humans. When they have revealed themselves, djinn are described as being similar to the human form, and not necessarily blue and bald. If they choose, they can mingle unnoticed among men.
HOLY PROTECTION AGAINST DJINN
Djinn who do evil are equivalent to demons of Christian lore. A summoned djinni can be mischievous and even malevolent. They are generally disruptive and intolerant of humans. And while they can wreak havoc in a household and even possess a human being, there are specific instructions for fending off their influence.
Muslims say the Arabic phrase, "A'oo Thu Billahi min Ash Shaitan Arrajim" (meaning: O God, I seek refuge in You, from Shaitan the rejected) as a protection against djinn and when beginning recitation of the Koran. Different Surahs from the Quran - such as Surah Falaq, Surah Naas and Surah Baqarrah (especially Ayat al-Qursi in Baqarrah) - are specifically intended to prepare the prayerful to be safe from supernatural harm. Additional protection comes from reciting four "Quls", an Arabic word that means "say", known as Surah Falaq, Surah Naas, Surah Ikhlaas, and Surah Kafiroon. Other measures include reading at least 50 ayats (verses) of the Koran to protect against djinn.
DWELLING PLACES OF DJINN
As a community, the djinn can be massless, occupying what would seem to be small physical spaces. Yet, they can also expand and assume a physical dimension, travel the world in a flash, or inhabit animals, like cats, dogs, snakes, and scorpions. For the most part, they are invisible to humans. Many Muslims will avoid abandoned houses or areas, believing they attract habitation of the djinn.
Supposed remnants of djinn civilizations litter the world's archaeological digs. From the forgotten city of Ubar in the Rub al Khali, a trackless expanse of desert in southern Arabia, to the mystical and long-abandoned stronghold of Meda'in Saleh in northeastern Saudi Arabia, and its sister city, Petra, in southern Iraq. Across Afghanistan, Iran, and Egypt, ruins of ancient sites are still believed by many to harbor realms of the djinn. It is in Ubar that the primordial dwelling place of the djinn purportedly originated -- a city once known as Irem of the Pillars and which has carried forward in time as the unseen djinn kingdom of Jinnistan.
Whether djinn truly exist ultimately is a matter of personal belief. Millions of people in the world today are aware of djinn as creatures of myth; of those, easily thousands accept the presence of djinn as real, unseen wards of a parallel realm.