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Last Updated: 2012/03/11
Summary of question
What is the Islamic law about overpowering jinn, spirits and devils?
Is it justifiable to communicate with jinns, spirits and devils in the daily affairs of our lives? Why?
Concise answer

Getting help from the spirits, jinns and devils and scientific and practical communication with them are said to be magic in the etymological and jurisprudential technical terms.[i] According to Quranic, jurisprudential and traditional evidence, sorcery or magic is not in the interest of a person in this world and in the hereafter. The Holy Quran considers magic to be tantamount to disbelief (kufr), infidelity, impiety, misguidance, deprivation from the blessings of the afterworld[ii] and promotion of sin and misery.[iii]

The religious narrations consider magic as disbelief[iv], rejection of the Quran[v], shirk (polytheism)[vi], deprivation from divine blessings[vii], misguidance[viii], needlessness from divine servitude[ix] and a cause for entering Hell[x],[xi] with the magician being considered as the accursed.[xii]

The jurisprudents have forbidden magic because of the both the verses and traditions as well as the physical, psychological, religious and social harms of magic.[xiii], [xiv]


[i] - "It appears that all kinds of all kinds of overpowering (taskhirat) are included in magic based on its entire definitions." Sharh-e Makasib Muharramah by Mazji, Sayyid Muhammad Ali Jazaeri, vol.2, pg. 112; The Two Martyrs (Shahidayn) consider employing the angels, jinns and devils a kind of exercising magic. Ibid, pg. 68; "or seeking help from the simple spirits", Ibid, pg. 71.

[ii] - "They followed what the evil ones gave out (falsely) against the power of Solomon: the blasphemers Were, not Solomon, but the evil ones, teaching men Magic, and such things as came down at babylon to the angels Harut and Marut…" Al-Baqarah, 102 – 103; Tafsir al-Mizan, vol.1, pg. 234.

[iii] - "True, there were persons among mankind who took shelter with persons among the Jinns, but they increased them in folly." Jinn, 6.

[iv] - Al-Wasail, vol.12, pg. 107.

[v] - Ibid, pg. 109

[vi] - Ibid, pg.106

[vii] - Ibid, pg.107

[viii] - Ibid, pg.108

[ix] - Ibid, pg.108

[x] - Behar al-Anwar, vol.58, pg. 223

[xi] - Wasail al-Shi'ah, vol.12, pg. 107

[xii] - Ibid, pg. 103.

[xiii] - Al-Makasib al-Muharramah, issue No. 10

[xiv]  - Imam Khomeini (r.a), does not consider these communications as magic but he has forbidden such them. .« و یلحق بذالک استخدام الملائکة و احضار الجن و تسخیرهم  و احضار الارواح و تسخیرها و امثال ذالک ...» [To this is affiliated employing the angels, calling the jinns and overpowering them, calling the souls (of the dead) and overpowering them, and the like.] Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol.1; Al-Makasib al-Muharramah, issue No.16.


Detailed Answer

Although different definitions have been given and determined for 'magic' [Sehr] in lexical and jurisprudential book but Muslim scholars are unanimous that communication and association with spirits, jinns and devils is a name for magic.[1]

Magic has a long history in human history. It developed most when either the divine prophets were absent in society or had low public profile. If you go through historical documents relating to magic, you will find out that the magicians proliferated in human communities after the period of Prophet Noah[2] and Prophet Sulayman.[3] As the history of magic and sorcery bears witness, the deficient knowledge which the spirits, jinns and devils[4] have and also the people who falsely claim to have communication with jinns have inflicted tremendous religious and spiritual harms on human society. That is why we believe, the ways through which the magicians communicate with jinns, devils and spirits are against the religion.[5] Likewise, the information and effects which the devils, jinns and spirits give or leave are opposed to religious teachings. Perhaps, there have many magicians in history who have claimed to be a prophet or the promised Mahdi.[6]

Man's felicity rests in the fact that his friendship, enmity, happiness, concerns, sleep and wakefulness are on the basis of worldly and heavenly interests and expediency but they are quite different in the history of magic.[7]

It should be further noted that in summoning a spirit and overpowering jinns and devils, there exists a kind of compulsion or coercion on them or on the spirit of a woman or a child that are summoned through these means. The summoning is fraught distress and discomfort created for their souls.[8]

The conclusion is that since the information[9] and effects of the spirits, jinns and devils are limited, and additionally, if the information and effects[10] are supposed to be from the devils, the devil always misleads man and portrays the falsehood as truth, therefore,[11] there is no reliability and trust in this kind of communications.

For further information in this regard, refer to following indexes:

1. Man's Communication with Jinn, question 556

2. Communication with Entities from other Worlds, question 293.

3. The Ability of Shaitan and Jinn, question 138.


[1] - Sharh-e Makasib Muharramah by Mazji, vol.2, pg. 112

[2] - Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.): « ... کان بعد نوح قد کثرت السحرة» Wasail al-Shi'ah, vol.12, pg. 106.

[3] - Tafsir al-Mizan, vol.1, pg. 237.

[4] - Ibid, vol. 15, pg. 330

[5] - Sharh-e Makasib Muharramah by Mazji, vol.2, pg.67

[6] - Ibid.

[7] - Ibid, pg. 69.

[8] - Ibid, pg. 69.

[9] - Al-Ihtijaj, vol.2, pg. 81

[10] - Ibid.

[11] - Al-Nisa, 60, Al-An'am, 6; And Countless Quranic verses about Shaitan.


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