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Doctors and CEOs are among those "possessed" who seek exorcist Mohammed al-Yafawi's help.
If someone believes they’ve been possessed, removing a jinn can be a costly affair. A basic ritual that includes Quranic recitation and negotiations with the jinn costs about $150. However, in most cases, to ensure that the jinn is permanently removed, Yafawi says it is necessary to burn specialized incense that can cost thousands of dollars per gram.
The Zarqa man can’t afford the necessary type of incense, so over the last year he’s been repeatedly possessed by and exorcised of Johyna, the jinn, and requires the basic ritual usually about once every month.
On average, Yafawi estimates that he charges about $3,000 for most exorcisms, but he once billed a man $30,000 to remove a jinn king and its army that had occupied his home.
“He was one of the most famous Arabs and he was a multimillionaire,” he says. In this case, the jinn king was drawn to the man’s palatial home, which was often left empty on account of the owner’s busy travel schedule. Yafawi had to burn some of the most expensive incense available to eradicate the jinn.
For the most part, Yafawi says his customers understand the costs associated with his work and accept the high rates. The man who paid Yafawi’s biggest fee was so pleased with the results that, “He gave a bonus and this watch,” says Yafawi, holding up his arm to show off the silver timepiece.
Yafawi first became aware of his sixth sense as a teenager. On his way to take an exam the test questions appeared to him in a vision. To be safe, he double-checked the answers to the questions he’d seen when he got to school.
“When the teacher handed me the exam, I saw the same exam I’d seen in my head. I knew something was happening to me,” he says. “I told my mother and she said, ‘Maybe it’s a gift from god.’”
From there, he worked independently to develop his sixth sense, consulting magicians during a year abroad in India and reading extensively when he returned to Jordan. He spent years working for free to remove troublesome jinns and telling people’s fortunes. About nine years ago, he began to feel comfortable taking money for his services.
After years of working as an arraf, the exorcist easily sloughs off doubters’ skepticism.
“They say ‘I don’t believe’ because they’re afraid they might see a jinn,” he said.
More dispatches by Tom A. Peter: