Meet Jinn, The Ancient Arab Spirits Who Have Been Creeping People Out For Centuries
Best known for inspiring Aladdin's genie, jinn are shape-shifting spirits dating back to pre-Islamic Arabia. They are said to haunt the world to this day.

Meet Jinn, The Ancient Arab Spirits Who Have Been Creeping People Out For Centuries

While the concept of jinn (or djinn) might seem unfamiliar at first, these legendary creatures have actually been introduced to the world at large through the genie in Disney’s Aladdin. But unlike the movie, these shape-shifting spirits aren’t traditionally seen as friendly.

Though the supernatural beings have been somewhat overlooked in the scientific world, they’ve also withstood the test of time in terms of folklore. The widespread belief in these ancient Arab spirits has survived centuries of generational changes, including the introduction of Islam.

From their literary beginnings to their representation in modern pop culture, jinn have had a significant foothold throughout history. Although these spirits are neither inherently good nor bad, some alleged sightings over the years have been nothing short of terrifying.

It’s unclear exactly when the specific concept of jinn first emerged. But we do know that the spirits have served as a source of inspiration — and fear — in the Arab world long before the 7th-century introduction of Islam. And they obviously retain significant influence to this day.

While jinn are mentioned in the Qur’an and are thus part of Islam, these spirits are not worshipped in the faith. Thought to transcend the boundaries of the physical world, they are said to be made of “smokeless fire.”


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