By Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi and translated by Hala Akram and Aisha Akram
A question was put to me by the well known Quranic scholar, Ustādh Nouman Ali Khan about the truth of the evil eye.
Imam Bukhari narrates in his Sahih from Abu Hurayrah, and Imam Muslim narrates in his Sahih from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “The evil eye is real.”
Ibn Manzur mentions in Lisan al-Arab: Al-’ayn: The evil eye; the smiter is ‘Ā`in and the smote is Ma’yūn.
The evil eye is not inflicted by everyone nor does it affect everyone. It is enough for the smiter to admire or be surprised by something; it is not required for him to be envious. For a person may smite his children or loved ones with the evil eye, yet he is not envious of them. Likewise, it is not required for the smiter to intentionally cast the evil eye. The evil eye may be casted involuntarily; the smiter does not realise nor feel the ill or malice that is born from his gaze.
The effect of the evil eye is like the impact of a physical injury. Harm is caused by both hand and tongue. You strike a person and hurt them and you verbally abuse someone, also causing them pain. There are instances of unintentional striking or verbal abuse. You utter a word and the addressee understands a meaning other than what you intended and is distressed by it.
The evil eye is weaker than the impact of the hand and the tongue. Muslims must avoid falsehoods and superstitions. They should not attribute every harm that happens to them to the evil eye, envy and magic. If the smiter did indeed have this tremendous power, the world would be filled with evil, malice and their plots. Rather, he should return to his lord and seek refuge with Him from every evil.
Bukhari narrated from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, that the Prophet used to seek refuge with Allah for al-Hasan and al-Husayn and say:
“Your forefather (Ibrahim) used to seek refuge with Allah for Ismaeel and Ishaaq by reciting the following: ‘O Allah! I seek refuge with your perfect words from every devil and from poisonous pests and from every evil, harmful, envious eye.'”
Bukhari and Muslim narrate from Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said: “The Prophet commanded me, or commanded, to perform ruqya against the evil eye.” It is reported in Sahih Muslim that Jibreel, peace be upon him, performed ruqya on the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
There is no need to visit a raqi in order to protect oneself from the smiter. Every Muslim can perform ruqya on themselves with the supplications and invocations from the Sunnah. There is nothing more fortifying than trusting in Allah and seeking refuge with Him. Allah says: “No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things”, [64;11]. And He says: “And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him”, [65;3].
Bukhari and Muslim narrate from Sa’id Ibn Jubayr who said:
‘Ibn Abbas narrated to me that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “The people were displayed in front of me and I saw one Prophet passing by with a large group of his followers, and another Prophet passing by with only a small group of people, and another Prophet passing by with only ten (persons), and another Prophet passing by with only five (persons), and another Prophet passed by alone. And then I looked and saw a large multitude of people, so I asked Gabriel, ‘Are these people my followers?’ He said, ‘No, but look towards the horizon.’ I looked and saw a very large multitude of people. Gabriel said. ‘Those are your followers, and those are seventy thousand (persons) in front of them who will neither have any reckoning of their accounts nor will receive any punishment.’ I asked, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘For they used not to treat themselves with branding (cauterization) nor with ruqya and not to see evil omen in things, and they used to put their trust (only) in their Lord.” On hearing that, ‘Ukasha ibn Mihsan got up and said (to the Prophet), “Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “O Allah, make him one of them.” Then another man got up and said (to the Prophet), “Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” The Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, said, ‘Ukasha has preceded you.”’
This is the best position, that one should not get ruqya performed by someone else. How wonderful is the narration from the great tabi’i, Sa’id ibn Jubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, he said: “I was stung by a scorpion, so my mother took an oath that I must have ruqya performed on me. I gave the raqi my hand which had not been bitten as I disliked my mother’s oath to be broken.”
Disclaimer: Translations have not been checked by the author and represent the work of the translator