Djinn: Wikis


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Three illustrations of Djinn from the 16th century

In Arabic, a genie (also jinn, Djinn, 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 God (Allah). Possessing free will, a djinn can be either good or evil.[1]

The Djinn are mentioned frequently in the Qur'an, and there is a Surah entitled Al-Jinn. While Christian tradition suggests 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.[2] 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.[3]


Etymology and definitions

The Majlis al Jinn cave in Oman, literally "Meeting place of the Jinn".

Jinn is the plural for jini which is derived from the Arabic root JaNaA and means to hide or be hidden. Other words derived from this root are Majnoon, jonnon, and janeen; the first to call someone whose intellect is hidden meaning crazy, jonnon meaning craziness, and the third --janeen-- means a baby inside a mother's womb, hence janeen or hidden. The word genie derives from Latin genius, which meant a sort of tutelary or guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at their birth. English borrowed the French descendent of this word, génie; its earliest written attestation in English, in 1655, is a plural spelled genyes. The French translators of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights used génie as a translation of jinnī because it was similar to the Arabic word in sound and in meaning. This use was also adopted in English and has since become dominant.

The Arabic root JaNaA means "hidden, concealed", as in the verb janna "to hide, to conceal". (This is not to be confused with the Arabic word jannat, which means "paradise").[4][5][6] Arabic lexicons, such as William Lane's lexicon provide the rendered meaning of jinn not only for spirits, but also for anything concealed through time, status, and even physical darkness.[7] In Arabic, the word jinn is the collective plural; "jinnah" is the singular; jinnī is the adjective.

In other cultures, as in the Mythology Guanche (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain), also existed the belief in beings that qualify as genies, such as the so-called Gods paredros or Maxios (domestic spirits and nature), the Tibicenas (evil genies) and also demon Guayota (aboriginal god of evil) that, like the Arabic Iblis, is sometimes identified with a genie. The Guanches were of Berber origin in northern Africa which further strengthens this hypothesis.[8]

Djinn in the pre-Islamic era

Amongst archaeologists dealing with ancient Middle Eastern cultures, any spirit lesser than angels is often referred to as a djinn, especially when describing stone carvings or other forms of art.

The pre-Islamic Zoroastrian culture of ancient Persia believed in jaini/jahi, evil female spirits thought to spread diseases to people. However, Zoroaster himself did not believe in the existence of such evil female spirits.

Inscriptions found in Northwestern Arabia seem to indicate the worship of djinn, or at least their tributary status. For instance, an inscription from Beth Fasi'el near Palmyra pays tribute to the "Ginnaye", the "good and rewarding gods"[9] providing a sharp resemblance to the Latin Genius and Juno: The Guardian Spirits.

Types of djinn include the Shaitan, the Ghul, the Marid, the Ifrit and the Djinn. According to the information in The Arabian Nights, Ifrit seem to be the strongest form of djinn, followed by Marid, and then the rest of the djinn forms.

Jinn in Islam

In Islamic theology jinn are said to be creatures with free will, made from 'smokeless fire' (energy) by Allah in the same way humans were made of earth.[10] According to the Qur'an, Djinn have free will, and Iblis abused this freedom in front of Allah by refusing to bow to Adam when Allah told Iblis to do so. By disobeying Allah, he was thrown out of Paradise and called “Shaitan”. Djinn are frequently mentioned in the Qur'an, Sura 72 of the Qur'an (named Al-Jinn) is entirely about them. Another Sura (Al-Nas) mentions Djinn in the last verse.[11] The Qur’an also mentions that Muhammad was sent as a prophet to both “humanity and the Djinn”.[12][13]

Similar to humans, jinn have free will allowing them to do as they choose (such as follow any religion). They are usually invisible to humans and humans do not appear clear to them. However, jinn often harass and even possess humans, for various reasons, such as romantic infatuation, revenge, or due to a deal made with a practitioner of black magic. Jinns have the power to travel large distances at extreme speeds and are thought to live in remote areas, mountains, seas, trees, and the air, in their own communities. Like humans, jinns will also be judged on the Day of Judgment and will be sent to Heaven or Hell according to their deeds.[14]



Every person is assigned a special "jinn" to them, also called a qareen, the jinns that whisper into your soul and tell you to give in to your evil desires.[15][16][17] However, the notion of a qareen is not universally accepted amongst all Muslims. But it is generally accepted that shaitan whispers in Human being's minds, and he is assigned to each human being.[18]

Classifications and characteristics

The social organization of the jinn community resembles that of humans - such as they have kings, courts of law, weddings, and mourning rituals.[19] Muhammad reportedly divided jinn into three classes: those who have wings and fly in the air, those who resemble snakes and dogs, and those who travel about ceaselessly.[20] Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud (d. 652), who was accompanying Muhammad when the jinn came to hear his recitation of the Quran, described them as creatures of different forms; some resembling vultures and snakes, others tall men in white garbs.[21] They may even appear as dragons, onagers, or a number of other animals.[22] In addition to their animal forms, the jinn occasionally assume human form to mislead and destroy their human victims. [23] Muhammad is also said to have told the jinn that they may subsist on bones, which will grow flesh again as soon as they touch them, and that their animals may live on dung, which will revert back to grain or grass for the use of the jinn flocks.[24]

Ibn Taymiyyah believed the Jinn were generally "ignorant, untruthful, oppressive and treacherous".[25]

Muslims believe that the Jinn account for much of the "magic" perceived by humans, cooperating with magicians to lift items in the air unseen, delivering hidden truths to fortune tellers, and mimicking the voices of deceased humans during seances.[25]

Islamic concept of King Solomon and Djinn

Main article Islamic view of Solomon

The Holy Quran states that King Solomon (Sulayman) is said to have compelled the Djinn into his service and given them dominion over 25 parasangs of his realm.[26] In his court, the Djinn stood behind the learned humans, who in turn, sat behind the prophets. Solomon’s wife, the Queen of Sheba, was reportedly born of the marriage between a Djinn and a human, some sources suggesting a Djinn named Rayḥāna was her mother. It was this connection to the Djinn that made people apprehensive about Solomon’s marriage to her. They feared that if their master Solomon married a half-Djinn, they would be forced to remain in the service of the offspring of that marriage forever. Thus, to make Solomon fall out of love with her, they told him that she was insane, and that her feet were hairy and resembled those of a donkey(Citation required).[27]

The Djinn remained in the service of Solomon, who had placed them in bondage, and had ordered their king, Zūba’a, to perform a number of tasks throughout his life. Upon Solomon’s death, however, Zūbaa went to the places where his subjects were toiling, and called out to them to stop working. They happily obeyed, and one of them carved a message in stone, enumerating what they had built during their servitude.[28]

Esoteric theories

In 1998, Pakistani nuclear scientist Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood proposed in a Wall Street Journal interview that djinni (described in the Qur'an as beings made of fire) could be tapped to solve the energy crisis. "I think that if we develop our souls, we can develop communication with them. ... Every new idea has its opponents, but there is no reason for this controversy over Islam and science because there is no conflict between Islam and science." [29] There are some that disputed his claim that science and Islam had no conflicts, on the very basis of his proposal to tap these beings, which they contested, do not even exist.

See also


  1. ^ El-Zein, Amira. "Jinn," 420-421, in Meri, Joseph W., Medieval Islamic Civilization - An Encyclopaedia.
  2. ^ Qur'an 7:11–12
  3. ^ American Jewish Committee, "Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews", p. 242
  4. ^ "GaN - Garden," Ancient Hebrew Lexicon.
  5. ^ Arnold Yasin Mol. "Jinn As Found In The Quran"
  6. ^ The World of the Jinn
  7. ^ Edward William Lane’s Arabic Lexicon
  8. ^ Guanche Religion
  9. ^ Hoyland, R. G., Arabia and the Arabs: From the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam.
  10. ^ Qur'an 55:14–15
  11. ^ Qur'an 116:4–4
  12. ^ Qur'an 51:56–56
  13. ^ Ṭabarī, Toḥfat al-ḡārāeb, I, pp. 68; Abu’l-Fotūḥ Rāzī, Rawż al-jenān wa rawḥ al-janān. pp. 193, 341
  14. ^ Tafsīr; Baḵš-ī az tafsīr-ī kohan, p. 181; Loeffler, p. 46
  15. ^ Qur'an 72:1–2
  16. ^ Qur'an 15:18–18
  17. ^ Sahih Muslim, No. 2714
  18. ^ Is it permissible to pray that my qareen becomes Muslim
  19. ^ Ṭūsī, p. 484; Fozūnī, p. 527
  20. ^ Fozūnī, p. 526
  21. ^ Fozūnī, pp. 525-26
  22. ^ Kolaynī, I, p. 396; Solṭān-Moḥammad, p. 62
  23. ^ Mīhandūst, p. 44
  24. ^ Abu’l-Fotūḥ, XVII, pp. 280-81
  25. ^ a b Ibn Taymiyyah, Al-Furqaan Bayna Awliyaa ar-Rahmaan wa Awliyaa ash-Shaytaan ("Essay on the Jinn"), translated by Abu Ammenah Bilal Phillips
  26. ^ Qur'an 27:17–17
  27. ^ Abu’l-Fotūḥ, 15, 21-22, 29-32, 40-42, 45, 47-50, XVI; Ṭūsī, pp. 486, 495
  28. ^ Qur'an 34:14–14
  29. ^ Pakistani Atomic Expert, Arrested Last Week, Had Strong Pro-Taliban Views, New York Times, 2 November 2001.


  • Al-Ashqar, Dr. Umar Sulaiman (1998). The World of the Jinn and Devils. Boulder, CO: Al-Basheer Company for Publications and Translations.
  • Barnhart, Robert K. The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology. 1995.
  • “Genie”. The Oxford English Dictionary. Second edition, 1989.
  • Abu’l-Fotūḥ Rāzī, Rawż al-jenān wa rawḥ al-janān IX-XVII (pub. so far), Tehran, 1988.
  • Moḥammad Ayyūb Ṭabarī, Toḥfat al-ḡārāeb, ed. J. Matīnī, Tehran, 1971.
  • A. Aarne and S. Thompson, The Types of the Folktale, 2nd rev. ed., Folklore Fellows Communications 184, Helsinky, 1973.
  • Abu’l-Moayyad Balḵī, Ajāeb al-donyā, ed. L. P. Smynova, Moscow, 1993.
  • A. Christensen, Essai sur la Demonologie Iranien, Det. Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Historisk-filologiske Meddelelser, 1941.
  • R. Dozy, Supplément aux Dictionnaries Arabes, 3rd ed., Leyden, 1967.
  • H. El-Shamy, Folk Traditions of the Arab World: A Guide to Motif Classification, 2 vols., Bloomington, 1995.
  • Abū Bakr Moṭahhar Jamālī Yazdī, Farroḵ-nāma, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1967.
  • Abū Jaʿfar Moḥammad Kolaynī, Ketāb al-kāfī, ed. A. Ḡaffārī, 8 vols., Tehran, 1988.
  • W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, Beirut, 1968.
  • L. Loeffler, Islam in Practice: Religious Beliefs in a Persian Village, New York, 1988.
  • U. Marzolph, Typologie des persischen Volksmärchens, Beirut, 1984. Massé, Croyances.
  • M. Mīhandūst, Padīdahā-ye wahmī-e dīrsāl dar janūb-e Ḵorāsān, Honar o mordom, 1976, pp. 44-51.
  • T. Nöldeke “Arabs (Ancient),” in J. Hastings, ed., Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics I, Edinburgh, 1913, pp. 659-73.
  • S. Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, rev. ed., 6 vols., Bloomington, 1955.
  • S. Thompson and W. Roberts, Types of Indic Oral Tales, Folklore Fellows Communications 180, Helsinki, 1960.
  • Solṭān-Moḥammad b. Tāj-al-Dīn Ḥasan Esterābādī, Toḥfat al-majāles, Tehran,
  • Moḥammad b. Maḥmūd Ṭūsī, Ajāyeb al-maḵlūqāt wa ḡārāb al-mawjūdāt, ed. M. Sotūda, Tehran, 1966.

External links

File:Genie login
GEnie log-in screen

GEnie (General Electric Network for Information Exchange) was an online service created by a General Electric business - GEIS (now GXS) that ran from 1985 through the end of 1999. In 1994, GEnie claimed around 350,000 users.[1] Peak simultaneous usage was around 10,000 users. It was one of the pioneering services in the field, though eventually replaced by the Internet and graphics-based services, most notably AOL.[2]


Early history

GEnie was founded by Bill Louden in October 1, 1985[3] and was launched as an ASCII text-based service by GE's Information Services division in October 1985, and received attention as the first serious commercial competition to CompuServe. Louden was originally CompuServe's product manager for Computing, Community (forums), Games, ecommerce, and email product lines. Louden purchased DECWAR source code and had MegaWars developed, one of the earliest multi-player online games (or MMOG), in 1982.

The service was run by General Electric Information Services (GEIS, now GXS) based in Rockville, Maryland. GEIS served a diverse set of large-scale, international, commercial network-based custom application needs, including banking, Electronic Data Interchange and e-mail services to companies worldwide, but was able to run GEnie on their many GE Mark III time-sharing mainframe computers that otherwise would have been underutilized after normal U.S. business hours. This orientation was part of GEnie's downfall. Although it became very popular and a national force in the on-line marketplace, GEnie was not allowed to grow. GEIS executives steadfastly refused to view the service as anything but "fill in" load and would not expand the network by a single phone line, let alone expand mainframe capacity, to accommodate GEnie's growing user base. (Later, however, GE did consent to make the service available through the SprintNet time-sharing network, which had its own dial-up points of presence.)

The initial price for connection, at both 300 bits per second and the then-high-speed 1200 bits per second, was $5–$6 per hour during "non-prime-time" hours (evenings and weekends) and $36 an hour (to discourage daytime use) otherwise, later adjusted to $6 per hour and $18 per hour, respectively. 2400 bit/s was also available at a premium. Later, GEnie developed the Star*Services package, soon renamed Genie*Basic after Prodigy threatened a trademark lawsuit over the use of the word "Star". It offered a set of "unlimited use" features for $4.95/month. Other services cost extra, mirroring the tiered service model popular at the time.

GEnie's forums were called RoundTables (RTs), and each, as well as other internal services, had a page number associated with it, akin to a web address today; typing "m 1335", for instance, would bring you to the GemStone III game page. The service included RTs, games, mail and shopping. For some time, GEnie published a bimonthly print magazine, LiveWire. GEnie's early chat room was called the LiveWire CB Simulator,[4] after the popular CB radios of the time.


GEnie had a reputation for being the home of excellent online text games, similar to the “doorway” games on bulletin board systems but often massively multiplayer. Also, there were graphical games using then-state-of-the-art non-textured 3D graphics on PCs with VGA displays. Top titles included:

Other major titles included:


A RoundTable on GEnie was a discussion area containing a message board ("BBS"), a chatroom ("RealTime Conference" or RTC) and a Library for permanent files. They were part of an online community culture that predated the Internet's emergence as a mass medium, which also included such separate entities as CompuServe forums, Usenet newsgroups and email mailing lists.

Most RoundTables were actually operated not by GEnie employees but by independent contractors working from home, which was standard practice for online services at the time. The contractors received royalties on time spent in their forums. In the most popular forums, this revenue stream was often substantial enough to hire one or two part-time or full-time staffers. Many RoundTables also had a number of unpaid assistants, working for a "free flag" (which granted them free access to that RoundTable) or an "internal account" (which granted free access to all of the service).

RoundTables available on GEnie included:

  • The 911 / Emergency RoundTable for discussion of emergency preparedness...and a forum set up for quick mobilization during emergencies
  • The A2 RoundTable for discussion of Apple II computers, an early home of Apple devotees
  • The Astrology RoundTable
  • The Atari ST RoundTable
  • The Automotive RoundTable (sysops J.J. Gertler & Greg Amy)
  • The Aviation Roundtable (sysops Roy Barkas, Dick Flanagan, Bill Moulas and Linda Pendleton)
  • The Comics and Animation RoundTable (originally part of the SFRT).
  • The CP/M RoundTable
  • The Education RoundTable, which included a separate area for younger, school-aged GEnie users
  • The Forth RoundTable, a popular discussion board for the Forth programming language
  • The Game Design RoundTable
  • Gardening RoundTable -Sysop Jody McFadden
  • Hobby RoundTable -Sysop Jody McFadden
  • The Health RoundTable
  • The IBM PC RoundTable - Sysops Charlie Strom and Rick Ruhl
  • The Japan RoundTable, including "Japanimation Online", an early anime forum[1]
  • The Left Coast RoundTable (initially The California RoundTable, later The American West RoundTable)
  • The Macintosh RoundTable, one of the largest RTs on the service and one of the first public gathering places for Apple Macintosh devotees.
  • The MIDI/WorldMusic RoundTable, an early MIDI discussion forum hosted by Robert Moore
  • The NBC Online RoundTable [2]
  • The New Age RoundTable
  • NeedleArts RoundTable -Sysop Jody McFadden
  • PetNet - all things animal
  • The Public Forum*Non-Profit Connection RoundTable was the place to discuss current events and politics, and also assisted non-profits to use online resources to further their mission
  • Remote Control RoundTable -Sysop Jody McFadden
  • RubberStamping RoundTable -Sysop Jody McFadden
  • The Radio and Electronics RoundTable, run by Glen Johnson
  • The Religion and Philosophy RoundTable
  • The four Science Fiction RoundTables (the SFRT), the official online home of the Horror Writers Association and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America before the Internet became popular (SFWA members, who were all published authors, received free access to the SF RoundTables) {J._Michael_Straczynski developed the show Babylon_5 while on the SFRT and maintained his e-mail presence throughout the run of the show.}
  • The Jerry Pournelle RoundTable
  • Scorpia's Games RoundTable, dedicated to games of all types, including GEnie's hosted online games
  • The Scuba RoundTable - the first non-computing related RT on GEnie, founded by Tracy Kornfeld
  • The ShowBiz RoundTable, created by film critic Bill Warren in 1989, and still active today on the online service Delphi
  • The Space and Science RoundTable
  • The Spaceport RoundTable, oriented around engineering projects that could be carried out in space.
  • The Sports RoundTable, run by Glen Johnson
  • The *StarShip* Amiga, run by deb! Christensen.
  • The TeleJoke RoundTable, which was managed by Brad Templeton and cross-linked with the Usenet newsgroup rec.humor.funny
  • TI-99/4A and Geneve RoundTable
  • The TSR Online RoundTable
  • The White House RoundTable for making available press releases and other hard to find administration materials and for partisan discussions on actions of the Bill Clinton administration
  • The Windows RoundTable - Sysops Rick Ruhl and Charlie Strom
  • The Writers' Ink RoundTable

Rise and fall

Although GEnie for years was second as a service provider only to CompuServe, the service failed to keep up when Prodigy and America Online produced graphics-based online services that drew the masses. Programs such as Aladdin, which had been developed earlier by an independent developer and eventually supported by GEnie, helped many of the newcomers who came to GEnie from Prodigy and AOL adjust; these were the equivalent of modern-day email programs and newsreaders, incorporating a more user-friendly interface which automated message and mail downloading and posting.

In addition, GEnie took its time developing an Internet e-mail gateway, which opened on July 1, 1993.

GE sold GEnie in 1996 to Yovelle, which was later taken over by IDT Corp. IDT attempted to transition Genie (now without the all-uppercase "GE") to an internet service provider, but ultimately failed. IDT also funded the development of a GUI for the text-based service; this client was actually released, but the service did not survive long enough for it to become popular.

Visitors to GEnie dropped with the growth of other online services and fell dramatically following a very sudden change in the fee structure in 1996. The users were notified with only 12 hours notice that all Basic (flat-rate) services would cease to exist, while prices of the other services would rise dramatically. By the final year, insiders reported fewer than 10,000 total users.

On December 4, 1999, it was announced that GEnie would close for good on December 27 due to Y2K issues. Remaining users gathered in chat areas of the few RoundTables remaining to say goodbye. But GEnie did not close for four more days, and a dwindling number watched at the close of each day. The RoundTables and all areas of GEnie, except the Top page, became unavailable slightly before midnight on December 30, 1999.


Several books, TV shows, films and other projects had their genesis and inspiration on GEnie. One example is the Babylon 5 television show, created by J. Michael Straczynski, which was first announced publicly in GEnie's Science Fiction RoundTables. The SFRTs served as the show's first online "home" and were the source of many in-jokes and references throughout its run.

Bill Louden, the original creator of GEnie, formed a group of investors to buy the Delphi online service from News Corp, where he led the transition of the service from text-only to the Web (and from a pay-per-hour to an advertising-supported revenue model).

Notable users

Many well-known personalities were early adopters of the online medium, and were a prominent presence on GEnie, either active in one of its RoundTables, or frequent public participants in GEnie’s CB Chat.

Other well-known science fiction authors who were frequent visitors to the SFRT included Dafydd ab Hugh, John Barnes, Michael Banks, Steven Brust, Michael A. Burstein, Debra Doyle, Gregory Feeley, Neil Gaiman, Joe Haldeman, Katharine Kerr, Michael Kube-McDowell, Paul Levinson, James D. Macdonald, George R.R. Martin, Rich Normandie, Mike Resnick, Robert J. Sawyer, J. Neil Schulman, Josepha Sherman, Susan Shwartz, Sherwood Smith, Martha Soukup, Judith Tarr, Harry Turtledove, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Leslie What, and Jane Yolen. Occasional but less frequent visitors included K. W. Jeter and Ken Grimwood.

Science fiction editors Gardner Dozois, Scott Edelman, Peter Heck, Tappan King, Beth Meacham, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and Dean Wesley Smith were also frequent participants.

See also


Further reading

External links


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