Why do Muslims believe in magic?

Why do most Muslims, even educated ones, believe in magic? If a girl doesn’t get any proposals for marriage, the family goes to so called practitioners of magic (called “amils” in Urdu) to somehow deal with the evil spell cast on her. If a man suddenly becomes a pauper, he goes to the caretaker of a shrine to remove the black magic which made him lose his fortune.

For many years I owned and operated a salt works in the coastal areas of Karachi. The level of illiteracy I saw was incredible. Needless to say, everyone there believes in black magic. One of my workers became a father at the age of fifty (he looked eighty, owing to spending so much time in the sun, but he wasn’t more than fifty according to the factory’s records). And because he fathered a male child despite being so old (most people there die before the age of fifty), he became a kind of saint (“pir” in Urdu). He used to sell them things like pieces of paper or cloth to be carried in their pockets, or tied around their necks or arms. It was so strange, seeing people having so much faith in a man who couldn’t read.

Another man in a neighbouring village won a lottery and bought a car. His neighbours thought he had done this by magic, so they started going to him so that they too could get rich quick. He became even richer, as his customers paid him well for giving them advice on how and where to invest. Needless to say, most of his followers became disillusioned when they lost their hard-earned savings within a year.

I have noticed that it’s mostly the poor and illiterate folks who believe in magic. The solution, then, is for the government to invest more on education for the masses. But with the priorities of our politicians so skewed, they’ll go on spending our taxes on enriching themselves.

7 thoughts on “Why do Muslims believe in magic?”

  1. Let me also paste here what an islamic Scholar has to say on the subject

    Dear sister in Islam, we commend your pursuit of knowledge and your keenness to seek what is lawful and avoid what is not. We earnestly implore Allah to bless your efforts in this honorable way.

    As regards your question, we’d like to state first that black magic is an undeniable fact, yet this does not mean when we face any problem we think that it should necessarily be a black magic. The fact that your brother did not get married till now is not necessarily due to a black magic done against him. You should search for the real reasons behind this. In most cases, these are mere Satanic whispers which Satan make use of to spoil people’s life and harms their commitment to religion. To get rid of such Satanic whispers a Muslim should be keen to read the authentic supplications particularly ayat Al-Kursi and surat Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq and An-Nas.

    Generally speaking, it should be demonstrated that black magic is one of the well-established facts, and it is mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. As for the Islamic legal status on practicing black magic, it is forbidden, and this makes one’s prayer unaccepted for forty days, and believing in what magician or sorcerer says renders one a disbeliever.
    Magic can be dispelled through magicians themselves or sorcerers or through applying their methods. However, it is forbidden to go to a magician or a soothsayer or the like to dispel the magic as stated in the hadiths of the Prophet.

    Magic can also be dispelled by the power of the Glorious Qur’an, which was sent down as a cure and mercy for believers; doing so is highly commendable. This is based on what is known in the Sunnah that angel Gabriel used the Qur’an (Al-Mu`awwidhatayn, or the Two Protective Surahs, i.e. Al-Falaq and An-Nas) in dispelling the evil charm done to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) by the Jews. Moreover, surat Al-Baqarah is known to have the power of driving away evil spirits and dispelling magic.

    Quranic verses are very clear in reference to the power Allah made through these jinn in magic or possession. When you say, a`udhu billahi mina Ash-shaytani Ar-rajim (I seek refuge and protection in Allah from Satan, the accursed), then certainly Allah accepts protecting you and giving you refuge against any evildoer. Reading the Qur’an and making dhikr will be helpful to overcome any shaytan’s plan. Allah says, “Verily, the plan of a shaytan is weak.” I advise you both to seek the help from Allah through practicing full Islam and avoiding any sinful arena or action.”

  2. “The Qur’an talks about black magic in surat Al-Baqarah: “And they followed what the Shaitans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulaiman, and Sulaiman was not an unbeliever, but the Shaitans 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 any one 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.” (Al-Baqarah: 102 )‏

    Another reference from the Qur’an is surat Al-Falaq: “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn. From the evil of what He has created. And from the evil of the utterly dark night when it comes. And from the evil of those who blow on knots. And from the evil of the envious when he envies.” (Al-Falaq: 1-5)

    There is another verse that is relevant to this issue from surat Al-Baqarah: “Those who swallow down usury cannot arise except as one whom Shaitan has prostrated by (his) touch does rise. That is because they say, trading is only like usury; and Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury. To whomsoever then the admonition has come from his Lord, then he desists, he shall have what has already passed, and his affair is in the hands of Allah; and whoever returns (to it)– these are the inmates of the fire; they shall abide in it.” (Al-Baqarah: 275)

    And this is from the Ahadees

    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 At-Tabarani)

    `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud reported, “Anyone who goes to a diviner, a practitioner of magic or a soothsayer, asking something and believing in what he says, denies what was revealed to Muhammad.” (Reported by Al-Bazzar and Abu Ya`la)

    There is no doubt on the existence of black magic …… whether illitrate Muslims or for that matter even educated ones …
    I am not a Muslim scholar or anything .. but i know one thing for sure ….. that strictly from an Islamic point of view, Black Magic seriously exists for sure….. it is HARAM is Islam to practice as you could have made out from the Quranic Verses stated above …
    i think it is better that we read Quran as reference before commenting on any subject …
    You simply cannot deny the existence of Black Magic …. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) has been a victim of the same. on which specific Quranic Verses were revealed to help him get rid of it.

    Better cross refernce next time before questioning what Islam and Quran has very specifically elaborated

  3. people everywhere want to have control over their environment. some catholics believe it they bury a st. joseph statue in their yard in the right way, the house will sell faster. people wear medals of the ‘guardian angels’ for things. not that different, just we take it for granted because we are used to it.

  4. Dear Raza,

    What you call black magic is really autosuggestion. When people hear about black magic, they believe it. If ten people tell you that you are looking like you have a fever, you tend to believe them, even though you may be perfectly healthy, and before the day is over, you will very likelyhave a high fever. I have met people in rural areas who guarantee that they can arrange the death of anyone who’s my enemy, without even touching him. Of course, I didn’t ask them to kill anyone, but it’s things like these, coupled with illiteracy, that make people beleive in magic.

  5. It is true that the major contributor in such beliefs is the sheer illiteracy of our populace – but at the same time you cannot deny the existence of Black Magic outright. It is known to exist and is sadly practiced heavily in our country.


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