Islamic Sufism Spirituality

Discussion of the Bewitchment of the Prophet (PBUH)

Posted on: June 3, 2008


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In the Book of Medicine of his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded that `A’ishah said, “The Messenger of Allah was bewitched until he thought that he had relations with his wives, but he had not had relations with them.” Sufyan said, “This is the worst form of magic when it reaches this stage.” So the Prophet said,

«يَا عَائِشَةُ، أَعَلِمْتِ أَنَّ اللهَ قَدْ أَفْتَانِي فِيمَا اسْتَفْتَيْتُهُ فِيهِ؟ أَتَانِي رَجُلَانِ فَقَعَدَ أَحَدُهُمَا عِنْدَ رَأْسِي وَالْاخَرُ عِنْدَ رِجْلَيَّ، فَقَال الَّذِي عِنْدَ رَأْسِي لِلْاخَرِ: مَا بَالُ الرَّجُلِ؟ قَالَ: مَطْبُوبٌ، قَالَ: وَمَنْ طَبَّهُ، قَالَ: لَبِيدُ بْنُ أَعْصَمَ: رَجُلٌ مِنْ بَنِي زُرَيْقٍ حَلِيفٌ لِيَهُودَ، كَانَ مُنَافِقًا، قَالَ: وَفِيمَ؟ قَالَ: فِي مُشْطٍ وَمُشَاطَةٍ، قَالَ: وَأَيْنَ؟ قَالَ: فِي جُفِّ طَلْعَةٍ ذَكَرٍ، تَحْتَ رَاعُوفَةٍ فِي بِئْرِ ذَرْوَانَ»

(O `A’ishah! Do you know that Allah has answered me concerning that which I asked Him Two men came to me and one of them sat by my head while the other sat by my feet. The one who was sitting by my head said to the other one, `What is wrong with this man’ The other replied, `He is bewitched.’ The first one said, `Who bewitched him’ The other replied, `Labid bin A`sam. He is a man from the tribe of Banu Zurayq who is an ally of the Jews, and a hypocrite.’ The first one asked, `With what (did he bewitch him)’ The other replied, `With a comb and hair from the comb.’ The first one asked, `Where (is the comb)’ The other answered, `In the dried bark of a male date palm under a rock in a well called Dharwan.’) `A’ishah said, “So he went to the well to remove it (the comb with the hair). Then he said,

«هَذِهِ الْبِئْرُ الَّتِي أُرِيتُهَا، وَكَأَنَّ مَاءَهَا نُقَاعَةُ الحِنَّاءِ،وَكَأَنَّ نَخْلَهَا رُؤُوسُ الشَّيَاطِين»

(This is the well that I saw. It was as if its water had henna soaked in it and its palm trees were like the heads of devils.) So he removed it (of the well). Then I (`A’ishah) said, `Will you not make this public’ He replied,

«أَمَّا اللهُ فَقَدْ شَفَانِي، وَأَكْرَهُ أَنْ أُثِيرَ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنَ النَّاسِ شَرًّا»

(Allah has cured me and I hate to spread (the news of) wickedness to any of the people.)”

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

[قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبّ النَّاسِ- مَلِكِ النَّاسِ- إِلَـهِ النَّاسِ- مِن شَرّ الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ- الَّذِى يُوَسْوِسُ فِى صُدُورِ النَّاسِ- مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ-]

(1. Say: “I seek refuge with the Lord of An-Nas,”) (2. “The King of An-Nas,”) (3. “The God of An-Nas,”) (4. “From the evil of the whisperer who withdraws.”) (5. “Who whispers in the breasts of An-Nas.”) (6. “Of Jinn and An-Nas.”) These are three attributes from the attributes of the Lord, the Mighty and Majestic. They are lordship, sovereignty and divinity. Thus, He is the Lord of everything, the King of everything and the God of everything. All things are created by Him, owned by Him, and subservient to Him. Therefore, He commands whoever is seeking protection to seek refuge with the One Who has these attributes from the evil of the whisperer who withdraws. This (the whisperer) is the devil that is assigned to man. For verily, there is not any of the Children of Adam except that he has a companion that beautifies wicked deeds for him. This devil will go to any lengths to confuse and confound him. The only person who is safe is He Whom Allah protects.

It is confirmed in the Sahih that he (the Prophet ) said,

«مَا مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا قَدْ وُكِّلَ بِهِ قَرِينُهُ»

(There is not a single one of you except that his companion (a devil) has been assigned to him.) They (the Companions) said, “What about you, O Messenger of Allah” He replied,

«نَعَمْ، إِلَّا أَنَّ اللهَ أَعَانَنِي عَلَيْهِ فَأَسْلَمَ، فَلَا يَأْمُرُنِي إِلَّا بِخَيْرٍ»

(Yes. However, Allah has helped me against him and he has accepted Islam. Thus, he only commands me to do good.) It is also confirmed in the Two Sahihs from Anas, who reported the story of Safiyyah when she came to visit the Prophet while he was performing I`tikaf, that he went out with her during the night to walk her back to her house. So, two men from the Ansar met him (on the way). When they saw the Prophet , they began walking swiftly. So, the Messenger of Allah said,

«عَلَى رِسْلِكُمَا، إِنَّهَا صَفِيَّةُ بِنْتُ حُيَيَ»

(Slow down! This is Safiyyah bint Huyay!) They said, “Glory be to Allah, O Messenger of Allah!” He said,

«إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَجْرِي مِنِ ابْنِ آدَمَ مَجْرَى الدَّم، وَإِنِّي خَشِيتُ أَنْ يَقْذِفَ فِي قُلُوبِكُمَا شَيْئًا، أَوْ قَالَ: شَرًّا»

(Verily, Shaytan runs in the Son of Adam like the running of the blood. And verily, I feared that he might cast something into your hearts — or he said — evil.) Sa`id bin Jubayr reported that Ibn `Abbas said concerning Allah’s statement,

[الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ]

(The whisperer (Al-Waswas) who withdraws.) “The devil who is squatting (perched) upon the heart of the Son of Adam. So when he becomes absentminded and heedless he whispers. Then, when he remembers Allah he withdraws.” Mujahid and Qatadah also said this.

Al-Mu`tamir bin Sulayman reported that his father said, “It has been mentioned to me that Shaytan is Al-Waswas. He blows into the heart of the Son of Adam when he is sad and when he is happy. But when he (man) remembers Allah, Shaytan withdraws.” Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas;

[الْوَسْوَاسِ]

(The whisperer.) “He is Shaytan. He whispers and then when he is obeyed, he withdraws.” As for Allah’s saying;

[الَّذِى يُوَسْوِسُ فِى صُدُورِ النَّاسِ ]

(Who whispers in the breasts of An-Nas.) Is this specific for the Children of Adam as is apparent, or is it general, including both mankind and Jinns. There are two views concerning this. This is because they (the Jinns) are also included in the usage of the word An-Nas (the people) in most cases.

Ibn Jarir said, “The phrase Rijalun min Al-Jinn (Men from the Jinns) has been used in reference to them, so it is not strange for the word An-Nas to be applied to them also.” Then Allah says,

[مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ ]

(Of Jinn and An-Nas.) Is this explanatory of Allah’s statement,

[الَّذِى يُوَسْوِسُ فِى صُدُورِ النَّاسِ ]

(Who whispers in the breasts of An-Nas.) Then, Allah explains this by saying,

[مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ ]

(Of Jinn and An-Nas.) This is supportive of the second view. It has also been said that Allah’s saying,

[مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ ]

(Of Jinn and An-Nas) is an explanation of who is it that whispers into the breasts of mankind from the devils of mankind and Jinns. This is similar to Allah’s saying,

[وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نِبِىٍّ عَدُوّاً شَيَـطِينَ الإِنْسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِى بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُوراً]

(And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies — Shayatin among mankind and Jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion.) (6:112) Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “A man came to the Prophet and said, `O Messenger of Allah! Sometimes I say things to myself that I would rather fall from the sky than say (aloud openly). ‘ The Prophet said,

«اللهُ أَكْبَرُ، اللهُ أَكْبَرٌ الْحَمْدُ للهِ الَّذِي رَدَّ كَيْدَهُ إِلَى الْوَسْوَسَةِ»

(Allah is Most Great! Allah is Most Great! All praise is due to Allah Who sent his (Shaytan’s) plot back as only a whisper.)” Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i also recorded this Hadith.

This is the end of the Tafsir. All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of all that exists. [Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of this publication. If, however, any errors are noticed by the reader, we would kindly request notification to be corrected in future editions.]

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