Ifrit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
An Ifrit named Arghan Div brings the chest of armor to Hamza

Ifrit, also spelled as efreet, efrite, ifreet, afreet, afrite and afrit (Arabic: ʻIfrīt: عفريت, pl ʻAfārīt: عفاريت) is a powerful type of demon in Islamic mythology. The Afarit are often associated with the underworld and also identified with the spirit of the dead and had been compared to evil genii loci in European culture.[1] In Quran, hadith and Mi'raj narrations the term appears always followed by the phrase among the jinn. Only in folklore they developed into independent entities, identified as powerful demons or spirits of the dead, inhabiting desolate places on the surface, such as ruins and temples. Nevertheless their true habitat remains the underworld.[2]

Etymology[edit]

Makhan embraced by an Ifrit. Illustration to Nizami's poem Hamsa. Bukhara, 1648.

The word Ifrit derives from the Quran, but only as an epithet and not to designate an specific type of demon.[3][4] The term itself is not found in Arabic poetry, although variants such as ifriya and ifr are recorded.[5] Traditionally, Arab philologists trace the derivation of the word to عفر (ʻafara, "to rub with dust" or "to roll into dust").[6][7] It is further used to describe sly, malicious, wicked and cunning characteristics.[8] Some Western philologists, suggested a foreign origin of the word and attribute it to Middle Persian afritan which corresponds to Modern Persian آفريدن (to create), but regarded as unlikely by others.[9] In folklore, the term developed into designation of a specific class of demon, contrary to most Islamic scholary traditions, who regards the term as an adjective.[7][10] Only in works concerning popular beliefs, such as in Al-Ibshihi's Mustatraf, we read about Afarit as a distinct class of being. They became identified as a dangerous kind of demons (shayatin) preying on women or spirits of the dead.[11]

Islamic scriptures[edit]

The Chief-Ifrit sitting on the right listening to the complaints of jinn; Al-Malik al-Aswad, from the late 14th century Book of Wonders[12]

In Islamic scriptures the term ifrit is always followed by the expression of the jinn.[13] Due to the ambigious meaning of the term jinn, which is applied to a wide range of different spirits, their relation towards the genus of jinn remains vague.[14] Nevertheless, the Afarit become later especially identified with spirits of the nether regions. However within the Islamic scriptures themselves, the term is apparently used as figure of speech, an epithet to describe a powerful or malicious spirit of undefined nature.[15][16][17]

In the Quran itself, such an Ifrit is mentioned in Sura An-Naml (27:38-40), who offers to carry the throne of Bilqis to Solomon: An Ifrit from the jinn said: "I will bring it to you before you rise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work." However, the duty is not given to him, but to somebody who is endowed with knowledge of the scripture.[18] An ifrit among the jinn is mentioned Bukhari, who tries to interrupt the prayers of the prophet Muhammed.[19] and in the Muhammad's Night Journey narratives recorded in the 8th century by Malik ibn Anas. In the latter account, the ifrit among the jinn threatens Muhammad with a fiery presence, whereupon the archangel Gabriel taught Muhammad a Du'a (Islamic prayer) to defeat it.[20][21]

Islamic Folklore[edit]

In Islamic folklore the Afarit became a class of chthonic spirits, inhabiting the layers of the seven earths,[22][23] generally ruthless and wicked, formed out of smoke and fire.[a] But despite their negative depictions and affiliation to the nether regions, Afarit are not fundamentally evil on a moral plane; they might even carry out God's purpose. Such obligations can nevertheless be ruthless, such as obligation to blood vengeance and avenging murder.[26] Ifrit can further be bound to a sorcerer, if summoned.[27]

Egypt[edit]

Mask depicting Bes, ancient Egypt deity, sometimes identified with Afarit by Muslim Egyptians,[28] early 4th–1st century BC (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore)

Although Afarit are not necessarily a component of a person, but also an entity on its own, a common belief in Islamic Egypt[b] associates Afarit as part of a human's soul.[31] Probably influenced by the Ancient Egypt idea of Ka, the Afarit are often identified with the spirits of the dead, departing from the body at the moment of death. They live in cemeteries, wander around places the dead person frequently visited or roam the earth close to the place of death, until the Day of Judgment. A person who died a natural death, does not have a malevolent Ifrit. Only people who are killed give raise to a dangerous and active Afarit, drawn to the blood of the victim. Driving an unused nail into the blood is supposed to stop their formation.[32] Such Afarit might scare and even kill the living or take revenge on the murderer.[33][34] However, not every person gives existence to an Ifrit after death: Martyrs, saints and prophets do not have a ghost and therefore no Ifrit.[35]

Morocco[edit]

In Moroccan belief, the Afarit form a more powerful type of demon, compared to the jinn and other supernatural creatures. They have more substantial existence, are greater in scale and capacity[36] than other demons.[37] Their physical appearance is often portrayed as having monstrous deformities, such as claw-like or thorny hands, flaming eyes or seven heads.[38][39]

Just as with jinn, an Ifrit might possess an individual. Such persons gain some abilities from the Ifrit, gets stronger and brave, but the Ifrit renders them insane.[40][41] With aid of a magical ring, the Afarit might be forced to perform certain orders, such as carrying heavy stones.[42]

Shabakism[edit]

A story circulates among the Shabak community in Northern Iraq, about an Ifrit, who incensed Ali by his evil nature, long before the creation of Adam. Consequently for the Ifrit's wickedness, Ali chained the Ifrit and left him alone. When the prophets arrived, he appeared to all of them and begged them for his release, but no prophet was able to break the chains of the Ifrit. When Muhammad found the Ifrit, he brought him to Ali. Ali had mercy with the Ifrit. He decides to release him under the condition, he surrenders to the will of God.[43]

Folk-literature[edit]

In One Thousand and One Nights, in a tale called "The Porter and the Young Girls", there is a narrative about a prince who is attacked by pirates and takes refuge with a woodcutter. The prince finds an underground chamber in the forest leading to a beautiful woman who has been kidnapped by an Ifrit. The prince sleeps with the woman and both are attacked by the jealous Ifrit, who changes the prince into an ape. Later a princess restores the prince and fights a pitched battle with the Ifrit, who changes shape into various animals, fruit, and fire until being reduced to cinders. In the book, the word is used interchangeably with genie and marid,[44] and the spirit is malevolent but easily tricked by the protagonist.[45]

The blind poet Al-Maʿarri (973 – May 1057) describes the final abode of the pious Afarit as a paradise with "narrow straits" and "dark valleys", between heaven and hell. He imagined a visit from an angel, who showed places of afterlife.[46]

In fiction[edit]

An Ifrit plays a major role as a story element in the Bollywood film Pari - the lead character (played by Anushka Sharma) is the progeny of an Ifrit and a human, due to a cult practice. The film was based on a book series called An Ember in the Ashes.

The trading card game Magic: The Gathering has featured several "efreet" since the earliest expansion sets.[47]

Summoning an Ifrit is one of Kratos' magic in the God of War: Chains of Olympus. The Ifrit was initially the magic of the Persian King before Kratos captured it and made it his own.

Ifrit is a prominent Summon to fight within the Final Fantasy video game series. Like their mythological counterparts, Ifrits are spirits of fire and destruction, almost always appearing as a devilish monster that uses either fire, earth, or both to do damage to either the monster the player is fighting or as a boss against the player himself.

Ifrit is also a new fiction thriller written by Javaid Laghari and published by Austin Macaulay that is a fast-paced plot of terrorists and the jinn Ifrit teaming up to steal Pakistan's nuclear weapons, and leading to a possible nuclear war between Pakistan and India.

Ifrit is a spirit within the anime That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime when he was given to a summoned girl, Izawa Shizue from the Demon Lord Leon Cromwell. The girl was forced to give home to Ifrit in her inner body. In the seventh episode of the series, Ifrit gained control from Shizu (the name Shizue used in the different world) and rampaged throughout the goblin village. Rimuru defeated Ifrit, swallowing him to its inner body, when he met the Storm Dragon, Veldora Tempest, telling Ifrit that "no one would defeat my brother".

An ifrit was featured in season 5 of True Blood as a fiery, vengeful spirit hunting down Terry Bellefleur and his former platoon squadmates for murdering numerous innocent locals during their tour in Iraq. It most frequently featured as a gigantic burning cloud of smoke and could set anything on fire.

MMORPG Wizard101 features "efreet" as a fire spell and pet in the game.[48]

In Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Sequence series, afrits are the second most powerful type of demons summoned by magicians.

The television series and the 2001 novel American Gods by Neil Gaiman include Ifrit characters.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This is contrary to the jinn in Quranic traditions, who are created out of clear fire,[24] but in line with a common tradtion depicting the demons (shayāṭīn), as created out of smoke.[25]
  2. ^ Although the identification of Afarit with ghosts is usually associated with Muslims in Egypt, it is also attested by Muslims in India and among Javanese Muslims in Cirebon.[29][30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edward Westermarck Ritual and Belief in Morocco: Vol. I (Routledge Revivals) Routledge, 23 Apr 2014 ISBN 9781317912682 p. 387
  2. ^ Chelhod, J., “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_3502> First published online: 2012 First print edition: ISBN 9789004161214, 1960-2007
  3. ^ Edward Westermarck Ritual and Belief in Morocco: Vol. I (Routledge Revivals) Routledge, 23 Apr 2014 ISBN 9781317912682 p. 387
  4. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān Volume 3 Georgetown University, Washington DC p. 486-487
  5. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān Volume 3 Georgetown University, Washington DC p. 486-487
  6. ^ J., Chelhod (2012-04-24). "ʿIfrīt". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ a b Chelhod, J., “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 26 September 2019 doi:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_3502 First published online: 2012 First print edition: ISBN 9789004161214, 1960-2007
  8. ^ "الباحث العربي: قاموس عربي عربي". www.baheth.info.
  9. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān Volume 3 Georgetown University, Washington DC p. 486-487
  10. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān Volume 3 Georgetown University, Washington DC p. 486-487
  11. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān Volume 3 Georgetown University, Washington DC p. 486-487
  12. ^ de Lafayette, Maximillien (2017). Early & contemporary spirit artists, psychic artists, and medium painters from 5000 BC to the present day economy. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-365-97802-9.
  13. ^ Szombathy, Zoltan, “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_32379> First published online: 2018 First print edition: ISBN 9789004356641, 2018, 2018-3
  14. ^ Chelhod, J., “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_3502> First published online: 2012 First print edition: ISBN 9789004161214, 1960-2007
  15. ^ Vincent Crapanzano The Ḥamadsha: A Study in Moroccan Ethnopsychiatry University of California Press 1973 ISBN 9780520022416 p. 136
  16. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān Volume 3 Georgetown University, Washington DC p. 486-487
  17. ^ Chelhod, J., “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_3502> First published online: 2012 First print edition: ISBN 9789004161214, 1960-2007
  18. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān Volume 3 Georgetown University, Washington DC p. 486-487
  19. ^ Robert Lebling Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar I.B.Tauris 2010 ISBN 978-0-857-73063-3 p. 141
  20. ^ Brooke Olson Vuckovic Heavenly Journeys, Earthly Concerns: The Legacy of the Mi'raj in the Formation of Islam Routledge, 2004 ISBN 9781135885243 p. 35-36
  21. ^ Szombathy, Zoltan, “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_32379> First published online: 2018 First print edition: ISBN 9789004356641, 2018, 2018-3
  22. ^ Sebastian Günther, Dorothee Pielow Die Geheimnisse der oberen und der unteren Welt: Magie im Islam zwischen Glaube und Wissenschaft BRILL, 18 October 2018 ISBN 9789004387577 p. 597
  23. ^ Stephan Conermann History and Society During the Mamluk Period (1250-1517) V&R unipress GmbH, 2014 ISBN 9783847102281 p. 25
  24. ^ Chelhod, J., “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_3502> First published online: 2012 First print edition: ISBN 9789004161214, 1960-2007
  25. ^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr Islamic Life and Thought Routledge 2013 ISBN 978-1-134-53818-8 page 135
  26. ^ Chelhod, J., “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_3502> First published online: 2012 First print edition: ISBN 9789004161214, 1960-2007
  27. ^ Szombathy, Zoltan, “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_32379> First published online: 2018 First print edition: ISBN 9789004356641, 2018, 2018-3
  28. ^ Hans Alexander Winkler Ghost Riders of Upper Egypt: A Study of Spirit Possession American Univ in Cairo Press, 2009 ISBN 9789774162503 p. 29
  29. ^ Muhaimin, A.G. (2006). The Islamic Traditions of Cirebon: Ibadat and Adat among Javanese Muslims. ANU E Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-920942-31-1.
  30. ^ Frederick M. Smith The Self Possessed: Deity and Spirit Possession in South Asian Literature and Civilization Columbia University Press 2012 ISBN 978-0-231-51065-3 page 570
  31. ^ el-Sayed El-Aswad Religion and Folk Cosmology: Scenarios of the Visible and Invisible in Rural Egypt Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 ISBN 9780897899246 p. 103-104
  32. ^ "Aeromancy". The Element Encyclopedia of the Psychic World. Harper Element. 2006. p. 10.
  33. ^ Lebling, Robert (2010). Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and genies from Arabia to Zanzibar. I.B. Tauris. pp. 151–153. ISBN 978-0-85773-063-3.
  34. ^ el-Sayed El-Aswad Religion and Folk Cosmology: Scenarios of the Visible and Invisible in Rural Egypt Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 ISBN 9780897899246 p. 153
  35. ^ el-Sayed El-Aswad Religion and Folk Cosmology: Scenarios of the Visible and Invisible in Rural Egypt Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 ISBN 9780897899246 p. 153
  36. ^ Vincent Crapanzano The Ḥamadsha: A Study in Moroccan Ethnopsychiatry University of California Press 1973 ISBN 9780520022416 p. 137
  37. ^ Edward Westermarck Ritual and Belief in Morocco: Vol. I (Routledge Revivals) Routledge, 23 Apr 2014ISBN 9781317912682 p. 263
  38. ^ Edward Westermarck Ritual and Belief in Morocco: Vol. I (Routledge Revivals) Routledge, 23 Apr 2014 ISBN 9781317912682 p. 263
  39. ^ Szombathy, Zoltan, “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_32379> First published online: 2018 First print edition: ISBN 9789004356641, 2018, 2018-3
  40. ^ Vincent Crapanzano The Ḥamadsha: A Study in Moroccan Ethnopsychiatry University of California Press 1973 ISBN 9780520022416 p. 137
  41. ^ Edward Westermarck Ritual and Belief in Morocco: Vol. I (Routledge Revivals) Routledge, 23 Apr 2014 ISBN 9781317912682 p. 264
  42. ^ Edward Westermarck Ritual and Belief in Morocco: Vol. I (Routledge Revivals) Routledge, 23 Apr 2014 ISBN 9781317912682 p. 264
  43. ^ Matti Moosa Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects Matti Moosa 1987 ISBN 978-0-815-62411-0 page 69
  44. ^ Chelhod, J., “ʿIfrīt”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 06 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_3502> First published online: 2012 First print edition: ISBN 9789004161214, 1960-2007
  45. ^ Leon Hale (January 13, 2002). "Arabic mythology is worth revisiting". Houston Chronicle.
  46. ^ Amira El-Zein Islam, Arabs, and Intelligent World of the Jinn Amira El-Zein 2009 ISBN 978-0-815-65070-6 page 20
  47. ^ "ARABIAN NIGHTS – CARD SET ARCHIVE – PRODUCTS – GAME INFO". MAGIC: THE GATHERING.
  48. ^ "Spell:Efreet – Wizard101 Wiki". www.wizard101central.com.