Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Witchcraft, Jinn, and Human Sacrifice in the Interior, and me, marrying the Sorcerer's Grandson

Of course, I would totally marry into a darkly "magical/sorcerer/witchy/Jinn/demon-related" family in Oman-this-century, wouldn't I? That would be my luck;). ...Superstitious people who totally believe our family's female line is completely screwed in the "cursed" department, would tell me, what else could I expect?
Demon, Jinn, Elemental, Fey, Faerie (Irish faeries are scary!!!)---all different names for the same thing.

Basic Jinn facts: Jinn are "Otherworld" creatures, some are good, others bad. Ones that like to hang out with people easily are generally bad...

I was told, that Jinn or demons like to attach themselves to certain family lines, and only firm belief and understanding of the nature of the Oneness of Allah (or asking for God's protection if one is Christian), can protect one from them and block their whispers....whispers that drive one mad.

The eyes are the tell if you're touched with the mad blood in my family, apparently. I have the bad luck eyes.

Thankfully, my bad luck eyes have no ill-connotation over here;).
Omanis find any colour of eyes beyond brown to be beautiful, in general, based on their rarity in the local population, so mine, and now my daughter's, are happily converted into a blessing, rather than a curse....Omanis in general are superstitious enough without telling them stuff like, "hey yeah, I grew up pretty Pagan. Oh yeah, and my eyes are supposedly supposed to mean that Jinn are supposed to talk to me and tell me stuff and help me do magic if I want. I once worshiped trees and all that for fun. And a couple of summers, I totally hung out with a crowd of witches. Jumped over bonfires with them. Read their stuff, listened to them, learned what they believed and how they practiced their religion, pretty much exactly what I did with Islam. No biggie."

Yeah, but expat wife with an Omani husband?

There's already a bad connotation against other Arab or African women marrying Omanis using magical spells to snag husbands, so I didn't want any of that. Not when my husband seems to have fallen illogically and stubbornly in love with me. I just don't need that. I want my in-laws not to hate me or be afraid of me, thank-you-very-much.

For the record, I didn't do anything to my husband, at all. I opened my mouth and I talked. About Islam. About hijab. About what I miss from back home, and what I love about Oman, and THAT'S why my husband decided to fall in love with me. It wasn't a spell or a charm or even intentional. He was a man I didn't know sitting at a crowded table with lots of others, and I was not looking at him, or directing my thoughts at him. It just happened. It was an accident. Or...Allah wrote it;). Whatever. But it wasn't witchcraft or magic, I assure you. I'm Muslim, and I don't do any of that kind of shirk, and haven't since before I even began studying Islam.

...Although I am totally not against dressing up in Moroccan clothes and whispering fake spells on prejudiced Omani women who think Moroccan women in majority are witches;). That's my kind of fun.

To Omanis, Arabs in general, though, my past experiences would be a pretty "big deal". Anything to do with witches, Jinn, and magic is scary. A lot of people are superstitious to the point of ridiculousness.

My boss believes everything gives the evil eye. Also, when I tell people where my husband is from, they are like, "oh no!" Better always wear hijab, watch out for the evil eye, watch out for witches and magic spells...Because the Interior is famous for magic, and Jinn, and witches, especially Bahla, Nizwa and Al Hamra.

I laugh, because in the Interior/Ad Dhakliyia Region, I've yet to meet a living witch, or see an actual charm, or any magical or pagan practice. And like, every man I've ever seen who people think he's under some magic spell, he hasn't been. Trust me.

I'm the Muslim Girl who would know right?

I've seen archaeological evidence that there was probably pre-Islamic water and solar worship. In Bahla, some tree worship/magic. I've read about acts of magic that would technically amount to real magical practices, although I've seen no evidence of any person alive still doing any of this in the Interior Region of Oman. I'm sure there is, somewhere, but it is actually less prevalent than in present 2017 Canada and the U.K.;).
So I always listen to the stories with some amusement, and when I am presented with the opportunity to look at these "magical books" I'm not frightened to. My understanding of my Aqeedah (my faith and understanding in the Oneness of Allah) is such that I know there is nothing to fear. I'm not going to mess with the stuff.

I remember there were two Canadian Muslim-convert girls, discussing with the PDO security Omani guys, witches and Jinn, and they mentioned to us these books, and we like, named them in Arabic, and they were like, "how do you girls even know about this stuff?!" totally afraid. It was funny. We'd read them. We were not driven insane.

"Because you read it in English," the guys concluded, relieved.

"Maybe," we girls laughed.

Magic totally doesn't work how most Omanis think it works.

I like to make light and joke about everything I know about magic and witches. Most of the stuff is utter crap and nonsense, but there are some truths.

One thing about magic that is universal: You have to believe in it for it to work.

Muslims, as part and par of being Muslim, are told in the Qu'ran that magic is real, and thus, we have to believe in it, and thus, it can work on us. However, being Muslim, I'm not afraid of magic. The Qu'ran also says that the oneness of Allah is protection from any of that, unless we are to be tested or used for someone else's test, or as a proof, and so, I must have faith, that other than that, which would be for a good end, I am otherwise immune to magic. Logically;).

So something I have so loved about becoming a Muslim, just an ordinary Muslim girl, starting out with a fresh blank page, is that my family line now comes with no curses, no Jinn-attachments, no pending sacrifices being demanded of me. I can be that girl that scoffs at witch-tales, and laughs at the improbability of Jinn stories. Such as this gem, which my husband narrated to me:

A while ago, but not too long ago, there were two Sorcerers, one living in Al Hamra up in the mountain, and one in Bahla, and each was having a competition to show who was the more powerful Sorcerer. ...[husband forgets large chunks of the actual magical acts performed by the Sorcerers] but in the end, one Sorcerer walked on chickens without killing them, and the other Sorcerer one-upped him by walking on eggs without breaking them, to win the who-is-more-powerful-than-who competition between them.

Weird, and probably non-magically explainable, right?

That's what I think, when I hear such.

Lots of other stories from our village. And there was that one I'd almost forgotten, about the man who became wealthy by disappearing for less than a few seconds, and reappearing with wares from other places, like fresh fruit from Iran, in an instant. Apparently, he flew by Jinn, to go get these items, to return to Oman, to sell them.

My husband's father collected such stories and books on magic, and used the Qu'ran for healing. He was an Imam, and told my husband that reading about magic actually meant one could possibly-and quite-likely do more harm than good. I may misquote him.

I always thought his particular field of study was interesting for an Omani man in his given time period.

But then this gem:
So my co-wife and I were discussing the uses of the old Omani mud-brick renovated family home. I was like, "why don't we just stay in it when we go to village on the weekend and rent it out to tourists when we know we're not going?"

She was like, "I'm not staying in that place [without our husband] with my kids."

I was like, "why?"

She was like, "I'm afraid to. It's haunted."

I, of course, laughed. "Just read Surah Al Bakurah and burn luban/frankincense," I suggested.

"You do it, then," she dares me.

"I will,when it's fixed. I'm not afraid of Jinn stories."

"I am," she says. "The basement, the dark area... My mother told me stories. She saw an old woman feeding a baby there once. But the woman wasn't there."

"She was a jinn?" I ask. "Tourists from Europe like ghost-stories."

My Omani co-wife looks at me, and hugs herself. "My father was brought down to that place to be sacrificed. He saw the knife. But the Jinn didn't want him in the end. He wasn't the right kind of sacrifice. He was too skinny."

I was like, whatttttt????????!!!!!!
Human sacrifice. In the Interior. In pretty recent history.

Apparently that dude from my husband's story who sold the fruit from Iran and used Jinn to fly?: my co-wife's grandfather. He was a famous sorcerer. Go figure. Couldn't have been more than two hundred years ago or less, from the age of her father.

Apparently the type of Jinn magic he was practicing required human-sacrifice of sons from his own bloodline...According to my co-wife's father, via what he related to her mother.

So I asked my husband more about it, and yeah, totally forgot, they are cousins so like, that was his grandfather.

Apparently I have to go and marry that one Omani boy who is the Sorcerer's grandson;).

...And I wanted to live in that old house, right? Where human sacrifice may have been practiced in the basement?

Or was it?

Will have to ask my MIL and co-wife's mother more about all the other brothers, were there any. Apparently my husband's father was even more skinny, and since he lived, he wasn't enough for the Jinn either;).

Anyways, maybe the knife wasn't for sacrifice, because from what I know of it most Jinn-magic means making circles of protection, and a knife can be symbolic for cutting open between worlds etc... But yeah, my co-wife is no more willing to spend the night down there for the fact.

I started to do more reading about it, because I'm interested in the pre-Islamic history of the region. Apparently two hundred years ago, this was pretty real, at least. BTW, totally contact me up via our blog email if you are a forensic anthropologist visiting Oman, and you want a tour of our basement;).

Haven't told my boss yet. We're still like, "come visit us in the village" and if I tell him this story, he will so never ever come.

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