True Tales of Afghan Jinn
True in the sense the tales were told to me
Join Intelligence Officer Brendan Sean Murphy as he voyages into space in a struggle for peace and his own sanity. My first novel Fallen is available for $0.99 digital and $14.99 on paperback.
The Jinn of Afghanistan
As described in the Islam and Aliens article, the Muslim faith teaches about the existence of an intelligent creature besides humans and angelic beings: jinn aka djinn aka genies. These creatures have free will like humans, with some being good and worshipping God while others are either evil or not wanting to interact with humans.
According to a 2012 Pew Poll, 70 percent of Muslims in Afghanistan believe in jinn, though opinions of how involved they can be in the world differ, much like thoughts about how active angels are in a person’s life.
During my first deployment to Afghanistan, a trip to a village called Musa Khel introduced me to what Afghans believe about jinn.
The Village of the Jinn
One day, I found myself walking with my interpreter and a village elder. About a hundred or so feet from the collection of qalats, fortified mud-walled homes, that comprised the village were some rolling hills with what seemed to be ruins of qalats on top.
I wanted to go up the hill to survey the area, but the village elder was against it. When I asked why, the elder said we couldn't because the jinn lived there. A quick conversation occurred between the interpreter and me, with the interpreter then explaining to the elder that I knew what jinn were. Having a Christian know about jinn was thrilling to the elder, and he explained the story of the local jinn to us.
According to the elder, jinn once populated the whole area where we stood. However, "over a hundred years ago," the elder's tribe moved into the current village.
The elder stated at first things were fine, as most jinn were either friendly or avoided contact with the villagers. When I asked how jinn could have good relations with humans, the elder was vague in his response but indicated that human and jinn children played with each other. The interpreter piped in telling me that sometimes in folk Islam a minority of Muslims will "appeal to jinn" for favors. He then advised me not to press the issue, as my questioning could be seen as accusing ancestors of witchcraft.
Next, the elder explained the downfall of villager-jinn relations. Some jinn reportedly were mean to villagers, while others became afraid because the human villagers were "fierce warriors."
What changed everything, though, was when tribal women accidentally started stepping on invisible jinn babies. This injuring of babies threatened war between humans and jinn. The village elder stated that to keep the peace, the jinn moved to the nearby hills.
The segregation wasn't total, though. At least up to my deployment and almost certainly continuing today, when a baby is born in the village, the villagers would bundle gold, animal bones, and some of the child's hair if possible in a bag. Villages then would leave the bag in the "jinn village" on the hilltops. When I asked why, the elder explained that the gold was a gift, bones were food for jinn according to a hadith (a story about Muhammad), and the hair was so jinn could see a part of the baby and celebrate a new birth without having to visit the human village.
That was a lovely coda to the story of the village of the jinn. When discussing it later, the interpreter and I thought it was possible that the villagers' ancestors found the abandoned ruins of a larger village and decided it must have been built by invisible jinn. However, I am sure the elder would strongly disagree if he heard our analysis.
Jinns for the Preservation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice
Not all jinn encounters are positive. Sometimes, a religious jinn decides to take out their frustration on Muslims who misbehave.
One evening, the interpreter "Zardad" told me about his uncle's encounter with a jinn in the 1990s when he was a refugee in Pakistan.
According to Zardad, his uncle had a rough time being a war exile. The uncle began drinking, using drugs, and selling porn to make money to pay for his vices.
However, one night, the uncle was pushed down to the ground before bedtime. Things escalated over the next few weeks. Events went from being pushed down to having furniture falling and then thrown to the uncle himself being "tossed around like a basketball" at night. During the storytelling, Zardad laughed as he described his uncle's misfortunes.
Eventually, the uncle and his roommates decided to consult an imam. The imam inquired about the situation and the uncle's past, then declared that the uncle's sins had offended a vengeful, pious jinn. This Islamic avenger could not be defeated Beowulf-style, but instead had to be appeased by repentance. The imam instructed the uncle and roommates to go home, loudly declare the Islamic statement of faith known as the shahada, and cease sinning at home. Zardad stated the uncle did that, and the jinn never returned.
Unlike in the West, where only evil things are believed to do violent hauntings, Afghans believe pious jinns can be vengeful but ultimately good actors.
Other Independent Book Promotions
The Young Defender by Kevin P Hallett - Free Short Story
This prequel is set seven years before the first novel opens in the 8-book series Defenders of Vosj.
The beloved king of the realm sends Sarn the Sage to defend a distant town, leaving Preem, his naïve young apprentice, to protect the royal family. It’s a ruse so the enemy can send assassins to murder the king that night. Preem hasn’t learned to fly yet, but now he finds himself tossed into the shadowy world of murderers and cutthroats.
If only his master taught him some of the wizard’s weapons, but then no one expected the seventeen-year-old Preem to be asked to fight trained assassins. Even the burly soldiers of the King’s Guard held nothing but contempt for the diminutive teenager. And the twelve-year-old princess only wanted to play with the young man she treated like her personal toy.
The young, infatuated princess is more of a hindrance to Preem than a help. Yet Preem must find a way to protect his king, even if it means laying down his own life.
Adventures into High Strangeness - Free Short Stories and Reader Magnets
Mayim by Ardith Price - Free Short Story
Sophia McFadden, a Water Microbiologist, never thought her assignment to solve a water crisis in Romala could put her in harm’s way.
After three escapes from harm, Sophia receives a call to flee the town, end her analyses, or perish. She considers leaving, but quitting shows her failing her mission.
A corrupt oil mogul and his hordes of extraterrestrials and humanoids offer a sizable bounty on Sophia’s head. A daring agent steps forward to help her, but now peril stalks both—if she solves the mysterious enigma in the ocean.
Until Next Time
Thank you for reading this edition of my newsletter. There will be an off-schedule short Merry Christmas post. After that, we will continue the religion and aliens series by looking at the Dharma religions (see previous editions of Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism and other Christian Groups, Islam, and Judaism). Then, I will post a recent podcast I was on. Following that, we’ll continue the series by looking at the ancient faiths such as Greek, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian.
As always, please leave a comment with any questions, reviews, thoughts, whatever about Fallen, Risen, or whatever else I have discussed. I promise to reply!