1799: Nine Family Heads

Saidi Saeed Abdoul Naim -- Book on Divination by Sand and Magic and some of Astronomy (1799)

In the late 18th century, a physician from northern Africa named Saidi Saeed Abdoul Naim assembled this book of practices for dealing with physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. It also includes sections on secret alphabets, divination by sand, magic, and astronomy.

This illustration is one of nine “family heads” that Abdoul Naim—interpreting a verse in the Qur’an (27:48)—envisions as demonic beings.  “Whoever says that they are birds or anything else has lied,” he says, “for I saw them [myself] in Safar 1214 (July/August 1799).” (Sources here and here.)

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