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Al Azif's Biography (Books)

Al Azif, an Arabic word that Lovecraft defined as "that nocturnal sound (made by insects) supposed to be the howling of demons", drawing on a footnote by Samuel Henley in Henley's translation of "Vathek". Henley, commenting upon a passage which he translated as "those nocturnal insects which presage evil", alluded to the diabolic legend of Beelzebub, "Lord of the Flies" and to Psalm 91:5, which in some 16th Century English Bibles (such as Myles Coverdale's 1535 translation) describes "bugges by night" where later translations render "terror by night". One Arabic/English dictionary translates 'Azif as "whistling (of the wind); weird sound or noise". Gabriel Oussani defined it as "the eerie sound of the jinn in the wilderness". The tradition of 'azif al jinn is linked to the phenomenon of "singing sand".