Magic and Fortune-Telling

By Abdullah K. Abdurrahman

For thousands of years people have been fascinated, awed and fearful at the 
unknown and mystical, being heedless of the dangers and harm that they inflict. 
As Muslims it is imperative to understand these evil-filled practices and to 
protect ourselves from them.

Having the power to do supernatural and seemingly impossible things is referred 
to as 'magic'. It can be categorized as either sorcery, which is magic that uses 
the power of evil spirits for evil purposes; or as illusionism, which is the 
skill of performing tricks in which you seem to make things appear, disappear or 
change, as if by magic.

Both sorcery and illusionism are unlawful in Islam. Sorcery can only be 
performed with the aid of devils whose help is attained when the performer 
attributes them as partners to Allah in worship. Illusionism does not involve 
polytheism, but may none-the-less lead one astray. It is a sin because it 
implies an act of disobedience.

Magic is a destructive act, and therefore Islam warns against it. Believers 
should avoid magic and magicians; take precautions to heed the danger they 
represent and attempt to expose their false allegations. The following evidence 
from the Qur'an and Sunnah has asserted this ruling.

Allah says: 'And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no 
share in the Hereafter. And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their 
own selves, if they but knew.' [The Qur'an 2:102]

Abu Hurairah, radhiallahu anhu, related that 'The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa 
sallam, said: 'Avoid seven most dangerous things.' The Companions asked: 'O 
Messenger of Allah! What are these things' He, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, 
answered: 'Making anyone or any thing a partner of Allah; practicing magic; 
killing a living being whose life has been declared sacred by Allah without 
justification; practicing usury; misappropriating the property of an orphan; 
running away from the infidels in a battle; and slandering chaste, innocent, 
believing women.' (Bukhari and Muslim)

Ordained Punishment
According to Islamic law, the penalty that awaits every sorcerer is death. The 
Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said: 'Kill every sorcerer, for this is 
the punishment ordained by Allah.' Umar ibn al-Khattab sent messages to his 
viceroys in those countries under Islamic rule ordering them to kill all 
sorcerers. This was later confirmed by Uthman Ibn Affan, Hafsah Bint Umar, 
Abdullah Ibn Umar, and Jundub Ibn Abdullah, radhiallahu anhum.

Fact or Fiction
An illusion has an effect on the onlookers that seemingly make things or happen 
when in reality, they do not. Musa, alayhes salam, said: 'Nay, throw you 
(first)! Then behold, their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to 
him as though they moved fast.' (Qur'an 20: 66).

Spells can have a genuine effect that can manipulate the body; even to the 
extent that it can cause sexual impotence. It may also make the affected person 
go insane, as it disturbs the emotional balance. Allah says in the Qur'an: ' And 
from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man 
and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah's leave.' (2: 

Breaking a Magic Spell
The best way to break a spell is by reciting assigned verses from the Qur'an and 
to utter specific invocations specially worded by the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe 
wa sallam. Another allowable method would be to use medicines lawfully 
prescribed for the particular case under examination. What is unlawful, however 
is to use magic as a means to break a spell because this is likely to be done by 
the aid of devils.

Protection From Magic
Holding fast to Allah, seeking refuge with Him and putting trust in Him, can 
attain protection from magic. Also, we should do what is right in the sight of 
Allah, and turn away from sin. But more specifically we can recite the following 
verses and sayings:

Whoever recites verse 255 of the Surah of al-Baqarah (No 2) before going to bed, 
Allah sends him a keeper that protects him against the devils until he wakes up. 

Recite verses 285 and 286 of the Surah of al-Baqarah. 

Say: 'I seek refuge with Allah?s perfect words from the evil of what He has 

Say the following three times: 'In the name of Allah, Whose mention is a 
protection against whatsoever harm is on the Earth or in the Heavens. Verily, He 
is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.'

Fortune-telling is the belief that some people possess the ability of telling 
other people what will happen to them in the future by using magical or mystical 
methods. These rulings also apply to people who claim knowledge of the unseen, 
such as geomancers, palmists, shell-diviners, etc.

A fortune-teller uses devils who eavesdrop in the Heavens; Allah says in the 
Qur'an: 'Shall I inform you (O people!) Upon whom the devils) descend' They 
descend on every lying, sinful person. Who lends an ear (to the devils and they 
pour what they may have heard of the Unseen from the angels), and most of them 
are liars.' (26:221-223)

This knowledge of what the angels may have said is then passed to the people who 
are often prepared to believe what the fortune-teller says. The problem is that 
what people believe is true, has been embellished or changed, omitting the 


Fortune-telling is considered 'Shirk Akbar' (the major and serious form of 
polytheism) for two reasons. First, it implies the acquisition of knowledge of 
the Unseen, which is unique to Allah, (alone). 'Say: 'None in the Heaven and the 
Earth knows the Ghaib (unseen) except Allah, nor can they perceive when they 
shall be resurrected.' (Qur?an 27: 65).

This means that any one who believes that he possesses such knowledge is 
certainly claiming the acquisition of a Divine attribute that Allah (alone) 
possesses. Second, it involves using devils and holding fast to them, a ritual 
that can only be perfected when the performer is in complete submission to that 
damned species. This is a form of polytheism.

The Danger of Attending Fortune-Telling Assemblies

In recent years, the number of fortune-tellers has dramatically increased, only 
being outnumbered by those who attend their assemblies and believe what they are 
told. Some people are fascinated and impressed by observing those who cannot 
miss the opportunity to make fortunes out of imparting their fabrications. 
People who attend fortune-telling assemblies are divided into three groups:

Those who go to fortune-tellers to ask them about the future without truly 
believing in their falsehoods and without having the slightest intention of 
disclosing their falsehood to the public. People in this group are sinful and 
their prayers are not accepted for forty days.

Those who believe in the prophecies of the fortune-tellers and go to ask them 
about the future. These people are regarded as disbelievers since they deny the 
truthfulness of the Qur'an: 'Say: None in the Heavens and the Earth Knows the 
Ghaib (Unseen) except Allah.' (27: 65)

Those who go to fortune-tellers and only ask them in order to examine the 
truthfulness of their prophecies; then disclose their deceit to the public. 
These types of people publicize that fortune-tellers only offer misguidance that 
can make believers go astray.

However, if someone uncertain that he is capable to take on such a task and 
accomplish it perfectly, he should not attempt it. Such a weighty undertaking 
could pose a risk to himself, and result in failure that may likely tempt people 
even further. 

From: Al JUMUAH VOL 12/13 ISSUE 12/1  


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