Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar

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Counterpoint, 2010 - Religion - 299 pages
When Westerners think of a genie, the first image that comes to mind may be Barbara Eden in her pink harem pants or the illuminated blue buffoon from the animated Disney film Aladdin. But to the people of the Arab and Islamic worlds, the picture is dramatically different. Legends of the Fire Spirits looks beyond Westernized caricatures to immerse the reader in the vibrant lore of the jinn—the wondrous, often troublesome, and sometimes terrifying spirit beings of ancient Arab and Islamic tradition.

Robert Lebling delves into long-lost accounts, medieval histories, colonial records, anthropologist’s reports, and traveler’s tales to explore the origin and evolution of legends that continue to thrive in the Middle East and beyond. He cuts through centuries of Orientalists’ cultural presumption to craft a study that stands apart from the overwhelming body of literature concerned with religion in the Middle East.

A captivating synthesis of history and folklore, this is the most diverse collection of jinn lore ever assembled in one volume. From ancient scriptures to The Arabian Nights and beyond, and with a foreword by acclaimed filmmaker Tahir Shah, Lebling has constructed a comprehensive account that not only transcends geographical borders but also spans some four millennia.

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Interspersed with interesting short stories or legends or of reported occurrences, the book gives a consolidated and detailed history and account of the Jinns. I have long wondered about the mysterious beings who have been doing the hauntings and spiritual disturbances in this part of the world. Comprehending their way of life will surely assist me in mitigating the fear of the unknown. 

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About the author (2010)

Robert Lebling has lived and worked as a journalist in Egypt, Lebanon, 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.

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