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Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen on the Magic that Expels from Islam and the Magic Which Does Not
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Friday, November 02 2012 - by Abu.Iyaad

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Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) explains in his explanation of the chapter on magic (sihr) in his explanation of Kitab al-Tawhid (al-Qawl al-Mufeed Alaa Kitab al-Tawheed) the following (1/489-1490):

Hence, magic is of two types:

  • Polytheism (shirk), and this is the first (from the previously mentioned two types) which occurs through the agency of the devils, he worships them and seeks nearness to them in order to unleash them upon the one upon whom magic is being done.

  • Oppression and sinfulness (udwaan, fisq), and this is the second (from the previously mentioned two types), which is through medications and potions and their likes.

And through this classification (of magic) which we have mentioned we reach an important matter which is: Does a magician become a disbeliever or not? The people of knowledge have differed regarding this, amongst them are those who said he disbelieves and amongst them are those who said he does not disbelieve.

However, the ruling in this matter becomes clear from the previous classification which we have mentioned. So whoever's magic was through the agency of the devils, then he disbelieves, because he does not bring that (magic) except with Shirk overwhelmingly, due to the saying of the Exalted, "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 and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, "We are only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us)." And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allýh's Leave. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not. And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter." (Al-Baqarah 2:102). And whoever's magic was through potions and medications and their likes, then he does not disbelieve, but is considered a sinful oppressor.

A Note About Illusionary Magic

From the explanation of Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) and also from the previous statements of other scholars which can be read 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 - (see here)
  • Shaykh Ibn Baz; That Which Makes Magic to Be Kufr is Worship of the Jinn and Seeking their Assistance - (see 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. Some of the ignoramuses and astray people (such as Kamal al-Makki of al-Maghrib Institute) have no shame in lying to the people, claiming that this type of magic is permissible, and worse, they make use of it as part of da'wah!

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