THIS REFERS to the case of Mona Affendy and black magic, which were recently reported in the Malay press.

What is surprising about the whole issue is the amount of attention, bordering close to cult admiration that has descended upon Mona Affendy.

Hardly a day went by without some kind of expose about Mona; the latest being that Mona has escaped and has been spotted at the cinema.

The sensation and the intense interest in this case merely shows that there is a demand for black magic in this country. Otherwise this tragic Mona affair would not have occurred.

But how many other bodies remain undiscovered?

Every year in this country over 10,000 children alone go missing.
Many of these are runaways but a sizeable number are children under seven years of age.

Do three-year-olds and four-year-olds run away from home?
In traditional societies "black magic" was patronised and often was the preserve of kings and rulers.

In our part of the world, such beliefs are still prevalent.
However all these supposedly mystical powers have not saved these parts of' the world from being pillaged by the colonial powers.

Black magic and sorcery were no match against a handful of iron disciplined colonals wielding a little gunpowder and a lot of scheming.
Not a single bullet was deflected nor any Pangkor-type "treaties" undone.
Quite obviously, the "mystical" powers do not work.

This is not anything new as over 1,400 years ago the Prophet revealed to us:
O People here is an example for you to ponder. The idiots that you set up besides God can never create a fly, even if they all banded together. Furthermore if the, fly steals anything from them, they cannot even recover it. Weak is the seeker and also that which is sought after
(Sura - 22:73)

Therefore, other than God, all the "power" in the world cannot even create a fly or even recover what is stole by a fly.
It is a real tragedy that many of us today believe in the exact opposite.

We believe that humans can control spirits, toyols, jinns, etc, to make money, exorcise plain water, achieve evil ends, etc.

But, in truth, black magic cannot even squash a fly.
Black Magic, however, is not restricted to any one part of the world alone.

Just a few centuries ago in Europe sorcery was a way of everyday life.
Much energy and effort was spent on sorcery and many elaborate treatises and books were written about black magic.

When John Maynard Keynes, the economist, was given the "honour" of opening a chest belonging to Sir Isaac Newton, the great English scientist and mathematician, the main items that Keynes found were a human skull and some bones.

Isaac Newton was, perhaps, a magician. However, when Europeans ran into the Arabs and Islam.

Not only did they lose to the Muslims in the battlefield, but they also found the Muslims having a new fangled thing called science and technology - Alchemy (Al Kimia), Algebra (Al Jawahir) and Philosophy (Filasuf). Medicine and surgery were sciences soon introduced into Europe by the muslims.

Very quickly the Europeans learnt that science and technology provided tangible and successful results. Sorcery started to manifest its fallacy.
The Europeans realised their mistake. They first tried to convince their people about the futility of black magic, but the sorcerers and their sorcery were too firmly entrenched.

Since more drastic action was required, they started burning witches and sorcerers alive at the stake. Why is there such a demand for black magic.

Simply because people are falsely led to believe that black magic can help them. Consequently they have a deep fear of black magic.

On the subject of awe and seeking help, the Prophet revealed to us the following:
Thee (God) ALONE we worship and Thine aid (God's) ALONE we seek (Sura 1:5).

This is the fifth verse of the famous Sura A1 Faitha, which is recited by Muslims up to 17, times a day in their five daily prayers. For a Muslim, the sole source of worship and help is God alone.

To fear anything other than God or to seek help from black magic, spirits, genies or other beings and this is nothing but idol worship or associating with things other than God.

These people turn away from God, the Prophet told us:
How could they idolise idols that create nothing and are themselves created (Sura 7:191).

Therefore, for those who wish to be known as Muslims, the idea that we can resort to things like black magic and sorcery to call upon spirits, genies and beings to be of some use is totally false.
And for those of us who may still fear black magic and its "powers" the Prophet again was commanded to ask:
Do they have legs with which they walk, do they have hands with which they strike, do they have eyes with which they see, do they have ears with which they hear? Say Call upon your idols to destroy me now, immediately (Sura 7:195).
My only master is God, the one God who revealed this scripture. He protects the righteous (Sura 7:196).
While the idols you set up besides Him cannot protect you or even protect themselves (Sura 7:19-7).

Therefore belief in "magical" powers or sources of help from other than God is futile.

The fact that at the threshold of the 21st century, many Muslims are still mesmerised by black magic and sorcery represents a great failure of the Muslim intelligentsia, and also of the political, social and cultural leadership.

But, most of all, it represents and abject failure of religious teachers who should be the instruments of progress and modernisation.

Quite contrary to what their real role should be, some religious teachers themselves are practitioners of one or other forms of black magic or sorcery.

Most of them claim to use it for "good" purposes like curing illnesses.
But what this also means is that their belief that sorcery really works is already a foregone conclusion.

However, despite this belief in using black magic to cure illness, the viability of modern medicine, medical doctors and of hospitals has definitely not decreased.

In fact the opposite is true. More and more hospitals are urgently needed. This by itself is proof enough that the use of black magic to cure ailments is a futile exercise.

Of course, in saying this we cannot denigrate traditional medicine like homeopathy, herbal cures and massages which have their own merits. Practitioners of black magic will not agree because whether it works or not the practice of black magic serves another purpose in that its practitioners are held in much awe and enjoy a high degree of status.

Not only have we seen this quite clearly in the Mona Affendy case, but here are also some religious teachers who have become "legends" because they cultivate "jinns" (genies) which supposedly help them perform astounding feats.

The Prophet has revealed to us that the ability to communicate with spirits and beings is a special gift bestowed by none other than God Himself on highly selected individuals.

In the Quran, Solomon who is no less than Messenger of God is recorded as having the ability to converse and control jinns (Quran 34:12-13).
However, the Prophet himself was never given this ability. Quite instead, the Prophet's inability to even see spirits and other beings is recorded in the following verse:
The devil and his tribe can see you, while you cannot see them... (Sura 7:27).

Therefore, since ordinary mortals cannot even see spirits they definitely cannot train spirits to perform for them like circus animals.
For those who may still insist on practising or believing in sorcery (however good or bad their intentions) the Prophet brought the following:
"...and they will know that anyone who practises sorcery will have no share in the hereafter (Sura 2:102)

Anyone Muslim who indulges in black magic cannot therefore claim to be a follower of the Prophet. He is irrevocably lost.

Muslims should be aware of this.