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Magic and the Occult
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Shaykh Saalih Aal al-Shaykh, in his commentary on Kitab al-Tawheed, in the chapter related to magic (sihr) says the following (see al-Jaami' al-Fareed Fee Sharh Kitaab al-Tawheed 1/978 onwards):
As for the magic which is kufr (disbelief) and major shirk (polytheism) with Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - then it is employing the devils, seeking aid by way of them in order to attain a matter through the means of becoming near to those devils by something of the types of worship. And the jurists have defined magic by their saying that it is is spells and incantations, tying knots and blowing on them. So magic harms in reality, and it causes illness in reality and it kills in reality. So the reality of magic then is that it is the employment of the devils in order to bring about effect and it is not possible for a magician to attain the execution of his magic until he seeks nearness to the devils. So when he has become near to them the devils amongst the Jinn serve him by affecting the body of the one on whom magic is done. Hence, every magician has a servant from the devils who aids him, and every magician has one from the devils from whom he seeks aid. Hence, it is not possible for a magician to be a magician in reality except when he seeks nearness to the devils, and for this reason, magic is shirk with Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic...
From this speech of Shaykh Saalih Aal al-Shaykh and likewise that which has preceded from other Scholars:
It is apparent that the magic which is kufr in the Shari'ah is that which involves the agency of the Jinn and whose ways and means comprise kufr and shirk. As for those who use potions and other means in order to bring about effects in people, then that is not the magic being referred to in the Shari'ah, even if it is prohibited severely. The clarification provided in this article also applies to illusions created by calculated deception. Because illusions are of two types: First, those brought about by the devils through magic and which affect the imagination and perceptive faculties of people in reality and second, those which are mere tricks with the use of gadgets and using the special properties of things to make it look as if actual magic is being done when in reality it is simply deceiving and swindling the people and this is when someone makes a coin in his hand disappear and then pulls it from behind his ear, or uses hidden mirrors to see things which he is not supposed to see, or uses previously prepared and arranged artefacts and what is similar to all of this. This does not involve the agency of the Jinn but is calculated deception and this is severely prohibited and unlawful.
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