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The New International Encyclopædia/Jinn

JINN (Ar., from janna, to be veiled, be dark), often written Genii. Supernatural beings of Arabic folk-lore and religion. Mohammed believed in their existence, and the seventy-second sura of the Koran is named after them. According to tradition, the Prophet recognized five orders of such creatures. They are both male and female; eat, drink, and propagate their kind, and die, though they generally live very long. Some are good, some bad; some are Mohammedans, some infidels. They were created two thousand years before Adam of smokeless fire, and in the early time were ruled by a race of kings each named Solomon. Their home is the mountains called Kaf, supposed to encompass the earth; but they haunt all sorts of places, rivers, ruined buildings, ovens, baths, etc. They are in the sea, on land, and in the air. They assume what form they choose, and appear to men as dogs, cats, serpents, and in other animal forms, as human beings, and in the whirlwinds, dust-clouds, and the like. They are the authors of many of the ills to which men are subject, but also confer benefits, and, in general, whatever the mind of the untutored cannot conceive of as done by human means is ascribed to them. It was they who built the pyramids. Solomon, son of David, acquired great power over them, and innumerable stories are told of the great things he accomplished with their help. They are identical with the spirits and demons that play so large a part in the religious literature of the Babylonians and Assyrians. Consult: Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, chap. xvi. (Boston, 1898); Fossey, La magie assyrienne, chap. ii. (Paris, 1902); and, for the Arabian demons, Lane, Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (London, 1837); id., The Thousand and One Nights, notes (London, 1838-40).