Description: A discussion on supernatural harm and how to spiritually protect oneself according to the teachings of Islam.
· Understand the meaning of “supernatural”.
· Identify the sources of supernatural harm: demons, “evil eye,” and witchcraft.
· Appreciate that evil in our lives is not outside of Allah’s control.
· Learn how to protect ourselves by prayers and invocations revealed by Allah
These days supernatural phenomenon is stressed in most modern fiction, movies, and TV programs. Everyone has read about witches, sorcerers, vampires, wandering spirits, and werewolves. While much of it is just that – fiction, according to Islamic teachings, there is an element of truth to the supernatural phenomenon. Some people may have direct experience of the horror out there, who have always had questions, but never had the right answers.
First we need to understand what is meant by supernatural phenomenon. “The Supernatural” is what lies outside nature and hence outside science as well. Therefore, what is supernatural seems inherently mysterious and therefore scary. Human beings fear what they do not know.
Therefore, to sort out fact from fiction, we rely on the only true source of supernatural knowledge, and that is Allah’s revelation contained in the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. Once we understand that the supernatural can be understood through revelation, we conquer our fear of the unknown as we learn ways Allah has taught us to keep us safe and protected.
According to Islamic teachings, the following are the major sources of supernatural harm:
Jinn and demons
The jinn are real and they are creatures created by Allah. Among them are demons (disbelieving jinn) and believers. They can see us but we cannot see them. Demons can attack human beings and terrorize them. A demon may also possess the body of a human because it either fell in love with the human or to harm him, or possibly another reason.
Envy and jealousy of others
Destructive envy means wishing that a blessing that Allah has given another person be taken away. Wishing to have what somebody else has (an object or skill) is not envy, desiring it to be taken away from them is what makes it destructive.
The “evil eye” is when a person hurts another with his “stare.” The starting point is when the person likes something, and then by repeatedly looking at the object of his jealousy, his evil feelings affect it. To clarify this in a more simple tone, if a person is in the presence of someone whom he wishes to marry, and she happens to smile in his direction, the individual may feel lightheaded and even dizzy at that point; likewise, when a person is standing before someone whom he fears, such as his boss, and he dreads that he will be fired, and he is suddenly called, that person will feel a slight sensation of pain and may even faint. The evil eye incorporates this aspect, as well it goes beyond by the nature of one’s self…the jealousy and pure hatred a person has for a blessing someone is blessed with and the burning desire that he has to see it removed. Everyone who puts the “evil eye” on another is envious, but everyone who envies does not put the “evil eye” on another.
Witchcraft and sorcery
Witchcraft and sorcery are real and may affect people psychologically and physically, so that they become sick and even husbands and wives can be separated. Most of it is done by means of Shirk and by offering demons what they love.
The truth is that in and of itself, nothing is capable of hurting you unless Allah allows it to. In other words, you should have a firm belief that Allah is in control, not any created being. That is why, a Muslim should not let paranoia, anxiety, doubts, suspicion, and excessive fear of the paranormal overwhelm him so much that he becomes afflicted with psychological illnesses. One should think positively about Allah and understand that whatever befalls only happens by the permission of Allah. Evil is not outside of Allah’s control. There is no sorcerer, demon, or “evil eye” that is stronger than Allah. Since, He is in control, He alone is able to ward off harm and relieve distress. If this is understood, a person will turn to Allah and put his complete faith in Him.
In order to properly trust Allah, a Muslim must have the correct belief and knowledge. First, Allah knows what’s best. Allah says in the Quran,
“… Perhaps you may dislike something and it is good for you and you may like something and it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.” (Quran 2:216)
Second, Allah is Just. He tells us,
“… And your Lord will not wrong anyone.” (Quran 18:49)
Third, Allah is sufficient for anyone who puts their trust in Him. He has declared,
“…And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him…” (Quran 65:3)
A Muslim can protect himself by giving up sins, carrying out obligatory religious duties, having strong faith in Allah, by putting his trust in Him as explained above, and seeking refuge with Him by reciting the prayers for protection narrated from Prophet Muhammad.
What will follow in the next lesson are general invocations to keep us safe and protected from evil. They also protect us from harmful things in general and from the whispers of Satan who puts doubts and invites us to falsehood and sin. Think of them as over the counter medicine like a general painkiller. There are specific prayers as well, like doctor prescribed medicines, but they are used only for someone who has been diagnosed with a specific ailment. Please make a habit of saying these prayers daily. Like a daily multivitamin or a nutritious diet is good for your body, they will offer you spiritual protection as long as you maintain strong faith and stay away from sins like alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. Keep in mind that they will not be effective if you do not pray or indulge in major sins.