Mankind has always needed someone or something to believe in, a force that can protect them, a being they can glorify for blessings. That being mankind has chosen to direct their energy, faith, trust, and love has mostly been called a God. In every continent, in different centuries in history, from culture to culture, through the various religions that exist you can always find a God that people worship. In Sundiata, an Epic of Old Mali, the jinn closely represents and has the characteristics that can be categorized as a God.
I will discuss these characteristics that can lead one to believe that the jinn is a God as well as discussing some of the differences the jinn and Gods share. In Sundiata, an Epic of Old Mali, the jinn is introduced to the readers as a being that closely represents a God. The jinn is shown to be an unseen protective force that the kings can turn to for protection, strength, and confidence. Kita Mansa, the king of Kita, feels strong and protected when he denies Sundiata’s demands to surrender. Kita Mansa “vainglorious in the protection of the mountain jinn” decided he would put up a fight against Sundiata as opposed to surrendering.
In Greek mythology, people believed that the Gods would protect them and defend them in battles and wars. This is a similarity that both Gods and the jinn share; a belief that people will be protected by this higher power; which in Kita Mansa’s case is the jinn. He believed that he was in the jinn would act in his favor and protect him against Sundiata during this battle. Unfortunately for him, he was wrong. In various cultures, men and women have been known to make sacrifices to the Gods to bring water during droughts, food during famine, protection during war, and other such request.
We see Sundiata do so as well. He makes sacrifices to the jinn. He sacrificed one hundred bulls, one hundred rams, and one hundred cocks to thank the jinn for the protection and victory over Kita Mansa. This is another event that would lead the reader to believe that the jinn is equal to a God in Malian society. Gods in different cultures have been known to possess the power and divinity to guide people through life. They feel inspired by God’s word and power while others feel fear of God’s wrath.
This forces humans to follow a righteous path in order to fall in God’s favor and to avoid his wrath. The jinn seems to share this seem power. The jinn shows to have possession of enough power to instill fear in the people of Kita. This prevents them from hunting in the jinn’s mountain. This symbolizes the respect and fear that the people of Kita have for the jinn. Although all of these characteristics would lead the reader to believe that the jinn is a God; throughout the epic, we see that the characters also worship and celebrate separate Gods.
Which tells us that although the jinn may possess strong characteristics that can be compared to a God, the jinn indeed is not a God but a separate force altogether. Throughout Sundiata, An Epic of Old Mali, we see different events and ideas that can be argumentative points to show that the jinn is a God as well as points that we would tell the reader that the two are separate entities. None the less, we can all agree the jinn is a very strong unseen force that is well respected, feared, and worshiped by those in the Malian society.