Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book of the Djinn

Front of the QuranImage via WikipediaI usually stay away from religious sources to be PC, but recently I was thinking of a specific Qur'anic verse: The sea became ink for the words of the Lord. (Paraphrasing Surah Al Khaf 18:109 here. Don't quote me.)

Sometimes the verse gets mixed up with this one: If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support. (Surah Al Isra 17:88)

And it turns out like this: "If the whole of mankind and the djinn had a sea of ink, they couldn't produce the like of the Qur'an." (See how the memory plays with words?)

The mixed up version makes me think: Is it blasphemous to wonder if a sea of ink would be enough for my edits?

Anyway, I thought I'd give you a little glimpse behind my curtain, despite my inhibitions, and introduce you to one of my resources, the Book of the Djinn - Surah 72 of the Qur'an.

See - growing up, I'd always thought genies were mythological beasts, like fairies. I never realized they fell into mainstream monotheistic religion. And Islam is mainstream in many parts of the world. (Maybe not where I live now...) Of course, Zeus was pretty mainstream in his day and even Zoroaster and his offshoot, Mithras were popular guys. So take it all with a grain of salt and humor me.

My point of the day: There are many millions of people out there who believe in djinn, like people of the west believe in angels, and there's a world of lore besides. Don't we wonder what these people are thinking? Why they think it?

I guess I'm just grumbling because I feel like I'm fighting a tide of preconceived notions. When we say, for example, djinn are dangerous and live in bottles and lamps and such, we're actually mixing up the concept of djinn and shayatin. The Shaytan is the devil - and there's a verse specifically mentioning that you can find the devil in men and djinn alike (Surah Al An'am 6:112). I actually have a few words I'd like to say to that Scheherazade lady about her perpetuation of misinformation. Although, she probably didn't expect her tale to land in a Disney Studio and my djinn aren't innocent of all theological transgression. The folklore is just too tempting to ignore.
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Sarah said...

This is such an interesting post, Carolyn, and is an excellent reminder of how our culture and upbringing, as well as information distributed through our culture's mass media, shapes our understanding of the rest of the world. It helps us understand how others can misunderstand us so easily. It's also a nice gentle nudge that our own knowledge of people from other cultures and religious backgrounds is often more shallow, fragile, and potentially misinformed than we think, so we need to have open minds and ears when it comes to this stuff.

Old Kitty said...

All I can say is yay for your blog for giving Djinns a platform to be heard and to set the record straight!! I always thought of them as angels - and angels are for me very complex creatures capable of such great things both good and bad! Take care

Carolyn V said...

Your post reminds me of not only how different cultures can be, but how similar too. So interesting.

Grandpa said...

Surah 72 Al Jinn consists of 28 Ayat or verses. Pray tell me which one is it that you quoted or interpret?

Life on The Farm

LTM said...

ooo... I love that first quote. And LOL at you w/the sea of ink for edits. sigh.

I'm with Kitty. You're giving the djinns a platform to set the record straight! :D Good stuff~ <3

Carolyn Abiad said...

@ Grandpa: Citations added for the Surah I referred to above. It was late and I just didn't think to add them. Sorry. My blog isn't meant to provide religious information. It's only here to reference the cultural implications of things.

Next week I'll explain the different spellings of things - as best I can. Thank you!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

There are people that believe in leprechauns, in unicorns, and in Santa Claus as well. Despite that, it doesn't mean that any of it is real. It just means that people buy into a lot of things without any kind of scientific evidence or proof.

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