(mazikeen, shaitan, shedeem, shedim, sheytan)
In Islamic lore, a type of Djinn, thoroughly evil, created by Allah from smokeless fire. In Hebrew and Arabic mythology, they are evil spirits who have cock’s feet. The al-shaytan (plural) work under the direction of Iblis and try unceasingly to tempt people into sin. They create illusions of pleasure in the mind that lead to desires. They can shape shift into the forms of beautiful women (see Succubus) to tempt men sexually. They can also shape shift into animals, inhabit corpses, and take Possession of people. The al-shaytan eat dirt and excrement. If a person forgets to wash his or her hands after supper, the Demons will lick the hands to bloody stumps during the night. According to lore, they have an aversion to water and cannot open the lids of vessels and jars, because King Solomon once imprisoned them in bottles. A folktale tells that a huge number of al-shaytan were accidentally released into the world by Moroccan fishermen who found bottles with the red seal of Solomon upon them and opened them. White cocks will repel the al-shaytan. They can be kept out of a house by keeping all doors tightly closed. Shaytan is a name for Iblis.
See Satan.

Further Reading:

– Frieskens, Barbara. Living with Djinns: Understanding and Dealing with the Invisible in Cairo. London: Saqi Books, 2008.
– Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons: Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subversive Spirits. New York: Owl Books/Henry Holt, 1998.

The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 2009 by Visionary Living, Inc.