Magic and its Reality

Vol 3- Issue 4 Magic and It's reality

The mere mention of magic opens a Pandora’s Box of superstitions and hocus-pocus of all shapes and sizes. Because we do not understand the phenomenon, we apply our wildest imagination in an effort to comprehend it. Horror flicks, images of witches on broomsticks, and tales of Malang Babas further warp reality and feed a deviant human craving for the spooky.

Our ignorance has resulted in the establishment of a flourishing industry of unscrupulous profiteers, claiming to rid us of Kala Jadoo, Siflee Amals, evil spirits – you name it, they have it covered. For a hefty price, of course! They take advantage of hapless people, who are or think they are under the influence of magic, and are desperate, because they do not know how to deal with it. This business is lucrative. No wonder that we see professor so-and-so’s or Amil so-and-so’s ‘shops’ in most localities, ads in newspapers, and business cards distributed at traffic signals, claiming Roohani Ilaaj (spiritual healing). Seriously misguided people use magic to harm others, not caring for the consequences.

But we cannot conveniently act as victims. The reason this vicious cycle of fake exorcists, Taweez, Ganday, and other Shirk exists is because we allow it to. The rational way is to understand what magic is and how we can deal with it, without compromising our Iman.

Oxford dictionary defines magic as “the supposed art influencing the course of events by the occult control of nature or of spirits.”

The Quran and the Sunnah give us certain facts.

Fact: Al-Baqarah 2:102

They followed what Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaiman (Solomon). Sulaiman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they said: “We are only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” 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. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not.

Fact: Al-Baqarah 2:255 (Ayat Al-Kursi)

Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they will never encompass anything of His knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.

Fact: The Prophet (sa) was also afflicted with black magic. It has been related by Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Baihaqi, Tabarani, Hakim, and others on the authority of Aisha (rta), Zaid bin Arqam (rta) and Abdullah bin Abbas (rta).

When we analyze these facts together and consider them in the light of the Prophet’s (sa) experience and teachings, we can see a comprehensible picture.

Ayat Al-Kursi makes it clear that Allah (swt) is the Creator of all cosmos. Al-Khaliq. Each of His creations has particular characteristics. For example, fire burns; however, what we need to realize is that it burns, when Allah (swt) wills it so. Al-Qahhar. When Ibrahim (as) was thrown in it, Allah (swt) seized fire’s ability to burn.

Similarly, amongst Allah’s (swt) creation are human beings, animals, Jinns, and Shayatin. He has chosen to give different faculties and capabilities to each of them, and their power is relative to each other. An elephant is stronger than us, a snake bite can be fatal for us, and tiny bacteria can cause havoc in our bodies. Since there is a scientific rationale for these, we are not threatened and stay firmly on top of the food chain.

On the other hand, Jinns and Shayatin are not from our dimension, and Allah (swt) has given them abilities that seem supernatural to us. For example, some of them can transcend the time and space we are familiar with. The Shayatin take advantage of their peculiar powers to misguide some people into practices of total Shirk and the occult. When we are oblivious to the light and guidance of the Quran, the vacuum gets filled by Shaitan. That is what we call magic, Sihr in Arabic. It is not an autonomous force or a power beyond Allah’s (swt) Supreme authority. Read Ayat Al-Kursi again.

Magic is a psychological phenomenon, which can affect the body through the mind just as physical things affect the mind through the body. Fear, for instance, is a psychological phenomenon, but it affects the body: the hair stands up and the body shudders. Magic does not change reality, but under its influence our mind and senses feel, as if reality has changed. The staffs and cords thrown by the magicians at Moses (as) did not actually become snakes – the eyes of people and Moses (as) were so bewitched that they felt, as if they were snakes. (Al-Araf 7:116)

There is nothing spiritual or religious about it either. It is a practice used to harm and exploit and nothing else. The distinction between ‘black magic’ and ‘white magic a la Harry Potter’ is simply fiction. A dangerous one, in fact, because it glamorizes a great sin. It is clear from Al-Baqarah 2:102 that practicing magic is strongly condemned and is called Kufr (disbelief).

According to Abu Hurairah (rta), the Prophet (sa) said: “Avoid the seven most grievous sins.” (The hearers) asked: “What are they?” He replied: “Shirk, magic, killing without just cause, consuming the property of an orphan, devouring usury, fleeing on the day of fighting, and slandering chaste believing women.” (Muslim)

Magic exists. However, we should be wary of quickly jumping to the conclusion that all misfortunes happening to us are connected with magic. Scholars and many Muslim experts in the field of exorcism believe that in over 95 % of cases, where magic is suspected, there is no such problem. It is mostly suspicion or some other physical or psychological problem that is attributed to magic. Having said that, we should remember the age old thumb rule – prevention is better than cure. Our Prophet (sa) has prescribed several defenses against magic and all other evils that may harm us.

When the Prophet (sa) felt the effects of magic, Allah (swt) revealed to him the Mu’awwidhatayn (Al-Falaq and  an-Nas), in which refuge with Allah (swt) has been sought from all evil. A Jew, Labid ibn Asim, took a hair of the Prophet (sa), made eleven knots, and placed it under a rock in a well. The effect of this was that it created uncertainty in the mind of the Prophet (sa), as to whether or not he had done something. This was confined to his person. No change occurred in the performance of his duties as a Prophet (sa). There is no tradition indicating that he forgot verses of the Quran in those days, or a change occurred in his counsels or sermons, or he presented a discourse as a revelation, which may not have been revealed to him, or he missed a prayer and thought that he had performed it.

Jibrail (as) informed the Prophet (sa) about what had happened and came down with the Muawwidhatayn (Al-Falaq and an-Nas), in which refuge with Allah (swt) has been sought from all evil. The Prophet (sa) went to the well with his Companions, retrieved the knotted hair, and untied the knots, while reciting each verse. At the eleventh knot, the effects of this magic were gone.

Every night at the time of going to bed (especially during illness), the Prophet (sa) used to recite the Muawwidhatayn (or according to another Hadeeth, the Muawwidhat, i.e.,  Ikhlas and the Muawwidhatayn) thrice, blow in his hands, and rub them on his body from head to foot, as far as his hands could reach.

Other authentic Ahadeeth recommend the recitation of Al-Fatiha, Ayat Al-Kursi, and last two verses of Al-Baqarah. The Prophet (sa) said that Al-Fatiha has a cure for all illnesses.

According to Abu Hurairah (rta), when one recites Ayat Al-Kursi before sleeping, Allah (swt) sends an angel to protect that person till dawn, and Shaitan does not come near him. (Bukhari) Another tradition says – he, who recites Ayat Al-Kursi in the morning, is protected till evening, and he, who recites it in the evening, is protected till morning from the evil of Jinns. (Hakim) For the one, who recites the last two Ayats of Al-Baqarah at night, they will suffice him. (Bukhari and Muslim)

The morning and evening invocations of the Prophet (sa) include recitation of the above Surahs and comprehensive Duas, seeking Allah’s (swt) protection from evil and His help for getting through the day and night. We must try to form the habit of reciting them after Fajr prayers and in the evening. It doesn’t take much time or effort, and the result is tremendous – the protection of Al-Hafiz.

Ultimately, we must remember the Prophet’s (sa) advice: “If you are mindful about Allah, He will be mindful of you, and if you are mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. When you ask for anything, ask it from Allah, and if you seek help, seek in Allah. Know that if the people were to unite to do you some benefit, they could benefit you only with what Allah had recorded for you, and that if they were to unite to do you some injury, they could injure you only with what Allah had recorded for you. The pens are withdrawn, and the pages are dry.” (Ahmad and Tirmidhi)

Muhammad bin Qasim

Vol 3- Issue 4 Muhammad Bin QasimMuhammad bin Qasim was a Syrian Arab born in 695 AC. His father died, when he was young, leaving Qasim’s mother in charge of his education. The Umayyad Governor Al-Hajjaj Bin Yusuf, a close relative of Qasim, was instrumental in teaching Qasim about warfare and governing.

In 712 AC, at the age of seventeen, he was sent by Hajjaj Bin Yusuf on the orders of Caliph Al-Walid to lead an army towards India, into a powerful state known today as the Sind and Punjab areas of Pakistan. Raja Dahir, the ruler of this state, was very arrogant and unjust. He had given shelter to a number of rebels against Islam and the Caliph. His army looted Muslim traders and took into custody their children and women. In the past, the Umayyad Caliph in Damascus had sent two expeditions to rid the people of this tyrant. But both times the expeditions had failed, and Raja Dahir’s atrocities continued to increase.

Muhammad Bin Qasim’s army of six thousand men was small, whereas the opposing army consisted of more than a hundred thousand men fully equipped with war elephants and an array of excellent archers. Raja Dahir’s usual tactics were to shut himself inside the invincible walls of Daybul, the capital city, and let the enemy exhaust itself and retreat, once all its arms and ammunitions were depleted.

Muhammad Bin Qasim and his army fought hard against all odds and within a short time managed to win eleven battles. They had two unique weapons of that time – a huge catapult and a fire ball. The former rained stones, while the latter fired on the enemy. The Muslim victory at Daybul is ascribed to the giant catapult named Uroos. A stone hurled by Uroos brought down the flag flying atop the biggest temple in the city. The besieged considered this to be a bad omen, came out into the open, and were captured by Qasim’s army.

After capturing Daybul, Muhammad Bin Qasim marched on and conquered numerous parts of the sub-continent, hence purging it of many Hindu tyrants and oppressors. He then proved his administrative skills by being a wise and just ruler for that state for almost two years. He was admired by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

After the death of Caliph Al-Walid, Muhammad Bin Qasim was called back by the new Caliph to Baghdad. The new Caliph was a cruel man, who became known for his harsh treatment of many famous Muslim generals and honorable persons, on the basis of personal enmity. He falsely accused Muhammad Bin Qasim of treason and put him in jail, where he was severely tortured, until he passed away at the age of twenty.

The success of the Muslim army was due to Muhammad Bin Qasim’s superior military leadership. The foundation of an Islamic State in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent was laid by this youngest conqueror in the world. His death was a great loss for all Muslims. He was greatly respected for his courage, determination, war tactics, and discipline. He was equally successful both in active warfare and in the times of peace.

Till today, Muhammad Bin Qasim is remembered and praised for the military exploits against the most formidable forces of the sub-continent. His victories form the golden chapters of the warfare history.

Response to Magic

role modelA bearded face and turbaned head with its tip ignited, passing for an ignited bomb; a scary-looking, long-bearded man dressed in white, waving a sharp sword. The world witnessed a chain reaction to these depictions and an outcry condemning this distorted imagery of a man, who was sent by Allah (swt) as a mercy to the mankind.

On the contrary, Prophet Muhammad (sa) was an exemplary human being, who returned the nasty actions carried out against him with lofty kindness. Today, he is alleged to having enforced barbaric punishments, such as having thieves’ hands amputated or adulterers flogged. How could it be that he forgave his personal enemies time and again, yet punished others publicly? The answer is twofold: as a Prophet, he had to enforce Islam’s judicial and legal system, as revealed to him by Allah (swt). When people transgressed Divine laws and limits, it was his duty to execute Divine justice. No legal system in the world lets off criminals, who commit heinous crimes. Once convicted, they have to pay the price. The same was true for establishing Islamic law enforcement in society.

Conversely, when dealing with his personal enemies, who constantly plotted vindictive actions against him, our Prophet (sa) never exacted revenge. He chose to forgive unconditionally. A total of seventeen attacks were made on his life, yet, in spite of knowing the perpetrators’ identities, he never took revenge against them although was able to.

It was narrated that Aisha (rta) said: “A spell was put on the Prophet (sa), until he imagined that he had done a thing, when he had not done it. One day, he made Dua and then said: “Do you know that Allah has shown me in what lays my cure? Two men came to me, and one of them sat at my head and the other at my feet. One of them said to the other: ‘What is ailing the man?’ The other replied: ‘He has been bewitched.’ ‘Who has bewitched him?’ asked the other. To this, the other responded: ‘Labeed ibn Al-Asam.’ ‘With what?’ continued the inquirer. To which came the response: ‘With a comb, the hair that is stuck to it, and the skin of pollen of a male date palm.’ Again the other asked: ‘Where is it?’ And the other revealed the place saying: ‘In the well of Dharwaan.’

The Prophet (sa) then went out to the well, came back, and said to Aisha (rta): ‘Its date palms are like the heads of devils.’ I said: ‘Did you take it out?’ He said: ‘No. Allah has healed me, and I feared that it might bring evil upon the people.’ Then the well was filled in.”(Bukhari and Muslim)

This Hadeeth indicates that the Prophet (sa) clearly knew, who had practiced magic upon him; yet, he turned only to Allah (swt) for cure and sought no revenge. Also, out of concern for the people, he did not extract the items used to execute the magic, lest their evil could affect others.

“Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow…” (Al-Ahzab 33:21).

In Taif, the Prophet (sa) first met the chiefs, whom he invited to accept Islam. They responded insolently, sending gangs to harass him. These youths followed the Prophet (sa) and ganged up on him. They proceeded to abuse him and throw stones at him, until his feet were covered in blood. They continued, until he was compelled to take refuge in an orchard. Downhearted, he turned to Allah (swt) in earnest Dua. Allah (swt) sent the angel of mountains, who sought the Prophet’s (sa) permission to fuse the two hills, between which Taif was located. The Messenger of Allah (sa) replied: “No, I hope Allah will bring forth from their loins a people, who will worship Allah alone, associating nothing with Him.” (Muslim)

“And verily, you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted (standard of) character” (Al-Qalam 68:4).

Anas (rta) reported that a Jewess came to Allah’s Messenger (sa) with poisoned mutton, and he ate from it. When he felt the effect of poison, he called for her and asked her about it, whereupon she said: “I had intended to kill you.” Thereupon, he said: “Allah will never give you the power to do it.” He (the narrator) said that they (the Companions of the Prophet (sa)) said: “Should we not kill her?” Thereupon, he said: “No.” He (Anas (rta)) said: “I felt (the effects of this poison) on the uvula of Allah’s Messenger.” (Muslim)

Despite the pain in his throat, as a result of her lethal action, and the subsequent confession of the Jewess herself, the Prophet (sa) did not have her executed for her crime.

These incidents are eye-openers for us. When our relatives do us even the slight of mischief out of enmity or jealousy, such as public insulting, backbiting, slandering, or cutting us off, we harbor a permanent grudge against them. More often than not, we return their actions with the same, if not ruder and more antagonistic behavior.

If a passerby gives us an involuntary shove, we turn around with glaring eyes and sharp rebuke ready to fight it out. Cursing and abusing others has become the norm in the face of any damage done unto us by fellow Muslims.

As a role model, Allah’s Messenger (sa) is a guiding light for us, despite the fact that mirroring his lofty conduct is unthinkable. It takes superhuman effort to extinguish the pain and anger, which flame in our heart after being wronged; to nip the Nafs that push us for  ‘sweet’ revenge; to forgive and to meet the wrongdoer the next time, as if nothing happened. This is the lesson that our benign Prophet (sa) left behind for us. He proved that it really is possible to forgive bloodthirsty archenemies in the blink of an eye.

“And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinn and all that exists).” (Al-Anbiya 21:107)

A scary face wearing a turban, pictured as a ticking bomb meant to kill innocents? I don’t think so.

Anybody Reading Anymore?

Vol 3- Issue 4 Anybody reading anymoreOne of the easiest means to gauge a nation’s reading habits is by its newspaper circulation. A leading Pakistani newspaper in the English language circulates approximately 50,000 copies in a month among a population of 160 million. Close to two hundred thousand copies are published of one of the prestigious Urdu dailies that claim the maximum readership in the country.

Today, subscribers of mobile phones, cable TV, and the Internet are setting unprecedented records, making investors in telecommunications very rich. It appears that Pakistan is a nation eager to jump into the age of technology without bothering to improve its intellect. Or is declined reading a worldwide phenomenon? Records state that China sells 82 million newspapers and thus is the country with the highest number of publications in the world. Japan follows with 70.8 million, then India with 57.84 million, and finally the United States with 55.18 million.

Readers can be divided into knowledge seekers and information acquirers. The above figures mainly reflect the information seekers. Today, most people get news from the headlines and are looking only for the icing on the cake. Knowledge has been replaced by information, which is quick and easy to get.

Considering the availability of countless audio and visual aids that match all needs, skeptics argue regarding the magnitude of reading today. Some schools have gone to the extent of replacing contemporary libraries with PCs rather than books. An educationist comments: “Reading print, blurs my eyes… I am so used to staring at my monitor!” Kids protest: “Books are boring and require patience. The gizmos provide us with information, entertainment, and lifestyle all in one go!”

Going back in time, the first of the Quran revealed was Al-Alaq, now the 96th in order. The Mighty words of Allah (swt) commanded the mankind: “Read in the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not…” (Al-Alaq 96:1-5).

Try figuring this out: Why did Allah (swt) insist on reading and highlight the pen among the rest of creations? Following is my humble analysis of this divine instruction.

Criteria for Reading

Many people mistake Al-Alaq for an unchecked freedom granted by Allah (swt) to read anything one pleases, as long as he or she is acquiring knowledge. Some excited mothers babble: “Thanks to Harry Potter, my kids have started to read!” It is worth to stop for a moment and ask ourselves: “Would Allah (swt) be equally excited to see us read Harry Potter of all the literary treasures available, even if it means developing a reading habit and enhancing imagination? So what, if it is all about magic, which is strictly forbidden by Allah (swt).”

Should we just throw out all our prized classics that we grew up reading? Not necessarily. All we need to do is ascertain the criteria. Who sets criteria for reading? Allah (swt), the Wise, has done so. Read all that is in agreement with Allah’s (swt) Divine Laws. Devour books that facilitate you to think, reflect, grow, and act with a sense of responsibility, whether you are a student, mother, doctor, technocrat or businessman. Knowledge and Allah’s (swt) Pleasure must go hand in hand.

Source of Life and Salvation

Today’s challenge is not in the lack of information, since mankind has never been more sophisticated resource-wise. The problem is that we choose not to read in the name of Our Lord – secular societies market the concept of godless education, which questions: “What’s the point of writing Allah’s (swt) name in a book of anatomy or business law?” Well, the point is to remind us that we are owned and watched by a Creator, Who wants us to excel in this world only the way He has desired us to. This is the only way the mankind will achieve its zenith instead of turning into animals.

The gap and imbalance between sacred and secular societies has turned many people into monsters. Huma Hassan a teacher of religion, suggests a parable – our connection with Allah (swt) can be described as that of a child connected to his mother through the umbilical cord, which is the child’s source of life and salvation. If we deliberately separate Deen (religion) and Duniya (worldly) knowledge, we end up turning into a Frankenstein.

Door to Knowledge

Allah (swt) has exalted the humankind with the blessing of being able to read and write. This prestigious status among the rest of Allah’s (swt) creations has to be maintained by investing time and effort.

Malcom X once said: “I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read evoked in me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”

Reading provides knowledge, which nurtures character. Despite reading being a dying habit, even now a well-read person commands respect and stands out in a crowd of countless. It is the power of knowledge that distinguishes him. Dr. Zakir Naik is my favourite role-model, who has never seized to amaze me with his extraordinary knowledge.

Provision of Employment

Not only did Allah (swt) teach us to read but also to write by using a pen, so as to provide further reading material. The goal was to empower. A popular saying goes: “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him forever.”

Reinforcing the same idea, a Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, an economist from Bangladesh, completely altered the way we look at the developmental economics. According to him, instead of providing funds to the developing countries, we should provide them with tools to make the money themselves. This is the concept of ‘agency’-the true empowerment of the people. The Quran advocated this concept 1400 years ago.

Knowledge Steering to Guidance

When Allah (swt) says that: “… It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah…” (Al-Fatir 35:28) it means that knowledgeable people are responsible and conscious beings. They are not heedless and impulsive. They fear the Creator’s Displeasure and make cautious decisions, accepting the responsibility of consequences.

Sadly, Pakistan today is a thoughtless nation that lives on whims and fancies. With no sense of direction or accountability, impulses drive us to the limits. Could it be so that we have shut our books and let our power of reason, reflection, and rationalization silently die out?

Means to Show Gratitude

Imagine your mind as a sponge that can absorb whatever you read. It then connects the words to your sense of understanding. This is an extremely complex process – people suffering from Dyslexia, a reading disorder, will vouch for that. Dyslexics struggle with words in spite of their average or above average intelligence.

In Mark Twain’s words: “The man, who does not read good books, has no advantage over the man, who can’t read them.” This is a blessing we should be thankful for and use it consistently to add value to our and other peoples’ lives.

Adding to Wonder, Beauty, and Focused Attention

Books, which spring from a writer’s imagination, set on fire the imagination of the reader and develop his sense of aesthetic. One can argue that all arts contribute to this sense; however, literature carries special significance.

Dana Gioia, NEA Chairman, can conclude this debate for me: “Reading develops a capacity for focused attention and imaginative growth that enriches both private and public life. The decline in reading… reflects a general collapse in advanced literacy. To lose this human capacity – and all the diverse benefits it fosters – impoverishes both cultural and civic life.”

Shaking Off Superstitions

Vol 3- Issue 4 Shaking off superstitionsIn the days before the mankind turned to the science for explaining and predicting incidents of life, superstitions thrived. A broken mirror, spilt milk, and flying birds all foretold destruction and misfortune. Although today we are seemingly more ‘enlightened,’ we still are not completely free from the urge to wear ‘the lucky shirt’ or follow ‘harmless rituals,’ in order to attain good luck before important events.

What makes man turn to such objects in hope of good fortune? 18th century naturalist Gilbert White observes: “It is the hardest thing in the world to shake off superstitious prejudices; they are sucked in as it were with our mother’s milk; and, growing up with us at a time, when they take the fastest hold and make the most lasting impressions, become so interwoven with our very constitutions that the strongest sense is required to disengage ourselves from them. No wonder, therefore, that the lower people retain them their whole lives through, since their minds are not invigorated by a liberal education, and, therefore, not enabled to make any efforts adequate to the occasion.” Yet many of the liberally educated carry a charm, including the famous J. D. Rockefeller, an American icon of American capitalism, who was known to treasure a hollow stone (called an ‘eagle stone’) believed to protect one from shipwrecks and other disasters.

Fear of misfortune and ignorance about the cause of calamities still allows superstitions to thrive, just as they did during the Age of Ignorance. With the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment, kindled by Islam, Prophet Muhammad (sa) refuted superstitions, stating: “Whoever lets Tiyarah (superstition) stop him from doing something is guilty of Shirk.” His companions asked: “What is the Kafaarah (expiation) for that?” He said: “To say: ‘Allaahumma la khayra illaa khayruka wa laa tayra illaa tayruka wa laa ilaaha ghayruka (O Allah, there is no good except Your good, no portent except Yours, and there is no God beside You).'” (Ahmad)

Why does a harmless action, such as knocking on wood, fall into the sin of Shirk? Simply because it ‘innocently’ claims to protect us from harm, which, in truth, can be averted only by Allah’s (swt) Decree. Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “Tiyarah (superstition) is a kind of Shirk and a way, in which the Shaitan influences and scares a person. It is very serious for the one, who takes it to heart and pays too much attention to it, but it is insignificant for the one, who pays no attention to it and is not concerned about it.”

Nowadays, superstitions take on a ‘religious colour’ – charms have Allah’s (swt) names or Ayats from the Quran on them. No heed is paid to the extreme dislike of the Prophet (sa) towards charms (Taweez) of any kind. He would even refuse to take the hand of those, who wore a charm and wished to pledge allegiance to him, saying: “Whoever wears an amulet has associated others with Allah (Shirk).”(Ahmad)

How can one overcome the desire to perform the traditional rituals of predicting good luck?

Entrust yourself to Allah (swt): “And put your trust (o Muhammad) in the Ever-Living One, Who dies not, and glorify His Praises, and Sufficient is He as the All-Knower of the sins of His slaves” (Al-Furqan 25:58). There is nothing wrong in having a bad feeling and it is advised that one should take precautions, in order to avoid foreseeable disasters. The Prophet (sa) clarified this, when he explained: “That (bad feelings) is something that any of you may feel in himself, but it should not stop you from doing anything.” (Muslim)

Know that everything happens by the will of Allah (swt): “No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfooz), before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah.” (Al-Hadid 57:22) Thus, neither walking under the copy of the Quran nor staying indoors during an eclipse can alter your destiny.

Sheikh Munajjid prescribes Istikharah: “This is one of the greatest forms of worship and is complete Tawakkul or dependence on Allah (swt). It is the alternative to Tatayyur and Tiyarah (superstitions). The Prophet (sa) used to teach his companions to make Istikharah for all their affairs, just as he used to teach them the Surahs of the Quran.” Furthermore, one can find many Duas to be said during the morning and night, asking Allah (swt) to protect us and sort our affairs.

Avoiding things associated with good or bad luck. When an incident occurs, it is difficult to shake off the nagging thoughts (often Shaitan’s whispering) connecting the situation with superstitions. A person once related, how he moved to a house, where his wealth and the family numbers diminished; our Prophet (sa) suggested they move away from it. (Abu Dawood) Al-Baghawi explains: “They did not like it and did not feel comfortable; if they moved, the things they were feeling would go away. (He did not tell them to move, because the house was the cause of the problems).”

Remember that “no fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Bukhari) Free yourself from the hold of superstitions and Shaitan’s teasing and rest assured that your destiny is in Allah’s (swt) hands.