Tourist's death leads to questions about teachings of religious leader

"It is at this madrasa that the spiritual leader became her spiritual healer," her brother Imran Admani said.

The mother of three started avoiding family members and refused to travel back to the UK.

"I remember her telling me crazy things like, she was told by Nabi PBUH (Prophet Mohamed) that she couldn't leave Kenya because jini (demons) would kill her and that she should move to the madrasa for protection," the brother said.

"We didn't realise that the spiritual leader and everyone around her also believed in that stuff."

Khandwalla, who was 44, also stopped visiting public places and confined herself to the madrasa.

"Every time my sister wanted to leave the madrasa, the leader would tell her those were thoughts from Satan. He influenced her to stay," the brother said.

Family members and friends said Khandwalla avoided answering calls from those who understood her. She also spent nights with her spiritual leader, which raised eyebrows within the Memon community.

Close family members said that she told them that the leader was exorcising demons during that period.

According to reports, more than 200 members of the madrasa believed that it was only the spiritual leader who would take them to paradise, and they were funding his activities.

"She would agree to return to the UK but always changed her mind at the last minute," the brother said.

It is alleged the madrasa members tracked her movements and they took her phones to see whom she had been talking to.

Madrasa members said that in June 2020, their leader told them that Khandwalla had become a devil and was dangerous to them.

She started donating her belongings and buying clothes she would be buried in.

"She even told my parents not to cry if they lost someone close to them," the brother said.

From August 1, 2020, the neighbours said they heard her screaming throughout the night.

"On August 2, 2020, the spiritual leader send a message to my niece that she had died. They called me. It was painful," the brother said.

"We (family) immediately called him, but he ignored our calls."

The brother said that she died just a day after she had declined to return to the UK when the family asked her to.

She was hurriedly buried the following day at Memon Cemetery before her close family members arrived.

Her brother was in Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania, while her husband was in the UK.

The matter was not reported to the police and the family members reported two years later, and a magistrate then ordered an exhumation.

"The urgency with which our sister was buried after the family was notified of her death raised suspicion," the brother said.

A few days after her death, it is alleged that the spiritual leader started flirting with Admani's nieces, who are already married. The members also started collecting her belongings from people, saying they were bewitched.

"He was telling them how much he missed them and wanted to hear their voices," the brother said.

The brother alleged that after Khandwalla's death, many people started leaving the madrasa to explain to the family what happened.

"We started digging and found that his teachings and beliefs were incorrect, and many people started coming forward with evidence of foul play," he said.

A video later emerged in which the spiritual leader confessed to trying heal her. In the video, now in possession of The Standard, the leader admits he was attempting to knock out the devil which lived in her.

According to the people we spoke to, the leader was making the rules as well as the syllabus for his students and taught them to obey him alone.

Our calls to the spiritual leader discussed in this story went unanswered, while current and former members we spoke to preferred not to be named.

An August 19, 2022 letter from the "Ulamaa Panel of Kenya" said it had been brought to their attention that the spiritual leader was breaking marriages.

In the statement, the Ulamaa claimed he had ignored them and that "some of his activities cannot be penned down unfortunately."

"We disown his teachings and claims. We therefore, with a lot of concern, urge the Muslim Ummah to be cautious and to keep themselves and their loved ones away from this man."

The letter was signed by 19 Maulana's among them Maulana Yaseen Haji, Maulana Arshad Khandwalla and Maulana Bilal from Nairobi.