arabian folklore


In Arabian folklore, a ghoul (ghūl) is a desert-dwelling demon that can assume the guise of an animal, usually a hyena. It is an evil spirit that robs graves and feeds on the flesh of the dead or on young children. They inhabit lonely places, especially graveyards. They also lure travelers into the desert, beguiling their victims with their beautiful singing and then devouring them.

Arabian Ghouls

thementalwayfarer asked:

Erm, hi. This…is probably a weird question to ask, but I do this out of caution. In my supernatural story, I plan to include mythological creatures from all different backgrounds and cultures as characters. One such character is an nonreligious, male ghoul, whose origin is taken straight from ancient Arabian folklore. He doesn’t deny what he is at all and is upfront yet cordial when asked. The myth mentions that ghouls can take on the form of the person they’ve most recently eaten (and he does take a chunk outta humanoids/creatures from various backgrounds when needed). Would including him in my story give any implication of POCs being animalistic? I want to avoid that so any help would be greatly appreciated; thank you for your time.

Hi there!

So, surface level, I wouldn’t say there’s anything explicitly wrong with using Arabian ghouls, but the problem is ghouls are a part of our Islamic beliefs; they are a type of jinni created by Iblis. My issue lies within the prevalence of violent/evil Islamic characters lately. It almost seems like you’re taking the easy route out by conforming with the usual animalistic POC ways. I don’t quite understand why people never want to portray good djinn, of which there are plenty, but rather choose the “evil” ones to exoticise a pre-existing stereotype of bad Muslims.

Also, just as a word of caution, as a religious person I don’t feel comfortable when muslim characters exist in the same world as mythological creatures from other beliefs, as it acts to invalidate Islam. So be wary of religion and religious figures, but I personally don’t mind if it’s more mythological creatures. Just make sure when you’re writing that you’re not just adding in different creatures from different beliefs just for the sake of fun variety, instead focus on their relevance to the plot.

Overall, I would ask you to consider the implications of this setting and considering creating more interesting, non-evil Islamic characters, because they are actually the majority.

-Mod Yasmin


A ghoul is a folkloric demon or spirit associated with graveyards and consuming human flesh, often classified as undead. The oldest surviving literature that mention ghouls is likely One Thousand and One Nights. By extension, the word ghoul is also used in a derogatory sense to refer to a person who delights in the macabre, or whose profession is linked directly to death, such as a gravedigger (“graverobber”).

In ancient Arabian folklore, the ghūl (Arabic: literally demon) dwells in burial grounds and other uninhabited places. The ghul is a fiendish type of jinn believed to be sired by Iblis.

A ghul is also a desert-dwelling, shapeshifting, evil demon that can assume the guise of an animal, especially a hyena. It lures unwary people into the desert wastes or abandoned places to slay and devour them. The creature also preys on young children, drinks blood, steals coins, and eats the dead, then taking the form of the person most recently eaten.

In the Arabic language, the female form is given as ghouleh and the plural is ghilan . In colloquial Arabic, the term is sometimes used to describe a greedy or gluttonous individual.