Throughout time, magic has remained a mystery to men. From Arabian Nights to Harry Potter, we’ve grown up watching and hearing stories about magicians. From a distance, it seems spectacular, but in real life, magic is more than just waving your wand and riding on a Nimbus 2000.
In Islamic literature, magic is referred to as Sihr, which means hidden or secret. It’s called so because it’s usually practiced in secret and people don’t exactly know what is happening.
In Islam, all types of magic are condemned and strictly forbidden. There is some dispute among scholars on whether trickery (such as sleight of hand) is haram, but most scholars recommend Muslims to stay safe and avoid the grey area altogether.
In this article, we will discuss what Islam says about various types of magic and whether it is considered haram.
Why is Magic Considered Haram?
Performing and teaching magic is considered haram and a great sin because it causes the misguidance of people. Magic diverts the truth and causes instability of belief in simple-minded people (source).
The everyday card tricks performed by magicians look fun and harmless, but that’s not the only type of magic that’s out there.
Are All Types of Magic Considered Haram?
First Type of Magic: Magician’s Trickery
In they Quran, Allah talks about magicians who confuse and delude people with their tricks (which is likely why it is considered haram). For example, the magician of Pharaoh competed against Moosa (Alayhi Salam).
They completed against Moosa (Alayhi Salam) by throwing their staffs and ropes on the ground that immediately started moving like snakes.
In turn, Allah commanded Moosa (Alayhi Salam) to throw his staff on the ground which swallowed up what they conjured. Upon seeing the sight, all of Pharoah’s magicians fell down and announced their belief in Allah (source).
Second Type of Magic: Spells Casting
The second type of magic mentioned in Islam is one that involves (making) knots and spells.
This type of Magic is haram. Mufti Menk explains that is is Haram because instead of worshipping Allah and asking for help on a specific problem, people who cast spells do the opposite and cast spells which Allah has forbidden on Muslims (source).
According to Hadiths, the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) was also bewitched by this type of magic.
Allah says the following about this magic in the Holy Quran:
And from the evil of those who practice witchcraft when they blow in the knotsSurah Al-Falaq verse 3 (source)
What Do Islamic Scholars Have to Say about Magic?
Islamic scholars have spoken about magic on several occasions. They explain why it is considered haram.
1- Zakir Naik on Magic and Amulets
Zakir Naik – an expert on comparative religion, says that black magic is real and exists.
He says that Muslims should not get involved in black magic. Not only should they refrain from practicing it, but have faith in Allah.
As for the remedy, the last two Surah of the Quran – Surah Al-Falaq and Surah Al-Naas also known as Mauzatain were revealed for this.
He further says that it’s best to start by visiting a doctor or a psychiatrist. If it does not resolve the issue, then go to an expert in the field who treats the individual according to the teachings of the Holy Quran.
2- Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman on Magical Spell
Sheikh Shady – a prominent Islamic scholar and president of the Australian National Imams Council also confirms the existence of magic or black magic.
In the video, he says that magic is an act of disbelief and the work of Satan and sorcerers who may utilize Jin for the purpose of evil.
Quoting the Holy Quran, Sheikh Shady says that magic is a condemned act. He quotes a hadith narrating the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) saying:
Whoever goes to a magician or a fortune teller and believes in what he tells him disbelieves in what has been revealed to MuhammadNarrated by Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be Pleased with Him) (source)
3- Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al Munajjid on Types of Magic
Sheikh Salih was asked whether magic and witchcraft is allowed in one of the questions:
Is sihr (magic, witchcraft) real? Does it have any effect? What are its types?(source)
To which he replied:
Sihr is a serious crime and is one of the kinds of kufr. It is one of things with which people have been tested, in the past and currently, among the nations of the past, during the Jaahiliyyah and in this ummah.(source)
4- Sheikh Assim Al-Hakim on Magic Tricks
Sheikh Assim – a scholar and Islamic counselor talk about magic tricks in one of his video sessions.
In the video, he states that there’s a dispute among scholars on the subject of magic i.e. magic involving jin and spells against magic involving potions and poisons.
He quotes Imam Al Shafai on the subject saying that magic involving a chemical reaction is not something that is considered sorcery, but other leading scholars disagree.