Saudi Family Sues Djinn in Sharia Court

A Saudi family has filed a lawsuit against a djinn for harassment in a sharia court:

A family in Saudi Arabia has taken a genie to court, alleging theft and harassment, according to local media.

The lawsuit filed in Shariah court accuses the genie of leaving them threatening voicemails, stealing their cell phones and hurling rocks at them when they leave their house at night, said Al-Watan newspaper.

An investigation was under way, local court officials said.

“We have to verify the truthfulness of this case despite the difficulty of doing so,” Sheikh Amr Al Salmi, the head of the court, told Al-Watan. “What makes this case and complaint more interesting is that it wasn’t filed by just one person. Every member of the family is part of this case.”

I admit that this case has actually proved to be a bit of embarrassment for me. I’ve read portions of the Qu’ran, but I had no idea that there was a sura devoted to djinn or that they played a role in Muslim theology.

I’m also not aware as to whether such cases are taken seriously in Saudi Arabia, though it appears at first glance that it is. Here in the United States, there are a number of people who believe in angels, demons, etc., and believe it or not, lawsuits are filed against such creatures. These are, obviously, routinely dismissed. My personal favorite lawsuit of this kind is Mayo v. Satan and His Staff, in which a suit against Satan was denied on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to provide instructions to serve process. Funny as that is, this opinion is now routinely cited in judicial opinions regarding jurisdiction and I read it on two separate occasions in law school.

(link via Radley Balko)

FILED UNDER: Humor, Law and the Courts, , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. John Burgess says:

    The presence of jinns in the Quran really complicates things for a society that considers that book not only inerrant, but the literal word of God. It takes more than stones the size of Montana to gainsay that point.

    What most Saudis ‘believe’ is a matter of education and religious indoctrination. Those who lean toward the humanist/rationalist side tend to simply ignore it, seeing the verses about jinn as a reflection of 7th C. concepts of the world. Those who lean toward religious authoritarianism have to find ways to factor into their world views entities that stand between angels and man. Good jinns, bad jinns; male jinns, female jinns. All different and all posing different problems for the believer.

    I’ve done a couple of things on this story which you may find of interest, including comments:

    Out of the Bottle

    Genies and the Saudi Courts: Part II