Superstitions and Omens in Islam

Islam is such a straightforward and exemplary religion. It demands nothing more than to declare— that Allah(swt) is the only God and Muhammad(pbuh) is the messenger of Allah(swt). It is the only true and perfect religion, with the best guides for its believers in the holy Quran and the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh). It is Islam that is perfect, but its followers— the Muslims have their share of imperfections. There has nevertheless been a major refinement in the quality of the ‘deen’ of Muslims— in the present generation and era due to the continuous striving of many renowned scholars.

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However, there are times when the idiosyncrasies of the human mind (the Muslim mind), get the better off his faith in the creator. Such are the times, when one is convinced by the widespread malady of superstitions. A malady so worse that it destroys one’s ’emaan’, makes one lose his/her faith in what has been decreed to them and makes one believe in things that are against the fundamentals of Islam.

Many of our fellow Muslims, especially those in the benighted countries of the far east possess a greater tendency to fall prey to this practice of believing in superstitions. On a broader scope what does the term ‘superstition’ really connote to?. “Superstition is a widely held, but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such belief”. Performing any act in accordance with such an irrational belief with the notion of it, having a link to luck and fortune leads to one being convinced by their credulous personality.

This belief in superstitions is no new to Islam. It dates back to the time of the Prophet(pbuh), when the Arabs were so ignorant, as to be convinced by silly omens as the sighting of birds—  mainly that the sight of crows and owls brought them bad luck. Thus the Arabic word ‘Tiyarah’ belief in, and acting as per the bad omens, is a word derived from the root word ‘Tayir’, which means a bird. The Prophet(pbuh) reprimanded those believing in bad omens, and acting as per this belief.

Narrated Abudllah bin Mas’ud:
That the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“At-Tiyarah is from shirk, and none among us (it influences), except that Allah will remove it with Tawakkul (reliance).
~Al-Tirmidhi 

So the above hadith undoubtedly states that belief in superstition is considered to be Shirk. It is against the very root of Islam, where one is carried away by self-instilled fear and doubt. This is so because, once a person starts believing in omens, he starts to doubt the decree of the almighty. At-tatayyur – a feeling that something bad is going to happen leads one to change his course of action, in order to evade the concept of bad luck brought about by omens. Thereby the person commits shirk, by believing and acting as per the omen.

Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) discouraged belief in bad and evil omens. He however encouraged optimism about a situation. He backed the concept of belief in good omens. It does not necessarily mean to believe in imbecile predictions. The Prophet (pbuh) encouraged Fa’l – meaning a good word and a positive attitude towards any situation.

Narrated Anas ibn Maalik (R.A):
That the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
There is no adwa’ (transmission of an infectious disease without the permission of Allah, no tiyarah ( belief in bird omens), but I like fa’l.
They said: ‘what is fa’l?’
He said ‘A good word’.
~ Sahih Bukhari 

Believing and passing on the concepts of superstitions, omens and luck is a grave sin. It is as if one is committing shirk and compelling the others(to those whom he has passed on the knowledge to) to be a part of shirk. Just remember.

  • There are no good days and no bad days. (Wednesday is a good day)
  • There are no good or bad months. (be it the month of Shawwal or Rajab or the month of Safar).
  • You can get married in the month of Shawwal. Do you know that the Prophet(pbuh) married Aisha’h (R.A) in the month of Shawwal. There’s is an exemplary marriage for the entire ummah.
  • Black cats pose no threat to humanity. It is just the color of the poor fellow. And  the cat was the favorite pet of the Prophet (pbuh).
  • Solar and lunar eclipses are awe inspiring events, that show the power of Allah(swt). They cannot re-write your fate or destiny.
  • Cut your nails, and broom the entire house or street after magreeb. You will remain unharmed.
  • Sandals turned upside down do not cause a crisis in your life. But it points out your uncouth habits.
  • Be it the number 786 or the number 13, it has nothing to do with change in your fate.
  • Sneezing is just an involuntary expulsion of air from the nose. Be calm if a person sneezes during an important act. Fear not the sneeze, fear Allah(swt).
  • Twitching of the eyelids is due to involuntary spasms. Nothing bad or good is going to happen based on the twitch. If the twitch continues, please visit an opthamologist.
  • Moles are formed due to excessive melanin deposit. They do not decide your luck based on their position.
  • You will not be possessed by demons if you pluck flowers from a tree after dusk. First fight against your inner demons.
    (Tried just to name a few among the sea of superstitions prevalent in the Muslim community.)

Always think of the fact that, no calamity shall befall a human being without the wish and will of Allah(swt). Was it not mentioned in the holy Quran

Say: “Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us. He is our protector and on Allah let the believers put their trust”.
~Quran 9:51

So the believers are those who put their complete faith in the Almighty, and pay no heed to the stupid omens and superstitious practices. Even if one says— this is what our ancestors and elders have prescribed and followed, just remember the ‘Tawheed’ – belief in oneness of Allah(pbuh). Is it not more important for us to follow that which has been prescribed by the Lord unto whom we are slaves?.

 

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