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.

nash this is so strange and it seems stranger that ppl in oman believe that ...did u believe that 2 ???
hey nash,

Mughayyab sounds similar to an idea posited in our culture. The psychiatrists call it the five stages of dying. You may have heard of this.
First you have denial, then comes anger, third is barganing, after that you have grief, and finally acceptance.
The idea is that you will see each of these things during the death or mourning process, not in any particular order.
I can see a similarity in the concept of Mughayyab( a denial of the reality of death) and the stages of dying.
Of course I could have totally misunderstood your point and could just be an idiot. You decide.
Thank you for this, I love learning.
I am thinking the family members have got to be so brave for not being scared to see someone come back from the dead. I would certainly be scared to see someone come back alive. We have certain stories similar to this in Pakistan, where people in villages claim to see ghosts or undead spirits. This post has certainly been an interesting one to read.

Intresting Study ..

as much as I found Mghayab stroy extraorionary and not true, but its very well beleived in the Omani society .. People would tell you stories that would make you beleive they do exist ..

I really dont know, but magic and whitch craft is really a scary area that I dont understand at all and I dont think I would ever do!!
No way, I dont believe in Mughayyab, but I know people who really do.

Interesting observation, as I said, its quite an old belief, which must have stem from certain events linked in the past, but yea, I can see the similarities.

sometimes it could be just an illusion, the dead person will appear to be around somewhere, especially if that person is so dear.

arabian princess:
whenever I come to oman, i hear a lot of these stories, maybe some a are told just to scare people, nothing serious.

Talking about magic, witchcraft or sorcery, i can suggest a good book titled: "As'9arim AlBattaar", by a Saudi author. It covers the origins of magic, plus a lot of first hand cases on possession, Jinns, etc. After reading this book, I got a real good understanding of the unknown world. A word of caution (to anyone attempting to read): Do not read it late at night, especially if you are light hearted and alone :)
Nash, I think you might be intrested in this blog ..
Rhodiola Rosea is the latest natural remedy to join the arsenal of natural anxiety and stress (dealing with stress) reducers.

Rhodiola Rosea, also known as Golden Root, is a native plant of arctic Siberia. For centuries it has been used by eastern European and Asian cultures for physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, resistance to high altitude sickness, and to treat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections, and nervous system disorders.

The first recorded medicinal applications of rodia riza (renamed Rhodiola Rosea) was made by the Greek physician, Dioscorides, in 77 C.E. in 'De Materia Medica'. Rhodiola Rosea has been included in official Russian medicine since 1969.

Despite its long history, the Western world has only recently become aware of the health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea. It has come to the attention of many natural health practitioners because of studies which tested its affects on combating anxiety and stress.

Rhodiola Rosea is considered an adaptogen. This means it has an overall stabilizing effect on the body without disrupting other functions. Its ability to normalize hormones may be effective for treating depression and anxiety.

Studies of Rhodiola Rosea show that it stimulates neurotransmitters and enhances their effects on the brain. This includes the ability for the brain to process serotonin which helps the body to adapt to stress.

Since adaptogens improve the body's overall ability to handle stress, it has been studied to identify it's effects on biological, chemical and physical stress.

A study was performed to test the effects of Rhodiola Rosea when stress or dealing with stress is caused by intense mental work (such as final exams). Such tests concluded that using Rhodiola Rosea improved the amount and quality of work, increasing mental clarity and reducing the effects of fatigue.

The effects of Rhodiola Rosea have also been tested on stress and anxiety from both physical and emotional sources. A report by the American Botanical Council states that "Most users find that it improves their mood, energy level, and mental clarity." They also report on a study that indicated Rhodiola Rosea could increase stress tolerance while at the same time protecting the brain and heart from the physical affects of stress.

This report included details of studies which highlight the overall health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea.

The generally recommended dose is 200-600mg/day. The active properties should be a minimum 0.8 percent salidroside and 3 percent rosavin.

It is important for consumers to know that Rhodiola may be sold using other species that do not share the properties of Rhodiola Rosea, dealing with stress, or at ineffective strengths for treatment. Anyone with depression or anxiety should also check with a health professional when treating these symptoms.

dealing with stress
It’s 11:00 in the morning and your energy is waning. Minutes seem to tick by like hours and your mind feels foggy. You’ve still got six more hours to look alert and act productive and get over test anxiety, so how do you cope with the afternoon blahs? Follow these six tips!

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5. Drowsiness is often a sign that you’re not getting enough water. Drinking more water throughout the day not only helps keep you awake, but also keeps you from feeling those hunger pangs that inevitably creep up in mid-morning. Taking a large sports bottle that you can drink from throughout the day is a great way to get your recommended eight glasses a day as well!

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If you follow these tips on a regular basis, you’ll not only make it through the afternoon blahs, but you’ll also feel better physically and mentally, sleep better at night, and wake up rejuvenated and re-energized the next morning. Make it a GREAT day! test anxiety
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Cool blog, interesting information... Keep it UP » »
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