The Evil Eye – Fact not Fiction

Vol 3- Issue 4 The Evil eyeThe venomous glance, not alien to our society, is the evil eye (Nazr). It is centered on the belief that jealousy or praise can inflict misfortune. It is this very fear that causes many of us to go to great lengths for shielding ourselves and our children from its wrath. But how real is the threat of the evil eye? Is it an old wives’ tale? Superstition?

Belief in the evil eye is ancient. Reference to the evil eye is found on Babylonian clay tablets, the writings of Greeks and Romans, and in the Bible and Talmud. In Arabic, the evil eye is known as Al Ayn or Ayn Hasooda, but in Turkish – Nazar. In the United States and England, the evil eye is usually referred to as ‘overlooking.’

The concept of the evil eye is an established fact in Islam, thus, one should neither reject it nor consider it to be an erroneous impression or figment of imagination.

Abd Allah ibn Abbas (rta) reports that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The influence of an evil eye is a fact. If anything would precede the destiny, it would be the influence of an evil eye. And when you are asked to take a bath (for curing purposes), then you should take a bath.” (Muslim)

The concept and reality of the evil eye (Nazar) in Islam can also be understood from the advice given by Prophet Yaqub (as) to his sons, when they intended to enter Egypt: “O my sons! Do not enter by one gate, but enter by different gates, and I cannot avail you against Allah at all. Verily, the decision rests only with Allah. In Him, I put my trust and let all those that trust, put their trust in Him.” (Yusuf 12:67)
The majority of commentators of the Holy Quran explain that the reason, why Prophet Yaqub (as) advised his sons to enter by different gates and not one, was that they were all young, handsome, and healthy. He feared that when people would come to know that they all were brothers and sons of one father, they may become jealous; hence, there was the possibility of them being affected by Nazar.
The reality of Nazar is such that when one looks at something beautiful and is envious, Allah (swt) creates some sort of harm in that particular thing.

Measures to ward off the evil eye vary from culture to culture. For protecting the offspring, common in our society is the lining of black Kohl around the child’s eyes or putting a black spot on the child’s body. Peasant mothers spit in the faces of their children or dirty them with soil, in order to diminish the effects of the evil eye or flattery.  Popular, however, is making the children wear black threads, beads, amulets, talismans, and charms.

The use of protective amulets and charms is forbidden in Islam, because it is considered a form of Shirk (idolatry). As long as one, who wears a charm, believes that it will avert evil and bring good fortune, he has given this charm the power to cancel what Allah (swt) has already destined. Eventually, he will depend on it instead of Allah (swt).

Instead, Islam teaches Muslims to seek refuge and protection with Allah (swt) from the evils of envy. Besides the phrase Masha’aAllah wa la Kuwata illa Billah (whatever Allah wishes, and there is no power except with Allah), which protects from the envy of others, there are various supplications for warding off the effects of the evil eye.
Abu Said Al-Khudri (rta) said: “The Messenger of Allah used to seek refuge from the devil-Jins and the evil eye of the human being until the Muawwadhatayn (Al-Falaq and Al-Naas) were revealed. When they were revealed, he took them and left the other forms of supplications.” (Tirmidhi)

It has been reported by Ibn Sunni on the authority of Sahl ibn Hunayf who said: “The Messenger of Allah, when he used to fear of anything being afflicted with his eye, he used to say ‘Allah uma Barik fihi,’ and it did not harm anything.” (Nawawi)

Ibn Abbaas (rta) said: “The Prophet (sa) used to seek refuge with Allah for Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (rta). He said: ‘Your father [i.e., Ibrahim (as)] used to seek refuge with Allah (swt) for Ismail and Ishaq (rta) with these words: Aodhu bi kalimat Allah Al-tammah min kulli shaytanin wa hammah wa min kulli ‘aynin lammah (I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from every devil and every poisonous reptile, and from every bad eye).'”(Bukhari)

In the event of affliction by the evil eye, one should use the treatments recommended in Shariah. One of them is Ruqyah (spiritual healing). It consists of words said or written in the form of Dua or Dhikr for the purpose of protection or cure. It is sometimes accompanied with other actions, such as blowing or wiping over the thing to which it is applied.

The Prophet (sa) said: “There is no Ruqyah except in the case of the evil eye or fever.” (Tirmidhi) Jibreel used to do Ruqyah for the Prophet (sa) and say: “Bismillahi arqeeka min kulli shayin yudheeka, min sharri kulli nafsin aw aynin hasid Allah u yashfeek, bismillahi arqeek (in the name of Allah I perform Ruqyah for you, from everything that is harming you, from the evil of every soul or envious eye; may Allah heal you, in the name of Allah I perform Ruqyah for you).”

Secondly, if it is known or suspected that a person has been afflicted by the evil eye; it was narrated that Aisha (rta) said: “The man, who casts the evil eye, would be commanded to do Wudhu, and then the man, who was affected, would wash himself with (the water).” (Abu Dawood)

Prevention is better than cure. The evil eye is like an arrow, which comes from the soul of the one, who feels envy, towards the one, who is envied – sometimes it hits him and sometimes not. If the target is exposed and unprotected, it will be affected, but if the target is cautious and armed, the arrow will have no effect and may even come back on the one, who struck it. These are some of the Duas and treatments, which offer protection – by Allah’s (swt) leave – from the evil eye and from destructive envy (Hasad). We ask Allah (swt) for His protection. Allah (swt) knows best.

Ummul-Mumineen – Khadijah (rta)

Ummul-MumineenPersonal details

Name: Khadijah Al-Kubra bint Khuwalid

Kunniyat: Umm e Hind

Title: Tahira

Father: Khuwaylid bin Asad

Mother: Fatima binte Zaida

Clan: Banu Hashim

Tribe: Quraish, Banu Asad

Birth: 555 AD

Death: Ramadan, 620 AD

When we look at Hazrat Khadijah (rta) beyond statistics, we see an extraordinary person.  She stands out in Islamic history not only for her loving support to her husband, but because her very existence continues to defy popular perceptions of women’s roles in Islam. She was not a woman, who was oppressed, submissive or subjugated.

She was born, when female infants were often buried alive and women were treated as a commodity. Allah (swt) gave her extraordinary character and superior business acumen. She became the richest merchant in the whole Makkah and was hailed as the Princess of Makkah and the Princess of the Quraish. Yet, she did not indulge in the frivolous decadence of Makkan high society. Her humanitarian efforts in aiding the poor, widows, orphans, the sick, and disabled earned her the title of Al-Tahira, the pure one.

Khadijah (rta) was wealthy and accomplished, but also twice widowed. She was 40 years old, when she married the future Prophet of Islam (sa), 15 years her junior. She recognized his trustworthiness and high moral standards and proposed to him herself. He accepted.

The marriage of Khadijah (rta) and Muhammad (sa) is a model for us. It was one of extraordinary love, commitment, and mutual respect. For 24 years Khadijah (rta) was the love of Prophet’s (sa) life as well as his strongest supporter and confidante. It is one of the greatest love stories of all times and a proof of Islam’s human essence.

When the Prophet (sa) received his first message from Allah (swt), he was troubled and anxious. Its impact was so nerve wrecking that he rushed home shivering. He said to Khadijah (rta): “Cover me, cover me!” She shielded him in her lap, listened to his account, and assured him of his Prophet (sa) hood. She recounted to him the excellence of his character as reason that Allah (swt) could not forsake him.

The fact that Allah (swt) placed a woman in this position and made her the vessel through which the Prophet (sa) was comforted and assured is the evidence of the role of women in the spread of Islam.

An African-American Muslim scholar Precious Rasheeda Muhammad says: “I am convinced that Khadijah (rta) was given such a conspicuous role in the advent of this religion, so that there could never be a mistake about Islam’s intention toward women and its deference for the depth of their intellect, the scope of their piety, and the possibilities for their humanity.”

Karen Armstrong writes: “Islam can be said to have come to birth in the arms of a loving woman.” She was the first woman to embrace Islam and bear witness to the Oneness of Allah (swt) and that Muhammad (sa) was His messenger.

Long after her death, Muhammad (sa) said of Khadijah (rta): “She believed in me, when all others disbelieved; she held me truthful, when others called me a liar; she sheltered me, when others abandoned me; she comforted me, when others shunned me; and Allah granted me children by her, while depriving me of children by other women.”

Despite her wealth and social position, Khadijah (rta) chose to look after her husband’s needs herself. She did not have any ego issues about caring for her family. She had six children with the Prophet (sa). She was also the first Ummul-Mumineen, a designation given in the Quran to all the wives of the Prophet (sa).

Such was the measure of her faith that she gave all she had for the cause of Islam. The woman, who had once owned herds of animals, priceless heirlooms, silver, gold, and so much more, was buried in one of the Prophet’s (sa) own garments, because there was not enough money left to buy her a shroud.

She never once let the believers down. When the growing community of new Muslims were ridiculed, tortured, deprived of their pay, and ostracized by their families, Khadijah (rta) used her resources to clothe, feed, and shelter them.

When the Prophet’s (sa) clan of Hashim and that of Al-Mutallib, who supported his right to proclaim Islam, were exiled for a number of years, Khadijah (rta) chose to accompany her husband. She is said to have never complained about the extreme weather conditions, poor shelter, and lack of food. Instead, she gave selflessly, providing food and water for the exiled community. Khadijah (rta) died shortly after the banishment ended, as a result of the strain these conditions had put on her aging body. She had been a cultivated woman accustomed to great comfort, and she wasn’t used to such deprivation.

The Prophet (sa) considered her one of the four most perfect women in all of human history along with Maryam (as), the mother of Isa (as), Asiya binte Imran, the wife of Pharoah, and Fatimah (rta) binte Muhammad (sa).

A woman of substance – Khadijah’s (rta) life is an inspiration for all women, who aspire to balance their careers and family life. We need to look up to her, examine her relationship with the Prophet (sa), and see, how we can apply her values in our lives.