Superstition in Islam.

Q. Can you shed some light on Superstition in Islam. What are the laws concerning them, e.g. Babies wearing Black Bead bracelets for “maljoe”, Tikka for Babies, Breaking Mirrors = 7 Years Bad Luck, etc. Can you reference specific Qur’an and Hadith?

A. Islam has no place for superstition since it is directly connected to beliefs based on ignorance, shirk and magic. Babies wearing Black Beads for ‘maljoe’ etc. has no connection to one’s belief in Allah, and is totally opposing to the teachings of the Prophet (S.A). This practice causes one to place his trust on the ‘black beads’, believing firmly that it would help by protecting the baby from maljoe. Thus, the belief that Allah alone is the protector and helper is removed from the heart of a person, and he begins to join partners with Allah in believing that along with Allah, other things can become protectors and helpers. This practice therefore, is nothing but shirk in its real form, and Muslims are commanded to refrain from all such practices.

Regarding the removal of harm, the Holy Quran establishes firmly that Allah alone can remove the harm which has touched someone. In a similar manner, He alone can bring about any good which comes to a person. In this respect, the Holy Quran states, ‘And if Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but Him, and if He touches you with good, then He is able to do all things’. (Sura Al An’am (6) verse 17).

This verse makes it abundantly clear that if a baby is afflicted with some harm, then it means that it came from Allah, and if it has to be removed, only Allah alone can remove it, not the black beads, tikka etc.

In Sura Az Zumar verse 38, another beautiful passage is given which reads:

And verily, if you ask them: “Who created the heavens and the earth?” Surely, they will say: “Allah (has created them).” Say: “Tell me then, the things that you invoke besides Allah, if Allah intended some harm for me, could they remove His harm, or if He (Allah) intended some mercy for me, could they withhold His Mercy?” Say: “Sufficient for me is God; in Him those who trust (i.e. believers) must put their trust.”

With respect to the traditions, we find that the Prophet (S.A) has also spoken against wearing such beads, shells, threads etc, which are normally worn to ward off evil.

In one tradition narrated by Imran bin Husain (R.A), it is stated that once the Messenger of Allah (S.A) saw a man holding an amulet. He asked, ‘What is this?’ The man said, ‘This is an amulet I hold because I feel some kind of weakness’. Upon this, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Take it off for it will not increase you but weakness, and if you die while wearing it, you will never prosper in the Hereafter’. (Narrated by Imam Ahmad)

In another tradition, Uqba bin Amir narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A) said, ‘Whoever wears an amulet, Allah the Almighty will not grant him success, and whoever wears a cowrie shell, Allah the Almighty will not grant him prosperity or calmness. (Ahmad, Ibn Hibban). Another narration states that, ‘Whoever wears an amulet, he becomes a polytheist. (Ahmad, Hakim)

While commenting on these traditions, the scholars have stated that the words ‘whoever wears an amulet’ means those who wear it being attached to it, seeking good and trying to evade evil. That is, they believe that the amulet, charm, luck, beads will bring good to them or will protect them from harm.

Al Mundhiri states, ‘The people used to wear a bead to defy evil. They placed their trust and reliance on it and thus deviated from the right path, as none can defy evil or bring good except Allah the Almighty’.

Based on these explanations, it can be seen that babies wearing black beads for ‘maljoe’, tikka, breaking mirrors etc. are all opposing to the teachings of Islam and must be avoided.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan