Hamad is a Muslim witch in the Middle East, who has spoken to us on conditions of anonymity. I hope that reading his experience may help other Muslim witches realise they are not alone.
Tell us a little bit about your life as a Muslim witch?
Hamad: There are three components to me: Arab, Muslim, witch. All three influence my identity. Being Arab, I use herbs and plants passed down for generations for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Such as drinking sage when suffering from stomach pains, or burning incense to cleanse a room of evil/negative energy. Being Muslim, we follow the lunar calendar, based on the phase of the moon I can tell which day it is, which is helpful as some days we are required to fast. So moon rituals have been easy for me since I was brought up looking up to the moon and keeping track. The witch part brings the magic of all these rituals and practices. It makes every small thing that much more meaningful, the at-one-with-the-universe feeling that I don’t experience with just the other two. I guess the power of three really does set you free.
How did you come to explore and expand outside of the faith you were raised in?
Hamad: There came the point in my life when I felt religion was too rigid and overbearing, and there were so many rules, and there was a disconnect. People were praying five times a day, and in between would be horrible people. Still, nobody cared as long as you prayed, like clockwork, without actually practising the more fundamental aspects of the religion which is essentially telling us to be a good person. I cut out all the processes and procedures, started to focus on God on a basic level, a deity worth worshipping. I came across Wicca, which talked about going back to worshipping nature, and I associate God with nature. So that was probably the first time I realised that I could be both a Muslim and a witch.
How do you reconcile between your faith and your spiritual practice?
Hamad: In Islam, we are taught that magic is wrong, and those who practice witchcraft will go to Hell. I believe that. However, it stipulated in the Quran what kind of magic is sinful. Witches know that there are two kinds of magic, light/white and dark/black. The latter, also called malice, comes from an evil place, to cause harm, which goes against the principles of magic. That’s why the Quran has a chapter on the protection from malice (Chapter 113), referencing particularly knot-magic, which was practised in ancient Arabia, where a curse was placed on a rope, with each tying of a knot then spat on. That, I consider a sin.
How do you blend your faith and your spiritual practice?
Hamad: In Islam, we have a lot of rituals and prayers that we do daily. So growing up with a structured spiritual regime, incorporating elements from witchcraft into it wasn’t hard. For example, we already have prayers to perform for an eclipse, to bring down rain, as well as dua’s (recitations) to ward off evil, to protect us, to give you courage. So I would recite a specific dua, (or as I like to say, an incantation) on a specific crystal, for opening my heart chakra, for protection from malice, for clearing my third eye and so on. There is a hadith, or saying, by the Prophet: “Verily, deeds are only with intention”. So before I set off to do anything, I always set an intention. That’s how spellwork is performed, you need to set an intention and cast it into the universe. So you see, Islam has already laid the groundwork for a lot of my witchcraft.
Do you experience any personal challenges in your own journey to accepting yourself as a witch?
Hamad: Honestly, I would have to say I faced no issues accepting myself as a witch. The one time that something did cause me to pause a moment to re-evaluate was getting into Tarot. I was taught that it was a sin to try to predict the future. But after learning that it is just showing you a reflection of what you already know to be true, and there was no foreseeing into the future, I finally started practising it.
You mentioned that being a witch is still illegal in your country. Have you been able to be open about your spiritual practices with anyone else in your local community?
Hamad: A lot of practices that I do, such as reiki, meditation and using crystals have started to become a lot more mainstream, especially with the emergence of social media, where now we have people in the region famous for such things. It makes me seem less like a witch and more like a hipster. So I never really have the need to explain my practices because they are becoming the latest fads and trends. Everyone is starting to wear rose quartz and black onyxes.
Did you tell anyone? And if so, what was the reaction? Have you encountered any discrimination?
Hamad: Usually, I would say it in a nonchalant way, just in case they might get angry or offended, then I would be able to pass it off as a joke. The one thing that does bother me when I say I’m a witch is people trying to correct me by saying I’m a wizard or a warlock and only girls can be witches. It is very infuriating.
With witchcraft being as taboo and hidden as it is in your country, how do you connect with others in the witchy community?
Hamad: I would love to be part of an all-male coven, especially with ones who share the same Arabian heritage like me, but the truth is, I get to be whatever type of witch I want, and what I do works for me, so I don’t really have the need to connect to other witches. I do follow some pages regarding witches, but that is more to do with showing support for other witches. Especially men, because I feel like we are significantly underrepresented.
What message would you give to other Muslim witches on their journey to integrate their faith and witchcraft?
Hamad: There is no one way to be a Muslim, just like there is no one way to be a witch. We all practice Islam and Witchcraft differently, according to our needs. As long as you are not into witchcraft for the wrong reasons, or performing black magic, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being both.
What would you like the rest of the world to know about Muslim witches? Is there anything we can do to help support others like you?
Hamad: A lot of Muslims might be witches but choose to identify as something else, whether it be Sufi, mystic, healer… the names are many, but in essence, we are all the same. We are grounded in love and nature, and karmic energy and all those things can be summed up in one word to us; Allah (Arabic for God). It would be nice to remind people that not all witches come from European heritage or Christian backgrounds. But I wouldn’t be bold enough to say we should feature more Muslim witches, because we could easily be arrested or worse.
Hamad has kindly shared his Instagram contact details in case any other witches of faith would like to reach out.
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