Sudan - The Sufi as a healer


Among the multiplicity and diversity of Islam in Sudan is the Sufi mystical dimension. For over two hundred years, Sufi brotherhoods give the opportunity to the faithful, mainly men but also women, to form a more personal relationship with God through their participation in weekly ceremonies. At the worship centres faithful of both sexes often visit mystics or healers for physical and mental health problems, many of which are attributed to magical interferences, the evil eye or the wrath of evil spirits that possess the bodies and dominate the will of the people - the hosts.
The healers use a large number of spiritual weapons, such as the reading of Quranic verses over the patient accompanied by the application of incense. The hitting of the body aims to force the possessing evil spirit to speak, to reveal its intentions, its sender and the hiding place of the cursed amulets and other magical objects in the house of the victim, which have caused the illness or other problems.
Covered under a cloth which suggests their symbolic death and their transfer to a borderline condition, the possessed patients kneel in front of the representative of God who will apply his powers through which the inner truth will shine, the possessing spirit will speak or will be exorcised, the magic will be revealed, the solution will be given. In many cases the patients enter into a light or deep trance state. The scene seems violent, but not more than that of Christian exorcisms, either real or cinematic ones.
One of the most common therapeutic treatments of evil is the writing of Quranic verses on paper together with astrological and numerological symbols and tables. The paper is then burnt, its ashes dissolved in water and drunk as a purgatory and restorative potion by the patient.
In the Islamic world, as elsewhere, problems often attributed to witchcraft or evil spirits and which take the form of psychosomatic diseases are related to interpersonal, family and other relationship problems. The intervention of the healer seeks to bring to the surface the true causes, as the patient and the relatives are forced to go one step beyond appearances and tell the unspeakable, often in a purgatory way.
Gerasimos Makris