Ramadaniyat (X)

When I was a little girl of about ten, one night I woke up after midnight suffocating. There was a dim light coming through the large window, in my bedroom, facing the street. And I was struck to see a hand stuck to the window as if someone was trying to get in from outside. On the other side of the light a tall black figure stood and was pointing his hand to my direction with a hissing sound. I remember that night I got so frightened that my scream gathered even the cats in my bedroom.
It tuned out that the weather got really dusty that night right after my retirement to bed, and there was a previous scratch at the window, of which some dust seeped in and polluted the air in the room, and others formed what shaped like a hand on the window (on a closer look; it did not look like a hand at all), the huge figure turned out to be an Abbaya (Arabic women head cover costume) that my mom hung on a stand hanger, beside the cupboards, right in front of the window, and the movement was caused by the air-conditioning in the room.
I remember before going to sleep that night, my cousin and me were at her place listening to baba 3od’s (her grandpa) tales of 3athab elqabr (grave torture). I also remember that on that night I was terrified to go to sleep that I tossed and turned for hours before turning in.

At another incident; at about the age of fifteen, the same cousin was spending the night over at my place, and between cigarette brakes in the bathroom using her grandpa’s stolen cigarettes, we talked about Eljin, and the haunted houses. My cousin and me were so alike except for the fact that she lived on superstition and I totally denied them. We spent almost till dawn with her convincing me, or me convincing her (doesn’t matter since we were both hard headed), none of us got convinced, so we both went to sleep.
Less than a half an hour later, while I was trying to sleep on my back, I felt my chest getting so heavy that I almost lost breath, there was this huge thing over me squashing me underneath, and paralyzing my movements. I could not make out his face but I heard voices in unionism like a chorus, repeating over and over again something like ” you have to believe in us, you have to, say it”, I finally said it, not because I resisted to say it in the beginning, but because my tongue was too numb to say it. Right after that I felt as if I woke up from a nightmare with sweated body. Yet it did not seem like a dream because everything in the room including my cousin who was in the next bed was so vivid in the dream, the only difference was the existence of that creepy thing. Next morning I told my cousin what happened and she told me of yathoom that is caused by demons.
When my son was two, we discovered by accident that he had G6PD deficiency, he had something in breakfast that we didn’t know that he shouldn’t have had, and the result was constant loss of his blood through urine. I spent three nights and days praying by his hospital bed. His body turned to almost white, his eyes white, his lips blue. The doctors were trying hard to save him, blood bags were emptied into his veins and right after drained through his urine, his body was poisoning the fresh blood he was receiving. I hardly had few naps on the sofa beside him throughout those days, only left the hospital to take a shower.
I remember I got so desperate that after one of my prayers I got so angry at God and asked him to either bring him to life or take him, I kept crying in my prayers “ don’t torture him and me more than this, I can’t bare to see my baby suffering”, I also told Him that I wasn’t going to pray for him again if He was so helpless. And after that I took the little carpet away and sat beside my baby’s bed watching the blood bag slowly trickling blood in the tubes leading to his veins. After sitting in this solitude for about half an hour, I noticed the name Allah in Arabic (with elshadah) forming in the remains of the blood in the bag, at that instant my husband came in and he saw my big smile amidst joyous tears looking up, he asked what I was doing and I pointed out to the bag saying ”read this”, he said” sub7an allah”.

Now what do these stories have in common? FEAR
Fear of the horror fictions that molded our pure childish brains, mostly by people we love and trust. Fear for the lives and well being of our loved ones. Fear of being an outcast if we didn’t follow the majority. In a nutshell; fear from the unknown.
Fear is so strong that it could easily induce imagination. People who swore that they have seen Virgin Mary are no liars, and those who saw ghosts are also no liars, they wanted to see a sign as I wanted to see it, and persuaded my husband to see it, and we both did.
Imagination can do wonders, and fear can give way to imagination; Don Quixote de la Mancha fought the windmills as he saw them giants. He was not a madman; he was just too much into the chivalry books he read. And his fear for the maidens and the poor, made him behave oddly. Just like my widowed cousin, who lost her husband more than ten years ago, and who did not remarry because her late husband still visits her almost everyday. And if baba 3od was alive today, he would’ve probably seen him as well.
Faith is one way of protection against fear, and religion enforces fear to strengthen faith. So it is no surprise to see educated people believe in fairytales. And see them as well.

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bosale7
    Oct 18, 2006 @ 22:07:05

    اتفق معاج تماما ..
    دائما وابدا كان وسيظل الخوف هو المحفز الاكبر للعقل والخيال
    الدين يصر ويؤكد على زرع الخوف لاكمال التصورات الخيالية عن الحياة بعد الممات ..
    وعلى قولة المصريين :
    اللي يخاف من العفريت …يطلع له !



  2. NewMe
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 00:25:31

    الخوف من المجهول
    يجعلنا نتشبث بأي منجي من الهلاك الموعودين فيه
    لكن ليس للابد
    فنحن نصل الى مرحلة الادراك والتحليل
    واذا اعطينا العقل فرصة تفكير واحدة
    سيتوقف عن تصديق هذه الخزعبلات التي لا يقبلها اي منطق
    التحرر من الخوف سيجعلنا نري الحياة بمنظار مختلف
    ونختبر ان يكون قرارنا نابع عن ادراك اكثر منه تسليم
    لهذا الشعور نشوة غير طبيعية لا يدركها الا ذو الفكر الحر
    اما من يرزح تحت اغلال اتباع الجماعة لئلا يكون مختلف
    فحري به ان يؤمن بأفعي متفرغة تقعد تضرب فيه لانه ما صلى
    لين يوم الدين!
    ان يتربي المرء على المسلمات ويعيش على هامش الحياة
    يجعل منه آله استنساخ فيصبح نسخة والده وحفيده نسخة ابنه
    وهكذا البشر الالات يستمرون في التكاثر وتستمر الحياة
    كالعادة تحليلات رائعة
    شكراً لعقلك المستنير
    دومي بحب


  3. ummel3yal
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 01:12:12

    I know a r”espected”, well educated and religious lady who has a chair in her reception area dedicated to her friend the jin. Each night she leaves a tray with dinner and drinks for him to eat. Even when her house is full of people this chair has to remain empty so he’s not disturbed !! This is a lady that people trust with millions and take daily critical dicisions!!

    I also know what you mean when you REALLY want to believe in something. I stayed with my cousin in the ICU waiting for him to wake up after he’d been diagnosed as brain dead by 4 different neurologists. I could swear seeing him moving and smiling..

    Our brain is poweful and stops at nothing to maintain our “comfort” zone. Even if that meant tricking itself. This is crucial sometimes to survive. But extremely deadly if we surrender to it.

    Great post as usual!


  4. 9ahba'a
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 01:29:54

    اشتقت لمواضيعك النيرة

    فعلا الخوف يخلق العجائب

    لا ارى من نفسي انسانة اؤمن بالكثير مما تؤمن به الامة الاسلامية و خصوصا ما يدعون به رجال الدين و لكن في حالات الخوف و الياس الجأ الى كل
    خزعبلاتهم و اتوقف عن كل نواهيهم على امل ان لا ادع للخالق مجال لتعذيبي

    او للوصول الى هدفي ممكن ان اكون

    بذلك انانية و لكني اصر على انني احبه “الله
    بطريقتي الخاصة

    دمت بفكر نير


  5. Intlxpatr
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 08:22:56

    Very powerful post, Ayya. I can’t imagine your suffering as you waited for some sign of improvement in your son. I hope he is well, now.

    Although we are on different tracks, I am drawn back to your posts by your ground-level sincerity, your willingness to look events in the eye and call them as you see them. There is nothing trivial about your postings, and there is such seeking for greater answers to the larger questions. More power to you.


  6. AyyA
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 14:08:07

    You know, I love Egyptian expressions; they have a saying for everything, don’t they?
    Bas abi a3arif min wain i6al3oon hal7achi LOL

    You know, it’s not easy to overcome this fear, as we grow older and know better, we still find ourselves habitually drawn to cling to God at times of fear. How many times we worry over our loved ones when they are away and say “allah yiridah bilsalamah”? Although we know for sure that God has nothing to do with it. And that everything in life is based on chances and accidents. But down inside we always hope that we are wrong and that there is actually some supernatural being that will protect us.
    And about social fear, it is much stronger than we think; when I worked and mingled with people everyday, I had many open-minded colleagues, some even didn’t believe in God, yet, they had this little beard and behaved differently in front of certain officials. When I asked them for the reason, they said, “there are things that one should respect in a society even if they did not believe in them, this is the way that they accept, and this is the way they’ll get”, now this logic I do not understand. Do we have to deceive others and pretend something that we are not in the name of respect? Or is it our ambitions talking? Or our strive to be accepted? I’m not saying that one should go around cursing the beliefs of others, but at least don’t play the part that you are not. Just be yourself, and if others can’t accept your ideas, just don’t say anything, after all, this is a working environment and one is supposed to get ahead by his achievements, not by what he believes.
    LOL, you last comment brought a question to my mind; if evolution is based on the survival of the fittest, and our world keeps changing while we want to stay a copy of the old, could we Moslems survive, say 50 years from now?

    Unfortunately; the majority believe in such stuff, and when you argue with them, they’d say that Jim and magic are mentioned in Quran, and that puts a full stop to the argument. When I see my cousin now, a very beautiful woman who widowed very early in life, I feel sorry for her, I feel she wasted her life in superstition. And that hurts. I tried to take her to a psychiatrist so many times and she refused saying that I don’t understand because I have no faith. One time she came to me right after her husband died and she told me that her husband visited her and asked her to stay away from everyone except me, saying that I was the one who could take her out of her miseries. And help her at times of need. Well when her husband was alive, he was a possessive person and he did not like any of her relatives and friends except me, we were good friends, so ….there you go.

    No dear, I don’t see that you are selfish at all; fear is natural to the minds that grew on it. You know, it’s been years since I have doubted that Quran was God’s words, yet, only this year I had the courage to open it and read it with a critical eye.

    Thanks sweetie, my son is a big healthy boy now, soon I’m taking him to college in the States. Now we know what he has, and we have the list of things that he is not suppose to have. And as long as he stays away from them, he’ll be OK. It’s just some type of allergy to certain food and medication, but a severe one.


  7. Luloo
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 14:15:14


    اشتقت إلى مواضيعك… لم يكن جدولي الرمضاني مريح على الإطلاق…. فمواعيد العمل كانت مرهقة جدا

    سرد شيق.. وموضوع غاية في الأهمية

    فعلا سيكولوجية العقلية الخائفة تأتي من البيئة التي تكرس الإرهاب الفكري، فهي ترهب العقول وتحصرها في قالب الحلال والحرام وعالم الجن والسحر والشعوذة, وهذه هي المقدمة الطبيعية لإخضاع العقول واستسلامها, فالعقل الخائف أسير فكر ضيق ومحدود في كل شيء ما عدا الخزعبلات والسخافات غير المنطقية

    رائعة كعادتك


  8. Arfana
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 14:45:23

    interesting how we came to the same conclusion!


  9. bosale7
    Oct 19, 2006 @ 16:22:27


    مرة كنت ماشي بالسيارة بالاسكندرية وطرى على بالي اسمع الاذاعة المصرية….طلعلي برنامج يقدمه الممثل صلاح السعدني ويتكلم فيه بشكل فكاهي عن مصر …وقال :
    اثبتت الاحصائيات والدراسات انه الطفل المصري اول ما ينولد يكون اذكى طفل بالعالم …نابغة … لكن مع الزحمة والتلوث واكل الفول ! …يتحول الى كتلة من البلادة والغباء !! 🙂

    there u go …now u know from where they invent it 🙂

    شعب له حس فكاهي عجيب ….على مر العصور اثر فيهم الفول والحشيش وغير التركيبة الكيميائية …وصارت النكتة او التشمت شي اساسي لاستمرار الحياة عندهم

    من الامثال القوية اللي سمعتها عندهم …وبصراحة انا اشوفها امثال واقعية :

    * الشهر اللي مالكش فيه …ماتعدش ايامه

    * اللي معاه قرش ومحيره ..يشتري حمام ويطيره

    * يا واخد القرد على ماله ..يروح المال ويفضل القرد على حاله

    اسف للاطالة


  10. AyyA
    Oct 20, 2006 @ 10:19:17

    7ayati, wallah I do understand, I also got occupied in Ramadan that I could hardly visit other blogs, 3adi, 6alitich bidinyah ;*
    The problem with these myths that they are embedded in the religion, it’s part of the belief, so one can’t argue about that or else you may sound as if you are attacking the essence of their belief. It’s really complicated.

    How is that? Nawreeni plerase…..

    You cracked up man LOL
    Wi 6awil ma 3aleeh, you made my day dear
    There is that Egyptian saying that goes like” wakhda ma2lab fi 7alha” when someone is proud of herself, I can’t get over that LOL
    Sorry for writing that in English, I’m still not quite used to the Arabic lettering on my keyboard.

    Oh, here is some more
    Tedeeha mayah tedeek 6arawah
    Ya daklhil bain elbasala wi 2ishrit’ha, ma yinoobak illa re7it’ha
    Mosh ay ay, wala zay zay, wala koli 2i6 yi2alo ya mishmIsh


  11. Proletarian
    Oct 20, 2006 @ 11:24:01

    When I was young I used to set in my room after closing the door and switching off the light. then i start calling the demons. Not because I was not afraid, but because I wanted to see them…nothing happened… Then no Demons…
    I guess when you fear something you imagine its existence…
    I hate the G6PD, both of my brothers have it…


  12. AyyA
    Oct 20, 2006 @ 11:52:42

    I’ve been living alone for more than four years, and sometimes I call the demons at least for company, but they always disappoint me ;p
    And G6PD is hereditary, we discovered that my son got it from my branch ; I wonder if we are related somehow 🙂


  13. NewMe
    Oct 20, 2006 @ 18:23:10

    No chance in survival not as long as they continue looking up their minds and blowing themselves up…
    This is to put it as delicate as possible
    Thank you for the trap 🙂


  14. AyyA
    Oct 20, 2006 @ 18:47:26

    love you :*


  15. somelady
    Oct 24, 2006 @ 23:49:55

    I personally had yathoom and i saw a fat guy and a thin guy, both were fighting and i was seeing my bedroom as it is so real i dont think its a dream but when i woke up i freaked out. I was young but i started to read Quran each night and if i miss reading it they come back.


  16. AyyA
    Oct 25, 2006 @ 06:31:17

    “and if I miss reading it they come back” this is exactly what I’m talking about, yathoom or mini epilepsy or whatever you call it are just an emotional state, it has nothing to do with reading Quran, but the thing is that we are lead to believe that reading Quran would not cause yathoom to reoccur, and that’s why it stopped, not because you are reading Quran. But if you believe that yathoom is natural and try to be in a better state of mind when you retire to bed, yathooms may not stop completely depending on how often you have them, but they will definitely decrease.


  17. John Allcott
    Nov 01, 2006 @ 13:23:59

    Did you say your name was Rayan – Great to meet you last night at the Spanish National Day. Your writing is emotive and sensual – would love to talk more – hope to hear from you


  18. AyyA
    Nov 01, 2006 @ 13:50:46

    Hi John
    My name is Rabab, and you have my E-mail listed under my profile; we can start from there, it was a pleasure meeting you as well, thanks for the compliment and take care 😀


  19. AyyA
    Nov 01, 2006 @ 14:08:57

    Ah, I just noticed that my profile is listed in my previous quarters; you can find that on the sidebar of the blog.


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