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jinn
kahoku
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Post: #1
jinn
i recently stumbled over the term "jinn" and read up on it a bit. what i found was rather interesting... to me, it sounds like a much better description of (what i consider) demons than what christian sources say. it also sounds more like the greek "daimon". my thoughts in italic.

according to the qur'aan (sp?), there are three kinds of sentient beings: humans, angels, and jinn.

jinn were made of "smokeless fire" while humans were made of clay. since we obviously aren't made of clay today, one can assume that jinn aren't made of fire anymore. they also are invisible to human eyes, although they can see us. jinn are able to shapeshift and even take human form. perhaps they are made of energy now - it would fit the description.

just like humans, they are capable of good and evil deeds. jinn are interested in humans and sometimes follow them around, sometimes whispering evil things or scaring the human.

what i find interesting is that they also have different religions (there are catholic jinn even) and a social structure, but nobody really knows a lot about their society. even though demons don't have a common ruler, many of them do have some kind of relationship. some demons, for instance, have their "property", meaning one "belongs" to the other, has to serve but is also protected by the more powerful one.

am i totally wrong with my assumption that jinn are demons, just interpreted slightly differently by another culture?

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2010-07-05 9:30
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Post: #2
Re: jinn
Well a few comments, a) Humans in abrahamic and Egyptian mythos are molded from clay/earth/dust and humans kinda tend to have that earthish tinge to them..... and humans are made of the earth itself in a way so perhaps the concept of "smokeless fire" is metaphorical for their otherworldly/spiritual nature or perhaps reflective of their perceived "essence". b) Jinn seem to predate the islam religion (early 800c.e.?) in Arabic folklore, before which time they were pagans like their fellow semitic cousins the Canaans and the rest; so it's likely that it's a carryover of lore..as with hebrews and buddhists incorporating their respective regional entities and concepts into their new religion.

The second point is, it's hard for me to really make an opinion because the concept of "Demon" differs so damn much from culture to culture, or perhaps rather the term "Demon" in english is used in multiple contexts as opposed to the native word of the culture. Currently my concept of a "Demon" is more of a metaphorical and/or rough grouping of a type of supernatural being.... Yanno like any sort of supernatural creature could be considered a "demon" if it's "kind" are known to be malevolent in some way(to humans). Was this covered in a thread yet? If we can agree on a definition I could give a better reponse on this. Also, I think just about all spirits are invisible to humans unless they choose and/or have the power to manifest. You might want to check out the Zoroastrian version of the Devas/Daivas also, there are some similarities with the Jinn descriptions.

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2010-07-05 10:29
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Post: #3
Re: jinn
As someone that identifies as djinn kin, I would say that they could be easily mistaken as demons. Djinn are formed of smoke and fire, but can also take on a larger, more physical form if it's desired or necessary. In history, they have indeed been in included in literature previous to that of Islam, but it had the most references so a quick search will bring up more in that religion. In Islam, they are said to most often take on the form of large, black dogs. In other texts, they are said to take on the form of a black feline with wings, also large, which is the form that resonates with me. In everything I have read, djinn can be seen as good or evil, but they always have free will to do as they please in a situation. I'd post more, but this is an old thread, and I haven't located anyone else here yet that identifies as djinn.
2011-02-06 4:16
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Post: #4
Re: jinn
I don't think "smoke and fire" can be taken literally. Perhaps that's a paraphrase for "spirit"? So djinn would be spirit beings. Just my humble theory.

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2011-02-06 10:51
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Post: #5
Re: jinn
kahoku Wrote:i recently stumbled over the term "jinn" and read up on it a bit. what i found was rather interesting... to me, it sounds like a much better description of (what i consider) demons than what christian sources say. it also sounds more like the greek "daimon". my thoughts in italic.

Personally, rather than confusing things by saying something like "jinn sound more like demons than Christian demons do" I'd say something like "jinn and Christian demons seem to be different sorts of entities. I am more similar to jinn than to demons."

Quote:jinn were made of "smokeless fire" while humans were made of clay. since we obviously aren't made of clay today, one can assume that jinn aren't made of fire anymore. they also are invisible to human eyes, although they can see us. jinn are able to shapeshift and even take human form. perhaps they are made of energy now - it would fit the description.

I'd say that humans being made of clay is pure metaphor - humans are and IMO always have been made of flesh and blood. "Clay" is a simple stand in for "the material, physical world." Smokeless fire, on the other hand, would seem to refer to energy beings. I don't think it's necessary to say that jinn aren't made of fire any more, because just as humans were never made of actual clay, there's no reason to believe that jinn were ever made of actual fire.

Quote:what i find interesting is that they also have different religions (there are catholic jinn even) and a social structure, but nobody really knows a lot about their society. even though demons don't have a common ruler, many of them do have some kind of relationship. some demons, for instance, have their "property", meaning one "belongs" to the other, has to serve but is also protected by the more powerful one.

What's the source for there being Catholic jinn? I find it hard to picture the Koran saying so, but then again, I've neve read it . . .

Quote:am i totally wrong with my assumption that jinn are demons, just interpreted slightly differently by another culture?

I'd say that jinn just sound like energy beings. Whether the term could be used for all energy beings or just some is another question. Asking if they're demons is sort of, to me, asking if Vulcans are just Middle Earth Elves interpreted by another culture. They're not. They have similar characteristics, and they certainly belong to the same class of beings, namely "pointy eared non-human guys who tend to help humans out" - but Elves aren't a kind of Vulcans, and Vulcans aren't a kind of Elf.

This is another example of why I don't think the term "demon" is helpful, and in some cases is actively harmful for facilitating good communication. If you yourself think that the descriptions of jinn are more accurate to your people than the (modern) image of demons, then why hold on to the label demon?

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2011-02-06 14:58
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Post: #6
Re: jinn
Archer Wrote:If you yourself think that the descriptions of jinn are more accurate to your people than the (modern) image of demons, then why hold on to the label demon?

Because "demon" feels right? Because, if they are the same, it doesn't really matter which label I choose? Because Jinn come from a culture I'm not as familiar with as ours? Because the images I have of myself resemble a "demon" more than a "Jinn"?

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2011-02-07 9:18
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Post: #7
Re: jinn
kahoku Wrote:
Archer Wrote:If you yourself think that the descriptions of jinn are more accurate to your people than the (modern) image of demons, then why hold on to the label demon?

Because "demon" feels right? Because, if they are the same, it doesn't really matter which label I choose? Because Jinn come from a culture I'm not as familiar with as ours? Because the images I have of myself resemble a "demon" more than a "Jinn"?

Re a label "feeling right", IMO that's a terrible reason to use it. The point of calling yourself a demon (or shadow, or dragon, or elf, or sidhe, or anything) is presumably to help you communicate with other people, in which case it helps if the terms are accurate.

For a really prosaic example - in football (soccer), if a forward gets a breakaway so he has the ball and it's just him against the goalie, it's known as a one-on-one (in the UK, anyway). On the other hand in (ice) hockey, a breakaway with no defenders is a one-on-0, while a one-on-one means a breakaway with the forward going against the goalie and one defender. To a lot of people in the UK who were football fans before hockey fans, it "feels right" to call the no-defender situation a one-on-one. But if they then try to talk about something that happened in a game, or get opinions on tactics or whatever, the conversation will make no sense because the person speaking "hockey lingo" has a different definition for one-on-one. (This might seem totally irrelevant, but if a forward gets a breakaway in a game, and his teammates scream "ONE ON ONE!!!" to let him know he's under pressure, if he hears that as "You're safe, there's no defence" . . . it's bad!)

In other words . . . if you want to facilitate understanding, then it's best for everyone to use terms appropriately.

"Jinn" and "demon" are patently not the same concepts; in modern English "demons" are associated with Christian mythology, the Devil, evil, horns, general unpleasantness, etc etc etc. While the root of "demon" might have meant something different in Ancient Greece, that's not where we are now and we're not speaking Greek.

You mention not being as familiar with the culture that originated the term "jinn" . . . but the modern cultural understanding of "demon" is not a chaotic energy being, it's that Christian/Devilish thing that generally does very bad things.

I guess I just don't understand someone actively choosing to label themself with a term that is inaccurate and misleading when they don't have to.

Now if you're people used the word "demon" for themselves, or your people are the same as those original entities called demons, that would be another matter and I could see the point then. But IIRC pre-Christian "demons" (or daemons, or daimons, I don't remember the suggested original spelling) were more like spiritual entities more powerful than humans but less powerful than gods, with none of the specificity of "chaos being".

I know I go on (and on and on and on and on . . . ) about this, but it just seems to me that "demon" is not remotely helpful as a label, and causes a lot of confusion when people try to compare the kin-type (chaos-entity) with the Christian demon (evil, Devil-like being), with the Greek daimon (spirit-being) with other concepts (in this case, jinn).

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2011-02-07 19:26
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Post: #8
Re: jinn
Many people already translate "jinn" with "demon". Same goes for Shinto and Hindu "demons". Yes, the word is terribly ambiguous.

As for the "feels right" thing, I think I expressed myself poorly. Let me elaborate.

The reason why the label of demon "feels right" isn't just about the word. The image you have in mind when hearing the word "demon" comes closer to what you think of when hearing "jinn".

Jinn are often thought as beings who live in flasks and grant you three wishes. Few people here know what a jinn really is meant to be. So the associations if I called myself a jinn would be more wrong than they could be with demons. That, plus some of a jinn's traits are very different from what many (not all) demon-kin would identify with, such as a human-like society of jinn.

If you ask a person from the western culture what they believe a demon is (and scratch those who believe demons are a metaphor for our own sinful thoughts), they'll probably say it's a being of distorted shape, with horns and claws and wings, red glowing eyes, lurking in the dark etc., because that's how you see them in movies. Some might think of the Christian version, but even Christians don't always think that demons are fallen angels only. And this image comes so much closer to how I perceive myself that I choose to go with this label rather than "jinn" or "fae" or "energy being". If you'd want a 100% accurate label, the "Kin type" profile field would have to be 10,000 characters long and we'd have as many labels as we have members.

Besides, it doesn't feel "wrong" to me to be just one kind of a very varied species, along with fallen angels and other creatures.

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2011-02-08 9:57
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Post: #9
Re: jinn
Having stayed in the largest Muslim country in the world for several months and read the Koran, and before that volunteered in a Christian outreach center, I have come to a lot of decisions concerning Abrahamic texts within the last while. One of these decisions is: listen only to what the texts say. Not what anyone else says about them, take what you take from them, and dump lots of salt on what everyone else says (as well as the texts themselves). "Seraphim" translates to "fiery serpent", but because the church decided to think of that term as metaphorical, we don't see flaming reptiles with multiple pairs of wings when we see angels, we see men with feathery wings. They are recorded taking human form, but also appearing decidedly inhuman, and in fact quite terrifying. I personally find that what the texts say, and what organizations and people around them say, often seem quite different. Disneyfied, almost...
When we think of "demons", "angels", and "jinn", I find that in order to accept such cosmology, we must take in what the text presents as a whole, as well as investigate the origins of the text itself, before just saying "that sounds similar to me!". The Koran supposedly has one single author, which is a more verifiable and likely claim than the original Hebrew texts in Moses' name (information which adds credibility to the Islamic claim that the Abrahamic faith had been warped, and that Islam is the restoration). The extension of Judaism into Christianity, is a further leap of faith from one set of texts whose authorship is disputed, to texts that were all written decades after the events they record happened, and these events were scrutinized and categorized in a murderous council centuries after they in turn were written.
These are the conclusions I have come to, so what we have left in my eyes, is two frankensteined religions, Judaism and Christianity, who have broken off into numerous sects with varying interpretations of the texts, which may or may not be based on factual events. One conclusion we can take, I believe, is that reality certainly does not seem to correspond with the way average fundamentalists seem to interpret these texts.
After Judaism and Christianity, there is the Koran, a relatively solid book as far as authorship and historical accuracy for the time it was written goes, which bolsters its claims to be genuine and untainted as the other texts have possibly become. But before you accept cosmology that seems to reflect your own in this text, remember that it the Koran is indeed more concrete in its claims of authorship than biblical texts, and therefore if you happen to be a more liberal sort...this text's cosmology and its commands may be more difficult to reconcile than with other biblical books. In the Koran, things are not so strict as sharia law is, but it is still a rather volatile text in many respects, and as much as I am at odds with many biblical commands, the Koran seems to reflect those cosmologies I dislike in a much more concentrated form. It is true, translation harms the message, BUT, the other biblical texts have been much translated as well, and they don't seem nearly so brutal. Much more hellfire, much less tolerance, much more warlike. Women are specifically classified as second class citizens on numerous occasions, and homosexuals are repeatedly condemned (much more frequently are these two messages repeated than in biblical texts, so it is harder to skim over) This is not my judgement of all Muslim people, I have many Muslim friends who I consider to be like brothers to me, but I am disturbed by the text (as I am disturbed by brutality that ancient pagan religions may have practiced, and ancient Jews and Christians, but I befriend all today so long as they aren't sadistic as their forebears may have been).
Because Christianity and Judaism are more shrouded in time and split into sects and beliefs, they are harder to disprove, and it's easier to skip around and pick your own cosmological understanding of things, but Islam I think is a little more demanding of total acceptance of it's beliefs.
And it seems obvious to me that the "clay" thing only signifies us being bound to the physical plane.
2011-06-09 19:28
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Post: #10
Re: jinn
boyd Wrote:One of these decisions is: listen only to what the texts say. Not what anyone else says about them, take what you take from them, and dump lots of salt on what everyone else says (as well as the texts themselves).
I...still don't entirely understand what makes a text inherently more reliable than personal experience, or being taught by someone face-to-face.

If we were talking about whether a text agrees with something that came before it -- that is, academically analyzing it, to see the changes and inserts into doctrine, that's one thing. If we're looking at historical records of things people once thought, that's another thing. If we're looking at sifting through mountains of information and we can't have 268 people on hand to ask our questions to, and don't have the time to do so anyway, that's another thing.

But I don't understand why, just because something may be in book form, it's taken to be more likely to be true than if it were not. I can understand this if it's a modern publication published by a publishing house which has an excellent reputation for fact-checking and verifying the information its authors purport, prior to releasing the information to the wild. I can understand this if it happens to be someone's Ph.D. dissertation or Master's Thesis, and hence the author has been, hopefully, trained in something relevant to the topic of the paper and is talking about something of import.

But just because someone was born before one doesn't mean that they were, of necessity, right or wise. And just because someone can write doesn't mean they know what they're writing about. What I'm trying to say is, why the focus on texts?

(P.S. I'm posting this here in part because I'm trying to be more outgoing, not as a personal attack.)
2011-06-10 4:06
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