- Predated the Adam (Homo Sapiens)
- Various categories of jinn were created separately
- Iblis become Azazil
- Both jinn and humans were created in heaven and lived in enclosed gardens
- Created from the fire of a scorching wind or smokeless fire
- Jinn lacked bodies of their own
- Jinn had weight and density equivalent to those of air
- Theoretically possible for humans and jinn to intermarry and have children
The various categories of jinn were created separately, according to a creation myth reported by the Arab historian Abu al-Hasan Ali al-Mas’udi (896 –956), called by some ‘the Herodotus of the Arabs’. In his celebrated Meadows of Gold, al-Mas’udi explains the sequence of this creation:
It is said that God created the demons from the semoum (burning wind); that from the demon he created his woman, as he created Eve from Adam; that the demon having had relations with his woman, she became pregnant from him and laid thirty eggs. One of these eggs cracked open, giving birth to the qotrobaht, which was, so to speak, the mother of all the qotrobs, demons that have the form of a cat. From another egg emerged the iblises, in whose number must be counted El Harith Abou Murrah and which make their home within walls. From another egg were hatched the maradahs, which inhabit islands. Another produced the ghouls, which chose for their refuge ruins and deserts; another, the si’lahs, which hide in the mountains; the others, the ouahaouis, which inhabit the air in the form of winged serpents, and fly from place to place. From another egg emerged the daouasiks; from yet another the hamasiks; from still another the hamamis, and so forth.The Legends of Fire spirits Jinn Source
After 25,000 years, the jinn became proud and arrogant and began to disobey the divine rules. Allah sent legions of angels to punish the jinn, and many of the wrongdoers were destroyed.
The rest were dispersed to distant islands – all except for Iblis, an impressive jinn who was captured and brought to heaven. There he was educated and raised to the ranks of the angels. Because of his eloquence, he became a teacher of the younger angels. Meanwhile, the scattered jinn on the earth came together again and formed a nation on an island in the Southern Ocean. Iblis saw this development and was drawn by the lure of power. He left heaven and descended to the island, where he persuaded the jinn to accept him as their king. He then took a second name: Azazil.
- The mother of all the Quotrobs, demons that have the form of a cat
- From another egg emerged the Iblises, in whose number must be counted El Harith Abou Murrah and which make their home within walls.
- Maradahs, which inhabit islands
- Ghouls, which are chosen for refuge in ruins and deserts
- Si’lahs which hide in the mountains
- Ouahaouis which inhabit the air in the form of winged serpents and fly from place to place
Some maintain that the Arabic word jinn is older, and that the Palmyran (ancient Syrian) word jny’ or gny’, which we shall encounter later, derives from the earlier Arabic form.
Pazuzu, the ancient Mesopotamian wind demon, is an example of a desert spirit, a primordial jinn, who struck terror in the hearts of city dwellers of Eridu, Ur, Nippur, Uruk, Akkad and other Sumerian cities some 4,000–6,000 years ago. Jinn are often associated with the wind and are said to travel by it.
Islamic tradition says Allah created the jinn before the creation of Adam. Both jinn and men were created in heaven and lived in paradise. As God relates in the Qur’an: ‘We created man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape; and the jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind’Qur’an, 15:26–27
And He created Jinns from fire free of smokeQur’an, 55:15
As to the nature of the jinn, some early Islamic scholars – such as philosopher Abu al-Hasan al-Mawardi of Basra (972–1058, known to medieval Europe as Alboacen) – believed that jinn lacked bodies of their own and did not inhabit bodies of other creatures. However, jinn were known to have their own independent existence, so these scholars were at a loss to explain what form they took.
Al-Mawardi’s conviction that jinn were totally incorporeal was a minority view. Many other scholars, including Abu’l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi (d.1201) and Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328 AD), believed that jinn did have bodies which were either defi ned, with density, or subtle, so fine that human vision cannot detect them. The Qur’an states that Satan and his jinn followers cannot be detected by humans:
He and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see themQur’an, 7:27
One opinion circulating among Islamic scholars of the Middle Ages was that jinn had weight and density equivalent to those of air.
Syrian Islamic scholar Muhammad Amin ibn Abdin (d.1836), of the Hanafi 28 Sunni school, believed it was lawful to prohibit the marriage of:
- a man to another man
- to a hermaphrodite
- to a polytheist woman
- to a close relative
- or to a female jinn,
To him, a marriage of a female human to a male jinn was simply inconceivable.
Ibn Taymiyyah, a scholar held in high regard by many conservative Muslims today, believed that it was theoretically possible for humans and jinn to intermarry and have children. As far back as the seventh century, a prominent Islamic theologian named al-Hasan al-Basri decided that marrying a jinn was possible but impermissible.
As for the kingdoms of the Qaf range, Keightley observes: ‘Jinnestan is the common appellation of the whole of this ideal region … Its respective empires were divided into many kingdoms, containing numerous provinces and cities. Thus in the Peri-realms, we meet with the luxuriant province of Shad-u-kam [Pleasure and Delight], with its magnificent capital Juherabad [Jewel-city], whose two kings solicited the aid of Caherman against the Deevs and also the stately Amberabad [Amber-city], and others equally splendid.
The metropolis of the Deev-empire is named Ahermanabad [Aherman’s city]; and imagination has lavished its stores in the description of the enchanted castle, palace, and gallery of the Deev monarch, Arzshenk.
Al-Tabari relates a fascinating story of a conversation between the Prophet and his son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib, about two strange cities that were linked to the mountains of Qaf.
The cities – Jabulqa in the east and Jabulsa in the west (called Djaboulqa and Djaboulsa in a well-known French translation of al-Tabari’s history) – were said to be made of emerald and were impossibly large, each measuring some 12,000 parasangs (at least 36,000 miles) long and 12,000 parasangs wide.
Ali asked the Prophet whether these cities existed in the same world that humans inhabit. Muhammad replied enigmatically: ‘The two cities are situated in darkness and contiguous to the mountain Qaf.’
The Prophet said that each city was guarded by fortresses, and in each fortress, there was a garrison of 1,000 men who stood guard each night. The guards’ tour of duty lasted a year. The cities required such garrisons because they contained enormous quantities of gems which had been captured from enemy peoples called Tharis and Taqil. These peoples warred against Jabulqa and Jabulsa unceasingly, day and night.
According to the Prophet, the inhabitants of Jabulqa and Jabulsa knew neither Adam nor Iblis.
They had no experience with either sunlight or moonlight and did not know that Allah had created the sun and the moon.
The light that shone on them came from Mount Qaf itself, and from the stones and the walls and the very dust on the ground. The Prophet said the people of these cities ate herbs that grew on the ground and wore no clothing.
‘So they are angels,’ Ali said. ‘No, but their obedience to Allah is similar to the angels,’ Muhammad said.
The people of Jabulqa and Jabulsa were all males, the Prophet added. There were no women or children in these cities. The Prophet revealed that he had visited Jabulqa and Jabulsa during his Night Journey and that the inhabitants had accepted his message and embraced Islam. He tried to do the same at Tharis and Taqil and towards the people of Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog), but ‘they were infidels and did not accept Islam’.The Prophet said most people couldn’t travel to Jabulqa and Jabulsa, because they would have to walk for four months in utter darkness. In ancient times, in the days of the ‘Ad people (to be discussed later), three men who had accepted the pre-Islamic prophet Hud and his monotheistic message fled from their own people and travelled to Jabulqa and Jabulsa. Since those days, no one had done it. Dhu al-Qarnain (He of Two Horns), a legendary figure identified with Alexander the Great had tried to reach the cities but he gave up halfway, after walking for two full months in darkness.