It is the belief of every Muslim that there exists a unseen world, this world can affect the seen world. We can understand this from the Quran and the teachings of the Blessed Prophet (SAW), there are many incidents which show the unseen world affecting the seen world. The Prophet (SAW) has left us various actions which can safeguard a person from the adverse symptoms brought about by sinister unseen forces.
This article will address sorcery, or black magic, from the Quran and the Sunnah. This is by no means a comprehensive elucidation, rather it is a brief introduction to the realm of the unseen.
With anything, if one wishes to understand it then a definition must be provided. Many Scholars of repute have defined Sihr as such:
- “The basic meaning of Sihr is to make something appear in a form other than its real one” -Al Azhari (Tahdhibu Al-Lugha).
- “When a Sahir makes something false appear to be real, or makes something appear to people differently from its true form, it means that he has given an object a status other than its real one” -Ibn Mandhur (Lisaan Al-Arab).
- “Sihr is a set of Uqad (knots), Ruqa (incantations), and words uttered or written, or carried out in such a way as to affect the body of the subject (al-Mashur), his heart or mind, without even coming into contact with him/her. The reality of Sihr is that there are some types that can kill, cause one to fall ill, or act as an obstacle against a man having sexual intercourse with his wife. Other types can separate spouses, and can make them hate or love each other” -Ibn Qudama Al-Maqdisi (Al-Mughni).
- “Sihr consists of the effects of evil souls and the reaction of the resultant forces” -Ibn Al-Qayyim (Zaad Al-Ma’ad).
The action of Sihr is prohibited as our Prophet (SAW) has informed us, in a report by Abu Huraira (RA) he narrates, “The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Avoid the seven serious sins.’ People asked, ‘What are they?’ The Prophet (SAW) replied, ‘Shirk (polytheism), Sihr (sorcery), unlawful killing of a person, living on money from usury, usurping an orphan’s wealth, retreat at the time of Jihad, and accusing innocent married women of fornication.'” (Bukari) (Muslim) We can gauge the gravity of this sin when compared with the others in this narration, they are all grievous and cause mischief in the land. All of these have become rife in our society, is it any wonder that we are going through such testing times?
Many people deny the existence of Sihr, this is complete folly, Allah mentions this in the Quran: “And they followed [instead] what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, “We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic].” And [yet] they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife. But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allah . And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew.” (2:102)
This is undeniable proof that sorcery does in fact exist and it causes evil upon whoever it is cast upon. It has since been passed on through the generations, still sowing discord among the people. Here the verse describes one famous use of Black magic, that is the separation of man and his wife. This is a very serious outcome, as society is dependent upon successful marriages in order for peace and tranquility to manifest. Destroying the family unit is a specialty of Magicians, in fact destroying marriages in general is pleasing to Satan.
The negative ramifications of a broken marriage can be best understood from the jubilation felt by Satan (Iblees), it is reported by Jabir (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Verily, Satan places his throne over the water and he sends out his troops. The closest to him in rank are the greatest at causing tribulations. One of them says: I have done this and this. Satan says: You have done nothing. Another one says: I did not leave this man alone until I separated him from his wife. Satan embraces him and he says: You have done well.” (Muslim) We should constantly beseech Allah for pious spouses and successful marriages. It is unfortunate that many Muslims do not operate by the best of husbands example. The Prophet (SAW) should serve as the benchmark for all husbands to emulate.
When sorcery is mentioned in the Quran and Hadith it is this type of sorcery, where the magician seeks help from a Shayateen (evil Jinn/devil), the Jinn then stipulates certain polytheistic acts, which the magician must fulfill in order to get his request granted. We will not go into detail about what these actions of disbelief are, however they are detested and are forbidden in the religion.
This relationship between Jinn and some people has been mentioned is the Quran; “But there were certain men of mankind who would take refuge with certain men of the jinn, and they increased them in vileness.” (72:7) Here Allah explains these people rely on the Jinn, and due to this both parties are damaged spiritually. These people have been deluded as they have sought refuge from the creation and not the Creator. Regardless of the benefits they might attain in this world, their afterlife is a horrifying prospect.
We should remember that Sihr only happens with Allah’s permission, however anyone can be affected, no matter how pious they are, this can be seen in a narration where the Prophet (SAW) was affected by magic. Aisha (RA) reported that “A man known as Labid ibn al-A’sam from the tribe of Banu Zurayq performed Sihr on Allah’s Messenger (SAW) till Allah’s Messenger (SAW) started imagining that he had done something which he has not really done. One day or one night while he was with me, he invoked Allah for a long period, and then said, ‘O Aisha! Do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter i have asked him about? Two men came to me and one of them at near my head and the other near my feet. One of them said to his companion, ‘What is the disease of this man?’ The other replied, ‘He is under the effect of Sihr (Mashur).’ The first one asked, ‘Who did it?’ The other replied ‘Labid ibn al-A’sam.’ The first one asked, ‘What material did he use?’ The other replied, ‘A comb and the hairs stuck to it and the pollen of a male date palm.’ The first one asked, ‘Where is that?’ The other replied, ‘(That is) in the well of Darwan.’ So Allah’s messenger (SAW), along with some of his Companions (RA) went there and returned saying, ‘O Aisha, the colour of its water is like the infusion of Henna leaves. The tops of the date-palm trees near it are like the heads of devils.’ I asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger? Why don’t you show it (to the people)? He said, ‘Since Allah has cured me, I would not like to let evil spread among people.’ Then he ordered that the well be filled up with earth.” (Bukhari) (Muslim)
This Hadith refers to the Sihr that was done upon the Messenger (SAW). The Jews hired Labid ibn al-A’sam, one of the most skilled sorcerers among the Jews, to perform magic upon the Prophet (SAW), for three Dinars. To do this heinous act, it is believed that he obtained tufts of the Prophet’s (SAW) hair. He tied the hairs to knot, using his spell on it, and dropped it in the well. The Hadith also indicates that the Jews wished to kill the Prophet (SAW) through this magic, however, Allah protected him and reduced it to the least harmful type. This is a clear evidence that Sihr can affect anyone whom Allah wants, no one is exempt.
It was upon this incident that the two famous Surahs of the Quran were revealed one being Surah Al-Falaq: “Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak.From the evil of that which He created. And from the evil of darkness when it settles. And from the evil of the blowers in knots. And from the evil of an envier when he envies.” (113: 1-5) And the other being Surah an-Nas, “Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, The Sovereign of mankind. The God of mankind, From the evil of the retreating whisperer – Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind – From among the jinn and mankind.” (114: 1-6) These passages of the Quran have been described by many Scholars as the best defense against black magic, and as such should be recited often. They are used my many to counteract the negative effects of sorcery.
Now that we have proven Sihr as a reality through the Quran and Sunnah, the question remains, ‘How do we stay protected from it?’ The fist thing we must do is to beseech Allah to protect us, some Duas (Islamic prayers) have been prescribed to us by the Messenger (SAW), we should recite them in abundance:
Reciting: “أَعـوذُبِكَلِمـاتِ اللّهِ التّـامّـاتِ مِنْ شَـرِّ ما خَلَـق ”
A’oodhu bi kalimat-illah il-tammati min sharri ma khalaqa
(I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from the evil of that which He has created).” (Muslim)
Reciting: “أَعُوذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّةِ. مِنْ غَضَبِهِ، وَعِقَابِهِ، وَشَرِّ عِبَادِهِ، وَمِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ، وَأَنْ يَحْضُرُونِ”
A’oodhu bi kalimat-illah il-tammati min ghadabihi wa ‘iqabihi, wa min sharri ‘ibadihi wa min hamazat al-shayateeni wa an yahduroon
(I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from His wrath and punishment, from the evil of His slaves and from the evil promptings of the devils and from their presence).” (Tirmidhi)
Reciting: ” أَعُوذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّةِ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ وَهَامَّةٍ، وَمِنْ كُلِّ عَيْنٍ لَامَّةٍ”
A’oodhu bi kalimat-illah il-tammati min kulli shaytaanin wa haammah wa min kulli ‘aynin laammah
(I seek refuge with Allah’s perfect words from every devil and evil soul and from every evil eye.) (Bukhari).
Staying in a state of purity has been emphasised in the Sunnah and many Scholars opine that this will keep the filthy Jinn away from an individual. It is also imperative that we obey the commandments of Allah, as this will act as a natural defense against the dark arts. Having piety acts like an immune system to the evils of the unseen.
One measure that can be adopted is the consuming of seven dates every morning. The Prophet (SAW) said, “He who eats seven Ajwa dates every morning, will not be affected by poison or magic on the day he eats them.” (Bukhari) We should make these dates apart of our diet, it will provide us with the protection needed to go about our daily lives.
Another preventative measure is observing the prescribed prayers in congregation as this, secures a Muslim from Satan, neglecting this makes Satan dominate him and if Satan overpowers a Muslim then he will find it difficult to carry out the commandments of Allah. The Prophet has said “There are not three people in a town or in the countryside who do not observe congregational Salat, but that the Satan dominates them. Remain with the community, for the wolf seizes the solitary sheep moving away from the flock” (Bukhari).
Another step is observing optional prayer during the night (Qiyam-ul-Layl) as missing this virtuous act enables Satan to overpower the person this has been reported by ibn Mas’ud (RA), “When the prophet (saw) was asked about his opinion of a man who slept until Salat-ul-Fajr, without waking up for Qiyam-ul-Layl, he said that Satan urinated in the man’s ear”(Abu Dawud).
Additionally, one should seek refuge with Allah upon entering the toilet as this a filthy place, wherein evil Jinns dwell. When the Prophet (SAW) would enter the toilet he would say the following invocation “Allahumma inni a udu bika minal-khubthi wal-khaba’ithi.” (O Allah! I seek refuge in you from the male and female devils) (Bukhari)
One thing which many Muslims are involved in, which has also been chastised by the Prophet (SAW), is Astrology; Ibn Abbas (RA) reported: The prophet (SAW) said “A person who has acquired knowledge of one of the sciences of Astrology, has acquired knowledge of one of the branches of Sihr, and the more his knowledge of Astrology is enriched, the more expansive his knowledge of Sihr becomes.” (Abu Dawud) Unfortunately many Muslims have taken to superstition and abandoned the Sunnah, these superstitions are detrimental to spirituality and no good can come from them. Zodiac signs, clairvoyance, fortune-telling, and the like which have become common place are all contrary to the Religion. They should be avoided at all costs.
Allah safeguard us from Satan and his treachery. Allah keep us removed from sorcery and its various branches. Ameen.