What is the way to deal with sihr (magic/witchcraft)?
Praise be to Allaah.
Whoever is affected by sihr should not treat it with sihr, because evil cannot be removed by evil, and kufr cannot be removed by kufr. Evil is removed by good. Hence when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about al-nushrah (treating sihr with sihr), he said: “This is the work of the Shaytaan.” Nushrah means removing sihr from a person who has been affected by it by using more sihr. But if it is treated by means of the Qur’aan and permissible medicines or good ruqyahs, there is nothing wrong with that, but treating it with sihr is not permitted, as previously stated, because sihr means worshipping the shayaateen (devils). The saahir (magician, practitioner of witchcraft) does sihr or learns sihr only after worshipping and serving the shayaateen, and drawing close to them by means of the things that they like. After that, they teach him the means of sihr. But, praise be to Allaah, there is no reason why the person who has been affected by sihr should not be treated by means of reciting Qur’aan and the prayers for refuge with Allaah that are prescribed in sharee’ah, and permissible medicines, just as patients with all kinds of sicknesses are treated by doctors. The patient does not necessarily recover, because not every sick person does recover. A sick patient might be treated and then recover if his appointed time (of death) has not yet arrived, or he may not recover and may die from this sickness, even though he may be been seen by the most skilled physicians and knowledgeable doctors. When the appointed time of death comes, no medicine or treatment will be of any avail, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And Allaah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes”
Medical treatment is of benefit when the appointed time has not yet come, and Allaah decrees that His slave should be healed. The same applies in the case of one who has been affected by sihr; Allaah may decree that he should recover, or He may not decree that, as a test and a trial, or for other reasons which are known to Allaah. Among those reasons may be the fact that the one who is treating him does not have the right treatment for this problem. It was narrated in a saheeh report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “For every disease there is a medicine, and if that medicine is applied to the disease, he will recover by Allaah’s Leave.” And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has not sent down any disease but He has also sent down the cure; the one who knows it knows it and the one who does not know it does not know it.”
Among the treatments prescribed in sharee’ah is the treatment of sihr with recitation of the Qur’aan. The greatest soorah in the Qur’aan, which is al-Faatihah, should be recited over the person who has been affected by sihr. This should be repeated several times. If it is recited by a believing, righteous reader who knows that everything is subject to the will and decree of Allaah, that Allaah is in control of all things, that when He says to a thing ‘Be!’ it is, if the reciting is based on faith, taqwa and sincerity, and is repeated several times, then the sihr may be removed and the person may recover by Allaah’s Leave. Some of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) passed by some Bedouins whose shaykh, i.e., their leader, had been bitten. They had done everything they could but he had not gotten better. They said to one of the Sahaabah, “Is there any raaqi (one who performs ruqyah) among you?” They said, “Yes.” So one of them recited Soorat al-Faatihah over him, and he immediately got up full of energy as if nothing had happened; Allaah healed him of the ill-effects of that snakebite. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is nothing wrong with ruqyah so long as it does not involve shirk.” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) performed ruqyah and had it performed for him. There is a lot of good in ruqyah, and a great deal of benefit. Al-Faatihah, Aayat al-Kursiy, “Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad”, al-Mi’wadhatayn and other aayahs may be recited over the person who has been affected by sihr, as well as good du’aa’s narrated in the ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), such as the du’aa’ he said when he performed ruqyah for a sick person and said, “Allaahumma Rabb al-naas, adhhib il-ba’s, washfi anta al-Shaafi laa shifaa’a illa shifaa’uka shifaa’an laa yughaadir saqaman (O Allaah, Lord of mankind, remove the harm and heal him, for You are the Healer and there is no healing except Your healing, with a healing which does not leave any disease behind).” This may be repeated three times or more. And it was also narrated from him (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that Jibreel (peace be upon him) performed ruqyah for him and said three times: “Bismillaah arqeeka min kulli shay’in yu’dheeka, wa min sharri kulli nafsin aw ‘aynin haasid Allaah yashfeek, bismillaah arqeek (In the name of Allaah I perform ruqyah for you, from every thing that is harming you, from the evil of every soul or envious eye may Allaah heal you, in the name of Allaah I perform ruqyah for you).” This is a great ruqyah which was narrated in a saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It is prescribed to perform ruqyah for the one who has been bitten or stung, and the one who has been affected by sihr, and the one who is sick. There is nothing wrong with performing ruqyah for one who is sick or has been affected by sihr or bitten or stung, by reciting good du’aa’s, even if they were not transmitted from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so long as they do not contain anything that is haraam, because of the general meaning of the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “There is nothing wrong with ruqyah so long as it does not involve shirk.”
Allaah may heal the sick person and the person affected by sihr, and others, without any ruqyah and without any action on the part of other people, because He is Able to do all things, and He is Wise in all that He does. Allaah says in His Holy Book:
“Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is!”[Yaa-Seen 36:82]
To Him be praise and thanks for all that He wills and decrees, for He is wise in all that He does.
The sick person may not be healed if his appointed time has come and it is decreed that he should die from this disease. Among the things that may be used in ruqyah are the verses which speak of sihr, which may be recited into water. These are the verses about sihr in Soorat al-A’raaf, where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We revealed to Moosa (saying): ‘Throw your stick,’ and behold! It swallowed up straight away all the falsehood which they showed.
Thus truth was confirmed, and all that they did was made of no effect.
So they were defeated there and returned disgraced
And in Soorat Yoonus (interpretation of the meaning):
“And Pharaoh said: ‘Bring me every well-versed sorcerer.’
And when the sorcerers came, Moosa said to them: ‘Cast down what you want to cast!’
Then when they had cast down, Moosa said: ‘What you have brought is sorcery, Allaah will surely make it of no effect. Verily, Allaah does not set right the work of Al-Mufsidoon.
And Allaah will establish and make apparent the truth by His Words, however much the Mujrimoon may hate (it).’”
And in Soorat Ta-Ha (interpretation of the meaning):
“They said: ‘O Moosa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw?’
Moosa said: ‘Nay, throw you (first)!’ Then behold! their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast.
So Moosa conceived fear in himself.
We (Allaah) said: ‘Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand.
And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician’s trick, and the magician will never be successful, to whatever amount (of skill) he may attain.’”
These aayahs are among the things by which Allaah causes the ruqyah against sihr to be beneficial. If the qaari’ (reader) recites these verses into water, and also reads Soorat al-Faatiha, Aayat al-Kursiy, “Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad”, and al-Mi’wadhatayn into the water, then pours it over the person who he thinks has been affected by sihr or is being prevented by magic from having intercourse with his wife, then he will be healed by Allaah’s Leave. If seven lotus leaves are ground up and added to the water as well, this is appropriate, as was mentioned by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Hasan (may Allaah have mercy on him) in Fath al-Majeed, quoting from some of the scholars in the chapter entitled Ma jaa’a fi’l-Nushrah. It is mustahabb to recite the three soorahs, namely Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad, Qul A’oodhu bi Rabb il Falaq and Qul A’oodhu bi Rabb il-Naas. The point is that these and similar treatments which are used to treat this problem of sihr, may also be used to treat the one who is prevented by magic from having intercourse with his wife. This has been tried a great deal and Allaah caused it to yield results. A person may be treated with al-Faatihah alone and be healed, or with Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad and al-Mi’wadhatayn on their own, and be healed. It is very important that the person performing this treatment and the person who is being treated should both have sincere faith and trust in Allaah; they should know that He is control of all things and that when He wills a thing it happens, and when He does not will a thing it does not happen. The matter is in His hand, whatever He wills happens and whatever He does not will does not happen. When both the reader and the one who is read over have faith and are sincere towards Allaah, the sickness will disappear quickly by Allaah’s Leave, and both physical and spiritual medicine will be beneficial. We ask Allaah to help us all to please Him, for He is All-Hearing and is ever Near.