FORTUNETELLERS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND MUSLIM-ARAB WORLD

FORTUNETELLERS IN THE MIDDLE EAST


Cairo fortuneteller

In the Middle East, fortunetellers use tarot cards kept in red boxes and read coffee grounds and buy prophetic poems by medieval sages. In Iran, fortunetellers use "jyotish" (“the science of light”), a practice related to astrology that is said to have originated in Persia. Sessions often last two hours.

Umm Hussein, an Iraqi fortuneteller that specials in helping families locate lost ones, says he conducts investigations by making notes of a disappearance and then sleeping with a piece of paper under her pillow that has the name of the missing person on it. In a process that can take from a few days to several weeks, the location of the missing person eventually comes to her in a dream.

Ali al-Bakri, an Iraqi fortuneteller and astrologist, hosts a television show called "You and Luck" on Iraq’s state run Al-Iraqiya TV, astrology and numerology to offer advice on problems in marriage, business and other day-day issues called in by viewers. [Source: Liz Sly Chicago Tribune]

Websites and Resources: Islam Islam.com islam.com ; Islamic City islamicity.com ; Islam 101 islam101.net ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Religious Tolerance religioustolerance.org/islam ; BBC article bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam ; Patheos Library – Islam patheos.com/Library/Islam ; University of Southern California Compendium of Muslim Texts web.archive.org ; Encyclopædia Britannica article on Islam britannica.com ; Islam at Project Gutenberg gutenberg.org ; Islam from UCB Libraries GovPubs web.archive.org ; Muslims: PBS Frontline documentary pbs.org frontline ; Discover Islam dislam.org ;

Qur’an (Quran, Koran) and Hadith:
Quran translation in English alahazrat.net ; Quran in Easy English, Urdu, Arabic and 70 other languages qurango.com ; Quran.com quran.com ; Al-Quran.info al-quran.info ; Quranic Arabic Corpus, shows syntax and morphology for each word corpus.quran.com ; Word for Word English Translation – emuslim.com emuslim.com/Quran ; Digitised Qurans in the Cambridge University Digital Library cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk ; Sunnah.com sunnah.com ;
Hadith – search by keyword and by narrator ahadith.co.uk

Coffee Dregs, Love Birds and Poem Fortunes

Turkish fortune tellers predict the future by turning over a finished cup of coffee and reading the dregs. The coffee cup is turned upside down in the saucer. The fortuneteller predicts health and stress levels by examining the grounds in the cup. Money matters are checked by placing the grounds in the saucer, tipping the saucer and observing how the grounds flow off the saucer. If there is a line it means you will be short of funds The way the grounds drips off indicates how much.

Reporting from Tehran, Zahra Hosseinian of Reuters wrote: “Rima, a fortune-teller from Iran’s Armenian Christian community, said her client numbers were rising by the month. Many turn to her when they have financial or social problems, she said. Many people, especially women, come to us as a last resort. They are mainly emotionally insecure and it gives them a good feeling to know their future,” said Rima, looking at Tarot cards laid on a wooden table in front of her. As well as using cards, Rima reads fortunes by peering into the dark dregs poured out from small Middle Eastern coffee cups into a saucer after the client finishes the drink. [Source: Zahra Hosseinian, Reuters, November 26, 2007 /~]


dregs in a cup of Turkish coffee

“There are also cheaper and faster ways to find out your fate in Iran: many Iranians turn to the Fal-e Hafez -- fortune of Hafez -- that involves reading a randomly picked poem from the work of the Persian poet, who was born in the 14th century. On the streets of the capital Tehran and other Iranian cities and towns, vendors sell the poems in colorful envelopes for as little as 2,000 rials (about 20 U.S. cents) each. /~\

“Small birds, known as “love birds”, sit on the hand of some sellers, trained to pick a poem from a box. Inside the envelope the poem comes with analysis and sometimes advice. “I have regular customers, many of them businessmen and businesswomen. They stop on their way to work in the morning to buy a Hafez fortune,” said Nour Ali Karimi, hawking the poems to drivers waiting at a red light in central Tehran. /~\

““But not everyone is as committed. Sometimes young couples or friends walking in the street buy Hafez fortunes just for fun. Anyway, it is very cheap,” he added. An English literature student, who would give only her first name of Sepideh, said she’s a believer. “I know many might find it superstitious but I like to have my fortune read. You would be amazed by how correct it is,” she said. /~\



Islamic Belief in Fortunetellers

Islam frowns in fortunetelling because it is believed that the future lies solely in the hands of God. One liberal Iranian cleric told Reuters, “Islam has a negative view” of superstitions “because it doesn’t have a scientific and logical basis, and for important matters on one’s life it is rejected” by Islam. A cleric of the office of the Grand Ayatollah said, “Fortune-telling is not considered valid by Islam. Islam encourages people to have a positive view of their life and future.” Both said that if fortune telling caused harm it would be considered a sin under Islamic law.

Dr. Bilal Philips wrote “Because of the sacrilege and heresy involved in fortune telling, Islam has taken a very strong stance towards it. Islam opposes any form of association with those who practice fortune-telling, except to advise them to give up their forbidden practices. The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, laid down principles, which clearly forbade any form of visitation of fortune-tellers. Safiyyah reported from Hafsah (wife of the Prophet) that the Prophet said, “The Salaah of whoever approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything will not be accepted for 40 days and nights.”(Saheeh Muslim) The punishment in this Hadeeth is for simply approaching a fortune-teller and asking him questions out of curiosity. This prohibition is further supported by Mu’aawiyah Ibn al-Hakam asSolamee’s Hadeeth in which he said, “O Messenger of God, verily there are some people among us who visit oracles. The Prophet replied, “Do not go to them”. Such a severe punishment has been assigned for only visitation because it is the first step to belief in fortune-telling. If one went there doubtful about its reality, and some of the fortune-teller’s predictions come true, one will surely become a true devotee of the fortune-teller and an ardent believer in fortune-telling. The individual who approaches a fortune-teller is still obliged to make his compulsory Salaah throughout the 40 day period, even though he gets no reward from his prayers. If he abandons the Salaah all together, he has committed another major sin. [Source: Dr. Bilal Philips, December 20, 2010 ~]


bad sign

The Islamic ruling with regard to anyone who visits a fortune-teller believing that he knows the unseen and the future is that of Kufr (disbelief). Abu Hurayrah and al-Hasan both reported from the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, that he said, “Whosoever approaches a fortune-teller and believes what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” Such a belief assigns to creation some of God’s attributes with regard to the knowledge of the unseen and the future. Consequently, it destroys Tawheed alAsmaa was-Sifaat, and represents a form of Shirk in this aspect of Tawheed.

The ruling of Kufr includes, by analogy (Qiyaas), those who read the books and writings of fortune-tellers, listen to them on the radio or watch them on the T.V., as, these are the most common means used by 20th century fortune-tellers to spread their predictions. God clearly states in the Quran that no one knows the unseen besides Him. Not even the Prophet Muhammad. God says: With Him are the keys to the unseen and none knows it except Him alone.” Then he told the Prophet Muhammad, “Say! I have no power to bring good to myself nor avert harm but it is only as Allah wills. If it were that I knew the unseen, I would have multiplied the good and no evil would have touched me.” And he also says: “Say! None in the heavens nor the earth knows the ‘unseen except Allah’.” Therefore, all the various methods used around the world by oracles, fortune-tellers, and the likes, are forbidden to Muslims. ~

“Palm-reading, I-Ching, fortune cookies, tea leaves as well as Zodiacal signs and Bio-rhythm computer programs, all claim to inform those who believe in them about their future. However, God has stated in no uncertain terms that He alone knows the future: “Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with God alone. It is He who sends down the rain and knows the contents of the wombs. No one knows what he will earn tomorrow nor in which land he will die, but God is all-knowing and aware.”(Surah Luqmaan 31:34) ~

“Therefore, Muslims must take utmost care in dealing with books, magazines, newspapers as well as individuals who, in one way or another, claim knowledge of the future or the unseen. For example, when a Muslim weather-man predicts rain, snow, or other climatic conditions for tomorrow he should add the phrase, “In ShaaAllaah (If God so wishes)”. Likewise, when the Muslim doctor informs her patient that she will deliver a child in 9 months or on such and such a day, she should take care to add the phrase “In ShaaAllaah”, as such statements are only estimations based on statistical information.” ~

Fortune-Tellers in Islamic Iran

Reporting from a Tehran, Zahra Hosseinian of Reuters wrote: “Clerics in the Islamic Republic of Iran frown on the practice, but Nazanin says she has more customers than ever wanting their fortunes told. Sitting behind a computer in her Tehran apartment, she predicts the future based on her knowledge of “jyotish” -- the science of light -- a practice related to astrology which she said is thought to have originated in ancient Persia. [Source: Zahra Hosseinian, Reuters, November 26, 2007 /~]


fortuneteller in Iran

“Some analysts say Iranians are turning to fortune-telling because of worries over their country’s growing isolation in the world and surging prices at home. The fortune-tellers say their clients -- many of them women -- are seeking security. “Happiness is the gap between two miseries,” said Nazanin, who asked not to be identified by her real name to avoid problems with religious authorities. “People from all walks of life come here to find that ray of light and find more hope for the future.” /~\

“She often switches off her mobile during sessions to avoid being interrupted by calls for appointments. Each session costs 200,000 rials ($21) and lasts two hours or more. Time -- not demand -- restricts her to two or three customers a day. It is not only Nazanin who says business is booming. Readers of tarot cards and coffee grounds say customers are queuing up. Street vendors selling prophetic poems from the revered Iranian poet Hafez say they can always find buyers seeking guidance in their everyday lives./~\

“Psychologist Sima Pourshahriyari said rising economic and social pressures could explain why many Iranians were turning to fortune-telling as they struggle with sharply rising prices and fret about growing isolation over a nuclear row with the West. “People feel they can take refuge in fortune-telling which is different from the usual solutions around them,” Pourshahriyari said. Sometimes clients wait for days to get an appointment with Nazanin or Rima. Once they are there, Nazanin spends at least two hours describing the past and future and answering questions on topics from marriage to money. /~\

“Iran’s clerics, who have ruled the Islamic Republic for the past three decades, say such practices can be misleading so should be avoided. But many in Iran, a predominantly Shi‘ite Muslim country, are not deterred. “The age of my customers ranges from 12 years to 70. I have very religious customers and those who are not religious at all but they are mostly affluent,” said Nazanin. “From young girls to old women, it seems everybody is looking for a good husband,” she said with a laugh. Nazanin is also wary about how clients use what they hear. “Fortune-telling shouldn’t harm anyone. I try to open their eyes to possibilities and choices they could have and I advise them they should decide based on logic and reason.” /~\

Lebanese Turn to Soothsayers in Uncertain Times


Michel Hayek

Reporting from Beirut, Hassan M. Fattahjan wrote in the New York Times, “In a land racked by sectarian tension and political instability, men like Michel Hayek have become Lebanon's unlikely political players. Hayek is neither a legislator nor a businessman. He is Lebanon's foremost clairvoyant and is credited with predicting some of the more significant events in the nation's recent history. Anywhere else, he might be scoffed at or simply watched with amusement as he makes his predictions every New Year's Eve. But in Lebanon, where fears of renewed civil strife are growing and where many people are terrified of what the future might hold, what Hayek had to say for the new year was taken very seriously indeed. "I don't create events, I only see them," Hayek said in a recent interview. "And it's clear people are really starting to believe in me." [Source: Hassan M. Fattahjan, New York Times, January 30, 2007 +|+]

“Strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia and most other countries in the Middle East that see it as contrary to Islam, the practice of soothsaying has become a cottage industry here in Lebanon, which has a more freewheeling attitude. "If Michel Hayek says there will be an explosion, then the odds are very high there will be one," said Ahmad el-Hajj, a 35-year-old Beirut resident who used to scoff at the idea of clairvoyants but is now a believer. "With all the assassinations and explosions and, you know, the whole instability in the country, people are eager for predictions of the future, maybe for hope, maybe for reassurance," Hajj said. "It is something we find ourselves doing more today than we did three years ago."+|+

“In the past year, especially, a series of social and political phenomena in Lebanon lent the clairvoyants and astrologers special weight, sociologists here say. "The phenomenon of clairvoyants has been around for five years or so, but this year it has taken a life of its own," said Saoud al-Mawla, a professor of sociology at Lebanese University, who has been conducting research on the impact of clairvoyants on public life. +|+

“Mawla said he sent his students to survey Lebanese of all walks about their belief in soothsayers, and was surprised to find that a vast majority said that they believed them. "People here have lost confidence in their politicians and want to know what the future has in store for them," he said. The clairvoyants "are the natural place to go to."+|+

“They have become especially popular with Lebanon's Shia, Mawla said, some of whom consider the war between Hezbollah and Israel during the summer as a sign of the coming of the Mahdi, the so-called 12th Imam who is to usher in the day of judgment, according to Shia belief. Among Lebanese Christians, meanwhile, the sense of falling fortunes has left many grasping for some hope and for a window into the future, Mawla said. Small wonder, then, that many soothsayers have begun to focus their predictions on politics rather than love and fortune.” +|+

Lebanese Television Soothsayers


Leila Abdel Latif

Hassan M. Fattahjan wrote in the New York Times, “Dozens of Lebanese soothsayers — astrologers, clairvoyants and others who lay claim to predicting the future — now appear on Lebanese television, write books or columns or prepare horoscopes for newspapers, predicting everything from celebrations to calamities. Every New Year's Eve, clairvoyants jostle for airtime, hoping to develop followings. Lebanese politicians consult them, and some seers say that they have been sought out by Saudi princes and princesses — privately — or by other leaders in the region. Lebanon's streets buzz with their predictions, though many religious leaders rail against them. [Source: Hassan M. Fattahjan, New York Times, January 30, 2007 +|+]

“Hundreds of thousands tuned in to watch Hayek make prophesies on the Lebanese satellite channel LBC on New Year's Eve, in an hourlong program that has been repeated numerous times in the weeks since. He cast a cloud over the Druse leader Walid Jumblatt; envisioned an attack on Ahmed Fatfat, the minister of youth and sports; and said that he had visions of a "vengeful act" against the son-in-law of General Michel Aoun, the leader of a Christian group and a critic of the government, and several members of Parliament. After all the turbulence, however, life in Lebanon will prosper and people will be happy, he said. +|+

“Others are less sanguine. A parapsycholgist and astrologer, Samir Tombe, predicted tensions spreading across Lebanon as the country turns into a battlefield between Iran and the United States and as assassinations of prominent figures continue. An astrologer named Jad said that political instability would continue, but that national reconciliation talks would settle the crisis. +|+

“A clairvoyant, Abu Ali Sabbagh, has foretold the end of the crisis soon and the government remaining in power as it comes to an agreement with the Hezbollah-led opposition. He sees Lebanon starting to prosper starting in February. Sheik Nour al- Nourani, another clairvoyant, has predicted a conflagration with Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah will be fought in southern Lebanon, in the Bekaa valley and in the Golan Heights, in addition to further assassinations and attempted assassinations. He sees Lebanon starting to prosper starting in February. Sheik Nour al- Nourani, another clairvoyant, has predicted a conflagration with Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.” +|+

Tabarruk with the Prophet's Grave

Tabarruk is an Arabic word which means seeking goodness (blessings) in something by touching it or being close to it. Taburruk is not something that is encouraged because of its association with idoltry. Even so, according to Islamweb.net seeking Tabarruk by the following is allowed: 1) The personality of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) or by Zam Zam water or the Black stone of the Ka'bah. 2) Times: the month of Ramadan, the Night of Decree, and the first ten days of the month of Thul-Hijjah. 3- Places: Makkah, Al-Madeenah, and Baytul Maqdis (Al-Aqsa). 4) Good deeds: the Prayer, Fasting, and paying Zakah.


Box with part of Muhammad's beard in Konya Turkey

“Dawud ibn Salih says: "[The Caliph] Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] one day saw a man placing his face on top of the grave of the Prophet. He said: "Do you know what you are doing?" When he came near him, he realized it was Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. The latter said: "Yes; I came to the Prophet, not to a stone." Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Ahmad (5:422), Tabarani in his Mujam al-kabir (4:189) and his Awsat according to Haythami in al-Zawa'id (5:245), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:515); both the latter and al-Dhahabi said it was sahih. It is also cited by al-Subki in Shifa' al-siqam (p. 126), Ibn Taymiyya in al-Muntaqa (2:261f.), and Haythami in al-Zawa'id (4:2). [Source: sunnah.org]

“Muadh ibn Jabal and Bilal also came to the grave of the Prophet and sat weeping, and the latter rubbed his face against it. Ibn Maja 2:1320, Ahmad, Tabarani, Subki, Ibn Asakir and Ibn Taymiyya.

“Hafiz al-Dhahabi writes in the compendium of his shaykhs entitled Mujam al-shuyukh (1:73) in the entry devoted to his shaykh Ahmad ibn Abd al-Munim al-Qazwini (#58): "Ahmad ibn al-Munim related to us... [with his chain of transmission] from Ibn Umar that the latter disliked to touch the Prophet's grave. I say: He disliked it because he considered it disrespect. Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about touching the Prophet's grave and kissing it and he saw nothing wrong with it. His son Abd Allah related this from him. If it is said: "Why did the Companions not do this?" It is replied: "Because they saw him with their very eyes when he was alive, enjoyed his presence directly, kissed his very hand, almost fought with each other over the remnants of his ablution water, shared his purified hair on the day of the greater Pilgrimage, and even if he spat it would virtually not fall except in someone's hand so that he could pass it over his face. Since we have not had the tremendous fortune of sharing in this, we throw ourselves on his grave as a mark of commitment, reverence, acceptance, and kissing. Don't you see what Thabit al-Bunani did when he kissed the hand of Anas ibn Malik and placed it on his face saying: "This is the hand that touched the hand of Allah's Messenger"? Muslims are not moved to these matters except by their excessive love for the Prophet, as they are ordered to love Allah and the Prophet more than they love their own lives, their children, all human beings, their property, and Paradise and its maidens. There are even some believers that love Abu Bakr and Umar more than themselves... Don't you see that the Companions, in the excess of their love for the Prophet, asked him: "Should we not prostrate to you?" and he replied no, and if he had allowed them, they would have prostrated to him as a mark of utter veneration and respect, not as a mark of worship, just as the Prophet Yusuf's brothers prostrated to Yusuf. Similarly the prostration of the Muslim to the grave of the Prophet is for the intention of magnification and reverence. One is not imputed disbelief because of it whatsoever (la yukaffaru aslan), but he is being disobedient [to the Prophet's reply to the Companions]: let him therefore be informed that this is forbidden. Similarly in the case of one who prays towards the grave."

“Imam Ahmad's son Abd Allah said: "I asked my father about the man who touches and kisses the pommel of the Prophet's minbar to obtain blessing, or touches the grave of the Prophet. He responded by saying: "There is nothing wrong with it."" Abd Allah also asked Imam Ahmad about the man who touches the Prophet's minbar and kisses it for blessing, and who does the same with the grave, or something to that effect, intending thereby to draw closer to Allah. He replied: "There is nothing wrong with it." This was narrated by Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his book entitled al-Ilal fi marifat al-rijal (2:492). We already mentioned the authentic account whereby in the time of Umar there was a drought during which Bilal ibn Harith came to the grave and said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah for rain on behalf of your Community."


faithful near Muhammad's tomb at al-Madinah al-Munawarah Nabawi mosque in Medina

“We already mentioned A'isha's account whereby she instructed that the roof be opened over the Prophet's grave in times of drought, and it would rain. Umar sent a message to A'isha saying: "Will you allow me to be buried with my two companions (the Prophet and Abu Bakr)?" She said, "Yes, by Allah," though it was her habit that if a man from among the Companions asked her that she would always refuse. Bukhari.

“Imam Muslim relates that Abd Allah, the freed slave of Asma' the daughter of Abu Bakr, the maternal uncle of the son of Ata', said: "Asma' sent me to Abdullah ibn Umar saying: "The news has reached me that you prohibit the use of three things: the striped robe, saddle cloth made of red silk, and fasting the whole month of Rajab." Abdullah said to me: "So far as what you say about fasting in the month of Rajab, how about one who observes continuous fasting? And so far as what you say about the striped garment, I heard Umar ibn al-Khattab say that he had heard from Allah's Messenger: "He who wears a silk garment, has no share for him (in the Hereafter)." And I am afraid that stripes were part of it. And so far as the red saddle cloth is concerned, here is Abdullah's saddle cloth [=his] and it is red." I went back to Asma' and informed her, so she said: "Here is the cloak (jubba) of Allah's Messenger," and she brought out to me that cloak made of Persian cloth with a hem of (silk) brocade, and its sleeves bordered with (silk) brocade, and said: "This was Allah's Messenger's cloak with A'isha until she died, then I got possession of it. The Apostle of Allah used to wear that, and we washed it for the sick so that they could seek cure thereby." Muslim relates in the first chapter of the book of clothing. Nawawi comments in Sharh sahih Muslim (Book 37 Chapter 2 #10): "In this hadith is a proof that it is recommended to seek blessings through the relics of the righteous and their clothes (wa fi hadha al-hadith dalil ala istihbab al-tabarruk bi aathaar al-salihin wa thiyabihim)." [Source: sunnah.org]

Jinn, the Future and Fortunetellers

Dr. Bilal Philips wrote “Man cannot gain control over the Jinn as this was a special miracle given only to Prophet Sulaymaan. In fact, contact with the Jinn in circumstances other than possession, or accident is most often made by the performance of sacrilegious acts despised and forbidden in the religion. The evil Jinn summoned in this fashion may aid their partners in sin and disbelief in God. Their goal is to draw as many others as they can into the gravest of sins, the worship of others besides or along with God. [Source: Dr. Bilal Philips, December 20, 2010 ~]

“Once contact and contract with the Jinn are made by fortune-tellers, the Jinn may inform them of certain events in the future. The Prophet described how the Jinn gather information about the future. He related that the Jinn were able to travel to the lower reaches of the heavens and listen in on some of the information about the future, which the angels pass among themselves. They would then return to the earth and feed the information to their human contacts. This used to happen a lot prior to the prophethood of Muhammad and fortune-tellers were very accurate in their information. They were able to gain positions in the royal courts and enjoyed much popularity and were even worshipped in some regions of the world. ~


"Two Jinni of Aturan Island and Three Pygmies Found in the Sea"

“After the Prophet Muhammad began his mission the situation changed. God had the angels guard the lower reaches of the heavens carefully, and most of the Jinn were chased away with meteors and shooting stars. God described this phenomenon in the following Quranic statement made by one of the Jinn, “We (the Jinn) had sought out the heavens but found it filled with strong guardians and meteors. We used to sit on high places in order to listen, but whoever listens now finds a flame waiting for him.” God also said, “And We have guarded it (the heavens) from every cursed devil, except the one who is able to snatch a hearing and, he is pursued by a brightly burning flame.”(Quran 15:17) ~

Ibn Abbaas said, “When the Prophet and a group of his companions set out for the Ukaadh market, the devils were blocked from hearing information in the heavens. Meteors were let loose on them, so they returned to their people. When their people asked what happened, they told them. Some suggested that something must have happened, so they spread out over the earth seeking the cause. Some of them came across the Prophet and his companions while they were in Salaah and they heard the Quran. They said to themselves that this must have been what blocked them from listening. When they returned to their people they told them, ‘Verily we have heard a marvellous Quran. It guides unto righteousness so we believed in it. And we will never make partners with our Lord.’” ~

“Thus, the Jinn could no longer gather information about the future as easily as they could before the Prophet’s mission. Because of that, they now mix their information with many lies. The Prophet said: “They (the Jinn) would pass the information back down until it reaches the lips of a magician fortune-teller. Sometimes a meteor would overtake them before they could pass it on. If they passed it on before being struck, they would add to it a hundred lies.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi) ~

“Aisha reported that when she asked God’s messenger about fortune-tellers, he replied that they were nothing. She then mentioned that the fortune-tellers sometimes told them things, which were true. The Prophet said: “That is a bit of truth which the Jinn steals and cackles in the ear of his friend; but he mixes along with it a hundred lies.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim) ~

“Once while Umar ibn al-Khattaab was sitting, a handsome man, Sawaad Ibn Qaarib passed by him. Umar said: “If I am not wrong, this person is still following his religion of pre-Islamic times or perhaps he was one of their fortune-tellers.” He ordered that the man be brought to him and asked him about, what he suspected. The man replied, “I have never seen a day like this where a Muslim is faced with such accusations.” Umar said, “Verily I am determined that you should inform me.” The man then said, “I was their fortune-teller in the time of ignorance.” On hearing that Umar asked, “Tell me about the strangest thing which your female Jinn told you.” The man then said, “One day, while I was in the market, she came to me all worried and said, ‘Have you not seen the Jinns in their despair after their disgrace? And their following of she-camels and their riders.” Umar interjected, “It is true.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

“The Jinns are also able to inform their human contact of the relative future. For example, when someone comes to a fortune-teller, the fortune-teller’s Jinn gets information from the man’s Qareen (the jinn assigned to every human being) of what plans he had made prior to his coming. So the fortune-teller is able to tell him that he will do this or that, or go here or there. By this method, the real fortune-teller is also able to learn about a stranger’s past in vivid detail. He is able to tell a total stranger of his parents’ names, where he was born, the acts of his childhood, etc. The ability to vividly describe the past is one of the marks of a true fortune-teller who has made contact with the Jinn. Because the Jinn are able to traverse huge distances instantaneously, they are also able to gather huge stores of information about hidden things, lost articles and unobserved events. Proof of this ability can be found in the Quran, in the story about Prophet Sulaymaan and Bilqees, the Queen of Sheba. When Queen Bilqees came to see him, he asked the Jinn to bring her throne from her land. “An Ilfreet from among the Jinns said, I will bring it for you before you can get up from your place. Verily, I am strong and trustworthy for the assignment. ~

Image Sources: Wikimedia, Commons except fortuneteller in Iran, Aeclectic Tarot Forum and Leila Abdel Latif, Facebook

Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Arab News, Jeddah; "Islam, a Short History" by Karen Armstrong; "A History of the Arab Peoples" by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); "Encyclopedia of the World Cultures edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994). "Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018


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