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The subject of my most recent research into myth and legend is a legendary creature known as the Djinn, or Genie in the American vernacular.

The Djinn has its root in Islamic mythology. Several of their books actually refer to the Djinn. While some believe that Allaah created them just the same as human beings, others believe that they actually predated mankind.

There also appears to be additional disagreement over whether these creatures are a force of good or evil. However, the prevalent belief indicates that they are angry spirits born from smokeless fire whereas man was born of the earth itself.

Just like man, however, the Djinn were given free will. However, as man - - beginning with Adam - - struggled to bring out the best in his nature, the Djinn preferred to give in to the dark side. It is believed that this free will choice led to the Djinn's ultimate downfall.

The Djinn refused to act as companions and servants to Adam, as was intended, so they were barred from the Garden of Eden. They became deformed, disgusting creatures condemned to live in ruins and unclean places like graveyards, trash heaps, dark and damp caves, etc.

Although they do inhabit the earth, their dimension makes them somewhat separate and distinct from the normal human realm. This fits well within the root meaning of the Arabic word, which translates into "hidden from sight." While the Djinn's world is indeed on earth, it is said to be "not of this earth."

While the Djinn can see humans, humans don't always see them. Therefore, Allaah provides protection for unsuspecting humans in the form of a prayer that asks for refuge from the whisperings of the Djinn. More than that, however, having a strong religious faith is also necessary to subvert the Djinn's ability to influence humans.

Some believe the Djinn have learned to assimilate themselves into the realm of earth, but they cannot remain for extended periods of time. They come in the form of wizards, witches, and practitioners of black magic who are capable of either serving or plaguing mankind.

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