My Jakarta: Syarifuddin, Rain Shifter
Carlos Situmeang | January 24, 2012
‘If There Are People Getting Drunk, It Makes It Impossible to Divert the Rain’
While most people just grumble about the weather, Syarifuddin actually goes out and does something about it.
The 39-year-old security guard at Paramadina University in Jakarta has had a side gig for the last four years as a ‘rain shifter,’ which, just like it sounds, involves shifting the rain. So if you’re nervous about the weather before a big outdoor event or some other special occasion, you might want to call up Syarifuddin and he’ll employ his ‘spiritual power’ to blow those rain clouds away.
Today, he tells My Jakarta how he was chosen to become a rain shifter, where he gets his powers, how he prepares for his job and why you shouldn’t bother calling him to protect your party if you’re planning on serving alcohol.
How exactly do you divert rain?
Technically speaking, I simply concentrate on a certain cluster of rain clouds and ‘push’ them away somewhere else with my spiritual power. So it’s not preventing rain but moving it somewhere else. I always prepare by praying before and during my job, asking God to move the rain clouds from the area. But if there are people at the event getting drunk or doing anything else morally indecent, then it makes it impossible to divert the rain clouds.
Have you ever failed, and did your client ask for his money back?
Of course, only God can fully control the weather. My clients know that as well. On some occasions, unknown to me, there were drunk people and erotic dancing at the party. When I found out, I cut the job short and told the hosts that I couldn’t do my job in that kind of sinful atmosphere. They never asked for their money back.
Where did you learn how to do this? What kind of rituals do you have to perform?
The way I see it, a good rain shifter has to be a thoroughly clean Muslim, both spiritually and physically. I have never seen a rain shifter from other faiths. That is why I never smoke or drink alcohol.
First, I had to say an ijab kabul [Islamic spiritual agreement] with my ustadz [a spiritual mentor in Islam]. Then I had to fast every Monday and Thursday for two months. There were other rituals but I cannot mention them here because people might get hurt trying to perform them without proper guidance from the experts.
Can anyone learn this skill?
Unfortunately, no. You can only become a rain shifter if a senior rain shifter detects some inner spiritual quality in you and decides to pass along his skill. There are no formal institutions where you can learn the skill. I never thought about learning how to do this before my ustadz chose me.
How were you chosen?
About five years ago, I met this ustadz who has since become a close friend of mine. He taught the Koran to children and adults in my neighborhood. But since I am not a people-person, I never went to his classes until he personally invited me to a lesson.
One day, in 2007, he asked me to go with him to a relative’s wedding in Garut [West Java]. In fact, there was no wedding. He tricked me because he wanted to pass on his skills on to me. After hours of talking, I accepted his offer and started the rituals.
Do you always work alone? If you had many rain shifters working at the same time, would that increase the likelihood of success?
That’s pretty common, but since I don’t belong to any group, I usually work alone. But it’s fine if I have to cooperate with another shifter as long as their spiritual method does not deviate from what is considered appropriate in Islam
How much do you charge for your service?
I usually charge 2.5 percent of the total cost spent for the event, so I depend on people to be honest about the cost. In cases where the host does not look like he has much money, I give them the liberty to decide on my payment. My biggest and most lucrative job was for a big music concert in Ancol [North Jakarta]. They paid me Rp 1 million [$110] an hour, and I ended up working for 10 hours.
Have you ever thought of using your skill to help people, for example to send rain to drought-hit areas?
When I practice my art, I always try my best to direct rain to places in need of water, like rice fields, city parks or at least out to sea. Actually, I can and will only use my skill when somebody needs it for events and never for my personal benefit, although sometimes I feel tempted to try using it when I’m trapped in the rain on my motorcycle [laughs].
Is there anything that ordinary people can do to divert the rain without using your service?
Put up a tent [laughs]. In terms of effort, everyone can always try to ask God to move the rain clouds. But the important thing is that you have to make sure there is nothing indecent going on at your event.
Syarifuddin was talking to Carlos Situmeang.