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Exorcism

 

The English term “exorcism” is derived from the Greek word “exorkizo” meaning “to bind with an oath,” “to adjure,” and denotes the expulsion of malevolent spirits from possessed persons, objects and places. The general definition states that expulsion is usually achieved by the utterance of an adoration in which the name(s) of more powerful spirits or deities are invoked and their aid sought.[1] This definition generally describes the process by which those who are ill due to spirit-possession are treated, except, according to Islâmic law, only the name of Allaah may be invoked. Cure is usually effected by the use of religious formulas, prayers and/or artifacts.

Recited formulas are collectively referred to in Arabic as ruqaa (s. ruqyah), which is derived from the verb raqaa / yarqee meaning “to charm [someone] by invoking Allaah.” Ruqyah is “a charm or spell, either uttered or written, by which a person having an evil affliction, such as fever and epilepsy etc, is charmed.”[2]

Originally, ta‘weedh, ‘oodhah and ma‘aadhah all meant the same as ruqyah.[3] Later these terms almost exclusively referred to “a kind of amulet or charm bearing an inscription which is hung upon a man [or woman, child, horse, etc.] to charm the wearer against the evil eye, against the fright and diabolical possession.[4] The root of these terms is the verb ‘aadha / ya‘oodhu meaning “to seek protection or refuge.”[5]

Charms or amulets used for curing a sick, possessed or mad person are collectively called “nushrah,” derived from the verb nashshara which means “to charm away sickness, diabolical possession or madness by a charm or amulet.”[6]

The Arabic term “da‘wah” (literally, “invitation, calling”) in the Indian subcontinent has come to mean “a system of incantation.”[7]

 

Validity

According to Islâmic law, treatment by exorcism is divided into two categories: prohibited techniques and permissible techniques. Prohibited techniques are those which include statements or acts which are contrary to Islâmic law. Permissible methods are those which conform with the guidelines found in the sources of Islâmic jurisprudence. In this regard Ibn Taymeeyah said:

Idolaters use talisman and chant formulas containing glorification and worship of the jinn, and most [of the] incomprehensible incantations, talismans and charms[8] in use among the Muslim masses contain shirk (associating partners with Allaah) by way of the jinn. As a result, Muslim scholars have prohibited the use of incantation whose meanings are not understandable, because there is a possibility of shirk being involved, even if it is not so in actuality.

‘Awf ibn Maalik al-Ashja‘ee said, “We used to make incantations during the times of ignorance, so we said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, what is your opinion on this matter?’ He replied, ‘Let me hear your incantations, for incantations which do not have shirk in them are fine.’[9]

Most of what is recited by those preparing amulets and talisman have shirk in them. In an attempt to hide the shirk, Qur’ânic verses are often added throughout the recitation.[10] There are sufficient cures prescribed by Allaah and His Prophet to remove any need for methods involving shirk and any need for those who practice it. Some Muslims may dispute the permissibility of using medicines containing forbidden substances like pork and parts of animals which die of themselves.[11] However, there is no difference of opinion with regard to the prohibition of treating sickness with acts of shirk and kufr (disbelief), because it is prohibited under all circumstances. Performing acts of shirk and kufr are not the same as only saying statements to that effect under duress, for the latter is allowed if one’s heart if full of faith. Speaking words of shirk and kufr only has an effect if it (i.e., disbelief) already exists in the heart of the one saying them. Thus, if one says them while his heart is at peace in faith, it has no effect on one’s level of belief. One under duress does not intend to utter words of disbelief, but if forced. If Satan knows that the one using prohibited amulets or incantations does not take them seriously, he will not aid him. Therefore, one may not use shirk on the basis that he or she does not believe in it. It should also be noted that there is no necessity to treat an afflicted person with shirk or kufr from at least two other points of view: First, there may be no effect, for most of those who treat illnesses with amulets have no success. Instead, they may even make the affliction worse. Second, there are sufficient authentic methods of cure available to make false methods superfluous.[12]

In order for ruqaa to be legitimate according to Islâmic law, Ibn Hajar said, “The scholars are in unanimous agreement that ruqaa is permissible if [the following] three conditions are met:

      1)      Only Allaah’s words (i.e., the Qur’aan), names or attributes can be used.
2)      It must be in [comprehensible] Arabic or intelligible words in another language.
3)      Those taking part must believe that the incantation cannot have an independent effect, but it is Allaah who causes it to have effect.”[13]

Some people considered unintelligible ruqaa permissible because of the narration of Jaabir.

He reported that when Allaah’s Messenger () prohibited incantation, the ‘Amr ibn Hazm family came to him and said, “We know an incantation which we used to recite for curing scorpion stings.” They recited the incantation for him, and he said, “I do not see anything wrong with it. Whoever among you is able to help his brother should do so.”[14]

However, Ibn Hajar pointed out that ‘Awf’s narration in which the Prophet () said, “incantations which do not have shirk in them are fine,”[15] indicates that any ruqyah which leads to shirk is prohibited, and there is no way of knowing if incomprehensible ruqaa contain shirk or not. Therefore, such ruqaa are also prohibited as a precaution.[16]

 

The Exorcist

There is no official position known as the “exorcist” under Islâmic law. However, in various parts of the Muslim world, titles have been given to those who practice exorcism. For example. in India and Pakistan an exorcist is called an ‘aamil.[17] According to sharee‘ah, exorcism is merely considered a method of treatment for the ill and for helping the needy. As such, it is required of all Muslims who are capable of treating those afflicted. In addressing the generality of this responsibility, Ibn Taymeeyah said:

The fundamental principle on the basis of which this subject (i.e., exorcism) should be understood is that it may be permissible, recommended or even compulsory to defend or aid one who is possessed, because helping the oppressed is a duty according to one's ability. There is a narration in both Saheeh al-Bukhaaree and Saheeh Muslim in which the Prophet’s companion, al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib, said,

‘Allaah’s Messenger commanded us to do seven things and prohibited us from doing seven. He enjoined upon us visiting the sick, following funeral processions, wishing well for one who sneezes, fulfilling oaths, helping the oppressed, responding to invitations, and spreading greetings of peace. He forbade us from wearing gold rings, drinking from silver vessels, using silk brocade saddle blankets, wearing silk blend clothes, silk clothes, velvet or silk brocade.’[18]

... In [exorcism] there is also alleviation of the oppressed person’s grief and suffering. Allaah’s Messenger () is reported by Aboo Hurayrah in Saheeh Muslim to have said,

‘Whoever relieves a believer of one of the tragedies of this life, Allaah will relieve him of one of the calamities of the Day of Resurrection.’[19]

Jaabir was also reported in Saheeh Muslim to have said that when Allaah’s Messenger () was asked about incantation, he replied, ‘Whoever among you is able to help his brother should do so.’[20]

  As to leaving one’s [possessed] companion without treating him, it is the same as abandoning someone who is oppressed.

Aiding the oppressed is fard kifaayah (a group obligation) on everyone according to his ability, based upon what the Prophet (S) was reported to have said,

‘A Muslim is a brother to every other Muslim, he does not leave him in harm nor does he harm him.’[21]

If he is unable to help him or is busy with something more obligatory or someone else has gone to help the possessed individual, it is no longer obligatory on him to do so. If. on the other hand, he is the only one present who is able to help and he is not busy with something more obligatory, it then becomes a compulsory duty to exorcise the possessed.[22]

 

Conditions

According to some Islâmic scholars, both parties to the exorcism must fulfill certain spiritual and legal characteristics for effective treatment to take place. In describing these necessary attributes, Ibn al-Qayyim said:

Treatment of fits due to spirit-possession requires two factors on the part of the possessed and on the part of the healer.

1) On the part of the possessed it requires (a) personal strength and turning to the Creator of these spirits truthfully, and (b) the correct method of seeking refuge wherein the heart and tongue will be in harmony. Indeed this type of treatment is, in fact, warfare, and the warrior will not be able to defeat his enemy unless he possesses two qualities: that his weapon itself be good and sharp and that his arm be strong. If either of these two conditions are not met, a long sword will be of no value. And if both are missing? The heart which is in a state of desolation and ruin with respect to tawheed (belief in the unity of Allaah), trust in Allaah, fear of Allaah and turning to Him, will have no weapon.
2) The requirement on the part of the exorcist is that he also possess both [of the above-mentioned] factors.[23]

Ibn Taymeeyah warned:

If the possessing demon is an ifreet among jinn and the exorcist is weak, it could harm him. Consequently, he should shield himself by reciting prayers through which he seeks refuge in Allaah, the mu‘awwidhataan[24] and Aayah al-Kursee; by performing formal prayer (salaah); by making supplications and doing other similar things which strengthen his faith; and by putting aside sins through which the evil jinn may gain control over him. Such a person is a soldier of Allaah, and since exorcism is among the greatest forms of jihaad, he should beware not to help his enemy overcome him by his own sins. If the circumstance is beyond his capacity, he should remember that ‘Allaah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity.’ He should not expose himself to tribulation by taking on what he is unable to handle.[25]

 

Methodology

The following steps of exorcism have been deduced from the texts of the Sunnah, the practice of the Prophet’s companions and early scholars. The order in which the steps are mentioned is not intended to be unalterably fixed, but merely a possible sequence which may be followed.

First Step: (a) Undo Charm

In cases where possession is a result of magic the most effective method of canceling its effects is by finding and undoing the charm used in the bewitchment. Ibn al-Qayyim stated, “Removing the charm and neutralizing it is the most profound treatment.”[26] Once the charm has been found and dismantled, the spell will be broken and the jinnee connected with it will leave the person alone. This was the method used by Prophet Muhammad () on the occasion of his own bewitchment. Zayd ibn Arqam reported that a Jew, by the name of Labeeb ibn A‘sam [from the Zuraaq clan],[27] cast a spell on the Prophet (). When he began to suffer from it, Jibreel came to him and revealed the two chapters for seeking refuge (mu‘awwidhataan) and then said to him, “Surely, it was a Jew who cast this spell on you, and the magical charm is in a certain well.” The Prophet () sent ‘Alee ibn Alee Taalib to go and fetch the charm. When he returned with it, the Prophet () told him to untie the knots, one by one, and to recite a verse from the two chapters with the undoing of each knot. When he did so, the Prophet () got up as if he had been released from being tied up.[28] Although destroying the charm is the best method of breaking the spell, it is the most difficult, unless someone confesses or the charm is discovered accidentally. The Prophet () only found out the location of the charm by revelation. Consequently, the cases of jinn-possession induced by magic may be treated by the usual method for general demonic possession outlined below.

First Step: (b) Address

It was the practice of Prophet Muhammad () to address the possessing spirit and command it to leave. In his narration Ya‘laa ibn Murrah reported that on one occasion a woman brought her demented son to the Prophet (). The Prophet () said [to the boy], “Get out, enemy of Allaah! I am the Messenger of Allaah!” The boy recovered, and she gave the Prophet () a gift of two male sheep, some aqat (dried curd)[29] and fat. Allaah’s Messenger () said, “Take the aqat, the fat and one of the sheep and return the other.”[30]

According to some early scholars, an attempt should be made to communicate with the intruding spirit(s), encouraging it/them to leave by giving advice and admonishment. This procedure was proposed by Ibn Taymeeyah, who said:

In the first instance, where possession is due to sexual desire on the jinnee’s part – even with the consent of the human partner – it (i.e., sexual relations) is as forbidden by Allaah as it is among [unmarried] humans. Without the possessed human’s consent it becomes an even graver case of atrocity and oppression. In such circumstances the jinn should be addressed and informed that their acts are either abominable and prohibited or vile and tyrannical. They are informed [of this] so that evidence may he brought against them on the Day of Judgment and that they are made aware that they have broken the laws of Allaah and His Prophet, whom He sent to both worlds – that of men and jinn.

In cases of the second category wherein the [possessed] human was unaware that he had harmed a jinnee, the jinnee should be addressed and informed that the human’s act was unintentional and therefore not deserving of punishment. If it (i.e.. the accidental injury) took place in the man’s house or on his property, the jinnee should be informed that the house and property belong to the man and, as such, he is permitted to use them in allowable ways as he pleases. The jinn should also be told that they do not have the right to inhabit human property without the permission of the occupants. They only have a right to dwell in places not occupied by humans, like abandoned buildings and open country.[31]

[In summary], if the jinn attack a human, they should be informed of Allaah and His Messenger’s ruling on the matter, and proof of their error should be pointed out. They should be instructed to be righteous and to abstain from evil, just as is done with humans, based upon Allaah’s statement:

‘We will not punish [the wayward] until a messenger has been sent [to them].’ Qur’aan, 17:15

As a result of this obligation, the Prophet () forbade the killing of snakes found in houses until after they have been told to leave three times. In Saheeh Muslim and other books of hadeeth there is a narration front Aboo Sa‘eed al-Khudree in which he stated that the Prophet () said, “Madeenah has a group of jinn who became Muslims, so whoever sees any snakes [in their homes] should request them to leave three times. If any of them appear after that, he should kill it, because it is a devil.”[32]

Second Step: Cursing

If the jinnee refuses to respond appropriately by leaving, the exorcist may then use harsh language wherein Allaah’s curse is invoked upon the jinnee. This step was specifically referred to by Ibn Taymeeyah, and he brought evidence in support of it in one of his works, saying, “The commanding of a jinnee to righteousness and its prohibition from evil should be carried out in the same way that humans are admonished. Whatever is allowable in the case of humans is also allowable in the case of jinn. For example, the repelling of jinn might require scolding, threatening and even evoking Allaah’s curse.

Aboo ad-Dardaa’ narrated, “Allaah’s Messenger () stood up [in prayer] and we heard him say, ‘I seek refuge in Allaah from you.’ Then he reached out his hand as if he were catching something, and he said three times, ‘I curse you by Allaah’s curse.’ When he finished praying, we asked him, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, we heard you say something in your prayer which we have never heard you say before, and we saw you stretch out your arm.’ He replied, ‘Indeed, Allaah’s enemy, Iblees, brought a fiery torch and tried to thrust it in my face, so I sought refuge in Allaah and cursed him by Allaah’s perfect curse three times. But he did not retreat. So I caught hold of him and, by Allaah, had it not been for the prayer our brother, Sulaymaan,[33] he would have been tied up for the children of Madeenah to play with.[34] This hadeeth  provides the foundation for the practice of seeking refuge in Allaah from the jinn and cursing them by Allaah’s curse.”[35]

Third Step: (a) Recitations

Since the time of the Prophet (), recitation of the Qur’aan for the sick has been an accepted practice among Muslims. Textual evidence for the use of the Qur’aan in curing illnesses is based upon the following verses:

“We revealed in stages of the Qur’aan that which is a healing and mercy for believers. But for the unjust it only adds to their loss.” Qur’aan 17:82

“O mankind, there has come to you [in the Qur’aan] an admonition from your Lord and a healing for the [diseases] in your hearts and, for the believers, a guidance and mercy.” Qur’aan 10:57

Soorah al-Faatihah

The companions of Prophet Muhammad () used to recite chapters and verses of the Qur’aan as a cure for possession as well as other illnesses.

The uncle of Khaarijah ibn as-Salt reported that he went to the Prophet and embraced Islaam. During his return journey, fie came across a tribe which had among them a madman fettered in iron chains. The madman’s family said to him, “We have been informed that your companion (i.e., Prophet Muhammad ()) has come with good. Do you have anything with which to treat illnesses?” He recited over him Faatihah al-Kitaab,[36] and he got well. [In another narration it stated: “He recited over him Faatihah al ­Kitaab every morning and evening for three days. Whenever he would finish his recitation, he would gather his saliva and spit. And he got well.”] They gave him one hundred sheep [but he was in doubt about whether he should accept them] so he went back to Allaah’s Messenger and informed him of the incident. The Prophet () asked him, “Did you recite anything else besides this?” He replied that he had not. The Prophet () then said, “Take them, for by my religion, whoever devours the payment for a false incantation will be destroyed. Indeed, you have eaten the price of a truthful incantation.”[37]

Aboo Sa‘eed al-Khudree said, “While we were on a journey, we dismounted at a place, whereupon a servant girl came to us and said, ‘The chief of our tribe has been stung by a scorpion and our men are not present. Is there anyone among you who can recite incantations?’ A man from among us, whom no one suspected knew incantations, got up and went with her, He subsequently recited over him. When the chief got well, he gave him thirty sheep and gave us milk to drink. On his return we asked him, ‘Did you have previous experience at reciting incantations?’ He replied, ‘No, I only recited over him Umm al-Kitaab.’[38] We agreed not to speak about it until we reached Madeenah and sought the Prophet’s advice. When we arrived and asked the Prophet () about it, he said, ‘How did he know that it exorcises? Distribute the sheep among yourselves and set aside a share for me also.’[39]

Aayah al-Kursee[40]

Among the greatest weapons which may be used to exorcise the jinn is Aayah al-Kursee, as confirmed in Abu Hurayrah’s narration:

Allaah’s Messenger put me in charge of the zakaah of Ramadaan.[41] While I was doing so, someone came and began to rummage around in the food, so I caught hold of him and said, “By Allaah, I am going to take you to Allaah’s Messenger!” But the man implored, “Verily, I am poor and I have dependents. I am in great need.” So I let him go. The next morning the Prophet () said, “O Aboo Hurayrah, what did your captive do last night?” I replied, “He complained of being in great need and of having a family, so I let him go.” The Prophet () then said, “Surely, he lied to you and he will return.” Since I knew that he was going to return, I laid in wait for him. When he returned and began to dig about in the food, I grabbed him and said, “I am definitely going to take to you to Allaah’s Messenger ().” Again he pleaded, “Let me go! Verily, I am poor and I have a family. I will not return.” So I had mercy on him and let him go. The next morning Allaah’s Messenger () said, “Aboo Hurayrah, what did your captive do last night?” I said that he complained of being in great need and of having a family, so I let him go. The Prophet () replied, “Surely, he lied to you and he will return.” So I waited for him and grabbed him when he began to scatter food around. I said, “By Allaah, I will take you to Allaah’s Messenger. This is the third time, and you had promised that You would not return; yet you come back anyway!” He said, “Let me give you some words by which Allaah will benefit you.” I said, “What are they?” and he replied, “Whenever you go to bed, recite Aayah al-Kursee from beginning to end. If you do so, a guardian from Allaah will remain with you and Satan will not come near you until the morning.” I then let him go. The next morning the Messenger of Allaah said, “What did your captive do last night?” I said that he claimed that he would teach me some words by which Allaah would benefit me, so I let him go. When the Prophet () asked what they were, I told him that they were the saying of Aayah al-Kursee before going to bed. I also told him that he said that a guardian from Allaah would remain with me, and Satan would not come near me until I awoke in the morning. The Prophet () said, “Indeed he has told the truth, although he is a compulsive liar. O Aboo Hurayrah, do you know with whom you have been speaking these past three nights?” I replied, “No,” and so he said, “That was a devil.”[42]

Regarding Aayah al-Kursee Ibn Taymeeyah said:

The countless many who have experience in this field unanimously confirm the incredible effectiveness of this verse in warding off the devils and breaking their spells. Indeed, it is greatly effective in repelling the evil jinn from human souls and exorcising them from the possessed as well as those prodded by the devils, like tyrants, those easily enraged, the lustful and lecherous, musicians and those who ecstatically whistle and clap. enraptured by their music. If this verse is sincerely recited over them, it will drive away the devils and neutralize their illusions. It will also disrupt satanic visions and devil-aided, supernatural feats performed by humans.[43]

Soorah al-Baqarah

Another means recommended for repelling the devil is reading the second chapter of the Qur’aan, Soorah al-Baqarah (The Cow). Aboo Hurayrah quoted the Prophet () as saying,

“Do not make your houses like graveyards.[44] Verily, the devil flees from a house in which Soorah al-Baqarah is read.”[45] According to the prophetic traditions, the last two verses of this chapter also have special merit for exorcism. Prophet Muhammad () was reported by an-Nu‘maan ibn Basheer to have said,

“When the last two verses of Soorah al-Baqarah are read in a home for three consecutive nights, the devil will not come near it.”[46]

Basmalah[47]

Also reported to have preventive and curative properties is the basmalah. This is written before each chapter of the Qur’aan, excluding the 9th chapter, and is also found in verse 30 of chapter 27 (Soorah an-Naml).

Aboo al-Maalih’s father quoted the Prophet () as saying, “Do not say, ‘May Satan be degraded,’ for surely, he will grow until he becomes the size of a house and he will say, ‘By my power, I will possess him.’ Say instead, ‘Bismillaah (‘In the name of Allaah’). If you do that, he will shrink until he becomes the size of a fly.”[48]

‘Uthmaan ibn Aboo al-‘Aas ath-Thaqafee reported that when he complained to the Messenger of Allaah () about a pain which he felt in his body from the time he accepted Islaam, the Prophet () said, “Place your hand at the place where you feel the pain in your body and say, ‘Bismillaah’ three times, then say seven times, ‘A‘oodhu billaahi wa qudratihee min sharri ma ajidu wa uhaadhir.’ (‘I seek refuge in Allaah and His power from the evil that I find and (from the evil) that I fear.’)”[49]

Ta‘awwudh[50]

Seeking refuge in Allaah has been prescribed in some Qur’ânic verses as a means of warding off the devils:

“If Satan touches you, seek refuge in Allaah, for verily, He is the Hearer and Knower.” Qur’aan, 41:36

“Say, ‘My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the prodding of the devils, and I seek refuge in You, My Lord, from their presence.’ ” Qur’aan, 23:97

In regard to one whose face had become red with anger, the Prophet said,

“Verily, I know some words which would cause his anger to subside if he said them. He should say, ‘A‘oodhu billaahi minash-shaytaanir-rajeem.’ (‘I seek refuge in Allaah from Satan, the cursed.’)”[51]

Before the recitation of the opening chapter of the Qur’aan in formal prayer, the Prophet () used to say,

“A‘oodhu billaahi minash-shaytaani min nafkhihee wa nafathihee wa hamzih.” (“I seek refuge in Allaah from the pride, poetry and touch of Satan, the cursed.”)[52]

Among the most powerful Qur’ânic formulas for seeking refuge are the last two chapters of the Qur’aan, collectively referred to as the mu‘awwidhataan. According to a number of reports, these two chapters were specifically revealed to break the magical spell which had been placed upon the Prophet ().[53]

The Prophet’s wife, ‘Aa’ishah, also reported that whenever any of the members of the household fell ill, Allaah’s Messenger () used to blow[54] over them by reciting the mu‘awwidhataan.[55]

Adhaan and Iqaamah[56]

Both calls to pray have been defined by the Prophet () as having the ability to drive away the devils. Aboo Hurayrah reported Allaah Messenger () as saying,

“When the adhaan is made, Satan runs away and breaks wind to drown it out. When it is finished, he returns, but when the iqaamah is proclaimed, he again turns and runs away. When it is finished, he returns to distract a man [praying], saying, ‘Remember such and such; remember such and such,’ referring to something the man did not have on his mind. As a result, he forgets how much he has prayed.”[57]

Suhayl reported that his father sent him to the Haarithah clan along with someone. On the way there, a voice from an enclosure called him by his name. When the person with him looked into the enclosure, he saw no one. Upon his return, he mentioned it to his father, who said, “Had I known that you would have met such a situation, I would never have sent you. But whenever you hear such a call, pronounce the adhaan, for I have heard Aboo Hurayrah say that he heard Allaah’s Messenger say, ‘Whenever the adhaan is given, Satan runs away vehemently.’[58]

It was also the practice of the Prophet to recite the adhaan in the ears of children at the time of their birth.

Aboo Raafi‘ said, “I saw Allaah’s Messenger () call the adhaan in the ear of [his grandson] al-Hasan ibn ‘Alee, when Faatimah gave birth to him.”[59] This was to neutralize or to reduce the effect of the devil’s influence on the newborn. According to Prophet Muhammad (), all newborn children are touched by the Devil. He was reported by Aboo Hurayrah to have said, “Satan pricks with his finger every newborn child of Aadam’s descendants. They all begin screaming from Satan’s jab, except Mary and her son [Jesus].”[60]

Prophetic Prayers

The Prophet () taught a number of prayers for a variety of occasions. Some cure illnesses caused by the jinn and others ward them off. The following are a selection of them:

‘Bismillaahi yubreeka wa min kulli daa’in yashfeeka wa min sharri haasidin idhaa hasad[61] wa sharri kulli dhee ‘ayn.” (“In the name of Allaah, may He make you well and may He cure you from every ill, from the evil of the jealous when they envy, and from the harm of the evil eye.”)[62]

“Bismillaahi arqeeka min kulli shay’in yu’dheeka, min sharri kulli nafsin aw ‘aynin haasidin. Allaahu yashfeeka. Bismillaahi arqeek.” (“In the name of Allaah I exorcise you from everything which harms you, from the evil of every soul or jealous eye. May Allaah cure you. In the name of Allaah I exorcise you.”)[63]

“A‘oodhu bi kalimaatillaahit-taammati min kulli shaytaanin wa haammatin wa min kulli ‘aynin laammah.” (“I seek refuge with the perfect words of Allaah from every devil, poisonous pest and every harmful evil eye.”)[64]

“Adh-hibil-ba’sa rabban-naasi washfi antash-shaafee laa shifaa’a illaa shifaa’uka shifaa’an laa yughaadiru saqamaa.” (“Remove the suffering, O Lord of mankind, and heal it perfectly –You are the true healer; there is no cure except Your cure – a cure which is not followed by sickness.”)[65]

“Whoever says, ‘Laa i1aaha illallaahu wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, lahul­mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa huwa ‘alaa kulli shay’in qadeer,’ (‘There is no god but Allaah, Who is alone without partner; the dominion and praise are His, and He is able to do all things,’) one hundred times per day will have a reward similar to freeing ten slaves, one hundred good deeds will be recorded for him, one hundred of his sins erased, and he will have a charm against Satan for the whole day until the night. No one can do better than that except one who does it more often.”[66]

“If one of you goes to his wife and says, ‘Allaahumma jannibnash-­shaytaana wa jannibish-shaytaana maa razaqta-naa,’ (‘O Allaah, keep Satan away from us and keep Satan away from what (offspring) You have bestowed upon us,’) and they have a child, Satan will not harm him or gain control over him.”[67]

“If a man enters his house and remembers Allaah while entering and while eating, Satan says [to his companions], ‘There is no place to pass the night and no dinner.’ But if he enters without remembering Allaah while entering, Satan says. ‘You have caught a place to pass the night.’ And if he does not mention Allaah’s name before eating, he says, ‘You have caught both a place for the night and dinner.’”[68]

Third Step: (b) Medicines

The Prophet () prescribed certain natural medicines for sicknesses associated with the jinn.

Dates

For protection against magic or for its treatment, the Prophet () recommended the eating of dates in the morning. Sa‘d quoted the Messenger of Allaah () as saying,

“Whoever takes seven [Madeenite][69] ‘ajwah[70] dates in the morning, neither magic nor poison will hurt him that day.”[71]

Truffles

The Prophet () was reported to have said.

“Truffles are a form of manna (mann) and their water is a cure for the eye.”[72]

Bath

In cases of suffering from the evil eye the Prophet () recommended taking a bath with water used by the source of the evil eye. Ibn ‘Abbaas quoted Allaah’s Messenger () as saying,

“The effect of the evil eye is real, for if there were anything which could overtake destiny, it would have been [the effect of] the evil eye. So if you are asked to take a bath [as a cure] for the evil eye, do it.”[73]

‘Aa’ishah also said that the Prophet () used to instruct the possessor of the evil eye to perform ablution (wudoo‘) and then for the one suffering to bathe from its water.[74]

Fourth Step: Beating

If the above-mentioned three steps fail to bring the desired results, the exorcist may then resort to striking the possessed individual in order to inflict pain on the possessing spirit and to elicit a response to commands, prayers or recitations. Ibn Taymeeyah spoke on this subject, saying,

Curing a possessed person and removal of the jinn may require that the afflicted individual be beaten several times. However, the blows fall upon the jinn and the possessed human does not feel them. When a demented person regains his senses after a beating, he often informs those present that he did not feel anything, and that they (i.e., the blows) did not have any effect on his body. Even when some are struck over three or four hundred times with severe blows on their feet, the effects of which would normally kill a man, only the jinn feel it. The jinn will scream and yell and inform those present about many things. We have ourselves experienced such cases in the presence of crowds on so many occasions that it would take a long time to describe them all.[75]

Ibn Taymeeyah’s student, Ibn al-Qayyim, described an exorcism performed by his mentor in which he struck the patient. He said,

Often the shaykh (i.e., Ibn Taymeeyah) would recite in the ear of the insane, “Afa hasibtum annamaa khalaqnaakum ‘abathan wa annakum ilaynaa laa turja‘oon.” (“Do you imagine that We created you in jest and that you will not return to Us?”)[76] He told me that on one occasion he read this verse in a madman’s ear and the possessing spirit replied in a drawn-out voice, “Ye-e-e-e-s.” So he took a stick and beat the man on the veins of his neck until Ibn Taymeeyah’s arm became fatigued from hitting him and those present were sure that that man was dead from the beating. During the beating the jinnee cried out, “I love him.” The shaykh said, “He does not love you.” It said, “I want to make hajj with him.” He replied, “He does not want to make hajj with you.” It said, “I will leave him in your honor.” He replied, “No, do so in obedience to Allaah and His Messenger.” It said, “Then I will leave him.” The madman sat up, looked left and right and said, “Why did I come to the honorable shaykh?”  Those present said to him, “What about all of the beating you have received?” he asked, “Why would the shaykh beat me when I have not committed any sin?” He was not at all aware that he had been beaten.[77]

The practice of beating was attributed to Prophet Muhammad () in a narration related by Umm Abaan from her father, al-Waazi‘, that her grandfather, az-Zaari‘ ibn ‘Aamir al-‘Abdee, went to Allaah’s Messenger () with his son (or nephew) who was insane. She reported that her grandfather said,

When we reached Allaah’s Messenger () I said, “I have a son [or nephew] with me who is insane. I have brought him to you so that you may pray to Allaah on his behalf.” He said, “Bring him to me.” So I went to get him from the group of riding animals [among which I had left him]. I took off his traveling clothes and dressed him in his good clothes. I then took him by the hand back to the Messenger of Allaah (). He said, “Bring him closer to me and turn his back to me.” He then grabbed the boy’s garment and began to beat him on the back so vigorously that I saw the whiteness of his (i.e., the Prophet’s) armpits. While doing so, he said, “Get out, enemy of Allaah! Enemy of Allaah, get out!” The boy then began to gaze in a healthy manner quite different from his earlier gaze. Allaah’s Messenger () then sat him down directly in front of him, called for some water for him and wiped his face. Then he prayed for him. After the Messenger of Allaah had prayed for him, there was no one in the delegation better than him.”[78]

This narration is weak, however there is an authentic narration in this regard collected by Ibn Maajah:

“When the Messenger of Allaah appointed me as governor of at-Taa’if, something began to appear to me in my salaah so that I wouldn’t know how many rak‘aahs I had prayed. When I noticed that, I traveled to the Messenger of Allaah (). He said, ‘Ibn Abee al-‘Aas?’ I said ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allaah.’ He said, ‘What brings you here?’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, something appears to me in my salaah, so that I don’t know how many rak‘aahs I have prayed.’ He said, ‘Come close.’ So I came close to him and sat on the soles of my feet. He struck my chest with his hand, blew into my mouth and said, ‘Get out, Enemy of Allaah!’ He did that three times, then said, ‘Resume your duty.’ After that, I swear I was never confused [in my salaah].”[79]

 

Notes:

[1] Encyclopedia of Religion, p. 268.                            

[2] Arabic-English Lexicon, vol. 1, p. 1140.

[3] Lisaan al-‘Arab, vol. 2, p. 923.

[4] Arabic-English Lexicon, vol.2, p. 2192.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., pp. 2793-2794.

[7] Dictionary of Islam, p. 72.

[8] See, for example, Ahmad Sa‘id Dehlvi, Prophetic Medical Sciences (The Saviour), Ganjeena-e-Asrar, p. 36. “VEIN-SEALING: (1) In case somebody has sealed the vein of somebody through some [magical] trick, etc., due to which he is unable to perform sexual intercourse, write on a sword the formula given below and cut an egg of a black hen right from the middle to turn it into two pieces. One piece [should] be eaten by himself and one by the woman. Allâh-willing, due to the blessings of this formula, the vein will get released. It is very well-tried. Bksm la la wm ma ma la la la hhh.”

[9] Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1197, no. 5457.

[10] See, for example, the quotations from Jawaahir al-Khamsah by Aboo al-Mu’ayyid of Gujarat (d. 956 A.H.) in the Dictionary of Islam, pp. 72-78.

[11] Although scholars have differed with regard to treating illnesses with prohibited substances, the authentic evidence supports the position of those who disallow it under circumstances where neither life nor limb are threatened. For example:

Waa’il al-Hadramee reported that Taariq ibn Suwayd at-Ju‘fee questioned Allaah’s Messenger () about wine. The Prophet () forbade its use and expressed hatred that it should be prepared. Taariq remarked, “But I prepare it as medicine.” He replied, “It is not a medicine but an ailment.” (Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1099, no. 4892.) In another narration Aboo ad-Dardaa’ quoted the Prophet () as saying,

“Allaah has sent down both disease and cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease, so treat yourselves with medicine, but do not use anything prohibited.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 3, p. 1087, no. 3865.) On the subject of using wine as a medicine, the Prophet’s companion, Ibn Mas‘ood, said,

“Allaah has not made a cure for your sickness in what He has prohibited.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 7, p. 357, no. 15.)

[12] Ibn Taymeeyah’s Essay on the Jinn, 93‑95

[13] Fat-h al-Baaree, vol. 10, p. 195.

[14] Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1197, no. 5456.

[15] Sahih Muslim. vol. 3, p. 1197, no. 5457.

[16] Fat-h al-Baaree, vol. 10, p. 195.

[17] Dictionary of Islam, p. 73.

[18] Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 8, p. 156, no. 241 and Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1139, no. 5129.

[19] Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1366, no. 6250.

[20] Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1197, no. 5456. The quotation is from Ibn Taymeeyah’s Essay on the Jinn, pp. 60-62.

[21] This hadeeth was narrated by ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar in Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 3, p. 373, no. 622 and by Saalim in Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1366, no. 6250.

[22] Ibn Taymeeyah’s Essay on the Jinn, pp. 80-81.

[23] Zaad al-Ma‘aad, p. 69.

[24] Chapter numbers 113 and 114.

[25] Ibn Taymeeyah’s Essay on the Jinn, pp. 69-72.

[26] Zaad al-Ma‘aad, vol. 3, p. 104, See also at-Tibb an-Nabawee, p. 124. 

[27] What appears in brackets was mentioned in al-Bukhaaree’s narration on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah. See Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 7, pp. 443-444, no. 660.

[28] The report of Zayd ibn Arqam was collected by Ahmad and an-Nasaa’ee and authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan an-Nasaa’ee, vol. 3, pp. 855-6, no. 3802, but neither version mentions the recital of the mu‘awwadhataan. Mention of the mu‘awaadhataan in relation to this incident comes in versions reported by al-Bayhaqee in Dalaa’il an-Nubuwwah, vol. 7, p. 92, and by ‘Abd ibn Humayd in his Musnad.

[29] A preparation made from sheep or goat’s milk which has been churned and the butter removed, then cooked and left to dry until it becomes hard like stone. It is used in cooking. See Arabic-English Lexicon, vol. 1, p. 70.

[30] Collected by Ahmad and rated authentic by al-Arnaa’oot in his edition of Zaad al­ Ma‘aad. vol. 4, p. 68, ftn. 1.

[31] Ibn Taymeeyah’s Essay on the Jinn, p. 32-33.

[32] Majmoo‘ al-Fataawaa, vol. 19, p. 42. The hadeeth can be found in Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1213, no. 5557.

[33] Prophet Sulaymaan (Soloman) asked Allaah for a unique miracle to be granted only to him. Consequently, Allaah gave him control over the animals, the jinn and many forces of nature. See Qur’aan, 38:36-38.

[34] Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, pp. 273-274, no. 1106.

[35] Ibn Taymeeyah’s Essay on the Jinn, pp. 64-65.

[36] The first chapter of the Qur’aan.

[37] Collected by Aboo Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 3, p. 1093, no. 3892) and authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Abee Daawood, vol. 2, p. 737, no. 3297.

[38] Another name for the first chapter of the Qur’aan.

[39] Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 6, p. 490, no. 529 and Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1198, no. 5460.

[40] Qur’aan, 2:255. Aayah al-Kursee literally means “Verse of the Footstool.” Prophet Muhammad (S) declared it to be the greatest verse of the Qur’aan relative to man.

Ubayy ibn Ka‘b said, “Allaah’s Messenger () asked me, ‘O Abdul-Mundhir, do you know which verse of Allaah’s Book is the greatest relative to you?’ I replied, ‘Allaah, there is no god but He. the Living, the Eternal.’ Thereupon he patted my chest and said, ‘May knowledge always be pleasant for you, O Abdul-Mundhir!’ ” (Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, p. 387, no. 1768.) The full text of the verse is as follows:

“Allaah, there is no god but He, the Living, the Eternal. Neither drowsiness nor sleep overtakes Him. All that is in the heavens and earth belong to Him. Who can intercede [on behalf of others] to Him except by His permission? He knows what is in front of them and what is behind them. They will not grasp any of His knowledge, except what He wills. His footstool extends over the heavens and earth, and He is not made tired by governing them (i.e., the heavens and earth). He is Transcendent, the Magnificent.”

[41] Compulsory charity given in the form of foodstuff at the end of the annual month of fasting, Ramadaan, and distributed among the poorest members of society.

[42] Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 9, p. 492, no. 530.

[43] Majmoo‘ al-Fataawaa, vol. 19, p. 55.

[44] The Qur’aan may not be recited in graveyards. Thus, a home in which the Qur’aan is not read resembles a graveyard in that respect.

[45] Collected by at-Tirmidhee and Muslim (Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, p. 337, no. 1707).

[46] Collected by at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Hibbaan and authenticated by at-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhee, vol. 3, p. 4, no. 2311.

[47] This is the verbal noun meaning: to say the phrase, “Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem” (“In the Name of Allaah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful”) See Arabic-English Lexicon, vol. 1, p. 206.

[48] Collected by Aboo Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud, vo. 3, p. 1387, no. 4964), an-Nasaa’ee and Ahmad and authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh al-Jaami‘ as-Sagheer, vol. 2, p. 1234, no. 7401.

[49] Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, pp. 1198-1199.

[50] To seek refuge in Allaah.

[51] Narrated by Sulaymaan ibn Sard and collected by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim (Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1377, no. 6317).

[52] Collected by Aboo Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 1, p. 196, no. 763) and authenticated by al-Albaanee in Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel, no. 342.

[53] These include versions reported by ‘Aa’ishah, Ibn ‘Abbaas, Zayd ibn Arqam and Zayd ibn Aslam and collected by ‘Abd ibn Humayd, al-Bayhaqee in Dalaa’il an-Nuboowah and Ibn Mardawayh. See ad-Durr al-Manthoor, vol. 6, pp. 716-7, and Fat-h al-Baaree, vol. 10, pp. 236, 241.

[54] The Arabic term used here is nafath, which refers to the act of blowing with a spitting sound produced by placing the tip of the tongue between the lips prior to blowing. The actual term for blowing is nafakh and for light spitting is tafal. See Arabic-English Lexicon, vol. 2, p. 2819.

[55] Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1195, no. 5439.

[56] The adhaan is the general call to prayer recited at the beginning of the period for each prayer, and the iqaamah is the prayer call proclaimed when the congregational prayer is about to begin.

[57] Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 336, no. 587 and Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, p. 211, no. 756.

[58] Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, p. 211, no. 755.

[59] Collected by Aboo Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 3, p. 1415, no. 5086) and at­-Tirmidhee and authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhee, vol. 2, p. 93, no. 1224.

[60] Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 324, no. 506.

[61] The phrase, “wa min sharri haasidin idhaa hasad,” is the last verse of the 113th chapter, the first of the two chapters known is the mu‘awwidhataan.

[62] The Prophet’s wife, ‘Aa’ishah. reported that Angel Gabriel used to exorcise the Prophet () with these words whenever he complained of illness. Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1192, no. 124.

[63] Aboo Sa‘eed reported that Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet () and asked him, “Muhammad, have you fallen ill?” He replied, “Yes,” and Gabriel said the above­mentioned prayer. Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1192, no. 5425.

[64] Ibn ‘Abbaas reported that the Prophet () used to seek refuge with Allaah for his grandsons, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, saying, “Your forefather. (i.e., Abraham), used to seek refuge in Allaah for Ishmael and Isaac by reciting, ‘A‘oodhu bi kalimaatillaahi…,’”  Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 4, pp. 385-386, no. 590.

[65] ‘Aa’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (), reported that whenever someone among them fell ill, Allaah’s Messenger () used to wipe him with his right hand and then say the aforementioned prayer. Sahih Muslim, vol. 4. p. 1194, no. 5432.

[66] Narrated by Aboo Hurayrah and collected by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim (Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1415, no. 6508).

[67] Reported by Ibn ‘Abbaas and collected by al-Bukhaaree (Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 105, no. 143 and vol. 7, p. 74, no. 94) and Muslim.

[68] Narrated by Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah and collected by Muslim, Aboo Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 3, p. 1063, no. 3756) and Ibn Maajah.

[69] What appears in the brackets was mentioned in Muslim’s narration. See Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1129, no. 5080.

[70] The best kind of Madeenite dates coming from the Leenah palm-tree. (Arabic-English Lexicon, vol. 2, pp. 1968-1969).

[71] Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 7, p. 446, no. 664 and Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1129, no. 5081.

[72] Reported by Sa‘eed ibn Zayd in Sahih Al-Bukhari. vol. 7, p. 409, no. 609.

[73] Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1192, no. 5427.

[74] Collected by Aboo Daawood (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 3, p. 1088, no. 3871) and authenticated by al-Arnaa‘oot in at-Tibb an-Nabawee, p. 163), ftn. 1.

[75] Ibn Taymeeyah’s Essay on the Jinn, p. 93.

[76] Qur’aan, 23:115.

[77] Zaad al-Ma‘aad, vol. 4, pp. 67-69.

[78] Collected by al-Tabaraanee (al-Mu‘jam al-Kabeer, vol. 5, pp. 275-6) and Aboo Daawood at-Tayaalasee.

[79] Collected by Ibn Maajah and authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah, vol. 2, p. 273, no. 2858.

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