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Fanditha spell to Dhaalum
Maldives Culture
January 2003

maldives fanditha diagram_large
The diagram above is from a Fanditha magic book used in Maldives. It is a spell invoking a spirit called Dhaalum or Dhaaim. The Arabic letters and numbers on top of the squares begin with an call to the spirit, 'Ya! Dhaalum'. The numbers 786 represent Bismillah - 'In the name of God, the merciful and compassionate', and then follows the alphabet name of the letter 'dh', dhaal.

Dhaalum may refer to the jinn known as Dalhan, a colourful spirit believed by some to inhabit islands in the Indian Ocean. 'The Dalhan is the demon jinn of the small islands of the sea, from where it will hunt down survivors from wrecked ships. It is said to have a terrifying scream which incapacitates men before it feeds on their flesh.'

The alternative meaning - Dhaaim - may be an occult spirit. The word literally means 'the one who is permanent', but it is not among the 99 names of Allah.

The letter dhaal forms the basis of the design to the right of the square. It is also the first letter of the name of the spirit.

The Arabic numbers inside the squares represent Arabic letters, defined by an ancient alphabet-number substitution system known to the Arabs as abjad. When the letters are read from right to left from the top, or from left to right from the bottom, the invocation is complete.

The noose crescent shape surrounding the invocation is formed by the repeated Arabic word, Allah. The shape is reminiscent of the Egyptian hieroglyph Sa, a symbol of protection which originally represented a herdsman's rolled up shelter of papyrus.

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