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Shamanism; Explaining the ritual of Gilgit-Baltistan

The Gilgit-Baltistan is situated in the north of Pakistan. The culture of area fascinates the people across the globe.
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Shamanism part ii

 Is practice of shamanism un-Islamic or heresy “shirk”

(Reference:Shamanism and Islam in Indonesia (By Zakir Hussain, a Civil Servant from Gilgit Baltistan)

Copyright: this is an open access article)

هَلْ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ عَلَى مَنْ تَنَزَّلُ الشَّيَاطِينُ[221] تَنَزَّلُ عَلَى كُلِّ أَفَّاكٍ أَثِيمٍ[222] يُلْقُونَ السَّمْعَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمْ كَاذِبُونَ[223] وَالشُّعَرَاءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ الْغَاوُونَ[224] أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّهُمْ فِي كُلِّ وَادٍ يَهِيمُونَ[225] وَأَنَّهُمْ يَقُولُونَ مَا لَا يَفْعَلُونَ[226] إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَانْتَصَرُوا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا ظُلِمُوا وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنْقَلَبٍ يَنْقَلِبُونَ[227]

Believe and do righteous deeds and remember Allah much and resist after what they have wronged .

[Translation by Muhammad Abdul Salam bin Muhammad] :

Shall I tell you to whom the devils descend[221] It descends upon every sinful deceiver [222] They listen and most of them are liars[223] And the poets are followed by deceivers [224] Have you not seen that they wander in every valley[225] And that they say what they do not do [226] Except for those who believe and do righteous deeds and remember God much and vindicate after they have been wronged.[227]

       lbn-e- Kaseer interprets surah Toor Ayt no 29 ,about shaman that they get some Divine information from their friends jinni.The friend jinni further mix a lot of lies with little truth they find from angels to please their human friends.From this interpretation, it reveals that Quran does recognize the existence of shamans who are actually undergone in the influence of jinni.But at the same time, Quran bewares that prophet Muhammad SAWW is neither a poet nor a shaman as they idolators were attributing these traits to the holy prophet out of their own sheer ignorance of Prophethood .ln Surah Toor Allah SWT says,

فَذَکِّرۡ فَمَاۤ اَنۡتَ بِنِعۡمَتِ رَبِّکَ بِکَاہِنٍ وَّ لَا مَجۡنُوۡنٍ(29)

So remind [O Muhammad], for you are not, by the favor of your Lord, a soothsayer or a madman.

تو آپ سمجھاتے رہیں کیونکہ آپ اپنے رب کے فضل سے نہ تو کاہن ہیں نہ دیوانہ ۔

This is sequel of first article on the subject of Shamanism.ln this article l would shed light on concept of Shamanism vis -a -vis lslamic influence on shamanism and vice versa. Although the main theme is co-relation between the cult of Shamanism  and lslamic influence but the special reference has been made to shamanistic practices in the vogue in Javanese syncretic muslim communities of lndonesia as the purpose of this series of articles is to explore the influence of shamanism on various communities in the world.

Shamanism has a considerable influence in Indonesian society particularly on Java Island by syncretic Muslim communities; syncretic is one who is combining disparate elements in one system, especially as in forms of religious observance. for instance Robert w. Heinfer, in his treatise, “Hindu Javanese: Tengger Tradition and Islam, published by Princeton university press 1989,page 58 narrates: “ In Islamic villages below tengger,however ,more syncretic communities still celebrate annual village ritual festivals salmetan desa ,salmetan tuyo designed to give homage to the spirits of  the mountains and insure the flow of their waters.”

The reason for its deep roots in syncretic muslim communities or society is on account of religious imprint on the shamanistic practices. Basically the cult of Shamanism is traced back to pre-islamic history ,on advent of Islam their beliefs were syncronised with shamanistic beliefs.

An example of shamanistic influence on Islamic philosophy is the current shamanistic beliefs in Indonesian lsland Java.ln Indonesian language a Muslim clergy is called a kyai who has adopted shamanistic traditions into Islamic body of knowledge by using Qur’anic verses in his mantras. There is a considerable number of population which understands that the use of shamanism is not tantamount to heresy or idolatry or shirk .in support of shamanism they cite Qur’anic and Muslim scholars as references.

In Indonesian society people often resort to kyai cum-dukun (shaman) because they are reliable and affordable as compared to doctors.

“The Javanese Muslim community prefers to seek help for their problems from the kyai on the belief that they are more reliable in solving all problems, both the fathomable and mystical ones (Achidsti 2014:150).

In Indonesian society, shamanism is practised on three levels:

by santri (students at Pesantren [Islamic boarding schools in Indonesia] or in a wider sense observant Muslims), kyai (an honorific title for Muslim clergy), or abangan (Javanese syncretic Muslims).

The first two categories use Quranic verses and Arabic prayers in their mantras.The use of the Qur’an in the practice of shamanism provides the justification that this practice is not against Islamic teaching ,the argument impounded by kyais. On the other hand  the mere syncretic muslim communities called abengan do not use quaranic verses or Islamic references in their shamanistic practices.

Summing it up, there’s no denying the fact that jinni are creatures of God۔Some humans for unknown reasons go under the influence of these jinni.Then the jinni contract friendship with some humans through specific rituals resulting in the human turn into shamans.Islam categorically forbids to believe in shamanistic beliefs and ordains to stay away from shamanistic influence.To safeguard humanss from jinni and shamanistic humans revealed Surah Naas, the last surah of the holy Quran besides several others Quranic verses to fail the evil attenpts of jinni.

Reference:(Hyasim Muhammad 2021)

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