Strengthening of the Faith

The Sin of Believing in Astrology

It is narrated by Hafsah {May Allah have mercy on Her} the Mother of Believers, that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

"The one who approaches a soothsayer and consults him about any matter, his prayers shall not be accepted for forty days." (Muslim)

It means that anybody who approaches a certain person, claiming to have the knowledge of the unseen, and thus enquires of him about any of his problems, his prayers shall not be accepted for forty days. This is due to the fact that such a person has committed an act of Shirk, and Shirk destroys all acts of worship. An astrologer, a conjurer, a diviner, the one who predicts about the unseen by casting lots etc. are all categorized as soothsayers.

Deducing an Omen is an act of disbelief:

It is narrated by Qabisah {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

"The acts of making prophesies through making a bird fly, or casting lots to infer a good or bad omen or declaring something to be carrying a foreboding presentiment are acts of disbelief and 1

Razin bin Mu'awiyah is one of the leading narrators of Hadith. He died in the sixth century according to the Hijra calendar. 2

The three advantages of stars which are mentioned in the Noble Qur'an are: Beautification of sky, driving away the devils and providing guidelines to the sea and land travelers.

apostasy."1 It is narrated by Abdullah bin Mas'ud {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said: "Taking an omen is an act of Shirk, taking an omen is an act of Shirk, taking an omen is an act of Shirk!"

The custom of taking an omen was rife in the Arabian society and the Arabs had a great belief in it. The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} reiterated that it is an act of Shirk so that the people should refrain from having a faith in this absurdity.

Sa'd bin Malik {May Allah have mercy on him} narrated that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

"A belief (i.e. in the magical properties) that an owl is a sign of omen, is baseless, no disease gets transmitted from one person to another; and nothing is inauspicious (carries a misfortune). Had it been so, the same would have been found in a woman, a house and in a horse." (Abu Dawud) A belief was rife among the then Arabs, about a victim of a murder whose death is still ur1fetaliated, that an owl comes out of his skull and pleads for his revenge. This owl was known as Hammah. The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} declared this kind of faith to be baseless. Thus, the concept of the transmigration of souls is thoroughly baseless too. The Arabs were of the opinion that the diseases like itching and leprosy etc. are contagious ones. The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} refuted this view to be an erroneous one.

Thus it becomes known to us that a view which is generally held by the people to the effect that the people suffering from smallpox should be avoided and that the children should not be permitted to go near them, is among the myths cherished by the disbelievers, and hence we should not give our credit to them, which means that we should not nurse such a faith that the ailment of that person shall strike us automatically Without the will of Allah since no disease strikes anyone unless Allah commands it to be so. (However, from the medical point of view, there is no harm in taking the necessary precautions).

A myth which has gained a wide currency among the people is that they often keep observing that 1

Al-'lyafah used to release a deer or a bird. If these animals proceeded to the right, they considered it to be auspicious, but if the same proceeded to the left, they considered it to be as a foreboding one and thus refrained from commencing an act. At-Tayarah also implies the same meaning. The people who were known as At-Tarq used to either cast pebbles on the ground or draw lines in the sand thereby inferring good or bad omens.

a certain assignment is inauspicious for the particular person and hence he did not succeed in it. This belief is erroneous too. The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} stated that, had something been inauspicious, it would have been a house, a horse and a woman.1 The above things sometimes do prove to be inauspicious, but no formula has been prescribed to ascertain their inauspiciousness. A belief widespread among the people is that a house resembling a lion's mouth2 a horse having a star-like forehead and a woman having a vicious mouth are inauspicious.

These myths are baseless, having no authenticity, and the Muslims should pay no attention to them. If someone buys a new house, a horse or marries a woman, one should only ask Allah to make them auspicious for him and similarly one should seek Allah's protection from their evil. As to the rest of things, one should refrain from harboring such notions as to this particular work augured well for him whereas that particular assignment proved to be ill-starred to him, and therefore he flopped in it.

It is narrated by Abu Hurairah {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

"There is no contagion (a disease transmitting from one person to another), no owl (believing in its so-called magical properties) and no Safar (a ghost allegedly inhabiting the belly of a person)." (Bukhari)

A view which was rife among the Arabs regarding the people suffering from Ju'ul-Kalb (an ailment characterized by an insatiable hunger) was that his belly was inhabited by an evil spirit which in took all the food he devoured and therefore his hunger was never satiated. This so-called evil spirit was known as Safar. The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} declared that there is no such thing as a ghost or an evil-spirit (i.e. inhabiting the belly of the sick person) and this was merely a superstition. Thus we understand that the ailments are not induced by the evil spirits.

Some people believe that some of the diseases occur due to the influence of some evil spirits like Satila, Masani, Barahi3 etc. but this is untrue. During the pre-Islamic period, people used to consider the 1 The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} on another occasion, elaborated on it this way:

"An evil house is the one which has bad neighbors, an evil woman is the one who is short-tempered and ill-mannered, and a horse which is not worth keeping is the one who is unruly and skittish." 2

A house which is broad and wide at the front and small and constrained at the rear is called Sher Dahan (lion- mouthed). The Indians considered this type of house to be evil and inauspicious. 3

Barahi is the name of a goddess of diseases among the Hindus, which is worshipped to repel diseases.

month of Safar as an evil one and did not perform any activity during this month. This was wrong too. Thus, it becomes known to us that considering the thirteen days of Safar as inauspicious and believing that the calamities befall the earth during this specific period and deeming a thing, date, day or an hour to be of an evil presentiment are all polytheistic concepts. It has been narrated by Ibn Majah on the authority of Jabir {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} took the hand of a leper, put his hand along with his own hand in a bowl and said: "Have an absolute Faith and trust in Allah and eat."

It means that our trust lies in Allah Alone. He can inflict disease on anyone whomsoever He wishes and can make anyone hale and hearty. We, on our part, do not desist from eating with anyone and do not believe that a disease may be transmitted from one person to another. Do not make Allah an Intercessor:

It is narrated by Abu Dawud on the authority of Jubair bin Mut'im {May Allah have mercy on him} that a nomad Arab came to the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} and said:

"People are suffering from hardships, the children are suffering from an extreme hunger and the livestock has perished. We would like you to make supplications to Allah on our behalf to invoke rain. We would like to appoint you as our intercessor towards Allah and appoint Allah as our intercessor before you."

The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} (upon hearing this) started mentioning the glory of Allah by repeating the phrase "Glory is to Allah, Glory is to Allah." He kept doing it for such a length of time that one could notice it (the expressions of curiosity) writ large on the faces of his Companions. Then the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said, 'You the one who do not understand!' Allah does not intercede on anyone's behalf.

Far Exalted is He (in his position and status) than doing this. O ignorant person! Do you know what Allah is? His Throne rests like this on the heavens!" He then made a gesture with folding his fingers in a round and convex shape denoting it to be like a dome and said that the Throne, under the weight of His Majesty is wobbling and shaking about exactly as if the saddle of a camel gyrates and creaks about under the weight of a rider."

The incident goes that once there was a drought in the Arabian Peninsula. A bedouin came to the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} and told him the sufferings of the people and asked him to make supplications to Allah. He further said that we would like to intercede with Allah on our behalf and similarly we would like Allah to be our mediator to you in this matter. Once the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} heard what he said, he started trembling due to fear of Allah and started uttering the words of praises manifesting the greatness of Allah.

The facial expressions of the audience changed considerably as they heard the words epitomizing Allah's dignity and magnificence. Then the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} went on to explain to the bedouin that the authority belongs only to the Master. If the Master does the needful by accepting someone's mediation, it is so kind of him. If someone says that we have brought Allah to the Messenger as an intercessor, it means that such a person has vested an absolute power and authority in the hands of the Prophet, even though this prerogative belongs to none but Allah only.

The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} enjoined upon him to never repeat like this. Allah the Almighty is so great and magnificent that all the Prophets and saints do not even measure a particle before Him. His Throne encircles all the heavens and earth just like a dome. Even though the Throne is too massive and gigantic, yet it is unable to withstand the greatness of this Emperor of emperors and thus it is wavering and creaking about.

His creatures are unable to perceive and appreciate His greatness and they are not capable of expressing about it by using their normal thoughts and perceptions. Interfering in His work and laying hands in the matters concerning His great empire is out of question. He is so powerful that He can accomplish millions of things without the help of an army, or even a minister or a consultant, just in one stroke. Why should He go to anyone to intercede on someone's behalf? Who could be powerful before Him? Prophet Muhammad {Peace be upon Him}, who is the best creation of Allah among all the human beings,

became flabbergasted with, consternation upon hearing an indecent remark from a bedouin and started praising Allah in every respect of His grandeur which fills the earth and the skies. What do we make out of the people who stat1 associating familiarity with Allah akin to a brother's or a friend's relationship and keep blurting out their gossips with a big mouth?

Someone says that he has purchased Allah for a mere pittance and someone alleges that he is two years older than his Lord! Someone does not even feel shy to utter a blasphemy to the effect that he would never see his Lord if He appears to him in any shape other than that of his religious preceptor. Someone has uttered a couplet which runs in the following manner: "My heart is bruised with an extreme love of Prophet Muhammad {Peace be upon Him} and I nurse an envy against my Lord."

Another poet says:

"One must treat Allah with a madness whereas Prophet Muhammad {Peace be upon Him} must be treated with an absolute seriousness and mental composure." Someone considers the personality of Muhammad {Peace be upon Him} preferable to Allah Himself. All these things are pathetic and utterly deplorable. Why have the Muslims turned mentally decrepit ones and have become blindfolded in the presence of the Noble Qur'an. May Allah protect us from these acts of delinquencies. Amin.

Someone has justifiably remarked:

"We ask Allah's guidance that may He bless us with (an attitude of) respectfulness as a disrespectful person becomes deprived of the blessing of his Lord." A practice which is prevalent among the people is that once they conduct a gathering and complete all the portions of the Noble Qur'an therein, they pronounce a formula sentence which goes like this:

"O Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani! Please fulfill our desire for Allah's sake!"

This statement is a manifest Shirk.1 May Allah save Muslims from such acts! One should never utter a word from his mouth which reeks of Shirk (polytheism) or a word which borders on impropriety and disrespectfulness towards Allah! Allah the Almighty is magnificent! He is the Emperor of emperors, Who is perfect in all respects and His glory never fades! It is only to punish one for a minor fault and forgive other for a minor deed-depends wholly on His own will.

It is an arrogance to suppose that even though one has apparently used a word showing disrespectfulness, but in fact the same alludes to a distant meaning. This is due to the fact that Allah is far above it all and defies all the enigmas. If someone starts gossiping freely with his elders, it is bound to be regarded as an arrogance and sauciness. It only suits to be free with one's close friends in this respect and not with one's father or a king.

The dearest names to Allah:

It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Ibn Umar {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet said:

"The dearest names with Allah are Abdullah and Abdur-Rahman." How lovely it is to have a name like the slave of Allah or the slave of the Most Gracious. This category includes Abdul-Quddus, Abdul-Jaleel, Abdul-Khaliq, Ilahi Bakhsh, Allah Diya, Allah Dad etc. All these names demonstrate a relationship to Allah. Kunya 2(pet name) with the name of Allah must be avoided: It is narrated by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i on the authority of Shuraih bin Hani {May Allah have mercy on him}:

"When I, along with the delegation of my clan, visited the Prophet {Peace be upon Him}, he {Peace be upon Him} noticed that the people of my clan were addressing me with a patronymic appellation of Abul-Hakam. He (the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} called me and said, "Hakam (the one having a jurisdiction) is none but Allah Himself. Only His commandments are effective. Why do you have such a pet name as Abul-Hakam."

1 According to the Hadith of the Prophet {Peace be upon Him}, the recitation of Salam on the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} prior to a supplication and after it, is the reason for the acceptance of one's supplication. Adopting someone as an intermediary (or as a means of directing one's supplications to Allah) is a practice which is not endorsed and authenticated in a fare and square manner by either of the four Imam or the eminent personalities of the three ages of Islam (the ages of the preferential order according to the Prophet {Peace be upon Him}. Therefore, one should also avoid resorting to such means.

2 Calling one, "O father of so-and-so" or "a mother of so-and-so."

It means that it is only the prerogative of Allah to settle the disputes and give verdict in regard to all the dissensions, a fact which shall be demonstrated on the Day of Judgment. No other is capable of doing that. Thus it becomes clear to us that a word which only befits the magnificence of Allah must not be used for someone else. For instance, none but Allah should be called the "King of kings." "He Alone is the Rabb of the whole universe and can do anything He likes."

This type of expressions may only be used for Allah. Similarly the expressions like the object of worship, the All-wise, the Carefree etc. are only fit to be used for Allah Alone. Only say Ma Shii Allah (What Allah wished):

It is narrated in Sharh As-Sunnah by Hudhaifa{May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

"Do not say, what Allah and Muhammad {Peace be upon Him} wished, but you should only say, what Allah wished."

It means that none of the creatures has a say in the matters concerning Divinity, no matter how great and close one that creature could be. For instance, one should never say that if Allah and His Messenger wished, it should happen so, since all the things in the world happen by the Will of Allah only and not by the will of the Prophet. If someone enquires of you as to what a person really conceals in his heart, or when that person shall be marrying or how many leaves that particular tree bears or how many stars are there up in the heavens,

never respond to him by saying that these things are only known by Allah and His Prophet, as the knowledge of the unseen rests with Allah and not with His Prophet. However, there is no harm if someone says such a thing in regard to the religious matters as Allah has given a full knowledge of religion to His Prophet and has commanded people to comply with the instructions of His Prophet.

Taking an oath in the name of anyone other than Allah is an act of Shirk:

It is narrated by Tirmidhi on the authority of Ibn Umar {May Allah have mercy on him} that he heard the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} saying:

"The one who administers an oath in the name of anyone other than Allah, has committed an act of Shirk."

It is narrated by Abdur-Rahmiin bin Samurah {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said: "Do not take an oath in the name of the idols nor in the name of your fathers." (Muslim). It is narrated by Ibn Umar {May Allah have mercy on him} that Allah's Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

"Allah prohibits you from taking an oath in the name of your forefathers. If anyone of you were to take an oath, let him either do it in the Name of Allah or he should observe silence." (Al- Bukhari-Muslim) It is narrated by Abu Hurairah {May Allah have mercy on him} that the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said:

"Whoever has taken an oath in the name of Al-Laat and Al-Uzza (name of two idols) (by the force of habit), he must say La Ilaha ill-Allah. (There is no one worthy of being worshipped but Allah). (Al-Bukhari-Muslim)

During the pre-Islamic period, it was a common practice to swear to the idols. After embracing Islam, if someone happens to swear to an idol unconsciously (by the force of habit), he must immediately recite La Ilaha ill-Allah to affirm the Oneness of Allah. Thus it becomes known to us that we must refrain from taking an oath in anyone's name other than Allah. If such a thing happens inadvertently, one must immediately seek Allah's forgiveness. The types of oaths prevalent among the polytheists tend to weaken and jeopardize the Faith.

The verdict of the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} about observing vows:

It is narrated by Thabit bin Dahhak {May Allah have mercy on him}:

A certain person during the era of the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} made a vow that he would slaughter a camel in a place known as "Bawanah." Then this person came to the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} and informed him about his vow. The Prophet {Peace be upon Him} said: Does the said place comprise any of the sanctums (dedicated to any of the deities during the pre-Islamic period)?" The Companions of the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} answered in negative.

Then the Prophet enquired of them as to whether had there been any festival observed there? They still answered in negative. Then the Prophet instructed this person to go ahead with observing his vow saying that it is forbidden to observe only that kind of vow which defies and contradicts Allah's injunctions. (Abu-Dawud)

Thus it becomes known to us that it is a sinful act to observe a vow in the name of anyone other than Allah. One should never accomplish such a vow because making an intention to undertake such a vow is itself a sin and if someone still goes ahead and completes it, he will only incur an increased amount of sin. It is further added to our knowledge that a place where the animals are sacrificed in the name of the deities (to the exclusion of Allah), their worship is regularly conducted and congregational activities of Shirk are performed, we should not even carry there an animal which is to be sacrificed in the Name of Allah. We should also refrain from attending such activities, irrespective of our intention whether good or bad, because participating in these activities is itself a perpetually bad thing.