Legends of the Fire Spirits:
Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar
By Robert Lebling
Paperback. 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.
Tahir Shah was born into Afghan nobility in 1966 and grew up in England. He has worked for the Institute of Cultural Research and with the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge, and has written widely on the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and South America. When not traveling, he lives in London with his wife and daughter.