This narration by Abu’s Jinns deals with a woman who got kaala jaadu done on her daughter, only to have it backfire terribly.
Bilkees Khan’s Daughter
Beti, your ami often taunts me for having missed your first-ever steps. There’s nothing more prized to me than you, but if you hear today’s story, you’ll surely realize why it was so important for me to stay overseas.
Back in 1996, when aunty Jahanara used to live on the street opposite to us, there came a case for Jameel and me through her. Your uncle Jameel and I weren’t very close back then, but it was vital for him to accompany me on this trip because beti, the court doesn’t believe in the existence of jinns and the fact that I can see jinns, and that’s why Jameel was there, to make sure that I drew a fine line between religion and science.
Khair, we landed on the streets of New York at five in the morning. I had been to New York before, of course, but it was your uncle’s first time and he was astonished at how the women carried themselves. He thought that in Pakistan, if khule baal and Maghrib ka waqt got women possessed, shirts and shorts in the USA would surely make every female a target. I laughed. Uncle Jameel was naive back then.
A cab was waiting for us when we stepped out of the airport. Aunty Jahanara had told us a little about the case. From what we knew, a young girl named Laila had been performing uncanny acts ever since the beginning of that year, and the doctors had declared her mentally unfit to go out in public.
Her mother, Bilkees, Jahanara aunty’s cousin, threatened to kill herself if someone took away her daughter because she firmly believed that a jinn had nestled itself in Laila’s body. Back then, Jameel used to carry a gigantic recorder with him because he wanted to be able to ‘catch’ the proof. So, as soon as we were done with putting his equipment in the vehicle, Mrs. Khan’s rented driver drove us to their house. Mrs. Khan was a single parent. She had gotten separated years back and the whereabouts of her husband were not known. Laila had two younger sisters who peeked from the little holes in their old door as Mrs. Khan sat Jameel and me down on the living room rug.
‘I hope you don’t mind,’ she said, ‘I just got the chairs furnished.’
We shook our heads and waited for her to start the story.
‘Jaharana must have told you. I have no money, and yet I was working night shifts to keep my daughter at the hospital. She can’t be kept at home. But those chawal humans refuse to keep her there. They want my baby to go to a mental institution.’
Her voice broke, and Jameel passed her the cup of water placed on the wooden table.
‘No, that water isn’t pure.’
‘We understand what you must be going through,’ I said, ‘if you could please start from the beginning.’
‘I’m such a bad host, I didn’t even offer you anything to eat.’
‘No, it’s quite -’
‘Actually, there’s nothing in the refrigerator. But I can make instant noodles. I can – I can tell one of the girls -’
‘Please,’ Jameel cut in, ‘we don’t want to burden you. Just relax and tell us about Laila.’
Beti, the house was a mess. A mess, not in the sense that it had not been cleaned, but a mess in the sense that its aura had been altered.
By stepping inside a haunted house, or being remotely close to a jinn, my head starts to spin or I get a tingling feeling under my feet. At that time, I could feel a presence, of that I was sure, but I could also feel that the energies had been altered.
‘We call her Lily. She’s the eldest of my little flowers. She is going to turn nineteen next week, my Lily. The girls even thought of baking her a cake, but she’s become so nasty that she’ll create a mess which I’d have to clean up later.’
Jameel and I exchanged glances. The woman, Bilkees Khan, was either under immense pressure or she wasn’t opening up to us properly, and having majored in human behavior, I could bet on the latter.
‘A few months back, she came home and complained about a headache. The next day, it was a stomach ache and then before I knew it, the jinn had taken over her soul. I took her to many priests, but all of them told me that they couldn’t do anything about it and then, Lily started misbehaving. She would steal things and hit children and cut off her doll’s hair.’
‘She would be on her time of the month and she wouldn’t do anything about it, and she’d lick her dirty blood.’
‘Eight weeks back, she stabbed our cat Whisky with a fork and took the poor creature’s eye out. I got her admitted to the hospital because Carla, my neighbor’s daughter, works there as a nurse. But, last month, the hospital discharged her. Her room smells like pig’s meat, and whenever I pass by it, she sings songs of Oasis and all the other ajeeb artists, instead of offering her prayers.’
I excused myself from the room and asked Mrs. Khan if I could roam around the house for a bit. She insisted to come along, but I told her that I’d manage. The house, beti, felt odd. Do you ever get the gut feeling when you know that something is awfully wrong, but you just can’t figure it out? Beta, wesi hi feeling thi. I also hadn’t had many experiences back then, so I had the fear of failing. But I started reciting the Quran and went upstairs.
From the corner of my eye, I spotted one of the younger ones playing with her blocks. She was trying to build something. I knocked on the door and entered. She quickly hid behind a headless bear.
‘It’s okay,’ I said, ‘don’t be scared. I’m here to help Lily.’
I offered her a crushed mint from my back pocket that I had gotten on the plane. She quickly took it and started staring at me. It took me some time to realize that she wanted me to open it.
‘So,’ I said, handing her the mint candy, ‘what happened to your sister?’
‘Bhena is ill, mister,’ she answered, chewing the mint, ‘she tells me that she likes it this way.’
‘Oh, and what is your name, young lady?’
‘What a pretty name, MashAllah.’
Before I could ask Narmeen any more questions, Bilkees came in, and with a horrified look on her face, told me to leave the room immediately.
I agreed, of course, beti. Unka ghar, unki marzi. But, Jameel told me later that she had shaken Narmeen in a harsh manner and had made her throw out the candy.
‘I called you here because of Laila,’ she said in a monotone, ‘please do not invade the privacy of my house.’
‘It is important for Adnan Sahab to roam around and do the asking, ma’am. He doesn’t take orders -’
‘It’s alright,’ I interrupted, ‘I won’t intervene.’
I told Jameel that it was alright because I had felt a presence earlier, and if Ms. Balkees sent us away, we would be of no good.
We went to Laila Khan’s room. At that point, my stomach was grumbling, and though Mrs. Khan offered to make ‘paak’ coffee, I politely refused and began chewing on one of those plane candies.
Beta, the instant I entered the room, I did not see a girl sitting on the top of the cupboard. I saw a dark creature inside Laila, made of black smoke, with cracks on its face and little orange eyes, the shape of your sweater’s buttons. When it saw me, Laila’s eyes went upwards, and her tongue rolled out. I knew at once that it wanted me to be able to feel its power.
‘Oh demon,’ I said, ‘I just wish to talk. I will not compel you out of the body if we can just talk.’
‘Body body body body…’
‘Adnan Sahab,’ Jameel gulped, ‘I forgot my box of tasbeehs in the car -’
‘You just need faith, Jameel. Close the door and come stand next to me.’
Jameel uncle did come in and stood right next to me, but he didn’t close the door. He left it open in case later he decided to run out.
Laila just sat there, glued to the cupboard, and for the longest time, muttered whatever I said under her breath, without replying to anything.
I saw that her fingers were broken and that she had bitten on her nails in such a manner that the skin had been peeled off on the sides, resulting in pus around the tips. The entity possessing her seemed rather mischievous, because the moment it saw me staring at Laila’s fingers, it started sucking on the boils.
‘You like that don’t you, Adnan,’ it whispered.
I knew, beti, that what was inside her was demonic, but it was weak and I could sense it.
‘If you don’t talk,’ I said, ‘I will start my work.’
‘Work work work work…’
Beta, Jameel uncle, and I started reciting the Quran and verse by verse, Laila started pulling her hair and poking her fingers in her eyeballs till they started to bleed. I was forced to stop because I knew that it wasn’t an illusion and that Laila was actually hurting.
I had Mrs. Khan call a doctor and give Laila an injection to help put her to sleep. She didn’t fight it and once she’d dozed off, we bandaged her and left for the hotel. We decided to come back the next day before fajar. Beta, the detailed description of the exorcism is for another time, but here’s the interesting part.
Jameel and I were giving up hope, because overseas, in order to perform any sort of ritual, we needed permission as the consequences could have ended us up both in jail. So, silently, I would try to work my way into making the demon talk but in vain. It would either try to hurt Laila or it would leave her body for the time being and return afterward. On the fifth day, however, Allah listened to us. When I had Laila strapped to the bed and was questioning what was in her, Laila started weeping. There were sobs of a young woman and sobs of a demonic voice.
‘I don’t want it to leave,’ said the voice, ‘Whoever you are, please stop.’
Of course, I didn’t stop, beti. I knew these deceiving creatures very well. I knew that it was the demon speaking and not Laila, but I was wrong. For the first time in my life, I performed ruqya on a person who herself was fighting against me to keep the demonic entity attached to her. But, at the end of the day, the demon left, and the truth came out.
Beta, when we learned the truth, we were alarmed. Laila had been a ‘rebellious’ child, in the sense that she went against her ami, Mrs. Khan’s wishes, and went on to not cover her head, nag to be allowed to play football at school, and to keep meeting her angraiz friends. Mrs. Khan was an extreme woman who firmly believed that she needed to keep her children pure because they already had impure blood in them from their father.
When Laila had refused to listen, Mrs. Khan had gotten in touch with a religious group, and to teach her daughter a lesson, had paid them to do black magic and to send evil upon her child.
On learning her own mother’s intentions as told by the devil and knowing that her body, her life had already been destroyed, Laila wished not to live. Mrs. Khan had told everyone that she loved her beti so, and thus was upset about not sending her to an institution, whereas the doctor’s reports clearly stated that there was nothing wrong with Laila.
Beti, we worked on this case for half a year and till then, my child, you had learned to walk. The three daughters, not any less beautiful than you were sent to their grandparents’ house to live with their joint family, and Ms. Bilkees Khan was proven to be unfit to take care of the children. Moreover, beta, we did cure Laila but unfortunately, she never was the same bubbly child her sisters looked up to.
She’s still in therapy, I believe, because like they say, time heals wounds, not scars.
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