A Dubai man has been granted a divorce from a wife who, he alleges, refuses to engage in sexual activity with him. The difference keeping them apart, he argued, is impossible to settle, because her parents told him his wife was possessed by a genie who controlled her every move.
Gulf News reports that the case went before the Dubai Sharia court after the man spoke to his wife’s parents at her behest, after an extended period of time in which she refused to have sex with him. Her parents told him that she was possessed by a djinn — the spirit known in the Western world loosely as a genie, as BBC explains — and that “several religious scholars had failed to exorcise the djinn.” If professionals could not return his wife to him, the man argued in court, he did not want to remain in a sexless marriage with an impish spirit.
His argument won, and he won his divorce, though the initial decision granted the wife an $11,000 alimony, according to Al Arabiya. The alimony decision was eventually overturned thanks to arguments made by the man’s lawyer, in which he claimed that, because the wife did not tell her husband herself that she had been possessed by a djinn, she had “cheated” him:
The woman and her family cheated my client. They should have been honest and clear about the fact that the wife was possessed by a djinn. He was only told about the djinn after the problem escalated. The woman does not deserve any allowance.
Djinn are staples of pre-Islamic Arabic mythology, immaterial spirit creatures that can interact with humans in a number of ways. While a great number of djinn are considered evil — the ghoul and marid versions are considered especially powerfu l– some are considered “open-minded” about relationships with humans, and others even positive forces for the humans with which they interact. Other evil djinn are simply considered too weak to cause substantial harm, such as the djinn believed to cause sleep paralysis. The Dubai case does not specify which type of Djinn possessed the plaintiff’s wife, according to her parents.