In the Quran itself, such an Ifrit is mentioned in Sura An-Naml (27:38-40), who offers to carry the throne of Bilqis to Solomon: An Ifrit from the jinn said: “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work.” However, the duty is not given to him, but to somebody who is endowed with knowledge of the scripture. An ifrit among the jinn is mentioned Bukhari, who tries to interrupt the prayers of the prophet Muhammed. and in the Muhammad’s Night Journey narratives recorded in the 8th century by Malik ibn Anas. In the latter account, the ifrit among the jinn threatens Muhammad with a fiery presence, whereupon the archangel Gabriel taught Muhammad a Du’a (Islamic prayer) to defeat it.
In Islamic folklore the Afarit became a class of chthonic spirits, inhabiting the layers of the seven earths,generally ruthless and wicked, formed out of smoke and fire. But despite their negative depictions and affiliation to the nether regions, Afarit are not fundamentally evil on a moral plane; they might even carry out God’s purpose. Such obligations can nevertheless be ruthless, such as obligation to blood vengeance and avenging murder. Ifrit can further be bound to a sorcerer, if summoned.
In Moroccan belief, the Afarit form a more powerful type of demon, compared to the jinn and other supernatural creatures. They have more substantial existence, are greater in scale and capacity than other demons. Their physical appearance is often portrayed as having monstrous deformities, such as claw-like or thorny hands, flaming eyes or seven heads
Just as with jinn, an Ifrit might possess an individual. Such persons gain some abilities from the Ifrit, gets stronger and brave, but the Ifrit renders them insane. With aid of a magical ring, the Afarit might be forced to perform certain orders, such as carrying heavy stones.
A story circulates among the Shabak community in Northern Iraq, about an Ifrit, who incensed Ali by his evil nature, long before the creation of Adam. Consequently for the Ifrit’s wickedness, Ali chained the Ifrit and left him alone. When the prophets arrived, he appeared to all of them and begged them for his release, but no prophet was able to break the chains of the Ifrit. When Muhammad found the Ifrit, he brought him to Ali. Ali had mercy with the Ifrit. He decides to release him under the condition, he surrenders to the will of God.
In One Thousand and One Nights, in a tale called “The Porter and the Young Girls”, there is a narrative about a prince who is attacked by pirates and takes refuge with a woodcutter. The prince finds an underground chamber in the forest leading to a beautiful woman who has been kidnapped by an Ifrit. The prince sleeps with the woman and both are attacked by the jealous Ifrit, who changes the prince into an ape. Later a princess restores the prince and fights a pitched battle with the Ifrit, who changes shape into various animals, fruit, and fire until being reduced to cinders. In the book, the word is used interchangeably with genie and marid, and the spirit is malevolent but easily tricked by the protagonist.
The blind poet Al-Maʿarri (973 – May 1057) describes the final abode of the pious Afarit as a paradise with “narrow straits” and “dark valleys”, between heaven and hell. He imagined a visit from an angel, who showed places of afterlife.
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia