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The Islamic view regarding belief in magic

By: Abdul Adheem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani
Question: My wife and some of my relatives believe in magic, jugglery, and the like. I did not believe in this and I would often say to them that they lived in superstitions. However, a little time ago, I began coming nearer to their beliefs when I saw some signs and heard some stories. What is the view of Islam regarding this matter, to which some Muslim families and communities and even some western people pay a great deal of attention, to a degree that they associate their unhappiness and wretchedness or happiness and success to it?
The answer: Magic and its likes, such as divination, jugglery, conjuration, and employing the jinn for bad purposes, are prohibited in Islam because they are based on lying, cheating, ill-gotten moneys, and neglecting reason and religion. There is no doubt that magic has an external influence on some people of weak, diseased hearts and much illusion. Allah says, (…they taught men sorcery… and from these two (angels) people learn that by which they cause division between man and wife; but they injure thereby no one save by Allah's permission).[210]
The wisdom of prohibiting magic is that when Allah the Almighty created man, He honored him with reason and invited him to use reason to build his life according to its guidance, whereas magic and other things like it contradict the high divine goal and make man and society live in ignorance and illusion away from the truth and the real facts.
Islam has contended against magic and declared that a magician must be killed if he does not repent. The money gained from magic is unlawful. Teaching magic, learning it, and taking wages for it are all unlawful[211].
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘He, who learns something of magic whether little or much, disbelieves…[212]’
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘A diviner is like a fortune-teller, and a fortune-teller is like a magician, and a magician is like an unbeliever, and the unbeliever will be in Fire.[213]’
If magic and its likes had no harmful effects, Islam would not have prohibited them. We do not say that magic has no effects, but one must seek the protection of Allah the Almighty from magic and its bad effects. Allah says in His Book, (So when they cast down, Musa (Moses) said to them: What you have brought is magic; surely Allah will make it naught; surely Allah does not make the work of mischief-makers to thrive. And Allah will show the truth to be the truth by His words, though the guilty may be averse (to it))[214].
This verse and what happened to Prophet Moses (a.s.) with the magicians shows that magic was practiced by the followers of the Devils, but Allah curbed it so that its influence would not reach those who believed and relied on Allah sincerely such as Prophet Moses (a.s.) and the believers whom the influence of magic and jugglery did not affect.
We conclude that when man believes in Allah with sincerity and certainty, magic and its like will not have any influence over him. If magic was able to have influence over anyone, the devils from the human beings and the jinn would do to the believers whatever they liked; however, we find the believers stronger than them, and, moreover, they are able to even annul the effects of magic on others by reciting some Qur’anic verses and certain supplications, through which they strengthen the spirit of a bewitched one and help him overcome the magic and the magician.
Dear brother, herein, I recommend you, your wife, your relatives, and whoever else experiences these fears with the following:
1. Connect yourselves to Allah sincerely, abide by the legal obligations, refrain from unlawful things, always be pure and always busy yourselves with the remembrance of Allah! Thus, you will protect yourselves from the evil whisperings of the Satan, from magic, and from every evil doing of man and the Devils.
2. Keep these ideas away from your minds as if they do not exist! Thinking of these matters in itself prepares the ground for such illusions and makes the soul fertile to receive misfortunes.
3. Try to keep away from enmities and from those who would use unlawful means to harm you!
4. Beware of those who deal with what are called “unusual sciences”, for they look forward to your money before they think of your treatment!
5. Always recite the Holy Qur'an and the supplications of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) inside your houses, and especially the ziyara of al-Jami’a al-Kabira, the ziyara of Ashura, the tradition of al-Kisa’, the Verse of al-Kursi (2:255) five times, and “astaghfirullah” (I ask Allah to forgive me) seventy times!
Notes:
[210] Holy Qur’an, 2:102.
[211] Some jurisprudents say that learning magic and teaching it for the sake of resisting it is possible, but they emphasize that those who learn magic must be pious so that their piety will prevent them from using magic for other purposes.
[212] Mizan al-Hikma, vol. 4 p.408.
[213] Mizan al-Hikma, vol. 4 p.408.
[214] Holy Qur’an, 10:81- 82.

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