The important distinction is that in Squaresoft's Final Fantasy it is a proper noun, wheras the actual term refers to an entire category of individual spirits. Other possible spellings include "Afreet," or "Afrit." Closely related to Djinni, these are culturally Arabic spirits, beginning in the Koran, that embody the natural world, such as trees and water. While they are not intrinsically evil, many have a tendency to drown passerbys and or devour their souls.
Ifrit in Final Fantasy appeared as a demonic, horned, fiery creature, usually as a summon spell. In arabic culture they work much as poltergeists
, in their ability to possess inanimate objects and people. An ifrit may also embody something like a small pond, see Undine
, a wind, look at Squaresoft's treatment of the term Djinn
, or a tree, which then becomes very similar to a dryad
The hierarchy of Arabic devils is very hard to pin down. However, one can notice certain tendencies, reflected very well by their video game adaptations. Djinns tend to embody wind, Ifrits fire, and so on with the other derivations. See also Shaitan and Iblis.