The Prohibition of Fortune-Telling, Sihr (witchcraft and magic), Horoscopes, Palm Reading, etc. in Islam

There are among mankind people who claim knowledge of the unseen and the future. They are known by various names, among which are: fortune-tellers, soothsayers, foreseers, augurs, magicians, prognosticators, oracles, astrologers, palmists, etc. Fortune-tellers use various methods and mediums from which they claim to extract their information, among which are: reading tea-leaves, drawing lines, writing numbers, palm-reading, casting horoscopes, crystal ball gazing, rattling bones, throwing sticks, etc. Practitioners of occult arts, who claim to reveal the unseen and predict the future, can be divided into two main categories:

  1. Those who have no real knowledge or secrets but depend on telling their customers about general incidences which happen to most people. They often go through a series of meaningless rituals, and then make calculated general guesses. Some of their guesses, due to their generality, may come true. Most people tend to remember the few predictions that come true and quickly forget the many which do not. This tendency is a result of the fact that after some time, all the predictions tend to become half-forgotten thoughts in the subconscious until something happens to trigger their recall. For example, it has become common practice in North America to publish, at the beginning of each year, the various predictions of famous fortune-tellers. When a survey was taken of the various predictions for the year 1980CE, it was found that the most accurate fortune-teller among them was only twenty-four percent (24%) accurate in her predictions!
  2. The second group are those who have made contact with the Jinn. This group is of most importance because it usually involves the grave sin of Shirk (associating others with Allah), and those involved often tend to be fairly accurate in their information and thus present a real Fitnah (trial and temptation) for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Not only is the practice of astrology Haram (forbidden by Islamic Law), but so are visiting an astrologist and listening to his predictions, buying books on astrology and reading one’s horoscope. Since astrology is mainly used for predicting the future, those who practice it are considered fortune-tellers. Consequently, one who seeks his horoscope comes under the ruling contained in the Prophet’s sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam statement:

“The daily prayers of whoever approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything will not be accepted for forty days and nights.”


The punishment in this Hadeeth is simply for approaching and asking the astrologist, even if one is in doubt about the truth of his statements. When one is in doubt about the truth or falsehood of astrological information, this entails that he is in doubt about whether or not others know the unseen and the future besides Allah. This is a form of Shirk, because Allah has clearly stated (what means):

“And with Him [i.e., Allah] are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him.”

[Quran 6:59]

As well as (what means):

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allah…'”

[Quran: 27:65]

If, however, one believes in the predictions of their horoscopes, whether spoken by an astrologist or written in books of astrology, he falls directly into Kufr (disbelief) as stated by the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention):

“Whoever approaches an oracle or fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.”

[Ahmad and Abu Dawud]

Like the previous narration, this one literally refers to the fortune-teller and it is just as applicable to the astrologist. Both claim knowledge of the future. The astrologist’s claim is just as opposed to Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism) as the ordinary fortune-teller. He claims that people’s personalities are determined by the stars, and their future actions and the events of their lives are written in the stars. The ordinary fortune-teller claims that the formation of tea leaves at the bottom of a cup, or lines in a palm, tell him the same thing. In both cases, individuals claim the ability to read in the physical formation of created objects, knowledge of the unseen.

Belief in astrology and the casting of horoscopes are in clear opposition to the letter and spirit of Islam. It is really the empty soul, which has not tasted real Imaan (belief) that seeks out these paths. Essentially these paths represent a vain attempt to escape Qadar (fate).

These ignorants believe that if they know what is in store for them tomorrow, they can prepare from today. In that way, they may avoid the bad and ensure the good. Yet, Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention) was told by Allah to say (what means):

“…If I knew the unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me. I am not except a warner and a bringer of glad tidings to a people who believe.”

[Quran 7:188]

True Muslims are, therefore, obliged to stay far away from these areas. Thus, rings, chains, etc., which have the signs of the Zodiac on them should not be worn, even if one does not believe in them. They are part and parcel of a fabricated system which propagates Kufr and should be done away with entirely. No believing Muslim should ask another what his star-sign is, or attempt to guess what it is. Nor should he or she read horoscope columns in newspapers or listen to them being read. Any Muslim who allows astrological predictions to determine his actions should seek Allah’s forgiveness and renew his Islam.

Star Signs, Fortune Tellers, Witchcraft and Palm Readers

But Allah has not created the healing for His slaves in that which He has forbidden to them, so it is not permissible for the sick person to go to a soothsayer who claims to know the unseen, in order to find out from them what is wrong with him. And it is not permissible for him to believe what they tell him, because they speak of the unseen without knowledge, or they summon the jinn and seek their help in doing what they want. The ruling on these people is that they are kaafirs and misguided, because they claim to have knowledge of the unseen.

We’ve all done it at one time or another when we were in our ignorant days, but when I found out the truth about horoscopes, fortune tellers, palm readers, tarot card readers, magicians, witchcraft etc it shocked me. These are the things our parents never teach us, but things we definitely need to know. In this post I will try to tell you as much as I can about magic and its form so in shaa Allah you will stop being ignorant and doing these things.


First of all lets talk about horoscopes. When it comes to horoscopes some people say they are only reading them to see what they say and say they don’t actually believe them. Others think that horoscopes might be true, and that there is nothing wrong with them. For those who listen to such things like fortune telling and horoscope etc (without believing in them, just for time pass) – HIS PRAYERS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR 40 DAYS.

But to believe what one hears about his fortune told by such soothsayers then HE NULLIFIED HIS FAITH AND HAS DISBELIEVED … HE IS NO MORE A MUSLIM.

#1 Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever goes to a Diviner (Fortune-teller) AND ASKS HIM about anything (In today’s world, whoever reads the horoscope also is included in this), his prayers will not be accepted for forty nights.”

[Saheeh Muslim]

#2 Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) also said:

“Whoever goes to a soothsayer or a diviner AND BELIEVES HIM in what he says, has indeed disbelieved in what was revealed upon Muhammad.”

[Musnad Ahmad and others]

Notice the difference in both the hadeeth –

  • The first one says (asks him)
  • The second says (believes him)

So just going in those things for curiosity regularly would nullify your prayers for 40 days.

And going and believing those things will NULLIFY your faith for life-time … Unless you repent.

Al-Bukhari said in his Saheeh: Qutadah said:

“Allah created these stars for three purposes: to adorn the heavens, to stone the devils and as signs by which to navigate. Whoever seeks anything else in them is mistaken and does not benefit from them, and he is wasting his time and effort in seeking something of which he has no knowledge.”

(Saheeh al-Bukhari, Baab fi’l-Nujoom, 2/240)

The study of the stars is divided into two kinds:

  1. Study of the influence of the stars (astrology);
  2. Study of the positions and movements of the stars (astronomy)

Study of the influence of the stars (astrology) is divided into three categories:

1 – The belief that these stars have a real influence in the sense that they create events and evil. This is major shirk (shirk akbar), because whoever claims that there is another creator alongside Allah is a mushrik in the sense of major shirk, for he is regarding a created thing that is subjugated as a creator which subjugates.

2 – Making this a reason to claim to have knowledge of the unseen, so from the movements and changes in the stars he deduces that such and such will happen because such and such has happened to such and such a star. For example, he may say that one person’s life will be miserable because he was born under this star, and that another person’s life will be happy because he was born under that star. This person is taking knowledge of the stars as a means to claim that he has knowledge of the unseen, and claiming to have knowledge of the unseen is kufr (disbelief) which puts one beyond the pale of Islam, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say: None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghayb (Unseen) except Allah”

[Quran 29:65]

The grammatical structure used in the original Arabic – starting with the negation laa (translated here as “none”) followed by the word illa (“except”) – is one of the most emphatic ways of expressing exclusivity. So if a person claims to know the unseen, he is effectively disbelieving what the Quran says.

3 – If he believes that the stars are the cause of good or bad things happening, this is minor shirk (shirk asghar), i.e., when something happens he attributes it to the stars (and only attributes it to the stars after it has happened). The basic principle is that whoever believes that one thing is the cause of another when Allah has not made it so, is overstepping the mark and not acknowledging Allah as He should be acknowledged, because the One Who makes things happen is Allah alone.

For example, if a person seeks healing from a piece of string (tied around his wrist), and says, “I believe that healing is in the hand of Allah and this string is simply the means,” we would say to him, “You have saved yourself from major shirk but you have fallen into lesser shirk, because Allah has not made string a clear means of healing (this refers to amulets or thabeez known in some south Asian cultures). By doing this you have transgressed against His position of Controller and Sustainer, by making something a means to something else when Allah has not made it so.”

The same applies to one who regards the stars as the cause of rainfall when this is not the case. The evidence for that is the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhari (801) and Muslim (104) from Zayd ibn Khalid al-Juhani who said: “The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) led us in praying Fajr at al-Hudaybiyah, following rainfall during the night. When he had finished praying, he turned to the people and said,

‘Do you know what your Lord has said?’

They said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’

He said,

‘This morning one of My slaves became a believer in Me and one became a disbeliever. As for the one who said, “We have been given rain by virtue of Allah and His mercy,” he is a believer in Me and a disbeliever in the stars. But as for the one who said, “We have been given rain by such and such a star,” he is a disbeliever in Me and a believer in the stars.’”

So the one who attributes rain to the stars is saying that the stars caused the rain.

Study of the positions and movements of the stars (astronomy) is divided into two categories:

1 – If their movements are used to define things that serve a religious purpose, this is something that is necessary. If that helps in the case of religious obligations, then learning it is obligatory, such as using the stars to determine the direction of the qiblah (direction of Makkah).

2 – If their movements are used to define things that serve a worldly purpose, there is nothing wrong with that. This is of two types:

(a) Using the stars to work out directions, such as knowing that the pole lies to the north, and that the Pole Star, which is close to it, revolves around the North Pole. This is permissible.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And landmarks (signposts, during the day) and by the stars (during the night), they (mankind) guide themselves”

[Quran 16:16]

(b) Using the stars to work out the seasons, through learning the phases of the moon. Some of the Salaf regarded this as makrooh while others permitted it. The correct view is that it is permissible and there is nothing makrooh in it, because there is no shirk involved in it, unless one learns it in order to attribute rainfall or cold weather to it, and says that this is what is causing that. That is a kind of shirk. But simply knowing the time of year from it, whether it is spring or autumn or winter, there is nothing wrong with that.

See al-Qawl al-Mufeed by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him), 2/102.

Fortune Tellers, Palm, Tea Leaf Readers etc.

Fortune telling, palm reading, tea leaves reading etc. etc. are all considered as shirk. Both the person doing performing the readings and the person having them read are committing shirk. The reason for this is the same as horoscopes. The fortune teller is saying that he/she has the ability to read ones future, when only Allah and Allah alone can do that. The person who is having it done is also committing shirk because he/she believes that someone other than Allah can see their future.

Fortune tellers and magicians are actually working with the jinns (the ones that work for shaytaan). Fortune tellers and magicians have sold their soul to the demons in exchange for the jinns giving them information about the people they do readings and perform magic for. These people are destined for hell if they do not repent.

It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “Some people asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) about soothsayers.

He said,

‘They are nothing.’

They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, sometimes they say something and it comes true.’

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

‘That is a word of truth that the jinn snatches and whispers into the ear of his familiar, but they mix a hundred lies with it.’

[Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Sihr- Witchcraft and Magicians

Sihr (witchcraft or magic) is a word referring to something hidden. It is real and there are kinds of witchcraft that may affect people psychologically and physically, so that they become sick and die, or husbands and wives are separated. Its effects happen by the will of Allah. It is a devilish action, most of which is only achieved by means of shirk and drawing close to the jinn and shayaateen (devils) by means of that which they love, and it is based on associating others with Allah (shirk).

There are doctors who are also practitioners of witchcraft, who treat people by means of seeking the help of the jinn. They claim to have knowledge of the sickness with no need to identify it, and they prescribe for the patient foods and drinks that bring him closer to his allies among the devils. He may tell them to slaughter a pig whilst saying “Bismillaah” over it, or to slaughter a permissible animal without saying “Bismillaah”, or when saying the name of one of the devils.

This is kufr or disbelief in Allah, and it is not permissible under any circumstances to go to people like these.

These ahadeeth demonstrate that it is forbidden to go to soothsayers, fortune-tellers, witches and the like, and ask them questions and believe them, and a warning is issued to those who do that.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade going to them, asking them questions and believing them, because that is a great evil, a serious danger and leads to bad consequences, and because they are immoral liars. These ahadeeth also indicate that soothsayers and witches are also kaafirs, because they claim to have knowledge of the unseen, which is kufr, and because they only reach their goals by serving the jinn and worshipping them instead of Allah, which is kufr or disbelief in Him and associating others with Him (shirk).

There are many kinds of witchcraft, including illusions and deceiving the eyes. But not all sihr is like that. Some of the scholars listed different kinds of witchcraft, and counted eight kinds, the most well known of which are:

1. Knots and incantations

i.e., reciting words and mumbo-jumbo by means of which the witch is able to use the devils to do what he wants of harming the person being bewitched. But Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s Leave”

[Quran 2:102]

2. Sleight of hand

They become skilled in this by means of practice and training to do things quickly, and bring out something hidden.

For example, the magician may bring a dove and strangle it in front of the audience, then he hits it with his hand and it gets up and flies.

But in fact there was a kind of anaesthetic in his hand and he made it smell it and made the audience think that he had strangled it and killed it, then when he hits it, he wakes it up from that stupor.

3. Bewitching the eyes

This is very common among the liars; the magician does not really put a sword in his body, rather he bewitches the eyes of the audience, and puts the sword by his side, but the bewitched people think that he puts it through his middle.

These tricksters have become well known among us, because among the audience there are those who protected themselves with Quran and dhikr, and remembered Allah a great deal whilst sitting in the gathering watching the magician, so they saw what really happened, unlike what those who were bewitched saw.

4. Using chemicals

This is done well by those who know how substances react with one another, thus producing a substance that is not affected by some other substances, such as the Sufi Rifaa’iyyah who make people think that they are not affected by fire, when in fact they coat themselves with some fireproof substances. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) challenged them to wash with hot water before entering the fire and they refused because this would have exposed their deceit.

And there are many other things that the practitioners of witchcraft do, which could not happen unless Allah decreed it.

See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/146; Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 2/178; al-Sihr by Shaykh ‘Umar al-Ashqar.

Rulings on witchraft, the evil eye and destructive envy