This is a category which is one of if not the most dangerous of sins that one a Muslim can fall into. To believe that someone can grant us something or something can bring us good or bad luck which is not mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah is something that can make a person fall into the gravest of Sins – Shirk!
Although in the present times we see people getting into all kinds of shirk, prostrating and making Dua to the people in the Graves, or people believing that someone other than Allah can be a cause of benefit or harm to us, and the list goes on. So in this course and class we will only look into things that people fall into because they have not thought of this matter to be of such great magnitude.
Believing in Astrology or Just reading it for fun
Zayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani reported: “The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ led us in the morning prayer at al-Hudaybiyah after rain had fallen during the night. When he had finished, he turned around to face the people and said: ‘Do you know what your Lord says?’ They said, ‘Allaah and His Messenger know best.’ He said: ‘[Allaah says]: This morning one of My slaves became a believer in Me and one became a disbeliever. As for the one who said, “We have been given rain by the grace and mercy of Allaah,” he is a believer in Me and a disbeliever in the stars; as for the one who said, “We have been given rain by such-and-such a star,” he is a disbeliever in Me and a believer in the stars.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari)
The one who reads the horoscopes in newspapers and magazines and believes what they say about the influence of the stars and planets is considered to be a mushrik, and the one who reads them for entertainment is a sinner, because it is not permitted to entertain oneself by reading things that contain shirk, because Shaytaan will try to lead him to shirk through this.
For example. some people believe in amulets and spells, or wearing certain types of pearls or seashells or metal earrings and so on, on the advice of fortune-tellers or magicians or in accordance with inherited customs. So they hang them around their own or their children’s necks to ward off the evil eye – or so they claim; or they tie them onto their bodies or hang them in their cars and homes, or wear rings with special stones, thinking that these things can relieve or ward off distress. This without a doubt is contrary to the idea of relying on Allaah, and will only result in making a person even more weak, like seeking medicine in a haraam way. These amulets obviously contain much shirk, such as seeking the help of some jinns and devils, or vague drawings and illegible writing. Some of these liars even write aayaat from the Qur’aan, or mix them with words of shirk, or write them with impure substances such as menstrual blood. Hanging up these amulets or tying them to one’s body is haraam because the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever hangs up an amulet is guilty of shirk.” (Reported by Ahmad)
The scholars have said, if the one who does this believes that these things can cause benefit or harm instead of Allaah, he is a mushrik who is guilty of al-shirk al-akbar. If he believes that they are a means of causing benefit or harm, then he is a mushrik who is guilty of al-shirk al-asghar, which includes shirk that consists of attributing causes to things other than Allaah.
Apart from the amulets, there are other things that general people fall into like calling a dress or shoes to be lucky and eventually believing that this would cause them benefit. It is a common fact that people in sports have huge superstitions about things being lucky to them and wearing them will bring them benefit. If one believes that something is the cause of any good that is coming to them then they have made the grave mistake and fallen prey to Shyataan. But if people believe that all good is from Allah but still believe that something is Lucky then they are in danger of falling into the trap of shaytaan as he wants us to attach our hearts to materialistic things and not have complete reliance on Allah.
Superstitious belief in omens
This is a form of pessimism, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “But whenever good came to them, they said, ‘Ours is this.’ And if evil afflicted them, they ascribed it to evil omens connected with Musa and those with him . . .” [al-A’raaf 7:131]
Before Islam, if one of the Arabs wanted to do something like travelling, he would take hold of a bird and release it: if it flew to the right, he would take this as a good omen and proceed with his plans, but if it flew to the left, he would take it as a bad omen and cancel his plans. The Prophet ﷺ gave his verdict on this practice when he said: “Al-Tiyarah (observing birds for omens) is shirk.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 1/389; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3955).
This kind of haraam belief that goes against Tawheed also includes the practice of regarding certain times etc., as inauspicious, such as not holding a wedding in Safar, or regarding the last Wednesday of every month as a day of evil omen and ongoing calamity, or believing that numbers such as 13, or certain names, are “unlucky.” It is also haraam to believe that handicapped people are bad omens, such as going to open one’s store but turning back upon seeing a man whose one eye is damaged. All of this is haraam and is part of the shirk for which the Prophet ﷺ disowned people. ‘Imraan ibn Husayn reported that the Prophet ﷺ said: “He is not one of us who observes birds for omens or has someone else do this for him, or who predicts the future or asks someone else to do it for him, (and I think he said) or who practices magic or asks someone else to do it for him.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani)
The expiation required from the person who commits any of these sins is reported in the hadeeth reported by Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr: “The Messenger of Allaah ﷺ said: ‘Whoever was turned away from doing something because of a bad omen is guilty of shirk.’ The people asked, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, what expiation is there for doing that?’ He said, “What is the kafaarah for that?” He said, “To say: Allaahumma la khayra illaa khayruka wa laa tayra illaa tayruka wa laa ilaaha ghayruka (O Allaah, there is no good except Your good, no birds except Yours, and there is no god beside You).” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad).
Pessimism is a part of everyone’s nature, to a greater or lesser extent; the best cure for it is reliance upon Allah (Tawakkul), as Ibn Mas’ood said: “There is no one among us (who will not feel pessimistic sometimes), but when we rely on Allaah, He makes that feeling go away.” (Reported by Abu Dawud).
People believe in weird things like cracking knuckles, interlacing fingers, Tuesdays, unlucky numbers, cats crossing the path, pregnant women shouldn’t work during eclipse, opening and closing scissors, stepping over a child, cutting one’s nails at night, sweeping the house at night, refusing to do laundry on Mondays, and other limitless myths and illusions, these are things that the shaytaan has instilled in the minds of a lot of people and made them regard as bad omens things that have no effect on their lives in reality. He does this to make them fear things which need not be feared and keep away from striving and being optimistic, and keep them away from putting their trust fully in their Lord.
Al-Manaawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The one who is influenced by superstitious beliefs should ask Allaah for good and seek refuge with Him from evil, and go ahead with his plans, putting his trust in Him.
Superstition may be dealt with by means of these three things:
Swearing by something other than Allaah
Allaah may swear by whatever of His creatures He wills, but His creatures are not permitted to swear by anything other than Allaah. Many people swear all kinds of oaths by things other than Allaah, but swearing by something is like glorifying it, and it is not right to glorify anything or anyone other than Allaah. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Allaah has prohibited that you should swear by your fathers. If anyone swears, let him swear by Allaah, or else remain silent.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari; see al-Fath, 11/530). Ibn ‘Umar also reported that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever swears by something other than Allaah is guilty of shirk.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad). The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever swears by trustworthiness is not one of us.” (Reported by Abu Dawud).
It is not permitted to swear by the Ka’bah, by trustworthiness, by honour, by help, by the blessing of so-and-so, by the life of so-and-so, by the virtue of the Prophet, by the virtue of a wali, by one’s father and mother, by the heads of one’s children, etc. All of that is haraam, and the expiation for doing it is to say La ilaaha ill-Allaah, as is stated in the saheeh hadeeth: “Whoever swears and says ‘By al-Laat’ or ‘By al-’Uzza,’ let him say ‘La ilaaha ill-Allaah (there is no god except Allaah).’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari). There are other phrases that similarly involve shirk and are therefore forbidden, but that are often spoken by Muslims, such as: “I seek refuge with Allaah and with you,” “I am depending on Allaah and on you,” “This is from Allaah and from you,” “I have no-one but Allaah and you,” “I have Allaah in heaven and I have you on earth,” “If it were not for Allaah and so-and-so,” “I disown Islaam,” “Time has let me down” (and every other expression which involves cursing time, like saying, “This is a bad time,” “This is an unlucky time,” “Time is a betrayer,” etc., because cursing time is an insult to Allaah Who has created time), references to “Nature’s way.” Names that imply being a slave of anyone other than Allaah, such as ‘Abd ‘al-Maseeh, ‘Abd al-Nabi, ‘Abd al-Rasool and ‘Abd al-Husayn, are also forbidden.
There are also modern expressions which are contrary to Tawheed and are therefore haraam, such as “Islamic socialism,” “Islamic democracy,” “The will of the people is the will of Allaah,” “Religion is for Allaah and the land is for the people,” “In the name of Arabism,” “In the name of the revolution,” etc.
It is also haraam to use titles such as “King of kings” or “Judge of judges” for human beings; to address munafiqeen or kuffaar with titles like “Sayyid (master)” (whether speaking Arabic or other languages), to use the words “If only…” – which imply discontent and regret, and open the way for Shaytaan, and to say “O Allaah, forgive me if You want to.”