A brief description and synopsis of Arabic Talismanic Magic
Talismanic magic has long had a considerable influence on most magical systems throughout history. The magical concepts of transference and the idea that a symbol carries the energies of the things it represents are not new to humanity and are but a few of the core principles of magic. Symbols can be pictographs, figures that represent mystical concepts or beings and also seemingly mundane objects.
In some cases the very symbols themselves hold the power which is imbued into the talisman, then of course empowered by the specific times and rituals of consecration. In other cases the talismans use various divine, or perhaps not so divine *grin* names, or phrases from the bible, Quran or sometimes even older sacred texts, to empower them.
The advent of writing originated with pictographs or drawings that have spirituality at their foundations. The very ability to write or utter certain formulas or words has been since considered a way of bridging the physical and spiritual plains. Written words often find their way into the magic workings of shamans, spiritualist, traditional priests, healers, sorcerers and magicians world wide. This may be most apparent in the talismanic magic which originated in the Middle East and Arabia.
With the practitioners who did not know or use written language, their talismans, amulets and other magical figures were more often comprised of various images and symbols instead of entire phrases. Both work quite well of course, and we do carry both types of talismans and amulets on the site. There are many talismans which actually do incorporate both styles into a single talisman, taking from the older traditions and versions and bringing them forward to incorporate with the various phrases and prayers to empower middle ages and even more recent, talismans.
This category of talismans and amulets falls under several names which vary from region to region. Naqsh, Taweez, Wafiq, Wazaif, or Wazifah in Urdu, are drawn diagrams that contain sacred letters, names and symbols. An alternate name used frequently in N. Africa to describe these is Djedouel. The literal translation of Wazifa in Arabic is “to employ”. It is used in Urdu language to describe particular verses or passages from the Qur’an which are imbued with supernatural power. The word Naqsh literally means “design”, “shape”, or “engraving”. Naqsh are squares and diagrams that often contain a set of arranged numerical sequences and numbers that correlate to words or sounds. These may be cast into the appropriate metals, engraved on certain metals, or drawn on paper, cloth or animal skin. Taweez are similar to Naqsh in this respect, with Taweez mainly being worn around the neck or on either arm. Naqsh are usually placed inside a house or business to bring blessings and protection. Conversely it may be said that Naqsh are the mystical diagrams in plain written form before they are empowered, folded, and encased to be worn on the body through specific procedures. These have found their way into many other magical systems and are used in various traditions for a wide range of purposes. Many of these are Quranic in nature and are sources of empowerment in and of themselves. It is quite common for these diagrams to contain the names of prophets, angels, and one or several of the sacred 99 names. These diagrams may also include the names of other supernatural beings in order to harness their energies and direct them towards a specific task.
Some of these particular talismans do also include the names of various Djinn, Ifrit, as well as other similar spirits. In various places, and I will use Egypt and Morocco for example since these places are where I have visited the most often, it is actually quite common for the merging of the religious Quranic verses, and the Djinn as well as the so called forbidden magick to be used together. It is of course always spoken about very quietly and only after people get to know one another quite well, yet it is amazingly quite prevalent. Fortunately also, there are many which are pre-Quran and even many more which are pre-Mohammadian religious beliefs. However, even the many of the ones which are more strictly religious as we may think of it, don’t interfere with magic. Magick is not actually considered haram in most places by most people. It is allowable in the religious context and some would even go so far as to say quite encouraged.
Interesting to note, as well as to see and experience is that in many countries such talismans as we are speaking about here are so prevalent and integrated within the culture that if one looks closely you can notice some of the designs, phrases in Arabic writing, or often used magical symbols everywhere you look. Some examples of this are woven into rugs and carpets, woven into shawls and clothing, on jewelry of course, leather book covers, furniture, brass tea or coffee sets, serving dishes, and so forth and so on. It is there, but it isn’t there, sort of approach seems quite prevalent in many areas. One would not simply set up a shop, or even a stall at the marketplace without the talismans and amulets involved, even if only just using the more commonplace ones such as the hamsa. Of course such things are more common amongst those living in the more remote areas, the mountains, the caves, the farmers, and those who live in the outer reaches of the desert, yet these things are also encountered all day every day even in the busiest of cities.
The mechanisms behind the use of words and numbers in this context is largely rooted in Sufiism, and the idea that each word bears 8 unseen servants; 4 malaikat (angels) and 4 djinn. This type of amulet is usually constructed under specific conditions and by certain people who have specialized knowledge of these procedures. The person endeavoring to create Naqsh often fasts for a set period, performs ablutions, retreats into seclusion, and burns specific types of incense while reciting prayers. This often requires the magician to construct a Hijaar or Hisaar, which is a magic circle or boundary for protection.
We are extremely fortunate to be able to have some of each type of talisman talked about above, and designed correctly as well. With some of these talismans the design has changed over the centuries as they were handed down and recopied into various forms. Some of them were perhaps changed to hide certain things which are of course only passed along by the spoken word and never written down, while others were just translated more and more into modern Arabic, or even English numbers for example.
The practice of this particular type of magic, and these talismans, has found its way to all areas impacted by the spread of Islam to include various parts of the African continent, Indonesia, India, and Malaysia. It is practiced in unique fashion among the various cultures and societies in these regions and is often adopted as a secondary means to harness spiritual forces for magical procedures. Some Naqsh are written on paper and submerged in blessed water to be consumed by individuals suffering from various physical ailments. In a similar fashion, water of this type may be sprinkled around a space to cleanse it of negative energies or to form a magical barrier.
In the case of these types of talismans, we can get creative and submerge the cast metal ones into the water to imbue it with the particular energy of the talisman, then to drink it. The useful thing about this is that you can have the talisman in the water for a specific number of days without it dissolving. They can also perhaps be added to ones’ bath water for an interesting affect. Another use for a permeant talisman is to place it underneath the glass, or crystal bowl of water to bring forth the particular energies into it before drinking. One of the most useful things about a permeant talismans is that you can use it over and over each time that particular mansion of the moon comes around again, certain moon phases, or specific solar astrology events. Since we use 100% pure metals when casting these talismans, they are safe to have sitting in water for a time. Please do specify that this is how you would like to use your talisman though, so that we can make sure to cast it in pure 999.99% silver instead of .925 sterling silver. Of course there are also pure gold options, as well as pure copper. Though with the copper, you wouldn’t want to leave it in the water for too long.
Now one particularly interesting use of these pure metal talismans, most especially the pure silver and gold ones is for making colloidal silver for colloidal gold. Instead of just using a regular silver or gold wire with your colloidal equipment, you could use an entire very specific talisman for doing so! Of course if you prefer we can make the colloidal silver or gold for you and ship it with your talisman, since we do have colloidal silver/gold making equipment here. This sort of thing can be extremely useful for making fluid condensers for various magical operations, as swell as washing your skrying mirror in. I’m pretty sure you can figure out many ways and reasons why an astrological, fixed star, or mansions of the moon talisman fluid condenser would make many things much stronger. Also you are likely thinking of at least a few dozen uses for such a potent material.
Now back to our Arabic talismans, after our metals and Franz Baron distraction. The use of this specific type of Arabic talisman is popular in Malaysia and Indonesia, where they are called Azimat, Jimat, or Gambar Rajah. These are usually prepared by a Bomoh, or traditional practitioner of medicine and magic in Malaysia, while in Indonesia they may be prepared by a Dukun, which is a ritualist and shaman, or by a practitioner of Javanese mysticism called Kejawen. Both areas are familiar with occultism and esoteric sciences which fall under the general term Ilmu Ghaib, or Ilmu Hikhma, which are Arabic loan words. Ilmu Ghaib means hidden or occult science, while Ilmu Hikmah translates as “Science of Wisdom”. These Indonesian and Malay talismans come in a variety of forms that correlate to almost every conceivable desire. There are Rajah Pengasihan to cause love between two people, Rajah Pelet to cause fascination or strong infatuation, Rajah Tolak Ghaib, which act as barriers or fences to keep out malevolent forces from a personal space or home. These examples are by no means exhaustive and the magic systems in these two areas are quite vast, varied, and sophisticated. They blend indigenous ancient beliefs with Islam, Shamanism, and even elements of Brahmanism from the Indian Subcontinent that came long before the advent of Islam in Southeast Asia. Talismanic magic had already been long established in this particular area, meaning Mantra, Yantra, and Tantrik occult practices had already been introduced to the Malay peninsula and surrounding islands long before Islam arrived.
While these particular talismans just spoken of above are extremely potent and work quite well, one does have to be careful about the ones found in books and websites in English (as with so many things magick related). These particular talismans and practices are generally only handed down to other people who can actually speak the language, and the odd book and manuscript found with them in it, tend to be in either Arabic, Indonesian, Persian, Farsi, Filipino languages, or Malaysian script and languages. We are fortunate enough to have someone who has given many of the traditional talismans for use in casting pendants for people to wear and use.
Further, on the African continent, talismans inscribed in Arabic on metal, paper or animal hides are known by a variety of names depending on region and culture. In the Sahara they are often called Djedouel. These are largely based on the works and magical treatises of Ahmad ibn Ali Al Buni, but have become an integral part of folklore and magic among the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Niger, and Mali. Considered sacred and powerful diagrams, they are passed on through lineages from teacher to student. The act of preparing Djjedouel closely follows the guidelines mentioned earlier and may often be accompanied by ritual and sacrifice which form parts of local indigenous belief systems. The purposes for which these are prepared include talismans and amulets for everything from passing exams, to improving business prospects and defeating enemies. Rings containing magical diagrams and folded talismans sewn into leather packages are well known among Tuareg and Hausa tribes. The Amazigh (Berber) people of Morocco also make extensive use of these amulets in a variety of forms with the most popular probably being the Khamsa or Hand of Fatima inscribed with appropriate diagrams and verses. The Khamsa is followed by the Khatim Sulaiman,which is replete in the architecture and designs on buildings and houses. These, along with amulets designed in the shape of the Dhul Fiqar, or Ali’s sword, are powerful deflectors of the evil eye and malicious spirits that live in the desert. Ornaments and jewelry, even building décor and paint, often include hexagrams, and pentagrams. These all carry magical significance and are meant to afford protections and bring blessings. Other types of Arabic derived talismans and power object also popular in parts of Sub Saharan West Africa, are folded appropriately and sewn into leather packages which are then worn on various parts of the body to empower or protect the wearer. Kabbalisitc or Quranic magical symbols, their meaning, and their uses vary widely in North and West Africa and many have taken on new meaning in many of these places. It is quite common for them to be adopted and adapted within the various spiritual traditions of regions.
These amulets and talismans were introduced to Brazil during the transatlantic slave trade by Hausa and Fulani and also by enslaved Nigerians. The practice of making talismans containing Arabic inscriptions or Quranic verses took root most strongly in the cities of Salvador and Bahia, where they became known as Breve, or Patua. This system of magic became integrated with, but overshadowed by the spiritual traditions and practices of the various people exported to Brasil which include, Bakongo belief systems, Vodun, and indigenous Nigerian belief systems.