Djinn in the 1001 Arabian Nights

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When reading the 1,001 Arabian Nights one is confronted with a number of issues including murderous sexism, the affects of a psychotic ruler on a kingdom as well as a healthy reaffirmation of the old-fashioned revenge ethic. These, however, are topics reserved for more stoic authors. For this discourse we will instead focus our attention on the strange creatures known variously through the text as demons, genii, and djinn. These creatures appear in multitude throughout the text and reveal a diverse and confounding disposition. When viewed from a Christian point of view these ungodly creations appear to be both angel and demon, both benign and malignant in nature and are easily misunderstood in a modern American society. This dichotomy brings to mind the story of Lucifer, the Fallen Angel and begs the question: are these djinn merely an islamic version of the Angels and devils? Given their lack of respect and gratitude granted them they seem considerably less divine, so perhaps they are something else entirely. A peek into the Koran reveals that djinn are perhaps more than a matter of mythology. Sura 34 verse 11 of the Koran records a conversation between the Prophet Muhammad and God via God 's mouthpiece the Angel Gabriel:
"And unto Solomon did we subject the wind, which traveled in the morning a month 's journey, and a month 's journey in the evening. And we made a fountain of molten brass for him. And of the Djinn were some who worked in his presence, by the will of his Lord; and such of them as swerved from our bidding will we cause to taste the torment of the flame".
This passage reveals a couple of interesting facts about the djinn. The first is that they are neither devil nor angel. The second is that not only is there is a possible connection to Christianity through the Wise King but also King Solomon has some sort power over the djinn. For the Islamic people, belief in the djinn is tantamount to the Christian belief in Angels. In fact, the



Bibliography: Ali, Abdullah Yusef. The Qur 'an Translation. Tahrike Tarsile Qur 'an, 1999. Lane, Edward William. Arab Society in the Time of the Thousand and One Nights. New York: Dover, 2004. Lane, Edward William. The Thousand and One Nights. New York: Harpercollins, 1983.

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