In recent times the issue of black magic and its practise has become a major topic of discussion amongst the Muslim community, with many households under the genuine impression that they are the victims of the practise.
Too often nowadays people suffering from any number of issues automatically assume that someone has placed a hex or performed some form of magic upon them. Whether they are struggling to pass their exams, or driving test, or whether they are suffering from health or financial problems, the prevailing thought is that someone has gone out of their way to curse them, whilst completely discharging the possibility of any other influence.
Mental illnesses are and continue to be an ever increasing problem amongst Muslims, with many people still ignorant of the symptoms and problems associated to them. The belief amongst some Muslims is that these problems can be cured through religious means, so other avenues are completely ignored. Visiting a scholar or a mystic is deemed to be the best means in resolving these issues, where in reality it is an area for medical expertise and the realm of psychiatrists.
Studies have shown that there is a rising rate of depression, schizophrenia, and other associated mental health problems amongst Muslims. It is also fair to say that sometimes people misdiagnose themselves as being depressed when all they lack is vitamin D, a good dose of sun light should quickly cure that!
The existence of magic has been established in the Quran in events regarding the Prophet Sulayman and the Harut and Marut (Q2:102). Therefore, it is an undeniable fact that there will be cases where people are afflicted by such things. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many people taking advantage of this issue and deceiving the poor and misfortunate.
Black magic is an established fact that has been proven in the Quran and hadith and is known as ‘Sihr in Arabic. It is strictly forbidden in Islam and the prayers of one who engages in it or practises it are not accepted for forty days. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever blows on knots practices magic, and whoever practices magic is a mushrik (polytheist).” (Reported by Al-Tabarani).
The Qur'an talks about black magic in surat Al-Baqarah: “And they followed what the Shaytans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulayman, and Sulayman was not an unbeliever, but the Shaytans disbelieved, they taught men sorcery and that was sent down to the two angels at Babel, Harut and Marut, yet these two taught no man until they had said, "Surely we are only a trial, therefore do not be a disbeliever." Even then men learned from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah’s permission, and they learned what harmed them and did not profit them, and certainly they know that he who bought it should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls, had they but known this.”
In conclusion, anyone who feels physically unwell, should not immediately feel that they have been the victim of a hex or magic, but instead should pay a visit to the doctor and seek medical help, as it could be diagnosed as a physiological problem or maybe a psychological one. They should also consult a scholar to receive proper instruc- tion regarding their problem, rather than place themselves in the hands of charlatans who are only interested in what lies in their pockets.
They should remember that regardless of whether the problem is physiological, psychological or due to sihr, it is Allah’s decree and that they should be content with it. Nothing happens without Allah’s permission, and there is always some wisdom behind it, something we usually do not comprehend. Therefore people should turn to Allah at all times, in prosperity and in hardship because he is the saviour of all.
Hafiz Mahboob Hussain al-Azhari
BA Hons Islamic Theology, al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt,
Bsc Computing and Information Systems, University of Bradford,
MRES, University of Leeds