Types of Djinn
Types of Djinn
Adapted from The Vengeful Djinn by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Philip J. Imbrogno, Llewellyn, 2011
There are different types of djinn; the Qur’an mentions only three: Djinn, ‘ifrit, and marid. Other names include jann, ghul, shaitans, hinn, nasnas, shiqq, si’lat, and a host of others. The names above vary depending on the region in the Middle Eastern country. Some of the best-known Djinn are:
The ghul (ghoul) are shape-shifting cannibalistic and blood-drinking creatures that feed on the flesh of human beings, especially travelers, children or corpses stolen out of graves. The oldest references to ghul in Arabian lore are found in The Book of 1001 Nights. There are several types of ghul. The most feared is a female type (ghula) which has the ability to appear as a normal, mortal woman. According to lore, such a creature marries an unsuspecting man, who becomes her prey.
The ghul are nocturnal creatures who inhabit graveyards, ruins and other lonely places. Sometimes they are described as dead humans who sleep for long periods in secret graves, then awake, rise and feast on both the living and the dead. Ghul also personify the unknown terrors held by the desert.
In Persian lore the ghul has the legs of a donkey and the horns of a goat.
The hinn are weak djinn, close to animals, and they especially like to appear as dogs.
The ‘ifrit (variation: afrit) is cited only once in the Qur’an, in reference to a djinni who fetched the throne of the Queen of Sheba at the command of King Solomon. In lore, it is evil and powerful, and difficult to control.
Jann are shape-shifters who lives in the desert, and take the forms of whirlwinds and white camels. They are open-minded about humans, and were among the first djinn encountered by people. They have the power to hide or reveal oases in the desert, depending on whether they like or dislike a party of travelers. They are the enemies of the ghul.
The marid is unruly and rebellious, and the most powerful of djinn. The marida (plural) possess great knowledge of magic and have assisted kings and priests. They are also known as “blue” djinn and are the ones most often associated with wish-granting genies.
The nasnas is another weak form of djinn, hybrids of human-like and animal-like forms, and may account for some of our encounters with mysterious creatures. It is described in The Book of 1001 Nights as a half- human being, that is, it has half a head, half a body, one arm, one leg. It hops about on its single leg. The nasnas was said to be the offspring of a shiqq (see below) and a human being.
The palis is a vampiric foot-licker that lives in the desert. It has low intelligence and can be easily outwitted, according to lore. It attacks sleeping people and drains their blood by licking the soles of their feet. It can be fooled by two people sleeping end to end with their soles of their feet together or under each other’s head.
The shaitan (shaytan) is a rebellious, malevolent djinni associated with demonic forces.
The shiqq is a lower form of djinn, a half creature,or literally only half-formed and thus monstrous in appearance.
The si’lat are expert shape-shifters and the smartest of the djinn. They can mimic human appearance with ease.
Djinn are also denoted by colors:
Older, intelligent djinn, often ambivalent about humans.
Leaders of families and small clans. Less powerful than Blue but more powerful than Green.
Young and immature djinn, ofter playful and mischievous.
Powerful djinn, thought to be kings. It is not known if there is one king or multiple ones.
Hostile and aggressive djinn.