|Superstition constituted an integral part of the belief system of the Pagans. Prior to the advent of Islam the Arabs weresteeped in superstitious beliefs, beliefs that regulated their social, economic and political activity.
Superstition created a mysterious value system that gave rise to fear, suspicion and enmity. It deprived man of rational thinking and every ailment, accident or calamity was attributed to some evil force bent on destroying their lives.
The situation was further aggravated by wicked “Spiritual Doctors” who exploited the unwary masses and ran lucrative businesses treating and exorcizing the “evil forces”.
Even today there are people who claim to know the future and try to impress people with their “divine powers”.
Belief in superstition detracts from Imaan in Taqdeer and the qudrat of Allâh Taala.
The Holy Quraan states: “No misfortune can happen on earth nor (afflict) your souls, but is recorded in a Book (long) before We bring it into existence; that is truly easy for Allah“.
Disaster and misfortune take place according to the Will and Plan of Allah. No other force or power can direct your destiny or cause harm to you except with the permission of Allah.
Some of the superstitious beliefs that filtered down from Jahiliyyah to us are:
The Month of Safar
The month of Safar is regarded as a month of ill-fortune and bad luck. The pre-Islamic Arabs believed Safar to be a serpent that dwells in the stomach of man. It stirs to life in this month and causes various types of illnesses and diseases. Thus people are more prone to fall ill in this month.
Because of the various evil omens attached to this month some Muslims regard:
Nikah contracted in this month to be bad luck and ill-fated.
Any important business venture initiated in this month bound to collapse.
The first thirteen days of this month to be specifically evil and bad luck.
Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam condemned such superstitious beliefs in various ahadith.
A hadîth narrated in Muslim states: “There is no (ill-fortune) in the month of Safar nor do evil spirits (exist)”
Another hadith states: “Do not revile time (i.e. do not regard any particular day, week or month to be bad, for I (Allah) am the (embodiment) of all time”
There are certain impostors who pretend to know the future through contact with the “spirits”. The Holy Quran rejectsthe notion that anyone besides Allah knows the future in the following verse: “Say – No one in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allah“.
Horoscopes and Astrology
The Pagan Arabs used three arrows to ascertain whether they should proceed with a task or not. The words “My Lord has commanded me” were inscribed on one arrow; “My Lord has forbidden me” inscribed on the second arrow and the third arrow was left blank.
If they planned a journey, or a marriage or to raid the enemy, etc., they would go to the temple and draw out an arrow. If they drew the arrow with the positive inscription they would proceed with their plans. The negative inscription meant that they should abort their plans. A blank arrow meant that they should repeat the process till they received a clear directive.
This practice is akin to modern day horoscopes, astrology, palm reading and other similar practices. Islam prohibits all such practices and considers them sinful.
The Holy Quran states: “And (also forbidden) is predicting the future by means of divining arrows, for that is impiety“.
Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam has stated: “If anyone acquires any knowledge of astrology, he acquires a branch of magic (which is totally forbidden)”
He also stated: “The astrologer is a diviner, the diviner is a magician and the magician is an unbeliever“.
Another tradition states: “Whoever goes to a fortuneteller and believes in what he says has denied what was revealed to Mohammed“.
Omens and Charms
The Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam stated: “May Allah not fulfill the hopes of the one who wears a charm; may Allâh not protect the one who hangs seashells (used as a charm in those days)”. (Ahmed)
Another narration stated; “Whoever wears a charm will be left to rely on it“. (Tirmidhi)
Abdullah bin Masud radhiallahu anhu once saw his wife wearing a knotted thread around her neck. He pulled at it and broke it saying, “The family of Abdullah is free from associating anything with Allah for which He has sent no authority”. He then said: “I heard the Messenger of Allâh sallallahu alayhi wasallam say ” Incantations, amulets and spells are shirk”.
Drawing evil omens from a black cat, the number thirteen, a pregnant woman, using a knife at the time of an eclipse, etc., is no more than weird superstition.
Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam stated: “He is not of us who seeks evil omens or for whom evil omens are sought …..” (Tabraani).
Another tradition states: “No one is free from three things: suspicion, auguring evil omens and envy. Thus if you have a suspicion, do not pursue it, if you augur an evil omen, do not turn you back, and if you are envious do not transgress“. (Tabraani)
Sihar – Magic – Jadu
Practicing magic is tantamount to kufr in Islam. Just as it is haraam for Muslims to consult with diviners or fortunetellers, it is likewise haram for them to seek the help of magicians, sangomas, witch-doctors etc.
Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam disowned such person saying: “Anyone who goes to a diviner, a practitioner of magic or a soothsayer, asking something and believing in it, denies what was revealed to Mohammed“.
Another tradition states: “The alcoholic, the believer in magic and the one who breaks ties of kinship will not enter Jannat“. (Ibn Hibban)
“Mysticism who treat people as cheap profit making commodities and call towards themselves rather than towards Allah and ask them to respect and love them, instead of loving Allah, were, infact the robbers, the liars, traders in religion, cheaters and thugs.” (Shah Wali-Allah)
Hazrat Umar Abdul Aziz (known as Umar, the second) states: “I advise you to observe piety and fear Allah, to maintain a balanced life by obeying the commandments of Allah and following the Sunnah of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam.
I also admonish you against innovation introduced and advise you to detach yourselves from them ….”. (Abu Dawood)
Islam is not a religion based on superstitious dogma. To attribute every ailment, calamity and hardship to “evil spirits” is to be a defeatist.
We ultimately become the victims of suspicion, hatred and fear. We become blind to our own weaknesses and shortcomings and simply attribute all our ills to some external forces.
If we ourselves have set our garden on fire with our own hands, why do we complain against the enemy. No one is our enemy except our ownselves. Fie upon us that we proved to be the enemies of our ownselves.
Source: Jamiatul Ulama JHB South Africa