Friday 13 Sha‘ban 1445 - 23 February 2024
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Ruling on Wearing Amulets for Protection

Question

I would like to know if talismans are allowed. I have read kitabu at-tawheed and some books by Bilal Philips, but I found in al-muwatta that there is hadith allowing some sorts of talismans, and even kitabu at-tawheed mentioned some salaf allowed it. The hadiths can be found in al-muwatta, volume 50, hadiths 4, 11 and 14.Please reply. And tell me the authenticity of these hadiths, and give me more information about this issue. Thank you.

Summary of answer

The scholars agreed that it is haram to wear amulets for protection if they contain anything other than Quran, but they differed concerning those which do contain Quran. Some of them said that wearing these is permitted, and others said that it is not permitted.

Praise be to Allah.

Hadiths on amulets 

Firstly, we could not find the hadiths whose soundness the questioner asked about, because we do not know the text of those hadiths. He said that they were in volume 50 of al-Muwatta, but al-Muwatta is only one volume. 

Hence we will quote what we are able to of the hadiths that have been narrated on amulets, and we will explain – in sha Allah – the rulings of the scholars on them. Hopefully some of this will be what the questioner is looking for. 

  • It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas’ud that the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: 

“The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) disliked ten things: Yellow colouring, meaning khaloouq (a perfume made from saffron), dyeing gray hair, trailing the lower garment, wearing a gold ring, throwing dice, a woman adorning herself before people who are not her mahrams, using spells (ruqyah) except with the Mu'awwidhatan, wearing amulets , coitus interruptus, and having intercourse with a woman who is breastfeeding a child; but he did not declare them to be prohibited.”  (Narrated by al-Nasai, 50880; Abu Dawud, 4222) 

“Having intercourse with a woman who is breastfeeding a child” means, if she becomes pregnant this will harm the child who is breastfeeding. 

This hadith was classed as da’if (weak) by al-Albani in Da’if al-Nasai, 3075) 

  • It was narrated from Zaynab the wife of ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas’ud from ‘Abd-Allah that he said: 

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, ‘Spells (ruqyah), amulets and love-charms are shirk .” I said, “Why do you say this? By Allah, my eye was weeping with a discharge and I kept going to So and So, the Jew, who did a spell for me. When he did the spell, it calmed down.” ‘Abd-Allah said: “That was just the work of the Shaytan who was picking it with his hand, and when (the Jew) uttered the spell, he stopped. All you needed to do was to say as the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to say: ‘Adhhib il-bas Rabb al-nas ishfi anta al-Shafi la shifa-a illa shifa-uka shifa-an la yughadiru saqaman (Remove the harm, O Lord of mankind, and heal, You are the Healer. There is no healing but Your healing, a healing which leaves no disease behind.’”  (Narrated by Abu Dawud, 3883; Ibn Mauajah, 3530) 

This hadith was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 331 and 2972. 

  • It was narrated that ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever wears an amulet, may Allah not fulfil his need, and whoever wears a sea-shell, may Allah not give him peace.”  (Narrated by Ahmad, 16951) 

This hadith was classed as da’if by Shaykh al-Albani in Da’if al-Jami’, 5703. 

  • It was narrated from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir al-Juhani that a group came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) [to swear their allegiance (bay’ah) to him]. He accepted the bay’ah of nine of them but not of one of them. They said, “O Messenger of Allah, you accepted the bay’ah of nine but not of this one.” He said, “He is wearing an amulet.” The man put his hand (in his shirt) and took it off, then he (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)) accepted his bay’ah. He said, ‘Whoever wears an amulet has committed shirk.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 16969) 

This hadith was classed as sahih by Shaykh al-Albani in al-Silsilah al-Sahihah, 492.  

Ruling on wearing amulets for protection

Amulets (tamimah, pl. tamaim) are things made from pearls or bones that are worn on the necks of children or adults, or are hung up in houses or cars, in order to ward off evil – especially the evil eye – or to bring some benefits. 

These are the comments of the scholars on the various kinds of amulets and the rulings on each kind. These comments contain important and useful points. 

  • Shaykh Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab said: 

“Know that the scholars among the Sahabah and Tabi’in and those who came after them differed as to whether it is permissible to hang up amulets which only contain words from the Quran or names and attributes of Allah. 

One group said that this is permissible. This was the view of ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As and others. This is the apparent meaning of the report narrated from `Aishah and it was the view of Abu Ja’far al-Baqir and Ahmad, according to one report. They interpreted the hadith as referring to amulets which involve shirk; with regard to those which contain words from the Quran or the names and attributes of Allah, then they are like ruqyah which uses the same words. 

I say, this appears to be the view of Ibn al-Qayyim. 

Another group said that this is not permissible. This was the view of Ibn Mas’ud and Ibn 'Abbas, and is the apparent meaning of the view of Hudhayfah, ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir and Ibn ‘Akim (may Allah be pleased with him). This was also the view of a group of the Tabi’in, including the companions of Ibn Mas’ud and Ahmad, according to one report which was chosen by most of his companions. It was also the view of the later scholars, who quoted this and similar ahadith as evidence. The apparent meaning is that it is general in application and does not differentiate between amulets which contain Quran and amulets which contain other things, unlike ruqyah where there is a differentiation. This is supported by the fact that the Sahabah who narrated the hadith understood it to be general in meaning, as was quoted above from Ibn Mas’ud. 

Abu Dawud narrated that ‘Isa ibn Hamzah said: “I entered upon ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Akim and his face was red due to high fever. I said, ‘Why don’t you hang up an amulet?’ He said, ‘We seek refuge with Allah from that. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever hangs up anything will be entrusted to its care…”’” 

This scholarly difference was concerning hanging up amulets which contain Quran or names and attributes of Allah, so what do you think about the things which were innovated later on, doing spells (ruqyah) using the names of shayatin (devils) and others and hanging them up, and even being attached to those shayatin, seeking refuge in them, slaughtering animals for them, asking them to ward off harm and bring benefits – actions which are pure shirk? This is prevalent among many of the people, except for those whom Allah keeps safe and sound. Think about what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said and what was the practice of the Sahabah and Tabi’in, and what the scholars after them mentioned on this topic and others. Then look at what happened in the later generations. It will become clear to you what the religion of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is, and how it has now become alienated in all ways. And Allah is the One Whose help we seek. (Taysir al-‘Aziz al-Hamid, p. 136-138) 

  • Shaykh Hafiz Hakami said: 

“If they – i.e., amulets – contain clearly-written Quranic verses or sahih ahadith, there was some dispute among the salaf – the Sahabah, the Tabi’in and those who followed them – as to whether they are permissible. 

Some of them – i.e., some of the Salaf – said that this was permissible. This was narrated from ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her), Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, and others among the salaf. 

Some of them said that this was not allowed; they regarded it is makruh and not permitted. They include ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Akim, ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr, ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir, and ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas’ud and his companions such as al-Aswad and ‘Alqamah, and those who came after them such as Ibrahim al-Nakha’i and others – may Allah have mercy on them. 

Undoubtedly not allowing that is a safer precaution to prevent means that lead to wrong beliefs, especially in our own times. If most of the Sahabah and Tabi’in regarded it as makruh in those noble times when the faith in their hearts was greater than a mountain, then regarding it as makruh in these times of trials and tribulations is more appropriate and is more on the safe side. So how about when this concession has led people to things which are purely haram and they have made it a means to those things? For example, they make amulets for seeking refuge, on which they write an ayah or surah or the phrase “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim (In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the Most Merciful), then underneath it they put some devilish mumbo-jumbo, the meaning of which no one knows except one who has read their books. Or they divert the hearts of the common folk from putting their trust in Allah and make them dependent on the things that they have written, and most of them frighten the people, before anything even happens to them. One of them will come to the person whom he wants to trick out of his money, knowing that the person is relying on him and trusts him, and he says: “Such and such is going to happen to your family or your wealth or to you,” Or he says, “You have a qarin (constant companion) from among the jinn,” or the like, and he describes things to him and and tells him things about himself that the Shaytaan whispers to him, to make him think that he has true insight and that he cares about him and wants to bring him some benefit. When the heart of the ignorant fool is filled with fear of what has been described to him, he turns away from his Lord and turns to this charlatan with all his heart and soul; he puts his trust in him and relies on him instead of Allah, and says to him, “What is the way out from the things that you have described? What is the means of warding them off?” It is as if he (the charlatan) has control over benefit and harm, at which point his hopes are raised and he becomes more greedy, wondering how much he will be able to take. So he tells him, “If you give me such and such, I will write an amulet for that which will be this long and this wide” – he describes it and speaks to him in a nice manner. Then he hangs up this amulet to protect him from such and such diseases. Do you think, after all that we have mentioned, that this belief is a form of minor shirk? No way; it means that one is taking as one’s god someone other than Allah, putting one's trust in someone other than Him, turning to someone other than Him, relying on the deeds of created beings and trying to divert people from their religion. Can the Shaytan do any of these tricks except with the help of his devilish brethren among mankind? 

“Say: ‘Who can guard and protect you in the night or in the day from the (punishment of the) Most Gracious (Allah)?’ Nay, but they turn away from the remembrance of their Lord” [al-Anbiya 21:42 – interpretation of the meaning] 

Then along with the devilish mumbo-jumbo, he writes on the amulet something from the Quran , and hangs it up when he is not tahir (in a state of purity), when he is in a state of minor or major impurity, and he never shows any respect towards it or keeps it away from other things. By Allah, none of the enemies of Allah have treated His Book with as much contempt as these heretics who claim to be Muslims. By Allah, the Quran was revealed to be recited and followed, for its commandments to be obeyed and its prohibitions heeded, for its information to be believed and its limits to be adhered to, for its parables and stories to serve as lessons, and for it to be believed in.

“… the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord…” [Al ‘Imran 3:7 – interpretation of the meaning] 

But these people have ignored all of that and cast it behind their backs; they have merely memorized a few words in order to earn their living from them, like any other means of earning a living that enables them to do haram things, not things which are permitted. If a king or a governor wrote a letter to his subordinate, telling him to do such and such and not to do such and such, commanding the people in your city to do such and such and forbidding them to do such and such, etc., and he took that letter and did not read it or think about its instructions, and he did not convey that to those to whom he was commanded to convey it, but instead he took it and hung it around his neck or his arm, and did not pay any attention at all to what was in it, the king would punish him severely for that. So how about that which was revealed from the Compeller of the heavens and the earth, Who has the highest description in the heavens and on earth, to Whom is all praise in the beginning and at the end, to Whom all things return, so worship Him and put your trust in Him, He is sufficient for me, there is no god but He, in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne. And if they (amulets) contain anything but the two revelations (i.e., Quran and sahih Sunnah) then this is shirk without a doubt, and is more akin to the azlam (arrows used during the jahiliyyah for seeking luck or help in decision making) in being far-removed from the characteristics of Islam. 

If they (amulets) contain anything other than the two revelations and instead contain mumbo-jumbo from the Jews or worshippers of the temple, stars or angels, or those who use the services of the jinn, etc., or they are made of pearls, strings, iron rings, etc., then this is shirk, i.e., hanging them up or wearing them is shirk, beyond a doubt, because they are not among the permissible means or known forms of treating disease. It is simply a belief that they will ward off such and such a problem or pain because of their so-called special features. This is like the belief of idol-worshippers concerning their idols, and they are like the azlam (arrows) which the people of the jahiliyyah used to take everywhere with them and consult whenever they had to make a decision. These were three arrows, on the first of which was written ‘Do’, on the second ‘Do not do’ and on the third ‘Try again.’ If the person picked out the one which said ‘Do’, he would go ahead and do that thing; if it said, ‘Do not do’, he would not do it, and if it said, ‘Try again,’ he would consult them again. Instead of this, Allah – to Whom be praise – has given us something better, which is the prayer of Istikharah. 

In conclusion, these amulets which do not contain Quran or Sunnah are just like the azlam in that they involve corrupt beliefs and go against the shari’ah and are far-removed from the characteristics of Islam. Those who believe in pure Tawhid keep as far away as possible from such things. The faith in their hearts is too great to permit anything of this sort to enter their hearts. Their status is too high and their certainty of faith is too strong for them to put their trust in anyone other than Allah or to seek the protection of anyone other than Him. And Allah is the Source of strength.” (Ma’arij al-Qabul, 2/510-512) 

The view that amulets are not allowed even if they contain words from the Quran is the view of our shaykhs: 

  • The scholars of the Standing Committee said: 

“The scholars agreed that it is haram to wear amulets if they contain anything other than Quran, but they differed concerning those which do contain Quran. Some of them said that wearing these is permitted, and others said that it is not permitted. The view that it is not permitted is more likely to be correct because of the general meaning of the ahadith, and in order to prevent means of shirk.” (Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allah ibn Ghadyan, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allah ibn Qa’ud.  Fatawa al-Lajnah al-Daimah, 1/212) 

  • Shaykh al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“This misguidance is still widespread among the Bedouin, fallahin (peasants) and some of the city-dwellers. Examples include the pearls which some drivers put in their cars, hanging them from the rear-view mirror. Some of them hang an old shoe on the front or back of the car; some hang a horse-shoe on the front of their house or shop. All of that is to ward off the evil eye, or so they claim. And there are other things which are widespread because of ignorance of Tawhid and the things which nullify it such as actions of shirk and idolatry which the messengers were only sent and the Books were only revealed to put an end to. It is to Allah that we complain of the ignorance of Muslims nowadays, and their being far away from their religion.” ((Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah, 1/890, 492) 

And Allah knows best

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Source: Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid