‘Ghoul’ a Netflix series starring Radhika Apte in the lead role was released recently. While people are raving about this three-part horror series, we wonder why we had never heard about a ‘ghoul’ before this. After the series ended with a possible promise for another season, we were left curious to know more about a ‘ghoul’. We decided to dig deeper.
A ‘ghoul’ is a demon that found place in ancient Arabian tales. Back then, it was some kind of a monster who consumed human flesh and was often found in abandoned places (that explains that abandoned detention centre and the terrorist den). It dwells in cemeteries including other places were humans aren’t usually found.
A ‘ghūl’ as depicted in the series can be summoned by a person by trading their soul with them. We do not know if that is complete fiction or if the Arabian legends say the same about this demonic creature. It is known to be Iblis’ (an equivalent of Satan in Islam) work to bring upon death and destruction.
Ghūl comes from the Arabic word ‘ghulah’ which means to seize.
But just like we do not know if ghosts and monsters exists and while some of us firmly believe the existence of such things to be utter humbug, many believe that evil forms exist.
The legend about such a creature got into the Western society only after One Thousand and One Arabian Nights was translated into English by Antoine Galland. He is said to have added a few features to the character like the one where it states that the ghoul feasts on human corpses.
In a paper by Ahmed K. Al-Rawi he studies the legend of the ghoul and states, “As a kind of devilish genie, the ghoul was part of beliefs held by Arabs long before the advent of Islam and was a perceived reality for most people living in Arabia. Throughout different historical and religious periods, the character of the ghoul remained the same, being represented as an ugly human-like monster that dwelt in the desert and secluded locations, in order to delude travellers by lighting a fire and thus leading them astray. In some cases, this creature was said to have killed travellers.”
True or not, this creature is going to be on the minds of many people for a while now.