The Jinns

The Jinns are the 'hidden people'  or spirit people of the Chronicles of El Jisal.  There are jinns in all four books. Jinns can be good, bad or in between; they can be very powerful, like Kareen Amar and the afreet in Snow, Fire, Sword, or with hardly any power at al, like the little jinn Falasha, who looks after unread books in The Curse of Zohreh. They are shapeshifters and can manifest in any sort of shape: from the human, like Kareen Amar and like the jinn in The Maharajah's Ghost; to animals, like Ketta in The Tyrant's Nephew, who takes on the shape of a white cat, and Falasha, who manifests as a moth-like creature. Sometimes  the evil jinn will manifest in ghastly supernatural shapes, like the afreet  in Snow, Fire, Sword, and the ghoul, in The Curse of Zohreh.

Jinns live all over the world of el Jisal, and can be found in all its corners. Some jinns live in groups; these are usually household jinns, who have certain protective duties--you can read a lot about those in The Curse of Zohreh. Other jinns, like Kareen Amar, Ketta and others, may attach themselves to humans but are essentially solitary. The evil jinns, like the afreets and ghouls, come out of the realm of Jehannem, which is ruled by Iblis, who is the prince of the evil jinns. Jehannem is a horrible place of fire and torment.

Jinns were created from smokeless flame, unlike angels, who were created from light, and human beings, who were created from clay. They are immortals, and cannot die in the normal way through disease or accident. But under certain circumstances, they can be killed. Because they are immortals, they have a rather different approach to life than humans do, and you have to be careful with them--especially the evil ones, of course, but even the good ones can be a bit scary sometimes. There is a special sacred fomula called adhubilah, which gives protection against evil jinns. This is often written up above doorways and on the blue plates that adorn the walls of houses in Mesomia, for instance, but the words can also be written on a scrap of paper or cloth to carry around with you.

Jinns aren't afraid of much, except being captured and enslaved by a human sorcerer and forced to work for him or her. It's not the best idea to try and do it, though, because jinns defend themselves very strongly. Occasionally, though, it does happen, and that person can then have a huge amount of power, like the sorcerer in Snow, Fire, Sword..But if a jinn manages to escape its master, it will wreak a terrible revenge on him.. 


The Jinn of the Chronicles of el Jisal come directly from Arabic and Islamic sources. There are references to Jinns in the Koran, and there are ancient manuscripts which show how jinns could be dealt with, like the picture below, which comes from an ancient Arabic book of summoning:

There are of course jinns as well in The Arabian Nights(though sometimes they're called genies). Even today, in most Islamic countries, people believe strongly in jinns, both the good and the bad ones, their shape-shifting, and their powers. For instance, in some countries, like the Gulf States, people fear driving at night in the desert because it is feared bad jinns are most active at this time.







Inspirations for El Jisal

Snow, Fire, Sword

The Curse of Zohreh

The Tyrant's Nephew

The Maharajah's Ghost