Written and experienced by Stephanie Siam
Warning: The following story contains material which might not be suitable for all readers. If you are easily spooked, please consider skipping this post and coming back next week. If you are brave, and have not yet done so, please read Part I and Part II of this story before proceeding.
As I wait for a response, I repeat the only consoling phrase I know under my breath, “Authu billahi min al shaytaan ir-rajeem.*”
Next to me on the bed, my daughter’s eyes continue to grow in despair. She is terrified, and I can’t bring myself to even tell her why I am so upset. Tears have begun to fall freely down my cheeks, and I wipe the back of my hand across my face so I can see the screen of the computer.
Please respond! Pleeeeeeease!!
After what seems like forever, I hear the familiar ping! of the messaging program.
“Salaam! What’s up?” she writes.
“I am freaking out!!” I bang out on the keyboard. “I am totally freaking out! I know you’re going to think I’m crazy and childish and overreacting, but I think there’s something here. Like….in my house.”
As fast as my fingers will move, I tell her the story from beginning to end – or to the end I’ve reached so far. I sit, breath held, expecting an “LOL!” or some similar response. I watch the blinking ellipses in the messenger box, an indication that Kiran is still writing her answer.
The message box pops up revealing her advice: “RECITE AYAT AL-KURSI NOW! Close the door, make wudhu and RECITE!!!”
The nature of her message conveys the urgency in her voice. My hands shake harder. It’s getting continuously difficult to breathe. “Now? I don’t know it!! Can you send it to me??”
I jump off the bed, startling L to the point of shrieking. “I’m sorry, baby. It’ll be okay.” I run into the bathroom, careful to avoid touching the bedroom door. The faucets spew cold water from both sides – thank you, Middle East – and I perform the ritual bathing procedure, beginning with my hands and ending with my feet.
Coming out of the bathroom, I flip the switch off and pull the door closed behind me. As many barriers to protect us, the better. If I can create a fort of protection, perhaps it would leave.
When I look at the screen again, there’s another message from Kiran. “Your husband needs to come home. You need to call him and tell him to come home. NOW!! Did you recite Ayat al-Kursi?”
“No, I don’t know it! Maybe I can find it online? But I’m no good at pronunciation. . .can I play it? Like, from the computer????!!!!”
“I believe so. Let me check.”
As I wait for her to verify the answer, I grab my phone and redial the hubby. This time he picks it up on the first ring. “Hey, honey.” He sounds tired, but genial.
“Hi. Salaam. I need you to come home.” I’m nearly breathless.
“Is everything okay?” he asks, his tone shifting slightly.
Should I lie and say ‘yes’? Should I tell him what’s wrong? I pause, debating my reply.
“Stephanie? Are you okay? Is L okay?” he repeats.
“No. I mean, she’s fine. Well, she’s confused. . .I need you to come home. There’s a problem.”
“What’s the problem?”
What do I say? There’s a spirit causing me major distress? “I’m just. . .I don’t feel right. There’s something wrong.”
“Are you sick?”
Why the questions?!? Why can’t you just come home? “Not really. I’m. . .” A wave of cold air drifts across my face. There is a clenching in my chest. I close my eyes and try to inhale slowly, but the weight of what feels like a small airplane on my chest causes difficulty. “Pleeeeeaaaaaaaase,” I beg, suddenly. “I need you home. There’s something wrong. I can’t explain it. . .” I’ve started to cry. When I speak, it sounds like a toddler whining for a toy.
“Honey, what’s — ”
“Now. I need you to come now. I can’t be here alone.” I channel my inner Sally Field, queen of hysteria in American dramatic films, and firmly state, “It’s about earlier. I need you home. Please.”
“Ah, I see,” he says. “Okay. I’ll be home soon.”
Hanging up the phone, I click on the message from Kiran to see if she’s returned. A blinking box tells me her answer is ready and waiting. It is a link to Quran.com and the aforementioned Ayat al-Kursi. “Jazaka Allahu khair (may God’s blessings be on you),” I tap out on the keys.
My mouse pointer hovers over the link, and I click once. A webpage opens up, and I’m baffled as to how I should proceed. Can I read the transliteration? Wait. . .can I pronounce the transliteration? I can’t read the Arabic! What do I do?
I jump back to the conversation with Kiran to get her advice. She tells me that playing the recitation should bring protection. We’re still waiting on the hubby to get home.
At this point, its power is at its greatest so far. I am barely able to type out the words “Ayat al Kursi” in the search box on YouTube due to my trembling hands. My eyes dart around the room, lingering on shadows in corners and on doorknobs, expecting them to turn.
I’m finally able to bring up a decent recording of someone reciting the shielding verse. I switch the screen back to Quran.com and read along in Arabic as the comforting voice of the qari (someone who recites Quran) filled my bedroom. Each time the playing ends, I start it over. While my breath seems to come easier, the tension in the air is palpable. It is as if good and evil are fighting a battle in my bedroom, above us, with my sanity being the winner’s trophy.
There is a sound in the hallway, and I avert my attention to the bedroom door. The knob turns, and it slowly opens. My husband is standing in the entry, a concerned look on his face.
Before I even realize what I’m doing, I’m in his arms, free-flowing tears creating rivets on my ashen cheeks. “Alhumdulillah! Alhumdulillah! Alhumdulillah rab-il al-ameen! Thank God you’re home!” I cry.
“You’re shaking!” He wraps his arms around my shoulders, and L bounces over on the bed to also embrace him. “What’s going on?”
“There’s something here!” I look around, almost expecting someone to be standing behind me with a dagger. He’d said she was jealous of me. Seeing me hugging my husband must be a trigger.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I did this to you. But don’t think about all that stuff,” he says, quietly. “The more you think about it – ”
“Don’t tell me not to think about it! You’re the reason I’m scared to death right now! We have to protect the home.”
“Protect the home?” he asks.
I reach over and lift my laptop off the bed. Carrying it into the hallway, I press the replay button and place it on the credenza in the hallway. The resonance of the qari’s recitation drifts into each crevice, countering the atmosphere of animosity.
We sit on the bed, the three of us, with the lights on in the hallway and bedroom. I listen, over and over, to the beautiful ayat, continuously invoking the fortification of Allah with my beloved, “Authu billahi min al-shaytaan ir-rajeem.” I close my eyes for a moment. When I open them again, an hour has passed.
The calm has been restored. Allah has answered my dua’a (supplication).
It has gone.
*Translation: I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed one (Satan).
If you are experiencing similar weird creepiness in your life, try reciting the three Quls (short surahs of the Quran) and Ayat tul Qursi (the verse of the throne, especially before sleeping), make wudhu and seek refuge in Allah from the Shaytan (Authu billahi min al-shaytaan ir-rajeem).
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