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Legends of the Fire Spirits

According to Islamic tradition, Allah created three types of beings: angels, made of light; humans, made of earth; and jinn, made of smokeless fire. Supernatural, shape-shifting, intelligent and blessed with free will and remarkable powers, jinn have over the ages been given many names - demon, spirit, ghoul, genie, ifrit and shaitan. Neither human nor immortal, they roam the earth inhabiting dark and empty places, luring humans to their deaths or demonically possessing them if harmed or offended. Despite the fact they cannot be seen, jinn are said to be strangely human-like - marrying, bearing children, forming communities and tribes, eating, sleeping, playing and facing judgement like any other human. They are ever-present partners in the human experience, causing endless mischief, providing amazing services and sometimes inducing sheer terror. Believed in by hundreds of millions of people throughout the world and from all faiths, jinn have played a particularly central role in the literature, culture and belief systems of the Middle East and the Islamic world. Legends of the Fire Spirits explores through time and across nations the enduring phenomenon of the jinn. From North Africa to Central Asia, from the Mediterranean to sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, this riveting, often chilling, yet reasoned book draws on long-forgotten ancient testimonies, medieval histories, colonial records, anthropologist's reports and traveller's tales to explore the different types of jinn, their behaviour, society, culture and long history of contact with humankind. It documents their links with famous figures in history such as King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and illustrates the varied and vivid portrayals of jinn in world literature. In essence Legends of the Fire Spirits demonstrates the colourful diversity of human culture and the durability of faith and is a magnificent and indispensable portrayal of the rich folklore of the Islamic world.
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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: The Nature of Jinn ORIGINS What Are the Jinn? Ancient Perspectives How Muslims View the Jinn ANCIENT LEGENDS Adam, Eve & Iblis Lilith and the Qarinah King Solomon Mount Qaf: Home of the Jinn Amid Ancient Ruins HISTORICAL ENCOUNTERS Al-Andalus Al-Biruni on Aristotle Jinn in the Afterlife Jinn in the 'Catalogue' Medieval Influences ACTING UP: JINN BEHAVIOUR Human Possession & Exorcism Jinn Hauntings Do Jinn Cause Illnesses? 'The Condemned System' Abductions Shifting Shapes Jinn Living Sex & Marriage JINN GEOGRAPHY Arabia: The Core Iraq: 'Pandemonium' Harran: The 'North' Palestine: Underground Syria: The Red King's Daughter Egypt: Ifrits & Ghouls Morocco: The 'Masters' Tunisia: Air, Sea & Land Turkey: Out of the Forest Iran: 'The Holy Jinn' Armenians: Devs and Dragons Kurds: The Jinn's Children South Asia: Coat of Many Colours Zanzibar & Beyond: Spreading the Wealth Nigeria: 'Children of Jangare' Malays: Jinnis in the Jungle CULTURAL ECHOES How I Met the Ghul The Arabian Nights Southey's Genii Hugo's 'Les Djinns' The Mystery of Ishmonia Arab Folktales

About the Author

Robert W. Lebling has lived and worked as a journalist in Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States and is the author, with Donna Pepperdine, of Natural Remedies of Arabia. Married with two daughters, he is currently a writer and communications specialist based in Saudi Arabia.


'The boundaries of Lebling's work surpassed my wildest dreams. Lebling has left no stone unturned in his enquiry, roaming through traditional Eastern literature as well as the modern media. The result is a truly extraordinary masterwork, a treasury within itself that can be consulted at random, dipped into as a bedside book, or read from cover to cover in a fabulous feast for the imagination and the enquiring mind.' Tahir Shah 'This book has inspiration on every page if you're a paranormal/fantasy author -- and even if you're not. The stories are brilliant, well-researched and chosen. I'll be re-reading this book -- and recommending it.' Jenny Schwartz, Goodreads

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