An Alien by Any Other Name: Demons, Archons and the Jinn – Part III

Part 3: The Jinnsigil of the jinn

Iblis said: “I am better than him. You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.”the Quran, Surah 7:11-12


Belief in the jinn in the Middle East predates Islam, just as belief in demons predates Judaism and Christianity. However, much like the Judeo-Christian tradition came to define Western concepts of demons, so too did Islam come to define the jinn. In fact, they are spoken of much more extensively in the Quran than demons are in Christian scriptures. However, like demons, most beliefs about the jinn seem to come from folklore and Islamic theologians rather than from the actual Quran, which has a lot to say about their origin but little to say about their alleged supernatural powers.

In the West, we took the Middle Eastern concept of jinn and turned them into genies, which is a very different creature. The jinn don’t live in lamps (or Rav4s), and they certainly don’t grant wishes and won’t help you record up to five shows at once. Even the good ones are reputed to be volatile and Sexy Succubusunpredictable. Muslims must consider the show I Dream of Jeannie to be in extremely bad taste. The equivalent for Christians would be an Iranian sitcom called Devil in the Details, where a hot, ditsy succubus flits around in a leather bikini and keeps inadvertently screwing up her master’s attempts to enrich uranium. Still, the jinn must have some kind of a sense of humor about themselves, otherwise Robin Williams* wouldn’t be alive today.

The jinn got on Allah’s bad side when Iblis, the jinn’s fearless leader, refused to bow down to Adam because he was made from clay. Being the alpha dog of the jinn and therefore almost on par with the angels, he was the only one of them allowed in Heaven. When all of the angels bowed before Adam as commanded, Iblis remained standing and stood out like a donkey at a Tupperware party. (See what happens when you let the dog sit on the couch? He starts to think you’re equals.) For his disobedience, Allah condemned him to Hell. Iblis asked that his punishment be deferred until Judgment Day, and Allah granted his request. Then Iblis announced that he would spend the intervening time corrupting as many humans as he possibly could so that we would all end up in Hell with him. Nice guy. Now he is known as Shaytan, and all of his followers in jinndom are shaytans.

So we were basically the new baby getting all of the attention that our older sibling resented and he’s never gotten over it, which is very psychologically unhealthy for him and why he still hates us.

Since jinn have free will, they don’t have to be evil, and so some of them aren’t. They are also expected to convert to Islam just like humans, but they may be converted to any religion they want or none at all. Ultimately, all the jinn who are not Muslim will burn in Hell alongside the rest of us human infidels. In fact, from the divine perspective, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between us and them. This is evident by the repeated use of phrases like “humankind and the jinn” in the Quran, especially in regard to what is expected of us by Allah.

All non-Muslim religious miracles, like statues of Mary crying or Shiva’s schlong drinking milk, are considered the work of the jinn designed to make us believe in other faiths and thereby lead us astray. That’s an easy way for some Muslims to explain away all non-Muslim religious miracles, but there are plenty of Christians who say the same things about demons and non-Christian miracles.

The jinn are said to be invisible, but can be seen by humans when they want to be. They are not immortal, but they do live much longer than us. They also eat and drink and sleep. They live in communities and get married and have children. Besides invisibility, their super powers also include the ability to travel great distances almost instantaneously, put evil thoughts in people’s heads, possess human beings, cause us to have visions, read minds (which allows them to impersonate the dead at séances, etc.), and change their shape to appear as anyone they want or any paranormal entity you can think of, including little gray aliens and their mysterious ships. The parts about their moving fast, being invisible and whispering bad thoughts in people’s ears are actually in the Quran. If any of their other super powers are, I couldn’t find any reference to them.

They use these abilities primarily to cause Muslims to commit shirk: worshiping or revering false gods or entities, which raises an interesting paradox. If the jinn want to mislead Muslims while simultaneously affirming the incorrect faiths of non-Muslims, then they must know that Islam is the one true faith, so why not just convert? Unlike Satan and his followers, they have that ability. The fallen angels made their choice when they rebelled against God, but the jinn still have a chance to get into Heaven. Some are said to have converted to Islam already. The only reasons not to do so would seem to be pride and spite. It would take an awful lot of pride and spite to know that you could spend eternity in Heaven but you’d rather go to Hell just to make a point. Single-minded devotion to a cause is one thing, but spending eternity on fire is another. I might even convert to Scientology if I knew for a fact that it would save me from that…but probably not.

One compelling aspect of the jinn as relates to modern paranormal phenomena is that they are said to live in a separate dimension that connects to ours, which is similar to speculations made by some of the better ufologists. However, the verse most often cited from the Quran to support this is Surah 7:27: “Lo! he seeth you, he and his tribe, from whence ye see him not.” To say that this means that the jinn live in another dimension is one interpretation of this passage, but that’s not what it actually says. The jinn are supposedly invisible, and that seems to me to be the more plausible explanation for this statement.

The jinn are also said to live in places like garbage dumps, marketplaces and bathrooms. Muslims even have certain phrases that they’re supposed to say before they pee to prevent a jinni (the singular form of jinn) from climbing up their urine stream to gain access to the pee-er’s body, thereby possessing him. (Man, you would really have to want to possess someone to do that.) Another source says that you should banish jinn from your bathroom because if you accidentally pee on one it will die, and then its family will want revenge on you.

You think I’m making this up, don’t you? Well how about this? One recommended blessing to say before you use the toilet is “Allahumma inni a`udhu bika min al-khubuthi wal-khaba’ith (O Allah, I seek Refuge with You from all offensive and wicked things.) In all fairness, I should add that every Muslim I’ve asked about this stuff looked at me like I just asked them if they sacrifice babies under the full moon, so I gather that this practice has fallen out of favor with all but the most devout – or clinically paranoid – Muslims.

My question is: How do jinn live in another dimension but also places in the physical world? Is it possible to do both simultaneously? Instead of being interdimensional, could they be bidimensional? I wonder what that would be like. Maybe garbage dumps are prime real estate on the other side.

The jinn are also said to be predisposed to appearing as certain types of animals, particularly black dogs. Mysterious black dogs, frequently reported as having glowing red eyes, are usually associated with the lore of the British Isles, but they have also been reported in various other parts of the world. They are generally considered to be demonic and are seen as a portent of death, but in his very compelling book Daimonic Reality, Patrick Harpur recounts several cases of mysterious black dogs acting as unexpected helpers and even protectors in some instances. Maybe these are the good jinn?

IblisAn even more interesting assertion from the Quran is that the jinn were made from “smokeless fire” (Surah 55:15). Another verse (Surah 15:27) says “essential fire.” Some have speculated that this could mean that they were made from plasma, and a plasma based life form could be capable of some of the things UFOs and their “occupants” are reported to do, like vanishing, changing shape, passing through walls, etc. For more on this possibility, check out

I suppose that it was only a matter of time before some people in the West discovered the legends of the jinn and started wondering if maybe they were the ones behind UFOs, and they recently have. Now they’re pounding that drum loudly, and I must admit that the mythology of the jinn does more closely correspond to the nature of the UFO than the other usual supernatural suspects. I am not, however, ready to convert to Islam just yet. I’m sure that Iblis will be delighted to hear that.

In the end, you can call a cow a horse if you want to, but that doesn’t change what it is. Some people seem determined to wedge UFOs and paranormal entities into a particular religious or mythological context. I think that this is because it offers a kind of solution or psychological defense mechanism, much like the skeptics who simply deny the phenomenon and claim that no evidence for it exists. If we can label it, if we can convince ourselves that we know what it is, we kid ourselves into thinking that we have solved the mystery and possibly even have some kind of control over it. What we should be doing, and some are, is the exact opposite. By examining the various “mythological” beings of different times and cultures rather than looking for labels, we might learn something about this other intelligence, be it one or several, that we seem to be sharing a planet with. Whether you call them aliens, archons, demons, jinn, or any one of dozens of other supernatural beings is of no consequence. It doesn’t change what they are. A rose by any other name will still lie about being from Zeta Reticuli.

There are certainly fundamentalist Muslims honking on about the dangers of the jinn just like there are fundamentalist Christians who can’t kick a rock without finding the Devil hiding underneath it. In The Testament of Solomon, Solomon calls God by the name Sabaoth, which is another name for Yaltabaoth, the arch-fiend of the Gnostics. One religion’s god is another’s devil.†

Those who subscribe to any theory that “aliens” are really one of the three types of critters listed above also tend to insist that the nature of their chosen beings who masquerade as aliens is exactly what religious texts tell us it is. Should we really believe that most or all of these beings, if any of them exist, are truly evil just because the Christians, Muslims and Gnostics say so? Religious convictions, no matter how devoutly held, do not constitute proof. People of all religions used to blame droughts, floods and earthquakes on these beings, and some still do. Whatever this intelligence is, whether it is one or more, we cannot deduce its (their) character based solely on ancient superstition. I cringe at the thought of all of humanity being judged by the atrocities committed by a relative few, nor would I think it fair for all of us to be regarded as selfless, noble and courageous because of a handful of people like Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. Is it possible that our “aliens” are not so different from us in that regard? Unfortunately, I also know that it’s easier to corrupt people than to lead them to nobility. How many participated in the atrocities in Darfur as opposed to the number who have moved to India to care for the poor? Hopefully, this less than stellar aspect of our character is why we are so often willing to ascribe a negative intent to our unknown cohabitants that they may not deserve, and that this is not a shortcoming that they share. Unfortunately, at least some of them do tend to lie a lot. That’s probably not a good sign, unless…

Nope. I got nothin’. That’s probably just a bad sign. When in doubt, hit ’em with your chicken.


*Oops. Well he was alive when I posted this. In fact, looking back at this four years later, there are a lot of dated references in here. Oh well. Such is life. 

† And since I’ve always wanted to be the target of a fatwa, I have to point out that the story of Solomon enslaving demons to build his temple first appeared in The Testament of Solomon, written sometime between the 1st and 5th centuries, so obviously not by Solomon. Since almost the exact same story appears in the Quran, and Muhammad wasn’t even born until the late 6th century, it would seem that the early Muslims lifted this story from a fraudulent Christian document and just replaced demons with jinn. Since I can’t find anyone else who has pointed this out, I have to assume that either I’m the first one to have noticed this or, more likely, I’m the only one with a death wish.

and all the devils are here




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