Thursday, May 31, 2012

'Lawyer Wants Jinn To Testify In Court'

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Most everyone has heard of the legendary creatures called 'Genie' who grant three wishes from stories such as 'Aladdin' and '1001 Arabian nights'; however, in recent times, they are being called upon in court to testify for the defense of a corrupt judge.

'A Saudi defence lawyer has asked court to summon a jinn (genie) claimed to have possessed a judge who has been arrested on corruption charges, the Saudi Arabic language daily Okaz reported on Saturday'

Belief in Jinn is widespread in the Khaleej and in North Africa until today. So, what are Jinn, where do you find them and how can you protect yourself? Jinn are mentioned in the Quran as creatures made from smokeless fire (as opposed to clay such as man) who are responsible for some supernatural happenings here on earth. Some of the Jinn are Muslim and benevolent and some have strayed from the Right Path. See: Surah 72 Al-Jinn.
Neiman Marcus: Genie Lamp Crystal Minaudière
Where can one find Jinn ?
  • Dark places such as abandoned houses and buildings. Jinn love the dark and cannot stay in the light. Sometimes they inhabit old fort ruins. They come out at sunset.
  • Mountains and farms. There are countless stories of locals who have encountered 'jinn' on their family farm in the interior.
  • Filthy and dirty places such as in the bathroom and unclean people.
  • Jinn can take various forms:  ‘The jinn are of three types: a types that has wings, and they fly through the air; a type that looks like snakes and dogs; and a type that stops for a rest then resumes its journey. [Shaykh al-Albaani said in al-Mishkaat (2/1206, no. 4148): al-Tahhaawi and Abu’l-Shaykh reported it with a saheeh isnaad]
Reported acts of Jinn ?
  • Jinn are notorious for stealing people from mountains and wadis. Each year, it has been reported people went missing due to Jinn. See: February 02, 2012, 'Search for young man abducted by Djinns; Omani man went missing near Mudar Mountain'
  • Jinn can possess or cause people to go mad and walk around like zombies. They can attack people's bodies. 
  • Jinn can hide or move things around and start fires.
  • Some Jinn are benevolent, and some people can conquer Jinn and have them do favors. 
How to protect yourself ?
  • Use lights (not candles). Keep clean (they're attracted to dirty things and waste). Keep the alloy steel around; it's harmful to them. They can't unlock doors or untie knots. 
  • Burn luban; the Jinn don't like certain frankincense and myrrh.
  • Wear talisman around your neck with Quranic verses inside.
  • Recite verses from the Quran.
  • Make sacrifices of animals or leave sweets out to please them.
  • Don't fear them.
Some expressions for protection:
  1. Say seven times: 'Audhu billah min al shaytan al rajeem' (I seek refuge in God away from Satan and curses')
  2. Say 'bismillah' before entering the toilet or other dangerous activity.
Jinn may hang out in places like these.

Fort Nakhal and Hot Springs

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Fort Nakhal has been totally rehabbed which differentiates it from many of the hundreds of forts in Oman. The fort is about an hour from Muscat. Go north to Barka; then, turn left at the roundabout towards the interior, and Nakhal is about 30 minutes from the Barka roundabout.

Historically, the fort was a main defensive stronghold in the region. The main tribe from Nakhal is Al Harusi. The fort is open most days until 4 pm officially and sometimes stays open longer. There is an entrance fee of one Omani ryial.  About 10 minutes from the fort, one can find the hot springs, Al Thawrah. There is a bathing area and wadi. The spring is generally very crowded, so it's best to go on an off day.

Fort Nakhal: Latitude : 23°23'41.00"N, Longitude : 57°49'43.00"E

Queen Beatrix @ Nakhal

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

As Swaidi Beach and Islands

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As Swaidi Beach and Islands is a nice day trip close to Muscat north of Barka. There is large beach with a 'lot of action'. A highlight is to have a local fisherman drop you off at some of the nearby islands to spend the day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Muscat: Garden City

Although the natural landscape of the Muscat area is made up of rugged mountains with a sandy desert floor and prickly bushes, the government has adorned the roadsides and other areas with brilliant flowers and trees. It seems each month the flowers are replaced with newer lusher ones.  Hundreds of expat workers who can be seen tending to the plants in the mornings are employed to keep the flowers coming. Irrigation systems have been installed running from Muttrah to past Seeb. The gardens are quite lovely, and the powers that be deserve credit.

Natural Landscape

Wadi Shab, Sharkiya

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If you are longing for a place to take a dip in fresh water or even to cliff jump, Shab is the wadi to visit. Wadi Shab is located a about 1.5 hrs from Muscat in Sharkiya  This wadi is famous for its deep canyons and swimming pools.

It's a bit tricky to find, so I am posting directions once you get in the area. If you are coming from Muscat,  take the road to Amerat. Follow signs to Quryat and then towards Sur. After you pass Fins, you will be getting closer. There will be a sign to Wadi Shab, but do not exit here.

You must go toward the direction of Sur until you pass Tiwi where you can exit an make a U-turn back towards Muscat. Then, you will exit into the village of Tiwi. Turn left and go through the village of Tiwi until you get to Shab. If you turn right, you will go to Wadi Tiwi. You will need to park under the overpass. There are boats you can take for 200 bz across the water and into Wadi Shab. Coordinates:
Latitude : 22°50'13.72"N, Longitude : 59°14'34.71"E

Fresh Water Pools of Wadi Shab, Oman

Wadi Shab swimming