Practicing superstitious beliefs.

Q. I have seen muslims in the UK who when during conversation say “fingers crossed” and also “touch wood”. Sometimes they go as far as doing the said action (i.e. crossing fingers and even touching wood). I personally feel this is a terrible thing to do, but am not sure on the Islamic ruling on this sayings and actions. If a Muslim says and does the actions which I have mentioned, are they still Muslim (i.e. is this an act of shirk?) or is it a haraam action?

A. These practices like crossing one’s fingers etc. are normally connected to superstitious beliefs and will be haram when done with these beliefs. In fact, if a Muslim has placed his belief on that which is connected to these actions, it may lead him to shirk. As for one who may do these practices because of a habit or a norm among people, then it will not lead to shirk or be haram. However, it will certainly be reprehensible (Makrooh), since it is connected to that which is wrong in Islam.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan