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The Names of Demons on Arabic Talismans Posted By: lebling Send Email Mon Aug 16, 2004 5:57

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Here is an interesting bit of jinn lore from a long out-of-print article on Arabic talismans published in Beirut in 1937-8... THE NAMES OF DEMONS ON ARABIC TALISMANS Demons are ordered in talismans to follow the instructions and to leave the patient whom they inhabit. Only the most important names will be mentioned. A spirit of the lower world is assigned to every day of the week. EL-MUDHIB, known as abu Abdallah Sa id rules over Sunday; MURRAH el-Abiad abu el-Hareth (Abu n-Nur) over Monday; abu Mihriz (or abu Ya qub) EL-AHMAR Tuesday; BARQAN abu l- Adja yb Wednesday; SHAMHURISH (el-Tayyar) Thursday; abu Hasan ZOBA AH (el-Abiad) Friday; and abu Nuh MEIMUN rules over Saturday. As a rule only that name written in capitals is mentioned in talismans. Every one of these archdemons has many tribes of djinn under his sovereignty. All the above given names, except Shamhurish, are of Arabic origin. Abu Murrah is also a name for Satan. Abu l-Hareth is the nickname of the lion. It was impossible for me to ascertain if this demon was thought to have the form of a lion. It is commonly believed that Shamhurish died some years ago. [Muhammad] Er-Rahawi teaches the same. His successor is named Mutawakill. In talismans as well as in sorcery the ruling angel is asked to force the demon ruled by him to obey and fulfill the orders expressed in the talisman. This is clearly seen in the following talisman of my collection where we read: Answer O Meimun by the force of the angel ruling over you, yauah, Roqia il and Kasfia il . As Kasfia il is the angel ruling over Meimun, it is curious that Roqai il, who rules over Mudhib should also be called upon. Buni assigns four afarit [djinn] to the four archdemons. Some authors think that these names are only synonyms to those of the four archangels. The names of the afarit are: Damriat (Tamriat) for Mudhib, Man iq (or San iq) for Meimun, Wahdelbadj (or Wahdeliadj) for Barqan and Soghal for el-Ahmar. But I have not yet met with these names in written talismans. El-Ahmar is also called abu t-Tawabi , the father of all tawabi (pl. of tabi , the masc. of tabi ah = qarineh). The names of the four Heads (al-arba ru us), also called the four Helpers (al-a wan al-arba ah), play a very important role in talismans. They are Mazar the lord of the East, Kamtam the lord of the

West, Qasurah the lord of the South and Taykal the lord of the sea. Some authors and talismans wrongly use Haraz instead of Mazar; Ka tam, Katmah and seldom Kadmah for Kamtam; and Tabkal for Taykal. These names are often met with in talismans. Esh-sheykh Mahmud abu l-Mawahib el-Khaluti el-Hanafi devotes several pages to the description of their seals, names, field of action etc. Every one of the four heads has a special servant from among the seven above named demons. El-Ahmar serves Mazar, Mudhib Kamtam, Shamhurish Qasurah, and Murrah serves Taykal. These four names are found as a rule around square seals. At times one meets with one name alone written with unexplicable words or with the name of the person for whom the talisman was written. The four Heads are called upon to take revenge upon an enemy. El-Qarineh and imm es-Subian are well known demons, who play a great role in Oriental superstition. Their names are often met with in talismans. The belief in el-Qarineh is also taken from Jewish demonology. Djalalu d-Din es-Siuti gives a list of names for these two spirits, the enumeration of which may serve in the understanding of obscure names. The supposed names of et-Tabi ah are: [unvocalized Arabic (w = waw, a = alif, y = ya)] t-w-s-d, t-w-h, s-l-m-a-s, s-y-w-s, m-l-t-w-s, l-w-l-b-n, kh-l- -s, d-w-s, -n-q-w-d, q-r-w-h, s-l-m-a-n. Those of imm es-Subian are: q-m-t-n-w-sh, q-w-sh, q-r-q-w-sh, q-l-n-w-sh, m-q-l-w-sh, h-y-l-w-sh, m-q-r-q-t-w-sh, -m-r-w-sh, a-y-l-a-q-w-sh, imm m-l-d-m. How thoroughly confused the different authors are, may be seen from the fact that as-Siuti makes a difference between et-Tabi ah and el-Qarineh giving each one a list of new names, while it is generally recognized that these two expressions stand for one and the same female demon. He further pretends that imm es-Subian is a synonym for el-Qarineh but a few lines later mentions imm es-Subian as a separate jinniyeh. The list of by-names given to el-Qarineh are m-l- -w-n-h, f-y-w-s, b- -d-w-s, m-r-w-s, -s-r-w-s, m-h-r-w-s, d-n-w-s, s-r-t-a-w-s, t-r-t-r, b-r-q-w-s. Ed-Damiri writes that God promised to increase the demons by one for every new-born human being. These are the qurana (pl. of qarin). The already quoted book [Sheykh abu l-Mu ayyed s] Djawahiru l-Khamsah assigns to every letter a spirit of the lower world. Their enumeration is not necessary. The student is referred to the Dictionary of Islam. It was impossible to detect any rule for the formation of their names. A great many names of evil spirits end with w-sh, y-sh, t-y-sh or w-s. In el- Inayah [author unnamed], pp. 2 and 3, we read the following: [Arabic text] The name of Satan is taken from the name of the spiritual power with the addition of t-y-sh at its end. The following endings may take the place of t-y-sh as they are all names for the devil, may he be cursed by God: hut, hish, hash, hush, tash, tush . Tish [t-y-sh] is the most used and the regular ending. The following names may at times also be met with in talismans. f-q-t-sh is the physician of the djinn; Isma il is the secretary and Abu Dibadj the king of the qurana. In reviewing what has been said we see: 1. That with the exception of the names of the seven angels which rule over the days of the week, those of the seven djinn and a few other

names, there is no uniformity in nomination. An angel or demon assigned by one authority for a special sphere of work is assigned by another for a completely different one. 2. Many of the strange names are formed, as in Gnosticism in doublets, i.e. in the same way as Gog and Magog in Biblical literature and Yadjudj-Madjudj and Harut-Marut in Arabic. As examples the following doublets may be cited: sh- -a-b ... sh- -y-a-b h-y-l-w-th-a ... sh-y-l-w-th-a sh-y-gh-w-b ... sh-a-gh-w-b s-y-t-w-s ... b-s-t-w-s s-l-t-a-m ... m-sh-t-a-m h-w-s-m ... d-w-s-m d-y-w-m ... j-y-w-m 3. Many of the names discussed above show clearly a foreign influence, generally a Hebrew one. 4. With the exception of a few rules there is no method whatsoever to help in determining the origin or the way of forming the names of the supernatural powers. Source: Canaan, Tewfik. The Decipherment of Arabic Talismans, Berytus 4 (Beirut, 1937), pp. 69-110; 5 (Beirut, 1938), pp. 141-151 (reprinted in Savage-Smith, Emilie, ed. Magic and Divination in Early Islam. Aldershot, Hants, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing, 2004.