OT: So, how well do any of you folks know the Qur'an?
Fri May 4, 2012 9:20pm
Or actually, possibly the Torah as well.
I suppose I should provide some context? See, I'm writing a story that has been smoldering in the back of my mind for years - the story of the son(s) of Aladdin and Badroulbabour. Basically, the lamp passes to their eldest son, when he comes of age, and he sets out to travel the world. His father has always taken pains to ensure that his sons know as little about the power in the lamp as possible - after the 'merchant' issue, Badroulbabour had to be let in on the secret, but he still wanted to protect his sons.
So the older son, Huan, sets forth to travel the world with the lamp, knowing nothing more than that it contains a djinni, which is a spirit of immense power who will do his bidding. He doesn't have the specter of his grandmother, whose opinion on the lamp/djinni was "Don't even look at it, throw it away, evil spirits of EVIL," nor the context of being raised in Aladdin's homeland, where he might have known more of djinn - so he is innocent, and has not (at the start of the journey) realized that his power comes from the enslavement of a spirit who should, naturally, have his own free will.
Now, here's the problem. Most of what I know of djinn, I know from various old stories, and Wikipedia, and so on. But I know that they are mentioned in the Qur'an, and (I think) the Torah. I really, really don't want to get this wrong, or step on anyone's toes. I don't want to do what Disney did, and render a rich culture and tradition into absurd, Americanized black-and-white glitter-gunk. I don't want to write a story that reaches into Muslim (or Jewish) tradition and culture, grabs what works, and run off in the wrong direction with it. I've already taken some liberties by making Huan of ambiguous race (I'm thinking AU-Earth, a la Sandman-Baghdad), and I really want to avoid cultural appropriation at all costs.
At this point, I'm thinking my best bet is to do what I've been thinking about doing for years, and find a reliable translation to study. But even that would require research - the last thing I want is to wind up with a hack translation. So if you know anything about what the Qur'an has to say about djinn, I would really appreciate your help, and if you can recommend an English translation, or even point me in the direction of someone who knows what they're talking about, it would be very greatly appreciated.
I can tell you that djinn are not mentioned in any of the Torah's books. Maybe they are mentioned in the haftarah, but I don't think so. However, they are mentioned in the Qur'an, though I'm not sure ... more
... is to make the whole thing a heavy-handed metaphor for how Christianity (of your precise preferred breed) is far far better than any other religion. And then get a hammer. And write ' CULTURAL... more