Meet Muhammad Raihan, a 13-year old Indonesian teenager suffering from a rare condition known as ‘Werewolf Syndrome’ and has rejected medical treatment. Werewolf Syndrome is an abnormal medical condition where abnormal amount of hair grows over the body.
Muhammad who is covered in hair up to three inches long across all parts of his body, including his face and back, says he faces name-calling from some peers who liken him to Hindu monkey god and that villagers revere him as a Hindu god.
The devout Muslim, who lives with his widowed mum and four siblings in Mamburung village in North Kalimantan, says he is not bothered when people laugh at him.
“Sometime people would flock to my house from far-off villages to just have a glimpse of me. They think I am a god or have special powers, but this attention is okay because I know I look different. I am not bothered with such attention – some people laugh at me, others just come to me for a blessing.
His 45-year old mother, Pardan, who lost her husband 10 months ago, said she has taken him to several doctors but she stopped medication after they said his hair would only grow longer and thicker with age.
“He had more hair on his body than my elder son but I was not worried as every child is different. However my concern grew when the hair grew longer and thicker.
“His father and I were worried about the excessive hair growth and took him to several doctors but none could treat him. Some did offer laser surgery but it was beyond our financial capacity so we stopped.
“He is a gift of God and we believe his appearance is the will of Allah. I have taught him to never complain about his condition but instead accept it with grace.”
Raihan, who shares a room with his unaffected siblings, has come to accept his distinct appearance as a blessing from God and wishes to serve as a mosque cleric in appreciation. He said:
“I am blessed by God and this makes me happy. I am his favourite child and want to serve him my whole life. I don’t want any medical treatment because I’m happy this way.”