Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ramadan and Jinn

I like Ramadan at our school. Half or more of the people who work/study there are Muslim, so the atmosphere is really different this month. Quieter. People are being more considerate of each other. A whole bunch of non-Muslims have decided to fast, too, just to try it out. Not me, though. I just try to look like I'm not enjoying my lunch very much.

Today Aleena, who is a Pakistani girl in my grade, was telling me all the stories she's heard about jinn, which are ghosts or powerful spirits of some kind, and probably the source of the word genie. Aleena believes firmly in jinn. She lived in a house in Islamabad that was built over a graveyard. When her family moved in, the place had been vacant for two years, in which time a jinn had moved into the second story. The jinn never hurt her or her brother, but it was known to bother guests in the second-floor guest bedroom, and once or twice it pushed her mother down the stairs. And one time, they found that their deaf-mute housekeeper had abandoned her ironing to gesticulate wildly at empty air.

Aleena also told me how jinn are attracted to beautiful things. She has an aunt who was very beautiful as a girl, and who caught the attention of a jinn that served her father. (Here a short aside explaining that there are ways to make yourself master of a jinn, but Aleena would rather not talk about them.) If a jinn likes you, it will help you; for example, it may steal money to give you. This jinn took care of Aleena's aunt until she got married. Then the aunt started to show up with mysterious cuts and scratches (The Sixth Sense, anyone?), which the jinn had made her inflict on herself. Now she's not beautiful any more, some of her teeth are broken, and she's a "psychic" (I think Aleena meant she's gone kind of crazy). This is true, I was told. You have to be careful about jinn.

No comments: