Islamic Sufism Spirituality

Thousand and One Nights

Posted on: July 29, 2008

This is from Edward W. Lane’s notes on the Jinn from his translation of the Thousand and One Nights:

It is said that God created the Jánn [or Jinn] two thousand years before Adam [or, according to some writers, much earlier]; and that there are believers and infidels and every sect among them, as among men. Some say that a prophet, named Yoosuf, was sent to the Jinn: others, that they had only preachers, or admonishers: others, again, that seventy apostles were sent, before Mohammed, to Jinn and men conjointly. It is commonly believed that preadamite Jinn were governed by forty (or, according to some, seventy-two) kings, to each of which the Arab writers give the name of Suleymán (or Solomon); and that they derive their appellation from the last of these, who was called Jánn Ibn-Jánn, and who, some say, built the pyramids of Egypt. The following account of the preadamite Jinn is given by El-Kazweenee.- “It is related in histories, that a race of Jinn, in ancient times, before the creation of Adam, inhabited the earth and covered it, the land and the sea, and the plains and the mountains; and the favors of God were multiplied upon them, and they had government, and prophecy, and religion, and law; but they transgressed and offended, and opposed their prophets, and made wickedness to abound in the earth; whereupon, God, whose name be exalted, sent against them an army of Angels, who took possession of the earth, and drove away the Jinn to the regions of the islands, and made many of them prisoners; and of those who were made prisoners was ’Azázeel [afterwards called Iblees, from his despair]; and a slaughter was made among them. At that time, ’Azázeel was young: he grew up among the Angels [and probably for that reason was called one of them], and became learned in their knowledge, and assumed the government of them; and his days were prolonged until he became their chief; and thus it continued for a long time, until the affair between him and Adam happened, as God, whose name be exalted, hath said, ‘When we said unto the Angels, Worship ye Adam, and [all] worshipped except Iblees, [who] was [one] of the Jinn.’”

“Iblees,” we are told by another authority, “was sent as a governor upon the earth, and judged among the Jinn a thousand years, after which he ascended into heaven, and remained employed in worship until the creation of Adam.” The name of Iblees was originally, according to some, ’Azázeel (as before mentioned; and according to others, El-Hárith: his patronymic is Aboo-Murrah, or Abu-l-Ghimr. It is disputed whether he was of the Angels or of the Jinn. There are three opinions on this point.

  1. That he was of the Angels, from a tradition from Ibn-‘Abbás.
  2. That he was of the Sheytáns (or evil Jinn); as it is said in the Ku-rán, “except Iblees, [who] was [one] of the Jinn:” this was the opinion of El-Hasan El-Basree, and is that commonly held.
  3. That he was neither of the Angels nor of the Jinn; but created alone, of fire.

Ibn-‘Abbás founds his opinion on the same text from which El-Hasan El-Basree derives his: “When we said unto the Angels, Worship ye Adam, and [all] worshipped except Iblees, [who] was [one] of the Jinn” (before quoted: which he explains by saying, that the most noble and honourable among the Angels are called “the Jinn,” because they are veiled from the eyes of the other Angels on account of their superiority; and that Iblees was one of these Jinn. He adds, that he had the government of the lowest heaven and of the earth, and was called the Táoos (literally, Peacock) of the Angels; and that there was not a spot in the lowest heaven but he had prostrated himself upon it: but when the Jinn rebelled upon the earth, God sent a troop of Angels who drove them to the islands and mountains; and Iblees being elated with pride, and refusing to prostrate himself before Adam, God transformed him into a Sheytán. – But this reasoning is opposed by other verses, in which Iblees is represented as saying, “Thou hast created me of fire, and hast created him [Adam] of earth.” It is therefore argued, “If he were created originally of fire, how was he created of light? For the Angels were [all] created of light.”

The former verse may be explained by the tradition, that Iblees, having been taken captive, was exalted among the Angels; or perhaps there is an ellipsis after the word “Angels;” for it might be inferred that the command given to the Angels was also (and à fortiori) to be obeyed by the Jinn.

According to a tradition, Iblees and all the Sheytáns are distinguished from the other Jinn by a longer existence. “The Sheytáns,” it is added, “are the children of Iblees, and die not but with him: whereas the [other] Jinn die before him;” though they may live many centuries. But this is not altogether accordant with the popular belief: Iblees and many other evil Jinn are to survive mankind; but they are to die before the general resurrection; as also even the Angels; the last of whom will be the Angel of Death, ’Azraeel: yet not all the evil Jinn are to live thus long: many of them are killed by shooting stars, hurled at them from heaven; wherefore, the Arabs, when they see a shooting star (shiháb), often exclaim, “May God transfix the enemy of the faith!”

Many also are killed by other Jinn; and some, even by men. The fire of which the Jinnee is created circulates in his veins, in place of blood: therefore, when he receives a mortal wound, this fire, issuing from his veins, generally consumes him to ashes.

The Jinn, it has been already shown, are peccable. They also eat and drink, and propagate their species, sometimes in conjunction with human beings; in which latter case, the offspring partakes of the nature of both parents. In all these respects they differ from the Angels. Among the evil Jinn are distinguished the five sons of their chief, Iblees; namely, Teer, who brings about calamities, losses, and injuries; El-Aawar, who encourages debauchery; Sót, who suggests lies, Dásim, who causes hatred between man and wife; and Zelemboor, who presides over places of traffic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


I would like to make clear all the visitors of my blog that I am not Rqaqi, Aamil, or Spiritual Healer. Any Raaqi you contact via my blog, know they do not represent this blog or me.


In my knowledge these are few dedicated places where you can get your spiritual healing according to Quran and Sunnah. I can recommend these places as in my knowledge they works according to Quran and Sunnah; but I cannot be made responsible either individually or severally for any untoward incidents.


Top Rated

Facebook Twitter More...

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 511 other followers

%d bloggers like this: