Was the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم affected by Black Magic?

The muʿawwidhatayn (Surah Falaq and Surah Nass) are said to have been revealed in order to dispel the magic spell that a certain man named Labid bin A’saam had cast on the Prophet Muhammad[1]. Labid bin A’saam according to many accounts, managed briefly to bewitch the Prophet Muhammad, leaving him in a catatonic state. He was unable to function until God provided the text of surah 113, Al-Falaq, which was used, according to the account, in order to counteract the effects of the magic spell. Although nominally a Muslim[2]  Labid belongs to the small group of Jews who, according to the Muslim reports, converted to Islam in order to subvert it, or to cause physical damage to its leading figures during the time of the Prophet and the first caliphs. These include such figures as Ibn Al-Sayyad, ‘Abdallah bin Al-Saba’ and Ka’b Al-Ahbar, who are occasionally the objects of conspiracy theories in Christian literature as well. Labid was the one to innovate the doctrine of the creation of the Qur’an and was first formulated by him, and was passed on to his nephew Talut (i.e. Shaul, apparently a converted Jew) to the forefathers of the Mu’tazila sect[3]. Although the story of Labid is historical, it rarely appears in the modern biographies of the Prophet nor is he mentioned in the list of the companions even though other admittedly bad Muslims (like ‘Abdallah bin Ubayy and Ibn Sayyad) are listed. The verses of the Qur’anic passage in sum 113 (verses 1-5) in question read as follows:

“I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak

From the evil of that which He created

And from the evil of darkness when it settles

And from the evil of the females who blows on knots

And from the evil of an envier when he envies.

This surah and the following final surah have been controversial in Islam; some early copies of the Qur’an did not include them as part of the authoritative text (like the codex of Ibn Mas’ud)[4]. The language and grammatical style of the sura are difficult[5], and can be explained only by twisting the rules of Arabic grammar as is done for the purpose of an incantation[6]. 

However, much though the grammar pained the commentators, it was the story of Labid al-Yahudi and his bewitching of the Prophet Muhammad which made them the most uncomfortable. The idea that the Seal of the Prophets, the infallible Messenger of God, could be treated in this manner, even for a short time, was unacceptable to the majority of scholars.


Since the story about Labid is one which developed over a long period of time, we should deal with it chronologically, tracing it through the centuries as the commentators grappled with it and sought to overcome the difficulties inherent therein for the Muslim. One of the earliest such commentators is 

➢Muqatil bin Sulayman (d. 150/762), and he bring this account in full:

[in giving the reasons for the revelation of the last two suras of the Qur’an] … and was this [because] Labid bin A’sam bin Malik, or it is said, Ibn A’sam al-Yahudi, bewitched the Prophet with eleven knots on a string (watar) and placed it in a well in which there were seven stones, by means of a spathe of a [male] palm tree that the Prophet would lean against. The bewitchment spread through him [the Prophet] and it intensified for three days until he was very sick, and the women [his wives] became anxious [for him], and the suras of taking refuge [= the two suras being discussed] were revealed. As the Prophet was sleeping, he saw as if there were two angels who came to him, and one of them was [sitting] at his head, and the other at his feet. One of them said to his companion: ‘What ails him?’ and the companion said: ‘Enchantment’. He said: ‘Who enchanted him?’, and the other said: ‘Labid bin A’sam al-Yahudi’. ‘By what [means]?’ ‘By [means] of a husk of palm’. ‘Where [is it]?’ ‘In the well of so-and-so’. ‘And what is the cure?’ ‘Remove the water from the well, and take out the husk of palm and burn it, and the knots will break, each knot at the reading of the mu’awwidhatayn [the verses of taking refuge, the last two suras of the Qur’an], and that will heal him’. When the Prophet woke up, he sent Ali Ibn Abi Talib to the well, and the magical device was removed, and he brought it, and burned that husk.

Then the angel Gabriel revealed the verses, and the Prophet was healed and the news was brought to the women[7].

Many other early commentators mention this story in detail. 
➢ Abu ‘Ubayda (d. 210/825), the famed philologist who was himself of Jewish descent, does not mention this in the extant version of his Majiz al-Qur’an, though his version is quoted by Fakhr Al-Din Al- Razi in his commentary. 

➢ Sahl bin Abdallah al-Tustari (d. 283/896) gives a much shorter version of Muqatil’s tradition, but adds a few details. He says that the name of the well in which the device was placed was one which belonged to Banu Bayda’ However, he does not discuss the effects of the magic on the Prophet, nor does he mention the Prophet’s vision of the two angels[8].

➢ Al-Farra’ (d. 207/822) knows even less than al-Tustari; he does not mention that the Jews are the guilty party, and only says that the Prophet suffered for an undefined length of time, then had a vision of two angels[9].

A number of the hadith and biographical works include this story, including Al-Bukhari, who cites the most serious charge: the Prophet was sexually unable to approach his wives[10] Early biographers, including Ibn Hisham, also mention the story[11]. Al-Bayhaqi relates a number of accounts, although usually without any hint of the impotence motif[12].

However, by the time the story reaches the Shi’i commentator ➢Al-Furat bin Ibrahim al-Kufi (lived third/ninth centuries -874/-941) it has become much more elaborate:

Labid bin A’sam Al-Yahudi and Umm ‘Abdallah Al-Yahudiyya bewitched the Messenger of God with a knot of silk (! qazz) red, green and yellow, and tied it for him [the Prophet] with eleven knots, and then placed it on a spathe of palm- he said in other words, the husks of almond (?)- and then he put it in the well of a wadi in Medina in the stepping-stone of the well beneath the ra’ufa, meaning the outer stone[16]. The Prophet went for three [days] without eating, drinking, hearing or seeing anything or going to women [for sexual intercourse]. Then Gabriel came down to him, and brought down with him the mu’awwidhatayn, and said to him: ‘O Muhammad, what is the matter with you?’ He said: ‘I do not know; I am as you see!’ And then he said: ‘Umm “Abdallah and Labid bin A’sam bewitched you’, and he informed him of the magical device’s location.

Thereupon the Prophet recited the verses of the suras, and the binding cords of the magic fell off[13]. Then the Prophet sent for Labid and remonstrated with him, and afterwards cursed him, saying that he would not leave this world in good health {saliman). Shortly thereafter, his hand was cut off for some minor offence, and then he dies[14].

Qur’anic material about the magicians ability to deny sexual pleasure is documented, when in connection with the teachings of the enigmatic angels Harut and Marut it is said ‘so they learn from them the means by which they separate man and wife’ (2:102). While the commentators do not give many details on this verse, one may well assume that this sort of magic provides the basis for the story of Labid Al-Yahudi[15]. Thus, for a magician to manifest the ability to deny the Prophet this power is evidence of great power, and an issue with which later commentators felt very uncomfortable. The Prophet does not come off looking very impressive here: he cannot perform any of the normal functions and he does not know what has happened to him to boot. The Muslim reader is left with mixed feelings at the end of the story, for the punishment that Labid receives for this heinous act is not very great (though it is far greater than any meted out in earlier versions in which nothing is mentioned about the aftermath).

Other commentators mention the issue of sexual domination by the magician as well. ➢Al-Samarqandi (d. 375/985) in one of the two versions that he quotes, follows Muqatil in a shortened form which adds nothing to our discussion. However, in a second tradition he introduced new elements. He writes: Labid bin A’sam made a puppet (lu’ba) of the Prophet, and he [Muhammad] was taken from A’isha and the Messenger of God was made impotent (afhala), and then he placed on the puppet eleven knots and threw it in a well and threw a stone upon it. He [Muhammad] suffered from this terribly. The two angels then come to give the Prophet their advice, which he heeds, as in Muqatil’s version[16].

➢Al-Mawardi (d. 450/1058) adds that it was not a single person that accomplished the feat, but a group (qawm). Other than that, he used Muqatil’s story[17].

➢ Al-Wahidi (d. 468/1075) embellishes the story even further, adding new elements: 
A Jewish youth served the Messenger of God, and the Jews came to him [the youth], and continued [to harass] him, until he took the combing hairs [the Prophet’s hair that had fallen out during the combing process] and some teeth of his comb, and gave them to the Jews, whereupon they bewitched him with them [the hair]. The one who was in charge of this was Labid b. A’sam al-Yahudi, then he concealed it in a well belonging to Banu Zurayq called Dharwan, and the Messenger of God sickened and his hair fell out. He would think that he went into his women, when he did not go into them. The two angels then come in a vision, give Muhammad the expected advice, and three messengers of the Prophet, ‘Ali, Al-Zubayr bin Al-‘Awwam, and ‘Ammar bin Yasir go to the well and draw out the water, which was like diluted henna (ka-annahu nuqa’atu al-hinna) in other words, very thick, so that nothing could be seen inside). They find the spathe with eleven knots tied, the comb, the hair, and the string with a needle stuck in it.[18]

➢ Al-Baghawi (d. 516/1122) quotes Al-Wahidi in one of the two versions that he brings. In the other, he does not mention Labid at all, rather an unnamed Jewish man. The main point of this very short story is that the Prophet suffers and then is released[19].

➢ Al-Naysaburi combines several traditions, but rejects the idea of sexual impotency of the Prophet, but again he allows that some of the limbs of the Prophet were out of his control for a time[20].

➢ Ibn Al-Jawzi (d. 597/1200) quotes the mistake about the place name; otherwise he holds to Al-Wahidi[21].

➢ Muhyi Al-Din Ibn Al-‘Arabi (d. 638/1240) also continues this mistake, and though he words the tradition differently, he adds no new content[22]. Neither He nor Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi (d. 604/1207) sees fit to reject the story, although they do not emphasize it either. Al-Razi is one of the first to introduce the ‘daughters of Labid’, presumably to get the story more in line with the verse, as was already noted above, and takes this opportunity to speak about magic in general[23].

➢ Al-Qurtubi (d. 671/1272), knows the stories about this episode which are in Al-Bukhari (quoted in his Sahih), and does not comment on whether he thinks that the event really happened, though he permits himself an extensive discussion on magic[24]. He does, however, mention a totally new tradition about Jewish women bewitching the Prophet, with our exact story-line[25].

➢ Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1374) does not comment on the story; he simply confines himself to quoting Al-Bukhari and Al-Thalabi[26]. This is to be expected in light of the fact that the idea of the Prophet’s bewitchment clearly did not find favor with Ibn Kathir’s master, Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328), who ignored it altogether in his own commentary[27].


⇒ Several problematic points about this early version of the story need to be addressed. Most notably it has absolutely no connection with the verses of the Qur’an with which it has been associated. One notices this immediately upon reading the verses. Even the one verse that might conceivably be connected to Muqatil’s account, that which speaks of ‘women blowing on knots’ (113:4) receives no mention in the story. No women are involved except these wives of the Prophet himself, and they are obviously not malevolent[8]. Scholars see other difficulties in the story. For example, though the surah is universally declared to have been revealed during the Meccan period of the Prophet’s life (before the immigration to Medina in 622), the milieu is obviously Medinan[9]. There were no Jews to speak of in Mecca, no palm trees, and not very many wells. The Prophet’s numerous wives also date from the Medinan period of his ministry; He only had two wives (A’isha and Sawda) when he came to Medina, and ‘A’isha was a very young girl and previous to them, only Khadija.

➢ Imam Abu Mansur al-Māturidī (d. 944/333 AH), a renowned scholar from the fourth Islamic century and the founder of Māturidī ʿAqīda (theological School), denied the notion that the Prophet () was affected by black magic at all and rejected this hadith. He also said the reason for the revelation (Asbāb al-Nuzūl) of ‘Surah Al-Falaq’ (The Daybreak) and ‘Surah Al-Naas’ (Mankind), which are two portions of the Quran which some claim refer to the Prophet () being affected by magical forces, was not as a result of magic at all but instead he emphasised that the two chapters were revealed whilst the Prophet () was merely on a journey[28].

➢ Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas al-Razi al-Hanafi was a prominent Hanafi jurist from the fourth century, one of the most respected scholars in the field of Uŝūl (epistemic principles), and the grand-teacher of Abul Hasan al Quduri, who wrote the most famous and most commonly used primer in Hanafi jurisprudence, ‘Mukhtasar al-Quduri’. He not only rejected this hadith but stated “the ignorant of the Hashawis (anthropomorphists, those who believe that God is a form or body bound by space) narrated this hadith without knowing it was fabricated[29].

➢ The Mu’tazilite scholar Al-Zamakhshari (538 AH) gives this explanation:

“al-Naffathat are women or persons or groups of magicians who fix their desires in strings and blow and spit on them by extreme blowing together with saliva. And there is no real effect through this (lā tā’thīr lidalika) unless when something harmful thing is eaten.[..] But God, almighty and great, acts with this on the path of testing to distinguish those who are fixed on the truth of the gracious civilized people from those of the ignorant barbaric masses.”[30]

Another example is the early Mu’tazilite judge ➢Abū Bakr al-‘Asamm (220 AH) who explains the verse in a way which is very similar to the modernist Muhammad Ali whereby the verse is not seen as relating to witchcraft but only to bad influence:

“The female blowers [of inspirations] are those who incline (yamilna) the opinions of men (āra’ al-Rijāl), they divert them (ya’rifnahum) of their [original] intentions and make them turn towards (yaruddunahum ilā) the opinions (of the blowers) in order to change (ya’bur) the determination and opinions in one’s resolution (bil- ‘Uqad). And this change towards dissolving [one’s opinion] is through the blowing [of thoughts], and indeed the tyrannizing behaviour (al-’āduh jartu) is that man dissolves [someone’s] resolution by blowing [other thoughts] into it.”[31]

➢ Al-Māturidī (333 AH) mentions that al-’Asamm believed the bewitching of the Prophet is not possible (lā yajūz) and so he rejected (fataraktuhu) the traditions that claim this[32]. The reason for rejecting these traditions by the Mu’tazilah is explained by the famous Mu’tazilite ‘Abd al-Jabbār (1025 CE) who says these reports are completely false (bātil) because according to the Qur’ān God has protected the Prophet against mankind (ya’simuka min al-Nāss, Q. 5:67), that sorcerers never succeed (lā yuflihu al-Sāhir, Q. 20:69), and that these reports lead to the slander of prophethood (yufadī ilā al-Qadh fī al-Nabuwwah) which does damage (al-Darūr) to all the prophets as this would mean these sorcerers would have the power to control their souls, and this, according to ‘Abd al-Jabbār, is certainly not possible[33].

➢ The famous early Maturidī Hanafī jurist Abū Bakr al-Jassās (370 AH) says sorcery and magic is just deception and trickery and has no true existence in reality. If magic was true, he asks, why don’t the magicians remove kings, steal their wealth and rule the world? But no, he says, the only place we see magicians is in the marketplaces, they are poor and this proves their magic isn’t real as they would have improved their lives through magic[34].

A number of other early commentators do not mention this story. For example, two early Shi’i commentators, ➢ “Ali Al-Qummi (d. c. 307/919) and Muhammad Al-‘Ayyashi (d. 320/932) are silent. This is a tendency which is strong among the Shi’a. Among the early Sunnis, in addition to the aforementioned Abu ‘Ubayda, Ibn Jarir Al Tabari, Ahmad bin Shu’ayb Al-Nasa’i (d. 303/915-16), the collector of the hadith collection, did not include this account[20], nor did the Sufi Al-Qushayri (d.465/1072)[35], Hud bin Muhkam al-Hawwari (d.c.third/tenth century)[36], nor did the greatest Qur’anic commentator, ➢ Muhammad bin Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310/922)[37]. Of all of these the real puzzler is al-Tabari. In all likelihood Abu ‘Ubayda did write about the subject, but his writings have come down to us only in the form quoted by Fakhr al-Din al-Razi. Al-Nasa’i, al-Qushayri and al-Hawwari only wrote partial commentaries, while the Shi’ites were influenced by the rationalistic school of the Mu’tazila. The reason for al-Tabari’s omission of this tradition from his compendium, which is quite remarkable since he makes a rule of at least mentioning almost all the exegetical traditions current in Iraq at his time, remains a question which cannot be answered. Probably, he too, like a number of later commentators was protective of the honour of the Prophet, and considered the story beneath note.

➢ Al-Tusi, the Shi’i scholar (d. 460/1067), is the first commentator to recognize the danger that this story presents to several dogmatic issues connected with the Prophet. He says:

It is not possible that the Prophet was bewitched like certain ignorant street-preachers (al-qussas al-juhala) say, because one who describes him as bewitched, his mind is confused and God denies this in his Word: ‘And the evil-doers say you are just following a bewitched man’ (17:47). But it is possible that one of the Jews tried to do this and could not, and God informed his Prophet of what he did so that he took what he had made out of the water[38].

➢ Al-Tabrisi (d. 548/1153) quotes Al-Wahidi’s tradition, adding on a direct quote from Al Tusi: “such a thing is not possible where the Prophet is concerned.[39]

➢ Al-Nasafi (d. 701/1301) totally ignored this tradition. However, he does not detail his reasons[40].

➢ Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328), who ignored it altogether in his own commentary[41].

➢ Al-Qummi (d. 1125/1713) repeats the same Shi’i traditions, adding that ‘it is not possible that the Jew or his daughters, according to what is related, exerted themselves in this[42].

➢ Modernist Sunni commentators, however, more than make up for this admission by writing extremely negative remarks about the story Al-Qasimi (d. 1333/1914) demonstrates discomfort with this story, in adding a long warning to it in which he enumerates all the reasons why one should reject it[43]. Al-Maraghi also finds it impossible that the Prophet could be assailed in this manner, although he admits that the accounts are well documented according to the fashion of hadith criticism[44] Makhluf ignores the story altogether[45].

Most contemporary commentators are extremely hostile in their comments on the story. For example, Maghiyya (writing c. 1970), after telling the story briefly, says that it must be rejected on both legal and rational grounds, citing Muhammad Abduh[46]. For Muhammad Hijazi (c. 1968), the whole episode was one made up by the Jews so that people would doubt the Prophet[47].

The fundamentalist Sayyid Qutb (d. 1386/1966) rejects it with increasing contempt, saying: These transmissions are in opposition to the basis of prophetic infallibility in action and in proclamation [of the divine message], and are not compatible with the belief that every action of his [the Prophet’s] actions, and every utterance of his utterances is Sunna and Sharia, just like it conflicts with the denial of the Qur’an that the Messenger is bewitched[48].

In addition, the Jews are said to have envied the Prophet’s sexual powers: The Prophet was given the power of sixty some youths [for sexual intercourse] and thus the Jews envied him, and God most high said: 
‘Do people envy on the basis of what God has given them from His bounty?’ [Qur’an 4; 54] … the Messenger of God was given the power of forty in sexual intercourse.[49]

➢The Jews’ bewitching the Prophet and causing his impotence results directly from their sexual envy.

⇰ Conclusion: 

1)The Surah is universally accepted as Meccan but the narration here referred to as the reason for revelation of the fore mentioned Surah is Madenian. Hence there is no connection between the two.

2) The verses in the Surah mentions “protection from the women who bewitches.” But there is no mention of any other women in this story except the wives of the Prophet. (Later sources introduce the daughters of Labid bin Assam to get the story in line with the revelation).

3) The Prophet was not affected by any magic. Its a concocted narration because it goes against many verses of Quran where Allah has promised explicitly to protect His Messenger from Evil and has also promised failure of Magicians. The Mutazilites were correct in their approach towards this tradition which was later adopted by many Hanafi Maturidi and Shiite Mutazila scholars and also by the traditionalist Ibn Taymiyya.


[1] The Book of Medicine, bab 49–50, no. 5765–66 (Al-Bukhari 1997, 364–366).

[2] His ‘conversion’ is described in Muhammad bin Sa’d, Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-kubra, ed. Muhammad ‘Abd al-Qadir “Ata” (Beirut 1990), II, 152. Here the Jews claim that they have already tried to bewitch the Prophet several times, but were unable to do so.

[3] Ibn Manzur, Mukhtasar Ta’rikh Madinat Dimashq, ed. Ruhiyya Nahhas (Beirut 1989), VI, 51 [this section is apparently very abridged in the original of Ibn ‘Asakir and could not be traced further there]; only one of the connecting personalities between Labid and the Mu’tazila could be traced (Labid to Talut to Aban bin Sim’an to Ja’d bin Dirham, about whom Ibn Hajar, Lisan Al-mizan [Beirut 1987], II, 133-4 [no. 1948].

[4] A. Jeffery, Materials for the History of the Text of the Qur’an (Leyden 1938), introduction; and see EP (Leyden I960-) s.v. ‘Kur’an’ (A. Welch), section 3b ‘Variant Readings’.

[5] See A. Rippin, ‘Qur’an 78/24: A Study in Arabic Lexicography’, Journal of Semitic Studies 28 (1983), 315-20 where he discusses the difficulties of the root gh-s-q; and also William Worrell, ‘The Case of Muhammad’, Journal of the American Oriental Society 48 (1928), 136-46.

[6] As usual, the most cogent grammatical explanation is in al-Zamakhshari, al- Kashshaf ‘an haqa’iq Al-Tanzil (Beirut n.d.), IV, 820-22.

[7] Muqatil bin Sulayman, Tafsir, ed. Mahmud Shihata (Cairo 1983), IV, 923-4. Another early source describes him as a member of Banu Qurayza: Ahmad bin Yusuf Al-Baladhuri, Ansab Al-Ashraf, ed. Muhammad Hamidullah (Cairo 1959), I, 285.

[8] Sahl bin ‘Abdallah Al-Tustari, Tafsir Al-Qur’an Al-‘Azim (Cairo n.d.), 131.

[9] Yahya bin Ziyad Al-Farra’, Ma’ani Al -Qur’an (Cairo 1970), III, 301.

[10] Al-Bukhari, Sahih (Beirut n.d.), IV, 20-21; and see the commentaries in Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani (d. 852/1448-9), Fath Al-Bari fi sharah Sahih Al-Bukhari (Beirut n.d.), X, 221-2, 226-332; Mahmud bin Ahmad Al-‘Ayni (d. 855/1451-2), ‘Umdat Al-Qari (Beirut n.d.), XXI, 279-82; and Ahmad bin Muhammad Al-Qastalanl (d. 923/1517), Irshad Al-Sari (Baghdad n.d.), VIII, 404-8; and for a good selection of the traditions: Marwiyyat Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal fi Al-Tafsir (Riyad 1994), IV,

424-5; and Abu Ya’la, Musnad (Damascus 1985), VIII, 290-1.

[11] Lecker, ‘Bewitching of the Prophet’, 563.

[12] Al-Bayhaqi, Dala’il Al-Nubuwwa, ed. ‘Abd al-Muti Qa’laji (Beirut 1985), VI, 248; VII, 92-4; and see also Al-Salihi Al-Shaml, Subul Al-hudd wa-l-rashdd, III, 410-15; X, 56-7.

[13] For the process here: T.M. Johnstone, ‘Knots and Curses’, Arabian Studies 3 (1970), 79-84; and see Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam Al-Nubala, V, 349 where the nightly practice of the Prophet is describes in this regard.

[14] Al-Furat bin Ibrahim Al-Kufi, Tafsir, ed. Muhammad Al-Kazim (Tehran 1990), 619-20; and Muhammad al-Baqir al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar (Beirut 1983), XVII, 366-7.

[15] Muqatil, Tafsir, I, 127.

[16] Nasr bin Muhammad Al-Samarqandi, Tafsir (Bahr al-‘Ulum), ed. Muhammad Mu’awwad (Beirut 1993), III, 526-7; and other versions of this simply say “ukhida ‘an al-nisa”.. meaning he was taken from the women’,  Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, II, 153.

[17] Ali bin Habib Al-Mawardi, Tafsir, ed. Khidr Muhammad Khidr (Kuwait 1982), IV, 550-51; and see also ‘Izz al-Din ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Abd al-Salam al-Sulaymi al- Dimashqi (d. 660/1261-2), Mukhtasar tafsir al-Mawardi (Beirut 1996), III, 509-11.

[18] Ali bin Ahmad Al-Wahidi, Asbab Al-Nuzul (Beirut 1988), 310; and see Al-Hindi, Kanz, VI, 742-43 (no 17651). In Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, II, 151; and Abu Ya’la, Musnad, VIII, 290-91 it says that he was bewitched such that ‘he would imagine for himself that he had done things, while having not done them’. See also Al-Humaydi, Musnad (Medina n.d.), I, 125-7, no 259); Al-Bayhaqli, Dala’il, VII, 88; and Al-Salihi al-Shami, Subul al-hudd, X, 57, where only a man from the Ansar (not even specifying that he is Jewish) is mentioned.

[19] Al-Husayn bin Mas’ud Al-Baghawi, Tafsir (Ma’alim al-Tanzil), ed. Muhammad Abdallah al-Nimr (Riyad 1992), VIII, 593-4.

[20] Al-Hasan bin Muhammad Al-Qummi Al-Naysaburi, Tafsir ghara’ib al-Qur’an (Beirut 1996), VI, 598-9, 601.

[21] Abu Al-Faraj bin Al-Jawzi, Zad Al-Masir fi ‘Ilm Al-tafsir, ed. Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Qadir ‘Ata (Beirut 1990), VIII, 332-3.

[22] Muhammad bin Abdallah bin Al-‘Arabi, Ahkam Al-Qur’an, ed. ‘Ali Muhammad Al-Bijawi (Beirut n.d.), IV, 1996.

[23] Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi, Mafatih Al-ghayb (Al-Tafsir al-kabir) (Beirut n.d.) XXXII, 189-96. (The introduction of Labid’s daughters appears outside the exegetical field much earlier. Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, II, 152; and Lecker, ‘Bewitching’, 563).

[24] Muhammad bin Ahmad Al-Qurtubi, Tafsir (Al-Jami’ li-l-Ahkam Al-Qur’an) (Cairo n.d.), VIII, 7343-4.

[25] Ibid., 7349.

[26] Ibn Kathir, Tafsir (Beirut 1970), VII, 420-21.

[27] Ibn Taymiyya, Al-Tafsir Al-kabir (Beirut 1988), VII, 591-3.

[28] Abu Mansur Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Māturidī al-Samarqandi, “Ta’wilaatu Ahli Sunnah”, (Massasah al-Risalah, Beirut, Lebanon, 2004), Volume 3, page 162, and Volume 5, pages 543, 545.

[29] Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Ali al-Razi al-Jassas, “Ahkam al-Quran”, (Darul Ihya turath al-Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, 1992), Volume 1, p. 60.

[30] Ibn ‘Umar Al-Zamaksharī, Al-Kashāf ‘an Haqā’iq al-Tanzīl wa ‘uyūn Al-’Aqāwīl fi wujūh al-Tā’wīl (Beirut: Dār Sadr, 2010), volume 4, pp. 1834-1835.

[31] Abū Bakr al-‘Asamm, Tafsīr Abī Bakr al-‘Asamm (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-’ilmiyyah, 2007), p. 267. The same exegesis of this surah was also attributed to the later Mu’tazilite Abū Muslim Isfahanī (332 AH), it is unclear to me at the moment if he adopted Al-‘Asamm’s exegesis or that it was falsely attributed to Al-‘Asamm.

[32] Abū Mansūr al-Māturīdī, Tā’wīlāt ‘Ahl al-Sunna (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyyah, 2005), volume 10, p. 653. According to traditions 5430, 5432, 5433 and 6082 in the collection of Bukhārī, the Prophet was bewitched by the Jew Labīd ibn al-A’sam which made him feel ill and forgetful until Gabriel or two angels explained the problem and revealed this sūrah to protect him against the black magic. See also: al-Wāhidī al-Naysābūrī (468 AH), ‘Asbāb al-Nuzūl al-Qur’ān (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyyah, 2008), pp. 301-302.

[33] Al-Qādī Abī al-Hasan ‘Abd al-Jabbār bin Ahmad Al-‘Asdābādī, Tafsīr al-Qādī ‘Abd al-Jabbār al-Mu’tazilī (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyyah, 2009), pp. 366-367.

[34] Muhammad Salīh Farfūr, The Beneficial Message & The Definitive Proof In The Study Of Theology (al-Risālah al-Nafi’ah wal-Hujjat al-Qati’at fī ‘ilm al-Tawhīd) (translated by Wesam Charkawi, London: Azhar Academy, 2010), pp. 197-202. See also his discussion on sihr: Abū Bakr Ahmad ‘Alī al-Rāzī al-Jassās, Kitab Ahkām al-Qur’ān (Beirut: Dâr al-Kitāb al-‘Arabī, n.dt.), volume 1, pp. 41-58, chapter Bāb al-Sihr wa Hukm al-Sāhir. For the discussion on al-Jassās being a Mu’tazilite or Māturīdī, see Anvar M. Emon at xx below, pp. 45-46.

[35] Al-Qushayri, Lata’if Al-isharat, ed. Ibrahim Bassayuni (Cairo 1971), VI,


[36] Hud bin Muhkam al-Hawwari, Tafsir kitab Allah Al-‘Aziz (Beirut 1990), IV, 544.

[37] Al-Tabari, Jami Al-bayan ‘an ta’wil Al-Qur’an (n.p., n.d.), XXX, 198-202.

His discussion is mostly linguistic.

[38] Muhammad in Al-Hasan Al-Tusi, Tafsir Al-tibyan, ed. Agha Bozorg Khan

(Najaf, 1957-65), X, 434.

[39] Al-Fadl bin Al-Hasan Al-Tabrisi, Majma’ al-bayan (Beirut 1954), XXX, 234-5.

[40] Abdallah bin Ahmad Al-Nasafi, Tafsir Al-Qur’an al-Jalil (Tafsir al-Nasafi) (Beirut n.d.), V, 412.

[41] Ibn Taymiyya, Al-Tafsir Al-kabir (Beirut 1988), VII, 591-3

[42] Al-Mirza Muhammad Al-Mashhadi al-Qummi, Tafsir kanz al-daqa’iq (Qummi.d.), XI, 636-7.

[43] Muhammad Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi, Mahasin al-ta’wil, ed. Muhammad Fu’ad ‘Abd al-Baqi (Cairo n.d.), XVII, 6308-10; see also Muhammad ‘Abduh’s attitude in al-Manar 12 (1909-10), 697.

[44] Ahmad Mustafa Al-Maraghi, Tafsir Al-Maraghi (Cairo 1936), XXX, 261.

[45] Husayn Muhammad Makhluf, Safwat al-bayan li-ma’ani al-Qur’an (Beitut n.d.), II, 579-80; and so does Muhammad ‘Ali al-Bazwari, al-Ghayb wa-l-shahada (Beirut 1987), VI, 416.

[46] Muhammad Jawad Maghiyya, al-Tafsir al-Kashif (Beirut 1970), VII, 625-6.

[47] Muhammad Mahmud Hijazi, Tafsir Al-wadih (Cairo 1968), XXX, 97.

[48] Sayyid Qutb, Fi zilal Al-Qur’an (Beirut 1974), VI, 4006- 9, at 4008.

[49] Al-Salihi Al-Shami, Subul al-hudd, IX, 73 .

→ References: [1] The Prophet Muhammad, Labid Al Yahudi and the commentaries to Surah 113 by David cook, University of Chicago.

[2] The denial of supernatural sorcery in classical and modern Sunni tafsīr of sūrah al-Falaq (113:4): a reflection on underlying constructions by Shaykh Arnold Yasin Mol.

[3] Black Magic and The Perfection of The Prophet by Shaykh Atabek Shukrov and Shaykh Sulaiman Ahmed.