Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar

Overview

When Westerners think of a genie, the first image that comes to mind may be Barbara Eden in her pink harem pants or the illuminated blue buffoon from the animated Disney film Aladdin. But to the people of the Arab and Islamic worlds, the picture is dramatically different. Legends of the Fire Spirits looks beyond Westernized caricatures to immerse the reader in the vibrant lore of the jinn—the wondrous, often troublesome, and sometimes ...

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Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar

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Overview

When Westerners think of a genie, the first image that comes to mind may be Barbara Eden in her pink harem pants or the illuminated blue buffoon from the animated Disney film Aladdin. But to the people of the Arab and Islamic worlds, the picture is dramatically different. Legends of the Fire Spirits looks beyond Westernized caricatures to immerse the reader in the vibrant lore of the jinn—the wondrous, often troublesome, and sometimes terrifying spirit beings of ancient Arab and Islamic tradition.

Robert Lebling delves into long-lost accounts, medieval histories, colonial records, anthropologist’s reports, and traveler’s tales to explore the origin and evolution of legends that continue to thrive in the Middle East and beyond. He cuts through centuries of Orientalists’ cultural presumption to craft a study that stands apart from the overwhelming body of literature concerned with religion in the Middle East.

A captivating synthesis of history and folklore, this is the most diverse collection of jinn lore ever assembled in one volume. From ancient scriptures to The Arabian Nights and beyond, and with a foreword by acclaimed filmmaker Tahir Shah, Lebling has constructed a comprehensive account that not only transcends geographical borders but also spans some four millennia.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582436326
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 3/8/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 726,690
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Tahir Shah ix

Acknowledgements xv

Notes on Transliteration xvii

Introduction: The Nature of Jinn 1

1 Origins 7

Islam 17

Early Legends 24

2 Historical Encounters 48

Al-Andalus 48

Spirits of the Middle Ages 53

Jinn in the Fihrist 58

Genius or Jinn-Master? 59

3 By Their Deeds: Jinn Behaviour 64

Amid Ancient Ruins 65

Human Possession and Exorcism 72

Jinn Hauntings 77

Jinn and Illness 81

'The Condemned System' 82

Abductions and Trials 88

Shifting Shapes 94

Jinn Living 101

Sex and Marriage 110

4 Jinn Geography 115

Arabia: The Heartland 115

Iraq: 'Pandemonium' 127

Harran: The 'North' 131

Palestine: Underground 135

Syria: The Red King's Daughter 143

Egypt: Ifrits and Ghouls 148

Morocco: The 'Masters' 159

Tunisia: Air, Sea and Land 174

Turkey: Out of the Forest 181

Iran: 'The Holy Jinn' 185

Kurds: Children of the Jinn 192

South Asia: Coat of Many Colours 194

Zanzibar and Beyond: Spreading the Wealth 203

Nigeria: 'Children of Jangare' 207

Malays: Jinn in the Jungle 210

5 Cultural Echoes 216

How I Met the Ghul 216

The Arabian Nights 218

Southey's Genii 227

Hugo's 'jinn' 232

The Mystery of Ishmonia 236

Arab Folktales 239

Appendices

Appendix A Edward Lane's Notes on the Jinn 245

Appendix B Muhammad Asad on the Jinn 256

Appendix C Jinn Physics 259

Notes 265

References 289

Index 297

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