A while back, I wrote about the Disney movie Aladdin, as well as some fan theories about it. Since then, I have found something which might not technically count as a fan theory, but is close enough for me to consider it one for the sake of this article.
Dave, if you would.
Dave: The Genie in Aladdin is Satan.
Now, like I said, it’s not a fan theory in the traditional sense, since it does not have several articles about it or videos. I do, however, know that this idea exists, since people searching for information about it manage to find my blog.
As such, and keeping with the previous articles theme of misunderstanding a character, I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss this idea. So, what support is there for this theory?
Dave: OK, so the word Genie is derived from the word Jinni, the singular of Jinn. The Jinn are beings from Islamic and pre-islamic folklore, and they are said to be made out of smokeless fire. The Jinn were created with free will, much like humans, and the Islamic devil figure, Iblis, was himself a Jinni. All this means that the Genie may well be Satan.
OK, lets go over this, then.
It is true that according to folklore, the Jinn are made of smokeless flame and have free will. However, that doesn’t make them inherently evil, any more than humans are inherently evil for having free will.
And while Iblis was a Jinn, this does not automatically mean all Jinns are therefore evil. After all, according to Christianity, Satan was an angel before falling from grace, becoming the devil. That does not mean that angels are then automatically evil.
(Christopher Walken in The Prophecy notwithstanding)
And finally, let’s look at the basic idea of the theory. The Genie in Aladdin is the devil. Which devil are we talking about? Is he Satan, the christian devil or are we talking about Iblis, the islamic devil? Or is he just a jinn following Iblis?
The common idea for Iblis and his servants, unless I’m horribly misinformed, is that they encourage people to do evil, in an attempt to corrupt and lead humans astray. The christian devil and his minions, meanwhile, tend to take the role of accusers and liars.
Common, recurring themes in stories concerning the devil includes Faustian pacts, portrayals as both a beast of destruction and hate, and a silvertongued seducer, promising riches in exchange for your immortal soul.
Now, the Genie in Aladdin, meanwhile, is none of those. He doesn’t ask for anything in exchange for the wishes, at no point does he attempt to make anyone sign over anything, and the only reason he is fulfilling wishes at all is because he is a slave, and as such has no choice! If he did, he wouldn’t help Jafar, when he gets hold of the lamp.
And while he does help Aladdin in his deception, he also states in no uncertain terms, that the best course of action is to, and I quote:
Tell. Her. The. TRUTH!
Hell, later when Jafar has been defeated, and Aladdin is about to say farewell to Jasmine, because of the whole “a princess must marry a prince” law, what does the genie, supposedly the devil in disguise do?
He tells Aladdin to use his last wish to become a prince again, even though this means the Genie will remain a slave, the one dream and wish he has for himself.
In other words, he is fully prepared to give up what may be his only chance for freedom, in order to help Aladdin and Jasmine live happily ever after.
Not exactly what the Devil, the ultimate evil, prince of lies and darkness incarnate would do.
I think that covers all the points. So, why did I write this article, if this isn’t a traditional fan theory?
Because with this, I have hopefully provided people with an answer to a question that, for some reason, some of them are asking.
Is the Genie in Aladdin Satan?
No, he isn’t.
Does he have a connection to the devil?
Well, yes, in that the Islamic devil figure is also a jinn. But by the same token, I belong to the same species as Mussolini. That doesn’t mean I’m a fascist dictator.
Shut up, Dave.