The ruling of Ta’weez
The ruling of Ta’weez
There are many forms of medication which are in use in our everyday life, and there is no doubt that the best form of cure is through du’a and medicine. However, another form of cure in our knowledge is through ta’weez which is narrated in the ahaadith taught by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam and the practice of the Sahabah radhiyallahu ‘anhum who cured a leader of a city through the recitation of surah fatihah. (Narrated by Bukhari and others), although, it best to practice tawakkul and reliance upon Allah azza wajall, rather than to use any of the above, it is permissible to use ta’weez in a form as we will see in the following pages.
Many people after coming to know only a few ahaadith regarding ta’weez draw a conclusion and apply a general fatwa of shirk and misguidance of those who utilize them. However as we will see, it is not that simple to give such a fatwa without even taking a glance at the other side of the argument. It is only due to the misunderstanding of the ahaadith and the rulings of the Scholars some have issued such fataawaa.
After searching the books of ahaadith and Fiqh, we come to realize that many people due to their lack of knowledge have failed to understand the actual ruling in this matter.
Let me present to you the reason why some have called it shirk and bid’ah.
Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: “Whosoever hangs an amulet will be entrusted towards it”.
(Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p427 in the book of medicine)
Ibrahim Nakhaee (ra) says: “Ibn Masood (ra) saw his wife had hung something (around her neck) therefore he snatched it off expressing displeasure saying, “Verily the family of Ibn Mas’ood (ra) is free from polytheism”.
(Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p427 in the book of medicine)
Uqbah ibn A’amir (ra) says: “To put on an amulet by a person or a child is (a form of) shirk”.
(Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p428 in the book of medicine)
Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “Whosoever hangs an amulet of ta’weez, he is (practicing) upon a branch of shirk (polytheism)”. (Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p428 in the book of medicine)
Sayyyiduna Ibn Mas’ood (ra) says: “I heard Rasullullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam saying “Verily using an amulet, ta’weez and magic for love is shirk’’. (Abu Daud and Mishkat vol2p389 in the book of medicine and ta’weez)
There are many more to this effect, and our intention is not to gather all the ahaadith, but rather it is only to prove our point.
From the above-mentioned ahaadith, a person gets the indication that using ta’weez is like practicing shirk.
Hence let us look deep into the matter. The words mentioned in the ahaadith are ruqa, tameemah and tiwalah.
In the commentary of Bukhari by Sheikh Abdurrahman vol2p850 it is written, “Ruqyah is in the meaning of Ta’weez” which means to blow as a protection. So whenever the word ruqa comes, most of the time it will mean to blow or write on a piece of paper or any other thing such as leather etc.
Is an amulet (Hans Wehr Dictionary p9)
Imam al- azhary (who is the Imam of lughah (philologist) says that tamimah is that bead which was hung on the necks of children in the days of ignorance for safety from the evil eye.
(Tahzeebul lughah vol14p260 and maghrib vol1p107)
Tiwalah comes in the same meaning as Ta’weez.
In short they all have similar meanings, however in the days of ignorance they would take the tamimah (amulet) as the actual source of effect rather than to rely on Allah azza wajall. So when Islam came, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam used words such as shirk in order to express the fact that relying upon amulets is contrary to the teaching of Islam.
Let us now take a look at the opposite side of the argument.
Ahaadith regarding its permissibility
Imam Hajjaj (ra) says, “Those who saw Sayyiduna Sa’eed ibn Jubair (ra) writing ta’weez for those who came to him related to me (regarding this matter), Imam Hajjaj (ra) further says, “I asked Ataa regarding it”, He replied, “We have not heard anyone disliking it but from you, the people of Iraaq”. (Ibn Abi Shaiba vol5 p434)
How can a great Tab’ee (successors of the sahabah) like ‘Ataa (The Mufti of makka at a time when the sahabah were still present) deny hearing anyone disliking the usage of ta’weez? Was he not aware that it is shirk and bid’ah? Why did he not just say that it was impermissible?
Auf Ibn Malik (ra) says: “We would use amulets (Ruqyah) in the days of ignorance, so we asked Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam regarding it”, he said “bring to me your amulets, thereafter he said: ‘There is nothing wrong with amulets if they do contain shirk (in them)”. (Muslim vol2p224 in the book of medicine)
The fuqaha have written that if they have writings in a language that is unknown, then it is impermissible otherwise it will be permissible.
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (ra) says “Tamimah is a necklace put around the neck in the days of ignorance, and they would believe that this would ward off evil and calamity”.
(Fathul Bari vol10p166 and Ahsanul Fatawa vol8p257)
As we can see, it was due to their harboring such a belief why it was called shirk. However if someone does not have such belief, it will be permissible.
Sayyidatuna Aisha (ra) says: “Tamimah is not that which is hung after the calamity, but Tamimah is that which is hung before calamity”. (Sharh ma’nil Athar vol2p323, and Hakim declared it saheeh, Targheeb vol5271)
Amr ibn Shu’aib narrates from his father who narrates from his grandfather Abdullah ibn Amr (ra) that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: “When anyone of you gets frightened in his sleep, let him recite this du’a, (thereafter he mentioned the du’a) so Abdullah Ibn ‘Amar (ra) would teach this du’a to those of his children who could read, as for those who could not, he would write it and hang it around their necks”. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p439 in the book of medicine. Imam Tirmizi also narrates it and classifies it Hasan ghareeb Vol2 p192 and Imaam Abu Daud also narrates it without a comment vol2p187)
Here we find a Sahabi, the likes of Abdullah ibn ‘Amar (ra) hanging ta’weez for his children, how can he dare to carry out such an act if it was shirk and bid’ah?
“The son of Abdullah ibn Umar radhiyallahu anhum was seen with a thread tied on his upper arm”.
(Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p439)
Did sayyiduna Ibn Umar (ra) not know that it was shirk and bid’ah and not warn his children to refrain from it?
Sayyiduna A’ta (The Mufti of Makkah) says: “There is nothing wrong in hanging the Quraan (i.e. as ta’weez)
(Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p440)
Sayyiduna Ibn Sireen (ra) (The Mufti of Madinah) did not consider anything wrong in using the (verses) of the Quraan (as Ta’weez) (Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p439)
Sayyiduna Sa’eed Ibn Musaayib (ra) was asked regarding taweez, he replied: “There is nothing wrong with it as long as it is wrapped in leather”. (Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p439)
Ataa (the mufti of Makka) was asked regarding a woman in her periods having a ta’weez on her, He replied,
“If it is in leather, it should be taken off, and if it is in a silver amulet, she has a choice (to take it off or not)”.
(Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p439)
Abu Jaf’ar (as-sadiq) did not see anything wrong in writing the Quraan in leather and hanging it (on someone) (Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p439)
Imam Mujahid (ra) (a mufassir of the Quraan and a great student of Ibn Abbas (ra)) would write ta’weez for people and hang it on them. (Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p439)
How can he write these for the people if it was shirk? Was he propagating shirk and bid’ah?
Imam Yunus ibn Habban (ra) says “I asked Abu Ja’far (ra) regarding ta’weez hung on children, so he gave permission. (Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p440)
Imam Dhahhaak (ra) did not consider anything wrong if a person hangs any verses of the Quraan (as taweez) as long as it is taken off at the time of bathing and relieving ones self. (Ibn Abi Shaibah vol5p440)
Sa’eed ibn Jubair (ra) narrates from Ibn Abbas (ra) that he said: “When the delivery of a child becomes difficult for a woman and the verses “The day they will see it, (it will be) as if they had not tarried (in this world) except an afternoon or a morning. “Naaziaat 46”and “On the day when they will see that (torment) with which they are promised, (it will be) as if they had not stayed more than an hour in a single day. “Al-Ahqaaf 35” and the words “Bismillahi laa ilaaha illa hual haleemul kareem” and “Subhaanallahi rabbissamaawaatissab’e wa rabbil arshil ‘azeem” are written on a piece of paper and soaked in water and given to her to drink (the delivery becomes easy)”. ((Ibn Abi Shaiba vol5 p433)
The likes of ‘Ataa, Sa’eed Ibn Musayyib, Ibn Sireen, Mujaahid rahmatullahi ‘alaihim and others were issuing these Fataawa at the time when the Sahabah (ra) were present in their midst, and many a time the Sahabah (ra) would tell the people and sometimes themselves asked these great Tabe’oon regarding important religious issues.
Were these great Tabioon blind of the fact that to use ta’weez is shirk? Has any muslim any courage to say that they did not know the ahaadith mentioned above? We will leave it to you to decide.
As for the ahaadith indicating towards it being shirk, the hadith of Auf ibn Malik radhiyallahu ‘anh answers that.
(i.e. as long as there are no words of shirk in them it is permissible). Furthermore the hadith of Ibn Masood (ra) regarding it being shirk, has a narrator named Ibn Akhee Zainub (ra) who is majhool (unknown) (Bazlul Majhood vol6 p216) and even if the hadith is proved saheeh it can not have a literal meaning as we will see. Hafiz Ibn Hajr (ra) commentates that the people who fully trust these amulets and regard them as being their safeguard from evil and calamity, only then will it be classified as a form of shirk.
We should also note that there are different ways of cures from illnesses. Some take medicine and others will use ta’wez as the hadith in Bukhari about the Sahabah going to a place and one of them curing the leader of that place by reciting Surah fatihah.
Saydutuan Aisha (ra) says that: “Rasulullah ( ) would order her to do ruqyah (i.e. ta’weez) and blow on herself to save herself from the evil eye”. (Muslim in the book of medicine)
Mulla Ali Qari (ra) writes:
“Those that contain the verses of the Quran, qualities and attributes of Allah and those Dua’s that are narrated from Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, are all permissible and Mustahab to use, whether it be Ta’weez, ruqyah or to blow as a form of ta’weez. However those that are written in Hebrew etc, will be prohibited due to the possibility of shirk (polytheism) in them”. (Mirqaat volp321)
Allamah ibn Abideen (ra) has written similar fatawa in Raddul Muhtaar (which is the most authentic book of fatwa according to the Ahnaaf).
We can conclude that those that are utilized in the correct manner will be permissible and those that are utilized in an incorrect manner will be impermissible. Sayyiduna Ibrahim Nakh’ee’s (ra) saying that the followers of Sayyiduna Ibn Mas’ood disliked the usage of ta’weez is because in Kufa (where they resided) the Rawafidh (Shee’ah) were of the belief that Ta’weez is the actual source of protection, and that was the reason why they refrained from using it. As for those who don’t have such belief, then we saw its permissibility in the above-mentioned ahaadith. Therefore the fatwa of shirk should be given with caution.
Note: It should be remembered that to use ta,weez is only permissible and not necessary, my intention is not to prove that hanging ta’weez is a good thing but I have just taken the opportunity to prove that it is permissible and not shirk, bid’ah or haraam. However, it is better not to use them but rather recite the du’as mentioned in the ahaadith, which was the practice of most of our Salaf (predecessors) as seen in the books of ahaadith.
Some proof of using beads for tasbeeh
Rasulullah ( ) and Sayyiduna Sa’ad ibn Abi waqaas (ra) entered upon a woman who had some date stones or some beads in front of her upon which she would recite tasbeeh, So Rasulullah ( ) said to her, “Should I not tell you of something easier or better than this?” Then he told her the Du’a narrated in the Hadith. (Mustadrak of Hakim vol1 p732 and he has classified it saheeh and zahabi agreed and Tirmizi vol2p192 in the book of da’waat)
The point to note here is that The Prophet ( ) did not discourage the usage of beads as tasbeeh.
Sayyiduna Safiyah (ra) says: “Rasulullah ( ) came to me while I had four thousand date stones with which I used to do tasbeeh (count tasbeeh),” So Rasulullah ( ) asked, “Do you count tasbeeh with these?” I replied in the affirmative, then she asked the noble prophet to teach her, so he taught her what to say. (Mustadrak of Hakim vol1 p732 and he has classified it saheeh and zahabi agreed, Tirmizi vol2p194 in the books of Da’waat)
From the above ahaadith we understand that counting tasbeeh with date stones was practiced at the time of Rasulullah ( ) and he did not stop them from such practice, which proves that it is not a bid’ah. In another narration Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah Ra had a string with twelve thousand knots on it and he would not go to sleep without reciting Ishtighfar on them all. These are all indicating towards its permissibility without it being an innovation. There is a similar hadith in Abu Dawud (ra) (P210) also regarding this and Allamah Ibn Taymiyah (ra) narrates a similar hadith. These are all just a way of keeping a count, when a person has a specific amount or number to follow, then there is no bid’ah in doing this.
May Allah SWT give us true understanding of his religion. May he accept us for it and be pleased with us in both the worlds. Ameen