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Shaykh Ibn Baz on Magic Being Major Kufr, the Types of This Magic and an Explanation of the Magic Known as Taqmeer and Removal of a Misconception
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Tuesday, November 06 2012 - by Admin

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In Fataawaa Nur Alaa al-Darb, Shaykh Abdul-Azeez Bin Baz (rahimahullaah) explains issues connected to magic, and here we will bring a few of those fatwas. In the first fatwa (available here), the Shaykh explains how magic enters into Shirk:

Magic is major kufr because it cannot be attained except with shirk, by worship of the Jinn and calling upon them besides Allaah, for this reason, He the Sublime said regarding the magic (taken) from the two Angels, "And they did not teach anyone until they said, 'Verily, we are a tribulation, so do not disbelieve'." And He, the Sublime, said in these verses, "And indeed they knew that the buyers of it..." meaning magic "...would have no share in the Hereafter" meaning a portion or allocation, and He said, "And if they had only believed and displayed piety then reward from Allah is better, if they only knew." (2:103). So this indicates that magic is the opposite of eemaan (faith) and opposite of taqwaa (piety), we ask Allaah for pardon. And magic is attained through worshipping the Jinn besides Allaah and seeking nearness to them with sacrifices, oaths and what is like that. Hence, it is narrated from him (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that he said, "Whoever performed magic has committed shirk", and he (alayhis salaatu wassalaam) said, "Avoid the seven destroyers" and they said, "What are they O Messenger of Allaah" and he said, "Shirk with Allah, and magic, and killing a soul which Allaah made unlawful except with due right, consuming usury, consuming the wealth of an orphan, deserting the battlefield, and accusing chaste, innocent believing women (of lewdness)." It was reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim in the two Sahihs. Hence, he made magic to be the partner of shirk and he placed it before killing a soul, because it is oppression, [whereas magic] is from shirk, because it is worship of the Jinn besides Allaah, seeking nearness to them with what they desire (from men) of invocation, seeking rescue, sacrificing of making oath, until they teach him something, and so he is one who obeys the devils, as He, the Sublime said, "They followed what the Shayaateen (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaimaan (Solomon). Sulaimaan did not disbelieve, but the Shayaateen (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic..." (2:102). Hence, he made their teaching of magic to be disbelief and misguidance, we ask Allaah for pardon.

The connection between magic and shirk is therefore clear and all magic (as intended in the Shariah texts) comprises shirk and kufr without doubt as no magic takes place except through the agency of the devils which itself requires actions that necessitate disbelief and polytheism.

Sihr and Taqmeer

The next fatwa also helps in clarifying a misconception and misunderstanding regarding the magic which is referred to as sihr takhyeeliyy (illusionary magic) - this is simply referring to magic done by a magician to affect the senses of a person, in particular the eyes, so the person sees what is not so in actual reality. The reason why it is called sihr takhyeeliyy is because unlike sihr haqeeqiyy (in which an actual true and real physical effect is brought about, such as making a person ill, pain in a limb, death, affecting the mind and causing madness, affecting feelings and emotions in the heart to bring about love or hate, union or separation), this type of magic (takhyeeliyy) is done on the perceptive faculties so the eyes, mind, imagination see what is not there in actuality. So this is bewitching the eyes. This is not to be confused with sleight of hand tricks. Refer to Ibn al-Qayyim's refutation of the deniers of magic in which he addresses this particular issue (see this article), and refer to Shaykh Muhammad bin Haadee's explanation of this type of magic (in this article here), and also from Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen (in this article here).

As for taqmeer, it refers to a type of magic that is done temporarily upon the senses of a person and is used by thieves to swindle, cheat and steal from others in short encounters, or hand to hand transactions, or by magicians to make people see things upon other than what they are, and recently it has made headlines in that it is has been used to kidnap children.

In the next fatwa we will see Shaykh Ibn Baz using sihr (magic) and taqmeer in the same context. The Shaykh (rahimahullaah) said (as occurs here):

Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic has explained in His Mighty Book, and likewise His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallaam), that magic exists, and that magicians exist and that the devils are the teachers, they are the ones who teach magic, the devils amongst the Jinn, they are the ones who teach the devils amongst the men magic.

Magic is done through devilish incantations, amulets (tying of) knots and blowing (upon them), as He the Exalted said, "And from the evil of those women who blow on knots" (113:4), meaning the female magicians who blow on knots with misguided, erroneous words by which they intend harm upon the one whom magic is being done.

And it befalls by way of takhyeel (making to see something that is not there), as He the Exalted said, "It was made to appear to him, by their magic, that they (the ropes and sticks) were moving fast." (20:66). Hence, they make a person to perceive (with the vision of the eyes) that the ropes are alive and the sticks are alive, and that the dog is actually another species, or the cat is another species and so on. This (magic) is called taqmeer (التقمير) by the common-folk, meaning that they bewitch the eye, as He the Mighty and Majestic said, "So when they threw, they bewitched the eyes of the people, and struck terror into them, and they displayed a great magic" (7:116) and they bewitched the eyes of the people, meaning they deceived them until a person would look at something upon other than how it was and would imagine other than what is known (to be so), on account of the deception which has been played on the eyes, until the people think that the ropes and sticks, due to the magicians of Pharoah, they thought they (the ropes and sticks) were alive and believed they were snakes, and the magician takes from the devils, the Exalted said, "They followed what the Shayaateen (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaimaan. Sulaimaan did not disbelieve, but the Shayaateen (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic...", this is how He, the Sublime and Exalted explained, and then He said, "and such things that came down to the two angels...", meaning, they would teach them what was sent down to the angels, "at Babylon, Harut and Marut, and they did not teach anyone..." meaning the two angels, Harut and Marut, "until they said..." to the apprentice, "Verily we are a tribulation, so do not disbelieve" (2:102). Meaning that the people were put to trial by way of the two angels, so (they said) do not disbelieve by becoming engaged with magic. This proves that being engaged with magic is disbelief after faith and apostasy after Islam, when a person is a Muslim, because he does not arrive at such magic except after worshipping the devils, seeking nearness to them through sacrifice and making oath, seeking rescue from them and prostrating to them and what is like that. Hence the magician becomes a disbeliever, apostate by this, due to him engaging with the devils with that which is from the (exlusive) right of Allaah, of worship, and for this reason He said, "And they did not teach anyone until they said...", meaning that they would advise him until they said, "Verily we are a tribulation, so do not disbelieve. But they learned from them both..." meaning from Harut and Marut, "that by which to would separate a man from his wife" meaning they would learn from the two angels affairs of magic by which they would deceive the husband and wife until he would believe that his wifes condition has worsened and that her character has changed (for the worse) and thereby starts to hate her and then divorces her. (وهكذا المرأة يلبسون عليها ويقمّرون عليها ويسحرون عينها ، بالنسبة إلى زوجها حتى تتخيل أنه غير زوجها وأن صورته تغيرت وحاله تغيرت ، فتنكره وتطلب الفراق) And likewise with the woman, they deceive her and do taqmeer on her and bewitch her eye in relation to her husband until she begins to imagine, perceive that he is not her husband and that his appearance has changed and his condition has changed, so she rejects him and requests divorce...

Notes and Benefits From the Above

FIRST: In this second fatwa, Shaykh Ibn Baz put sihr haqeeqiyy and sihr takhyeeliyy together and spoke of them together and mentioned straight after the magic done on Moosaa (alayhis salaam) and the people in the court of the Pharoah that, "the magician takes from the devils...". This is alongside the statements of all the other scholars we have cited in this series of articles (see article list below) who all essentially provide the same meaning, that the magic which is kufr is that whose ways and means comprise Shirk which includes worship of the devils, stars and claims of having knowledge of the unseen and what is like that.

SECOND: Pay attention to the statement of the Shaykh regard taqmeer, and he mentioned it and illustrated it, so he said (rahimahullaah):

وهكذا المرأة يلبسون عليها ويقمّرون عليها ويسحرون عينها ، بالنسبة إلى زوجها حتى تتخيل أنه غير زوجها وأن صورته تغيرت وحاله تغيرت ، فتنكره وتطلب الفراق

And likewise with the woman, they deceive her and do taqmeer on her and bewitch her eye in relation to her husband until she begins to imagine, perceive that he is not her husband and that his appearance has changed and his condition has changed, so she rejects him and requests divorce

So here taqmeer is a type of magic that involves bewitching the eye, and this is done through the devils, and this is when a person sees things other than what they are really upon, a husband sees his wife as ugly after being beautiful, a person sees a child as a puppy, or a stationary object as a moving animal and the likes. This here is not to be confused with sleight of hand tricks! That is something else altogether and anyone who confused between them - then his refutation is found in the speech of Ibn al-Qayyim (see this article), and refer also to Shaykh Muhammad bin Haadee's explanation of this type of magic (in this article here), and also from Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen (in this article here). So this is a vital point to be understood, otherwise it will lead to wrongful interpretations of the sayings of the Scholars.

THIRD: And here we can respond to this misconception and misunderstanding that magic tricks using sleight of hand without the agency of the Jinn are kufr and apostasy - something that none of the Scholars have said as far as we know [and if any did say that, their opinion is erroneous, unless they are only saying so because of their underlying, unexpressed assumption that those who perform these types of tricks are taking from the devils] - so the response to this is that if this is what the scholars are saying, as is alleged about Shaykh Ibn Baz, or the Permanent Committee (and they are not saying this at all), then how on earth does a magician who is doing sihr takhyeeliyy on a husband and wife to make one see the other as black when she is white and one see the other as ugly when he is handsome in order to separate them - how on earth does a magician achieve this through sleight of hand? What possible trick can he conjure up to achieve this "sleight of hand magic." Is he going to break into the house of this married couple and install special gadgets and advanced technology and lighting so that no matter how and where the wife goes, she will always appear black? And likewise, if a magician bewitches a person's eyes so that he sees small children as puppies, what sleight of hand trick is he actually doing on the child to make him look like a puppy - when all the Scholars are saying that the child does not actually change in reality, its just in the vision of the one upon whom magic has been done (see here). And this is how Ibn al-Qayyim has refuted those who claim the magic of the magicians of Pharoah was simply sleight of hand (see here). Because if this had been achieved through those means (like sleight of hand and tricks), then this would not be called magic in its legislative sense, but only a craft, skill and art used to deceive others, and would be considered magic in its linguistic sense.

FOUR: So we can see purely from the examples given by Shaykh Ibn Baaz and likewise by the scholars whom we have quoted from in this series, that by sikhr takhyeeliyy, they are referring to magic that involves the devils, without doubt, and that magic done by the magicians in league with the devils can affect a) bodies, b) hearts, c) minds, and d) senses. The first three are haqeeqiyy (true real effects) in that actual physical effect is brought about, a pain in the arm, sickness, illness, death, hatred in the heart between husband and wife leading to separation, a person losing his mind and going mad and so on - all of these are haqeeqiyy in the sense that they have real tangible, physical observable effects on entities (people). And the fourth one relates only to playing with the senses without there being any physical, external change in the reality, so a person sees what is not actually there, he sees his wife as black, but it is not really the case, the wife sees her husband as a goat, but its not the case, even if the magic itself, as in what is done on the eyes, is real and true (haqeeqiyy). Built upon this, extreme care must be taken in this issue so as not to propagate erroneous rulings pertaining to kufr and apostasy. And if any scholar has said otherwise, his opinion is erroneous and cannot be held onto. However, it is incorrect to interpret the fatwas of Shaykh Bin Baz and those of the Permanent Committee upon other than what has been explained above, as it cannot be found in their words that magic that is merely sleight of hand with no connection to the devils and not requiring the ways and means which entail shirk or kufr (such as calling upon others, claiming knowledge of the unseen, reviling Allaah, kicking the Qur'an and the likes) for it to be effected - that such magic is kufr and apostasy.

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

  • 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 - (see here)
  • 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)



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