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Ruling on Someone Who Claims to Know Ghayb (Unseen)

October 9, 2011

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Q: What is the ruling on someone who informs people of the Ghayb (the Unseen) and uses incense and sorcery to do that?
A: The Muslim must be wary of such people who usually belong to Sufism and sorcery either by claiming to know the Ghayb or by claiming to have some sort of connection with their shaykhs by virtue of which they can do extraordinary things. In this way, they confuse people and deceive them into believing that they are capable of curing the sick or fulfilling people’s needs through illegal ways. Beware of such people, because they are imposters and advocates of falsehood about whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) said in a Sahih (authentic) Hadith: He who visits a diviner (`Arraf) and asks him about anything, his Prayers will not be accepted for forty days. He (peace be upon him) said: He who visits a diviner or a fortuneteller and believes what he says disbelieves what was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him). Those who claim to know the Ghayb, or claim that their shaykhs guide them to things related to the Ghayb, or claim that what their shaykhs say is sound and that they are infallible and what they say must inevitably occur, and things of the sort that occur to some of the Sufis. They may believe that they receive revelation from heaven saying:
My heart conveys so-and-so from my Lord. All these things are superstitions and the one who claims such superstitions is a Kafir (disbeliever). Claiming to know the Ghayb or to receive revelation from heaven, other than Muhammad (peace be upon him), is Kufr (disbelief) and error. Similarly, the one who believes such claims is like the one who makes them. Using incense as a means of creating an atmosphere of confusion does not count; what matters is what the person says: If he claims to know the Ghayb, serves the Jinn or claims that the Jinn are the ones who inform him of the Ghayb or the like, then he is a sorcerer and people must be wary of him, must not ask him about anything or believe him. Once it becomes clear that he claims to have knowledge of the Ghayb, worships the Jinn and serves them by offering acts of obedience and sacrifices, he becomes a Mushrik (one who associates others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). If such a person claims to know things via other methods, then he is a liar meaning to deceive and confuse people, because no one knows the Ghayb but Allah (Exalted be He). Nonetheless, if he cures the sick by means of using known and tangible medications, like physicians, using cauterization, types of food, drinks, ointments that were tried and proven to be beneficial, without claiming to know the Ghayb or serve the Jinn, then this is permissible and it is called popular medicines. People use such kinds of treatment. The Arabs and the majority of people used to resort to this kind of medicine in the past. They had customary ways that they used in treatment and curing diseases. Such ways might have succeeded or failed, but the practitioners of such methods did not claim to know the Ghayb or serve the Jinn. Rather, they were customary methods including types of food, drinks, incense or other such methods that were clear and evident, implying no confusion or service of the Jinn or claiming to know the Ghayb and this also applies to cauterization.


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