Islamic Sufism Spirituality

What Has Been Said About Fortune-tellers and Their Like

Posted on: September 23, 2009


Muslim has narrated, on the authority of one of the wives of the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) (Hafsah – may Allah be pleased with her), that Allah’s Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) said:

“Whoever went to a fortune-teller and asked him about some matter (i.e. of the unseen) and believed him, will have his prayer rejected for forty days.”

The Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) informs us in this Hadith that if anyone visited a fortune-teller and asked him about a matter of the unseen – about which, in reality, none possesses knowledge except Allah – and believed in what fortune teller said, Allah will not accept his prayers, nor reward them for forty days – and this is a punishment for the major sin which he has committed.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. The prohibition of fortune-telling.

2. The forbiddance of believing the prophesies of soothsayers and fortune-tellers.

3. That a person may lose the reward of his prayers as a punishment for his sins.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That the Hadith proves the forbiddance of fortune-telling and the belief in it.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) has condemned whoever visits a fortune-teller for he has made him a partner with Allah in possessing knowledge of the unseen.

Important Note

It has been mentioned by the scholars – may Allah have mercy on them – that whoever believed in what the fortune-teller says does not have to repeat his prayers for this period of forty days, but that he receives no reward for them.

..ooOOoo..

It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) said:

“Whoever went to a fortune-teller and believed in what he said, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.”

The Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) informs us in this Hadith, that whoever visited a fortune-teller and asked him about the unseen and believed in his words, has committed an act of disbelief in the Qur’an and Sunnah, this is because both of these Revelations have belied fortune-telling, for Allah is Alone in His Knowledge of the unseen.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. The forbiddance of fortune-telling.

2. The accusation of lying against the fortune-teller.

3. That believing the words of fortune-tellers is considered disbelief.1

4. That the Qur’an is revealed, not created.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That the Hadith proves clearly that the fortune-teller is a disbeliever.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith is clear evidence that fortune-telling is kufr; this is because the fortune-teller depends upon methods of shirk.

The same thing was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah by “the four”2 and by Al-Haakim, who said that it is authentic according to the strict conditions of acceptance laid down by Bukhari and Muslim.

It has also been reported, with a good sanad, on the authority of Abu Y’alaa (ra) that he said the same thing, but in a mawqoof form.3

..ooOOoo..

On the authority of `Imran Ibn Husain (ra), in a marfoo’ form, it is reported: “Whoever practises at-tiyarah, or tells fortunes or seeks advice from a fortune-teller, or practises magic or asks another to do so, is not one of us; and whoever goes to a soothsayer and believes what he tells him has disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad.” (Narrated by Al-Bazzaar, with a good Sanad and by At-Tabarani, in his book, Al-Awsat, with a good sanad, but without the words: “…and whoever goes to a soothsayer etc…”)

In this Hadith, the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) declares himself free and innocent of three kinds of people: (i) The one who seeks omens or their interpretation, (ii) the one who tells fortunes or seeks advice from fortune-tellers and (iii) the one who practises magic, or seeks the services of a magician. Then He (may Peace Be Upon Him) adds, as an extra warning to the fortune-teller and his clients, that whoever believes in the words of the fortune-teller has disbelieved in the Revelation (the Qur’an and the Sunnah) given to him (may Peace Be Upon Him); this is because Allah and His Messenger (may Peace Be Upon Him) have informed us that knowledge of the unseen is only with Allah , therefore belief in the fortune-teller is a rejection of Allah’s Words and those of His Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him).

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. The prohibition of interpreting omens, of sorcery and fortune-telling.

2. The forbiddance of seeking these three things.

3. That believing the prophesies of the fortune-teller is kufr.

4. That the Qur’an is Revelation, not created.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter

That the Hadith proves without doubt, that the fortune-teller is a disbeliever.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith proves without question, that the fortune-teller is a disbeliever, because he depends upon shirk in order to predict the future.

Muhammad Ibn `Abdil Wahhab says: “Al-Baghawi said: “The seer (al-’arraaf) who claims to know the unseen depends upon knowledge stolen (by the jinn, who overheard it from the lowest heaven) and falsehood and the like; It has been said that he is the same as the fortune-teller (al-kaahin), but the latter is, in fact, one who claims knowledge of the unseen events of the future. It has also been said that he is one who knows the secrets of the mind.” Abul `Abbas Ibn Taimiyah said: “The seer is a name for the fortune-teller, the astrologer, the thrower of sand, and all those who claim knowledge of these matters by such means.” Ibn `Abbas (ra) said, concerning a people who wrote Abaajaad 4 and practised astrology: “I do not consider that those who do this will have any share (of blessings or reward) with Allah .”

Footnotes

  1. It has been said by some scholars, based upon this Hadith, that one who believes the prophecies of a fortune-teller is a disbeliever. However, other scholars maintain that what is intended here is that he who believes the words of a fortune-teller has committed an act of disbelief. This is because, in the previous Hadith, the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) informed us that one who visits a fortune-teller and believes in what he says will have his prayers rejected for forty days, while if it were true that he were a disbeliever, his prayer would not be accepted at all.
  2. The Four: That is, Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmizi and An-Nasaa`i.
  3. Mawqoof: That is, the statement of a Companion, which he does not attribute to the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him).
  4. Abaajaad: An ancient system of prediction based on use of the letters of the alphabet.

Source:  Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 24

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