A 16 year old boy from the Eastern Cape was allegedly sexually assaulted by a pastor in Butterworth, after his family sent him to live with the ‘faith healer’ between April to December last year following complaints about severe headaches.
The family said that they had hope that the healer would cure the boy. The 28 year old man, a revered ‘healer’ in the Smut Ngonyama informal settlement allegedly claimed to have a cure for the boy’s recurrent headaches. Instead he is alleged to have repeatedly raped the boy over an eight month period.
The man has since been arrested.
“Relatives identified that there was something wrong with the boy and upon asking him, he broke his silence and told them that while he was at the pastor’s place he was raped,” said SAPS representative, Jackson Manatha.
This has brought about the questions as to whether Muslims are being affected by similiar cases of ‘fake healers’.
Sheikh Muhammad West, Boorhaanol Islam Masjid in Long Market Street advised that spiritually healing within Islam rarely, if ever involved staying over at a ‘healer’.
“From my experience most spiritual healing can be done when you have a healer that visits you, but again if you have no idea with regards to spiritual healing it is very easy for you to be taken advantage of,” he said.
Most times something as simple as a headache may not be the cause of spiritual interference from unseen entities.
“When someone comes to me with a problem my first port of call would be to rule out any medical concern. If there is a pain, go to the doctor and do your scans. However, if after all medical reasons are exhausted and if they are signs that can’t be explained then we can look into spiritual issues,” West emphasised.
He further added that when it came to spiritual remedies it was something all Muslim need be doing in their daily lives.
“Spiritual healing is very simple, it is very much from the quraan and sunnah. Even in very extreme cases like exorcisms it does not require any funny procedure. There are tell-tale signs which, for me, when I see them which leads me to understand that there is something more than just a medical problem here.”
West said the biggest danger in the field were false healers, because they were the ones doing the biggest harm.
“You may go to someone and think this man is a pious man and you do whatever he asks you to meanwhile he is the catalyst that is ruining your life. The most important thing for you to do is to become familiar with this field. It is not something you should be scared about. There are a number of excellent lectures.”
West also suggested we be aware of a few tell-tale signs of fake healers.
“If someone asks you for the name of your mother or to give them some item of clothing or hair you should ask yourself why would he need these things? Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not need these things when performing exorcisms,” he noted.
He also warned that if someone claimed to have knowledge of the unknown then it was likely they were not a proper spiritual healer. VOC (Najma Bibi Noor Mahomed)