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The hadith literature are replete with references to witchcraft and the occult. The belief in the "evil eye" عين الحسودة is particularly prominent. According to this ancient and widespread belief, the act of envying what another person has or possess can put the metaphysical, mystical "eye" upon them, bringing misfortune of various kinds on who is on the receiving end of the eye. This eye can be warded off by, variously, giving the person who is envious the object of their envy, using charms made to look like the eye itself (among them the so-called خمسة or hamsa), prayers, scripture reading, or various forms of magic. The belief itself is widespread in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean societies and is attested to widely in ancient Greek literature, where it was part of the metaphysical world of the ancient Greek paganism. The hadith tradition paints the prophet Muhammad himself as contending with the evil eye via prayers. Like with the evil eye, the tradition is unanimous in recognizing the reality of سحر "sahr" as in magic or witchcraft, which is envisioned as a black, malevolent force in league with shaytan.
The Arabic word al-‘ayn (translated as the evil eye) refers to when a person harms another with his eye. It starts when the person likes a thing, then his evil feelings affect it, by means of his repeated looking at the object of his jealousy. Allaah commanded His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to seek refuge with Him from the envier...Everyone who puts the evil eye on another is envious, but not every envier puts the evil eye on another. The word haasid (envier) is more general in meaning than the word ‘aa’in (one who puts the evil eye on another), so seeking refuge with Allaah from the one who envies includes seeking refuge with Him from the one who puts the evil eye on another. The evil eye is like an arrow which comes from the soul of the one who envies and the one who puts the evil eye on another towards the one who is envied and on whom the evil eye is put; sometimes it hits him and sometimes it misses. If the target is exposed and unprotected, it will affect him, but if the target is cautious and armed, the arrow will have no effect and may even come back on the one who launched it.
The evil eye is a fact
Abu Huraira reported so many abidith from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and he reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The influence of an evil eye is a fact
Ibn 'Abbas reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The influence of an evil eye is a fact; if anything would precede the destiny it would be the influence of an evil eye
, and when you are asked to take bath (as a cure) from the influence of an evil eye, you should take bath.
Yahya related to me from Malik that Muhammad ibn Abi Umama ibn Sahl ibn Hunayf heard his father say, "My father, Sahl ibn Hunayf did a ghusl at al-Kharrar. He removed the jubbah he had on while Amir ibn Rabia was watching, and Sahl was a man with beautiful white skin. Amir said to him, 'I have never seen anything like what I have seen today, not even the skin of a virgin.' Sahl fell ill on the spot, and his condition grew worse. Somebody went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and told him that Sahl was ill, and could not go with him. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to him, and Sahl told him what had happened with Amir. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Why does one of you kill his brother? Why did you not say, "May Allah bless you?" (ta baraka-llah) The evil eye is true. Do wudu from it
.' Amir did wudu from it and Sahl went with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and there was nothing wrong with him."
Responsible for the deaths of many Muslims
The evil eye is responsible for the deaths of many Muslims (second only to the will of Allah).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Most of those who die among my ummah die because of the will and decree of Allaah, and then because of the evil eye.”
Muhammad was affected by the evil eye
Muhammad was affected by the evil eye and the witchcraft of a Jew.
Abu Sa'id reported that Gabriel came to AJlah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Muhammad, have you fallen ill? Thereupon he said: Yes. He (Gabriel) said:" In the name of Allah I exercise you from everything and safeguard you from every evil that may harm you and from the eye of a jealous one
. Allah would cure you and I invoke the name of Allah for you."
A'isha reported that a Jew from among the Jews of Banu Zuraiq who was called Labid b. al-A'sam cast spell upon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) with the result that he (under the influence of the spell) felt that he had been doing something whereas in fact he had not been doing that. (This state of affairs lasted) until one day or during one night Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) made supplication (to dispel its effects).
He again made a supplication and he again did this and said to 'A'isha: Do you know that Allah has told me what I had asked Him? There came to me two men and one amongst them sat near my head and the other one near my feet and he who sat near my head said to one who sat near my feet or one who sat near my feet said to one who sat near my head: What is the trouble with the man? He said: The spell has affected him. He said: Who has cast that? He (the other one) said: It was Labid b. A'sam (who has done it). He said: What is the thing by which he transmitted its effect? He said: By the comb and by the hair stuck to the comb and the spathe of the date-palm. He said: Where is that He replied: In the well of Dhi Arwan. She said: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent some of the persons from among his Companions there and then said: 'A'isha. by Allah, its water was yellow like henna and its trees were like heads of the devils.
She said that she asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as to why he did not burn that. He said: No, Allah has cured me and I do not like that I should induce people to commit any high-handedness in regard (to one another), but I only commanded that it should be buried.
The Punishment for Magic
Narrated Jundub: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "The punishment given to a magician is a stroke with the sword.'"
Tirmidhi transmitted it.
Al-Tirmidhi No. 1006 (CD-ROM), Alim.org (Archived
Witches must be executed
Learning witchcraft and practising it constitute kufr. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“They followed what the Shayaateen (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaymaan (Solomon). Sulaymaan did not disbelieve, but the Shayaateen (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Haaroot and Maaroot, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, ‘We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).’”
A practitioner of witchcraft may do something that makes him an apostate, so he commits kufr and should be executed for his apostasy. Or he may practice witchcraft by doing something that does not constitute kufr. In that case there is a difference of scholarly opinion, but the correct view is that he should also be executed if it is proven that he is a practitioner of witchcraft. This is what the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) did and enjoined other to do. If he is executed, he should not be washed or shrouded or buried in the Muslim graveyard.
There should be no hesitation in executing the practitioner of witchcraft, whether we say that he is a kaafir or not, because this is what is proven from the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Executing him prevents the spread of evil and serves as a deterrent to his fellow practitioners of witchcraft.