Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Muslim Beliefs
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In the name of God the benevolent, the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, I greet you with the greetings of all the profits from Prophet Adam, to Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him Assalamu alaikum which means peace beyond to you. Welcome to Islam and focus. Today is the third program in our series of Muslim beliefs. In today's program, we'll be looking at the Muslim view of magic I have is my guest on today's program, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University. Welcome to the program, brother Jamal. We've just finished two extremely interesting programs in this series, the first of course, dealing with angels and the second program dealing
And I wonder if perhaps before we get into today's topic, dealing with magic, if you could take a few minutes just to review for those people who may not have had a chance to see our program last week. The points that we touched on on this very interesting area of gym, I think this is an area that's not commonly known to a lot of viewers here in North America, could you just highlight some of the things we talked about last time?
Perhaps we could do that by referring to the chart that we used last time, in which we indicated that among God's creatures, there are two basic types,
seen creatures and unseen creatures. And we said that among the sea creatures, we have the humans and others. And we said that among humans, of course, you have the believers and unbelievers,
among the unseen creatures, they there is the the engines as one category that was the subject of our first program in this series. And there is also the Jin gi n, which is actually an Arabic term that they couldn't find an exact English equivalent, but you can perhaps best understand it by thinking of jinn, as unseen creatures which are different from engines, in a sense that they have free choice like the humans. In other words, they're not created good by definition, like engines, but they have the same freedom of choice like humans, to be either believers, or unbelievers. And we mentioned also that
the father of unbelieving Gen, if you will, or Satan, capital S, or at least as the Quran call it is the very first Satan. That's the one who tempted Adam and Eve in paradise. And we indicated that Satan or at least the great Satan, was not of the engines because engines by definition cannot disobey God according to the Quran. But he was among the jinn who had the freedom of choice to obey and disobey and he chose to obey God. And we indicated also that
the term devil or Satan, small s, actually refers to the descendants or legion of the devil, the big devil or the father of David's, as well as also the Legion of other his legion of other human beings who are unbelievers, that they both operate for evil and corruption. And we indicated last time that as a principle, a believer Muslim, should not think in any way that Satan's or devils has any control or have any control over him, or that they have any authority over him or her. And that it is up to us to use the freedom of choice that God has given to us to decide between right and wrong and to stand in the face of deceptive techniques
used by devils or Satan's Okay, thank you very much, brother. Now, moving into today's topic. What about this question of magic? Do Muslims believe in magic? And what about sorcery
sorcery the same thing as magic magic.
I would love that. When you say belief. And
I think we have to make one distinction that
when you say for example, a Muslim believes in God or believe in prophets or in angels, it carries a lot more weight than saying, for example, I must really believe in the existence of marriage I prefer of magic. In fact, I would prefer to call it a Muslim belief in the existence of something called Magic but not necessarily believe in magic, because it's a different category altogether, from something that the Muslim is required to believe in like God, prophets and angels. With this
observation in mind,
I would say, there are different meanings of magic. And perhaps when we define our terms, it becomes easier to expose Islamic point of view on this.
Usually the word magic, or the equivalent in Arabic, which is called second, si, si, HR says,
could have at least three basic meanings. One meaning of magic does not necessarily the first to say it could simply mean enchantment, or attraction or charm. Like you say he used words that were so effective, they were like magic on him, that it is so eloquent. So beautiful searches for that it has magical influence in a sense of attraction or enchantment, this could be one meaning, and in that sense, then there's no problem. Actually, the prophet of Islam Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was quoted as saying in nominal biannual assessment that some appropriate thrusts which are presented properly has the effect of magic and a sense of attraction, or enchantment. There's
nothing wrong with this. Sometimes we talk also about magic, in a sense of
having some kind of trick or illusion.
Well, if that's used for the purpose of entertainment of children, or adults, for that matter, that's fine, pulling a rabbit out of a hat and all that stuff. Well, if done for the purpose of entertainment, it's fine. Actually, they could be some books even that teach you how to play those tricks.
They could be nothing wrong basically with it.
But the same kind of tricks when it is used to exploit people, or strike terror in their heart, or give them the illusion that some human being has some kind of superpowers, then it is wrong and condemned. In fact, we find reference to that and in the Quran, about the magician's in the time of Prophet Moses, peace be upon him. And during the pharaohs time, that appears, particularly in chapter seven, verse 116, in which the Quran says that when the magician's challenged Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, they started making all their magic works to see whether he can match them. And it says, when they through this kind of magic works, they bewitched the eyes of people, and struck
into them, and they showed a great feast of magic. So the idea was to impress on people or to claim this superpowers. This this is something that has condemned In fact, the Quran explains this type of magic, that it is simply a skill in illusion, for example, referring to the same type of people the same situation as well in the Quran, that's in chapter 20, verse 66, it says that when this magicians through their works, they're quoting their ropes, and the rods seem to him that is to Moses on account of their magic to be in lively motion. So they throw sticks or ropes and because of certain tricks, they might be using chemicals or whatever, it gives the illusion that these are
you know, going around.
So, this is a Quranic expression of that particular type of illusion, which is basically a superstitious really, however, we find reference in the Quran, however, to a third type of magic, which perhaps would be equivalent to the word sorcery, that is
magic, which is used for
a sinister type of purpose.
At times, possibly by invoking even spirits like we were talking earlier, we said that among the unseen creature like the gender or those who are unbelievers who might
cooperate with some,
you know, unholy people, in giving illusions to people or trying to exploit them. Now, there is difference and could answer this in chapters. For example, one says tn
What it says that a believer should always seek refuge in God and God's power, again is quote unquote, those who breeze or blow in the nuts, which is part of the witchcraft, that doesn't say that they can harm you just out of their own way, but to simply say, invoke the name of God and His protection against this kind of evil deeds that they do.
In fact, there is reference in Quran also in chapter two and verse one or two,
which indicates that people who are learning this sometimes learn through various, you know, magical formulas, how to sow discord between a man and his wife. Now, I know some interpreters interpret that in a variety of ways, not necessarily meaning magic, but could be possibly some evil deeds or prompting to create division among people. But there are all those also who believe that it is, it may be possible that with the use of this evil spirits, they may try to really, or attempt at least to do harm to other people, or what people usually know as something like black magic, for example. This is, so these are varieties of meaning.
What magic really mean? Well, leaving aside for a moment, the question of magic in the sense of enchantment. What does Islam say about the other forms of magic, especially about sorcery, which we just touched upon in terms of your definition of magic? What does Islam say about sorcery? Well, the position of Islam on this is, is very clear. In fact, in the same verse that I quoted before, in another part of it in chapter two, verse one or two, it says that those buyers of magic
have no shares in the happiness of the hereafter. It's a very, very strongly condemned type of of action. And not only this, we find that the prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as indicated in one Hadith are saying that among the seven greatest sins, which really destroy the person, at least destroy his welfare in the hereafter.
Included in the seven is magic, actually, it comes immediately after associating others with God. In other words, the greatest sin is to associate others powers, or gods with deity, or with God through the one true God. Next to that is a set or magic or sorcery in that particular sense. So the position of Islam is quite clear on that it's absolutely condemned. Now, you talked about the use of sorcery and magic those who use it to prep for for wrong purposes. How about learning magic, without necessarily using it? Is this also wrong according to Islam, just the learning and the acquisition of knowledge about magic? In fact, we find the difference in the very same verse. It's an
interesting one, really.
chapter two, verse one or two also,
it talks about people who learned magic in the past that they learned, what harmed them, not what profited them. And obviously, when the answer is about something, that when you learn, it harms you, then you better keep off. And did
you cannot really separate learning magic from using magic, because learning magic or particularly sorcery is very tempting for the person to use it. And when it's tempting to use, it may also be tempting to use it for evil, we are humans, we might get angry with someone who might really be envious, in a negative sense to someone else. So to cut the, the evil tree from the roots, Islam also, you know, prohibited learning even of magic, okay, in fact, if I may add to this, as many people reported to me, for example, some people who might have heard of cases that many of those people who try to practice sorcery or get into this very slippery road, many of them end up going
Because they get some kind of domination by the evil spirits or even by imagination, whatever happens to them, but lots of them really end up being crazy. It's a very dangerous area to get into. So it's better to keep off. Okay, let's look at another set of circumstances then if we if we forget a minute, a minute about using magic, and we refrain from learning magic. What about the case if a person just goes to somebody to a musician or to a sorcerer,
to ask that particular person to help solve a problem? Is this permissible for Muslims? It is just as condemned as the position of magic to give you some evidence of
This, and one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. It says, about certain category who will never enter into paradise. And one of those categories is a person who believes in magic. Because of course, when you go to a sorcerer,
it means that you believe in Him you believe in some powers that he can profit you or harm you. Yes. And this is this is totally against Islamic belief that God alone has the absolute power that nobody, absolutely human or unseen creature can inflict any harm onto you again is the word of God or contrary to God's Well, in that sense, then it's a question of methodology in Islamic jurisprudence, that when something is forbidden, and even then learning it is even and believing in it or even resorting to someone who use it is also evil, because there is no distinction that if something is evil, it should be evil for everybody else. So in that sense, an idea of society, in
the view of Islam is a society that's free of all this. sorcery, witchcraft or wizardry.
Okay, then, if we accept the position that
seeking the help of magic or musician is forbidden, what should a person do when faced with a very serious problem?
Well, the, I suggest four basic
points that one should keep in mind. Whenever you face a difficult problem, Islam says that, first of all, you must have the very firm unshaken belief that there is nobody absolutely who shares in the divine attributes of God and His power in his authority in his control over this universe, like I said before, that nothing ever can happen or take place in this universe, against his will, there is no competing power regard he is the Sovereign of the universe.
So this, of course, includes, like I said, human beings, Jen, diviners, magicians, sorceress, or any other creatures, because all our creature, there's only one creator, everybody else on everything else is a creature of God. A second point that we should keep in mind is that
to believe in, in magic to help you resolve a particular problem, has an implicit or carries an implicit, hidden assumption that somebody else can benefit you or harm you, which is a kind of shock, as we call it, an Islamic terminology to associating other gods or other powers with God, which is regarded as blasphemy.
assert is that Islam provides a more constructive and positive way of dealing with difficult problems,
that a person should try to depend upon God dependence upon God does not mean fatalistic type of attitude. But it simply means that you do what you can. But you ultimately believe in the final authority of God, you petition him, you invoke his name, you pray to Him to guide you and help you on that. But firstly, like I said, this is not necessarily contradictory was doing your best. So when you have that, whenever you have a problem, try to use your God given rationality, God given mind, which is, should be used, not put on the shelf, it might not be enough, you might seek the other mind, seek the help of other human beings, people who are sincere and giving you some advice.
But like I said before, when the problem really gets complex, you could also invoke the name of God and ask for his guidance, because the mind alone and intelligence alone may not necessarily by itself, resolve all problems, you might get that extra help, but you've got to do first what you're supposed to do, and then leave the rest to God.
I'd like to address another related kind of question, and that is this question of divination. I think you've touched on this just a little bit in this in the answer you've just given. But I'd like for you to perhaps expand on this a little bit in terms of
the position relating to divination or seeking the help of someone who claims to be able to foretell the future fortune tellers, that kind of thing. Is that possible?
Well, the term used for unseen in the Quran is called a hype, something that's absent from us or beyond our knowledge.
But you could divide this unseen or unknown things or things that might fall in the future.
Or let's say things that relate to unseen in general, into three categories. There's one category of information which
only us didn't have access to or don't have access to. For example, if you talk about something that happened during the
Days of previous prophets or prior to that, something that has not been documented, for example, in history because there may be other documents or other references, then we can say that we don't know exactly what happened in that particular period of time, because we were not there. But there were other humans who were there who knew of it. So this is one time, the second type of unseen, our information which are not accessible, and were not accessible to any human being example, what happened to the earth on earth before the human being lived on it? No human being has been there. So people make theories on the basis of whatever facts are aware of, but still, it's not that certain,
because no human being knows for sure.
And then certainly, there's also other information which relate more to your question, information, which is impossible for any human being.
To know without revelation.
This includes things like knowledge about God, what will happen to us after this life you're after, these are all information that you don't have just a place whereby you can go and read or study it and say, That's it, it's got to be communicated through revelation, that also includes the knowledge of the future. Again, this is something that it is impossible for any human being, to sit down and say in x years, why things are going to happen. So the basic rule, according to the Quran, is that the knowledge of the unseen
of all categories, in fact, lies exclusively with God. Let me just go to one documentation for for example, on this, in the Quran in chapter 27, verse 65, it says, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, He will have the labor Illa Allah that is none in the heavens, or on Earth, except Allah or God, capital G, knows what is hidden, that is in the future. So this is the basic rule about the the the unseen, even the the prophets of God Himself, the messengers of God, were instructed not to claim that they have any knowledge by themselves, because this is another issue by themselves of the future. For example, in chapter six, verse 15, it says, say about Prophet Noah, in particular, say, that's your
people. I tell you, not that with me, or the treasures of God, nor do I know what is hidden. Nor do I tell you, I am an angel, that's a prophet even who has got it to say that the same thing also directed to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in the Quran, the last revelation in chapter seven, verse 188.
Say, telling him to tell people say that they say, oh, Mohammed, I have no power over any good or harm to myself, except as Allah or God wills. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I would have multiplied, all good, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner and bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith. In fact, there was a little story that's narrated intermedia, which is a collection of the prophets saying, in which they say some people came to the Prophet, peace be upon him and they said, they hit something in their hand and say, like, tell us, you know, what's there? And his answer to this, he says that
I am not a diviner
and divination and diviners are all in the hellfire. That is the message of the Prophet is to guide people not to play all these kinds of
things. And there are other evidence in the Quran. For example, in chapter 34, and verse 14 days mentioned about the even the jinn other than human beings, that's the spirits, not knowing about the deaths of Prophet Solomon, peace be upon him. So plenty of evidence in the Quran that shows the basic rule is that the knowledge of the future is the exclusive domain of God except as humans. So then I think we could get it in from your answer that
our previous discussions in our previous discussions of prophethood, where we talked about the ability of prophets to be able to
foretell things which actually
happened at some subsequent time, based on what you've just said, and this is not an exception to the to the general rule that you've just explained that, you know, profits are not fortunate. Hotels, the future so to speak. It is it is not an exception. If you're talking about divination,
but it could be admissible if you look at it as prophecy. I think this distinction perhaps could clarify this point. You say when you talk about divination, we're talking about people who
claim that they have certain supernatural power to exploit other people to commercialize whatever they doing, can, telling people what is going to happen to them and you know, they charge all kinds
money for this, or at least some do.
Sometimes divination also is based on the claim, false claim of contact with supernatural beings or spirits or devils or whatever. This is definitely wrong. In that sense, there is no exception definition is wrong, if it's wrong for everybody, it's wrong for profit. But when he was talking about profits, the chosen messengers of God, whatever they have foretold about the future is not really definition. And I'm glad that you're is this special. What they have really talked about is prophecy. And prophecy means that a prophet is not claiming to know futures just by himself. He simply claims that God has revealed certain information. And this is why you might have noticed that
in the last part of my answer to the previous question, I said that the basic rule is that the knowledge of the unseen is the exclusive domain of God unless by his explicit Well, that is by giving certain information to a particular prophet.
There's one interesting verse about this in the Quran Chapter 27, sorry, in chapter 72, verses 26 and 27. It says, about God, I had in my life, Allah Harada, he,
that is, he God alone knows the unseen, nor does he make anyone acquainted with his mysteries or with the unseen, except an apostle, or messenger, whom he has chosen.
In fact, this could be regarded as one
explicit thing in which the Quran, which the Quran mentions about specific information conveyed to profits. But of course, if the profit is a true prophet, he would not boast out of that he would simply humbly admit that this is something that God has blessed him with. We have about three minutes left in the program. And there are three other
in scenarios for me that I'd like to get into. And let's see, I don't know if we'll have time and the time we have remaining to cover them all. But I'd like to move now to this question of astrology in the stars. How about those people who use the stars as a source of information about the future? Is there anything in the Quran that makes reference to this kind of use of the stars? You're referring to? astrology horoscopes? Yes. And people that perhaps you can include in the same vein, people who talk about
reading your poem or something of that sort?
I think, from a Muslim point of view, most of these things is nothing but superstition and exploitation of people and that times commercialized type of
activities. It says lots of books, but it doesn't necessarily
tell a whole lot.
Sometimes things might happen, by way of coincidence. But just let's look at this. You open any paper any day, and you read all of these things about the horoscope?
And you think that it tells you exactly what's going to happen to you, because you have been born in that particular month or that particular period of time.
But we forget that when you talk about, what about 4 billion people who are in the world today, perhaps you'll find a few millions who are born exactly the same in the same period. How is it that all of those people have the same type of personality and the same kind of events that happened or likely to happen in their lives, just incomprehensible.
The Quran does mention something about the stars, but not astrology, or horoscope. It mentioned something about the stars. For example, in chapter 15, verse 16, that God has created the stars as sort of beautification of the skies. This is one function, beauty, to observe and all and remember the balances and the power of God.
In in chapter six, verse 97, the Quran mentioned something about the stars in terms of positive benefits also,
as guidance to people in the darkness, it guides people traveling in the sea or
Certainly, in chapter 25, verse 61, it talks also about God making lanterns or light in the in the skies. And an interesting verse also in chapter 10, verse 15, it talks also about the sun and the moon, the sun as shining
glory, and the moon as light which is quite interesting because the words used in the Quran shows that the sun is
A source of light whereas the moon could be regarded as only light or reflection.
I wish we had time to pursue this further, I wanted to get into the whole question of good and bad omens, good luck and bad luck and so on. We're getting some frantic signals from our crew that we've exhausted our time for today. So we'll have to conclude our program. I want to thank you for appearing. I want to invite all of the viewers of the program back to our program next week when we'll proceed with our series on Muslim views.
Next week, we'll be looking at the question of what is the soul? What happens to it after death? And is there an afterlife Thank you for watching Islamic focus. hope you join us next time. Assalamu alaikum peace