Legend – Cover Your Mouth, or a Djinn will go into your mouth

ZN is of Pakistani Muslim Descent, and she shared about her father warning her of yawning without covering her mouth:

ZN.) Whenever we yawn, like me or my brother, my dad will say, “Make sure you cover your mouth, or else a Djinn will go in your mouth.”

Me.) And where do you think that came from? Like, who?

ZN.) I honestly don’t know, cause I don’t know if other people do it, but I know it’s like a polite thing to cover your mouth when you yawn and like, djinns are a part of the culture, so I’m sure it just, like, merged.

Me.) And they’re a part of Muslim culture, yeah?

ZN.) Djinns? Yeah. I don’t know if Muslim people cover their mouth when they yawn. Maybe it’s just emerging? I’ve never heard any of my other Muslim friends say that specific thing, but my dad always says that.

This story about djinns seems to be one unique to the subject because there is little in the way of stories about djinns entering a person during a yawn. However, if the subject’s father did make it up to teach them to close their mouth while yawning, this would be an example of using religious beliefs about supernatural creatures to encourage certain behaviors in children. There is a similar superstition about the devil entering a person’s mouth if they don’t cover their mouth when yawning, and this might be a Muslim adaptation of that saying. Muslims have historically taken local superstitions and stories and folded them into their religious fabric. This seems like an example of that.

The Djinn, also written Jinn or adapted to Genie are legendary figures often discussed in the Muslim world. Since they are not strictly Muslim figures, ghosts and legends from other cultures are often adapted to be depicted as Djinn.