Ifrit

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Ifrit
Brooklyn Museum - Arghan Div Brings the Chest of Armor to Hamza.jpg
An Ifrit named Arghan Div brings the chest of armor to Hamza
GroupingJinn
Sub groupingShaitan / Ghost
RegionMiddle East, South Asia[1], Southeast Asia[2]

Ifrit, also spelled as efreet, efrite, ifreet, afreet, afrite and afrit (Arabic: ʻIfrīt: عفريت, pl ʻAfārīt: عفاريت) are supernatural creatures in some Middle Eastern stories. In Islamic culture, they are usually a powerful type of jinn or identified with death-spirits.

Description[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[3]

The Afarit are a class of infernal djinn and also held to be a death spirit drawn to the life-force (or blood) of a murdered victim seeking revenge on the murderer.[4][5] As with ordinary djinn, an Ifrit may be either a believer or an unbeliever (good or evil)[6] but it is most often depicted as an evil being; a powerful Shaitan.[7] Afarit are believed to inhabit the levels of the underworld[8][9] or desolated places on the surface, such as in ruins or caves.

Ottoman Turkish sources describe the Ifrit with a fiery appearance and flames leaping from his mouth. It may be a danger to people, but can be destroyed if someone recites a Du'a (Islamic prayer) near it.[10]

In folklore, they are commonly thought to take the shape of the deceased at the moment of death, or the appearance of the Shaitan. In the Islamic Indonesian traditions of Cirebon, the Afarit are known as Mrekayangan, a subcategory of demons. But their origin is different from the other demons, since the Mrekayangan appear after someone died improperly, while the demons are descendants of Iblis.[11]

Etymology[edit]

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

The word Ifrit seems to be of Arabic origin. Traditionally, Arab philologists trace the derivation of the word to عفر (ʻafara, "to rub with dust").[12] It further describes sly, malicious, wicked and cunning characteristics.[13] Some Western philologists, such as Johann Jakob Hess and Karl Vollers, attribute it to Middle Persian afritan which corresponds to Modern Persian آفريدن (to create).

Islam[edit]

An Ifrit is mentioned one time in the Qur'an, Sura An-Naml (27:38-40):

[Solomon] said, "O assembly [of jinn], which of you will bring me her [the Queen of Sheba's] throne before they come to me in submission?" An Ifrit (strong one) 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." One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: "I will bring it to you with in the twinkling of an eye!" Then when Solomon saw it placed before him, he said: "This is by the Grace of my Lord – to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his own self; and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his own self). Certainly, my Lord is Rich (Free of all needs), Bountiful."

According to a hadith from Bukhari, an Ifrit tried to interrupt the prayers of the prophet Muhammed. Muhammed overpowered the Ifrit and wanted to fasten him to a pillar so that everyone can see him in the morning. Then, he remembered the statement of Solomon and he dismissed the Ifrit.[14][15]

According to a narration about Muhammeds Night Journey, an Ifrit sought Muhammed with a fiery torch. To get rid of him, he asked Jibraʾil for help. Jibraʾil then taught him how to seek refuge from God, whereupon the Ifrit get away from him.[16]

An Ifrit, meeting Imam Ali, is mentioned in different Shi'i accounts. According to the Shabak community, Imam Ali became incensed against an Ifrit for his unbelieving. Consequently, he bound the Ifrit in chains. The Ifrit appealed to all prophets since Adam for his release. But no one was able to free him, until Muhammed found him and took the Ifrit to Imam Ali. He freed him on the condition that he would profess his faith for Islam.[17]

In the Qisas Al-Anbiya (Stories of the Prophets), Afarit perform the orders of Iblis to plague Job. Each of these Afarit is endowed with specific abilities such as turning into a fiery storm or killing by shouting out.[18]

Arabic 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 the spirit is malevolent but easily tricked by the protagonist.[19]

The blind poet Al-Maʿarri mentioned in his narrations, a paradise for Afarit with "narrow straits" and "dark valleys".[20]

In early folklore, the Ifrit is said to be formed from the blood of a murder victim. Driving an unused nail into the blood was supposed to stop their formation. The creatures were reported as being able to take the form of Satan, the murder victim, or even a sandstorm.[21]

In modern popular culture[edit]

An Ifrit plays a major role as a story element in the Bollywood film Pari where the lead character played by Anushka Sharma is the progeny of an Ifrit and 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.[22]

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.[23]

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

The series and novel American Gods by Neil Gaiman includes Ifrit among its main characters.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ A.G. Muhaimin The Islamic Traditions of Cirebon: Ibadat and Adat Among Javanese Muslims ANU E Press 2006 ISBN 978-1-920-94231-1 page 38
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ el-Sayed El-Aswad (2002). Religion and Folk Cosmology: Scenarios of the visible and invisible in rural Egypt. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-89789-924-6.
  5. ^ Lebling, Robert (2010). Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and genies from Arabia to Zanzibar. I.B. Tauris. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-85773-063-3.
  6. ^ "ifrit". Encyclopædia Britannica. Islamic mythology. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  7. ^ Hughes, Thomas Patrick (1995). "Genii". Dictionary of Islam. Asian Educational Services. pp. 133–136.
  8. ^ Rees, Valery (2013). From Gabriel to Lucifer: A cultural history of angels. I.B. Tauris. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-84885-372-0.
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ Hajjah Amina Adil (2012). "Ezra". Muhammad the Messenger of Islam: His life & prophecy. BookBaby. ISBN 978-1-61842-913-1.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ J., Chelhod (2012-04-24). "ʿIfrīt".
  13. ^ "الباحث العربي: قاموس عربي عربي". www.baheth.info.
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ "Jinn in Hadith Sahih Bukhari – Jinn & Demons – Jinn & Demons". www.jinndemons.com. 2010-12-11.
  16. ^ Brooke Olson Vuckovic Heavenly Journeys, Earthly Concerns: The Legacy of the Mi'raj in the Formation of Islam Routledge 2004 ISBN 978-1-135-88524-3 p. 36
  17. ^ Matti Moosa Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects Matti Moosa 1987 ISBN 978-0-815-62411-0 page 69
  18. ^ Abu Ashaq Ahmad At-Talabi, Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Thaʻlabī Islamische Erzählungen von Propheten und Gottesmännern: Qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʼ Otto Harrassowitz Verlag 2006 ISBN 978-3-447-05266-5 S. 201
  19. ^ Leon Hale (January 13, 2002). "Arabic mythology is worth revisiting". Houston Chronicle.
  20. ^ Amira El-Zein Islam, Arabs, and Intelligent World of the Jinn Amira El-Zein 2009 ISBN 978-0-815-65070-6 page 20
  21. ^ "Aeromancy". The Element Encyclopedia of the Psychic World. Harper Element. 2006. p. 10.
  22. ^ "ARABIAN NIGHTS – CARD SET ARCHIVE – PRODUCTS – GAME INFO". MAGIC: THE GATHERING.
  23. ^ "Spell:Efreet – Wizard101 Wiki". www.wizard101central.com.