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Spirit Possession: Caucasus, Central Asia, Iran, and Afghanistan
(3,118 words)

Āl is the name of a class of demons attested in the folk beliefs of numerous peoples, both Muslim and Christian, inhabiting Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, the Caucasus, and some parts of Russia (southern Russia and Siberia).

Āl is one of the most generally encountered figures in the Oriental pandemonium. In Iran it is called āl; in Tajikistan and Afghanistan ol, hāl, xāl; among the Turkic-speaking peoples of Central Asia almasti (albasti), almaste, almasteyka; in the North Caucasus al; in Armenia alkʿ, al; in Georgia ali; and among the Dardic peoples halmasti. Among other names ther…

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Arakelova, Victoria, “Spirit Possession: Caucasus, Central Asia, Iran, and Afghanistan”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 01 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0206b>
First published online: 2009

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