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VIDEO: Evil spirits, possessions and black magic - welcome to the Sheffield mosque providing Islamic exorcisms

A woman writhes around in uncontrollable pain on the floor while screaming for an evil spirit to leave her soul.

Her howls of despair grow even louder as an Imam stands above her chanting verses from the Quran while spraying her with holy water.

Imam Ayoub performs the exorcism.

Imam Ayoub performs the exorcism.

Welcome to the little known world of Islamic exorcisms.

You would never have guessed it, but more than 3000 of the spiritual healing rituals have been performed in the last four years at the Masjid Mohammed Mosque off a side street in Burngreave.

People from all walks of life ask Iman Ayoub Sayed for help every week seeking to be released from a wide range of afflictions. This ranges from spiritual possession and evil curses all the way to intimacy problems between couples and hair loss.

Spiritual healers believe the exorcisms can release people from the grip of demonic forces and allow them to live good lives again.

Imam Ayoub.

Imam Ayoub.

Louise Kelly, admin manager at the mosque, has witnessed many of the exorcisms and believes they really do help people.

The 41-year-old, of Sharrow, said: "When it is happening it does look a bit like something from the exorcist film.

"The patients often start shaking and a voice starts coming from the person that is not their own. Sometimes it sounds evil, sometimes it sounds sweet, but it is not the person's voice."

The practice, called rugyah, is thought to repair damage caused by witchcraft, curses or possession by a supernatural creature known as a jinn.

The woman writes on a pad.

The woman writes on a pad.

Visitors are asked to fill in a form explaining what their problem is.

While the form has a tick box option for many run of the mill health problems you would expect to see in any doctor's waiting room - including back pain, headaches and vomiting - Imam Ayoub explained that the most common affliction he treats is for black magic.

He said: "It happens a lot in divorce, where one person puts a curse on another.

"The way to get rid of the jinn is by reciting verses from the Quran and by using the holy water.

The Imam performs the exorcism.

The Imam performs the exorcism.

"I have to speak in a strong voice to make sure they know I am in charge."

He told how the practice can be potentially dangerous for him and he uses holy water and prayer to keep evil spirits at bay.

"They follow me around all of the time. They turn the lights on and off and turn the taps on at my house.

"But I don't fear them because I can protect myself using the Quran."

When The Star visited earlier today a couple had travelled from Coventry seeking help of a jinn that has possessed the man's wife for 10 years.

The man, who did not want to be identified, said: "It has caused us to argue a lot. We went to the doctor for loads of tests, including blood and urine, but they came back clear.

During the exorcism.

During the exorcism.

"When there is a problem like that you start looking at your spirituality.

"We understand that someone has put a curse on us to try and separate us. But we don't know who.

"But after the sessions things have started to get better."

During the ritual, the woman screams, draws a picture of a horned face on a piece of paper and it is revealed that the spirit is in love with her and does not want her and her husband to be together.

There is a cost for the service at around £60 for the first session and then £30 for any others. Funds are put towards the upkeep of the mosque, but where people have little money and are desperate for help, the exorcisms have been performed for free.

While the majority of visitors are from the Muslim faith, there are Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists who have also visited seeking Imam Ayoub's healing powers.

Imam Ayoub has garnered a huge online following as thousands of people tune in to watch the exorcisms which he posts on Facebook.

The 43-year-old, who lives in Sharrow, travelled to the UK nearly 20 years ago and decided to start performing his own exorcisms after witnessing another Iman successfully perform the ritual.

While skeptics dispute the true benefits of the practice, Imam Ayoub stressed that there is a simply aim behind the somewhat unusual practice.

"We just want to help people in our community. Not everyone is cured but in the majority of cases they do get better and that is why we do it."

*For more information email ayoubislam@hotmail.com