Nash Blog

Reflections on Nash, nothing serious to write.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Mughayyab - Helps coping with bereavement?

We live in a world full of unexplained mysteries. For example, no matter how much you know the person next to you, there will be things we cannot comprehend about that person.

If you live in Oman, the word mughayyab (walking dead, or zombie) will not be a new addition to your vocabulary. Previous studies on the subject has shown that mughayyab is an exaggerated form of denial of reality of the death. People believe that a mughayyab is a person by which a magician has cast a spell on him, appears dead, but is actually alive in a different form, thus making him a 'walking dead'. The family grieve for the deceased but at the same time believe he is out there somewhere and might return home.

In a movie 'The Serpent and the Rainbow' which was shot in Haiti, the stories are quite similar but take a different form. The magicians have a powerful poison which when administered to the individual that person will appear dead. They have another medicine to counter the poison and bring a person back to life. Now, after a person is buried, the magicians will go at night and dig him out of the grave, making him sniff the medicine and bring him back to life. Timing is quite important here, because the medicine will counter poison in speficied time only.

Two me, the second scenario looks more convincing, but what has led us believe in Mughayyab in the first place? Dr Samir Al-Adawi from SQU suggests that "... the Mughayyab belief or the denial of the reality of death in the Omani society may be mainly related to culture-specific stressors."

During Oman's shipping industries and sea faring adventures there were a number of tragedies where young lives were lost. Since there was no communication, there was no way of knowing the fate. Occasionally a survivor might return home to his family giving hope to others. This was perceived as mughyyab, a family member abducted by some sort of witchcraft and later escaped and returned home.

In its present form, the belief of mughyyab maybe tied with a sudden death. Thereby the grieving family live in a hope that their loved one might return home someday.

In a traditional Omani family, mughayyab must have brought some hope, helped in reducing stress, and facilitated in a long but painful transition of bereavement.

Dr Samir concludes that: ... mughayyab’s prolonged denial of death did (and does) have an adaptive function, and therefore, in a way, is beneficial.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Ramadhan Greetings, now scale away...

We are all eaxcited by the fact that Ramadhan is around the corner. For one thing, we get to setup time and devote ourselves to worshipping more than any time of the year. For those living in Oman, they get to enjoy the benefits of working half day and having more time to do other things. It is also the time where extended families get together more often. We get to prepare invitation lists for friends we havent seen since last year. We also get to prepare menu for the whole month, guaranteeing a variety of meals each day.

Now, all this is fine. But do we also look at other issues which we must be concerned during Ramadhan? Issues we may be too embarassed to discuss. Have you ever been so close to a person with bad breath, will you have the nerve to tell them their breath stinks, I know I won't.

When we are asleep, there is no circulation of saliva in the mouth, because of accumulation of bacteria, our breath smells bad. When there is no oral consumption of food or water, in some cases we do get bad smell. This happens a lot during Ramadhan. If you live in Islamic country, people may understand it and say, ok its only for 30 days. But what if you live in non-Islamic country, and you have to work close to your colleagues, what image are you going to project?

There are some people who believe that you should not use your toothbrush after noon time, because that will break the fast, in fact I know a LOT of people who believe that. I myself am not convinced with that belief. Our religion takes care of ALL aspects of our lives, there are a lot of hadiths concerning cleanliness, so I am sure oral hygiene is part of that.

Last year somebody asked a the very question to Mufti. The Mufti's answer was, there was no time limit for brushing your teeth, one of the reasons was we are allowed to make wudhuu for salat al Asr, and that involves gushing water. So if water is allowed, then brushing is also allowed.

A lot of people use the verse, which I cant remember now, which involved prophet Musa (AS) in this subject. Anyway, the Mufti gave a number of hadiths to support his view. frankly I can't remember much of the answer, I would appreciate if you dont take this article as a fatwa.

Having said all that, I must say first of all that I am not a scholar, so I may be entirely wrong on this whole issue. The reason I wrote it is to raise people's awareness, but please do your own homework and research on this issue.

I would be very happy if someone can come with a strong evidence to prove me wrong, or right.

Allhu Allam.

Friday, September 16, 2005


There she was, so young, so pretty, so innocent...

When a 19 year old MK left her parents' house, little did she know that she was stepping on her front door for the last time.

This is the story of a young girl who passed away last week which I will call MK. The events that triggered her death took place in Oman about three weeks ago.

MK was a young university student and a very devoted girl, her death sent shock waves to the whole community and it touched every living soul who heard about it. It is a fact that people die evey minute, but MK's death was something that affected her loved ones forever.

During 3zza of one of her family members, MK was asked to read du3. This was the third and last day of 3zza. After she completed, she said, I will now pronouce God's names and you (meaning the ladies around her) will say Jalla Jalal. She started reading, then all of a sudden there was a pause, people were looking at her, she threw away tasbee7 from her hand and cried out, "water! water!". Seconds later she collapsed, and was taken to the hopital. Other ladies decided to continue, the second lady started reading, all of a sudden, she stopped and felt part of her body paralysed.

MK spent 11 days in the hospital in a coma, she finally passed away. Now, if that was not enough to mystify people around her, there is more. She was taken from the hospital to a family house for burial preparations. While the ladies were preparing to wash her up, they felt her body to be warm, or maybe there was a slight warmth in her body. Everyone was again in a state of shock. This is not normal for a dead person. The ladies decided to wait, and called in the doctors. There were two doctors among family who both took a look at her. After a few hours she was taken for burial.

Some who went to the grave said they could smell misk fragrance from the grave. The other observation was that there was a total silence at the burial site, where normally people sit and chit-chat, there was no chit-chat on that day.

Let me tell you that this story is 100% accurate. I personally dont know the girl, but I do know her family members. I called one of the members who was sitting next to her, and she relayed the story to me. Not only that, I spoke to one other member, plus I received a personal email (not forwarded) detailing the events. The only thing that I could not confirm was the 'ree7at mist' from the grave, but everything else is 100% confirmed.

On one hand it is shocking to her family, my condolences to the whole family. On the other hand she is very lucky to have died in such a way, this is the death all Muslim pray for: 7usni al-'7tima7.

I thought of sharing this story with my friends who read this blog, remembering:

Fakam min sa7ee7 maata '7aira 3illa
wa kam min saqeemi 3aasha 7eenan mina aldahri

Wakam min fataa amsa wa asba7a dha7ikan
waqad nusijat akfaanuhu wa huwa laa yadri

Wakam min 3roosin zayyanooha lizwjiha
waqad qubidhat arwaa7uhum lailatu alqadri

- Iman Shafi3

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Conspriracy Theories

There are certain sources we always tend to believe when news is delivered to us. Conspiracy theories have been in our midst for as long as long as the human race started.

The death of Marylin Monroe is still shrouded with mysteries to this date. So is the death of John Kennedy, whose theorists believe he might have been killed by the CIA. I saw a ducomentry which 'proved' that there was no way Lee harvey Oswald could have fired two bullets from where he was standing. There are theories on the death of Diana, that her death is not an accident. These theories whether they are valid or not continue to fascinate us, and at times we like to believe them, the recent ones are Sep 11 did not really happen, Saddam was not caught, it was his replacement. My all time favorite conspiracy theory is on the moon landing. I am not talking about the one that says Neil Armstrong heard Athan when he landed on the moon. Its the the theory that say there no such thing as moon landing. No man has ever reached or landed on the moon. This is all a political game between America and Russia. A simple search on the internet will produce pages of claims and counter claims of moon landings.

Who comes up with these theories, how credible are they? Did man really land on the moon. Elvis has been spotted in bars in a number of occasions. 2Pac recently appeared on the scene. Could it be true? Do I really care? Or should I?

Thursday, September 08, 2005


History made

History has been made. I finally have a blog. I have no idea what to write, but at least I can comment on other people's blogs


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