JINNEAPOLIS, MN – Maruf Rabab is a typical middle-aged Muslim in many respects. He was recently laid off from a full-time job at a prominent consulting firm, dedicates some of his spare time to volunteer efforts, and lives in his parents’ basement. He does, however, have one rather large quirk.
Rabab carries scars from his childhood in the form of an overwhelming and irrational fear of jinns.
Growing up in rural parts of Minnesota just outside the big city, young Rabab was an only child. His parents are of Indian ancestry and like many families from the subcontinent, fear tactics played a crucial role in disciplinary actions during his upbringing.
“I remember what mummy and daddy always told me: do what we say or the jinns will get you,” remarked a terrified Rabab.
From an early age, acts of rebellion or forming contradictory opinions were met with harsh consequences.
“We didn’t mean for it to go this far,” states Rabab’s mother. “We just wanted him to stop jumping on the bed and the jinn story seemed good at the time.”
“When he wanted to stay out late, we pulled out the jinn thing again,” explained his father. “If we felt he was hanging out with the wrong crowd, the jinn story was there to save us again.”
After a while, this method became so easy that Rabab’s parents created sign with the word “Jinn” to get whatever they wanted. While these Pavlovian tactics worked on a young Maruf his emotional scars run deep, crippling his daily life.
“I remember once when he showed up to work and we had a power outage,” recalls former coworker and longtime friend Qutub Zaki. “Maruf immediately ran out of the office screaming ‘They’ve come to get me! They’ve come to get me!’ We all had a laugh but it’s kind of disturbing.”
Since that incident, coworkers made Maruf the butt of several office pranks.
“It didn’t matter what it was, as long as the word ‘jinn’ was mentioned, Maruf’s face turned white,” stated former coworker Kelly Johnson. “I don’t even know what jinn means or what country it’s from, but it’s amazingly effective. I used whenever he gives me that creepy stare in the lunchroom.”