February 15th, 2010 by Shakir Lakhani

The people of Pakistan and India are very superstitious, perhaps because of the high poverty and illiteracy in the two countries. I have met many people who think a black cat crossing your path means that you will probably have a very bad day. As for superstitions about the solar and lunar eclipses, the less said the better. Normally, women who belong to superstitious families are not allowed to go out of their houses unless they require urgent immediate medical treatment. When there is a solar or lunar eclipse, even a woman who is in a critical condition is locked up even if she’s in danger of dying.

But there is one piece of superstition which I can’t understand. Why do some mullahs and scholars advise people to change the names of children who’re not well or who’re hyperactive? I remember a little girl years ago (the daughter of distant relatives) whose name was changed so that she’d get better. Of course the name change had no effect on her health. Then there was a certain scholar associated with the Binnoria mosque in Karachi who advised his followers not to give the name “Aasia” to their daughters. He said families who named their daughters Aasia were always unlucky.

I wonder if those who regularly comment on black magic can say something about changing names to make people lucky or healthy.