Is utilising incantations permissible? Especially black beads worn around the wrist of babies?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatuhu,

Could I ask you to take a look at the following two fatwahs your have placed on your site and explain why they do not contain an invitation to shirk?

my wife and I were blessed with a baby boy.We have been told that he should wear a bracelet of black beads to ward off evil.Is this an islamic practice?

Answer 13899    

February 07, 2005

    Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, ?(The effect of the) eye is Haqq (true).? When a person looks at something good or beautiful, he should say Maashaa Allah. That will avert the effect of a bad eye.

    Generally, one does not know whose eyes has fallen and whether the person said MaashaaAllah or not to avoid the effect of the eyes. It is, therefore, permissible for one to take precaution and adopt some means to ward off the effect of the eyes. It is a common practise to make a black mark on the cheeks of the child or wear a band of black beads on the hand or neck to achieve this. This is a precautionary measure and permissible.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai


My wife has given birth to a baby girl.Her relatives have put some black beads around her wrist, which they say will protect her from any evil and nazr. Is this Islamic, or just another custom ?

Jazakallah Khair
Answer 14327    

April 14, 2005

    Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, ?Nazar is true? The use of black beads on a child’s hand or black cotton is used for prevention of bad eyes.

    and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

    Mufti Ebrahim Desai

In Leicester, UK where I live my wife has spoken to several Gujarati sisters about this practice of placing strings, charms etc containing beads to ward off evil eye and explained the need to use authentic du’a and Quran as Ruqyah not to rely on objects like these beads as this is a form of shirk like the shirk of the hindus who have similar practices of relying on charms as do all the Mushrikeen including those who opposed the message of Muhammad (saw).

Though there is some disagreement amongst the ulema regarding taweez, this is not the issue at stake here but a clear reliance upon the charms and amulets of Jahiliyyah not upon taweez containing the verses of the Quran or authentic du’a from Rasoolullaah (saw).

When this discussion has come up in Leicester and also online, some brothers and sisters have said it is the same as Taweez, others have pointed out Mufti Ibrahim from ask Imam has permitted it so I thought it better to ask you directly to retract your opinion and ask you to look at the following evidences which show its impermissability.

“I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, ‘Spells (ruqyah), amulets and love-charms are shirk.” I said, “Why do you say this? By Allaah, my eye was weeping with a discharge and I kept going to So and so, the Jew, who did a spell for me. When he did the spell, it calmed down.” ‘Abd-Allaah said: “That was just the work of the Shaytaan who was picking it with his hand, and when (the Jew) uttered the spell, he stopped. All you needed to do was to say as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say: ‘Adhhib il-ba’s Rabb al-naas ishfi anta al-Shaafi laa shifaa’a illa shifaa’uka shifaa’an laa yughaadiru saqaman (Remove the harm, O Lord of mankind, and heal, You are the Healer. There is no healing but Your healing, a healing which leaves no disease behind.’”
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3883; Ibn Maajah, 3530

And in another quite clear narration on this subject:

It was narrated from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir al-Juhani that a group came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) [to swear their allegiance (bay’ah) to him]. He accepted the bay’ah of nine of them but not of one of them. They said, “O Messenger of Allaah, you accepted the bay’ah of nine but not of this one.” He said, “He is wearing an amulet.” The man put his hand (in his shirt) and took it off, then he (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) accepted his bay’ah. He said, ‘Whoever wears an amulet has committed shirk.”
Narrated by Ahmad, 16969)

Imraan bin Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that: “the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw a man with a brass bracelet on his arm. He said; ‘what is this?’ He said, ‘it is for protection against waahinah,’ He said, ‘Take it off, it will only increase your weakness, for if you died while it was on you, you would have have success.”

Narrated by Ahmad, ibn Majah and al Tabarani.

There are quite a few other narrations, all calling to make the same point, that reliance upon such kufr shirki customs is not permissable, it is putting trust in other than Allaah and this indian custom of using black beads or black dots seems same as the shirk refuted in the above narrations, so if not could you please explain why it is not encouraging shirk?

If you do agree that Mufti Ibrahim has made a mistake then please retract them before anyone else is misguided.

Jazakallaahu khairan for your time in reading this, and replying if you get the chance Inshallaah.

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatuhu,


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.


We refer to your observation on our fatwa regarding incantations and black beads.  At the outset we want to express our gratitude for engaging us further. 


The Arabic term to what you are referring to is tamaa’im.  Tamaa’im are defined by Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani (may Allah have mercy upon him), the famous commentator of Sahih al-Bukhari as:

التَّمَائِم جَمْع تَمِيمَة وَهِيَ خَرَز أَوْ قِلَادَة تُعَلَّق فِي الرَّأْس (فتح الباري  ج 10 ص 221دار الحديث)


 “Beads or a string tied around the neck.” (Fath al-Bari 10/221 Dar al-Hadith)


To read a hadith without reading the commentaries of the muhaditheen is akin to taking medicine without reading the dosage instructions. 


There are many authentic ahaadith pointing to the permissibility of using incantations in general:


Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (salutations and peace be upon him) allowed incantations against evil eye, poison, and wounds.”[i]


Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that when the Prophet (salutations and peace be upon him) prohibited incantation, the  family of ‘Amr ibn Hazm  came to him and said, “We know an incantation which we used to recite for curing scorpion stings.” They recited the incantation for him, and he said, “I do not see anything wrong with it. Whoever among you is able to help his brother should do so.”[ii]


Awf ibn Maalik al-Ashja‘ee (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “We used to make incantations during the times of ignorance, so we said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, what is your opinion on this matter?’ He replied, ‘Let me hear your incantations, for incantations which do not have shirk in them are fine.” [iii]


Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) clearly states that using amulets is permissible and establishes the chapter titled ‘Chapter of the permissibility of using incantations as long as there is not shirk involved.’[iv]


However, Ibn Hajar pointed out that ‘Awf’s narration in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Incantations which do not have shirk in them are fine.”  This indicates that any ruqyah which leads to shirk is prohibited, and there is no way of knowing if incomprehensible ruqya (incantation) contain shirk or not. Therefore, such ruqya (incantation) are also prohibited as a precaution.[v]


As for tamaa’im, it is narrated from Amr ibn Shu’ayb, from his father, from his grandfather (Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas (Allah be pleased with them all), that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) used to teach them (the Sahabah) for fearful situations the following words:

“I seek refuge in Allah’s perfect words from His wrath, the evil of his servants, the whispered insinuations of devils, and that they come to me.”  Abdullah ibn Amr used to teach these words to his sons who had reached the age of reason, and used to write them and hang them upon those who had not reached the age of reason.[vi]


The practice of Abdullah ibn Amr (Allah be pleased with them) is further evidence of the permissibility of using beads (tamaa’im). 


This clearly illustrates that using beads (tamaa’im) was a common practice.  The reason for the prohibition was the words which contained words of shirk.    


If we were to class amulets and incantations an outright bid’ah and a practice of shirk, does that mean companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) were committing shirk in the presence of the Prophet?


In addition, there are contradictory ahaadith in relation to amulets.  In view of the apparent inconsistencies in the ahaadith relating to amulets, the muhaditheen have harmonised the different ahaadith.    


 Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “The scholars are unanimous that ruqya is permissible if [the following] three conditions are met:

1)     Only the words of Allah (Quraan), names or attributes can be used.

2)     It must be in [comprehensible] Arabic or intelligible words in another language.

3)     Those taking part must believe that the incantation cannot have an independent effect, but it is Allah who causes it to have effect.”[vii]


The ahaadith which render the usage of amulets as shirk is due to the corrupt belief that amulets had the innate capacity to cause benefit and cause harm. [viii]

You quoted the hadith narrated by Imam Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah :

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِنَّ الرُّقَى وَالتَّمَائِمَ وَالتِّوَلَةَ شِرْكٌ قَالَتْ قُلْتُ لِمَ تَقُولُ هَذَا وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ كَانَتْ عَيْنِي تَقْذِفُ وَكُنْتُ أَخْتَلِفُ إِلَى فُلَانٍ الْيَهُودِيِّ يَرْقِينِي فَإِذَا رَقَانِي سَكَنَتْ فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ إِنَّمَا ذَاكَ عَمَلُ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ يَنْخُسُهَا بِيَدِهِ فَإِذَا رَقَاهَا كَفَّ عَنْهَا إِنَّمَا كَانَ يَكْفِيكِ أَنْ تَقُولِي كَمَا كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ أَذْهِبْ الْبَأْسَ رَبَّ النَّاسِ اشْفِ أَنْتَ الشَّافِي لَا شِفَاءَ إِلَّا شِفَاؤُكَ شِفَاءً لَا يُغَادِرُ سَقَمًا[ix]

Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) states whilst commentating on this hadith:

وَإِنَّمَا كَانَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ الشِّرْك لِأَنَّهُمْ أَرَادُوا دَفْع الْمَضَارّ وَجَلْب الْمَنَافِع مِنْ عِنْد غَيْر اللَّه ، وَلَا يَدْخُل فِي ذَلِكَ مَا كَانَ بِأَسْمَاءِ اللَّه وَكَلَامه ، فَقَدْ ثَبَتَ فِي الْأَحَادِيث اِسْتِعْمَال ذَلِكَ

“It has only been classed as shirk because they intended to avert harm and acquire benefit from other than Allah.  Those incantations which are composed of the names of Allah and His Word will be excluded from this statement.  The usage of such incantations have been established in the ahaadith.”[x]


You made a reference to the hadith narrated by Imam Ahmed as follows:


عَنْ عُقْبَةَ بْنِ عَامِرٍ الْجُهَنِيِّ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَقْبَلَ إِلَيْهِ رَهْطٌ فَبَايَعَ تِسْعَةً وَأَمْسَكَ عَنْ وَاحِدٍ فَقَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ بَايَعْتَ تِسْعَةً وَتَرَكْتَ هَذَا قَالَ إِنَّ عَلَيْهِ تَمِيمَةً فَأَدْخَلَ يَدَهُ فَقَطَعَهَا فَبَايَعَهُ وَقَالَ مَنْ عَلَّقَ تَمِيمَةً فَقَدْ أَشْرَكَ

Although this hadith has been classed as weak, it has been narrated by many other scholars.  Haakim narrates it in his Mustadrak, al-Bayhaqi in his al-Kubraa and at-Tabraani in his al-kabeer.  The great muhaddith Allamah al-Manaawi comments on the hadith as follows after narrating two ahaadith of the same nature:  


(تنبيه) قال ابن حجر كغيره : محل ما ذكر في هذا الخبر وما قبله تعليق ما ليس فيه قرآن ونحوه أما ما فيه ذكر الله فلا نهي عنه فإنه إنما جعل للتبرك والتعوذ بأسمائه وذكره[xi]


The purport of this hadith and that which has been narrated before is to tie that which has no portion of the Quraan and the like thereof.  As for that which has the mention of Allah in it, there is not a prohibition from using that.  It has been made permissible to seek the blessings of Allah and to seek the refuge of Almighty Allah.  


The final hadith you quoted was:


 عَنْ عِمْرَانَ بْنِ الْحُصَيْنِ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَأَى رَجُلًا فِي يَدِهِ حَلْقَةٌ مِنْ صُفْرٍ فَقَالَ مَا هَذِهِ الْحَلْقَةُ قَالَ هَذِهِ مِنْ الْوَاهِنَةِ قَالَ انْزِعْهَا فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَزِيدُكَ إِلَّا وَهْنًا (رواه أحمد وابن ماجه)


The famous commentator Allamah Sindhi remarks on this hadith with the following:


 فِي النِّهَايَة الْوَاهِنَة عِرْق يَأْخُذ فِي الْمَنْكِب وَفِي الْيَد كُلّهَا فَيَرْقَى مِنْهَا وَقِيلَ مَرَض يَأْخُذ فِي الْعُضْو وَرُبَّمَا عُلِّقَ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ الْخَرَز مَا يُقَال لَهَا خَرَز الْوَاهِنَة وَهِيَ تَأْخُذ الرِّجَال دُون النِّسَاء وَإِنَّمَا نَهَاهُ عَنْهَا لِأَنَّهُ إِنَّمَا أَخَذَهَا عَلَى أَنَّهَا تَعْصِمهُ مِنْ الْأَلَم فَكَانَتْ عِنْده فِي مَعْنَى التَّمَائِم الْمَنْهِيّ عَنْهَا [xii]

 “al-waahinah is pain experienced in the arm.  People would seek refuge from the pain by using amulets.  The Prophet (salutations and peace be upon him) forbade his companion from using this because he had the belief that the amulet would grant him recovery. (Paraphrased)


The issue in reference is not of afdhaliyyah (more virtuous.  It is of mubah (permissibility).  While it is clear from the above quotations that using beads to ward of evil with prescribed conditions is permissible.  Nothing is equivalent to supplications mentioned in the Quran and Ahaadith.[xiii]   

There are two extremes; one group over indulges in the usage of amulets.  Another group erroneously classes everything as shirk and bid’ah.  We need to have moderation and be from those who don’t rely on amulets but yet acknowledge their permissibility based on academic quotations and references.

Shari’ah is based on academics and not on emotions.       
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mawlana Faraz Ibn Adam,


Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[i]  عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ فِي الرُّقَى قَالَ رُخِّصَ فِي الْحُمَةِ وَالنَّمْلَةِ وَالْعَيْنِ (رواه مسلم)

[ii]  عَنْ جَابِرٍ قَالَ نَهَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ الرُّقَى فَجَاءَ آلُ عَمْرِو بْنِ حَزْمٍ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ كَانَتْ عِنْدَنَا رُقْيَةٌ نَرْقِي بِهَا مِنْ الْعَقْرَبِ وَإِنَّكَ نَهَيْتَ عَنْ الرُّقَى قَالَ فَعَرَضُوهَا عَلَيْهِ فَقَالَ مَا أَرَى بَأْسًا مَنْ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يَنْفَعَ أَخَاهُ فَلْيَنْفَعْهُ(رواه مسلم)


[iii]  عَنْ عَوْفِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ الأَشْجَعِىِّ قَالَ كُنَّا نَرْقِى فِى الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَقُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ كَيْفَ تَرَى فِى ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ  اعْرِضُوا عَلَىَّ رُقَاكُمْ لاَ بَأْسَ بِالرُّقَى مَا لَمْ يَكُنْ فِيهِ شِرْكٌ(رواه مسلم)

[iv]   باب لاَ بَأْسَ بِالرُّقَى مَا لَمْ يَكُنْ فِيهِ شِرْكٌ (في صحيح مسلم)

[v]  لَكِنْ دَلَّ حَدِيث عَوْف أَنَّهُ مَهْمَا كَانَ مِنْ الرُّقَى يُؤَدِّي إِلَى الشِّرْك يُمْنَع ، وَمَا لَا يُعْقَل مَعْنَاهُ لَا يُؤْمَن أَنْ يُؤَدِّي إِلَى الشِّرْك فَيَمْتَنِع اِحْتِيَاطًا (فتح الباري  ج 10 ص 122 دار الحديث)

أحسن الفتاوى 8/255 أيج أيم سعيد

[vi]  وكان عبد الله بن عمرو رضي الله عنهما يعلمهن من عقل من بنيه، ومن لم يعقل كتبه فأعلقه عليه (سنن أبي داود ج 6 ص40 دار الرسالة العالمية)

[vii]  وقد أجمع العلماء على جواز الرقي عند اجتماع ثلاثة شروط أن يكون بكلام الله تعالى أو بأسمائه وصفاته وباللسان العربي أو بما يعرف معناه من غيره وأن يعتقد أن الرقية لا تؤثر بذاتها بل بذات الله تعالى واختلفوا في كونها شرطا والراجح أنه لا بد من اعتبار الشروط المذكورة (فتح الباري  ج 10 ص 122 دار الحديث)


[viii]  وإنما كان ذلك من الشرك لأنهم أرادوا دفع المضار وجلب المنافع من عند غير الله ولا يدخل في ذلك ما كان بأسماء الله وكلامه فقد ثبت في الأحاديث استعمال ذلك (فتح الباري  ج 10 ص 122 دار الحديث)

[ix]  سنن أبي داود رقم الحديث 3883 وسنن ابن ماجه رقم الحديث 3530

[x]  فتح الباري  ج 10 ص 122 دار الحديث

[xi]  فيض القدير شرح الجامع الصغير ج8 ص 186 دار الحديث

 [xii]  حاشية السندي على ابن ماجه ج4 ص 129 دار المعرفة)

[xiii]  Aap ke masaa’il awr un ka hal 1/453 , masaa’il raf’at qaasami 6/63

This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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