Islam on Sorcery


All praise is due to Allah Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and I testify that Muhammad (ﷺ) is His servant and Messenger. O Allah! Bestow peace and blessings upon Your Messenger Muhammad (ﷺ), his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah and hold fast unto His Strong Rope and Straight Path and know that the most abominable of things is to disobey Allah. Be also aware that the greatest of all sins is the one greatest in consequence. Perpetrating major sins is tantamount to waging war against Allah and his Messenger (ﷺ). Sins differ in their consequences and punishments according to differences in their degree of contradiction of the purpose of creation and contrariness to the truth. In fact, Allah created the universe that He alone may be worshipped without associating any partners with Him. He created the Heavens and the Earth in truth and in order to reward each soul for whatever it earned. He has also reformed the Earth by sending Messengers and revealing books. Therefore, whatever runs in contrary to these great aims is an abominable sin before Allah, for which He has promised a severe punishment in this world and the next. That is why the act of associating partners with Allah in acts of worship is regarded to be the greatest of major sins and its punishment is the most severe. Allah says,

“Verily whoever sets up partners with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him and the fire will be his abode. And for the Zalimun (Polytheists, and wrongdoers) there are no helpers.” (Al-Maaidah 5:72).

Allah will also not accept intercession on behalf of one who associates partners with Him. This is because of the gravity of shirk.

Sorcery is one of the major sins, for it is disbelief in Allah and association of partners with Him. Allah has made it forbidden and the Messenger (ﷺ) seriously warned against it. Al-Bukharee and Muslim narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said, “Keep away from the seven destructive sins!” They said, “What are they, O Messenger of Allah?” He answered, “Associating partners with Allah; practicing sorcery; taking a life, which Allah has made forbidden except for a just cause (according to Islamic Law); eating Riba (usury) eating up an orphan’s wealth; fleeing from the battle field at the time of fighting (with the unbelievers); and accusing chaste women, who never think of anything that can touch their chastity and who are good believers, of fornication.”

Sorcery destroys good deeds of the sorcerer because it contains shirk, for one cannot become a sorcerer unless he has sought nearness to devils by obeying them, slaughtering for them, prostrating for a jinn, seeking aid from devils, calling unto them, urinating on a copy of the Glorious Qur’an, eating impure things, or perpetrating some other abominable acts. When he associates partners with Allah and obeys Satan, the jinn and devils will obey him, serve him and provide him with his need in return for his associating partners with Allah.

Further, the sorcerers always tell lies, have dirty minds and commit sins insolently. Allah says,

“Shall I inform you, (O people) upon whom the shayatin (devils) descend? They descend on every lying (one who tells lies), sinful person.” (Ash-Shuaraa 26:221-222)

Brothers in faith! Sorcery separates between husband and wife, between a son and his father, brother and friend. It dominates and weakens one’s will power thereby making the bewitched perceive the harmful things as useful and vice-versa. He sees undesirable things in his house and his family but would be unable to correct it because he has been dispossessed of his will power. Sometimes sorcery kills, makes one sick, damages one’s sense of reasoning, brings about delusive imagination, and destructive insinuation. However, all this happens by the permission of Allah and His will for nothing happens except by His will. Allah says,

“And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s leave.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 102)

Sorcery is widespread among ignorant women and some despicable and ignorant men who use this vicious means to win undue favour and inflict harm on others. As for the bewitched person, he is regarded as the wronged one and Allah will come to his aid. Ibn Abbaas reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He is not of us, the one who sees evil omens, or the one the one whose behalf they are seen, or the one who practices soothsaying, or the one on whose behalf it is practiced; or the one who practices sorcery, or the one for whom sorcery is done.” (At-Tabaraanee)

An-Nesaaee also reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whoever ties a knot and blows into it has practiced sorcery, and whosoever practiced sorcery has associated partners with Allah. Whoever wears anything for protection (i.e. talismans, pendants etc.) will be left in its care. As-Sihr (Sorcery) literally means something that is hidden and its cause is unknown. Islamically it means knots and shirk incantations that have impact on the victim’s mind or body. The Islamic rule regarding learning it and teaching it is that it is Kufr and going out of the fold of Islam, according to the authentic view of the scholars. Allah says,

“Sulaimaan did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved teaching men magic.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 102)

He also says in the same verse,

“And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the hereafter.”

He also says,

“And the magician will never be successful no matter what amount (of skill) he may attain.” (Taahaa 20: 69)

Sorcery according to the scholars does have a real impact with Allah’s leave. That is why Allah enjoined seeking refuge against it. As for the legal ruling concerning sorcerers in this world, they should be killed if evidence is established that they practice sorcery. That is the opinion of Abu Haneefah, Maalik, and Ahmed. Imam Ahmad said, “Capital punishment for the sorcerer has been authentically reported from three companions of the Prophet (ﷺ). It is reported from Umar that he wrote, “Kill every sorcerer and sorceress.” Bujaalah (a sub-narrator) said, “Then we killed three sorceresses.” It is also authentically reported from Hafsah (Prophet’s wife) that she ordered a maid of hers to be killed because she did sorcery on her.” Jundub bin Kaab was also authentically reported that he beheaded a magician who was playing his magic in front of Waleed and said, “Let him use his magic for his own benefit now.”

The Killing of sorcerers is for the purpose of protecting people from their harm and evil, in order to uproot all its manifestations from the Islamic society and to preserve the purity of Muslims’ belief, their intellect, and properties. Islam also encourages good and fights evil. Executing sorcerers is therefore the correct opinion of the scholars, even if he shows repentance because the companions did not ask the sorcerers to repent before they killed them. Further, most sorcerers are liars. If a sorcerer is given a chance to repent, he is unlikely to be truthful. If he is however truthful in his heart his repentance will benefit him before Allah but that does not save him from being executed because he has practised a malicious and wicked act.

Fellow Muslims! There are some ignorant people who do not have a clear perception of the lying and deceitful sorcerers and are confused by these devils’ acts, like flying in the sky, walking on water, healing the sick, or informing of hidden things and it becomes as said, thereby making these ignorant people believe falsely that the sorcerer is a Walee of Allah. It can even lead to worshipping him besides Allah and seeking his benefit and protection. The Islamic Shariah has however distinguished between friends of Allah and friends of Shaytaan. Friends of Allah are those who maintain the limits of Allah, adhere to his injunctions inwardly and outwardly and observe the prayer. Allah says,

“No doubt! Verily, the Awliyaa’ of Allah (i.e. those who believe in the oneness of Allah and fear Allah much; abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden, and love Allah much; perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained.), no fear shall overcome them, nor shall they grieve. (Those who believe in the Oneness of Allah), and used to fear Allah much (by abstaining from evil deeds and by doing righteous deeds.” (Yoonus 10: 52-63)

Further, it is not a prerequisite for being Allah’s Walee to perform supernatural acts which the ignorant people regard as miracles while they are satanic works in actual sense with which devils serve them in order to mislead people. Do not therefore be carried away by the feats of these magicians. If you look at their adherence to Islamic injunctions you will find that they do not attend Jumu’ah or congregational prayers; they do not listen to the Qur’an. They only spread immorality and listen to music. Allah says,

“They are the party of Satan. Verily, it is the party of Satan that will be the losers!” (Al-Mujaadalah 58: 19)

Regard those who perform such a supernatural acts as charlatans / swindlers who are disbelievers in Allah.

Dear brothers! There are others who are considered to be the same as sorcerers. These are soothsayers, fortune-tellers, and astrologers; and those who make writings on the sand. They all claim the knowledge of the unseen, thereby becoming kuffar. Allah says,

“Say: None in the heavens and the Earth knows the Ghaib (unseen) except Allah.” (An-Naml 27: 65)

Therefore, whoever believes them in their claim has also become a kaafir. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever visits a soothsayer and believes in what he says has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” (Abu Dawood)

Brothers in faith! Magical spells can be prevented by having trust in Allah, supplicating to Him, reciting the Qur’an and authentic adhkaar, perfection of Tawheed, keeping away from shirk and waging war against malicious people. Allah says,

“O you who believe! Enter perfectly in Islam (by obeying all the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion) and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan (Satan). Verily, he is to you a plain enemy.” (Al-Baqarah 1: 208)

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah, and know that Allah knows the secret and that which is hidden. He says,

“And obey Allah and the Messenger and beware and fear Allah. Then if you turn away then you should know that it is our Messenger’s duty to convey (the message) in the clearest way.” (Al-Maaidah 5: 92)

Fellow Muslims! Allah says,

“And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.” (At-Talaaq 65: 3)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Supplication benefits in things that have happened and things that have not yet happened.” As a measure of prevention from magical spell, the Prophet (ﷺ) enjoins reciting the Qur’an and doing Dhikr in the morning and evening. He said, “Recite Sooratul-Baqarah, for recitation of it is blessing and abandonment of it is a loss. The wicked people are incapable of doing anything for those who recite it.”

Magic and sorcery can also be prevented by burning its books and taking their case to the authorities in order to protect people from their evil deeds. Whenever a magical spell is established, the instruments of that spell should be burnt if they are found, as done by the Prophet (ﷺ) when Labeed ibn Al-A’sam, the Jew, did a magic spell on him. The Prophet brought the instrument of the spell out of B’ir dharwaan and burnt it.

As regards the cure of magic, it is constant supplication to Allah. Aa’isha said, “When a magical spell was done on the Prophet (ﷺ), he supplicated for a long while then said, “O Aa’isha, do you know that Allah has told me of the person who did the magic spell on me and He has healed me.?”

It should however be noted that the kind of magical spell that affected the Prophet (ﷺ) did not in any way affect his divine immunity or deliverance of his message. It was just a mere harm done to him from which Allah cured him.

Magical spells are also cured by continuous recitation of Sooratul-Faatihah, Sooratul-Falaq, Sooratun-Naas, Sooratul-Ikhlaas, and Aayatul-Kursi, for all these Soorahs weaken the effect of the spell whether it is recited by the victim himself or recited on him by a righteous person.

It is unlawful to cure one magical spell with another, for Allah does not allow the cure of this Ummah by that which He has forbidden them. Nevertheless, it is permissible to cure oneself of magical spells with lawful medicaments, herbs and the like.

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