Dr. Larson opens the door on the Spirit World of Islam by sharing stories and beliefs of folk Islam.


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Here starts the auto-generated transcription of The Spirit World of Islam:



In Pakistan, the country erupted. The American embassy was burned. Several reading rooms in different large cities were destroyed, and, our home was attacked by some students who got out of control. It was we were under military, martial law at that time, and then it was dismissed. And then a fraction, a group of them came and decided, Oh, we’ve got foreigners living here.


And they came to our house and burned our vehicles out in the yard and broke into the house and we were in a back bedroom. And, then the men finally thought, well, they’re going to get us. So, the men went out and, yeah. Then when the men went out, some of them ran and then some of them grabbed the other guys, were taking them off to the mosque. And finally the police came.


And when the police came, it sort of all calmed down. The police took several of the students and put them in jail. Yeah. So then, Warren and the other fellas, they went to the police and said, please let the kids go. We don’t know that you’ve got even the right people.


You’re just holding young kids in jail, college students, and, they said, we can’t do anything about this because it’s come from, Islamabad, the headquarters. And, but anyway, they said to them, we forgive them. We don’t have any grudges against these kids and just please let them go. And then, several days later, when eventually they were released, then people from the city came over to thank us. And a lot of them said, some said at that time that we see a difference between you and us.


As Christians, you forgive your enemies and those who do you harm, whereas we don’t. Once again, Muslim terrorists. A terrorist. Lot of innocent people. Extremist is not irrelevant.


It is a warning. Welcome to the truth about Muslims podcast. The official podcast of the Swimmer Center For Muslim Studies, where we help to educate you beyond the media. Here are your hosts, Howard and Trevor. Alright.


We have doctor Warren Larson in the studio today. Doctor Larson is the, former director of the Zwemer Center For Muslim Studies and was the, instrumental in bringing it to Columbia International University. So, doctor Larson, great to have you here. Thank you. And, the topic today, is the spirit world of Islam, really the spirit world of Muslims.


When we think about, Muslims, it seems that we can create sort of the whole belief system around orthodoxy. But from what I’ve known from you over the years is that sort of the meat and potatoes of the religion, can sometimes be much more spiritual and unorthodox rather than just sort of straight from the Quran. Does that seem fair? Yeah. It it it a good word for it would rather than be spirit world, it’s almost like the spiritual world because that’s the worldview.


In other words, they’re living in that in that world, and it’s a spiritual world view, involving spirits and fear and and dreams and curses and evil eye and stuff like that. So it’s it’s it’s a whole world view. Is this all in the Quran, or is this something that’s complete sign kinda separate, like the superstitious part? Or I don’t know how even how to phrase it, but yeah. Yeah.


I mean, it’s a good question. I, I’ve just, taught this course. I’ve just gone through it for the online course, and I was holding my Quran in the hand, in a hand when I was talking. And I did it for effect, but also kept finding verses in the Quran that are foundational to focus on Islam. In other words, the world view of the spirits, the, fear of the evil eye, the fact that you can only get healing through some magic in some cases.


So in other words, the in the time of Mohammed in 7th century, that was basically the worldview, and it didn’t Mohammed didn’t leave it behind. Muslims have, they brought it right with them into Islam. So it’s there. So you spent 23 years, living and working in in Pakistan. Is there what was your first encounter where you realized that the daily life of Muslims was much more spiritually, connected than maybe you as a Westerner were expecting?


Yes. Well, I had the, in some ways, the disadvantage of knowing very little about Islam. We when when I went out with my wife, in 1968, I was a very young man, 24 years old, knew nothing about Islam, coming from Northern Canada. Had never met a Muslim because there weren’t any there from that part of the world. And so I had never taken a course on Islam.


And so when I got to Pakistan, I knew nothing, and I knew I knew nothing. And, the advantage, I guess, was that I was willing to learn. And the first thing that struck me about it was that I saw these shrines. The country is daunted with with shrines all over the place. You can drive down the road and you see these shrines which is cemetery and, flags and and things.


There’s a tomb there of a saint. And you drive down the road and you see these shrines, and it just hits you right in the face. Oh, could you describe them a little bit more? Like, were they colorful or were they big? They were they varied.


You can get a simple shrine, but the the the the primary characteristic is a tomb. In other words, some saint has been buried there. And, the thing that catches your attention, I guess, are the flags, the bits of cloths that people have left. In other words, they’ve come. They’ve, primarily women, have come and they’ve given a prayer.


They have tied a piece of their clothing on as a reminder to the saint and, I guess a reminder to God that they’ve made this request. So they go to these shrines to make a request? They do. And the Okay. The saint is basically, an intermediary between God and man.


So you don’t go directly to God. You go to that saint who has some kind of spiritual power and you go there and you say, you know what? I don’t have a son or something like that. Something that’s very grievous, a great burden on the heart, particularly thinking of woman of a woman who hasn’t been able to have a son. She goes there and she makes this request with the hopes that through the through the saint, the the power of that saint, she’s going to find, be able to have a son.


So this is a woman that you you know that was pursuing sort of an answer to prayer through the connection with a saint. Well, I I know all kinds of women, but I can just give you an example, of a woman who actually worked for us. She was a young woman. Her name was, Barakat, which means blessing. It’s a very common word in the, in, in in Muslim and, you know, Muslim languages it means blessing.


It comes from Hebrew but, it’s Arabic and Urdu and all that. And this little girl couldn’t have a son. She had tried. She was married. She prayed for a son.


She wept for a son. She pleaded for a son. She never had a son. Finally, she went to the pier, to the saint. So she went there and she wanted a son.


Next year, what happened? She had a son. And she called him Pir Baksh. And Pir, of course, is the word for sate. And Pir, of course, is the word for saint.


And bahxis means given, so the translation of that would be given by the saint. And so she just went to the saint every day? Or No. The way it works is that these saints are a dime a dozen. There’s all kinds of saints.


And so, the one that she went to was about 20 miles from where we lived. And, every year during a special time of the year is what they call a a birthday, a birthday and a death day together. So the 4 4 days of the year is this, celebration when people go there and celebrate the birthday or the death day of the saint. Now I suppose you could go at another time, but I suspect that she went there at this what they call an, Urs, which is the birthday of the saint. She goes there.


She makes this request. And, you know, who who knows? I’m not to judge whether this actually happened, whether she relaxed and had a baby. We we don’t know. But she did have a son, and they called him Bir Baksh, given by the saint.


So on these birth death days, was it the belief that the the saints were more effective at that moment, more powerful at that moment? Or No. Does it just happen to be that time when they went? The the what I mean by birth death day, they they’re the same. They they they celebrate the, the birthday and the death day at one time that this saint was born and he died.


And the thing of it is is that, even if the saint has died, there is a descendant. In other words, because it’s through a line. In other words, from from 1 from father to son and all the way down. You trace your your lineage back, and it goes all the way back to Muhammad. So that’s what I mean by birthday, death date.


That’s when they remember this saint. So you mentioned earlier, this idea of the evil eye. The spirit world and the and the practices that are involved, it’s not always about just receiving blessings, isn’t it? It’s sometimes about protecting themselves or a family member from maybe the attacks of evil. So how how does that get worked out in these Muslim countries?


Yes. Exactly. In other words, Muslims are scared to death that somebody’s gonna put the evil eye on them, meaning that they will cause them harm. And the the the trouble is is you don’t know who might have this in air in innate power. It it could be a a neighbor, an older woman.


We won’t pick on older women but, you know, it’s a widow. Somebody has she’s basically helpless. She’s a widow. She doesn’t have anything to to to depend on. But if if she has that power, then people are gonna respect her.


They’re gonna be afraid of her. They’re going to try to avoid her, lest she you get on the outs with her. You might have a dispute with her. You might have an argument with her with her. There is a danger that she could come by.


She could put her evil eye on you, perhaps on your water buffalo, on your goat, or something like that, and so you will suffer harm. And so people live with this this fear that maybe somebody will put the evil eye on me. And if something bad has happened to me, has it happened to me because of this evil eye? Now you said they’re in fear. Are they like, you’re saying they walk around in fear, like that’s one of the things that’s in the back of their head always?


Well, I mean, if you don’t know somebody that that could harm you, so it’s going to cause fear. Yes. Yes. Yes. Exactly.


That’s traumatic. Yes. To walk around in that. Right. The worldview is, like I said, you know, curses, blessings, and all of this kind of stuff and and a whole lot of fear.


So that’s the way I think I could summarize it. Because if you don’t know what’s gonna happen or why it happened or if it could happen or should it happen, you know, fear of the future. So this is, there’s quite a bit of fear. Right. So what what do they do to defend themselves or to cope at least?


Well, they do, various and sundry things. They use amulets. They, amulets in which are written verses of the Quran. They use the hand of Fatima, which is, she was the daughter, one of the 4 daughters of, Muhammad. He never had any sons unfortunately.


But one of his daughters was named Fatima and she is known to be someone who can protect them. And you often in the Muslim world, you’ll see a hand. A black hand. And that hand is held up, you can see it on buses. You can see it on doorknobs.


You can see it on necklaces. And that hand is the hand of Fatima and is supposed to protect you from the evil eye. Now there are other things too, charms and amulets and so on, but the hand of Fatima is primarily a protective amulet against the evil eye. And so how did Fatima get this reputation? I’m not sure.


But, you know, when you’re Mohammed’s daughter, that stands for a lot. That means a lot. And, she just, she’s just a prominent person. She was the wife of Ali. We don’t wanna go into a whole lot of, historical stuff here, but Ali was the is the one that the Shiites, you know, really love and remember, and Fatima was his wife.


And so the the Shiites, I think a lot of Fatima, but, not only the Shiites. Fatima is a big name. It’s almost like sort of a Mary type of a, you know, people will venerate Mary. Well, Fatima is in a sense very much venerated for her ability, for her power, and people depend on on this. I know in the country that that we lived in, you didn’t ever wanna say anything nice about something.


Like, for instance, wow, that’s a beautiful house you have there. That’s a beautiful car. Oh, wow. What amazing children. You have just such wonderful children.


Right. Because it was seen as a potential of possibly bringing you a curse. Yes. Is this the same Is it carries throughout the Muslim world? This idea of cursing and It is.


Exactly. It it could be, an envy. In other words, if someone looks at that beautiful house that you’ve built and and is envious, then, that you could cause harm to that house or cause harm to the family. And so what they will often do on that house is they’ll somewhere in the foundation or perhaps somewhere in the house, they’ll write the word, God willed it. And so that phrase is used and overused again.


I mean, in in, formal Islam or or or Orthodox Islam, the word is a good one. God wills it. He has willed it. So but in spirit world of Islam, they use the thing as magic. In other words, this is a magical phrase that you would use.


God is And if you say it, as you you mentioned, if if, you know, you say this is a beautiful baby and it probably is, then you’re supposed to say, God willed it. So that would would if if you if you admire the baby, that’s okay, provided you say after that, Marcella, because by admiring the baby you could be envious and you could bring harm. I mean, how does the woman know? Do do how does anyone know that you don’t have envious, look, or in your eye or something like that? So afterwards you always say, Mahershal.


And believe it or not, believe it or not, the hadith says something about when you have physical relations with your wife, you’re supposed to say Bismillah, which is of course a little different than Ma’Shellah, but it’s a close thing because it’s Bismillah means in the name of God. And the reason why the you’re supposed to do it, you say Bismillah because it could be that the child possible to have a child because of the union would be a devil. So the show wouldn’t be possible without sponsors. And this week’s sponsors are Zwammer Center. Zwammer Center.


Zwammer Center. The Wammer Center. Zweimer Center. And what does the Zweimer Center do? Talks about Muslims and and tells them on the computer that we love you.


Very nice. The swimmer center equips the church to reach Muslims. The swimmer center has been educating people about reaching Muslims before it was cool. You see, this shows you really the extent to which, the feel in other words, the feeling of the spirit world and the power of Satan to harm everything and to, so, yeah, it’s just quite amazing to me to think about it that, you’re even supposed to say Bismillah. So in in your experience, when you meet, in Pakistan, when you meet with people, was this, like, a real sense where people actually believed it as a whole, or did you find that there were, like, a lot of people that were skeptical?


Like, I don’t believe that. That’s just what my mom believes or grandparents believed. Well, I mean, it it is basically the world view of ordinary Muslims. So ordinary Muslims makes up most of the Muslim world. You know, 70, 75 percent studies have been done statistically.


You’ve got 3 quarters of the Muslim world are into folk practices. Now it’s true that, education, Western education and there is a lot of Western education in the Muslim world. You have, you know, huge universities like University of Punjab in Lahore or University of Karachi. These are huge. They’ve got some Western influence and they’ve got some foreign teachers in there probably and there’s an appeal for Western education.


However, however, the world view is still there. Even I sometimes tell my students that even though a person like Bayn Azir Bhutto, who was twice prime minister of Pakistan, who who was educated in Oxford and Harvard, a beautiful woman who who who rose to that position. I read her book called Daughter of the East, and when she was up against when her back was against the wall when she was in trouble, the book says that she went to see her saint in the southern part of Pakistan. So in other words, it’s not just poor Muslims, but it’s also, rich people too who will often appeal to the saint and who are afraid. I mean, you’re you’re, you know, you’re asking a good question, about whether educated people or thinking people really question this.


I think a lot of people live by those fears that someone could put the curse on me. I mean, this is not just, illiterate women or or illiterate people that hold these views. Right. And and as a Western person, I imagine that if I ever heard and I have heard stories of where, someone had been, you know, had the evil eye put on them, and it it it actually affected them. It’s easy for me to just basically come up with excuses rationalizing why there’s a scientific explanation.


But in this case, have you ever heard of people that have actually been affected, and how do you explain that? Well, see, I wouldn’t try to explain it because, if your perception is that it’s going to harm you, and I think that’s the greatest harm that can be done, fear. In other words, I don’t know that I would ever be afraid. Personally, of course, I’m a Christian, So I I don’t know. I mean, I know the evil powers are there.


The evil spirits are there, and I do know that Satan is very active and Satan is very powerful. However, as for how efficient it is, I can’t say. All I can say is that the greatest harm that can be done to you is to be afraid and to be fearful. And and this goes for ordinary people. In other words, ordinary people, if they’re afraid and totally filled with craven fear that this is gonna happen to them, then they’re gonna be suspicious.


They’re gonna be suspicious of neighbors. They’re gonna suspicious of friends. It’s gonna affect relationships and all of those kind of things. So I would say that, apart from the physical harm that might come, the greatest thing is the matter of fear that it engenders or generates. Have you, or your wife ever been approached by a Muslim that had been felt had felt like something had cursed them?


Well, yes. That too, but even closer than that. My wife tells a story that she thought that somebody had put a curse on her. I remember when I was a little girl in Sunday school, there was a missionary story from Haiti. And in that story, there was a story about a witch doctor, and they had a voodoo doll.


And they would poke pins in the voodoo dolls, so it would put a curse on people. And where we lived in our city, we were just a few blocks from a lady who put curses on people and households and things. In fact, my very good friend, when her husband died, a few months after that, my friend went with her sister-in-law to this house. Her sister-in-law had was wanting the woman to do something. And just sitting there in the room, my friend, Aziz, said to this woman, have you ever put a curse on our family?


And the lady went absolutely quiet, and she said, well, have you? And I’m sure she said, yes, I did. But it didn’t work right. It killed your husband and it was supposed to kill you. And, since that woman lived in my neighborhood, there were several times when I would be in the house and I would literally have the feeling of a needle going into me.


And because I had that story as a child of the witch doctor and the voodoo doll, The Lord just brought into my mind immediately that there’s a voodoo doll of you. And I would just stop what I was doing, and I would speak out loud, and say, devil, get out of here. I am a child of the king. I am covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. I am his child.


You have no power over me. Go. And it would be over. So in the sense of the spirit world, the Muslims would argue that this is really the work of of Satan. They they also believe in the existence of Satan.


A lot of listeners might not even be aware that there’s a belief in Satan and there’s also a belief in demons, the jinn. Right. Right. So these jinn or or the demonic powers of Satan, they’re fairly active in the lives of Muslims so far as they think. Correct?


I mean, daily activity Yes. Going on. Yes. There is. There’s a lot of recognition of the jinn and evil spirits.


And the interesting thing about it is is that Muslims think that some of the jinn are okay. There are good jinn and bad jinn. And, for instance, the Quran, getting back to your question on the Quran. In the Quran, it says that at one point in the in the history of Mohammed when he was down really low and that point in his life would have been rejected in this city, this city of Mecca, he preached from the Quran. And he read, like, he recited the Quran.


And it says in the Quran that the jinn gathered around and they were quiet. In other words, they listened to it. So there are by by and large, they they think of jinn as harmful, but then on the other hand, some jinn are not too bad, they’re they’re not too malevolent, and so there is this, contradiction that is a bit strange. There’s different kind of gin and we could ask about which are the good and which are the bad. So so I have a Muslim friend that asked, I asked her.


I said, do do you believe in in jinn? And she said, Oh, of course not. And, I said, Really? And, she said, Yeah. She said, Do you believe in Jin?


I said, Well, I do believe there are demonic spirits. And she said, oh, me too. And so, so then she started to tell me a story and she said in her home, they, there was a djinn living in the home. Oh. And they were terrified of this thing.


Okay. And it would, in the middle of the night, make noises and go around almost like you would hear in the west of a ghost story. Really? So they, hired someone to come. I’m assuming appear, one of these saints to come and cleanse the house.


Oh. And so they came in with the Quran and they walked around the home and everybody else left and they told them not to come back until a certain time. And after they came back, the man was standing outside and they said they had cleansed the house. Right. And the djinn had agreed to stay in this one particular room in the home and not to open the door and to leave that room for that particular djinn.


And they said they lived for the next few years in that home, and they never went in that room. Wow. Yeah. Well, that’s very interesting. I mean, they they can’t deny it because one whole chapter in the Quran, it has 114 chapters in one whole chapter in the Quran.


72 is called Al Jin, the gin. So it’s chucked full of gin. Another thing is, I just keep coming back to this, question of the influence of, the spirit on the Quran. You know, the very 2 last two chapters of the Quran were given about the jinn because someone, according to the, the biographies, according to the hadith, put a curse on Mohammed. And Mohammed couldn’t work.


And then he had a dream. And in the dream, he hears 2 angels talking. And one angel says to the other, what’s wrong with this man? And the other angel says, somebody’s put a curse on him. So what he did was he went to the well, that his own well.


He emptied out the water and, he was given magic. Through magic, he got rid of these jinn. And then you had inspiration, what you call, for a surah 1 13, chapter 113 and 146 and verses in 1 and 7 verses the other. And for each of those verses, in other words, it was sort of a a prayer, and that’s how he got rid of this curse. In the news, you don’t see much about folk Islam or the spiritual world of Islam.


Is it something that, like, nobody brings up? Because on one level, it I mean, for me as a Western watcher of news, it sounds like Islam is very much akin to, like, Judaism or Christianity in the sense that, you know, we have God, but we don’t really talk about the super spiritual stuff. Right? Is this something that they they try to hide? Or it’s, maybe the Muslims in the West that just, you know, no longer ascribe to folk Islam?


What do you what Right. Because the Western world, we don’t allow for it. In other words, for one thing, we’re too scientific. We we deny basically, the existence of Satan or the devil, or we deny the evil spirits. We it’s like Trevor said a minute ago.


Our worldview really puts very little credibility to this whole worldview. You know, the best book I can think of is called the unseen face of Islam written by Bill Musk. A wonderful book, evangelical, Christian. I wrote this book, it is just a marvelous book. He calls it the unseen face of Islam because it’s something that’s hidden.


In other words, it’s not something that we talk about or even that Muslims talk about. But, I think it’s, Bill Musk who gives the illustration that it’s like an iceberg. You look at an iceberg and the top is what you see is like orthodox Islam. You see the 5 practices that that they do. They say their prayers.


They go on Hajj, the pilgrimage. They do all these kind of things. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Down below is really this whole realm of, of folk practices, popular Islam, the the real Islam of the of the ordinary Muslims. So that’s really, I think, true in the sense that that’s what people are thinking about.


That’s what their their worldview is. Now on our show, what we try to do is we try to encourage listeners to approach Muslims, talk to them, have relationship, start up questions. I think one of the things that might be now, maybe a hindrance, is that, they might have some concern, you know, about some of the things that you’ve been mentioning. Like, okay. If if they do believe that this this spiritual world exists like Christians do, right, then should I approach Muslims because of maybe I might be cursed or evil eyed.


If they weren’t afraid of terrorists, they might be they might be afraid of being cursed at this point. So, Oren, you gotta give us some kind of encouragement. Some kind of What do we what do we do now, as far as being able to the gospel obviously must speak to this stuff. Well, you know, I sometimes tell my students that, from my experience in Pakistan, the most precious verse that Muslims would run across, when they were doing Bible correspondence courses that we offered, Or talking to them if they were reading the the the New Testament on their own. The most precious verse that they could ever have read.


And they said this is Matthew 11 28 to 30. Come on to me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I’m meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest to your souls. That’s one illustration. But another one is, just recently reading John 5, where here is a man who has been, laid up for 38 years.


Okay? And he says when Jesus gives him healing, he says, you know what? I have tried. Tried what? He says, I’ve tried to get help.


He said, I’ve gone down. And just before I get there, somebody else steps in. You know, you think to yourself, these these folk Muslims, they are trying to cope with life. But oftentimes they can’t do it. And apart from the help of Jesus, of course, physically, Jesus can minister to them and we should pray for healing, but more than that, spiritual healing.


No. We don’t have to be afraid of put them putting a curse on us. I think, as we’ve mentioned before, we have the power of Christ. We have the, the power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t fear.


Alright. This week’s sponsors. CIU. CIU. CIU educates people from a bib Biblical.


Biblical world review World view. Real world review. CIU educates people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ. Muslims are often afraid of one another. I don’t think they’re afraid of us, and I don’t think we need to be afraid of them.


But, but I think that, we need to walk in the in the power of Christ, in the victory of Christ, and and witness boldly of of him. You know, when you think of it, Jesus is really, much more powerful than anyone that that they have ever trusted in. So, we have Christ and we preach Christ. I don’t know if that answers your question or not. It might not.


No. I think it does is that the gospel speaks to this, that Christ is powerful. He has control over wind and waves. He has control over the demons. The demons know who he is.


These are stories that while here in the West, they’re kind of you could preach on these stories, but I don’t know that they’re gonna connect with a lot of people because we don’t live a life where we’re thinking of demoniacs and we’re thinking of, you know, controlling wind and power and and being able to do all of these things and healings, maybe if from a Pentecostal tradition. But other than that, there’s not much of that discussion happening in the West. But those are the stories that in the Muslim world would probably have some of the greatest impact. Well, that’s true. I think we have to be open to miracles.


And that that said, I don’t think that it’s not just, a matter of miracles. Somebody has a miracle and then they’re gonna come to faith. I’m not saying that, but we have to be open to miracles and we also have to do more than pray for healing. What I mean by that is Jesus healed people, but it it wasn’t enough just to heal them. And he wanted them to fully embrace him as as Messiah and Lord.


And so that’s what we work for too, when we’re with Muslims. I mean, Muslims, you you can you can say to them, well, you know, Jesus is the only one that’s gonna help you in this case. He’s going to deliver you, and he’s he’s the one that can provide a husband for you or a wife for you or deliver you from this sin and on and on and on, but that’s not enough. I mean, it’s not enough for them to see Jesus as the great healer. They have to see him eventually as the only one, the only savior, and God incarnate, and and they have to come to that place.


Otherwise, it’s not enough. It’s not enough to even to have a miracle. You know, Muslims are having dreams, and a dream is good. But a dream is only the beginning. For instance, right now I’m praying for some Muslim friends of mine that they might find job, employment and on and on and on.


And it’s possible for that Muslim, to say well, that that’s all I need is Jesus, the miracle working Jesus. The truth is that what they need is Jesus the savior. Jesus to forgive my sins. Jesus, and I need to repent of my sins and believe on him as savior and lord. In other words, that’s that’s the point I was trying to make that, we’re not just talking about a miracle or or a dream or something like that.


It’s not just a need at the moment. Not just a full filling a felt need. Right? But I think here in the west too, there are some folk practices going on in Western evangelical churches. Some of the times when you hear in the ways in which people pray, it almost seems like there is an attempt to manipulate God or to get God to do something on your behalf.


And so we too have to be careful in the way in which we approach God. Yeah. I mean, you raise a good point because this, whatever you wanna call it, pagan belief or something, you know, it’s it’s really across the board in Hinduism and and and Islam and Buddhism and so on. Really, the basics are there. It’s really animism at its best, and that’s that’s really the world view.


And and it’s like you say that it’s in Christianity as well. But you will sometimes wonder about these folk Muslims. Are they trying to manipulate God or are they trying to keep Satan in place? It’s really both because they’re afraid of Satan. And on the other hand, they are trying in one sense to manipulate God, to get God to to do what they want, to God to protect them, God to fulfill their need.


God to give them what they want. God to give me the spouse. You know, there’s, there’s sorcery. They sometimes use in folk Muslims to, to put on a to capture what they call a woman. And there’s a special verse in the Quran that they would use.


Another verse they would use to bring peace. Another verse so you see, really, it’s it’s quite a thing. It’s it’s use of the Quran in various ways to get what you want because that’s really the the goal to to impenite God, sort of force God’s hand. About the woman, is it like you’re talking about like a love spell kind of thing? A love potion.


Howard has a wife. I don’t know why he wants to know this particular version. So Yeah. I think I I think as a matter of fact, it comes out of chapter 12, which is the story of Joseph. And you know that Joseph had this problem with the woman who tried to seduce him.


Right. And there’s a verse in there, and I think they take that verse, write it in in an amulet, and and a strong, what they call a practitioner, for whom you’d pay a lot of a lot of money, and who has a lot of power. And the purpose would be that you you want to, capture this woman. You see, you don’t have a wife or whatever. Maybe you you have a wife, but you want another one.


So you work some kind of magic to get control of her, and then you gain control and marry her. Okay. So I had a, a quick question that was kinda confusing me. Folk Islam or anything that’s folk to me sounds like the the the the side of that religion, right, that isn’t really mentioned in their in their holy books. It’s just kind of like a practice that the people just, you know, they they practice it.


You know, it’s it’s not really a a precedent anywhere else in in their holy books. But with Islam, it sounds like the folk Islam, the stuff that you’re talking about is in the Quran Right. In the Hadiths and some of the other stuff. So I’m just thinking, but if you have it in the Bible too, some of the things that we’re very uncomfortable with, I mean, the idea of holding up a snake and looking to it to be healed sounds quite folkish when we think about it as Westerners in the 21st century. And so, I mean, donkeys speaking and those types of things.


We just have to be, I don’t know. Yeah. That’s That’s my that’s sorry. That’s a good point. But but even the word folk is, you know, you sort of apologize for the use of some of these terms because they’re not so clear.


Right. Folk, the word folk is basically the word popular. This is what ordinary Muslims do. But I take your point, that the world view, the very foundation of Islam is very much mixed with animism. And it’s in there.


It’s not just something that, has been added on or adopted along the way that they’ve picked up from the from, Hindus or Pagan Christians or somebody. But it’s right there from the beginning, and, it is true. Matter of fact, Islam has rejected some of this stuff. It has tried its best, but but again, the it’s somewhat contradictory because it for instance, it speaks against magic. But then, in the other, hand on the other hand, it will say that, oh, by the way, the only way to get rid of jaundice is through magic or, the scorpion.


In other words, this is the it it it it speaks against it. It it condemns it but on the other hand, there are some things according to the hadith when you when you compare them to that it does, it does Prescribe it. It only describes it, but it says that you can use it, as long as you say god is 1. Another question I had. So as a Christian, when you’re dealing with animistic societies, oftentimes, it’s a power struggle.


From what I understand. I’ve obviously not dealt with animistic societies as a person. But, you know, like, where they have to see that that your god is is far more powerful than their god because, you know, it’s the you like, you talk about the animism. It’s all about fear, appeasing the god so that they can live in peace or do whatever. Right?


Do whatever they want. So do you find that with Muslims, that practice folk Islam, that we have to, you know, kind of follow that that same way. Yeah. Well, I mean go ahead. No.


I I’m thinking prophets of Baal, Elijah power encounter. I mean, we do have a biblical basis for some of this, sort of stuff happening. Precisely. Yes. In fact, I would say that every Muslim who comes to Christ is a power encounter because after all, the kingdom of this world, Satan himself is opposing it.


And God who is, the God of grace and mercy and love and the savior, he is actually, this is god’s kingdom coming in conflict with Satan’s kingdom. So every, in fact, every person that comes to faith, Satan is trying to hang on to them. And so this is in fact a power encounter. I think this is true. We talk about power encounters, truth encounters, all of those kind of things.


And Trevor has just mentioned 1st Kings 18 where Elijah runs into the, the problem of the Baals and, then he takes the bull by the horns. He ends up after it’s over, he kills off, 400 prophets of Baal and maybe did 450, I guess it is. Maybe killed off another 400 of Asheroth. And, then Elijah runs for Jezreel. He thinks it’s over, but then Jezebel is still hanging on and so that’s why, Elijah gives up, sort of go goes, you know, in despair.


But but let’s remember, I think I often think of that chapter, that whole story that God wins the end. He’s sovereign. And even though Elijah is depressed and discouraged in that power encounter but it it does show you too how persistent Satan is in his, his efforts to control. Now I I think that, there are all kinds of power encounters in the scripture, like even John 4, the Samaritan woman, and and people that Jesus spoke to. Some he healed.


Yes. There are the the scripture is full of power encounters that constantly Jesus is confronted with it, and we are as well. I think of 1 missionary. There’s a book called the Shadrach the Apostle of Java, and this is a a missionary from Uh-huh. The island of Java.


Right. And local missionary. And, one of his strategies was to purchase the field that the village in which he was trying to preach the gospel, they would always set aside Right. A field that was dedicated to the spirit world. Yeah.


And he would purchase that field and everybody would say, well, nothing will grow there. He’ll die. Anything that gets produced there will be cursed and he would produce that field and do it well through the what he wouldn’t say it was a power encounter, the power of God. He would grow his vegetables and show that the Right. The power of the Holy Spirit that indwelled him was greater than that Right.


Of the spirit of this world and that was one of the moments where villages would begin to turn their attention towards the gospel. Right. So Yeah. No. Yeah.


He had a tremendous, he had tremendous success with the gospel, that fellow. He did, some pretty strong contextualization, but, I mean, he did have, some good success with with Muslims. So, you know, just to kinda summarize all of this stuff. Right. So when you meet when you when our listeners meet with Muslims now.


Right, they’re gonna be, you’re you’re saying, like, even the fact that, their hearts are maybe even turning towards Christ is a a victory in a power encounter. Right. So what would you say to, our listeners as they as they’re trying to reach out to Muslims in their, in their neighborhood, in their schools, in their jobs? How would they approach it from the from what we’ve been talking about? Well, one thing is felt needs.


I mean, Muslims have felt needs. They have, desires. They want to do well in their business. They want they wanna succeed. They wanna get married.


They wanna see their kids pass an exam. The mother is praying that her son will pass the exam and and that they’ll find a, so I think the best thing we can do is that every chance we get, is that we pray for Muslims on the spot. We pray for them. We tell them we’re praying for them. And, we, we give give God the glory in every chance we we have, enter into their lives and their felt needs.


And, this in itself is a great witness because Jesus does answer prayer and Muslims know this. The fact is they know that, at least most Muslims are pretty appreciative of our prayers, and so that’s one thing we can do is pray for them. And you know that’s not very western in a sense to do that, but it’s it’s very important, I think, to pray at every opportunity and every chance and understand the felt needs of Muslims and and do our best to pray for them. Yeah. I think we have to keep in mind that the Muslims do have some understanding of Jesus being able to raise the dead.


Right. Right. Cleanse the leper, heal the sick, give sight to the blind. These are all things in which he does in the Quran. Right.


And so there’s already a context for the power of Christ. And so yeah. No. That’s true. That’s true.


It’s a very good thing. And we can build on that. We don’t getting back to something that was said before, I don’t think it’s a good idea to say to them or to think that my God is not the same as your God and so on like that. There is a great difference between God and the Quran and God and the Bible. But I think that some things that Muslims know about God are quite true.


That he is the creator. He is all powerful. He is merciful and so on. And so, I think we can build on that, build on what they know, because if you say to them that, my god is not the same as your god or my god is stronger than your god, I think you close doors, to them. And so I would say try to build on what they know, what they know about God, and what they know about Jesus and things like that, and hopefully they will be able and willing to learn more.


I mean, it isn’t easy. It is a power encounter really, of the strongest nature for a Muslim to come to faith, not just, because of the opposition of Satan, but the fact that Satan uses family, social pressures, apart from the theological stuff. The social pressures that would try to keep that Muslim from ever coming to Christ are tremendous. And and that is very important to keep in mind when you talk to Muslims. Alright.


So this show wouldn’t be possible without sponsors. And at this point in the show is where if you wanna partner with us, we would put your ad. So if you wanna be a part of the show, you wanna partner with us, you like what we’re doing, you wanna be on our team, what have you, bringing this show to the world, then email us and let us know. I think of a very vivid story. One person, where we, actually worked with a person.


They this family was very close to us. We knew them well. They came to us one day. They’re Muslims, both of them. And they said, you know what?


We’ve had to move out of our house. We can’t stand it anymore because there is a pressure in that house. And when at night, we go to bed, there is this, almost like a a being lays on top of us and weighs us down and burdens us. And it’s not just us. It’s the children too who feel us.


And so we’ve moved out of that house. Can you help us? So, we went over there. I went over there and my wife Carol went and we took some other fellas, who work with us, pastors, a couple of former Muslims, and we went into that house. And we sprinkled water in the corners, and we prayed in the name of Jesus.


We sang songs room by room within that house. We went through that as a symbol that the house was being cleansed. The family then moved back into that house and she told us, she said to us, that they never had any trouble after that at all. What about healings? Yes.


I think, if I look think back of it, we probably should have prayed more for healing, than we did, but we did see people healed. A woman had cancer. We prayed for her, and the family said that she was completely healed. It was a funny thing that when we went and prayed for her, I can remember that we weren’t in the mood for it. We were, you know, I don’t know whether Carol and I were, had some kind of an argument or something, but but I just remember that we didn’t feel like it.


We didn’t they asked us to come and pray for her, and we didn’t feel like it at all. We thought, you know, this isn’t gonna work. We’re not in the mood for praying. But we went there. We went to her bedside, and, you know, normally men aren’t allowed in a situation like that.


But here this girl was definitely sick and, at death’s door and something, so we prayed for her and the family said later, they came back to us and they said she’s healed. We didn’t expect it. I mean, it was a sort of an incident where she was healed. And then other times, it would seem like, you know, you would pray for healing and something, but and and it didn’t necessarily happen. But but but just to to make note of the fact that God is sovereign.


He heals when he, wants to, but we did see incidents of God’s healing and this was one of them. I was wondering if I could tell another story. Alright. It’s about my wife and it’s one that she, is embarrassed to tell. And it’s because there was a time when she was called to the bedside of a little girl.


We had a neighborhood girl who was, there was 5 or 6 kids in the family. 3 of them were deaf and dumb and they could be there all day playing with our boys, and, it was really no problem. I would write the names of everything in order to roll over the furniture and house, and then, so that they would learn that things had names. And their father was a school teacher, and he, they had made up their own sign language so they could communicate. And, one day the little girl, Shahzadhi, never came over, and she was several days without coming.


So I went out of the house to see what was wrong, you know, if there was some reason they weren’t allowing her to come or what it was. And she was very sick. And so I talked to a Pakistani doctor I knew, and they decided it was typhoid. So then every day, I bought the medicine, and every day I would go over there and see that the child was taking it properly, and sponge her off because they would always keep them wrapped up really warm instead of letting the fever, you know, cool the body down. And one time when I was in their home, the father was there and the older brothers were there, and so I was trying to be rather quiet because often it wasn’t Nick’s company, but they were there.


And I just felt God say to me, pray for them. Pray for Shaz Artis healing. Well, there are a lot of people standing around the bed including the father who is a teacher. And Carol thinks to herself, you know what? I can’t do it.


My Urdu is not good enough. You know, I don’t speak the language well well enough and I’m gonna make mistakes and this her father’s a teacher and I’m gonna be embarrassed and so she didn’t do it. And she felt afterwards terribly rebuked that she hadn’t prayed. Eventually the little girl got better but Carol said, you know, God wanted me to pray and I didn’t do it. I should’ve.


He’s forgiven me for it. But she said, when God wants you to pray for somebody, do it. Do it. You know, it’s true that we get embarrassed. One of my students right now is wanting to pray for people in Arabic but she’s feeling, you know, my Arabic isn’t good enough and I’m gonna be embarrassed.


And so I told her this story and it it’s true that we need to be bold in praying, even another language because it isn’t easy sometimes to to pray for people. But, but that was a lesson that Carol learned, I think early in our missionary life. It’s interesting that you say that story because the one encounter I had that was clearly a spirit world encounter. A friend of mine, young man, was throwing up blood. He was sick, constantly vomiting blood.


And he asked if I would come to his home one evening because there was going to be an imam that was gonna come and they were gonna have a special ceremony for his healing. Yeah. Yeah. And so I didn’t know what to do and so I just came. And sure enough, there’s, an imam like I had never seen.


He was quite a older guy, but had no sort of appearance of the other imams. Not special robes or anything, just almost like an old fisherman. And he was taking things and riding them in in davehi in Arabic, the local language, and putting them into a bowl and they were dissolving in the water. And then the the young man was to drink the water and I felt this overwhelming sense that I was to pray and rebuke the devil and proclaim the power of Christ. And I was so afraid, I began to shake and I thought I was maybe having a panic attack or something.


I just couldn’t say anything and I was terrified. What if I say the wrong thing? What if God doesn’t heal? What if they’re angry at me? What if I had I had all these doubts.


Mhmm. And so I said nothing. And I sat there quietly and I left the room Room. So discouraged and feeling like, man, what did I do? What did I do?


So I’m, yeah, I think that’s one of those times where you do, you look back and you say, when the Lord, gives you the opportunity, pray. Right. And when you fail and you forget and you don’t, accept the fact that the Lord has forgiven you and the next time Right. Pray. Yeah.


You have to walk in grace Yeah. And forgiveness. Yep. That’s true. That’s a good word.


Well, Warren, thanks so much for being with us. Yeah. Thank you. You bet. It was a pleasure.


All you listeners out there, remember to check us out on iTunes, to subscribe, please. We need more subscribers. And, of course, write reviews. They really, really help. And, make sure you guys are visiting the new website at zwemercenter.com.


That’s zwemercenter. I think you know how to spell that, not the British way, the western way. It’s wimmercenter.com.