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    WorldOfIslam.info | Correct ruling on one who practices magic or witchcraft

    Correct ruling on one who practices magic or witchcraft

    Praise be to Allaah.

    Magic in all its forms in haraam according to all divinely-revealed laws, and there is scholarly consensus that magic and learning magic are haraam. 

    Magic goes against that which the Messengers brought and it opposes the purpose for which the Books were revealed. 

    Most of the scholars were of the view that the one who practices magic is a kaafir whom the authorities are obliged to execute. 

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

    “Sulaymaan did not disbelieve, but the Shayaateen (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic…” [al-Baqarah 2:102] 

    “but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, ‘We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us)’” [al-Baqarah 2:102] 

    This proves that that magic is kufr 

    Most of the Shaafa’i fuqahaa’ were of the view that the one who practices magic is not a kaafir unless he believes that magic is permitted or he believes something like the people of Babylon believed, that practicing magic would bring them closer to the seven stars [which they used to worship].

    This is subject to further debate; there is no evidence to suggest that (describing the one who practices magic as a kaafir) is conditional upon his believing that to be permissible. 

    The correct view is that the one who practices magic is a kaafir, whether he believes it to be haraam or not. Simply doing magic is kufr. This is the apparent meaning of the evidence, and there are no other texts to contradict this. 

    Once it is proven that a person is guilty of practicing magic, then he must be killed. This was proven from a group of the Sahaabah, but it is not for individuals to carry out this hadd punishment without the command of the ruler or his deputy, because carrying out the hadd punishments without the authority of the ruler may lead to mischief, and destroy any sense of security in the society, and undermine the position of the ruler. 

    Shaykh Sulaymaan al-‘Alwaan

     

    When is a practitioner of magic a kaafir?

    Praise be to Allaah.

    The practitioner of magic is the person who uses the shayaateen (devils) and gets close to the jinn by doing the things they like – such as sacrificing to them instead of to Allaah, calling upon them alongside Allaah, obeying them by disobeying Allaah by committing zinaa, drinking wine, eating haraam things, neglecting prayer, covering himself with najaasaat (impure things) and staying in dirty places – until the shayaateen respond to what he asks them, with a gentle and kind approach, to do, such as harming the people against whom he uses his magic, causing division between a man and his wife, telling him some unseen things, and telling him about stolen items and where lost things are. Such a person is a mushrik and a kaafir, because he worships both Allaah and the Shaytaan, which is major shirk (al-shirk al-akbar). So he is a kaafir, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning);

    “Sulaymaan did not disbelieve, but the Shayaateen (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic” [al-Baqarah 2:102]

    “but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, ‘We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).’” [al-Baqarah 2:102]

    It was also commanded that the practitioner of magic should be executed, because of the hadeeth: “The hadd (prescribed punishment) for the practitioner of magic is a blow with the sword (i.e., execution).”

    (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1460; al-Daaraqutni, 3/114; al-Haakim, 4/360; al-Bayhaqi, 8/136; see al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah, 3/641, no. 1446)

    On this basis, he is a kaafir even if he prays, fasts, reads Qur’aan and makes du’aa’, because shirk cancels out all good deeds. And Allaah knows best.


    Al-Lu’lu al-Makeen min Fataawa Ibn Jibreen, p. 11.

     

    Will the repentance of a witch be accepted?

    Praise be to Allaah.

    Learning witchcraft and practising it constitute kufr. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

    “They followed what the Shayaateen (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaymaan (Solomon). Sulaymaan did not disbelieve, but the Shayaateen (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Haaroot and Maaroot, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, ‘We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).’” [al-Baqarah 2:102] 

    A practitioner of witchcraft may do something that makes him an apostate, so he commits kufr and should be executed for his apostasy. Or he may practise witchcraft by doing something that does not constitute kufr. In that case there is a difference of scholarly opinion, but the correct view is that he should also be executed if it is proven that he is a practitioner of witchcraft. This is what the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) did and enjoined other to do. If he is executed, he should not be washed or shrouded or buried in the Muslim graveyard. 

    There should be no hesitation in executing the practitioner of witchcraft, whether we say that he is a kaafir or not, because this is what is proven from the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Executing him prevents the spread of evil and serves as a deterrent to his fellow practitioners of witchcraft. 

    If a practitioner of witchcraft repents sincerely to Allaah, then Allaah will accept his repentance. This is between him and his Lord, before the matter reaches the courts. But if the matter reaches the Islamic court, then the qaadi should execute him without asking him to repent, so as to rid society of his evil. But it is not permissible for any individual to carry out the hadd punishment by himself, rather the matter must be referred to the authorities. 

    There follow some fatwas of the scholars on this matter: 

    1 – Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

    If a practitioner of witchcraft repents sincerely to Allaah, that will benefit him before Allaah, for Allaah accepts repentance from the mushrikeen and others, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

    “And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins” [al-Shoora 42:25] 

    “And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [al-Noor 24:31] 

    But in this world it is not accepted. The correct view is that he is to be executed. If it is proven to the court that he is a practitioner of witchcraft, then he should be executed, even if he says, “I have repented.” His repentance between him and Allaah is valid, if he is sincere, and that will benefit him before Allaah, but according to the Islamic ruling he is to be executed, just as ‘Umar executed the practitioners of witchcraft, because their evil is great. They may say, “We have repented,” but they may be lying, and the people will be harmed and may not be safe from their evil because of the repentance that they show. So they should be executed, and their repentance will benefit them before Allaah if they are sincere. End quote. 

    Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 8/111 

    2 – The Shaykh (may Allaah have mercy on him) also said:

    The correct view according to the scholars is that the practitioner of witchcraft should be executed without being asked to repent, because of the seriousness of their evil. Some scholars are of the view that they should be asked to repent, and that they are like any other kaafirs who should be asked to repent. But the correct scholarly view is that they should not be asked to repent because their evil is so great, and because they conceal their evil and their kufr; they may claim to have repented but they are lying, and may cause a great deal of harm to people as a result. Hence the scholars were of the view that the one who is known and proven to be a practitioner of witchcraft should be executed even if he claims that he has repented and that he regrets what he has done; he should not be believed. 

    Hence it is narrated that ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) wrote to the commanders of the troops telling them to execute every practitioner of witchcraft they found, so as to guard against their evil. Abu ‘Uthmaan al-Nahdi said: “We executed three practitioners of witchcraft.” This is how it was narrated in Saheeh al-Bukhaari from Bajaalah ibn ‘Abdah. [It was also narrated by Abu Dawood with a saheeh isnaad, and the original report is in al-Bukhaari]. 

    And it is narrated in a saheeh report that Hafsah executed a slave woman of hers because she found out that she was engaging in witchcraft. And when the great Sahaabi Jundub ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) saw a practitioner of witchcraft playing with his head – making the people think that he was cutting off his head and putting it back – he approached him without him realizing and killed him, and said: “Now put your head back if you are telling the truth!” 

    Conclusion: the evil of the practitioners of witchcraft is great, hence it is obligatory to execute them. If the authorities know that they are practitioners of witchcraft, and that is proven with shar’i evidence, then they have to execute them, so as to protect society from their evil and corruption. End quote. 

    3 –The Shaykh also said (8/111):

    If he is executed, the funeral prayer should not be offered for him, and he should not be buried in the graveyard of the Muslims; he should be buried in the graveyard of the kaafirs. He should not be buried in the graveyard of the Muslims, the funeral prayer should not be offered for him, and he should not be washed or shrouded. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound. 

    4 – He also said:

    The ruling on the practitioner of witchcraft who is known to make people imagine things, or whose actions result in harm for people, such as causing people to see things that are not there, making a man beloved to his wife or a wife beloved to her husband, or the opposite, which causes harm to people, if that is proven by means of evidence in the Islamic court, then this practitioner of witchcraft must be executed and his repentance should not be accepted even if he repents. 

    We have quoted above the report narrated from ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), who ordered his commanders to kill the practitioners of witxhcraft so as to prevent their mischief on earth and to stop them disturbing the Muslims and causing harm to people. As soon as they are found out, then it is obligatory for the Muslim leaders to execute them even if they say “We have repented”, because there is no guarantee. If they are sincere in their repentance, that will benefit them before Allaah, because of the general meaning of the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

    “And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins, and He knows what you do” [al-Shoora 42:25]

    If a person comes to the authorities without having been found out and tells them that he has repented, and that in the past he used to do such and such, but he has repented to Allaah and he seems outwardly to be good, then his repentance should be accepted, because he has come voluntarily, seeking goodness and announcing his repentance without having been found out and without anyone making any claims against him. So if he comes in a manner that does not suggest any kind of trickery, then his repentance should be accepted, because he has come repenting and expressing regret, like any other kaafir who may have a bad past, then Allaah blesses him by enabling him to repent without being forced do that by anyone and without anyone making any claims against him. End quote.

    Majmoo Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (8/81, 82)

    5 – The scholars of the Standing Committee said:

    If the practitioner of witchcraft does any act of kufr in his magic, then he is to be executed as a hadd punishment for his kufr. If it is proven that he killed by means of his magic someone whose life is protected by sharee’ah, then he should be executed as a qasaas punishment. If he did not do any act of kufr or kill anyone by means of his magic, then there is a difference of scholarly opinion with regard to executing him for his witchcraft. But the correct view is that he should be executed as a hadd punishment for his apostasy. This is the view of Abu Haneefah, Maalik and Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on them), because his magic ipso facto means that he is a kaafir, because the verse (interpretation of the meaning):

    “They followed what the Shayaateen (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaymaan (Solomon). Sulaymaan did not disbelieve, but the Shayaateen (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic” [al-Baqarah 2:102] 

    indicates that all practitioners of witchcraft are kaafirs. And it is proven in Saheeh al-Bukhaari that Bajaalah ibn ‘Abdah said: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) wrote saying: Execute every practitioner of witchcraft, male or female, and we executed three practitioners of witchcraft. And it was narrated that Hafsah, the Mother of the Believers (may Allaah be pleased with her) ordered that a slave girl of hers who had put a spell on her be executed, and she was executed. Narrated by Maalik in al-Muwatta’. And it is proven that Jundub said: The punishment for the practitioner of witchcraft is a blow with the sword. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi who said: the correct view is that it is mawqoof.

    Based on this, the ruling on the practitioner of witchcraft asked about in the question is that he should be executed according to the correct scholarly view. The one whose job it is to confirm that witchcraft has taken place and to carry out the punishment is the ruler who is charge of the Muslims’ affairs, so as to ward off mischief and close the door to chaos. End quote.

    Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah, 1/551-553

    6 Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said:

    Is this execution a hadd punishment or killing him because of his kufr?

    Both are possible, based on the details about the kufr of the practitioner of witchcraft that we have discussed above. But based on the above discussion we say: if a person’s witchcraft constitutes kufr, then his execution is that of an apostate, but if his witchcraft does not constitute kufr, then it comes under the heading of protection against serious harm, and it must be implemented as the ruler sees fit.

     

    Conclusion:

    Practitioners of witchcraft must be executed, whether or not we say that it is because of their kufr, because they make people sick and may even kill them, they cause separation between husband and wife, and vice versa, and they may bring about reconciliation between enemies and thus attain their goals. One of them may bewitch a person to make him like him and get what he wants from him, such as if one of them bewitches a woman in order to have his way with her, and because they spread mischief on earth. So it is obligatory for the authorities to execute them without asking them to repent, so long as that is done to ward off their harm and the great damage they may cause. The hadd punishment has nothing to do with being asked to repent; when the offender is caught the hadd punishment must be carried out. End quote.

    Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 9/508, 509. This is a commentary on Kitaab al-Tawheed.

     

    7 – Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen also said:

    The view that (practitioners of witchcraft) should be executed is in accordance with the principles of sharee’ah, because they spread mischief on earth and their mischief is one of the greatest forms of mischief. So executing them is obligatory for the ruler, and it is not permissible for the ruler to fail to execute them, because if such people are left alone and their actions become widespread, they will cause mischief in their own land and in the land of others. But if they are executed the people will be safe from their evil and the people will be deterred from indulging in witchcraft. End quote.

    Majmoo Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthyameen (9/509). This is a commentary on Kitaab al-Tawheed.

     

    Is it permissible for him to kill practitioners of witchcraft without the permission of the authorities?

    Praise be to Allaah.

    Firstly:

    If it is proven that a person is doing witchcraft then it is obligatory to kill him because of his evil and the harm that he is doing to people.

    What is required of those whom Allaah has placed in authority over people is to rule them in accordance with that which Allaah has revealed. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

    “And so judge (you O Muhammad) among them by what Allaah has revealed and follow not their vain desires” [al-Maa’idah 5:49] 

    “And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, such are the Kaafiroon (i.e. disbelievers — of a lesser degree as they do not act on Allaah’s Laws)” [al-Maa'idah 5:44] 

    “And whosoever does not judge by that which Allaah has revealed, such are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers — of a lesser degree)” [al-Maa’idah 5:45] 

    “And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed (then) such (people) are the Faasiqoon [the rebellious i.e. disobedient (of a lesser degree)] to Allaah” [al-Maa'idah 5:47] 

    It is not permissible at all to annul a punishment prescribed in sharee’ah. Even worse and more abhorrent than that is approving of the haraam deed and allowing the practitioner of witchcraft to work his magic in return for paying taxes. 

    This is a betrayal of trust which the ruler will be asked about on the Day of Resurrection, the Day on which he will bite his hand in regret, but it will be to no avail. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “And (remember) the Day when the Zaalim (wrongdoer, oppressor, polytheist) will bite at his hands, he will say: ‘Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger (Muhammad).

    28. ‘Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so‑and‑so as a Khaleel (an intimate friend)!

    29. “He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur’aan) after it had come to me. And Shaytaan (Satan) is to man ever a deserter in the hour of need.’” [al-Furqaan 25:27-29] 

    Secondly:

    If the ruler does not do what is required of him of carrying out punishments prescribed in sharee’ah, then no one of the Muslim masses has the right to do that, because punishments first require proof that this person deserves this punishment, then they require the authority to carry them out. 

    If the door is opened for people to carry out the shar’i punishments, chaos will reign in society and no one’s life or wealth will be safe. 

    The scholars of the Standing Committee said:  

    The one whose job it is to establish proof of witchcraft and carry out those punishments is the ruler who is in charge of the Muslims’ affairs, so as to ward off evil and to close the door to chaos. 

    Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (1/552). 

    Quoted words of Shaykh Sulaymaan al-‘Alwaan:  

    Once it is proven that a person is guilty of practicing magic, then he must be killed. This was proven from a group of the Sahaabah, but it is not for individuals to carry out this hadd punishment without the command of the ruler or his deputy, because carrying out the hadd punishments without the authority of the ruler may lead to mischief, and destroy any sense of security in the society, and undermine the position of the ruler. End quote. 

    You have to warn the people against this practitioner of witchcraft and against going to him, and explain that this action may lead a person to kufr and going beyond the pale of Islam.
     

     
     
     
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