Is chemistry different from alchemy?

Question: I have read in some books that Al-Kimya’ i.e. chemistry; is a type of magic. Is this right? I also heard about a book written by Ibn Al-Qayyim, entitled: Butlan Al-Kimya’ Min Arba`ina Wajhan. I wonder whether it is unlawful to conduct experiments at schools and universities to study the elements and materials since chemistry is said to be a type of magic. I have conducted some experiments at school and found no aspect of magic therein unlike the intervention of Jinn (creatures created from fire), use of talisman, etc. Please advice.

Answer: The science of chemistry taught to students at schools is totally different to the alchemy that is regarded as an unlawful practice by scholars. They consider alchemy a type of magic, warn people against, and cite religious evidence in support of its invalidity… read more here.

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Learning Sihr (witchcraft)

Question: I heard someone saying: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Learn Sihr (witchcraft), but do not practice it.” Is this a Hadeeth Saheeh (a Hadeeth that has been transmitted by people known for their uprightness and exactitude; free from eccentricity and blemish)?

Answer: To the best of my knowledge, this is a Hadeeth Mawdoo` (fabricated Hadeeth) that has not been reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him)… read more here.

Hadeeth: “Learn Sihr (witchcraft), but do not practice it.”

Question: What is the meaning of “Learn Sihr (witchcraft), but do not practice it,” because some people say it is a weak Hadeeth?

Answer: It is illegal to learn Sihr whether to use it or protect yourself by it. Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) mentions in the Qur’aan that learning it is an act of Kufr (disbelief)… read more here.

Hadeeth: “Learn Sihr (witchcraft), but do not practice it.”

Question 61: What is the degree of authenticity of the following Hadeeth: “Learn witchcraft but do not practice it?

Answer: This Hadeeth is not Saheeh (authentic)… read more here.

What is the ruling on going to soothsayers and diviners?

Question 350: What is the ruling on soothsayers and diviners who claim to have knowledge of all things? Sometimes we ask them about a lost item and they may give us true information about it.

Answer: It is not permissible to visit, consult, or believe soothsayers and diviners. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, If anyone resorts to a diviner or a soothsayer and believes in what he says, then he will be a disbeliever in what was revealed to Muhammad. He (peace be upon him) also stated, Anyone who visits a diviner and asks him about anything, his prayers will not be accepted for forty nights. Related by Muslim in his Saheeh (authentic) Book of Hadeeth. By their claim of the knowledge of the Ghayb (the Unseen), diviners and soothsayers have disbelieved in Allaah the Almighty and left the pale of Islaam, as knowledge of the Ghayb is exclusive to Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He). He (Glorified be He) states, Say: “None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghayb (Unseen) except Allaah” He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also states, “(He Alone is) the All-Knower of the Ghayb (Unseen), and He reveals to none His Ghayb (Unseen).” Except to a Messenger (from mankind) whom He has chosen (He informs him of unseen as much as He likes)... read more here.

What is the ruling on employing Jinn to cure diseases?

Question 349: Some people employ the help of Jinn (creatures created from fire) to cure diseases claiming that their patients are possessed, and they earn money from this occupation. What is the Islaamic ruling on this? Is it Halaal (lawful) or Haraam (prohibited)?

Answer: It is not permissible for Muslims to employ the help of Jinn for any reason, because the Jinn will never serve humans unless the latter obey them by committing acts in disobedience of Allaah, Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship), and Kufr (disbelief). Allaah (Exalted be He) states, ‘And verily, there were men among mankind who took shelter with the males among the jinn, but they (jinn) increased them (mankind) in sin and transgression. He (Exalted be He) also states, And on the Day when He will gather them (all) together (and say): “O you assembly of jinn! Many did you mislead of men,” and their Awliyaa’ (friends and helpers) amongst men will say: “Our Lord! We benefited one from the other, but now we have reached our appointed term which You did appoint for us.” He will say: “The Fire be your dwelling-place, you will dwell therein forever, except as Allaah may will. Earnings from this work are Haraam. Being possessed by Jinn or afflicted with other diseases can be treated by the Qur’aan, prescribed Du`a’ (supplications), and medication administered by reliable specialists of sound Eemaan (faith)... read more here.

Reading horoscopes published in the newspapers and magazines?

Question 348: What is the ruling on reading horoscopes published in the newspapers and magazines and believing in what they say?

Answer: Depending on astrology and horoscopes to know the future counts as an act of Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship) committed by the early Magians, the disbelieving philosophers and their kind. Claiming knowledge of the future means knowing about the Ghayb (the Unseen), which counts as major Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship that takes the Muslim out of Islaam) and violation of Allaah’s Command. This act is falsehood and deceit to usurp people’s money and corrupt their beliefs.

Accordingly, it is not permissible to publish, cast a look in, promote or believe in horoscopes, as this counts as a form of disbelief and goes against Tawheed (monotheism). Every Muslim should be careful of and give up these matters and depend on Allaah (Exalted be He) in all affairs... read more here.

Going to soothsayers or their likes who request a sick person to slaughter any animal

Question 347: A healer requests a sick man to bring a she-camel whereby he walks around with all his children four or seven times after gathering them in the house, then, slaughters it. The sick man is supposed to remain in the she-camel’s blood for a period of time. Is this action Haraam (prohibited)? Is it permissible to eat from the she-camel’s meat, knowing that they pronounced the Name of Allaah upon slaughtering it? Please, advise. May Allaah reward you with the best!

Answer: A sick Muslim is permitted to seek treatment through Islaamically lawful Ruqyah, which involves recitation of Aayaat of the Qur’aan and invocations reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him). He may also resort to lawful medicines.

However, visiting soothsayers or the like who request the sick to slaughter a she-camel, a sheep, a chicken, or any animal is not permissible. This is because slaughtering is an act of worship that must be dedicated to Allaah Alone. Allah (Exalted be He) states, Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “Verily, my Salaah (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists). He has no partner. 

It is not permissible to eat from this camel’s meat even if the Name of Allaah is mentioned upon slaughtering, because it was slaughtered for the sake of other than Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) – an act which is considered major Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship that takes the Muslim out of Islaam) that takes the doer out of the pale of Islaam... read more here.

What is the ruling on seeking the help of Jinn to cure sorcery?

Question 346: Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship) is a widely spread phenomenon in the town where I live. People practice charlatanry, Sihr (sorcery), and seek help from the Awliyaa’ (pious people). I read a book entitled “`Ilaaj Al-Umur Al-Sihriyyah” (How to treat matters related to sorcery) and another book entitled “Al-Shirk wa Mazhaahiruhoo” (Shirk and its manifestations) in which I found a number of Saheeh (authentic) Hadeeths which permit practicing Ruqyah (reciting Qur’an and saying supplications over the sick as a cure). I have, thus, practiced Ruqyah and because of the many patients afflicted with possession and Sihr, I have been practicing it day and night. Am I permitted to seek the help of Jinn (creatures created from fire) to get rid of Sihr or even to order the jinnee to search for hidden amulets?

Answer: It is not permissible to seek help from the Jinn and those who are not in someone’s reach. This is Shirk as it is an act of worship that should be dedicated to Allaah Alone, not to any person, jinn, angel, or any other being. A living person who is capable of providing assistance may be sought to help in agriculture, construction, combating enemies, etc. The Jinn, on the other hand, must not be sought for help whether they are reachable or absent. This is because Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He)states, You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, “If you need assistance, supplicate to Allaah Alone for help.”... read more here.

Is it permissible to take medication prescribed by sorcerers without going to them?

Question 345: I certainly know that going to a sorcerer is absolutely forbidden. However, I hear that there is a sorcerer who prescribes useful medication for people. Is it permissible for me to use this medication without going to this man? It is worth mentioning that the composition of this medication is unknown to me.

Answer: It is not permissible to take medication prescribed by sorcerers, even if you do not go to them. The sorcerers commit unlawful acts and seek help from the devils. There is no good in them or in their medication... read more here.

How can a person totally recover from sorcery’s effect?

Question 344: How can a person get rid of Sihr (sorcery)? Indeed, the woman affected regularly recites Adkaar (invocations) and her Wird (portion of Qur’aan recited with consistency). Also, a Ruqyah (reciting Qur’aan and saying supplications over the sick seeking healing) has been recited over her but the signs of Sihr are still apparent, as food and water accumulate by the end of the Pharynx. Whenever she reads certain Aayaat to ward off Sihr, she feels itching. Kindly, give us the legal opinion in this regard. We hope that the person who provides the answer practices Ruqyah himself.

Answer: Removing Sihr is permissible by the Qur’aan and the legal formulae of supplications as well as the permissible medicines. This should be repeated until the person affected by Sihr is cured by Allaah’s will... read more here.

What is the ruling on learning sorcery for treating those bewitched?

Question 343: What is the ruling on learning sorcery for the purpose of treating those affected by magic?

Answer: It is not permissible to learn sorcery whether for the purpose of breaking a spell affecting a person or treating diseases... read more here.

Using jinn and conjuring them by means of supplications and charms

Question 96: What is the phenomenon of conjuration, which is belief in the possibility of conjuring the spirit of a dead person through a medium? What is the attitude of Islam toward this phenomenon? Is it a true phenomenon? Please support your answer with Aayahs, Hadeeths or authentic narrations.

Answer: This phenomenon is the known practice of using a Jinn (creature created from fire) and conjuring it by means of invocations and charms practiced by a conjurer. It is a kind of charlatanry and witchcraft, which is Islaamically forbidden because it often involves Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship), lying, pretension of knowing the Ghayb (the Unseen) and other evils. Allaah (Exalted be He) says: ‘And verily, there were men among mankind who took shelter with the males among the jinn, but they (jinn) increased them (mankind) in sin and transgression. He (Glorified be He) also says: O you assembly of jinn! Many did you mislead of men,” and their Awliyaa’ (friends and helpers) amongst men will say: “Our Lord! We benefited one from the other, but now we have reached our appointed term which You did appoint for us.” He will say: “The Fire be your dwelling-place, you will dwell therein forever, except as Allaah may will. Certainly your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing.” And thus We do make the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoerss) Awliyaa’ (supporters and helpers) of one another (in committing crimes), because of that which they used to earn. Al-Bukhaaree related in his Saheeh (authentic) Book of Hadeeth on the authority of Aboo Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: When Allaah decrees a matter in the heaven, the angels beat their wings in complete submission to His Words, making a sound like chains being dragged on a smooth rock; it (the order) includes them all: So much so that when fear is banished from their (angels’) hearts, they (angels) say: “What is it that your Lord has said?” They say: “The truth. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.” Then the stealthy listeners (devils) hear this, and these stealthy listeners are like this, one above the other (Soofyaan – a sub-narrator – demonstrated with his hand, holding it vertically with the fingers outspread). A stealthy listener hears a word which he conveys to that which is below him and the second conveys it to that which is below him, and so on until it is cast on the tongue of a wizard or foreteller. Sometimes a burning flame may strike him before he can convey it, and sometimes he may convey it before the flame strikes him. Then he (the wizard or foreteller) adds to that word a hundred lies. The people then say, ‘Did he (the wizard or foreteller) not tell that on such and such a day, such and such would happen?’ Thus, he is believed because of that word which was overheard from the heaven.... read more here.

Sufi Tariqahs and Charlatanism (piercing the body with skewers, eating glass, and stabbing with daggers)

Question 95: There are many followers of Sufi Tariqahs (orders) these days who perform questionable acts, such as hitting the sick with Al-Shish (a thin iron stick) to cure them, eating glass, and piercing themselves with daggers. What is the legal ruling on these acts, bearing in mind that they claim to be Allaah’s Awliyaa’ (pious people) and consider such acts as Karaamahs (extraordinary events performed by a pious people)?

Answer: These acts are charlatanry or magic, and are used as means to deceive people; they are therefore Haraam (prohibited). It is obligatory for those in authority, whether they are scholars or rulers, to renounce and put an end to these things. These odd activities are not Karaamahs produced by Allaah (Exalted be He) through his believing Awliyaa’ to honor them, nor are they indications of the righteousness of those who produce them. This is because the Awliyaa’ of Allaah are those who have Eemaan (Faith) and Taqwaa (fear of Allaah as He should be feared) and are known for their obedience to Allaah and His Messenger. As Allaah (Glorified be He) says: No doubt! Verily, the Awliyaa’ of Allaah [i.e. those who believe in the Oneness of Allaah and fear Allaah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which he has forbidden), and love Allaah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve. Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allaah – Islaamic Monotheism), and used to fear Allaah much (by abstaining from evil deeds and sins and by doing righteous deeds).... read more here.

Visiting those who claim to know the (ghayb) Unseen knowledge

Question 94: What is the ruling on sending a piece of clothing or a shirt to those who claim knowledge of the Ghayb (Unseen) to use for determining an ailment and prescribing suitable treatment?

Answer: It is Haraam (prohibited) to consult those who claim knowledge of the Ghayb. It is not permissible to send to them a piece of clothing, a shirt, or anything else. It is also Haraam to believe what they say, according to the Saheeh (authentic) Hadeeth that have been reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this regard... read more here.

Visiting the soothsayer for the sake of treatment

Question 93: What is the ruling on visiting the soothsayer for the sake of treatment?

Answer: It is prohibited to go to soothsayers for the sake of treatment and the like even if someone believes that the cure is from Allaah Alone and visiting soothsayers is only a means. This is proved by explicit and authentic evidence reported in this regard... read more here.

Visiting the one who sometimes tells about the place of stolen objects

Question 92: Sometimes we lose a sum of money or gold in the house and we think it has been stolen. We go to someone called “Al-Mukhbir” (one who gives the news of things) i.e. the soothsayer, and explain to him what has happened. He gives us glad tidings. Sometimes, what we lost is returned and sometimes it is not. What is the ruling on going to such people?

Answer: It is not permissible to go to him because he is a soothsayer. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited going to soothsayers and their like to ask them anything or believe in them... read more here.

Seeking help of the Jinn to harm other people or asking for their protection against the evil of other people

Question 91: What is the ruling on Tandheer (Invoking Jinn and devils against someone to do him harm) like saying, “Take so-and-so” or “Harm them”? What is the ruling on someone who does that? I heard someone say that whoever seeks the help of the Jinn, their Salaah (Prayer) and Sawm (Fast) will not be accepted. In addition, when they die, funeral prayer should not be offered for them, their funeral should not be followed and they should not be buried in the Muslim graveyards.

Answer: Seeking the help of the Jinn and turning to them to fulfill someone’s needs, such as asking them to harm or benefit a person, is an act of Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship). It is a kind of mutual benefiting between Jinn and mankind; the Jinn fulfill the human’s needs and in return they get the human’s veneration, trust, and reliance. Allaah (Exalted be He) says, And on the Day when He will gather them (all) together (and say): “O you assembly of jinn! Many did you mislead of men,” and their Awliyaa’ (friends and helpers) amongst men will say: “Our Lord! We benefited one from the other, but now we have reached our appointed term which You did appoint for us.” He will say: “The Fire be your dwelling-place, you will dwell therein forever, except as Allaah may will. Certainly your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing.” And thus We do make the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers) Awliyaa’ (supporters and helpers) of one another (in committing crimes), because of that which they used to earn. Allaah (Exalted be He) also says, ‘And verily, there were men among mankind who took shelter with the males among the jinn, but they (jinn) increased them (mankind) in sin and transgression. Therefore, seeking the help of the Jinn to harm others or asking for their protection against others’ evil is an act of Shirk. Whoever does so, their Salaah and Sawm will be nullified; for Allaah (Exalted be He) says, If you join others in worship with Allaah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers. Anyone who is known for doing so, funeral prayer should not be offered for them, their funeral should not be followed and they should not be buried in the Muslim graveyards... read more here.

If a soothsayer or a diviner dies while known to be in that state of claiming to know the Unseen

Question 90: When a baby is born, the father calls one of the shaykhs to foretell the newborn’s future through signs of zodiac and consult on its name. If a suggested name suits the baby’s future, the shaykh will be silent, otherwise he will ask for it to be changed, and it often happens that people here end up with multiple names. It is authentically related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered some offensive names to be changed; if a name is not offensive, is it permissible to change it?

Answer: Firstly: It is not permissible to foretell the future; it is regarded a type of soothsaying. It is also not permissible to change a name if it does not suit predictions, as this involves believing in soothsaying and what soothsayers do.

Secondly: It is permissible to change offensive names, following the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). There is also no harm in changing them even if they are not offensive, if it is not connected with its suitability for a child’s future or any other similar reason, provided that it does not lead to the loss of anyone’s rights... read more here.

Predicting future through zodiac signs

Question 89: When a baby is born, the father calls one of the shaykhs to foretell the newborn’s future through signs of zodiac and consult on its name. If a suggested name suits the baby’s future, the shaykh will be silent, otherwise he will ask for it to be changed, and it often happens that people here end up with multiple names. It is authentically related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered some offensive names to be changed; if a name is not offensive, is it permissible to change it?

Answer: Firstly: It is not permissible to foretell the future; it is regarded a type of soothsaying. It is also not permissible to change a name if it does not suit predictions, as this involves believing in soothsaying and what soothsayers do.

Secondly: It is permissible to change offensive names, following the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). There is also no harm in changing them even if they are not offensive, if it is not connected with its suitability for a child’s future or any other similar reason, provided that it does not lead to the loss of anyone’s rights... read more here.

Changing the offensive names

Question 88: When a baby is born, the father calls one of the shaykhs to foretell the newborn’s future through signs of zodiac and consult on its name. If a suggested name suits the baby’s future, the shaykh will be silent, otherwise he will ask for it to be changed, and it often happens that people here end up with multiple names. It is authentically related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered some offensive names to be changed; if a name is not offensive, is it permissible to change it?

Answer: Firstly: It is not permissible to foretell the future; it is regarded a type of soothsaying. It is also not permissible to change a name if it does not suit predictions, as this involves believing in soothsaying and what soothsayers do.

Secondly: It is permissible to change offensive names, following the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). There is also no harm in changing them even if they are not offensive, if it is not connected with its suitability for a child’s future or any other similar reason, provided that it does not lead to the loss of anyone’s rights... read more here.

He who claims that he knows the ghayb (unseen knowledge) be it by sand reading, reading in a certain book, astrology, or seeking the help of the Jinn

Question 87:  If a person is afflicted by Sihr (witchcraft), is it permissible for them to go to a sorcerer to remove it?

Answer:  This is not permissible, and the basic ruling on it finds its origin in the Hadeeth reported by Imaam Ahmad and Aboo Daawood on the authority of Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with them) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) was asked about Nushrah (undoing a spell by means of another spell). He (peace be upon him) replied, ‘It is from the work of Satan.’ Natural and medicinal remedies and the supplications prescribed in Sharee`ah (Islaamic law) are sufficient. There is no disease for which Allaah has not also sent down the cure; some people know the cure while others do not. The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) ordered us to seek treatment, but he (peace be upon him) prohibited being treated with unlawful things. He (peace be upon him) said: Seek treatment, but use nothing unlawful. It was also narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: Verily, Allaah does not make your cure in what He has prohibited to you.... read more here.

Consulting a saahir (sorcerer, magician) to cure sihr (magic, witchcraft or sorcery)

Question 86:  If a person is afflicted by Sihr (witchcraft), is it permissible for them to go to a sorcerer to remove it?

Answer:  This is not permissible, and the basic ruling on it finds its origin in the Hadeeth reported by Imaam Ahmad and Aboo Daawood on the authority of Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with them) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) was asked about Nushrah (undoing a spell by means of another spell). He (peace be upon him) replied, ‘It is from the work of Satan.’ Natural and medicinal remedies and the supplications prescribed in Sharee`ah (Islaamic law) are sufficient. There is no disease for which Allaah has not also sent down the cure; some people know the cure while others do not. The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) ordered us to seek treatment, but he (peace be upon him) prohibited being treated with unlawful things. He (peace be upon him) said: Seek treatment, but use nothing unlawful. It was also narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: Verily, Allaah does not make your cure in what He has prohibited to you.... read more here.