Al-Kihaanah (Soothsaying/Fortune Telling)

Today, soothsaying / fortunetelling has taken a different form than in the past. We imagine magicians and fortunetellers to look like people in a dark gloomy place, but nowadays they have taken a modern form – you can find soothsayers and fortune tellers in offices with secretaries booking appointments. Many people fall into this without knowing that it is Kufr and Shirk.

Before we can understand the details of soothsaying and fortune telling, we have to affirm three things:

1- Allah is the only One attributed with Knowledge of the Unseen – علم الغيب; it is something particular to Allah.

In Surat al-An’am [6:59]:

“And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.”

2- There are two types of Unseen:

a) Absolute Unseen (غيب المطلق) which no one knows except Allah, whether it is from the matters of the past or the future.

b) Partial Unseen (غيب النسي) – It is unseen to certain people, and known to others.

E.g. presently, we are attending a gathering so we know what is happening here, but we do not know what is happening in our homes right now, or in the streets, etc. It is unseen to us, but seen to others.

3- The ruling/ verdict for those who claims to know the unseen is a Mushrik Kaafir. These people have committed major Shirk which brings one out of the fold of Islam according to the consensus of all the scholars. The reason for that is their claim to have an attribute which is particular to Allah and no one else, regardless of the means that may have been used for the claim – palm reading, reading tea leaves, tarot card divination, shell divination, making lines in the sand, etc.

Those who claim the unseen – ghaib do so by either:

a) Telling Lies (دَجَل)

They are Dajjal in the sense that they tell lies; merely guessing and assuming. In addition, their lies could conform to the facts, as a test from Allah.

b) Using the Jinn

They do acts of worship to please the jinn which allows the jinn to serve them. Allah has given the jinn the power of flying with incredible speed; they can traverse the world in minutes, as mentioned in Surat an-Naml [27:38-39]:

“He said: ‘O chiefs! Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience?’

An Ifrit (strong) from the jinn said: ‘I will bring it to you before you rise from your place (council). And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work.’”

The Jinn either flies throughout the world to get the news, or they go to the heavens and quietly listen to the news of the heavens. Then they bring the news to the fortunetellers who will add 100 lies to it. If the person uses the Jinn, he is committing double Shirk.

How do we distinguish between those who claim to know the unseen and the believing slaves of whom Allah gives supernatural matters- كرامات ?

 The Person  The Purpose
  معجزة (Miracles)  Prophets and Messengers  To support them and prove their Truthfulness
 كرامات (Supernatural matters as an honour for a person)  Awliyaa of Allah; those who believe and have Taqwa   As an honour; To keep them firm 
 أحوال الشيطانية (Satanic states)  فاجر – The Unrighteous Wicked Person  A trial (fitnah)


Allah gives the Prophets and Messengers miracles in order to support them and prove their truthfulness to the people.

E.g. The Miracle of the stick of Musa (Moses) عليه السلام turning into a snake, the splitting of the moon for the Prophet (), the fire turning cold and safe for Ibrahim (Abraham) عليه السلام.

 كرماتSupernatural matters  –    

Allah gives كرمات to His Awliyaa; who are believers, practice Taqwaمؤمن، متقي

The next generation after the Prophet () – Tabi’een had more supernatural power – كرمات than the Companions. As the people go further away from the time of the Prophet (), as the Karamaat increases, because Allah wants to keep the righteous among them firm on the religion.

E.g. ‘Umar ibn Khattab رضي الله عنه was on the pulpit of the Prophet () delivering the Khutbah. In the middle of his speech he cried, “يا سارية الجبل“. At that time, Saariyah was leading an army fighting the Persians and they were encircled by the enemy and were in a dangerous situation. At that moment ‘Umar cried, “يا سارية الجبل” – (O Saariyah, betake yourself to the mountain.) Saariyah heard Umar’s cry and he betook himself to the mountain and they defeated the Persians. Allah honoured ‘Umar and Saariyah by this supernatural power.

The more you strengthen your relationship with Allah, the more you will be a Waliy of Allah, and the more Allah will support you.

أحوال الشيطانية –  Satanic States

Miracles and كرامات are from Allah while Satanic states – أحوال الشيطانية are from the Shaytan and are given to the unrighteous wicked people. E.g. you might find such a person walking on water, stabbing himself with knives without getting hurt, etc.

Ibn Taymiyah رحمه الله said that if you want to know the reality – whether the person is given an honour كرمة or a state from the Shaytan – you should look into the state of the person. If the person is following the Qur’an and Sunnah, it is an honour كرمة; if the person is not praying and opposes the Qur’an and Sunnah, then it is from the Shaytan and is a test from Allah.

E.g. Iblees was given respite to live until the Day of Judgment; he will not die until then. Why did Allah give Iblees this supernatural ability? As a Fitnah for him and the people. Listening to music, committing illegal sins, innovations, and Shirk all make a person more deserving of being overpowered by the Shaytan.

Ibn Taymiyah رحمه الله said that if you see a man flying in the air or walking on water, do not take his word unless his state is according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Once Imam Ahmad رحمه الله was walking and he heard a voice from the clouds saying, “You have now reached a status where all obligations are released from you. I am your Lord.” Ahmad ibn Hanbal رحمه الله said, “You are the enemy of Allah and a liar.” This is because he knew, i.e. how could he stop praying if the Prophet () prayed until the end of his life? Having knowledge benefits people.

The ruling/verdict of going to a fortuneteller:

The Prophet () said:

مَنْ أَتَى عَرَّافًا فَسَأَلَهُ عَنْ شَىْءٍ لَمْ تُقْبَلْ لَهُ صَلاَةٌ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً

“He who visits someone who claims to have knowledge of the unseen and asks him about anything, his prayers will not be accepted for forty nights.” [Muslim]

In another Hadith, reported by Ahmad and authenticated by al-Albani, he () said:

من أتى كاهناً فصدقه بما يقول فقد كفر بما أنزل على محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم

“Whoever goes to a fortuneteller and believes what he says has disbelieved in what was revealed to Prophet Muhammad “()

مَنْ أَتَى عَرَّافًا فَسَأَلَهُ عَنْ شَىْءٍ – “Something” could be anything. It could be about the past, present or future. Also, approaching a fortuneteller does not necessitate going on your feet to him. It could be by calling him, writing to him, reading horoscopes, etc.

لَمْ تُقْبَلْ لَهُ صَلاَةٌ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً – This does not mean that one does not have to pray, it means that he has to pray but he will not be rewarded for his prayer. Someone might say: “If my prayer will not accepted, I won’t pray for forty days.”

If he does not pray, he is considered a Kafir. The Prophet () said:

بَيْنَ الْعَبْدِ وَبَيْنَ الْكُفْرِ تَرْكُ الصَّلاَةِ

Between a slave of Allah and disbelief is abandoning the Salat. [At-Tirmithi]

The acts of worship are of three degrees:

1) Obligation of performing the worship,

2) Performing the worship and getting a share of the reward,

3) Performing the worship and getting full reward.

The person that goes to a fortuneteller is of the first degree – he is obliged to perform the prayer. But he has no share in reward.

As for the person who believes in what the fortuneteller says, فقد كفر بما أنزل على محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم [Then he has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad ()], in other words – the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The Qur’an here refers to the verse in Surat an-Naml [27:65]:

“Say: “None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (unseen) except Allah, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.”

Also, in Surat al-Baqarah [2:256]:

“There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.”

In order to believe in Allah and His Messenger (), it is important to disbelieve in the ‘Taghut’طاغوت. A Taghut – طاغوت  is any false deity; and the fortuneteller is a Taghutطاغوت.

Allah says in Surat Ta-Ha [20:69]:

“And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician’s trick, and the magician will never be successful, no matter whatever amount (of skill) he may attain.”

The magician is never successful. So if you believe in the magician and/or fortuneteller, it is as if you believe they have succeeded, which contradicts and opposes what Allah said in the Qur’an. It is in this way that the person disbelieves in what was revealed upon Prophet Muhammad () of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Ibn ‘Uthaimeen رحمه الله said, “If a person knows that he should not go to a fortuneteller believing in him, but he still goes and believes what he is told, this is Major Kufr. But if he is ignorant, he is condemned with Minor Kufr (كفر دون كفر).” [Al Qawl Al-Mufeed ‘Ala Kitab at-Tawheed

The types of Fortunetelling

1- To claim to know what is in the hearts and minds of people

E.g. Children at school play a kind of guessing game where a number is guessed from 1 to 10. ‘A’ guesses a number, ‘B’ guesses a number. These kinds of games are not encouraged among children because Shaytan may seize this opportunity to whisper the correct number in the other person’s mind. At a very young age, children are falling into fortunetelling.

2- Using Computers

This is a sophisticated way of fortunetelling, which you can find in some museums in Arab countries. E.g. you put money in a machine and it analyses you by first asking for your name and mother’s name. Then you are asked to put your palm on the screen. Your palm is read and a paper is printed containing a description of who you are, your likes, dislikes etc. In such cases, behind the scenes, the fortuneteller is using the help of the Shayateen. Most of us are not aware of this kind of fortunetelling. Some fortunetellers claim to know all about you just by using your name and mother’s name.

3- Hypnotism

Many psychologists use hypnotism, claiming that it is therapy and they can cure the sick through it. Lajnah al-Ifta in Saudi Arabia issued a Fatwa regarding it. They call it Shirk because it is based on using the jinn. The hypnotizer uses the jinn to overpower the sick person, and the Shaytan will overpower him, making him speak and do actions according to the wishes of the hypnotizer. The jinn serves the hypnotizer according to how much he serves the jinn. They usually use this technique to get secrets from the person. Whoever claims this as a means of cure is considered a liar.

4- Abajad

This is marking every letter with a number and using it as a way of calculation. The Arabs used to do this and it is fine to use for calculation purposes only. There are forbidden versions of it where letters are used, which is considered fortunetelling. There are people who ask you for your name, and use the letters of your name, to tell you your personality; or they will tell you to write something that’s on your mind on a piece of paper, and then they turn them into numbers and use those numbers to calculate the date of your death, etc.

This is common nowadays, even amongst religious people.

Weather forecasting, lunar and solar eclipses and forecasting comets are not included in fortunetelling because they are all based on calculations and therefore permissible.

With regards to people claiming that they feel something is going to happen and it happens and telepathy:

E.g. A woman’s husband is outside. Before entering she feels that her husband will enter anytime soon, and exactly at that moment, he enters. This may recur with her until she believes she has the power of knowing the unseen. This can be explained thus: the jinn accompanying her, and the jinn accompanying her husband inform each other of this information. This is the plain truth and nothing more than that. This is considered the Shaytan’s play.

E.g. there is nothing called telepathy; it is the work of the Jinn. You may feel like you know what a specific person is thinking on the other side of the world. It is actually the work of the Jinn putting the same thing in the other person’s mind, and they think they are close and have a connection.

No one knows the unseen – غيب except Allah!


About Enlightenment into Islam Center

The Enlightenment into Islam Center is a community of sisters who aim to please Allah by seeking knowledge and calling the people (Muslims as well as non-Muslims) to Tawheed and obedience to Allah by spreading the true knowledge of Islam based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

Posted on May 16, 2017, in Tawheed and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Jazakom Allaahu khayr, any comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s