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On The Various Types Of Magic, Why it Enters Into Shirk, and a Warning Against Kamal al-Mekki's Enticement of Muslims to Watch The Tricks of The Magicians
Filed under: Magic and the Occult
Sunday, November 04 2012 - by Abu.Iyaad
Key topics: Kamal Al-Mekki Al-Maghrib Al-Maghrib Institute Green Lane Mosque

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Introduction

The scholars of Islaam explain that when Islam and Eeman are present and strong, the magicians diminish, and when Islam and Eemaan are weak (i.e. in the hearts of the people, and thereby externally), then the magicians arise and become widespread. Magic is the opposite of eemaan as Shaykh Ibn Baz explained, "So this indicates that it (magic) is in opposition to piety (taqwa) and in opposition to faith (eemaan) and explains also that it is disbelief (kufr)," (see here), and he also said, "So it indicates that it (magic) is in opposition to eemaan (faith) and taqwaa (piety). And for this reason the people of knowledge said that magic (sihr) is from kufr (disbelief) and misguidance, because it cannot be attained except by the worship of the Jinn and devils..." (see here). Magic comprises elements such as shirk with Allaah, kufr, harming others through taking of life, illness, afflications, and it involves, lying, deception, treachery, dishonesty, which are all things that are the opposite of eemaan (faith), and hence it is said that it is the opposite of eemaan (faith) and taqwaa (piety). And this applies to all types of magic, even that which relates to sleight of hand magic, which comes under the linguistic meaning of magic (sihr), because it is founded upon deception, lies, trickery and the likes, even if it does not reach the level of major kufr and shirk. And Islam forbids the witnessing of falsehood, let alone being entertained by it, and for this reason the Scholars of Islam and the Sunnah - [in whom firm trust is placed and whose views are held onto because within that is safety for a person's eemaan (faith), taqwaa (piety) and khuluq (character)] - they forbid witnessing even the likes of this magic (sleight of hand, trickery) so that the weak of heart, the ignorant and foolish are not enticed into falsehood and start believing that which is false and corrupt, this being a doorway to that which is greater and more grave.

When that is made clear, it is from the greatest of calamities that organizations claiming Sunnah and Tawhid allow ignorant individuals with stray ideas who do not understand or appreciate the intents and goals (maqaasid) of the Shari'ah in blocking the ways and means to deviation with respect to the greatest foundation of the religion, namely, the Tawhid of Allaah, the Exalted and upon this, entice the average Muslim to witness and be entertained by the falsehood, deception and trickery performed by non-Muslim swindlers and entertainers (who receive adoration, devotion and also amass wealth through what they do).

The Various Types of Magic and the Ruling Upon Them

In his explanation of Nawaqid al-Islaam (the Nullifers of Islaam), Shaykh Abdur-Rahman al-Barraak provides an explanation of the types of magic that is useful. We will provide the translation and thereafter explain the disastrous path of misguided individuals who not only justify the permissibility of magic involving sleight of hand, but actually make use of it in marketing activities as part of their "da'wah" and not just that, but actually go one step further and arrogantly belittle those who oppose and object to their falsehood!

He said (pp. 33-34):

And Allaah has mentioned the affair of magic in a number of places in the Qur'an, from them, the Exalted's saying, "They followed what the devils gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaiman." (2:102)

Just as he mentioned the story of the magicians of Pharoah in numerous places in the Qur'an, He, the Sublime and Exalted says, "They said, "O Moosaa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw?" [Moosaa] said: "Nay, throw you (first)!" Then behold, their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast. So Moosaa conceived a fear in himself. We (Allaah) said: "Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand." ((20:65-68), and in another verse, the Exalted says, "He [Moosaa] said: "Throw you (first)." So when they threw, they bewitched the eyes of the people, and struck terror into them, and they displayed a great magic." (7:116). In these two verses is a proof that their magic was takhyeeliyy (illusory).

And for this reason it is said that magic is of two types:

Sihr Haqeeqiyy [i.e. magic with an actual physical effect on an individual in terms of illness, death or separation], such as the magic which separates between two spouses, and two friends and what is like that.

Sihr Takhyeeliyy [i.e. magic which does not have a physical effect on things or change the realities of things but involves altering the perceptive faculties of a person], which is the one in which the eyes are made to believe (they are seeing something), in that a person who has had magic done on him sees things upon other than their realities, so he sees for example a donkey as a person, or a person as an animal or a stone as gold, or ropes as snakes which move swiftly, as was done by the magicians of Pharoah.

As for magic changing actual entities (from their original form), this is not possible. The magician is not able to turn a human into an animal or an animal into a human or to turn gold into a stone or a stone into gold. It is necessary for this matter to be understood and that no one is able to turn entities (into other entities) except Allaah, the Sublime and Exalted, who created all things. But the extent of the magicians (ability) is to work trickery (tamweeh) and illusion (takhyeel) upon the eyes, the Exalted said, "They bewitched the eyes of the people, and struck terror into them, and they displayed a great magic." (Al-A'raf 7:116).

And both of these types of magic (haqeeqiyy and takhyeeliyy) are from the knowledge of the devils and both of them are kufr (disbelief). He, the Sublime and Exalted said, "And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician's trick, and the magician will never be successful, no matter whatever amount (of skill) he may attain." (Ta-Ha 20:69). Hence He negated success from the magician unrestrictedly.

And magic is disbelief because it is founded upon shirk and is never separated from it, because the magician seeks nearness to the devils, he worships them and obeys them and they obey him and aid him upon whatever he desires of corruption or causing corruption. Hence, the magician is from those who cause corruption upon the earth, because he corrupts the minds of the people and their religion. And when a person's mind becomes corrupted, his religion also becomes corrupted. For how many a person [has there been] - and refuge is with Allaah - who has been oppressed with magic, his life becomes wretched (for him) and he does not remain upright, neither in his religion, nor in his worldly (affair).

From the scholars are those who said that magic varies, from it is that which is kufr, and from it is that which is not kufr, and this is based upon the notion that from magic is that which does not necessitate shirk. However, the apparent (meaning) of the Qur'an (indicates) that all of magic is kufr.

As for what the deceivers use to deceive (the people) by way of feats of activity which return back to the sleight of hand, as they claim, and with rapid movement and the magic of trickery, then this is what takes place by working trickery through the use of certain elements which makes them appear upon other than their realities. And this magic is magic only in the linguistic sense, it is not from the magic which is kufr. However they have made it (this type of magic) as an avenue with which to spread the actions of actual true and real magic, such as striking a man with a sword without it killing him, and eating hot coals, and swallowing a snake, and splitting iron which are things comprised in what they call a circus.

Important Note: The reader should note that in the last paragraph above, there is a distinction between tricks that are done through specialized knowledge and certain skills or advanced technology and the likes and which can be explained, and between those which cannot be achieved except through the agency of the devils. And whilst the Shaykh mentioned examples of some of those feats of "magic" which are done at circuses, these feats can be of two kinds: Those which actually involve trickery and use of special items and artefacts and those which involve the devils. The same type of trick can be achieved using both means, so for example, a special type of sword made of special material and construction that is able to retract may be used, or the setting of the stage for the trick, using special lighting and so on, may make it appear that a person has been struck or stabbed with a sword and what is similar to this. On the other hand, it is also possible that the person who is being stabbed is a devil who has taken on that form and the devil is involved as part of the magic trick. And many of these types of tricks that involve actual levitation for example (not the fake levitation done by today's magicians using wires and other types of tricks and deception), they cannot be done except with the devils, and these are known throughout the centuries, the Scholars of Islam have mentioned them and stated that these involve the devils, no doubt. Thus, these examples the Shaykh has given are from the angle of intending those things that are through the support, aid and powers available through the devils. And this no doubt is the magic which is shirk, as the Shaykh mentioned earlier.

Benefits From the Above

There are a few benefits we can take from this good tafseel (classification) that has been presented in what has preceded:

ONE: First, we should clarify again what we mentioned in our previous articles, about the meaning of the word takhyeel, it is clear that there is confusion and misunderstanding about what is being referred to by the word takhyeel. First what we mentioned here:

It should be clear that this same tafseel (classification) applies to what is referred to as illusionary magic (al-sihr al-takhyeeliyy). For this magic is also of two types. That which is done through the agency of the devils and which leads to people to seeing or imagining that which is not there (and this is the magic of the magicians of Pharoah), and this effect is brought about through the agency of the devils who play about with the imaginations and perceptions of the people. And then that which is not done by the agency of the devils but involves ways and means of deceiving an audience and using mere tricks and gadgets - like when someone makes a coin disappear for example through sleight of hand. So the first is kufr without doubt and the second is unlawful and prohibited but does not reach the level of kufr.

And again in this article:

This passage from Ibn al-Qayyim helps to clarify the confusion about what is referred to as "al-sihr al-takhyeeliyy" (illusionary magic). When this term is used, "illusionary magic", then to an English speaking audience, two things can be intended: The first of them: The actual perceptive faculties and imaginations of people being affected through magic involving devils. So they imagine they are seeing something which is not really there. This is similar to when a husband believes his wife to be ugly, or that she is black instead of white, or that he perceives a horrible smell every time he comes close to her. In all of these cases, the perceptive and imaginative faculties (minds) are being manipulated and played with by the devils, hence it is called "takhyeeliyy" (imaginary, illusory). The second of them: The use of trickery, sleight of hand, and specially crafted artefacts to give the impression of magic but which is not really magic, rather it is simply an art and craft involving ways and means that are known to a special circle of people which they do not reveal to others and through which they do "illusions" and "tricks." This does not involve the agency of the devils and whilst it is not kufr which expels from Islaam, it is prohibited severely, and in practical experience, many of those who are involved in this type of "illusory" magic, it is not far off to say that most of them are also involved in the magic that involves service to the devils.

A further discussion of this matter can be found in the article on the fatwas of Shaykh Ibn Baz regarding sihr and taqmeer (see here).

TWO: A clarification of the meaning of sihr haqeeqiyy (true effective magic) which means magic that has an actual physical effect and manifestation in an individual in that he becomes ill, or dies, or is made to be separated from a spouse or friend or business partner and the likes on account of actual physical effects that the magic is having. And the meaning of sihr takhyeeliyy (illusory magic) which is magic employed to bewitch the eyes and make something appear other than what it really is and this is also achieved by assistance of the devils - so there is no actual effect or change in the entity concerned, but a person is made to see it upon other than its reality. This term may be confusing to some, leading them to include the magic that involves the use of "tricks" such as sleight of hand within this type of magic. Rather, these are two separate matters, even if both are referred to as sihr takhyeeliyy (illusionary magic). Refer to Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen's clarification that this type of magic (affecting the sense and imaginitive faculties is also true and real). And the Scholars distinguish between that which involves the devils - and all of that is magic without distinction and without exception, no matter what its form or manifestion - and between magic that involves mere potions and medications (to harm others) or the use of trickery and sleight of hand, and these forms do not make use of the devils, and that which is correct is that they do not expel from Islam. However, because the outward appearance of what they do and achieve with these potions and deceptive tricks is the same as what the true and real magicians do (using devils), it is the view of all of the scholars in general that such people are to receive the prescribed punishment with the underlying reason for it as explained by those scholars may vary, according to the state and condition of the one doing such magic,it may be for kufr and apostasy, or for causing corruption, or for killing someone with the use of potions and medications.

THREE: What has been said by the Shaykh regarding those who say that there can be magic that is not kufr (alluding to Imaam al-Shaafi'ee and those upon his view, like al-Nawawi and others):

From the scholars are those who said that magic varies, from it is that which is kufr, and from it is that which is not kufr, and this is based upon the notion that from magic is that which does not necessitate shirk. However, the apparent (meaning) of the Qur'an (indicates) that all of magic is kufr.

Compare this with what has been said by Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (I'aanat ul-Mustafeed 1/487):

And Imaam al-Shaafi'ee says, "We say to the magician, 'Describe your magic to us', so if he describes it with what necessitates kufr, then he is a disbeliever, and if not, then no." However, this madhhab (position) is of lesser weight (surpassed) because magic is not possible except through cooperation of the devils, submitting to them, and thereby, he becomes a disbeliever.

And also the saying of Shaykh Abdul-Azeez al-Raajihee (see here):

And from here it becomes clear that by consensus and complete agreement, when a magician's magic comprises kufr he is a disbeliever, when his magic comprises kufr in that he seeks nearness to the devils which that which is from the unique and specific rights of Allaah, he falls into a nullifier from the nullifiers of Islaam, then he is a disbeliever by consensus. ...As for al-Shafi'ee, then he entered the linguistic meaning of magic into the (legislative) meaning of magic, for this reason, he distinguished, so al-Shafi'ee (rahimahullaah), he said, "If his magic comprises kufr, he disbelieves, and if it does not comprise kufr, then he does not disbelieve", because he entered linguistic meaning of magic into the (legislative) meaning of magic, hence he required tafseel (making clarification, distinction). As for the majority, they did not require making distinction because they did not enter the linguistic meaning of magic into the legislative meaning of magic. So from this it becomes clear that there is no difference between the Scholars that when the magician's magic comprises kufr, then he is a disbeliever with the four Imaams and others, Maalik, al-Shafi'ee, Abu Haneefah and Ahmad. All of them say, when his magic comprises kufr, he disbelieves, in that he seeks closeness to the devil with what he loves, or he urinates on the mushaf or places it under his feet, this is disbelief by consensus. However, when his magic (does not involve) connecting to the devils, this is the one wherein there is clarification [as to whether he makes his act lawful or not]. Likewise, when (his magic) comprises calling upon the stars, or calling upon other than Allaah, or he calls upon the seven stars, as was done by the people of Babylon, then this is a disbeliever by consensus.

And also the saying of Shaykh Saalih Aal al-Shaykh (see here):

So the result of this is that magic (sihr) in all its types involves the usage of the devils, seeking aid by them and the devils do not serve except the one who becomes near to them by sacrificing (for other than Allaah), or by seeking rescue, or by seeking refuge and their likes. Meaning that he directs something from the types of worship (to them). Rather, I have looked into the books of magic and I found that the magician - in accordance with what that writer described - will not attain the reality of magic and attain the aid of the Jinn as is desired until he belittles the Qur'an and belittles the copy of the Qur'an and until he disbelieves in Allaah and reviles Allaah the Mighty and Majestic and His Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). And this has been mentioned by one who has come to know the reality of the situation (regarding these affairs).

And the saying of Shaykh Abdur-Rahmaan al-Barraak, which has been cited above:

And both of these types of magic (haqeeqiyy and takhyeeliyy) are from the knowledge of the devils and both of them are kufr (disbelief). He, the Sublime and Exalted said, "And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician's trick, and the magician will never be successful, no matter whatever amount (of skill) he may attain." (Ta-Ha 20:69). Hence He negated success from the magician unrestrictedly. And magic is disbelief because it is founded upon shirk and is never separated from it, because the magician seeks nearness to the devils, he worships them and obeys them and they obey him and aid him upon whatever he desires of corruption or causing corruption.

And the saying of Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen in al-Qawl al-Mufeed (2/47-48):

(Whoever) is a conditional particle, and the action of the condition is (does magic) and the answer to the condition is (has committed shirk). And this does not apply to all magic, since the intent behind (Whoever does magic) is that with satanic routes. As for magic through potions and medications and what is like them, then it has already preceded that he is not a mushrik, however the one who does magic through obeying the devils and using them for what he desires (of goals), then there is no doubt this one is a mushrik.

This indicates that all of the Scholars are united that the magic which entails kufr is the one that involves the agency of the devils, since that is the actual essence of magic, and it is kufr because such magic cannot be attained except by worshipping the devils and performing kufr (in speech and action) in order to please the devils and win their assistance and receive special knowledge from them. And this magic includes the sihr takhyeeliyy (illusory magic) in which the magician does magic to play with a person's perception and imagination such that he sees things that are not as such in outward reality. As for magic not involving the devils, such as the use of potions (to harm people) and likewise using sleight of hand tricks, then this is not disbelief. However, that does not diminish from the fact that they are unlawful and are in fact a doorway to the magic that entails kufr.

Refutation of Kamal al-Mekki and Those Who Host Him (al-Maghrib, Green Lane Mosque)

Kamal al-Mekki is a speaker hosted by numerous organizations, from them al-Maghrib Institute. This is a for-profit organization that provides "edutainment" a "buzz" and an "experience" to innocent Muslims who genuinely want to learn but their aim is to sever the general masses from true and real scholars whilst instilling love and attachment - using clever marketing techniques - to the stars and personalities of their organization. This individual has video interviews done with Green Lane Mosque (an Ikhwani organization in Birmingham, UK) on Youtube in which he claims that the type of sleight of hand magic alluded to by the Shaykh in what we quoted above:

As for what the deceivers deceive (the people) by of feats of activity which return back to the sleight of hand, as they claim, and with rapid movement and the magic of trickery, then this is what takes place by working trickery through the use of certain elements which makes them appear upon other than their realities. And this magic is magic only in the linguistic sense, it is not from the magic which is kufr. However they have made it (this type of magic) as an avenue with which to spread the actions of actual true and real magic, such as striking a man with a sword without it killing him, and eating hot coals, and swallowing a snake, and splitting iron which are things comprised in what they call a circus.

He claims that this type of sleight of hand magic and being occupied with it and watching its (non-Muslim) practitioners is not unlawful and implies there is nothing wrong with it or being entertained with it. In his video, he also speaks arrogantly and belittles those who do not agree with his falsehood. All of this is from the gross ignorance of this individual and it is a disastrous call and in this he is not following the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and nor the Companions (radiallaahu anhum) and nor the Imaams and Scholars of the Sunnah. Rather, he is following the astray Mu'tazilah and their figureheads some of whom (such as al-Baydawi) held that there was no harm in involvement in magic which is sleight of hand. The reality is that Islam forbids all forms of deception and trickery, and Muslims do not witness falsehood and deception, let alone take it as entertainment, and the Scholars of Islam and the Sunnah have forbidden all forms of magic, without exception. It is obligatory upon Kamal al-Mekki to make tawbah just as it is obligatory upon whoever contributed to the spread of this interview and this falsehood to make tawbah to Allaah because this is deceiving the Muslims about their religion and taking them one step closer to what actually constitutes kufr. This is because this type of magic which involves trickery and deception is actually a means and a stepping stone to the type of magic that constitutes actual kufr involving the agency of the devils. And by and large, many of those who practice this type of magic (which does not constitute kufr) also practice the magic which does involve the agency of the devils - and because the essence of magicians is to deceive and tell lies (through speech and action) - the presumption always remains that they are likely to have connections with the devils in at least some of what they do, even if they outwardly deny it. In any case, given the way that magic and the occult is heavily promoted through media and books targeted at children, it is not befitting that that Muslim audiences are deceived and misled into holding an accomodating position towards the likes of these affairs, as this constitutes breaking the barriers and creating avenues through which Muslims can be led into misguidance and deviation in a step-wise fashion.

Shaykh al-Sa'dee on Why Magic Enters Into Shirk and Kamal al-Mekki's Enticement Of Muslim To Witness Magicians Claiming Knowledge of the Unseen

Shaykh al-Sa'dee (rahimahullaah) stated (see here):

And for this reason, the legislator has tied it to shirk, for magic enters into Shirk from two angles:

From the angle that it comprises seeking the aid of the devils and attachment to them, and perhaps he (the magician) we seek closeness to them through what they love in order that they (the devils) serve him and his objective.

From the angle of what it comprises of the claim of the knowledge of the unseen, and claim of sharing with Allaah in His knowledge, and taking paths which lead to (such a claim), and this is from the branches of shirk and kufr.

Whoever studies Kitab al-Tawhid will see that Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab included two chapters relating to magic. The first on magic (sihr) itself, and the second is related to something from the types of magic - which include things such as tiyarah and iyaafah (two types of omens, superstitions) and also nameemah (tale-carrying) and also bayaan (powerful, influencing, beguiling speech) all of which come under the general category of magic (sihr) even though they do not all have the same ruling. But the intent here is that magic (sihr) in general is all a lie and underyling it all is secrecy and deception, and the wisdom in including these affairs in a separate chapter is to show that there are types of magic which though in themselves not major shirk, they are avenues and doorways to shirk, and resemble, in some respects, the magic which is shirk. It is for this reason that kahaanah (fortune-telling) is also connected to magic (sihr) and this is apparent and in Kitab al-Tawheed all of these matters are discussed in adjacent chapters. Once we grasp this matter and reality, and we take special note of what Shaykh al-Sa'dee (rahimahullaah) has explained with respect to the angles from which magic enters into shirk, let us see the remarks of Kamal al-Mekki:

Interviewer: OK... talking about jokes... uh, there's this black magic joke that you mentioned? KM: Yea, I mean, I was warned that in Birmingham if I mentioned that I like magic, that there would be a riot and stuff. And I'll be blacklisted and all kind of things now. And it's very irritating because you try to explain to people when we say ma-, the word magic, in contemporary English, it doesn't mean sorcery, ya'nee, it doesn't mean sorcery and it doesn't mean Jinn. When you say the word magic now, we use that to mean, to refer to sleight of hand, things like that, you pick a card, any card, something like that, and there's nothing haraam about that. You can argue that it's a waste of time, that's no problem, like TV, like that's fine. But it's not haraam, ya'nee, it's just... sleight of hand, it's illusion, yeah? So, if you watch Dynamo, Criss Angel, or... Oh! Muslims talk about, "I don't watch them cause they use Jinn." And they don't use Jinn. I can show you every one of their tricks, how they do it, and every one of them has an explanation, yeah? So, but, and one talent show I was going to do some sleight of hand tricks, but someone already came up and objected, (deep mocking voice), "Oh, magic on stage!" So, khalaas. So, we tell people that what's haraam is sorcery, yeah? So, if you go to a magician's show, they're just doing illusions on stage, there's nothing haraam about that. Now, so what you're not allowed to go to - to a black magician, yeah? That's what's haraam... Interviewer: Can we get an example, of something that's sleight of hand? KM: Yea, absolutely, I brought something with me (reaches into pocket), watch this. This is a grape, yeah? (displays a grape). I'm going to make it disappear. Interviewer: Watch carefully, cameras... KM: (Chews and swallows grape) It's gone! (Interviewer laughs out loud, crowd also) What do you think? Don't ask me to bring it back though! You'll have to wait. (everyone laughs) Interviewer: While we all sit here waiting, do we want to say the watermelon joke? KM: No, no we don't. Interviewer: (laughing) Leave that for another day. KM: Birmingham, Birmingham! You have to know where you are. Interviewer: (laughs) C'mon guys, we've got this reputation. KM: Some things work in America, and they would not work in, uh, in the UK, you know? I learned that when I was in Leeds. Some sisters got offended and stuff. Sisters always want to get offended. I'm so glad there are no sisters at this conference, you know. (Interviewer laughs) No, I'm just kidding, I know they're somewhere else, yeah? Cause you know, uh, they just want to get offended, they want an apology and stuff... I was, if a sister comes to me, she's like, "I'm offended and I want to leave." I'd be like, "The door is right there, so make a left, and leave. I can call you a cab if you don't have a ride, you know?

Upon this there are some observations:

ONE: His attempt to claim that in English "magic" does not refer to "sorcery" which he says is what is haram and this is false from two angles. First, in all of the books of magic in English, historically, from centuries, magic has been referred to as "magic" or "magick" and this has not changed and it is not the case that in contemporary English, "magic" only means illusions and sleight of hand. Second, disbelievers and perpetrators of kufr and shirk continue to write books referring to their craft as "magic" and the TV and media continue to present supernatural powers and knowledge of the unseen through the label of "magic." And "sorcery" is simply another term, and there may be generalities between them, but the fact of the matter is that "magic" as a term is not devoid of what Kamal al-Mekki is trying to imply.

TWO: It is clear that he is implying there is nothing wrong or unlawful with watching magicians such as Criss Angel and Dynamo, if not encouraging people to do so, by his general disdaining attitude towards those who do not agree with him. So here is the issue: Much of the claimed magic of these individuals is clear trickery and deception and sleight of hand whose ways and techniques are known and revealed, and it involves stooges and those who are in on the act, or it involves specialized or advanced knowledge and these types of acts do not amount to kufr - unless they connect to the devils and receive information from them regarding such matters. However, a large part of their magic also involves what essentially amounts to claiming knowledge of the unseen. And they are either mere tricks and calculated deceptions implemented with skill - as is the case in many of their card tricks - or they involve the devils when it comes to retreiving or accessing information that is not attainable through the normal ways and means. And when it is the case that these magicians also deny that they are involved with "spirits" - then their claim to have knowledge that is not otherwise attainable through normal ways and means is tantamount to claiming knowledge of the unseen, and here we start entering into the realm of shirk. So when these types of affairs form a significant part of this type of magic, then encouraging people to watch them, and especially the young children, then this is inviting to people to come closer to what is actual kufr and shirk and the risk of believing such people. And upon surveying comments made upon videos of these magicians, it is clear that there are disputes taking place between grown-up adults as to whether this is true and real magic, with some vehemently denying that these are tricks and deceptions. So when this is the case with such people, then how about enticing children and the foolish and the ignorant into watching and witnessing these types of affairs?!

THREE: So the intent here is that a person who holds such a position (as Kamal al-Mekki), and mentions, without reservation, magicians such as those who he has mentioned (swindlers and fraudsters who do such practices for self-enrichment and receving devotion), and essentially promotes that whose basis - [calculated deception, trickery, lies] - clashes in every way with eemaan and taqwaa, then he is ignorant of the realities of Tawheed and the realities of what the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) came with of closing the doors to all avenues that lead to shirk or which erode the barriers that prevent from shirk.

FOURTH: And this is grave and serious in that we have people claiming to be callers to Tawheed, apparently involved in da'wah, spreading and promoting this video, only managing to see "humour" within it, being blinded to the fact that it contradicts, clashes with and opposes the maqsad (intent, objective) of the Legislator (shaari') in closing all doors to that which clashes with eemaan (faith). And this in turn indicates that Tawheed is not something academic, rather it is something that affects the heart, the mind, and the body. However, we are living in a time where organizations such as al-Maghrib - which are for-profit organizations - charge the common people to come and have "an experience" at their events, and what they are being given is essentially edutainment, something of knowledge within the context of a social and entertaining experience, and so the experience is what is remembered, and the knowledge does not actually take rooot, it is forgotten. And this is why you will see interviewees who give testimonials for them, they will attend the same seminar, five or six times, because it is the experience and the buzz they are after, and they are not connected to the true and real scholars by the speakers, scholars in whom they would see an actual model of faith and piety and in whom the effects of rooted knowledge are readily apparent. But the leaders and speakers of al-Maghrib, from them are those (such as Yasir Qadhi) who sit with, praise and invite others to the heads of the Jahmiyyah in the West, and from them are those like Kamal al-Mekki who erode the barriers the Shari'ah has placed in preventing people from avenues of shirk and kufr and so they have calamities with them.

Useful Classification of Magic That Removes Confusion and Ambiguity

From this discussion and the many other articles we have from many other Scholars (see further below), we should understand that magic (sihr) can be divided into three broad types:

Sihr Haqeeqiyy: True, effective magic, as in that which physically affects a person whose effect is real and true and perceivable and felt and this is when a person becomes ill or dies, or goes mad, or when two spouses are separated from each other by it, and so this affects the bodies and the hearts and the minds

Sihr Takhyeeliyy: Illusionary magic, with the meaning that a person's perceptive and imaginitive faculties have magic done upon them such that a person sees and perceives with the eyes that which is not so in actual reality, and this is when a person sees a child as a puppy, or a spouse as an animal or ropes and sticks as moving snakes and the likes. And one should not be confused by the fact that this type is called sihr takhyeeliyy (magic which is illusionary), it is only called this because it relates to affecting the perceptive faculties of a person, without it actually changing external reality, because a magician cannot turn a child into a puppy or change the essences of things. But this magic, if we put its ambiguous title to one side, is also true and real magic in the sense that it does have a true and real effect, which in this case is upon the perceptive faculties of people. This is the type of magic used by the magicians of Pharoah and as for those who tried to explain the magic of the magicians of Pharoah in that they used mercury to fill the ropes and sticks and made them move in that way - this is false and incorrect and has been refuted by Ibn al-Qayyim very well (see here) because in that case, the eyes would not have been bewitched, they would simply be seeing the ropes and sticks moving because they are actually moving and this therefore would not be sikhr takhyeeliyy. You can see further illustration of this by Shaykh Muhammmad bin Haadee (in this article). This type of magic is also referred to as al-taqmeer - which is a type of magic which lasts only a very short time, a couple of minutes, or mere moments - in which a person's perceptive faculties are affected temporarily and this is often used by thieves to steal, or in hand to hand business transactions involving notes, and it is also used by magicians to deceive the people into seeing what is not actually there for a short time. It is the type of magic used by magicians (in Saudi Arabia) to snatch children from their parents in public places - something that has received media attention recently.

Both the above two types enter into the legislative meaning of sihr (magic) and both involve the agency of the devils and they are from the legislative meaning of sihr (magic) and collectively, these two types of magic affect a) the bodies b) the hearts, c) the minds, d) the perceptive faculties (like the eyes) and magicians use a variety of ways and means to effect this type of magic. In order make this magic work they have won the service of the devils.

Sihr Majaazee: Figurative magic, meaning, magic only with the linguistic meaning of the word, which means that which takes place by hidden, imperceivable ways, and this includes those who use potions and the likes in order to cure people as they claim, and also the sleight of hand magic that involves deception using skills a magician has developed, monopolizing on specialized knowledge of materials, chemicals, technology and the likes which are used to perform tricks - all of which can be given proper explanations provided one has the relevant knowledge and the type of tricks being used. This is called "sihr" from its linguistic meaning - and this is also unlawful, though it does not expel from Islaam. However, this type is often used as a stepping stone to that which is from the first two types, and many of those who practice this type of magic, it is often the case that some of what they do involves the assistance of the devils. For this reason, all forms and types of magic are prohibited in Islaam.

Further Reading

  • Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen: Sikhr Takhyeeliyy (Illusionary Magic) is True and Real and Has an Actual Effect - (see here)
  • Shaykh Abdul-Azeez al-Raajihee on the Types of Magic and Consensus Amongst the Scholars About the Magic Which Expels from Islaam - (see here)
  • Shaykh Saalih Aal al-Shaykh on the Classification of Magic into Types That Vary in Definition, Reality and Ruling - (see here)
  • Shaykh al-Sa'dee: Magic Enters Into Shirk From Two Angles - (see here)
  • Shaykh Ibn Baz on the Two Types of Magic and That It Occurs Through Worship of the Devils - (see here)
  • Shaykh Muhammad bin Haadee Explains and Illustrates al-Sihr al-Takhyeeliyy (Illusionary Magic) - (see here)
  • Shaykh Ibn Baz on the Magicians and What is Intended by Illusory Magic (al-Sihr al-Takhyeeliyy) - (see here)
  • Ibn al-Qayyim on the Nature of the Magic of the Magicians of Pharoah and Refutation of the Mu'tazilah Who Deny Magic and A Clarification of What is Meant by Illusory Magic - (see here)
  • Shaykh Saalih Aal al-Shaykh on the Nature of the Magic Which Expels from Islaam - (see here)
  • Shaykh Ibn Baz on the Tafseel (Detailed Clarification) Regarding Magic Which Constitutes Kufr - (see here)
  • Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen on the Magic that Expels from Islam and the Magic Which Does Not - (see here)
  • Shaykh Sulayman bin Abdullaah bin Abdul-Wahhaab on What Constitutes the Magic Which Expels from Islaam - (see here)
  • Imaam al-Shanqeetee's Clarification and Verification on the Magic that Expels From the Religion and A Note From Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani - (see here)
  • Shaykh Ibn Baz: That Which Makes Magic to Be Kufr is Worship of the Jinn and Seeking their Assistance - (see here)

This article was updated 06/11/2012 13:49pm. Video of Kamal Mekki provided by Abu Zubaydah Yusuf and transcript provided by Moosaa Richardson.



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