Sunday, August 22, 2010

Witches on Main Street

The number of veiled female beggar/wackos around Salalah has been on the rise recently. Many of them have GCC accents but claim to be Palestinian, etc. They accost you in supermarkets and start saying prayers very quickly and asking you for help. You're so annoyed by their fast praying that you immediately shove a couple of rials in their hand to get away from them. They then clutch your hand and thank you profusely. You notice their wrists are heavy with gold and they wear expensive perfume. Their faces are covered so you have no idea what they look like. They creep you out and you try to leave the store immediately.
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I've had to deal with them at least ten times in the past month. They usually hang out in expensive abaya or perfume stores. And they certainly lurk around bank machines.
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One of my colleagues claims they're witches and my other colleagues agree. I thought it was odd they should think that (they look like gold-wearing beggars to me!). Anyway, last week my cousin was getting into his car in front of the Isteqrar Hypermarket in Salalah. As he was loading groceries into his car, a woman approached him. She started praying and almost chanting under her breath. He couldn't exactly pinpoint the accent, but he figured a Saudi accent. He told her to shoo off and get away, but before he could do anything, she grabbed his hand and started rubbing her wrist into his palm. He started feeling dizzy and almost numb. He didn't know what was happening to him. He dropped a bag of groceries to the ground. She started telling him about himself. She knew his name, his family, problems in his current life, his wife, etc. She then told him she wants money. He said he didn't have any. She said he had 73 rials in his wallet (which he did) and if he didn't give it to her, she would put a curse on his wife. She continued praying and chanting until he pulled his wallet out and gave her the money. She she shoved a few strings tied to a shell, etc into his hand (curse bundle) and told him to go home and put it in the frankincense burner. She left. He got back into his car and sat there for half an hour trying to understand what had just happened. He felt tired, drugged, sleepy. He decided the best thing to do was to go to the nearest mosque and ask the Imam. The Imam told him she was playing around with black magic and that he needed to go home, wash and pray. He also said if my cousin's faith was strong there was nothing to be afraid of.
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I've heard several stories like this before, but none of these incidents had actually occured with someone I know until my cousin came home a nervous wreck. I myself am not a firm believer in magic or evil spirits, etc. As a Muslim I am required to believe in Jinn and other beings, etc, but I don't necessarily believe they can be used to assist witches and sorcerers in their black magic. However, having grown up in Dhofar (an area where people openly identify witches and where people dwell in the dark arts and claim to use Jinn as assistants) I'm exposed to this kind of stuff reguarly. Magic is against Islam yet many people continue to play around with it. I'm against all of it, but I can't deny the fact that it exists in Dhofar.
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As for the female witch beggars, they are not your typical Dhofari witch. They are not Omani but they've figured out a few magic tricks to help them get more money.
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So! Next time you're in town and an odd-looking woman approaching you and starts speaking fast, RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION! :)

16 comments:

  1. While we may not believe black magic (witches) exist, they do and the Quran makes specific mention of it. The imam is correct in saying that belief will kill it and also further, always keep wudhu, always recite Ayat-ul-kursi, mesbah and Quran. Allahu A3lam. These people will have no place in the hereafter except in Hell. Its sick especially when they threaten family.
    Quran Verses:

    “The Qur'an talks about black magic in surat Al-Baqarah: “And they followed what the Shaitans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulaiman, and Sulaiman was not an unbeliever, but the Shaitans disbelieved, they taught men sorcery and that was sent down to the two angels at Babel, Harut and Marut, yet these two taught no man until they had said, "Surely we are only a trial, therefore do not be a disbeliever." Even then men learned from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it any one except with Allah’s permission, and they learned what harmed them and did not profit them, and certainly they know that he who bought it should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls, had they but known this.” (Al-Baqarah: 102 )‏

    Another reference from the Qur’an is surat Al-Falaq: “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn. From the evil of what He has created. And from the evil of the utterly dark night when it comes. And from the evil of those who blow on knots. And from the evil of the envious when he envies.” (Al-Falaq: 1-5)

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  2. Pretend you don't understand Arabic and they will leave you alone. Or pretend to be a Palestinian refugee yourself. Usually works for me.

    In the Mutrah Souq a begger came to ask me for rials but I didn't understand her. Later I saw her shopping in the gold souq.

    Yeah. Begging isn't for the Muslims anyway, direct any beggers to Dar Al Atta. That way you can feel good. or offer them a small job for some pay. But don't give them money. It encourages fakes.

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  3. I don't go outdoors much (maybe twice a month!) I feel as if I don't know Salalah.

    This is scary. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. daaaaaaamn it.... i saw a lot of them but al7amdullAlah i always run away whenever i see them :D...
    In muscat (i'm from Salalah but living in Muscat) there is a story i heard it recently and all the ppl here are talking abt, briefly, a girl (Omani) was in her car waiting in a front of a vegetables shop and suddenly a woman knock her window asking for a charity, i don't know what exactly happen next but when the girl stared at the woman eyes she felt dizzy and numb (same as ur cousin) and then a man from the shop went out and try to distract the girl not to look to the woman, the woman ran away once she saw the man.... as per the man said she's a witch targeting the young girls and doing so (staring) to control ppl and take them to a near ATM to withdraw whatever she want...
    i'm not sure of the story's credibility, i usually don't believe such stories but after i read ur cousin's incident i guess ppl need to take precaution....
    :)

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  5. Call me cynical, but perhaps the guy had been smoking something a little stronger than his shisha?

    I say it's nonsense.

    :)

    Funny story though, I think I'll try that one on next time my wife asks me why I'm late, arriving home slightly intoxicated and with no money in my wallet!

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  6. Mahfaif محفيفAugust 22, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    Beggars are everywhere in Slalah during Khareef Festival and ramadhan.

    I have no idea about the witch you mentioned eventhough I have met several veiled beggars this season(khareef festival + ramadan).

    This problem of " beggars gathering " during the monsoon season must be solved very soon. In the future we'll hear about crimes done by such people.

    I like the picture :)

    Q : magic(witches) = women, is that correct :)? Why?

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  7. spooky - there is more to life than we know, though thanks goodness I havnt had such an encounter

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  8. what is gcc?? but to be honest this is scary, similiar things happen in Malaysia too. malaysian alwys mistaken them arabs. but my arab frens said their are pakistani. im not sure n never encountered 1 n hoping not to encounter 1 either, usually they approach the victims asking whether they have small changes like RM100 to 2 pieces of RM 50. but once they left the victims notice the money that she/he got from the person was only rm10 where as she/he gave the person small change which the value is more than rm100. sometimes other things might dissapear. like phones, laptops and other valuable item. when they did police report, they said they have no idea what actually happen. as if they black out

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  9. God! This is so creepy. :S
    So many of them are spreading over here too, they are getting more in Ramdan god knows why

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  10. When the Khareef season ends, they'll probably all go back to their boring office jobs.

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  11. What an extraordinary story! I've often heard similar stories-- about 'magic', or whatever is happening here, but as you said, seldom from anyone I knew who had actually had experienced it for themselves. Hope your cousin and his family are ok.

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  12. OMG!!! HOW SCAREY! I LIVE IN AUSTRALIA SO NEVA HAVE COME ACROSS A SITUATION LIKE THAT ALHAMDILLAH HOWEVER WEN MY SISTA WENT BACK AND VISITED OUR HOME LAND OF LEBANON THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO HER SHE FREAKED OUT!!! AS FOR NOT BELIVING IN BLACK MAGIC THE PROPHET P.B.U.H HAD A SPELL CAST ON HIM. SO ITS PART OF OUR FAITH TO BELIVE IN IT BUT NOT TAKE PART OF SUCH AWFUL TEACHINGS!

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  13. Wow! That's scary stuff!!! sf

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  14. ... wow that's definitely a scary story. Will not look any beggar woman in the eye anymore when I go to the Isteqrar!

    BUT: there is another very disturbing thing in this post. NON-CROWNED PRINCESS, why do you only go out of the house 2x per month???? It cannot be healthy physically & mentally. It doesn't seem right.

    Some how Non-Crowned Princess's remark touches me more than the scary Witch story.

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  15. As salam alaikum Sis.
    First id liek to greet you for Ramadhan..so a ramadhan kareem and an early Eid mubarak InshaAllah.

    Since moving to Salalah i have been feeling that it was not a good place to move to with a young child as i see the level of islam is rather low as compared to other places in khaleej..this just confirms to me what i have felt.

    Am so sorry your cousin went through that ordeal..its not pleasent. May Allah protect him from this witches black magic and protect his family also.Ameen.
    `*`*`*``*`*`*`*`*`*`*``*`*`*`*``*`*`*`

    Syth,your manners stick out..your very rude! Ive never seen someone laugh at such a bad situation. God forbid it happen to you or anything worse.

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  16. Wow that is a really creepy story. I noticed some beggars in Mutrah last weekend as well.
    Begging seems to be a problem in Oman and Saudi. The UAE government has cracked down on it and if anyone is begging people are asked to inform the police and the police take them in. They get deported. I have been in UAE for 6 months and never ran into one beggar.

    Perhaps these people are also not only into black magic, astaghfiralla but into hypnosis and being con-artists.

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