In the medieval world, belief in supernatural creatures, including the evil Ghul and the diabolic djinn, was common practice. Two important medieval texts provide information on these creatures. So what is a djinn and how does it relate to all these other types of creatures?

If you want to learn more about these creatures, read on!

Origins Of The Evil Djinn

So, what is a djinn? The djinn, or genie, is a supernatural being mentioned in religious and cultural texts across the Arab world. They were said to be made of smokeless fire and could be good or bad. They had magic powers and could shape-shift or become invisible. This quality made them well-known in the folklore of North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Persia, and Turkey.

Djinn In Literature

Two books that mention these Islamic supernatural beings:

  • Ajaib al’Makluqat wa’l’Mawjudat (Marvels of Things and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing), by Persian author Zakariyya al-Qazwini (1203-1283)
  • Kitab al-bulhan (Book of Wonders or Book Of Surprises): 14th-century manuscript containing a list of demons, monsters, and djin. By Abd al-Hassan al-Islaman in Bagdad during the rule of Sultan Ahmad of the Al-Jalayirid dynasty between 1382 to 1410.

The Black King of the Djinns, Al-Malik al-Aswad

The Ancient Mythology of Djinn

Jinn or Djinn are supernatural beings that can be male or female and exist independently or attach to inanimate objects. They reside in the void between worlds. The Quran has a surah dedicated to the djinn, and their portrayal as wish masters in Arabian Nights became popular with many types of djinn.

The Djinn possess free will and live in remote places among the elements. They can remain invisible to humans.

Iblis, The Devil, and Types of Evil Djinn

In Islamic tradition, Allah created man. Then he asked angels and jinn to bow before Adam, but one jinn disobeyed and became Iblis. He believed he was better than Adam. He was banished from Paradise and became the Devil or Sheitan. Therefore, Allah sent prophets to provide wise counsel.

Mohammed was one of the prophets. Allah postponed the destruction of Iblis turned Shaitan until Qiyaamah (judgment day). In Christianity, Lucifer became Satan; in Islam, he became Shaitan or the Devil.


The Ifrits are huge, winged demons from tribalistic societies who can choose between good and evil. They live in ruins or dark swamps. According to Islamic traditions, one of the Ifrits was captured and forced to serve the king, Solomon (Suleiman). The Ifrits live in ruins, but in African legends, they live in dark swamps or pools. Ifrits may marry humans but usually mate with their kind.


Ghuls or Ghouls are cannibalistic shape-shifting creatures living on burial grounds that feast on human corpses and blood. They can transform into animals to attract travelers and children. Female Ghouleh can morph into beautiful women to lure men. Ghuls live in forests and peaceful places, but you can recognize them by their donkey feet.


Marid are crafty, formidable jinn and preferred soldiers of Iblis. They are pompous and egotistical genies who can get coaxed into performing tasks. They appear in tales like The Fisherman and The Jinni and can join forces with humans through ceremonies, flattery, or combat.


The Si’lat is a malicious and cunning shapeshifter jinn that can easily take on animals and humans. Often taking the form of a beautiful woman, it seduces and marries men and can procreate with humans, creating hybrid children.

Additionally, this djinn has the term succubus or European hag, a creature that can appear as an evil seductress. Nevertheless, it can also come as male, and both forms can appear as animals and have malicious intent.


Palis are foolish creatures that lick your feet to steal your blood while you sleep. They are common in the desert, so avoid them covering your feet at night. The clan of Jinn Palis includes Jinn Al-Kaboos.

palis djinn

Palis in Kitāb-i ʻAjāʾib-i makhlūqāt (The Book of Wonders and Creatures), 1921.


Shaitaan, a common Jinn, has more mental impacts and evil abilities than any other Jinn. They are mind players. Iblis, a former angel who refused to bow down to Prophet Adam, is mentioned 11 times in the Quran. This mischievous type promotes evil deeds and flouts Islamic laws.


Nasnas are half-human, half-animal hybrids, the offspring of Shiqq and humans. They take the form of a half-head with one arm and leg and can kill with a single touch. They are mystifying and supposedly render one fleshless.

Nasnas Jinn

Nasnas Jinn


The Jann ruled for 2,000 years before man but got defeated by Ibn-Harith and reduced to a weaker form. They reside in deserts and show themselves as sandstorms and camels. They are more open-minded towards humans and may reveal oases to travelers. They stay out of their way or help unless a human offends them, but they are not malicious.


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Hin is a weak tribe of Jinns that usually take the form of animals. They fit into one class of three Jinns: snakes, dogs, and those with fly wings, ruling land travel. The Book of Jinn claims to have sighted Hinn in Persia, Saudi Arabia, and India.


Shaq- meaning split in Arabic, is a type of Jinn in Islam and not a fully developed creature. They procreate with humans and are considered the lower, weaker class and have nothing to do with the former Miami Heat champion and super personality that we all know as Shaq.

Legend of The Wish Masters Through the Ages

The djinn has a long history in Arabic mythology, folklore, tales, myths, and Islamic tradition. In many parts of the world, people still blame daily events on the influence of its interference or its haunting. One of the most famous djinn stories is probably the one about the Alladins lamp.

Beware if a djinn appears before you, and don’t ask for a wish!

Main Image: Illustration in an illuminated manuscript of the Iranian epic Shahnameh

Last Updated on July 18, 2023.

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