Genie

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Jinn (Arabic: جن jinn, singular جني jinnī; variant spelling djinn) or genies are supernatural creatures in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings which occupy a parallel world to that of mankind. Together, jinn, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of Allah. According to the Qur’ān, there are two creations that have free will[citation needed]: humans and jinn. Religious sources say barely anything about them; however, the Qur’an mentions that jinn are made of smokeless flame or "the fire of a scorching wind".[1] They have the ability to change their shape. Like human beings, the jinn can also be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent.[2]

The jinn are mentioned frequently in the Qur’an, and there is a surah entitled Sūrat al-Jinn in the Quran. Some research by the American Jewish Committee has shown that the belief in jinn has fallen compared to the belief in angels in other Abrahamic traditions.[3]

Contents

Etymology and definitions

Jinn is a word of the collective number in Arabic, derived from the Arabic root j-n-n meaning 'to hide' or 'be hidden'. Other words derived from this root are majnūn 'mad' (literally, 'one whose intellect is hidden'), junūn 'madness', and janīn 'embryo, fetus' ('hidden inside the womb').[4]

The Arabic root j-n-n means 'to hide, conceal'. A word for garden or Paradise, جنّة jannah, is a cognate of the Hebrew word גן gan 'garden', derived from the same Semitic root. In arid climates, gardens have to be protected against desertification by walls; this is the same concept as in the word paradise from pairi-daêza, an Avestan word for garden that literally means 'having walls built around'. Thus the protection of a garden behind walls implies its being hidden from the outside. Arabic lexicons such as Edward William Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon define jinn not only as spirits, but also anything concealed through time, status, and even physical darkness.[5]

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