Viewpoints

Art of Healing

Published: Sunday June 26, 2011 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday August 22, 2013 MYT 7:10:02 PM

Bogus bomohs

Though there are genuine spiritual healers, beware the bogus ones who will fool their clients through trickery and deception.

TODAY, I would like to report on my experience with several bomohs (local traditional/spiritual healers). Due to my keen interest in spiritual healing, I have taken every opportunity to accompany friends or even patients who went to seek their services. Some of the genuine bomohs, upon knowing that I am a medical doctor, allowed me to observe their sessions more closely. However, when I suspect that the bomoh is bogus, I do not reveal that I am a doctor.

I have already written several articles on the psychic/faith/spiritual healers (see Psychic healers, Quranic healers, Healing by divine guidance, Extreme healers, in Fit4Life). Because I am a Muslim, most of the healers I have investigated are Muslim, but I have also witnessed many non-Muslim healers (and written about some of them, too).

Why I am again writing about the bomohs is because I would like to caution those going to them that not all of them are genuine, and that some of them have become too “commercial” and are in fact fleecing the gullible. The bomoh business is really thriving, with some of them openly advertising through tabloids and posters on building walls and lamp-posts.

Some of them see even several hundred “patients” a day!

The fact that there are so many bomohs (of all races/traditions) and many of them are so busy, would either mean that Malaysians are really sick (both physically and spiritually), or don’t trust conventional and other complementary therapies enough, or both.

There are of course the genuine ones (at least from my perception) who are also very busy. I had written about Tuan Guru Datuk Dr Haron Din, founder of Darussyifa, who is probably the most famous Muslim spiritual healer here. Due to the thousands of people who want to see him, it is quite difficult to get an appointment.

Since I wrote about Puan Lin in Kota Bharu, many readers have written to me for referral to her. Some have actually been to see her, and I am sure all must have been surprised with what came out of the eggs used for diagnosis. She sees hundreds of patients daily. One morning, I got a surprise call from an Australian lady who had flown to Kota Bharu (from Brisbane) looking for Puan Lin. She called to ask for directions.

Tuan Haji Lokman is another hardworking spiritual healer. Like Haron Din, he uses Quranic verses. After a local TV station aired a series on his work, his waiting list swelled to 5,000 patients, and you would have to wait three months for an appointment! That is despite him having assistants.

The mercenary bomohs

While there are many genuine bomohs and other spiritual healers, there are also those who are only after your money. These include the fake bomohs who do not have any spiritual powers, but manage to fool their clients through trickery and deception, ie they are good con artistes.

However, it will not take long to uncover these bogus ones because their greed and their sexual urges (most are men who will take advantage of their gullible clients) will expose their true nature.

The more dangerous ones are those who actually have the power, but through greed and bad intentions, opt to take advantage of their clients, financially and sexually. Because they have the knowledge and power, they can do many things that convince the clients (and even their families) that the treatment is real.

What the clients do not know is that often, these bomohs put more sickness or even command their own jinns (many unscrupulous bomohs ply their trade with the help of jinns who can help in healing, as well as causing illness and spiritual chaos) to inhabit the clients, so that the clients will need to continue seeking treatment indefinitely, become totally dependent on the bomoh, and of course, have to pay lots of money for the services and paraphernalia.

Recently, a friend’s family became a victim of one such bomoh. I hope by relating their experience, many more will be protected from the tricks of the bad bomohs.

Ahmad’s (not his real name) family had befriended a bomoh for several years, and he had helped them several times when there were “spiritual” disturbances in the home. They got so close that the bomoh (who is in his 40s) had even asked to marry one of the daughters. Unfortunately for him, she refused.

Then about a year ago, he “diagnosed” that three of the daughters had jinns in them, and needed treatment. That was the start of a nightmare. As all his treatment sessions (outwardly) involved reciting Quranic verses, supplications and zikr (chanting of the Beautiful Names of Allah), the family believed and trusted him. He even allowed the treatment sessions to be video-taped.

The main victim was of course the daughter that he was after. Many treatments were necessary, often starting late at night, and lasting till morning. At every session, the victim would be screaming, and jinns would speak through her.

The family was told they had to pay a total of RM50,000 in penance if they hoped for recovery. They also had to buy amulets and some other stuff supposedly to keep bad jinns away.

Yet, even after paying the money, and after months of treatment, the disturbances did not go away. The victim was so often possessed that the family was in chaos. And since he was “helping” them so much, the family felt indebted and followed all his instructions – including that they should not meet or speak to any close member of the family until the treatment is over (so that their jinns will not contaminate the family anymore).

So he had even managed to split the family.

And his main target had also succumbed. The victim, who had refused to marry him earlier, had now fallen for him, and even asked the parents to reward him with more money for his “help” and “sacrifices” for the family!

I did not like this bomoh the first time I met him, but even I did not suspect that he is such a crook. So when the “treatment” sessions were held, I gave excuses not to attend. Only when I heard that they had paid so much money and that the problem was getting worse did I do my own “checking”, with the help of my Sufi Shaykh.

The “embargoed” family members had also contacted me, and they had also done their own “checking”. The conclusions were all the same – Ahmad’s family had been conned and controlled by this bomoh whom they trusted so much, such that anything we say would be rejected in favour of the bomoh’s version of things.

Since some of the treatment sessions were taped, I asked to view them. That gave me a shock because no genuine Muslim spiritual healer would treat a female client the way he did. Unfortunately, they would not have listened if I had advised them then.

So, the rest of their family and I tried to help them through spiritual means without their knowing, and after some time, Ahmad decided to seek a “second opinion” (after over three months of almost incessant treatments and RM50,000 down the drain).

That was the beginning of a search for a genuine spiritual healer who is available without having to wait three months for an appointment.

Since there are several TV programs currently being aired featuring the bomohs at work (eg Expose Mistik), the family decided to seek the help of one of the famous TV bomohs.

What I saw was a shock. Since this Ustaz has become so famous, he has a team managing his services. Hundreds of people waited from early morning, and to cope with the numbers, six to 10 clients were treated simultaneously. Each client had only one to two minutes to tell his/her problem, and they were all treated together with Quranic verses.

The entire session lasted about 10 to 15 minutes, and the group was ushered out to the “prescription” counter.

While his services are marketed as “free”, every client was in for a surprise. Each of them had to buy four bottles of Zam Zam water (healing mineral water from the Zam Zam well located below the Kaabah in Mecca), plus several other things, which cost RM150 to RM250.

With a minimum of six people buying an average of RM200 worth of stuff every 10 to 15 minutes, this “free” service rakes in at least RM5,000 every hour. No wonder he has an entire marketing/management team behind him. I should have become a bomoh instead of a doctor!

Anyway, Ahmad’s daughter was not healed by this famous Ustaz. Then we went to see another Ustaz, who is also frequently featured on TV. Ustaz Hanafiah was not only friendly, but also took the time to listen to the whole story, and patiently treated and guided the family back to normalcy.

I hope that when he becomes famous like the others and have thousands of clients, I will not have to wait three months to get an appointment.

Dr Amir Farid Isahak is a medical specialist who practises holistic, aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. He is a qigong master and founder of SuperQigong. For further information, e-mail starhealth@thestar.com.my. The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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