Have you been exorcised by Baba Welfare?
What is being witnessed in the video above?
Is it an exorcism, or is it a terrifying, arcane ritual devoid of any notion of modern medicine (leave alone human and social cost)?
Imagine yourself to be the girl being exorcised. What would you feel? Terror? Helplessness? Would you play along just to appease your family who has put you in this position and this big bearded man calling you a devil? Would you fight back, and to what end, given that your struggle will be called further proof of the presence of a jinn?
Now try to imagine that you are actually someone who is mentally ill, trapped in this same scenario. What would happen? What could happen?
This YouTube video contains a link to a (English/Urdu) website run, assumedly, by this same cretin by the name of Baba Abdullah Bin Haroon alias Ejaz Ahmed alias Baba Welfare. And what is this welfare the good Baba supports? According to his website:
Welfare: Services to the poor and needy people for the sake of Allah.
Centre activities : Supernatural Exorcism Clinic for Male/Female patients suffering from evil jinn’s or demons, free dispensary for all, Emergency Ambulance Services, Umra and Hajj Services.
How does one identify whether they or their loved ones are possessed by jinns? Baba provides a set of diseases on his site for your assistance:
1) Walking in sleep
2) Those illness which cannot be cured by any kind of medication
3) Cancer, kidney decease, hepatitis B and C, asthma, breast cancer etc
4) Illness which cannot be diagnosed by any doctor
5) Some illness where a detail examination report fail to identify
6) Such body pain which cannot be cured by a strong pain killer
7) People suffering from long term chronic back problem
8) Husband and wife relationship problem
What if none of the above applies to you? Baba is also an expert in black magic, for which he provides a list of symptoms:
1) Bleeding from any part of the body due to Black Magic etc
2) Pins and needles feeling in all around the body
3) Headache which cannot be cured by any form of medication
4) Unconscious or passed out without any reason
5) Red eyes looking upwards
6) Eyes burning without any cause
7) Business not making any profit or constant lose
8) Feeling dizzy or absent minded
9) Failing to make important decision in important business meetings
10) Feeling heavy minded at Magrib time or all the time
11) Do not like to associate with wife or like children any more
12) Feeling suicidal or punishing oneself out depression or anxiety
13) Blood running through the tap instead of water or see oily patches at home or at work place
The site also has an examples section of the work jinns do, ranging from your average husband-wife quarrels, up to an excessive desire to go out and of course, lights and fans coming on on their own.
In case the video above did not highlight their case enough, the website has over 50 Jinn exorcism videos in its archive section. Take for example this video titled “Real Ghost (Jinn) in Child Babawelfare”
Or this confession of an exorcised woman:
Luckily I do not have to turn to anecdotes or conjecture to answer what harm this Baba and his superstitious hogwash is causing – instead I can refer to some past news reports:
Till the day such ignorance continues to persist (and make its way onto YouTube and websites no less), no one can convince me that there is no harm or great danger in the unchecked spread of poisoned religion and spirituality. It is, in fact, the moral duty of every citizen (be they religious or not) to condemn such acts unequivocally. It is also our duty to teach others about this plague of superstition in our society that is used to torture those with mental illness, and those who do not submit (read: women, restless youth, children) to this pathetic status quo, this tragedy, that is our society.
What you can do:
1. Ensure that you are vocal in condemning the notion that jinns are the cause of mental illness or physical ailments, regardless of whether it is coming from your elders (I have had to argue with a senior doctor at Karachi’s best private institution who said she believed jinns were indeed the cause of ‘some’ mental illness), your cousins or your neighbor. Most appalling will be when you clash with so-called ‘religious’ people who will (knowingly or unknowingly) provide pseudo-intellectual religious arguments to provide cover for such horrors. In such instances, direct those people to the news reports above, and if they haven’t ever been exorcised (or are in the class of society where they are not likely to be exploited in this manner) they should keep their mouths shut.
2. Educate yourself in this matter. Educate those around you, especially those who cannot access information you can. Educate your children. Educate the world by writing against this form of torture and build websites to track and monitor such travesties.
3. Pressure those in power to take action against such false peers and exorcists. Start small. Form a pressure group and look close to your own neighborhood and target these criminals individually, one by one. Start with the man hosting the above website for one. His contact details and address listed on the website are:
Abdullah bin Haroon (Ejaz Ahmed): 00923002363667, 00923312203417
R-773, Pak Kausar Town, Saudabad, Karachi (‘Treatment’ at 9pm every Thursday night begins in Karachi)
House B1/623, lane no 1/2, Muslim Town, Sadiqabad, Rawalpindi
Management and Administration Team
Chairman: Baqir bhai (BA) (Businessman)
Vice chairman: Mohammad Sarfaraz bhai (MA)I-R (Businessman)
President: Razi Hussain bhai (Civil Engineer)
Vice President: Mohammad Ahmed (Inter) (PIA service)
Treasurer: Akmal Hussain (Inter) (Businessman)
Chief Organizer: Noor Rahim bhai (BSc) (Government servant)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.