By Mourad EL HANAFI
The beholder to Moroccan society may firstly assume that we are modern and fashionable, judging us by the fact that we somehow keep up with the advances in sciences and technology and so on. But the one who stands to scrutinize our society and draw its face as it is, he/she will recognize that numerous Moroccan mentalities naively belong to medieval or even stone age. What makes them so is that they bow to witches and jugglers (fake fqihs or shrefs). So, resorting to superstition only bespeaks their crisp hearts and ruined mentalities, for they prefer to live behind drapes more than to get out and to stoically face the reality. This is one of the defeats that some Moroccans, let’s not generalize, can’t admit, since such operations go in definite secretiveness- more so circumspectly about the scandal that would be engendered if the matter is disclosed at any time. It seems as a job of smuggling spiritual medicines in which masses appear as immigration officers on the frontier.
To raise such issues in Morocco you have to be frank-more than what frankness means to apparently portray some intricate backstage facts in our society. Let’s debrief our commonsense, it seems astonishing to see a witch or a juggler becomes a millionaire VIP at will. But it would be more astonishing to know that those peculiar creatures make their livelihood by sitting on worn-out fleeces in a nook in their ruined horrifying dwellings, and receiving people of different positions: the poor, the rich, the well-educated, aspiring grassroots, and the socially pariah, just to name a few of the people living in psychological crises and take juggler’s dwelling as Qibla. You may expect that they are using wonderful materials to gain all that wealth, only to be surprised that they are just using more simple materials: cane pen and inkwell for a juggler, and a string or cards for witches, in addition to the rare miscellaneous herbs they recommend you to bring- of course from your own money. And this is in case you are lucky, for sometimes they may recommend you to perform some satanic practices as bringing fresh brain of a wolf, or a skeleton of a certain animal according to your ordeal. It is such a marketing job that is crippling our mentalities in order to finally cripple our pockets at source!
It’s worth mentioning that Jugglers are veteran orators, too. They are ingenious in creating the atmosphere in which any hard pill would be gulped easily. So, the victim-guest would blankly stare at them while they start humming some faint hair-raising hymns. Whereupon, the victim guest would alleviate his/her fear and seek refuge by murmuring the famous hymn ‘tesliiiim’ from the time he/she gets in until he/she is out. Such, you may recognize that the victim-guest may be induced by everything in the space he/she is brought in, for juggler or witch’s nook usually reeks of the smelling of leftovers of animals simmering in caldrons- no doubt to prepare ready-made prescriptions that would fit some social problems. The juggler exploits all these elements to say, indirectly, that only your welfare prompts him to perform all that solemnities of Gins, he claims working for, to offer him good services to satisfy his faithful clients. Furthermore, the mentioning of Gins by the juggler would contribute in large measure to brainwash his pitiful guests, for such vulnerable humans inordinately fear Gin. Unfortunately, this is the rule and not the exception!
The funny sight that such people must have presented may be a source of an immense desire to laugh, but your irresistible laughter would suddenly turn into tears run down your cheeks when you realize what does this bring about in our development. Such backstage practices lead our society to sheer backwardness and the crisis of competences. Therefore, I can’t help thinking of a university teacher bombarding his students with fabulous lectures about techniques to solve problems, but he bows to a witch or a juggler whenever he encounters an ordeal in his life. Similarly, I can’t imagine a corporate crook defying everything to reach his goals, but he would one day surrender to his fate and seek the so-called “sherif” or “sherifa” to accommodate him. Is not it a real tragedy pushing our development to the abyss!
I sometimes wonder why some Moroccans are allergic to evil eyes. They usually imagine that there is someone unknown haunting them to spoil their lives by evil eyes; they think of themselves as targeted victims. Think of a happy couple leading a decent life, but whenever the wife notices that the husband has no longer his usual grin or behaves a bit strangely, she will consider it as an effect of evil eyes or magic. Then, she will instantly bangs at the door of one of her closest friends to escort her directly toward a veteran juggler or witch. She will provide everything to the juggler only to spot the nearest shortcut to spiritual remedy that would defuse that imaginary magic she thinks about. But if she meditates upon the problem she may find that she herself is the real problem of her husband, and not someone else! Such cases are numerous in our society.
In another angle, when an indignant wife fails to guide or control her husband, she despairingly goes to the juggler to fetch spiritual prescription. Then, the juggler would glean minutest details from her about her husband so as to map out a better-fitting potent magic that would make him ‘jack of all trades;’ ‘she names it and her husband does it’-as if she is given spiritual remote control. But who will care about husband’s health when she herself is jeopardizing it this way! Sometimes, here lies the devastation of some families! No doubt that every illicit business drags to vicious circle!
Jugglers are relentlessly active. They are fired by their zeal to deviate more impetuous mentalities and get more money. Their business sees no downturn. In Moroccan weekly markets, you may recognize them pitching up their tents in which a lot of people flock in. They are the only ones to distribute spiritual goods. One of their most common goods is an ornament in a shape of a “brassy bullet,” “lqortasa.” It is filled with an ounce of ‘lfasoulkh’ by the juggler, and it is usually meant to be matched with the keys so as to bear it with you wherever you go. But its spiritual function according to Jugglers is this: It is believed to be bombarded to every evil eye trying to harm you.
Such, they distribute also some chunks of papers on which unclear symbols are sketched. They are designed to carefully be kept in your leather purse. And it is also believed to prevent you from evil eyes or magic while proceeding densely-populated areas or so. What seems more strange is to have a man with gorgeous attire driving a well-equipped luxury car, but if you were given the opportunity to diagnose his car, you may happen to find there a “donkeyshoe” next to the motor! Poor he is! How can a donkeyshoe prevent him and his car from destiny!
Broadly speaking, we, Moroccans, are brought up to fear imaginary occult powers. This allergy developed during childhood when we used to hear about “Boaou” “imaginary ogre.” Equally the same, our society taught us to fear Gins, for whenever Gins are mentioned the one retorts “bismi llah rahman rahim” at fright.
To sum up, Islam addresses pure creed and implore us about it. Poor creed makes the law of jugglers and witches the more prevailing. Poor faith imposed resorting to creatures more than resorting to the Almighty Creator. The Prophet Muhammad PBUH taught us abundant competences to deal with every ordeal we undergo. It is true that there are evil eyes and magic, but no one can prevent and extricate us from them but Allah. And it is true that Gins exist, but never be scared since Islam taught us how to protect ourselves from the evil.
This article was already published in Morocco World News.