Chapter 7: Divine Incantations (Ruqyah), Talismans, Good Luck Charms and Amulets. Ahmad An-Najmi’s explanation of Kitāb At-Tawheed.

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(The Concise, Simple and Straight-forward Explanation of the Tawheed of the Exalted Creator – which was Authored by the Shaikhul-Islaam Muhammad b. Abdul-Wahhaab)

“Ash-Sharh al-Moojaz al-Mumahhad li Tawheed al-Khaaliq al-Mumajjad alladhi allafahu Shaikhul-Islaam Muhammad”

This is an explanation of Kitaab at-Tawheed of Shaikhul-Islaam Muhammad b. Abdul-Wahhaab (d. 1206H, rahimahullaah) by ash-Shaikh al-Allaamah Ahmad b. Yahyaa an-Najmee (rahimahullaah).

So Shaikhul-Islaam Muhammad b. Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) said:

Chapter 7: That which has been Related Concerning Divine Incantations (Ruqaa) and Amulets (Tamā’im)

In the Saheeh on the authority of Abu Basheer al-Ansaaree (radiyallaahu ‘anhu): That he was with Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) on one of his journeys. The Prophet sent a messenger to say:

“No necklace of a bowstring should be left on the neck of a camel, or any type of necklace except that it be cut off.” [1]

On the authority on Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) who said: I heard Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) saying:

“Indeed divine incantations (ruqyahs), amulets (tamaa’im) and at-Tiwalah are Shirk.” Reported Ahmad and Abu Dawood. [2]

On the authority of Abdullaah b. ‘Ukaim from the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam):

“Whoever wears something [as a charm or amulet] is entrusted to it.” Reported by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhee. [3]

At-Tamaa’im (singular: Tameemah): It is something that is hung on children to protect them from the evil-eye. However, if what is hung is from the Qur’aan, then some of the Salaf allowed it, and others did not allow it, and they regarded it to be forbidden – amongst them Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ‘anhu).

Ar-Ruqaa (singular: Ruqyah): This is what is called al-`Azaa’im (recital). There is evidence to show the allowance of Ruqyah that is free from Shirk. The Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) allowed it for remedy from the evil-eye and poisonous stings and bites.

At-Tiwalah: It is something that the people make, and claim that it makes a woman love her husband, or a man love his women.

Ahmad reported from Ruwaifi’ who said: Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) said to me:

“O Ruwaifi’, perhaps you will have a long life, so inform the people that whoever ties a knot in his beard or wears a necklace of bowstring or purifies himself from the toilet using animal dung or bone, then Muhammad disassociates himself from him.” [4]

From Saeed b. Jubair who said:
<blockquote>"Whoever cuts an amulet from a person, it is like freeing a slave." Reported by Wakee'. [5]</blockquote>
also narrated from Ibraaheem [an-Nakha`ee] who said:

“They would detest all forms of amulets (tamaa’im), Quranic or non-Quranic.” [6]

Important Issues in this Chapter:

  1. The meanings of Ruqaa and Tamaa’im.

  2. The meaning of Tiwalah.

  3. That these three are considered to be from Shirk, without exceptions.

  4. Performing Ruqyah using the words of al-Haqq (the words of Allaah) to remedy the evil-eye and poisonous stings is not forbidden.

  5. If am amulet (Tameemah) is made from the Qur’aan, then the scholars differ as to whether it is considered to be from the forbidden amulets or not.

  6. Hanging or tying bowstrings to animals to repel the evil-eye is from the forbidden categories.

  7. There is a severe warning for the one who hangs the string of a bow [as an amulet].

  8. The excellent reward for the one who cuts off the amulet from a person.

  9. The speech of Ibraaheem an-Nakha`ee does not contradict the “difference of opinion” previously stated because he is referring here to the companions of Abdullaah b. Mas’ood.


[1] Reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim.

[2] Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, no. 3604; Sunan Abee Daawood, no. 3883; Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, no. 6090; Mustadrak ‘alas-Saheehayn, no. 8290; and others. Al-Albaanee graded it Saheeh in Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 1233, see Silsilah al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah, no. 331.

[3] An-Nasaa’ee in al-Mujtabaa, no. 4079; Sunan al-Kubraa of an-Nasaa’ee, no. 3542; Sunan al-Kubraa of al-Bayhaqee, no. 19395; at-Tirmidhee, no. 2072 and others. Al-Albaanee graded it Saheeh in Saheeh at-Tirmidhee.

[4] Reported by an-Nasaa’ee; Abu Dawood; Imaam Ahmad; Al-Albaanee graded it as Saheeh in Saheeh al-Jaami’ no. 7910;

[5] Reported by Ibn Abee Shaybah in al-Musannaf, no. 23473.

[6] Ibid, no. 23467.

Explanation of this Chapter by Shaikh an-Najmee (rahimahullaah):

Ar-Ruqaa is the plural of Ruqyah, and Ruqyah is to seek protection (or refuge) – this occurs when a sick person seeks protection. So he recites something from the Qur’aan, and the sick person is blown over – Ruqyah also includes the recitations of supplications of incantations found in the Sunnah.

It is established that the Prophet (salallaahu alaihi wassallam) would seek refuge (protection) for Hasan and Husayn (radiyallaahu anhumaa), his two grandsons, by saying:
<blockquote>"I seek protection for you in the Perfect Words of Allaah from every devil and every beast and from every envious blameworthy eye." [1]</blockquote>
He would do that three times and then wipe the head of the head of the child. The Prophet (salallaahu alaihi wassallam) said:
<blockquote>"Ibraaheem (
alaihis salaam) would would seek protection for Ismaa’eel and Ishaaq with it.” (al-Bukhaaree).

Ruqyah is also mentioned in the hadeeth of Abu Saeed al-Khudree (radiyallaahu ‘anhu), wherein there occurs:

“Some of the Companions of the Prophet came across a tribe of the Arabs, and the tribe would not host them. Whilst they were in that state, the chief of the tribe was bitten by a snake (or scorpion). So they said to the Companions: ‘Do you have any medicine or anyone who can treat with Ruqyah?’ The Companions replied: ‘You refused to host us, so we will not treat your chief unless you pay us for it.’ So they agreed to pay them a flock of sheep. Then one of the Sahaabah started reciting the Mother of the Book (i.e. Suratul-Faatihah), gathered his saliva and spat on the bite. The chief was thus cured, so they presented him with the sheep, but the Sahaabah said: ‘We will not take them until we have asked the Prophet.’ So they asked him and he laughed, and asked: ‘How did you know al-Faatihah was a Ruqyah? Take the sheep and assign me a share.'” [2]

So these are proofs for the allowance of Ruqyah, but with three conditions:

  1. That is must be from the Book and the Sunnah.
  2. That is must be done in the Arabic language.

  3. That one must not believe that the Ruqyah itself is the cure – rather it a means.

As for Tamaa’im: then it is the plural of Tameemah (amulet or charm) – and the intent here is something that is hung or worn by a person seeking in that to bring about a benefit or to repel harm. The Salaf differed with respect to the permissibility of wearing the Tameemah (amulet) if it was Quranic: Is it permitted or not?

What is correct is that it is not permitted for the following reasons:

  1. The verses of the Qur’aan are exposed to abuse – a person, man or woman, wears it whilst relieving themselves in the toilet area. Or a woman wears it whilst menstruating – or they wear it whilst engaging in sexual relations – and this is forbidden.
  2. The wearing of the Tamaa’im is not reported from the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam). Rather what is reported from him is Ruqyah. As for other than Ruqyah such as writing of Quranic verses and wiping them out and so on, then that is not legislated or permitted to do. As for “writing and wiping out”, then that is to write a write a verse in a vessel or bowl and subsequently wipe is out with water – then the afflicted person drinks it. This has not been reported from the Prophet or his Companions.

That which is reported from Ibn Mas’ood wherein the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) said:

“Indeed divine incantations (ruqaa), amulets (tamaa’im) and hand-made charms (tiwalah) are Shirk (forms of polytheism).”

Then the Ruqyah mentioned here refers to the forbidden type which contains in it incantations of protection (Ta’aaweedh) by using names that are unknown.

It is well-known that when people wear amulets, their hearts get attached get attached to them – so one believes that that it is this amulet that protects him from dangers and keep him safe from fear and terror – and this is Shirk for sure.

As for Tiwalah: then that is what is made to cause a man to love his woman, or a woman to love her husband. And this is called Hidaayah by us (i.e. the Arabs). All of this is impermissible. Those who partake in this have involved themselves in a type of Magic. And Magic (Sihr) is of-course forbidden, and none would consider such a deed except an unbeliever.

As for the hadeeth of Abu Basheer al-Ansaaree (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) that he was with Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) on a journey and he sent a messenger saying:

“No necklace of a bowstring (watar) should be left on the neck of a camel – or any type of necklace – except that it be cut off.”

Al-Watar is a string that is used on a bow to give it the strength. So when one was afflicted and they wished to remove the affliction, they would take it and place it around the neck of the animal claiming that it will protect it from the evil-eye, or from the devils. And this, without doubt, is Shirk.

As for his saying: “or any necklace” – this means any type of necklace is forbidden whilst believing those things. And, overwhelmingly, those who put these necklaces on the animals, they put them on due to these beliefs.

The saying of the author, Shaikhuk-Islaam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah): “Ar-Ruqaa: then this is what is referred to as al-`Azaa’im. However, there are other evidences to show the allowance of Ruqyah that is free from Shirk, and the Messenger allowed it for the evil-eye and poisonous bites.”

I (Shaikh an-Najmee) say: There is difference between Ruqyah and `Azeemah.

Azeemah</strong> (plural:Azaa’im) is what is written down for the purpose of carrying around.

Ruqyah is when a Raaqee (one performing Ruqyah) recites and blows (like spitting) but without writing anything.

So the Ruqyah is permissible – and as for the `Azaa’im and Tamaa’im (written amulets and charms), they are forbidden as previously mentioned.

There occurs in Saheeh Muslim from Awf b. Maalik al-Ashjaee (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) who said:

“We would perform Ruqyah in the Days of pre-Islamic Ignorance, so we said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, how do you view this matter?’ He responded: ‘Present to me your Ruqyahs. There is no problem in Ruqyahs so long as they do not include Shirk.'” [3]

The author of Fat-hul-Majeed (Shaikh Abdur-Rahmaan b. Hasan b. Muhammad b. Abdul-Wahhaab’s of Kitaabut-Tawheed) said that al-Khattaabee (rahimahullaah) said:

“The Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) would perform Ruqyah, and Ruqyah was performed on him, and he commanded with it, and he allowed it. So if it is done by way of the Qur’aan and the Names of Allaah, then it is allowed or commanded. And that which is disliked and forbidden is that which is done in other than the language of the Arabs because it may involve disbelief or a saying into which Shirk has entered.”

Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said:

“Every name which is not known, it is is not allowed for anyone to perform Ruqyah with it – let alone that a supplication be made with it, even if its meaning is known.”

As-Suyootee said:

“The Scholars are agreed upon the permissibility of Ruqyah in the presence of three conditions: 1. That it be from the Words of Allaah – by His Names and Attributes.

  1. In the Arabic language.
  2. To believe that the Ruqyah by itself does not affect, rather it is by the Decree and Power of Allaah, the Most High.”

Narrated Abdullaah b.Ukaym from Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) who said:

“Whoever wears an amulet is entrusted to it.”

Biography of the narrator Abdullaah b.Ukaym: Ibn Hajr stated in at-Taqreeb (3506): “He is al-Juhanee, Abu Ma`bad al-Koofee, he is a Mukhadram, of the second level (i.e. greater Taabi’ee). He recited the book of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) to Juhainah – he died during the reign of al-Hajjaaj.”

Someone who is Al-Mukhadram is considered as the second level after the Sahaabah, he is above the Taabi’een. A Mukhadram is someone who was present at the time of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam), embraced Islaam but did not meet him – such as: Abdullaah b. Useelah, AbuUthmaan an-Nahdee, Abu Muslim al-Khawlaanee, Kumail b. Ziyaad, Abu Rajaa al-`Ataaradee and other than them who are many in number, reaching somewhere in the region of forty men.

So what is understood from this narration:

The one who wears something believing that it will bring about benefit or repel harm – then with this, he puts his belief into that which he is wearing, and due to this, Allaah entrusts him (i.e. leaves him) to it. And this is a severe threat and warning to the one who commits Shirk with Allaah by wearing these amulets and believing in them.

The eminent Scholar Shaikh Abdul-Azeez Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) stated in at-Taleeq al-Mufeed</em>:
<blockquote>"It is binding upon a person to trust and rely upon Allaah alone - and this is what will benefit him alongside taking the necessary means, as is stated in the hadeeth: <strong>"Strive in that which will benefit you, and seek the aid of Allaah."</strong> So taking the means is an affair that is necessary, such as taking medicine, and being steadfast upon the Sharee'ah, to take the means to attain well-being and good health, and to seek provision. The means can be obligatory or merely permissible. So it is upon a person to take the means that are obligated and permitted. And the taking of these means does not violate Tawheed - rather to abandon the means is a violation of the intellect and Tawheed both!"</blockquote>
Then the author what was reported by Imaam Ahmad from Ruwaifi
(radiyallaahu anhu) who said: Allaah's Messenger (salallaahualaihi wassallam) said to me:

“O Ruwaifi`! Perhaps you will have a long life, so inform the people that whoever ties a knot in his beard, or wears a necklace of bowstring, or cleans himself from the toilet with with animal dung or bone, then verily Muhammad disassociates himself from him.”

As for Ruwaifi` is the son of Thaabit b. as-Sakan b. Adiyy b. Haarithah al-Ansaaree al-Madanee. A companion, who lived in Egypt. He was appointed as the governor of Burqah (part of modern day Libya/Tunisia – was the last Roman stronghold in Africa before it fell) and died there in 56H.

I say: that the tying of knots in the beard is to plait is out of pride and self elevation – as for generally taking care of it, combing it and grooming it, then this is not forbidden, as Shaikh Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) stated in his discussion of the topic.

The second affair: Putting the bowstring around the neck. Al-Watar: is a string that brings together the two ends of a bow, and an arrow is place there. When is became old and worn out, they would take it off and replace it. Then they would take it and place it around the neck of a camel or another beast, claiming it would protect it from the evil-eye and the devils. But, in reality, it is Allaah (the Most High) who protects from harm and it is He who bring about benefit. In this hadeeth, there is also a forbiddance of purifying and cleansing oneself after using the toilet with the dung of animals or their bones. So the Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) freed himself from those who do that.

The hadeeth has something of weakness in it (layyin), however Al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) authenticated it. The hadeeth also contains a sign from the signs of Prophethood, and that is in his saying to Ruwaifi(radiyallaahuanhu): “Perhaps you will have a long life.” And indeed he did have a long life.

Then we have the narration from Saeed b. Jubair who said:
<blockquote>"Whoever cuts an amulet from a person, it is like freeing a slave." (Reported by Wakee
Ibn al-Jarraah)

The meaning of “it is like freeing a slave,” is that it is equal to that in reward. Shaikh Abdul-Azeez Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) said in his commentary on this point:

“This is because of the fact that he will be freeing this servant from the Fire, and freedom from Shirk is better than freedom from slavery.”

I say: No doubt, freeing a Muslim from Shirk and giving him understanding of Tawheed is immensely rewarding – and in that we there is a greater reward than freeing a slave.

Then there occurs the narration of Ibraaheem an-Nakha`ee who said:

“They hated all forms of amulets and charms, whether Quranic or otherwise.”

And Ibraaheem is Ibraaheem b. Yazeed an-Nakhaee - he is from the generation who took from the Companions (the Taabieen). He was a student of Ibn Masood (radiyallaahuanhu). So they would hate all forms of amulets, Quranic or otherwise. Likewise Ibn Mas`ood would hate them – for two reasons:

Firstly: Due to the generally of the narrations that forbade using them.

Secondly: To block the avenues that lead to Shirk. So the Quranic Mushaf is not to to be worn, nor verses from it, nor are the Prophetic Hadeeth to be worn, nor talismans and bones. And anything that is worn other than the Qur’aan is considered as Shirk. So all of that is Shirk.


[1] Tirmidhee, Abu Daawud, Ahmad, from the narration of Ibn `Abbaas.

[2] Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim, from the narration of Abu Sa`eed.

[3] Muslim.

End of Chapter.

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