Muslims believe Satan was a Jinn (not an angel). A jinn can be good and bad.

Are there any references to jinn (or something similar) in Judaism?
Are there certain sects believing in their existence?

I am not sure, but this might be related? Jewish Exorcism. Forgive my ignorance about this subject.

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    Look up the definition of "shaidim" Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 12:56
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    @sabbahillel What exactly does that mean? I found this: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/729/…
    – Kilise
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 12:58
  • Aren't djinns kind of like genies, except that they twist your wish around to suit their needs? That sounds like they're always bad.
    – DonielF
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 14:02
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    @DonielF In a Islamic perspective; Jinn is a creature created by God out of fire. The Jinn has free will (it can do good and bad). It cannot be seen by the human and got some abilities we as humans don't have (but they don't know the unseen i.e, they cannot predict the future for instance). Now. in an Islamic perspective there are different of opinions whether a Jinn can enter the body of a human (i.e like exorcism) or not. Satan is a Jinn. Jinns differ from angels who doesn't have free will and are created from light. I.e Satan wasn't a fallen angel.
    – Kilise
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 14:10
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    @sabbahillel there are rishonim who hold that animals have free will. Notably the rambam. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


Ramchal Derekh Hashem part I chapter 5.

ואולם נמצא מין אחד של נבראים שהוא כמו אמצעי בין רוחני וגשמי, והיינו שבאמת אינו מורגש מחושינו, וגם אינו נגבל בכל גבולי הגשם המורגש וחוקו, ומצד זה נקראהו שלא בדקדוק רוחני, אבל נבדל בענינו מן הסוג המלאכיי, אע"פ שיתדמה לו באיזה בחינות, ויש לו חוקים פרטיים וגבולים מיוחדים כפי מציאותו באמת, ונקרא זה המין השידיי, שהוא מין השדים, ואולם גם הוא יתחלק לפרטים אחרים, שישוב המין הכללי סוג לגביהם והם מינים אליו.‏

called approximatively spiritual, but different from angelic type, but with some similarities to it. called "Shedic" type. there are multiple sub-types.

You can find alot of Gemarot talking about shedim, especially in Brachot. I feel that for this topic and in way to understand it we need to think a bit about world and theories. Words and concepts are skills to touch intellectually the existence. A theoretic model can explain human behaviors as an other. We are nowadays as in each epoque, the slaves of the environmental culture, vocabulary, form of thought. There are phenomenons that was called jinns and nowaday has a new name more adapted to our conceptual world. E.G, popular words are unconsciousness, collective unconsciousness. Cenesthetic or auditive hallucinations, delusions of passivity, thought withdrawal, insertion, broadcasting, delusions of control.

I think that the concept of jinn or shed is nearly linked to some cultural background. Nowadays, we use other concepts. Some medieval wises who was living in an hellenistic background explained jinns and angels with Aristotelician concepts. Others was attached to Kabbalistic thinking, which is itself very heterogenous. In our time, scholastic divergences are not really appropriated, because we are mostly influenced by experimental sciences, following the Baconian method. I want to explain that we can say clearly today that phenomenons are not the center of the divergences, but the explanations, conceptualization.

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    Thanks for your answer! Could you consider adding some explanation? I.e "Yes, there is a similar belief in Judaism...." or "No, not exactly, but..."
    – Kilise
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 14:00
  • +1 Thanks for editing. Does this mean that "shedim" is what could be similar to the understanding of "jinn"? Was it more popular to believe in "shedim" as a literal creature or spirit centuries ago? Could you define "Gemarot". I am not so familiar to the terms.
    – Kilise
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 14:38
  • @Kilise Gemara = Talmud There is a very detailed classification of spirits and demons in African tradition, recensed in mental health, e.g. ethno psychiatry works.
    – kouty
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 15:00

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