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MYTHICAL CREATURES THROUGHOUT HISTORY: AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT ‘GENIES’

Brought to you by OBS staff member Cassie K.

Genies

In Arabic, a genie (also jinn, jinni, djinni, 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). According to the Qur’ān, there are two creations that have free will: humans and jinn. Religious sources don’t mention much about them; however, the Qur’an mentions that jinn are made of smokeless flame, and they form communities just like humans, and, just like humans, they can be good or evil.

The jinn are mentioned frequently in the Qur’an, and there is a surah entitled Sūrat al-Jinn. While Christian tradition suggests that Lucifer was an angel that rebelled against God’s orders, Islam maintains that Iblīs was a jinni who was granted special privilege to live amongst angels prior to his rebellion. After the rebellion, he was granted a respite to lead humans astray until the Day of Judgment. However, Iblis has no power to mislead true believers in God. Although some scholars have ruled that it is apostasy to disbelieve in one of God’s creations, the belief in jinn has fallen compared to the belief in angels in other Abrahamic traditions.

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 descendant 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.

Genies in Books

  1. The Amulet of Samarkand by Johnathon Stroud
  2. Children Of The Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B Kerr
  3. Crystal Doors by Rebecca Moesta
  4. Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor
  5. The Golem’s Eye by Johnathon Stroud
  6. Magic By the Lake by Edward Eager
  7. Ptolemy’s Gate by Johnathon Stroud
  8. Snow, Fire, Sword by Sophie Masson

Genies in Movies

  1. SuperFantaGenio (1985)
  2. The Boy and the Pirates (1960)
  3. Aladdin (1992)
  4. The Return of Jafar (1993)
  5. Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996)

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What do you think of genies? Do you have any favorite movie or book? Join us in the forum for discussions!