Conjuration In The Modern Age? [Archives:2000/11/Culture]

March 13 2000

Imad A. Al-Saqqaf,
Yemen Times

In the countryside, most of the Assyads’ visitors are among the youth who are very eager to know what is in store for them. Some apprehend that their beloved might marry somebody else, so they want to be alerted beforehand so as to take precautionary measures. Some others who intend to marry, go to such soothsayers to know if they will lead a happy life after marriage. Soothsayers then, tell them if the person they have chosen as a spouse will be the cause of their happiness or misery. Moreover, soothsayers specify a date for marriage when devils and genies will never harm the happy couple.
Many soothsayers are to be found in the street. Pay only 50 rials, and may be less, and you will know what is in store!
Muneer Amin Ali looks at such activities from a religious perspective, “Those people practice conjuration and conjuration as a means to get money. They usually affect stupid people who are easy to fall in their traps either by their sweet words or by magic.
Islam is clear as a crystal and it forbids frequenting or believing in soothsayers, conjurers and the likes. Genies are created by Allah. Some people marry from genies and vice-versa. However they can not be seen unless they are personalized.
Magic is a sin, and he who practices it in order to harm people is an unbeliever and deserves to be punished. Genies can be controlled by man. However, he has to pay a lot because they surrender to him only after doing things against Islam.”

We now hired Hamzah Abdu Hamid as a new guide to Safyyah Saeed Ali Al-Zubaeiry who is married to Hamid Hizam Murshed. We met her in her house along with her husband and a number of attendants. She began revealing how she started. ” I was accused of killing my first husband. I spent 14 years in prison. While in prison, I came to know a Somalian lady who was imprisoned for a political charge before unification. I used to see her playing cards alone. At the beginning, I did not know that she used them to forecast what is in store for people nor I knew that I belonged to Ben Alwan, (a dead worshiper whose grave has become a hearthstone for many people who come to be blessed by his spirit.)
Once, while we were gathering and praying for Allah, she got nervous. I, then, blew into her mouth until she vomited on my body. Soon my ears started to buzz. I also noticed that the playing cards were moving. I did not know that I will be using them to know people’s diseases. Then I started examining other prisoners for 10 rials.
As far as medicine is concerned, I use herbs. Patients really get benefited from them. Some diseases, such as those related to blood, require a mixture of 38 kind of herbs. Patients who suffer from psychological problems are advised to go to psychiatrists. I do not claim to have control over genies nor do I claim to know what is in store for people.
I was unable to read but when God bestowed this talent on me, I could read. Now I can read newspapers. I also read the Holy Qur’an. I also can write, but my handwriting is not good.
I do not claim to be a Walyyiah (female of Wali, person who has reached a high stage of worshipping Allah)What I do is just prescribing the medicine I know, and call unto Allah for help. Some people stand against me, however, what I practice is not conjuration. When a patient comes to me, I ask him/her to take some cards. First I tell him/her his name and something about his house and job. Then I tell him/her what he/she is suffering from. I do not treat possessed people. When such people come to me, I advise them to go to someone else.
Part of my work is also making magic spells ineffective.”Abdulkader Al-Habashi asserted that once he took her with him to his village, Gabal Habashi, while he was under spell, and she could find the spell written on a piece of paper and thwarted it.
She continued saying that her way of treatment is not doubtful, and that she never refused to meet with anybody be him/her a patient or not.
She then asked my companion Mohammd Al-Hakimi to take some cards but he refused. Suddenly a new visitor came and she called him in to prove right what she had said. As soon as he was seated in front of her, she told him his name, his work. The patient approved of it. Moreover, she said that she had never conjured up spirits or the like. Many Assyad stood against her due to the great number of her visitors. She further said that she was building a mosque, ” She spends the whole night worshipping,” one of the attendants interrupted. ” I will give up this work when the mosque is finished.” Concluded Safyyah.