eligible for incapacity benefit.
According to Aziz, they had a happy life together for almost ten years. Then two years ago things started to go wrong. Hurriyet became dissatisfied with being the second wife and having to share her husband with another woman. On a visit to her mother in Turkey she received the magic that was later to inflict the jinnpossession on Aziz. Years earlier Hurriyet's mother had used the same magic to take control over Hurriyet's father. According to Aziz, Hurriyet wanted a man as her father had been to her mother. She
What is it like to be a Muslim possessed by a jinn spirit? How do you find refuge
from madness and evil spirits in a place like Denmark? As elsewhere in
Europe and North America, Danish Muslims have become hypervisible through
intensive state monitoring, surveillance, and media coverage. Yet their religion
remains poorly understood and is frequently identified by politicians,
commentators, and even healthcare specialists as the underlying invisible cause
of ‘integration problems’. Over several years Christian Suhr followed
Muslim patients being treated in a Danish mosque and in a psychiatric hospital.
With this book and award-winning film he provides a unique account of the
invisible dynamics of possession and psychosis, and an analysis of how the
bodies and souls of Muslim patients are shaped by the conflicting demands of
Islam and the psychiatric institutions of European nation-states. The book
reveals how both psychiatric and Islamic healing work not only to produce relief
from pain, but also entail an ethical transformation of the patient and the
cultivation of religious and secular values through the experience of pain.
Creatively exploring the analytic possibilities provided by the use of a camera,
both text and film show how disruptive ritual techniques are used in healing to
destabilise individual perceptions and experiences of agency, so as to allow
patients to submit to the invisible powers of psychotropic medicine or God.
talk turned to jinnpossession. The young men had recently witnessed several severe cases of possession, including the possession of their friend Feisal by more than twenty-six jinn of multiple origins and religious conviction, and the possession of a young Somali boy by the Danish female jinn Dorthe, her husband, and their dog Hugin. These harrowing scenes were a favoured topic of discussion. Frequently, they would try to make sense of them by comparing their own experiences with videos on YouTube. This evening I was allowed to record their discussion
of the jinn. 1
The first time I saw Feisal entering ṣarʿ was after a dawn prayer ( ṣalāt al-fajr ) in early 2011. At this point it was as if instances of jinnpossession were breaking out almost everywhere around me. When I began this research project in 2009, I could hardly get anyone to talk about possession. Jinnpossession, people told me, is something that occurs only in the Middle East. Jinn do not live in Europe. I should go back to Egypt to conduct this research as there I would find lots of this stuff, and magic, and people
clear, the human experience is often characterised by a high degree of separateness, the experience of ‘I’ not always being ‘me’ (see Nielsen, Mikkelsen, and Aagaard 2009 ). This might also be the case at the onset of serious disturbances such as psychosis, depression, schizophrenia, or jinnpossession. Suffering is arguably part of the experience of not being whole.
It may be that integrated treatment works simply because the communication between health professionals from different disciplines allows for a better understanding and a more
: ‘What kind of prayer is this?’
Abu Bilal explained to me that this is by no means proper behaviour towards a newcomer and that this was not how Abu Omar would normally behave. Obviously one should attempt to teach and help a brother perform the best possible prayer, but not in this way. ‘Something aggressive is inside him. I had seen it a long time ago,’ Abu Bilal said.
When I look at some of the other stories of jinnpossession, a similar pattern can be discerned. In the period before the outbreak of Aziz
jinn as well as from intrusions by secular state institutions.
My intention has been to specifically explore the role of the invisible in their experiences of mental illness and spirit possession, and as such, this book belongs to a long tradition of studies aiming to understand the invisible in human life. Illnesses such as psychosis and possession occupy an ambiguous position in the borderland between the visible and invisible. Such illnesses are sometimes expressed through visible signs, but the cause of illness and the experience of
from Lebanon told us that Aziz needed to stop his medication before he could do the ruqya .’
In this, Liliane counters the view of Aziz's psychiatrist Jørgen when he claims that the recitation of ruqya provokes a state of trance that is potentially dangerous to the patient. Liliane makes clear that ruqya is used not only in the treatment of jinnpossession, but on an everyday basis for a variety of purposes, including small fevers, headaches, and wounds: ‘If you read the Quran for someone who hasn't got a jinn then nothing happens, no
demonstrating one’s possession of surplus bodily fluids to avert the drying
powers of envy.
There are literally thousands of spells to turn back the evil
eye in Italian folklore. Many, appropriately enough, involve water:
typically, some matter (wheat seeds, salt, oil, or molten lead) is dropped
into a bowl of water and the resulting shapes are interpreted to see whether
an ‘eye’ forms. This
A second problem in studying readership is that there is often a lack of
direct evidence of ownership. Wills or inventories are frequently used to study
the possession of various goods, which assumes a certain level of wealth to
begin with. As Lorna Weatherill has pointed out, probate inventories, which
were lists made shortly after a person’s death, generally cover a range of
farming, trade and household goods.11 This might include listings such as the
‘one shovel, one sieve . . . five cows and two bullocks’ belonging to the late John