Islamic Sufism Spirituality

The regulation governing the seeking of help from jinns and satan and making vows to them

Posted on: November 5, 2011

By Shaykh Bin Baz (rahimahullah)

From `Abdul `Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz to those Muslims – may Allah bless them and me – who adhere to the religion of Allah and remain committed to it. Amin.

May peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you all.

Some friends sought to know from me about the actions of some uninformed brethren of our religion. They stated that these people, at times of calamities, invoke certain forces and seek their help; they invoke for instance, the jinns and give offerings and sacrifices of animals to them; some of them cry out saying, “O you Seven take him!”, meaning thereby seven chiefs of the jinns. They might also say, “O you Seven inflict on him such and such things … break his bones, drink his blood, mutilate his body.” Some of them may say, “O the jinn of noon time, O the jinn of Asr (evening) time, take him”. Such practices are prevalent in some of the southern areas. In addition to those, there is also the invoking of the dead, including the Prophets, the noble souls and angels and others. They are invoked and their help is sought, unfortunately, by many who profess the Faith of Islâm. They do so due to ignorance and due to the desire to imitate and follow what was practised by their forefathers; some of them may justify their actions by saying, “This is something in vogue, we do not mean anything by it nor do we have any faith in it.” Some friends also sought my opinion on having relationships of marriage with people known for such actions and on accepting their offerings; offering prayers for them, praying behind them and about belief in magicians and soothsayers who, I was told, claim knowledge of the sickness of a person and the reasons of the sickness by merely casting a look at anything on the body of the patient such as a turban, pyjamas, veil, etc.

In answer to the above, I wish to state the following:- Praise is to Allah, the One and Only Allah and blessings and peace upon the Prophet of Allah, who was the last of all Prophets; peace and blessings also upon his Family, his Companions and on all those who will abide by the path of right guidance until the Day of Judgement. Verily Allah the All-Mighty has created the human beings and the jinns in order to worship Him Alone and to abstain from worshipping, invoking, seeking the help and giving offerings and sacrifices and to offer all other worships to none other than Him. Allah has sent the Messengers to guide the people to this task and He revealed the Heavenly Books, the greatest of which is the Noble Qur’ân. It was revealed in order to convey this Message and to preach and to work for it besides cautioning the people against Shirk (polytheism) with Allah and against the worshipping of anyone other than Him. This is the purport of the Statement of Faith: “There is no god except Allah”; it clearly sets out the principle that there is no one else to be worshipped except Allah; thus it negates the concept of Godliness to anyone other than Allah; it affirms that Allah Alone and none other than Allah is to be worshipped. There are ample evidences on this in the Noble Qur’ân and in the Ahâdith (traditions) of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Allah says in the Noble Qur’ân:

“And I (Allah) created not the jinns and men except they should worship Me (Alone).” (V.51: 56)

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him…” (V.17: 23)

“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him)…” (V.98: 5)

“And your Lord said: Invoke Me, [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism)] (and ask Me for anything) I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship [i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness, (Islamic Monotheism)] they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” (V.40: 60)

“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor)…” (V.2: 186)

It is clear from the above verses that the human beings and jinns have been created by Allah in order to worship Him and He has ordained that none other than He be worshipped. The Divine Commandment has been conveyed in the Noble Qur’ân and through the Prophet (peace be upon them all) that people should worship the One and Only Allah and that invocation to Allah is an important form of worship; whoever is too arrogant to offer this worship shall be doomed to the Fire of Hell. Allah also says in the Noble Qur’ân that:

“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad, peace be upon him) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor)…” (V.2: 186)

Hence, it is a duty on all the worshippers to invoke Allah, the One and Only God because such invocation is a form of worship for which they have been created and commanded to act upon. The Noble Qur’ân says:

“Say (O Muhammad, peace be upon him) Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the `Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists). He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.” (V.6: 162, 163).

Allah has ordered His Prophet (peace be upon him) to inform the people that his prayer and service of sacrifice and life and death are all for Allah, the Lord of all creations, Who has no partner. The word `sacrifice’ here refers to the offering of animal as sacrifice; so if anyone offers a sacrifice to other than Allah, he then commits an act of Shirk, that is associating someone else with Allah.

It would be like praying to someone else other than Allah because prayer and sacrifice have equal importance in the Divine estimation and they are to be for Allah, the One and Only God. If anyone offers a sacrifice to other than Allah such as the jinns, the angels, and the dead and others in an attempt to seek nearness to them, then he is like a person who prays to other than Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has, as per an authentic Hadith (tradition) said: “Curse of Allah be upon those who offer sacrifice to other than Allah.”

Imâm Ahmad has, on the authority of Tariq bin Shihab, narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said: “Two men passed by a people who had an idol to which an offering had to be made by whoever passed by that idol. The people asked one of the two persons to give some offering, he said, that he had nothing to offer; they told him that he may offer anything, even a small fly; so the man gave a fly as an offering and he was allowed to pass. But his doom was the Fire of Hell. The second person was also asked to do accordingly but that person refused by affirming that he will not give as offering to anyone other than Allah. On his refusal, those people beheaded and killed him, but his ultimate abode was Paradise.” It can be noted from this narration that whoever gives an offering to an idol, though it might be only a fly, will be associating someone else as partner to Allah and therefore deserves punishment in Hell. So what to say of those who invoke the jinns, the angels and the pious people, seeking their help, offering vows to them and trying to gain proximity with them by giving sacrifices of animals to them. The purpose for which one does this is to protect his wealth or cure his illness or the safety of his cattle and his fields; he may also do that out of fear of the jinns. Such people become more deserving of torture in the Hell than that person who killed a fly as an offering to the idol. The Noble Qur’ân says:

“Verily, We have sent down the Book to you (O Muhammad, peace be upon him) in truth: So worship Allah (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allah’s sake only, and not to show off, and not to set up rivals with Him in worship. Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only. And those who take `Auliyâ’ (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): `We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah.’ Verily, Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allah guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever.” (V.39: 2, 3).

And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: `These are our intercessors with Allah.’ Say: `Do you inform Allah of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?’ Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him!” (V.10: 18).

We learn from the above two verses that the polytheists had taken in lieu of Allah, some creations as their friends and protectors; they worshipped them and invoked them in awe and reverence and offered sacrifice and vows under the assumption that those friends and protectors act as intercessors and take them nearer to Allah. Allah the All-Mighty has proved their falsehood and has described them as liars, infidels, and polytheists; and Allah has pre-eminently transcended above the cult of polytheism. The Noble Qur’ân states:

“…Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him!” (V.10: 18).

It is thus clear that whoever takes a king or a Prophet or a jinn or a stone or a tree for the purpose of invocation along with Allah and seeks their help or tries to gain nearness to them by offering vows and sacrifices in the hope that they may intercede with Allah on his behalf, or in the hope of getting cured from some illness, or of safeguarding of wealth or safety for a person who is away or for any other purpose, commits the major crime of Shirk (polytheism) regarding which Allah states:

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.” (V.4: 48)

“Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) there are no helpers.” (V.5: 72)

On the Day of Judgement intercession will be granted only to the people who believe in the Oneness of Allah and abide by it sincerely; it will not be granted to the polytheists as stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he was asked about the people who will be fortunate to enjoy his intercession, he said: “Whoever says with all sincerity of his heart that there is no god but Allah only.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “Every Prophet has an invocation that will be answered; and every Prophet hastened in his invocation, but I withheld my invocation so that I may intercede for my people on the Day of Judgement. Allah willing, my invocation will also include those of my nation who died without setting up partners to Allah.”

The polytheists of the early period believed in Allah as their Lord, Creator, and Sustainer but they relied on Prophets and friends and protectors, angels, trees and stones, etc. in the hope of gaining their intercession with Allah and nearness to Him as Allah said in the verses quoted above. Allah did not pardon them nor the Prophet (peace be upon him), “Indeed Allah has renounced them and has described them as infidels and polytheists. Allah has also disproved their claim that those gods will intercede for them with Allah and take them nearer to Him, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has fought battles against them in order to make them worship Allah, the One and Only Allah. In doing so, the Prophet (peace be upon him) acted according to the Divine Wish stated in the Noble Qur’ân:

“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone (in the whole of the world). (V. 8: 39).

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “I have been ordered to fight people until they witness that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah and perform the prayers, and give the Zakât (poor tax); if they do so, they shall enjoy safety from me in their lives and wealth except in what is due to Islâm and they shall be answerable to Allah.” The meaning of the phrase `until they witness that there is no god except Allah’ in this saying of the Prophet is that they should worship Allah Only and exclusively. The polytheists were afraid of the jinns and took refuge in them. In this context, Allah says in the Noble Qur’ân:

“True, there were people among mankind who took shelter with the persons among the jinns, but they increased them in folly.” (V.72: 6).

The commentators of the Noble Qur’ân have interpreted the words `increased them in folly’ as their being struck with fear and panic because the jinns feel high and mighty when they see human beings seeking refuge in them and so they make themselves (that is the jinns) a greater source of fear and panic so that these human beings may increasingly worship them and seek refuge in them. But Allah has guided the Muslims to seek refuge in Him and in His Complete Words. Allah says:

“And if an evil whisper comes to you from Satan then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (V.7: 200).

“Say: I seek refuge with (Allah) the Lord of the day-break.” (V.113: 1)

“Say: I seek refuge with (Allah) the Lord of mankind.” (V.114: 1)

It is narrated in an authentic Hadîth that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “Whoever alights at a place and says, `I seek refuge in the Complete Words of Allah from the evil that He has created’ will not be affected by any harm until his departure from that place.”

The person seeking safety and protection of his religion and who wishes to be away from Shirk (polytheism) in its major and minor forms will understand from the above quoted verses from the Noble Qur’ân and sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that devotion to the dead and angels, jinns, etc. and invocation to them is an act of imitation of the pagans and polytheists and it is the worst form of Shirk. It is therefore a bounden duty that they keep away from such actions and also advise their brethren regarding it. Relationships of marriage are not admissible with those people who are known to indulge in polytheistic actions; it is also not permissible to eat from their offerings nor to pray for them or behind them until they repent to Allah the All-Mighty and invoke and worship Allah only. Invocation (Du’â) is worship; it is indeed the essence of worship. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “Du’â is worship” and according to another version, “Du’â is the core and essence of worship.”

Allah the All-Mighty says:

“And do not marry Al-Mushrikât (idolatresses etc.) till they believe (worship Allah Alone). And indeed a slave woman who believes is better than a (free) Mushrikah (idolatress etc.), even though she pleases you. And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al-Mushrikûn till they believe (in Allah Alone) and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater etc.), even though he pleases you. Those (Al-Mushrikân) invite you to the Fire, but Allah invites (you) to Paradise and Forgiveness by His Leave, and makes His Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) clear to mankind that they may remember.” (V.2: 221).

Allah has forbidden Muslims from marrying disbelieving women; such women who worship idols, jinns and angels etc.; marriage is permissible with them only if they sincerely believe in and worship Allah, the One and Only Allah and accept the Message conveyed by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and proceed on the path shown by him. Allah has also forbidden the marriage of Muslim women to disbelievers until they sincerely believe in Allah and worship Him only and accept the Message conveyed by the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Noble Qur’ân states that:

“A slave woman who believes is better than a disbelieving woman, even though she allures you. (V.2: 221)

and that a man slave who believes is better than a disbeliever, even though he allures you, with his eloquence of speech, courage and chivalry, etc. Allah has then explained the causes for this preference over them by saying that they beckon you to the Fire because they belong to the Fire through their words, actions, manners, conduct and character. As regards the believers – men and women – they are the ones who beckon you to the Paradise through their character, conduct, words and deeds. So, how could the former be equal to the latter? And with regard to the hypocrites Allah the All-Mighty says:

“And never (O Muhammad, peace be upon him) pray (funeral prayer) for any of them (hypocrites) who dies, nor stand at his grave. Certainly they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, and died while they were Fâsiqûn (rebellious – disobedient to Allah and His Messenger).” (V.9: 84)

In the above verse, Allah the All-Mighty has stated that one should not offer prayers to the hypocrite and the disbeliever because of their disbelief in Allah and in His Prophet. One should also not pray behind them nor make them as the Imâm of Muslims due to their disbelief and untrustworthiness and also due to the great animosity between them and the Muslims; yet another reason is that they are not from the people who pray and worship Allah; heresy and polytheism obliterate all actions. May Allah guard us from such actions. Allah the All-Mighty says in the context of forbidding Muslims from eating the offerings of the disbelievers and dead animals: “Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal), for sure it is Fisq (a sin and disobedience of Allah). And certainly, the devils do inspire their friends (from mankind) to dispute with you, and if you obey them [by making Al-Maytata (a dead animal) legal by eating it], then you would indeed be Mushrikûn (polytheists):

[because they (devils and their friends) made lawful to you to eat that which Allah has made unlawful to eat and you obeyed them by considering it lawful to eat, and by doing so you worshipped them, and to worship others besides Allah is polytheism].” (V.6: 121).

Allah the All-Mighty has forbidden the Muslims from eating dead animals and the animals sacrificed by the disbelievers because the sacrifices given by them are in the category of dead animals, although the Name of Allah may be mentioned; but such mentioning will have no effect for the reason that it is an invocation marred by belief in polytheism; so it cannot be accepted until the polytheist repents to Allah. Allah has permitted the consumption of food offered by the people of the Book (Scripture):

“The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals, etc.) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them.” (V.5: 5).

It is lawful because the people of the Book (Scripture) belong to a heavenly religion and claim to be the followers of Moses and Jesus, although this is a false claim. Allah has abrogated their religion and annulled by sending Muhammad (peace be upon them) as Messenger to all the peoples. However, Allah the All-Mighty has permitted us to accept the food of the people of the Book and to marry their women. The Divine sanction in this regard is due to certain considerations that have been explained by the Scholars. But such a sanction has not been granted with regard to the disbelievers and the polytheists who worship idos, dead people, Prophets, friends and protectors and others because whatever faith they profess is not based on any principle. In fact, all their professions of faith are total falsehoods; therefore, the animals slaughtered by them are dead animals and eating of it is not permissible.

As regards phrases used by people at times of anger such as `May the jinn strike you’; `May the jinn take you’; and `May the jinn fly away with you’ are phrases of abuse that are not permissible for the Muslims like all other phrases of abuse and curse, etc. This is not connected with polytheism. However, if the person uttering such words believes that the jinns have a sway over the affairs of the people without the permission of Allah and His will, he will be a disbeliever because Allah the All-Mighty is the Supreme Possessor and Disposer of everything; it is He Who bestows good or causes harm; nothing exists without His permission, His will and His pre-destined plan; Allah has ordered His Prophet to convey to the people:

“Say (O Muhammad, peace be upon him): I possess no power of benefit or hurt to myself except as Allah wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghaib (unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe.” (V.7: 188).

If the leader of all mankind and the best of them, our Prophet (peace be upon him) does not possess any good nor any harm for himself except what is willed by Allah, how could any other human being do so? There are numerous verses in the Noble Qur’ân in this context.

As regards consulting the soothsayers, magicians, astrologers and others of their tribe who try to predict the unknown, it is a reprehensible act; to believe in them is more reprehensible and objectionable and it is a form of blasphemy because the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “The prayers of a person who consults a soothsayer about anything, will not be accepted for forty days”. (Narrated in the Sahih of Muslim).

It is also narrated on the authority of Mu’awiyah bin Al-Hakam As-Salami that the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited consultation with soothsayers. It is narrated as transmitted by the compilers of As-Sunan – that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who believes in what a soothsayer says becomes a disbeliever in what has been revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him).

There are several sayings of the Prophet in this context. Muslims therefore, should be on their guard against soothsayers, sorcerers and witchdoctors who claim knowledge of the unseen and deceive Muslims on the pretext of medical treatment or any other excuse. Muslims should beware of such people as forbidden and cautioned by the Prophet Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã. In this category, is also included the claims of some people of knowledge of the unseen in the name of medicine; they claim knowledge of the condition of a sick person by smelling his turban or the veil in case of a woman and so on. In fact, such people seek only to deceive and confuse the minds of the innocent people so that they describe him as a person well-informed in medicine and in treating of illnesses; such a person may dispense some medicine which may perhaps cure the sick person; the cure is by the Will of Allah – but the sick person believes that he was cured because of that medicine. It is quite possible that the illness is caused by some of the jinns and evil spirits which are in the employ of that person who claims himself the knowledge of medicine, and they provide him with knowledge of the unseen which they are able to perceive. On the basis of that knowledge the impostor performs certain worships in order to please the jinns and the evil spirits so that they may withdraw from the sick persons. But they invariably leave behind certain harmful effects. This is something well-known about the jinns and evil spirits and those who employ them.

It is therefore, the duty of the Muslims to be on their guard against the above and they should advise each other to abstain from such beliefs and practices and to rely and depend on Allah only on all matters. However, it is not objectionable to use Ruqya (recitation of some Divine verses as a treatment for a disease) and the permissible medicines and treatment given by doctors on the basis of physical examination and ascertainment of the physical and mental causes of the illness. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “Allah has created no disease for which there is no treatment; those who have studied it, know it and those who have ignored it do not know it.”

He has also said: “Every disease has a medicine and if the right medicine is chosen for the disease, the sick person will be cured, Allah willing.” and, “O servants of Allah, take medicines but do not take medicines that are forbidden.”

There are many such sayings of the Prophet on this subject. We pray to Allah the All-Mighty to reform all of us Muslims and to cure our minds and bodies from all evils.

May He guide us all to the right path and protect us from evil temptations and from obedience to the Satan and its friends and protectors. Verily, Allah has supreme power over everything; there is no power nor any strength except with Allah, the All-Knowing; and peace and blessings be upon the Prophet of Allah and his Family members and Companions.

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