We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Djinn.
My novel Daughters of Shadow and Blood – Book I: Yasamin is now available for pre-order on Amazon and iBooks. In it, Yasamin, who is destined to become the first Bride of Dracula, mistakes the signs of a vampire attack for the work of the djinn.
A djinni is a creature in Islamic mythology, appearing often in Arabic, Turkic, and Persian folklore. There is evidence that in pre-Islamic Arabic society, djinn were worshiped as minor gods. According to the Qur’an, Allah created the djinn from “smokeless fire” just as men were created from clay. Along with men and angels, djinn are one of the three self-aware creations of God. Unlike angels, however, who are only capable of doing good, djinn are also capable of doing evil and therefore have free will like men. In fact, the Qur’an states that Shaitan is a djinni who refused God’s command to bow down to Adam, the first man.
There are many different classes of djinn. They are extremely long-lived, but they are not immortal and will one day be judged by God. The can travel over long distances quickly without tiring. They are usually invisible to humans, but can make themselves seen if they want. The can also possess humans. Sometimes they take the form of animals. They prefer to live in remote places, and they can marry and have families, just like humans. In some stories, they live on bones. When dealing with humans they are usually untrustworthy and treacherous, but they can be benevolent if it serves their own purposes.