Praise be to Allah.
The correct view according to the majority of Ahl al-Sunnah (mainstream Muslims) is that witchcraft or magic is real and that it can have an effect – if Allah wills and decrees it – on the body of the one against whom it is directed, and it can even kill him.
Imam al-Qurafi said: “Witchcraft is real and the person against whom it is directed could die, or his mood and habits could be changed … This was also the view of al-Shafi’i and Ibn Hanbal…”
The Mu’tazilah and Qadariyyah (two deviant sects) did not agree with this… but that is of no significance. Al-Qurafi and others mentioned that the sahabah (companions) agreed that it (witchcraft) is real, before there emerged anybody who denied this.
Among the evidence of Ahl al-Sunnah is:
The ayah/verse (interpretation of the meaning):
“… but the shayateen (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, “We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s leave. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not.” [2:102]
This ayah clearly indicates what is being asked about here, which is that witchcraft is real and that the practitioner of witchcraft can cause separation between a man and his wife and that he can cause harm to people by his witchcraft – if that is decreed by the universal will of Allah.
The ayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“And from the evil of the witchrafts when they blow in the knots.” [113:4]
‘… the witchcrafts when they blow in the knots,’ refers to witches or female practitioners of witchcraft who tie knots as part of their magic and blow on them. If witchcraft were not real, Allah would not have commanded us to seek refuge from it.
Further proof is to be seen in the fact that witchcraft was directed against the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) by the Jew Labeed ibn al-A’asam. This is a saheeh hadeeth (authentic narration) which was narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Further evidence is to be seen in the real-life experiences of many people, which cannot be overlooked.
Ibn al-Qayyim said: the witchcraft which causes people to be sick or to feel depressed, or which makes them love or hate, exists and is well known to all people. Many people have experienced what it can do to them.” Ibn Qudamah said: “It is well known among people that a man can be separated from his wife (by witchcraft) when he gets married, so that he is unable to have intercourse with her, but when the spell is lifted, then he is able to have intercourse with her. This is so commonly known that it cannot be denied. There are so many reports of witchcraft that it is inconceivable that so many people would agree on a lie.”
There are many ways of protecting oneself against witchcraft:
The best way is to fear Allah, obey His commands, put one's trust in Him, seek refuge with Allah, and start each morning by eating seven dates. All of these were narrated in saheeh ahadeeth (authentic reports).
There are many ways of removing the effects of witchcraft, including:
1) Ruqyah [prayers, supplications], the best of which is supplications from the Quran, then du’as (supplications) narrated in saheeh ahadeeth.
2) Finding the objects used for witchcraft purposes and doing something to neutralize them.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: the sunnah (prophetic teaching) for treating this sickness – two kinds were transmitted from him:
One of them – which is the best – is to locate and neutralize the object, as it was reported in a saheeh hadeeth that he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked his Lord about this, and He directed him to a well where he found a comb, some hairs that had fallen when he combed his hair … . When he removed these things from the well, he felt better, as if he had recovered from an illness. This is the best way of dealing with this problem, and is like removing something bad from the body by expelling it.
3) Cupping, induced vomiting and surgery.
Ibn al-Qayyim said – continuing what he said in the words quoted above: “The second kind is by physically removing the place affected by the witchcraft, because witchcraft has an effect on human nature and the bodily humours, and can affect moods. If its effects are noted in any part of the body and it is possible to remove the bad material, this will be very beneficial.”
And Allah knows best.