- Sorcery and Fortune-Telling Vs. Illusionism
- What Does it Mean to Turn to Sorcery and Fortune-Telling?
- Sorcery and Fortune-Telling in Islam
Alhamdulillah… All perfect thanks and praises are due to the Almighty Allah, the One and Only. I send perfect peace and blessings upon Sayyindinā Muḥammad, his household, his companions and all those who follow his guided path till end of time.
This article is Part 1 of a series discussing sorcery and fortune-telling from Islamic and social perspectives. It comes in, at a time, when Muslim communities around the world have emerged to be more obsessed with sorcery and fortune-telling, either by practising it or seeking help from its practitioners. This is despite the fact that most of them are aware that the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam has constantly warned us against sorcery and fortune-telling and the evil they cause to societies.
In Part 1 of this series, we explore sorcery and fortune-telling in Islam. We further elaborate on the differences and commonalities between the two and illusionism. We conclude it with identifying what it means to seek help through sorcery and fortune-telling.
Let’s begin by finding out whom sorcerers, fortune-tellers and illusionists are, and what are their differences and commonalties.
Sorcerers use magic to impress with their supernatural powers and abilities. With that they conduct supernatural and seemingly impossible things. Real sorcerers gain such ‘powers’ from evil sources for evil purposes. In other words, in reality, it’s the jinn who seemlessly carry out the acts that are seemingly conducted by sorcerers. It then appears to the viewer that our fellow human beings (the sorcerers) are specially gifted with such supernatural skills and abilities.
In the same group with sorcerers, and with boost of magic from the jinn, fortune-tellers try to convince people that they possess the ability to predict the future and read people’s destiny. People use various names to refer to fortune-tellers. This includes geomancer, soothsayer, foreseer, augur, magician, prognosticator, oracle, astrologer, palmist, shell-diviners, etc. As you can see, most of these names are based on the tool or method used in the fortune-telling. But the implication remains that, all of them claim the ability to predict and read the future.
The common factor between sorcerers and fortune-tellers is that they both claim knowledge of what’s beyond human perception (the unseen/ghayb), the knowledge of what belongs solely to Allah the Almighty.
Sorcerers usually involve you in more evil acts, whether for your personal attainment, or for the cause of someone else’s misery. Fortune-tellers, on the other hand, although harmful, they are less harmful, as they usually try to convey ‘good news’ to you regarding ‘your future.’
Sadly, pretending to be like sorcerers and fortune-tellers are Illusionists. Illusionists have the skill to perform tricks in which they seem to make things appear, disappear or change, as if by magic. Most illusionists are pretenders, who seek fame from using tricks, to give the impression they possess the “powers and abilities” of sorcerers. But some truly have natural ability to perform such tricks for education and entertainment. An illusionist becomes a magician once he includes real magic in his tricks. Likewise, he becomes a fortune teller, once he uses those tricks to predict the future for his ‘fans.’ Other than that, there’s nothing wrong with genuine tricks performed and to entertain or educate kids.
All in all, sorcery and fortune-telling, as well as illusionism (where magic is involved) are sub-branches of what is commonly referred to as magic and is known in Arabic is siḥr. Siḥr is the source of the powers, abilities and skills which sorcerers, fortune-tellers and illusionists use to cheat and rob the masses.
The devils, whom sorcerers, fortune-tellers and (some) illusionists invoke and seek support from, do overhear in the Heavens for their information. Sometimes, they succeed in capturing such information while it’s descended to the earth before it reaches its destination. And they will convey that (only truth) mixed with 99 (plenty) other lies. For that Allah says in the Qur’an, 22:221:
“Shall I inform you (O people!) Upon whom the devils) descend’ They descend on every lying, sinful person. Who lends an ear (to the devils and they pour what they may have heard of the Unseen from the angels), and most of them are liars.”
Turning to sorcery and fortune-telling means one has developed the conviction that they are able to grant him similar to what Allah can grant him or better. In the least circumstance, seeking help through sorcery and fortune-telling signifies one’s doubt in Allah’s decisions and Wisdom, although he doesn’t think sorcerers and fortune-telling can do him a better favour.
Seeing sorcerers is when you seek spiritual help from a magician to overcome a problem, gain what you perceive as impossible and attain social reputation. It’s also applicable when you seek their assistance to cast evil, harm and demise on somebody, whomsoever.
Seeing fortune-tellers is when you seek from him to read for you the future, or explain to you what is unknown in normal circumstances, and could be regarded in Arabic as ghayb.
Sorcerers know that they can’t harm anyone against Allah’s Will. Fortune-tellers are also aware that they can’t predict anything against the Will of Allah. But unfortunately, people who seek their help are mostly clueless about this reality. They forget that, part of the test of this life, is that, although these sorcerers and fortune tellers could carry 0.01 percent of truth, we are not allowed to seek their assistance.
Islam has prohibited magic and anything that associates with it. This is because it’s performed with the aid of devils whose help is only attained when you attribute them as partners to Allah in worship. Similarly, a sorcerer, if identified is someone we must distance from, unless we can advice him, and bring him back to the righteous folks. The ruler is expected to subject him to discipline (punishment) in the hope he repents or quits sorcery and fortune-telling.
In a ḥadīth reported by Imām al-Bukhārī and Muslim from the narration of Sayyidinā Abī Hurayrah, raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu, the Prophet, ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:
“Avoid seven most dangerous things.’ The Companions asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! What are these things’ He, ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, answered: ‘Making anyone or any thing a partner of Allah; practicing magic; killing a living being whose life has been declared sacred by Allah without justification; practicing usury; misappropriating the property of an orphan; running away from the infidels in a battle; and slandering chaste, innocent, believing women.”
In another ḥadīth reported by Imam Muslim, the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Whoever goes to a fortune-teller and asks him about something, his prayer will not be accepted for forty nights.”
Imagine committing a wrong doing, i.e., sorcery or fortune-telling, and getting any righteousness you carry out, i.e., ṣalāh, after that being rejected for 40 days. What if… What if your soul is taken within that 40 days period?
Such is how sorcerers and fortune-tellers, as well as illusionists are. That is how they operate. Those are their source of inspirations. You’ve also known the ruling of sorcery and fortune telling in Islam.
You know we’re not allowed to practice sorcery and fortune-telling. We’re also prohibited from seeking help, whatsoever, from sorcerers. At the same time, we know that people do practise sorcery to achieve some heart desires and to cast evil and harm on others. To stay safe and protected, see Simple du’a for Protection. Also, make it a must for you to recite and utter the morning and evening Adhkar (Azkar). Sample of this will follow, towards the end of this series, inshā Allah.
Sorcery did not cause your existence (to be born). It will never be able to prevent you from death. Why then, do you think it can do you any good in the life, that occur in between birth and death?
In Part 2 of this series, we will –by Allah’s Will, discuss why people choose to go and seek help through sorcery and fortune-telling. In the meantime, why do you think people choose to seek help through sorcery and fortune-telling? Please share with us your opinions in the comments area.
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Until our next article, I leave you in Allah’s protection.
Allah knows best.
Allāhu Hāfiz 🙂