Use of Taweez, Ruqyah and Suras.

Q. In an excerp of a sura given, it was stated that it would aid someone with sleep as the person was having problems sleeping at nights and thought that maybe he/she was being troubled by Jinns. The advice was given to have this placed at the head of the bed where the person sleeped. Such excerp was also advised to be placed by a baby/new born in order to help the child sleep and not be disturbed by any evil Jinns.

My question is wouldn’t it be better to learn the sura/aya and recite together with dua? Would not this be a better practise and effort? This practice reminded me of the format the catholics used in terms of some prayers or novenas, such that a card with a certain pray or excerp from the bible would be written and placed in a similar fashion, claiming it would protect the individual from any harm and/or evil. My limited knowledge has me thinking that emaan, taqwah, dua and a pious life would be the best alternative. Is there any evidence in terms of sunnah of the noble prophet (uwbp) to justify this practice of usage of the quranic aya/sura in the manner it was prescribed?

I once visited a family member of ours and noticed an item pinned onto her child’s clothing. When I asked about it, it was stated that it was a sura/aya that was placed there as she claimed her child was being bothered by Jinns and this would help repel. Again this practice reminded me of the hindu faith whereby “guards” would be made by the hindu pundit and placed onto a child/individual sealed in a special locket and pinned in a similar fashion or worn as a pendant. Usually these “guards” or lockets would contain various writings in hindi that the pundit would do and seal. Is there any evidence in Islam to back up this practice?

I was reading a book recently printed in Pakistan by an Alim (Maulana Muhummad Ashraf Ali Thanwi), the name of this book being: “A GIFT TO THE HUSBAND AND WIFE”. Many excerps stated the use of suras/ayas of the holy quran and placed upon various parts of the human body written on a piece of paper; one such is the placing of a quranic aya written on a piece of paper (Sura: Ra’d aya: 8) and placed under the naval of a pregnant woman can aid in preventing a miscarriage. If the woman isn’t pregnant then this can assist in getting her fertile to become pregnant. Again what evidence is there to back up such claims?

My new born son used to suffer with a lot of acid reflux, this was due to the fact that he was born of a c-section and didn’t go through the trauma of natural child birth thereby squeezing out the various fluids from within him. A muslim brother once told me to recite sura fatiha 7 times over his milk and give him to drink. I found this odd as I never came across or heard of any sunnah of the noble prophet (uwbp) stating this practice nor practises of the pious companions. Please advise if this is authentic and the evidence to back up such claims?

A. The following are some guidelines regarding the use of Taweez and Suras for protection which have been given by the sound and reliable Scholars. These can be used as general guidelines to know that which is permissible or prohibited on this matter.

1) With respect to the act of reciting verses of the Holy Quran and dua’s upon oneself and others for the removal of harms/protection from jinns and satans, this is permissible as it is evident in many authentic narrations.

2) With respect to the act of writing verses or duas on a piece of paper, which will then be placed on a person, this falls under the rule of wearing an amulet. Regarding this, the great scholar Shaikh Abdur Rahman Ibn Hasan Ash Shaikh has written the following in his famous work Fathul Majeed Sharh kitaab At Tauheed, ‘One should know that the men of knowledge from among the companions and their followers and those who came after them have disputed over the legality of wearing necklaces of amulets that contain verses of the Glorious Quran, or Allah’s names or Attributes. Some of them declared it to be legal, foremost among whom was Abdullah ibn Amr bin As and Abu Jafar Al Baqir. A second party declared it to be illegal, foremost among whom were Abdullah bin Masood, Abdullah bin Abbas, Huzaifah ibn Yaman and Uqba bin Amir.

This statement has also been recorded by many scholars and as a result some scholars from the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah have allowed the usage of Taweez, on the condition that it does not contain any words of shirk or kufr. Those who allow this have allowed it with the same conditions that make Ruqyah (incantation) permissible. (Ruqyah is the act of reciting verses of the Holy Quran/Allah’s names and attributes or surahs as a means of curing a sickness/disease or removing harm. It is a kind of treatment where, after reciting, a person blows his breath over a sick person or a part of his body. This is lawful according to the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah since it is evident from the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). Regarding this, the great scholar Imam Suyooti has stated, ‘Scholars agreed that for a Ruqyah (incantation) to be legal, it must meet three conditions, which are:-

(1) A Ruqyah must be practiced with Allah’s words, Names or Attributes.
(2) A Ruqyah must be said in Arabic.
(3) There must be belief that a Ruqyah can do nothing to man by itself, but it is dependent on the Divine Decree. (Fathul Majeed Sharh Kitabut Tawheed). The same has been written by Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani in his famous book, Al Fathul Baari vol. 1 pg 195.

It is also narrated that Auf Ibn Malik (RA) said, ‘We practiced Ruqyah (incantation) in the Pre Islamic days and we said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! What is your opinion about it? He (Prophet) said, let me know your incantation and said, ‘There is no harm in the Ruqyah (incantation) which does not have shirk (polytheism). (Sahih Muslim).

Jabir Ibn Abdullah (RA) reported, ’Allah’s Messenger prohibited Ruqyah (incantation). Then the people of Amr Ibn Hazm came to Allah’s Messenger and said, ‘We know an incantation, which we use for curing the sting of the scorpion but you have prohibited it. They recited (the words of the incantation) before him, whereupon he (the Prophet) said, ‘I do not see any harm (in it), so he who among you is competent to do good to his brother should do that‘. (Sahih Muslim)

Based on the allowance which has been given for Ruqyah (incantation) as seen above, many scholars have stated that the same ruling would be applied for the act of writing verses of the Holy Quran/Allah’s names and attributes and duas on a piece of paper (or other material) when these are within the same conditions made for Ruqyah as mentioned before.

They have also stated that Taweez written in this manner and used by people with the correct beliefs do not fall under the prohibited amulets which are recorded in some traditions. As for those that are prohibited, it is because of the wrong beliefs and Shirk that they are based upon.

With respect to the statement which you have made that ‘Imaan, taqwa, dua and a pious life would be the best alternative’, this is true and it is the best way to safeguard oneself from the evils that are widespread. While this is absolutely true and correct, not many Muslims may fall in this category. Along with this, there may be many Muslims who may be pious and righteous but yet, they are affected by the satans and jinns via the means of witchcraft (which was done to them) or other harms. In all these cases, the shariah has allowed the use of Ruqyah, as long as it does not bring about wrong belief and does not contain shirk. In a similar manner, many scholars have seen that it is equally beneficial to write verses of the Quran/Surahs etc. and place it on the individual who is affected.

With respect to the issues that certain practices may resemble those of other religions, this should not be used as a criterion to determine what can be accepted and what cannot be accepted in Islam. The only criterion is that of the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) as they were explained and expounded by the Sahabah and those after them from among the pious predecessors.

Whatever has been established and are evident from the authentic sources, these would be accepted as the true and accepted teachings in Islam without looking at what others have in their religion.

If we use this as a criterion then there are other issues that people may falsely accuse us of. For example, once a Hindu person wrote that Muslims are following them by going around the Kaaba seven times (since it is part of their rituals to move around a certain object seven times). The person also said that the Muslims were following them by having a stone in the Kaaba, (since they also had a stone which they revere). Christians and Jews also claim that we follow them in certain practices. And the list goes on.

Although we know very well that we are not following anything except the teachings which Allah has given to us, yet, people may continue to make these accusations. As such, our attention should be on what is established as part of our religion, instead of looking to see what others are doing. If it is a clear issue of a thing not endorsed/sanctioned in Islam, and it is a matter of solely following the practice of others, then certainly such actions would be deemed as unIslamic.

With respect to the act of reciting Sura Fatiha as a means of bringing ease to a sickness, then this is evident from the Sunnah. In this regard, Abu Sa’ied Al Khudri has narrated, ‘A group of companions of the Prophet (SAW) went on a trip and stopped by an Arab tribe whom they asked to accommodate them but the people of that tribe refused. It so happened that the chief of that tribe was stung. His people tried their best to heal him, but were unable to do so. They said to each other, ‘would that we seek help from those travelers, they may have something’. They came to them and said, ‘O people our chief is stung, and we tried our best to heal him to no avail. Can you do something about it? One of the companions said, ‘Certainly, By Allah I use incantations. But you refused to accommodate us when we asked you. I will not recite any incantations for him unless you promise us a reward’. They agreed to give them a herd of sheep. The man went to the chief and recited Surah Faatiha and applied his saliva on the spot. The chief recovered and began walking as if nothing happened to him’. Abu Sa’eed said they give the reward which they promised them. Some of the companions suggested that they should divide the sheep. But the person doing the incantation said, ‘Do not do that until we go to the Messenger of Allah and report to him what had happened, and see what he will order us to do’.

When they came to the Messenger of Allah, he asked the companion who did the Ruqya, ‘How did you know that Surah Faatiha could be used for incantations? You did the right thing. Divide the sheep among yourselves, and give me a share. (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood and Tirmizi).

From this Hadith, it is well established that Sura Faatiha has a curing effect in it which can be recited upon a sick person. The Prophet (SAW) also endorsed the act of the companion who placed his saliva on the spot where the chief was stung. The hadith also shows the great curing effect of Sura Faatiha. In fact, in the Ahadith it is called Sura Ash Shifa (the Sura of Cures) (Ma’ariful Quran vol. 1 pg 54). Hence, due to the fact that it can produce cures, it is permissible to recite upon a person or upon a drink. In another tradition, Aisha (RA) reported that when any person fell ill with a disease or he had any ailment or he had any injury, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) placed his forefingers upon the ground and then lifted it by reciting the name of Allah, and he said, ‘The dirt of our ground with the saliva of one of us would serve as a means whereby our illness would be cured with the permission of Allah. (Sahih Muslim)

Here, we see that although the Messenger of Allah could have sufficed with the mere recitation of a dua, he proceeded to take the dust/dirt of the ground upon which he applied his saliva and placed it upon the person who needed cure. This goes to show that there is a reason and wisdom for doing this. Hence, there are many such actions which have been narrated from the great scholars of the past that are connected to the issue of curing the sick etc. and are all accepted in Islam. The great Scholars of the past from among the pious predecessors and those after them have found many benefits from certain permissible acts and have thus informed others of it so that they may also benefit from those cures.

In this regard, Hafiz Ibn Al Qayyim has mentioned that it is permissible for one to write verses and duas with saffron in a clean plate, or clean paper, then it should be washed for the patient to drink the washing. (Zaadul-Ma’ad).

Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz, while referring to this says ‘there is no harm in that’ (Fatawa Islamiyah vol.1 pg. 50)

It is therefore evident that many scholars of the past have prescribed certain practices that fall within the general allowance of the shariah. These, according to their experiences, have proved to be effective and are not within any sort of prohibition in the shariah.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan