Fortune-Telling, Charms and Omens: The Islamic Perspective



All praise is due to Allah, the Exalted, the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe. May His peace and blessings be upon our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH). In Islam, only Allah has absolute knowledge of everything and knows the secrets of tomorrow. Allah does not reveal the secret of tomorrow to any man except His prophets.

"He (Allah) Alone is the All-Knower of the Unseen, and He reveals to none the Unseen except to Messenger (from mankind) whom He has chosen, and then He makes a band of watching guards (angels) to march before and behind him. He (Allah) protects them till He sees that they have conveyed the Messages of their Lord. And He surrounds all that which is with them, and He keeps count of all things." (Q72:26-28)

"Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone).  It is He Who sends down rain and He Who knows what is in the wombs. Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn on the morrow nor does anyone know in what land he is to die.  Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things)." (Q31:34)

Human beings, during all ages, have been doing their best in trying to know tomorrow and what it has in store for them. Some also try to avert misfortune by using charms. Nowadays, many self-acclaimed prophets have made "prediction of events" an annual activity. In the past, one of them predicted the end of the world and some gullible men and women believed him. While Islam recognizes the fact that Allah can bless whomever He wills with true dreams which may give information about future events, Islam is totally against prediction of future events, fortune-telling, use of charms and omens to avert bad luck and bring good luck, and all other related practices. Whoever engages in any of these acts is committing Shirk. Shirk (associating partners with Allah or attributing Allah's attributes to others) is a serious sin that can lead to Hell-Fire if repentance is not sought before death.

Allah commanded our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), to declare to mankind thus:

"I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah wills. If I had knowledge of the unseen I should have multiplied all good and no evil should have touched me I am but a warner and a bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith." (Q7:188)

Say: “I tell you not that with me are the treasures of Allah nor do I know what is hidden nor do I tell you I am an angel. I but follow what is revealed to me.” Say: “Can the blind be held equal to the seeing?”  Will you then consider not?”  (Q6:50)

Islam forbids Muslims from seeking to know the future by any mean. Whoever claims to know the future is attributing to himself/herself one of the attributes of Allah, i.e. The Knower of unseen and hidden things. Most of the people who make prediction or claim to know the future have a way they communicate with the Jinn because Allah says in the Holy Qur'an that:

"And (moreover) we have guarded them (heavens) from every evil spirit (jinn) accursed: But any that gains a hearing by stealth is pursued by a flaming fire bright (to see)." (Q15:17-18)

"And we (jinn) pried into the secrets of heaven; but we found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires. `We used indeed to sit there in (hidden) stations to (steal) a hearing; but any who listens now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush". (Q72: 8-9)

Some people asked Allah's Apostle (PBUH) about the fortunetellers. Allah's Apostle said to them,

"They are nothing (i.e., liars)." The people said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Sometimes they tell something which comes out to be true." Allah's Apostle said, "That word which comes to be true is what a jinn snatches away by stealing and then pours it in the ear of his fortuneteller with a sound similar to the cackle of a hen, and then they add to it one-hundred lies". (Bukhari 8.232)

The following ahadith shed more light on the topic.

Uqbah ibn 'Amir reported that the Prophet (PBUH) once said, "May Allah cause failure and unrest to whoever wears a talisman or puts it on others".(Ahmad and Al-Hakim)

Safiyyah reported from some of the wives of Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) that Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said: He who visits a fortuneteller (Arraf) and asks him about anything, his prayers extending to forty nights will not be accepted. (Muslim 5540)

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If anyone resorts to a fortuneteller and believes in what he says (according to the version of Musa), or has intercourse with his wife (according to the agreed version) when she is menstruating, or has intercourse with his wife through her anus, he has nothing to do with what has been sent down to Muhammad (peace be upon him) - according to the version of Musaddad. (Abu Dawood 3895).

It is not Islamic to lay claim to know the future, to engage in or encourage fortunetelling, to use charms to avert bad luck or bring good luck. Muslims are expected to perform Solatul-Istikharah when they need to make a decision and pray to Allah when they need something and to avert afflictions.

May Allah accept our prayers and save us from all evils and Hell Fire.

Ma salam.