When you think of exorcisms, you probably either think of priests in robes splashing people with tap water or an old horror movie. Exorcisms in the Muslim world are a bit different, and a lot more violent (this shouldn’t be a surprise since Muslims are involved.)
Asma Hussain is a 60-year-old woman living in the UK. She lived with her husband, Ahmed Hussain. Ahmed, along with Asma’s son, Mohammed Kayes Hussain, and daughter, Salma Hussain, believed Asma had a demon inside her due to her deteriorating health. Asma had even claimed her poor health was due to “black magic,” but made no mention of anything demonic. She also didn’t jump to the logical conclusion that some sort of bacteria, virus, or nutritional deficiency was to blame.
Asma’s family members enlisted the help of their son-in-law, Mohammed Aziz, and daughter-in-law, Halima Khatun to assess Asma. When the five had gathered around her, they all arrived at the conclusion Asma was possessed. One of them called a local imam, and within minutes, Asma was tied to her bed and the ritual had begun.
The six stood over her, chanting in Arabic. Holy (tap) water was poured on her repeatedly. The imam struck Asma with his cane. Hearing “the demon” scream, the imam struck her again. Ahmed encouraged the imam to hit his wife harder. No one in the room objected, so the bludgeoning continued while the family prayed to Allah to purge the demon. They could’ve taken Asma to a hospital to have an exam performed by a real doctor… but that would have been against their religion, so the best medicine they could give the 60-year-old was a thorough beating.
Asma’s other daughter, Shahana, visited her family shortly after the ritual. Seeing her mother bound and bruised, she immediately called an ambulance. When paramedics tried to extricate Asma, Ahmed tried to prevent them from taking her, claiming only spiritual healing would work on the possessed. However, they managed to get her out. The family was charged, but never revealed the name of the imam they had contacted. They denied any wrongdoing since they were just doing what their religion told them to.