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Muslim Magick

To: alt.magick
From: fenvala 
Subject: Muslim Magick (Was: Re: hand of protection?)
Date: Sat, 09 Nov 1996 04:31:04 -0800 wrote:
> > If its a sort of small filigree doodad, possibly with a small stone set in it,
> and sort of looking like it has a thumb on each side of three fingers,
> it is an Islamic charm called a Hand of Fatima (Fatima was, I think, either
> wife or mother to the Prophet Mohammed, on whom be peace). As I 

Fatimeh was the cherished daughter of Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) who
practiced a sort of women's magick by the designs she drew on her hands
with henna. Certain of those designs were protective in nature and the
women would bless their husbands and children with their hands,
transferring their protective power to them. When attending their own
weddings, Muslim brides of many different countries have elaborate
hennaed designs applied to their hands, arms, legs and feet. Some of
these protect the woman's virtue prior to the wedding and mark her with
clan sigils, others are merely decorative. The designs on the hands of
several Muslim brides I have known have been protective of her fertility
- so that she should bear many children without hindrance. This
generative power is seen as so strong that its mere depiction of it in
body art in some Muslim countries is considered too strong a magick to
be openly published, so the women conceal these designs on private parts
of their bodies. Copying the design and positioning of the protective
designs of Fatimeh is considered by some women as "sunna" or recommended
practice as one would emulate the practice of the Prophet himself. 

Henna and other vegetable dyes, wearing off only when the skin cells
shed, are excellent for durable non-permanent tatoos. On caucasian skin
henna turns a bright orange, on darker toned skins, the true crimson
colour comes out. I found this out to my detriment when I desired to
paint a small protective symbol on my throat and having people tell me I
had cultured a "Kool-Aid stain".

Other similar magickal practices include the wearing of blue glass "eye"
beads and the protective painting of kohl around the eyes. Both
practices are considered to ward off evil spirits and discourage
As-Shaitun, or the Devil. Some Muslim cultures also paint the eyelids
with eyeshadow which contains powdered malachite, considered to be the
ultimate in protection against evil. Many of the more under-developed
Muslim countries have large batteries of protective magicks that are
practiced daily by commoners and the nobility alike. Repetition of
Surat-ul-Yasin (one of the chapters of the Qur'an) in a prescribed
manner is said to confer health and long life. Reciting another surah
confers an easy death to the dying. The rosary, consisting of three sets
of thirty-three beads is as constant a magickal tool in devout Muslim
hands as in the hands of their Catholic counterparts. Particular
repetitions of certain religious phrases on the rosary is said to confer
health to the ill, mend broken relationships including marriages and to
win a soul mate for the lovelorn. Continued, devout telling of the
rosary ensures a place in heaven among the Faithful. 

Other interesting Muslim magicks: Shi'ite Muslims in Iran and Iraq place
a small tablet of pressed clay, called a mor'h, on their prayer rugs to
touch their foreheads to. The clay is from the old battlefield at
Karbela, in Iraq where Hassan and Hossein, grandsons of the Prophet met
their doom in battle with soldiers of the Sunni sect. Magickal
inscriptions in Arabic adorn the tablet, along with stylized depictions
of the mosque at Karbela.(but never portraits, which are forbidden)
These mor'h are considered extremely sacred magickal talismans whose
touch can heal the sick and comfort the dying among other things. Mor'h
are always used until there is nothing left but a small pile of
clay-dust. Anything left of a used mor'h must be either buried by a
mosque, put into running water with all due ceremony or sent back to
Karbela for re-disposition. Mor'h are never simply thrown in the garbage
or abandoned. 

The lineal descendents of the Prophet are called the Ahl-e-Bait, and are
considered to be the most holy of clans in the Muslim world. The word of
even the most humble Ahl-e-Bait is taken as law whenever disputes break
out. It is believed that their touch can cure epileptics and others
afflicted with spastic disorders. The Ahl-e-Bait are considered almost

as a master race within the race of Arabic speaking peoples and are
accorded godlike status in their communities. Several Ahl-e-Bait whom I
have known have sworn that others of their clan can manifest matter from
thin air; usually pages from the Qur'an or other sacred objects.

Most Muslims are extremely private about their personal exudates,
clippings and other personal waste products. In Iran and other parts of
the Muslim world, hair clippings are swept up by the barber and with
great ceremony, gently deposited into a crematorium built into the
barbershop wall. The customer has the satisfaction of knowing that his
hair will not be "used against him". Similarly, nail parings are
ritually disposed of either by flushing in the toilet or burning in
fire. Muslims have a strong concept of fire being a transformative force
and anything that is put through fire loses the personal connection to
its human source. Saliva is very important to Sudani Muslims I have
known who use it to cast out malignant spirits and other entities.
Saliva is rubbed into an afflicted area of the body and certain verses
from the Qur'an recited. The spirit is told to "Flee, flee! The hosts of
heaven take thee! The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) curse thee! Allah expose thee!
Flee, flee!" (rough translation) The evil spirit is then sucked into the
saliva by the healer and the saliva wiped off the skin and thrown away.
This is very akin to the practices of the "sucking doctors" of the
American Southwestern and Pacific Northwest coast.

Numerology and astrology are also very big in Muslim communities. The
Qur'an has been deconstructed numerologically and the number "19" has
been found to be the root of the Qur'anic base matrix. Other numbers are
recurrant in Surats (chapters) and Ayats (verses) - combinations of
these make up complicated spells that are used by the Muslim equivalent
of magicians. Healing magicks often take advantage of this and simple
numerical sequences are written onto a patients limbs or breathed into
his or her food. Certain sequences of numbers mean the Prophet, Allah
and other holy entities. One reason spells are written in numbers is to
prevent their being deciphered by hostile forces, such as the indigenous
Paganry at the advent of Islam and later, the Christian invaders.

Some interesting facts from someone whose long strange journey included
a goodly number of years as a Muslimah in Middle America, a very long
time ago (and way too much free time on the night shift here!). Customs
may have changed in the intervening years...I haven't kept up enough to

Maryam Povey

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