An Islamic faith healer talks about his profession
According to Islamic belief, a jinni can take any physical form or possess a human
BEIRUT: “The powers I command can help people who are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a glance of hope,” says faith healer, Abu Yussuf.
Otherwise known as Hajj Mazloum, Abu Yussuf was staying at his brother’s house in Bourj al-Barajne. Making his home in Detroit, Michigan, the healer was on his way to the Gulf, where he has many clients, he said, most of who have given up on conventional medical treatments.
Abu Yussuf says there is always plenty of work available for a faith healer.
“Sixty percent of all houses in Great Britain are haunted by ghosts. In Scotland and the U.S., I have fixed many of them.”
Playing with his prayer beads, he explained further, “If your house is haunted, you hear voices. There may be a noise in the bathtub or closet, or you feel a wind when all windows are closed, or even something inside your body.”
Although what he describes sounds like your usual ghost story, Abu Yussuf derives his knowledge from the Koran. A pious man, he only answered, “Al-Hamdulillah” (thanks be to God) when asked if his wife was veiled.
According to Islam, Allah created Angels from light and jinn, or evil spirits, from smokeless fire. In the Sura called Adh-Dhariyat, or the Winnowing Winds, Allah says: “I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship me.”
While they do all kinds of things humans do, like eating, marrying and dying, the jinn also have extra powers: they can take any physical form they like.
In the article “The World of the Jinn” on the Islamic website al-sunnah.com, the author argues, “Over the last few years the interest in the subject of aliens and UFOs has become heightened. Thousands of people have sighted strange looking creatures all over the world … It seems plausible, all the sightings of such creatures were just jinn parading in different forms.”
Usually, however, jinn exist in another world, which humans can’t see – most humans, that is.
“When you concentrate like people do in meditation, you start to see,” says Abu Yussuf. Can he see the jinn? “Of course,” he smiles.
The first time Abu Yussuf saw the evil spirits was over 20 years ago, while reading the Koran.
“I read a lot in the Koran and the Holy Bible. One time I was reading in the Koran and I felt something,” he says. What he felt exactly can’t be told, he adds; it is a secret.
Since that day he has worked as a healer, freeing houses and people from jinn.
If a jinn takes possession of a human, it can have disastrous effects, according to Abu Yussuf.
“From that day your life will change. They want to control your life,” he says. “With women, they will start making love to her. Lots of women feel that. The problem is lots of people don’t believe in them.”
The Islamic Web site explains, “Jinn possess people for many reasons. Sometimes it is because the jinn have fallen in love with the person. However, most of the time possession occurs because the jinn are simply malicious and wicked. For this reason we have been told by the Prophet not to loiter in those places where the jinn reside, e.g. graveyards, ruins, deserts, market places.”
While the Web site explains that jinn can be either good or evil, the ones who take possession of people are most likely bad, because they are not allowed to do so. “It is a great oppression to possess another being,” the Web site says.
Science interprets possession differently. Many people, who are taken to faith healers to exorcise jinn, are, according to psychiatry, mentally disturbed.
In the Arab Journal of Psychiatry, Yahia Younis discusses the case of a young woman who was taken to hospital in a state of great excitement, who upon admission was “screaming, singing in a loud voice, clapping and throwing her hands sideways.” Doctors put the woman on sedatives – as they had done two years earlier when she had arrived in the same condition.
She got better, but complained about the treatment by faith healers her family had taken her to in the interval. One healer had gripped her neck, shouting at her “Oh jinni, confess who you are.” Due to the healer’s hands, which nearly caused her to suffocate, she made up a name.
While Younis warns that unqualified doctors can do more harm than good, he also writes, “Non-physical methods like invocations, which are based on the Prophetic tradition, are religiously sanctioned. Religious beliefs and values may be used to enhance the effect of psychotherapeutic techniques.”
On the other hand, faith healers may be well aware of modern psychology.
According to Samir Tomb, a Lebanese specialist in parapsychology and astrology, faith in a healer and the methods used are the key elements to success.
He is hesitant to talk about other healers, he says, as each uses different methods and approaches. Tomb holds a degree from the University of Banco in France (Deauville), and is a member of the International Association of French speaking Astrologists.
He said that psychology can be a part of all kinds of healing. Even a medical doctor is more effective when he applies psychological techniques to a patient.
“Psychological effects contribute 20 to 50 percent to any successful result,” he said. “When a patient feels secure and trusts in his or her healer, the benefits are better.”
Many people in Lebanon have stories to tell about violent exorcisms. Abu Yussuf talked about one case of a man who was brought in by his wife.
“When I started reading the Koran to him he first asked his wife, ‘Why did you take me here?’ He then started shaking and giving me the black eye. He started fighting me, but he couldn’t reach me. His friend had to hold him.”
But how does Abu Yussuf know if somebody is really possessed by a jinn? After all, the man could have just gotten angry at his wife, or he could have been suffering from a psychosis. Would Abu Yussuf be able to tell if the two journalists visiting him are free of jinn?
Again he smiles, “Sure.” Abu Yussuf sits up straight on the armchair he had sunken into and asks this reporter to put out her hand.
“No, not that one, the left,” he says. Waving his hands in circles, he starts to whisper verses. My hand trembles.
Abu Yussuf’s diagnosis
is short, “You are possessed by a jinn.”
“What about me?” the second reporter asks. Abu Yussuf gives him a short glance before saying most confidently, “No.”
BEIRUT: We just wanted to interview the man who said he could drive away evil spirits, but then he discovered I was possessed by a jinn.
Months later, we decided to visit faith healer Abu Yussuf again. He lives in Haret Hreik, where he has bought an apartment for his family. Since I still hadn’t gotten rid of the jinn that posses me, he agreed to exorcise it.
Abu Yussuf was in high spirits. He had just discovered a drug to cure AIDS, he said. Do we know how many people suffer from the disease in Lebanon? He also thought about running for elections in Lebanon, but then decided that the system was too corrupt.
I am told to sit on a chair, my hands resting, relaxed on my thighs. Abu Yussuf stands next to me, bending forward, reciting verses from the Koran in my ear.
At first, I try to concentrate on the words, trying to make out the meaning. Then they all become one. Shaytan al-rajeem, shaytan al-rajeem … I fall into the rhythm.
The shadows and lights reflected on the stone floor start to dance. My vision blurs. My hands start to sweat. I can feel my hands start to lift up – just a little bit, but strongly enough to make it hard to keep them down when I try. I have no idea how long this has all taken. It had been some 20 minutes until my hands and legs started shaking slowly, says my colleague later.
Abu Yussuf sits down and starts to chat with my colleague. Is it over?
My hands are still up. Somebody tells me I can sit back on the couch.
Abu Yussuf scribbles something on a dish – verses from the Koran. His daughter brings some water which he pours on the dish. The verses dissolve, coloring the water green.
“Drink,” says Abu Yussuf.
The jinn, he says, is now gone – and no Jinn will ever come back.
“They know this person is protected.”
How can the whole process be so painless?
“If someone knows what he is doing,” Abu Yussuf says, “it doesn’t have to hurt. This is why I made you sit up, so it goes out of your body through your hands and feet.”
But where did the jinn come from? How did I catch it?
“Jinns are everywhere. The can always come,” he says.
And how does the jinn know Arabic?
“In the whole world the jinn understands Arabic,” he explains. “They would also understand some true parts of the Bible and the Torah.”
I will soon feel better, I am told. I will be more successful in my career and personal life, now that the jinn can’t control me anymore.
Sounds good to me.