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Za'far Jinni

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A tile-work of the presence of Za'far Jinni in the Battle of Karbala, Tekyeh Mu'aven al-mulk, Kermanshah, Iran

Za'far Jinni (Arabic: زَعْفَر جِنّی) or Ja'far Jinni (Arabic: جعفر جِنّی) was, as some believe, the head of jinns present in the event of 'Ashura. According to some reports, he offered assistance to Imam al-Husayn (a), but he (a) did not accept. The story of Za'far Jinni and his presence in Karbala is among controversial issues in the history of 'Ashura, about which there is no mention in authentic Shi'a sources. In Rawdat al-shuhada', Mulla Husayn Wa'iz Kashifi mentioned a comprehensive story; but on the opposite, Murtada Mutahhari considered it among distortions in the event of 'Ashura and a result of Kashifi's fiction.

In the folklore of some regions in Iran, Za'far Jinni is mentioned and is displayed in ceremonies such as ta'ziya. There are also illustrations of the presence of Za'far Jinni in Karbala, one of which is the tile-work of Kermanshah's Tekyeh Mu'aven al-mulk.

In Shi'a Sources

The story of Za'far Jinni in the event of 'Ashura is not mentioned in any authentic Shi'a or Islamic history sources.[1] The only available report about Imam al-Husayn (a) and jinns is al-Majlisi's report in Bihar al-anwar quoting from al-Shaykh al-Mufid who transmitted it from Imam al-Sadiq (a) mentioning the meeting of some angels and jinns with Imam al-Husayn (a) upon exiting Medina. It narrates that they offered to help Imam (a), but he (a) did not accept. However, no names of any certain time or place is mentioned.[2]

Some researchers including Mirza Husayn Nuri[3] and Morteza Motahhari[4] regarded the story of Za'far Jinni among superstitions and distortions entered in the history of 'Ashura.

Rawdat al-shuhada' mentioned Za'far Jinni and described his appearance. It also mentions his presence in Karbala and the rejection of his offer of assistance by Imam al-Husayn (a).[5] Thus, the author of this book is considered the first reporter and the creator of this story.[6]

Relation with Ayatollah Burujirdi

Among people, many stories have been spread about the relation between Ayatullah Burujirdi and Za'far Jinni. Especially different stories are mentioned about the death of Za'far and holding Funeral Procession for him by this Shi'a marja'. According to researches, such stories have no certain origin and there is nothing mentioned about it in the books and memories related to the biography of Ayatullah Burujirdi.

Since there are not any authentic proofs about the relation between Ayatullah Burujirdi and Za'far, it seems that in laypeople's reports, a mistake has been made between this famous marja' and an author with a similar name. Sayyid Ali Asghar Shafi' Jabolqi Borujerdi (d. 1313 SH/1933) who was among the scholars of Borujerd and the author of Tara'if al-maqal, mentioned Za'far Jinni in his book and reported the story of the presence of Za'far Jinni in Karbala from one of his teachers, he regarded as reliable.[7]

It seems that the similarity between the names of Sayyid Ali Asghar Jabolqi Borujirdi and Ayatullah Burujirdi misled reporters to attribute approvals of the stories of Za'far Jinni to this Shi'a marja'.


  1. Nūrī, Luʾluʾ wa l-marjān, p. 252.
  2. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 44, p. 330.
  3. Nūrī, Luʾluʾ wa l-marjān, p. 252.
  4. Motahhari, Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī, vol. 1, p. 87.
  5. Kāshifī, Rawḍat al-shuhadāʾ, p. 431-432.
  6. Nūrī, Luʾluʾ wa l-marjān, p. 252.
  7. Burūjirdī, Ṭarāʾif al-maqāl, vol. 2, p. 679.


  • Burūjirdī, Sayyid ʿAlī Aṣghar. Ṭarāʾif al-maqāl fī maʿrifat ṭabaqāt al-ruwāt. Edited by Sayyid Mahdī Rajāʾī. Qom: Maktabat Āyatollāh Marʿashī al-Najafī, 1410 AH.
  • Kāshifī, Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī. Rawḍat al-shuhadāʾ. Qom: Nawīd-i Islām, 1382 Sh.
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār. Second edition. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Wafāʾ, 1403 AH.
  • Motahhari, Morteza. Ḥamāsa-yi Ḥusaynī. Qom: Ṣadrā, 1379 Sh.
  • Nūrī, Mīrzā Ḥusayn al-. Luʾluʾ wa l-marjān. Tehran: Nashr-i Āfāq, 1388 Sh.