Arab Shah: Natural Afghan Mystic

PIIA Library Blog

The fortune-teller of Kabul is yet another tremendous long read from TheGuardian about an Afghan natural mystic called Arab Shah, who people consult for a variety of reasons including whether they should emigrate from the war-torn country east to Australia or west to Europe? The author, May Jeong, asks the seminal question: for centuries mystics have channelled the hopes and fears of Afghans. With the nation in turmoil, their services are as popular as ever. But can they survive the latest crackdown by religious hardliners? She explores Afghanistan’s tense and complicated relationship with Islam. Here is a further extract from her most excellent must read piece: Shah is a fortune-teller – a falbin, a taweez naweez mulla, a djinn hunter – who belongs to a long tradition of men who practise magic said to predate Islam. Spirit mediums inhabit the interstices between the old and the…

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