The Verses of Al Falaq Concerning Magic.

The Verses of Al Falaq Concerning Magic.

The following passages are taken from the works of Dr Ilyas Celebi, Approaches to Occultism in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Al Sihr in the perspective of Qur’an:

In the Qur’an, the words from the root “shr, are cited 63 times, and three of them mean dawn time. The statements dealing with magic, more respectively, take place in the verses about Moses and Aaron (33 times), and then Prophet Muhammad (17 times) صلى الله عليه وسلم. Most of the verses which consist of magic include all the expressions said by deniers in order to reject the prophecies of the Prophets, or to declare that things to be shown as miracles to the peoples are deceitful. So, Qur’an informs us. that the people of Samud condemned the Prophet Saleh being charmed; People of Aykah made the same condemnation over the prophet Shuayb [1]. Pharaoh and his staff did say that to Moses, and even condemning him as being magician [2], and that lsraelites had claimed that Jesus Christ applied to perform the magic [3], and that Meccan pagans have condemned the Prophet Muhammad being magician or charmed one [4] all that, Qur’an continues to say, are just a calumny, and it states that the deniers have been behaving to the prophets by this manner.

The verses of Surah Falaq revealed to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:

It is ordered in the Surah of al-Falaq that we have to seek refuge to Allah because of the evil-doings of who breathes over the knots [5] . The given surah mentions naffasat, meaning “blowers.” In the time of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, there had been someone who were breathing the prayers which they recited over the strings, and knotting them, by this way, committing the magic. Ibn Haldun recorded that he passed by such persons in Egypt [6]. The expression ” who blow over the knots”, according to Kurayb bin Abu Muslim, must be also understood metaphorically as women who pervert, by various coquetry and amorous glances, the men’s mind [7], therefore, basing on this meaning, it is also said that term naffasat could be meant who try to attempt to shake the will-powers of the peoples as well as the magicians. And these persons broke down the spirituality of the peoples by the means of false news, calumnies and gossips, and make them anxious and get them means for their desires. This kind of interpretation seems both in accordance with the classification of Fahruddin al-Razi [8] who considers the gossip within the limits of magic, and with the word “Hasid” Of the following verse of al-Falaq. Some interpreters criticized this kind of interpretation on the term naffasat, having suggested that because this is in contradiction with the reason of the occasion (sabab al nuzul) of al-Alaq and of al-Nas, and also with the reports concerning with the news that Muhammad was also charmed and they concluded that magic can also have somewhat truth. 

There have been two various reports one coming from Aisha [9], the other Zayd bin Arkam [10], which cited that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was charmed, in both of which is mentioned that some one, especially, naıned Labid bin A’sam charmed the prophet Muhammad, and as the result of this charm, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم started to imagine to having pretended of what he really did not do, and also cited that two angels had come to the prophet to  inform him that a charm committed against him and thrown in to a well named Zarwan. In a part of the report coming from Aishah, it is not stated that Labid was a Jew, is recorded that the Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم himself had gone to the well, having taking with some of his companions. On the other hand in the report of Zayd bin Arkam there is an information saying of that “some companions of the Prophet had been sent over there”. In addition to these, in the report of Aisha while there are some expressions about the pretending of the prophet, it is not recorded in the report of Zayd; yet, in another variant of the report coming from Aisha as cited in Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal it is stated that the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم sickness has lasted six months, however, in that of Zayd cited that when the string had been come out of the well and being undo the knots, the Prophet felt relieved as if he had been saved off his bonds and bandages.

The reports concerning of being charmed of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم can be criticized by the textual criticism in the methodology of the Hadith, as well as they can be considered by their contents in contradiction with the nature and the requirements of the Prophet’s messages. Since, to assert that a prophet who gets revelations from Allah could be fell under the effects of the magic may be understood both to have an admission of that some human elements could be mixed within the divine revelation, and may justify the claims of the rejectors of Islam asserting that the Prophet of Allah has been charmed. However, in many verses of the Qur’an the Prophet is said of as he is under the protection of Allah, and recorded that the fact that the revelation had been gradually sent down in his heart has been taken into consideration [11]. Some early scholars such as Abu Bakr al-Asam, Jassas, Qadi Abdul Jabbar, and some late scholars such as Qasimi’, Muhammad Abduh, Sayed Qutb and Muhammad Izzat Darwaza, considering these features, refused the report saying that the Prophet was charmed [12]. Some of them cited that so called charming over the Prophet might have been occurred in Medinah, however in some report coming from Hasan al-Basri:, Ata, İkrimah, Jabir bin Abdullah and Kurayb bin Abu Muslim, citing that these surahs were revealed in Makkah, they also recorded some reason, saying that with khabar al wahed, we could not perform in practice especially in the matters of the belief. On the contrary of this the most of the scholars regarded the reports as sound (saheeh) and said that the magic had influenced not the mind and the heart of the Prophet but his body, and this is not an obstacle to the idea of the protection of the Prophet by Allah, so in the result they concluded that he was charmed [13]. However in some of the verses under the subject, there cited some expressions that the Prophet imagined something to have pretended even though he did not do and this situation lasted at least six months. In fact, this is only an occasion directly related with his mind. Indeed, some of the scholars, following a conciliatory attitude, state that the Prophet might have been charmed, being related with the consideration of his enemies, but with the protection by Allah, he was not influenced by their magic. Never the less this interpretation also include some conclusions regarding that magic did not occur, as cited in the hadiths, and by this way the Prophet did not enter under any influence so, it is in unity with the first idea [14].

A prophet, according to the Abrahamic Religions, receives his revelations from Allah (God) and communicates it to the people, and he shows miracles to prove its truths. To get revelation (i.e., get information from the invisible world) and to show some miracles are two main features differing them from other people. As for divinator and magician, they are two persons, one asserting that he/she informs from the invisible world, and the other is in a position of being an alternate-one to the prophets, claiming that he can possess over the beings or on the events. For this reason, when dealt with the miracles in Islam, it is especially be taken into account that magic is not an alternate to the miracle.

Allah almighty completed his religion and this religion prohibited the divination along with many other things of pre-Islamic era (jahiliyyah /ignorant age). Since the revelation has come to the end by the Prophet’s death, new requirements needed for the social life would be done, under the leading of the reason, by some methods like analogy (qiyas) and juridical opinions (ijtihad) from now on [15]. Therefore, Islam eliminates magic, fortune-telling, considering omen looking at the balls and all the divination. This attitude was kept also during the first four caliphs with a great sensitivity. For instance, the first caliph, Abu Bakr, of whose servant made him eat a food, having been bought by the money earned for the divination before his embracing Islam, was so much sensitive on the matter that he vomited all the food from his stomach by inserting his hand into his mouth [16]. The second caliph, Umar, too, sending a letter to the governor of Egypt, ordered him to follow all people who practice divination and magic in that area and to punish them all [17].

[1]  Al-Shuara’, 153-154, 185-187.
[2]  Al-Isra, 101; Al-Naml, 13; AI-Qasass, 36,48; Ghafir, 24; AI-Zuhruf, 43/46-50; Al-Zariyat,39.
[3]  Al-Maidah, 110; A-Saff, 6
[4]  Al-An’am, 7; Yunus, 2; Hud, 7; AI-Hijr, 14-15; AI-Isra, 47; Al-Anbiya, 3; AI-Mu’minun, 89; Al          Furqan, 8; Saba, 43; Al-Saffat, 15; Sa’d,4; Al-Zuhruf, 30; Al-Zariyat, 52
[5]  Al-Falaq, 4.
[6]  Ibn Haldun, op.cit., III, 152.
[7]  Razi, op. cit., XXXII, 179.
[8]  ibid., III,  193.
[9]  Musnad, VI, 57,63, 96, Bukhari, “Tibb” 47; Muslim, “Salam” 43; Ibn Majah, “Tibb” 45.
[10] Musnad, IV, 367; Nasai, “Tahrim” 20.
[11] Al-Nisa’,113; Al-Maidah, 42, 67; Al-Furqan, 32; Al-Shuara’, 153, 185.
[12] Maturidi, Ta’wilat Al-Qur’an, (Istanbul) Hacı Selim Ağa Libr, nr. 40, fol., 907a; Jassas, op, cit.,
I, 60; Jamaladdin Al-Qasmi, Mahasin Al-Tawil, Beirut 1978, XVII, 304; Muhammad Abduh,
Tafsiru Juz’i Amma’, Cairo 1904, s 181-183, Sayed Qutb, Fi Zhilal Al-Qur’an, Beirut 1985, VI,
4008; Darwazah, Al-Tafsi’r Al Hadis (trans., in Turkish Şaban Karatas), Istanbul 1997, I, 199.
[13] Ibn Qutaibah, Ta’wilu Muhtalif Al-Hadis, Cairo 1966, 178-186; Maturidi, fol. 907a; Qadi lyad,
Al-Shifa’, Cairo 1977, Il, 865-868; Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Tafsir Al-Muawwizatayn, (ed.
Dar Al-Hadis), undated,. 44-51.
[14]  Hadidi, lsmat Al-Anbiya, Cairo 1979, 100-104. For more information on this subject see; Ibn
Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, op. cit., 46-51; Mizzl, Tahzib Al-Kamal, Beirut 1992, XIX, 332-354; Ibn
Hajar, Fath Al-Bari, X, 226-227; Ali Osman Ates, Kur’an ve Hadisiere Göre Cin ve Büyü, Istanbul 1995, 274-277, 292-294.
[15]  Bukhari, “Manaqib Al-Ansar, 26; Ahmad b. Hanbal, op. dt., IV, 118.
[16]  Bukhari, op. cit., 26
[17] M. Hamidullah, Al-Wasaiq Al-Siyasiyyah, Beirut 1983, 509-510.


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