دكتورة عفاف الحاج عثمان (طبيبة استشارية بالمملكة المتحدة) تكتب “العين الشيطانية” .. تقديم د. عبدالمنعم عبدالمحمود العربي
1 December, 2023
إنني أصدق القول عندما أقدمها بنجم متميز على كل النجوم. فعندما كانت طالبة بجامعة الخرطوم حازت على جائزة كيتشنر، وأثناء عملها هنا كسودانية وبريطانية الجنسية لم تنس واجبها تجاه الوطن الغالي. رغم مهام عملها الجسام نجدها تشارك بقوة في المؤتمرات والندوات التي تنظمها الجمعية الطبية والندوات الفكرية والثقافية والاجتماعية التي تهتم بقضايا الوطن. أيضا لها باع طويل في عمل الخير ، فكم قد تكفلت وتتكفل برعاية الأيتام والفقراء والمحتاجين ونشهد لها كم من طلاب ذوي شوكة قد كفلتهم حتى تخرجوا من الجامعات . لا أريد الإطالة أكثر في عوالم تصدقها وهي تعمل بصمت لله فقط وليس للسمعة أو الجاه، فالذي يهمني الآن هو تفتح عبقريتها للكتابة القصصية التي أرى من خلالها أنها تنقل في سرد ميسور شيق ولطيف ما لا يعرفه الغربيون عن خصوصية عاداتنا وتقاليدنا المتوارثة منذ قديم العصور النوبية. دكتورة عفاف وقد بدأت الآن تؤلف أشجعها على الإستمرار وكما قالها مرة في مقابلة تلفزيونية الشاعر الشاب الصاعد محمد عبدالباري أن ملكات الشعر والكتابة قد تولد في أي مرحلة من عمر الإنسان لا فرق إن كانت متأخرة وقد حدث له ذلك كما قال. عفاف تكتب بالإنجليزية وأترك لك عزيزي القارئ السياحة مع الكاتبة وهي تنقلنا من عالم كآبتنا الماثلة إلى مؤانسة مريحة وهاضمة في برندات بيوت وحارات وطن كلنا نحبه ، أسأل الله أن يجمع شمله وعزته وتماسكه من جديد
The Evil Eye (1)
By Dr Afaf Alhag Osman
The Evil Eye is a fairly consistent and uniform folk belief complex based upon the idea that individual, male or female, has the power, voluntarily or involuntarily, to cause harm to another individual or his possession merely by looking at or praising that person or belongings.
This belief has a very strong presence in Nubian culture and Nubian art through creating devices (mostly artistic) to deflect the evil forces.
Deflecting evil is well recognised in Religion, traditional or orthodox.
The last two chapters in the Quran are dedicated to averting the harm of envy and the evil spirit.
The targets of the evil eye of envy include far and foremost, amongst many, Youth, Wealth, Heath, success and good looks.There are several ways to avoid, lessen or disperse of the harmful effects. These include:
-Religious: certain prayers and Quran verses. Praising the Lord and the Prophet.
Seeking the blessings of a Sufi/devoted religious figure
-Traditional: burning of frankincense or other scented wood
⁃ Art: the blue glass eye, the palm figure, mural decorations in Nubian architecture. Amulets.
⁃ Certain acted e.g pretentious spitting three times to the left.
Masarra, whose name means joy and pleasure, should have practically carried the name of ‘Madarra’ meaning harm and detriment, lived in Omdurman at a very strategic location for the satisfaction of her two most notorious attributes: Nosiness and her evil eye.
Her red brick house, contrasting with most of the neighbourhood mud houses, stood at a corner on the main road stretching from the central market to the heights of Karari, some 20 kilometres away north of Omdurman.
One early morning on her way to Ashana’s, the donuts seller she met Nafisa carrying her new infant on one side of her body and an empty pot for the milk that she regularly obtains from Atalla, the milkman on a donkey cart.
Glancing the ‘evil eye’ approaching, Nafisa covered her child with the loose end of her robe/ Sudanese Sari.
“Salam, Nafisa, said Masarra. Is that your new child? I thought it was a sac of potatoes.
Nafisa later spent a long sleepless night toiling with her infant’s vomiting. With the Grace of the Almighty he made it.
Later on Masarra glanced ‘Ammouna’. (Look at this woman) she mumbled in envy, always glowing and dutifully observing her daily rituals of the sandal Sauna. See those legs almost a ripening Mango.
Now was it necessary for Haj Murgus to overspray the front of his shop today?
(Spraying water at the threshold of a shop is a habit for blessing the place and also to keep the dust at bay). Only to Ammouna’s misfortune who suffered a broken ankle.
Several women from the neighbourhood escorted the unfortunate to the central hospital.
Dr Omer was on call. He attended to Ammona.. Those looks would not escape Masarra’s bulldozing eyes. Is that Omer the doctor or Omer the actor?
After a long wait a nurse came along with the good news that Mr Dakeen has fixed the fracture as Dr Omer suffered a razor cut of his hand.
By the early evening the party of solidarity accompanied Ammouna home before dispersing to their respective destinations.
On her way back home Masarra could hear the voice of Hawwa, the famous traditional singer of the elite, piercing the quietness of the night.
(Why would Hawwa need a microphone at all ? She exclaimed! Her voice could easily reach Karari heights and resonate around all the city.
Next day on her usual errand to Ashana she could not wait to hear an account of the wedding of Sheikh Amin’s granddaughter, the bridal dance and above all her jewellery, being the the offspring of the wealthiest Goldsmith in the capital.
‘Oh dear, said Ashana. The party had to be called off as Hawwa was choked on a fish bone.
The Evil Eye (2)
“May the envious get a splint into his eye”.
A common folks prayer to punish those with an evil eye.
In a few days there will be a large women’s gathering part of the wedding preparation of (Nur), Khadija’s only daughter. The making of the bridal perfumes.
Various beauty remedies are home made from scratch out of plant based substances. The ingredients are mixed and treated in a traditional style passed on from one generation to the other originating from Nubian Heritage.
The rituals start with procuring the basic ingredients for which task different women are entrusted. These include body treatment remedies, oil perfumes and incense. The aim is a skin glow that is an essential requirement in the culture. A woman must always be glowing no matter what age, status or creed she is.
There is a certain alleyway in the intricate Omdurman market designated to perfumery. The ancient market boasts an orderly alignment of brick and mud built shops around a disorderly plethora of sheds and mobile vendors carts.
The perfumes section occupies the very centre of the place declaring itself from a good distance by the very familiar intoxicating heavenly smell.
Sandalwood is the king of the show with other Hishab and Acacia woods subordinating.
The seeds of of an aromatic berry (Mahlab), cloves and musk powder in addition to loads of Sorghum grains are the target. Not to forget the nail shaped oysters.
Mahlab is a basic staple for the most celebrated oil perfume that is made to last for many years, getting more intense and pungent with the passage of, same like the best wine.
Mission accomplished over a day or two. The squad return with their well chosen and expertly bargained precious shopping.
It is a cool semi cloudy day at the end of the rainy season. The earth still smells of the season of abundance.
It is an early start. Khadija is wide awake since the morning prayer with her sleepover company of sisters, cousins and neighbours. Tea is made with fresh goats milk and served with Zalabia (Homemade donnats made with passion not bought from Ashana).
That day is a “no-man world” because men usually disappear to rest somewhere else”.
The first comers announce themselves by a pounding of the semi ajar gate.
The very familiar voice of Um Abu (mother of Abdu) and her incessant praising of the prophet, accompanied by her pal Hajjah Asha. Both are Nigerian Fulani immigrants.
Um Abdu is a woman who could fit any age. Strong and straight with rod-like back perfectly balancing the load on her head and contrasting greatly with her bow legs.
Haha Asha is the jolly and frivolous of the two. Often singing and dancing wobbling her made to wobble figure to the entertainment of all especially the children.
The couple are entrusted with the job of pounding the hard ingredients to powder in the wooden huge mortar using thick sticks which they rhythmically carry in well planned intervals.
The trickling in of guests continue throughout the day.
The women are carefully grouped each group carrying a carefully assigned task. The most arduous is that of meticulously cleaning the oysters off any remains of flesh.
Tuck-tong- Tuck the ponding started punctuated by the singing of Hajja Asha and her hilarious attempts at dancing.
Masarra arrived at midday among others wrapped in a light green robe embroidered at the fringes and greatly soaked in perfume. She made an impressive command of presence.
Frankincense fumed the air, intensified on Masarra’s entrance and compounded with Um Abu’s prayers gave the audience a sense of reassurance.
Masarra is moving around from one group of working women to the other marvelling at their work.
Her last stop was at the pounding duo. She bent to feel the beaten load of sandalwood greatly praising the quality and alas! A splint of sandal found a way into her eye.
Screaming with pain which no eyewash could alleviate she speeded to the hospital with some company.
Received by Dr Omer whom she could not see, her eye was treated.
The splint was removed and with it goes off all of the evil spell.