To perform a strange or peculiar incident without any apparent cause is called magic. According to the Oxford dictionary, magic is the supposed art of controlling events or effects, etc. by supernatural power. If the magic or miracle is performed through the prophets, it is called Mu’jiza. If it is performed through pious and saintly people, it is called Karaamat.
There are many incidents of Mu’jizas and Karamats mentioned in the Quran and Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Allah Ta’ala speaks about the Mu’jiza performed by Saleh (Alayhis salaam) by bringing forth a young camel from within the mountain upon the request of his people to prove the authenticity of his prophethood (Surah A’araaf Aayat 73).
Allah also speaks about the Mu’jiza performed by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) by merely pointing at the moon ordering it to split into two parts (Surah Qamar 1). Hadhrat Eesa (Alayhis salaam) used to perform Mu’jiza by healing people despondent of any cure (Surah Mumtahinah Aayat 110). The purpose of such miraculous incidents is to substantiate and consolidate true and correct beliefs. Many disbelievers accepted Islam upon witnessing such miraculous incidents. However, these miraculous incidents can be performed by disbelievers as well and it is called Istidraaj.
Among other differences between Mu’jiza, Karaamat and Istidraaj, one is, prophets and saintly people attribute the miracles to Allah and invite towards Allah, as opposed to Istidraaj wherein the magicians attribute their miraculous performances to themselves.
Before Qiyamat, Dajjal will appear and perform strange and peculiar things like bringing rain, killing a person and restoring life, etc. He will claim divinity and prove it through magical incidents. People with weak faith, in view of his magic, will have faith in him and become kaafirs. Similarly, the magic performances of any magician, David Copperfield etc., is Istidraaj. Allah Ta’ala grants them respite and people with weak Imaan forget the ultimate Power of Allah Ta’ala and become confounded with the powers of magicians and place their faith and confidence in them. The magicians may be regarded as preliminary shows of the ultimate magic of Dajjal. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) cautioned the Ummah of the tricks of Dajjal and cautioned about his kufr deceptions. It is not permissible to attend or view any magical show. Consider the following Ahaadith:
– Hadhrat ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘The prayer of everyone is accepted in the night of 15th Sha’baan but not the prayer of the magician and tax-collector (Ahmad).
– Hadhrat Anas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘If a man is not polytheist or a magician or is not jealous of Muslim brothers, the rest of his sins are expected to be forgiven.’ (Tabrani)
– Hadhrat Abu Hurayra (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Three persons will not enter paradise; the habitual drunkard, one who believes in magic and one who breaks the blood relations.’ (Ibn Hibbaan)