Saudi Arabia just executed a woman for being a sorceress, because she claimed to be able to cure people of illnesses using magic and charged them money. For more details see the link below.
This story made me angry because I don’t think this punishment fits the crime. So some old lady hoodwinks her willing paying customers into thinking that they can be cured by magic. Throw her in jail for being a con artist if you must. Even that seems somewhat wrong to me because the fact is that people who go to an old lady claiming to cure you using magic are not exactly innocent in this scenario.
There needs to be a little illumination on this matter. Here are some links if you would like to read, but I will sum up… According to mainstream Islam, Sunni and Shia’a, magic is blasphemy. This includes black magic, horoscopes and astrology, palmistry and appealing to saints and relics. Miracles, such as those performed by the prophets, are not magic. They come from God, whereas sorcery is satanic in nature. However, the Sufi sect of Islam is vague about magic and what is acceptable.
Saudi Arabia is a nation that practices Islamic law – Sharia, and therefore, it is only to be expected that the Islamic punishment for blasphemy – death – would be carried out. Yet in other Islamic countries that tend to follow Sharia, such as Pakistan and Iran, there is also a strong observance of Sufism, shrines to saints, belief in magic etc.
I can personally attest to the belief in magic in Pakistan, having been to Pakistan twice in the last five years to be what I like to playfully refer to as being “exorcised Paki style”. My parents are old school and have fears about certain situations in my life. Namely my health, my lack of interest in Islam and, of course, my unmarried state. And while I assured them that these things exist because I refuse to do or believe in things unless I find reason to do or believe in those things, they felt it necessary to have me “cured”.
This isn’t just an Islamic thing. I’ve seen television shows that have Christians going to shrines to be cured by some statue’s “tears”. I’ve read books about voodoo. I’ve seen documentaries about people who are imbued by the spirit of Christ and rise up from their wheelchairs, suddenly cured. You can find horoscopes in most newspapers and at most carnivals or fairs you can find tarot card readers, palmists and other types of fortune tellers. There is an idea that magic is real in the world and there are people who find a great deal of comfort in having the issues in their lives explained or resolved by magic. After all, it’s easier to cope when you can blame or fix your problems using something supernatural.
The stories about my “exorcisms” are really quite interesting, but I am not going to go into detail about them tonight. The reason I bring this up now is because of this story I read about this woman’s execution. And how horrible I think it is that she was executed.
The main reason I allowed my parents to have me “cured” was because it gave them hope. It made them feel better about whatever they thought the problem is. And I know there are people out there who are of the opinion that magic and stuff isn’t real. There are people out there who believe that God doesn’t exist. It is a matter of what you believe and are comfortable living with. I myself, am totally onboard with God, but the jury is out on magic and stuff. Just saying.
People are sometimes willing to pay for hope. This woman charged some of those people for it and paid a hefty and unfortunate price herself.