In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Ever-Merciful…
The great scholar, the late Muftee of Saudi Arabia and head of their permanent council of scholars, Shaykh ‘Abdul-’Azeez ibn Baaz (d.1420, may Allaah have Mercy on him), commented on a seminar about magicians and religious swindlers held in 1415. After acknowledging the accuracy of their speeches on the topics of witchcraft, the practice of sorcery and its reality, and other topics, the shaykh noted that they had not discussed illusionary magic, and felt the need to add the following clarification:
Their magic could also be illusionary, and the shaykhs did not discuss illusionary magic. Allaah has clearly mentioned that they could also perform illusionary tricks on people, as He, the Glorious and Most High, said in Soorah Taa-Haa:
يخيل إليه من سحرهم أنها تسعى
( And it was made to seem from their magic that they were moving ) [20:66]
So they would make the people think that the ropes they threw down were actually snakes moving about. Similarly, the sticks also appeared to the people to be snakes, while this was merely an illusionary trick on the eyes.
So when Moosaa (Moses) threw his staff down, it devoured them, doing away with their ropes and sticks. When the magicians saw this, they fell down in prostration as believers in what Moosaa (Moses) had come with (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace). They paid no attention thereafter to the threats of Fir’own (Pharoah):
قالوا لن نؤثرك على ما جاءنا من البينات والذي فطرنا فاقض ما أنت قاض إنما تقضي هذه الحياة الدنيا إنا آمنا بربنا ليغفر لنا خطايانا وما أكرهتنا عليه من السحر والله خير وأبقى
( They said, “We would not prefer you over the clear proofs that have reached us, nor over the One who created us. Judge however you will, your judgment is only for this worldly life. Verily we have believed in our Lord, so that He might forgive our mistakes and the magic you forced us to perform, as (the reward from) Allaah is better and more lasting.” ) [20:72-73]
What I mean is that magicians could use things to change the apparent reality, by the Permission of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. Any number of things (could be used): foods, drinks (potions), or something else.
They could also create illusions that lead someone to think things are not really the way they are, like an illusion that convinces someone that a rope or a stick becomes a slithering snake.
It could also be made to seem that some birds, snakes, or scorpions have come out of his body, while that did not really happen, rather it was all just an illusion. He tricks someone through the illusionary magic he does.
Another kind of illusionary magic is when they trick a man into thinking that his wife is ugly, and so he hates and despises her; or the wife is convinced that her husband is ugly when he approaches her, and so she despises him.
There are other examples of what they do, and it is all kufr (apostasy), all of their magic is kufr, whether it is done through Satanic acts that harm the people, or through illusions, causing people to see things for other than what they really are – a man is convinced he looks like a hideous animal, or that a woman’s husband has turned black after he had been white, or that he is diseased or other things that a man is made to believe about his wife, from the work of magicians, and thus it causes hatred, animosity, and splitting.
Source: Shaykh Ibn Baaz’s Fatwaa Collection (8/105) [Click here for the Arabic source.]
TEST YOUR UNDERSTANDING:
Compare the words of Shaykh Ibn Baaz above to the words of the magician of Almaghrib Institute, Kamal el-Mekki (may Allah guide him), as he complains about the people who don’t understand his opinion that illusionary magic is perfectly permissible:
So, if you watch Dynamo, Criss Angel, or… Oh! Muslims talk about, “I don’t watch them cause they use jinn.” And they don’t use jinn. I can show you every one of their tricks, how they do it, and every one of them has an explanation, yeah?
So, but, and one talent show I was going to do some sleight of hand tricks, but someone already came up and objected, (deep mocking voice), “Oh, magic on stage!” So, khalaas (that was over).
So, we tell people that what’s haraam is sorcery, yeah? So, if you go to a magician’s show, they’re just doing illusions on stage, there’s nothing haraam (impermissible) about that.
Now, so what you’re not allowed to go to – to a black magician, yeah? That’s what’s haraam (impermissible). Now I don’t mean a “black” magician (gesturing to his skin color), ya’nee, I mean… (laughs) a magician who uses jinn and stuff…
Videos of Kamal el-Mekki performing magic tricks, even “levitation”, can be found on YouTube, as well as other words of his defending and promoting his opinion. We do not advise anyone to seek them out, except for those who have decision making roles in Muslim communities and they want to uphold the trust on their shoulders by preventing him from coming to their community by warning the people from him. In such a case, when verification is needed to prevent the spread of evil, only then should someone watch those videos. Watching magic tricks for mere entertainment is something that can nullify a person’s Islaam (as explained here), so take heed.
For most people it should be enough that he openly states that he can teach you ALL of the magic tricks of Criss Angel and Dynamo (two famous modern-day magicians). Allaah’s Refuge is sought from such clear misguidance.
And Allaah knows best.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson