‘THE EVOLUTION OF THE CONCEPT OF THE JINN FROM PRE-ISLAM TO ISLAM by Amira El-Zein Mentor: Irfan Shahid, Ph.D. Abstract This dissertation studies the evolution of the concept of the jinn [spirit beings] from pre-Islam to Islam. It traces the changes introduced to this concept in Islam as well as the continuation of certain themes. This interdisciplinary study relies heavily on documentation drawn from a variety of primary sources, including the works of Arab historians, geographers, poets, philosophers, and commentators on the Qur'an. It contains a wealth of stories which testify to the strong belief in the jinn during pre-Islam and Islam. ‘The study is oriented toward the history of religions rather than toward literature. The texts of poets and historians of both historical periods have been analyzed from the point of view of history of religion rather than from the point of view of the literary © Literary themes and: forms were considered only when they yielded to a better understanding of the creeds of people of both pre-Islam and Islam. In addition to its primary concentration on religion and history, the study also embraces the fields of cultural anthropology, comparative religion, and theoretical research on the concept of religion. There have been very few comprehensive studies on the concept of the jinn. It is hoped that this study will open the door to future research on the concept of the jinn, especially from an Islamic point of view. Islam deepened beliefs in the jinn. It introduced the idea of sj beings equal to humans in faith, intelligence and responsibility. For the first time, a strict monotheism such as Islam asserts that spirit beings exist, that they share our lives and dwell in a world parallel to our own, Studying the concept of the jinn in Islam therefore illuminates the originality of Islam itself as the last of the three revealed religions, -ive ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS There are not words good enough to express my sincere gratitude to the members of my dissertation committee: Dr. Irfan Shahid, my mentor; Dr. Karin Ryding, Dr. Barbara Stowasser, and Dr. Halim Barakat. ‘The four are Masters in their fields. Their encouragement, their support, their guidance, their patience, and their co-operation were a gift from heaven, ‘The good parts of this work are due to their great help and to their wonderful commitment to my work, Inconsistencies and errors are mine alone. My gratitude goes also to my loving and caring family, to my husband Munir and my daughter Kinda who often had to put up with my frequent bouts of depression and my usual absent-mindedness. The two are my beloved angels who were always beside me during the difficult moments of writing this dissertation. Finally my thanks goes to Elizabeth Johnson for her wonderful help, for taking time from her many commitments to review my manuscript so thoroughly. ‘Thanks to everyone. God bless you all.