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Day 14, July 22 - Folk Islam fuels fear

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Day 14, July 22 - Folk Islam fuels fear

Folk Islam fuels fear

Four types of magic: “blessing”, protective, destructive, divination

Bilal wakes up trembling in fear. This has been happening to him for several weeks. He sees a battle in the spirit world and is convinced he is doomed. He can’t concentrate on his work and he snaps at his friends and family. Unable to bear it any longer, he goes to the sheik, a respected scholar who made the pilgrimage to Mecca. After explaining many mystical insights, this spiritual leader gives Bilal a white thread to wear around his wrist. He also has an amulet attached to his pillow at night.


Folk Islam mixes animistic practices with orthodox Islam. Many Muslims practise some form of folk Islam. They are often terrified of spirits and practise ceremonies to appease them. A common Indonesian ceremony involves sacrificing a chicken before building a house. The chicken’s head, feet, and wings are buried under the foundation stones, with the head facing east and surrounded by rice and spices. The chicken’s blood is then spread on the stones and a coin is placed under each cornerstone. Once this has been done, the house can be built.

Another aspect of folk Islam is to make pilgrimages to places of power. Such places often include tombs where pilgrims do specific rituals, chant portions of the Qur’an and mention the dead by name. They carry water from a nearby building and put it by the grave. Then they throw flower petals at the grave’s doors. Believing that the water and petals will have absorbed saintly blessings, they take them back home. If a person is sick, he will drink the water to get well. The flower petals are put into bath water to cleanse a person’s soul.


Bilal continued to have his nightmares despite all his efforts. Eventually he went to a Christian church where he received Christ. It took quite a long time for him to get over his experiences, but today he teaches about folk Islam and testifies of the freedom he finally received.

Prayer ideas:

* Pray for Muslims to be released from the power that these strongholds have over them (Matthew 8:16, 10:1; Mark 5:2–13;Acts 16:16–18).

* Pray for people coming to the Messiah, that they will be open about their involvement with the spirit world and get rid of anything from their past life (Deuteronomy 18:9–12).

* Pray for Christian workers to “shine like stars in the universe” as they testify to those living in darkness (Philippians 2:15).

Further Reading