The Character “Jinn” in the Modern Understanding of the Volga Tatars

Key words
mythology, tradition, Islam, character, demons
Leyla Kh. Davletshina
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: +7 (843) 292-76-59
12, K. Marx str., Kazan, 420111, Russian Federation
PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, G. Ibragimov Institute of Language, Literature and Art, Tatarstan Academy of Sciences
Date of publication

This article considers the character of the evil spirit “Jinn” in the modern mytho- logy of the Volga Tatars. The relevance of the chosen topic stems from the fact that existing works that include information on Tatar folk demonology do not give a complete picture of the mythological tradition, since in most cases they are based on the same single body of texts. For the first time, the article introduces into scholarly circulation field records collected by the author mainly on the territory of the Republic of Tatarstan in 2006–2018, as well as materials from the folklore Fund of the Republican Center for the Development of Traditional Culture.

The “Jinn” is one of the most active mythological characters in the modern tradition of the Volga Tatars. The article analyzes the mythological image of the “Jinn,” its genesis, appearance, specific functions and plots associated with it, and rituals performed to prevent or eliminate the Jinn’s harmful effects. It examines the plot motifs of replacing a child, coming to a widow in the image of a deceased husband, sending an illness, leading a person astray, and entering a person, all of which are typical of this character. The author concludes that ideas about the “Jinn” which spread during the era of Islam were transformed in accordance with the worldview of the new host culture. At the present stage, along with a set of its own, relatively stable, characteristics, this character has received a new interpretation as a substitute for evil forces in general.


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For citation

Davletshina L. Kh. The Character “Jinn” in the Modern Understanding of the Volga Tatars. Traditional Culture. 2020. Vol. 21. No. 1. Pp. 124–135. In Russian.