Question 77:

A Muslim woman married to a Christian man suspects that Tunisian relatives cursed the couple and that these curses have now lead to conflicts within and outside the marriage. Do you know anything about the background of such curses? Is there a connection between curses and the Quran? Is it possible to fight these curses or to lift them?


Answer: Not only in rural regions, but also townspeople in the Islamic world are often still superstitious. As with all superstition, in oriental countries too, old women are said to have the power to bind and to dissolve, to call spirits, heal the sick and to predict the future. Many superstitious beliefs have a corresponding basis in the Qur’an. Belief in the jinn is a very good example. They are feared because they can bring illness, bad luck and death. Wearing good luck charms provides protection from evil spirits. If an evil spirit possesses a man, he becomes ill. People who suffer from nervous disorders such as hysteria, epilepsy, melancholy, apoplexia, seizures and palsy, are described by Arabs as bound, or, bound by a jinn. Turkish people speak of being possessed by a jinn. They can only be healed by those whom the jinn serve. The medicines are obtained by evoking the spirits, fumigation, good luck charms, prayers and spells. Others are skilled in enticing the spirits to harm other people. They use amulets and charms, but also magic. The cause of many illnesses is said to be the disastrous power of the eye, known as the evil eye. Evil speech and evil smells, too, can cause much harm. Among the many deflecting and healing rituals, such as amulets and good luck charms, one of the most effective ones against verbal curses is the repetition forty-one times of the phrase “ma scha’ Allah!” ("What God wills). If all this fails, you turn again to an old person or elder (schaikh) or "master (Turkish. hoca). (See the entry for ‚Aberglauben (by Senay Yola, Munich) in Kreiser/Wielandt (publisher), „Lexikon der Islamischen Welt“. Stuttgart, 1992.)

According to Christian belief, all traces of superstition are banished through the faith in the omnipresence of the resurrected Jesus Christ and the living connection with Him through the Spirit-given sacraments and other Christian rites, blessings and symbolic acts (i.e. the sacraments).

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