Sudan: Men 'living with genies'

An Aladdin-style lamp

A Sudanese cleric claims some men are living with "genies" and is warning others to resist their temptations, it's reported.

Abd-al-Hay Yusif cites the orderly living arrangements of elderly bachelors as evidence of the presence of these spirits, according to the widely-read Hikayat newspaper. "If you go to the homes of some bachelors in their sixties, you find they are very tidy and their beds are so well made," the paper quotes Yusif as telling a religious radio station. In Arabic mythology, genies - or jinns - are spirits able to take human and animal forms and to exercise supernatural influence over men.

While Westerners associate genies with the story of Aladdin, jinns are referred to in the Koran and belief in their malevolent influence lingers on in many Islamic societies - including those in the UK. According to Hikayat, Yusif is at pains to point out that "marriages" with spirits are forbidden by Islam and advises people to avoid partially shaded areas - apparently a "favourite spot" of the spirits. In any case, he reportedly asks: "What would happen if there is a disagreement between the young man and the genie? Who would take the children?"

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