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The dire need for Muslims to acquire comprehensive knowledge on the science of Tawheed remains timeless. Islam recognizes that humans can use and abuse Allah’s blessings. Therefore, technological advances such as cable television and computer technology, which on the one hand, help bridge distances, also make accessible to man the beliefs and customs of people from all across the globe. Ultimately, when Muslims are unaware of the value of their own Islamic identity, they embrace these alien beliefs and customs. Foreign ideologies may easily sway Muslims, leading to practices that often cause Shirk. Among these are various superstitions and omens that gullible Muslims readily adopt. Nowadays, ignorance of the true religion is rife, with many people possessing a minimal understanding of Tawheed.
There are three branches of Tawheed in Islam. These are Tawheed Ar-Rububiyah (Unity of Lordship), Tawheed Al-Asma’ was-Sifat (Unity of Allah’s Names and Attributes) and Tawheed Al-lbadah (Unity of Allah’s Worship). A lot of Muslims lack knowledge of the numerous ways in which people can commit Shirk. All sorts of bizarre beliefs and practices that violate Tawheed are widespread among today’s Muslims.
Shirk is the association of partners with Allah. It is the only unforgivable sin in Islam, as stated in Surah An-Nisa. It is imperative to understand the various ways in which one may fall into Shirk. In this regard, it’s essential to outline the dangers of believing in superstitions and omens.
Superstitions: Amulets and the Islamic ruling on them
People frequently wear amulets known as “Tawiz” for protection. For example, so-called religious healers employ a method of protection from the evil eye (mostly for babies and children) that mingles halal and haram. The halal aspect is when they perform “Dam,” which consists of reciting Quranic verses as per the Prophetic method. These include the Ayat ul-Kursi (Quran, 2: 255) and the Al-Mu’awwidhatayn (Quran, 113 and 114). They then blow towards the patient.
The haram method consists of the aforementioned “religious healers” preparing amulets (Tawiz). For this, they use things like verses of the Quran and verse numbers in Arabic. Humans subsequently wear them with the misguided belief that they will protect the wearer. This belief goes against the fundamental teachings of Islam, which inform us that Allah is the only Protector, and He is All-Powerful. All matters are entirely in His control, and powerless material things like amulets offer us no protection.
Prophet (PBUH) said in a Hadith in Musnad Ahmad that those who wear amulets are guilty of committing Shirk. The usage of amulets for protection results in Shirk in Rububiyah (by association). However, in their ignorance of Tawheed, the people believe that these amulets are an “Islamic” form of protection.
Fortune-telling and Magic
People see fortune-telling as a credible way of determining the future. The consultation of daily horoscopes is also rampant and considered trendy. Most online and offline newspapers and magazines cater to this need. Fortune tellers dupe the gullible people who believe them. This can be either by a tiny percentage of educated guesses coming true due to their generality or by a fortune-teller who has made contact with the Jinn.
The Jinn may obtain personal information from the visitor’s Qareen, (evil companion Jinn) or pass on a minuscule amount of truthful information about the future mixed with many untruths after eavesdropping on the angels in the heavens. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said that the one who approaches a fortune-teller and believes him has disbelieved.
Sadly, people also frequently turn to “pirs” (so-called saints) and “aamils” (practitioners of magic) to solve problems ranging from personal, family, and health issues, to financial matters. The use of black magic (aided by Jinn) for bonding or breaking relationships and causing physical, emotional, or material harm, is routine. The Prophet (ﷺ) was himself a victim of magic, and we thereby acknowledged its practice in Islam.
A verse in Surah Al-Baqarah tells us that one who’s involved with magic has no share in the Afterlife. Hence, any involvement with magic is disbelief. Fortune-telling and magic are both a form of Shirk in Asma’ was-Sifaat (through deification). Sadly, those with insufficient knowledge of Tawheed are oblivious to this.
The Islamic Ruling on Omens
Among the countless omens believed in by many are: A black cat crossing one’s path is an indication of bad luck to follow. Children supposedly stop growing if a person walks over them. If someone has an itch in their palm, some expect them to gain wealth, whereas an owl hooting on a rooftop foretells misfortune.
Belief in omens involves the overlapping of Shirk in all three categories of Tawheed. A misplaced trust, the power to predict the future attributed to other than Allah, and a denial of destiny, the clear culprits. In Surah Al-Hadid, Allah informs us that nothing that happens goes against the fate He wrote.
This corrosion of Tawheed through omens is widespread. It includes ill-considered beliefs such as blinking of the left eye invites bad luck, upside down shoes are bad luck, and the sudden appearance of a person mentioned represents long life.
People also believe that left-over food in the house can result in mishaps. They consider dreams with buffaloes or horses bad luck. Some people think that stepping on a person’s fallen hair gives them a nasty headache. Others believe that choking on one’s food means that someone is thinking ill of him.
The Prophet (PBUH) said that belief in bad omens is an act of polytheism. (Sunan Abi Dawud) The Quran and Hadith make it abundantly clear that belief in omens is explicitly forbidden in Islam. Since it involves deification, directs the act of worship known as Tawakkul (trust) to other than Allah, and implies that Qadar (fate) can be avoided or altered. It is an abhorrent form of Shirk in all the significant aspects of Tawheed.
Some Common Superstitions to avoid
Many foolish superstitions can harm a person’s faith if he doesn’t steer clear of them. Among these are beliefs such as the cutting of nails or hair at night, bringing bad luck. Some say that you shouldn’t call someone back when they are exiting the house.
There’s also a common belief that sneezing implies you are in someone else’s thoughts. Likewise, people believe that hiccupping is a result of being remembered by someone. Others think that there is bad luck in having haircuts on Tuesdays. People even think that something as random as the breaking of glass potentially signifies good luck.
Another superstition is that a crow sitting on the wall of one’s house indicates that the person will have guests. Moreover, some believe that eating from the pan will result in raining out of one’s wedding day. Another bizarre superstition is that the traveler should throw meat out of his car during his journey for good luck. They say that the birds nearby will apparently devour the flesh, keeping one safe during his travel.
Additionally, the carrying out of housework in the evening is thought to protect one from evil spirits. Another myth is that starting a business on a Tuesday is bad luck. The snapping of scissors is deemed an evil omen, as it’s thought to cause division in the household. They say that shaking legs while sitting is another bad omen as it earns bad luck.
People think that sweeping in the evening results in bad luck. Some think a howling dog foretells a death in the neighborhood. If someone is having a stressful day, freeing a bird into the air is believed to calm the person, as the action symbolizes the exit of negativity from the body.
In a nutshell, a pure conception of Tawheed is of paramount importance, considering it is the foremost pillar of Islam and thus the foundation of a Muslim’s religion. By and large, the Ummah is in a state of disarray, predominantly due to the believers’ shortcomings concerning knowledge of Tawheed.
Ignorance can often result in gross violations of Tawheed that a Muslim can ill-afford, especially considering the unforgivable nature of Shirk. If Shirk is divinely adjudged to be the only unpardonable sin, then its opposite, Tawheed, should be manifestly realized. A real understanding of Tawheed in its entirety is thereupon, every Muslim’s safe haven.