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Myth Busters: The Facts about the Evil Eye, Prevention and Cure [must read]

  • The ‘evil eye’  is real.
    •  As the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The evil eye is real, and if anything were to overtake the divine decree (al-qadar) it would be the evil eye.” [Narrated by Muslim, 2188, from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas, Al-Bukhaari (5048) and Muslim (2187) narrated the first part of this hadeeth from Abu Hurayrah.]
  •  The evil eye usually (but not always) comes from people who are jealous or envious (hasad).
    • Ibn al-Qayyim said:  Everyone who gives the evil eye is jealous, but not everyone who is jealous gives the evil eye… then he said: It begins when the person likes something, then his evil soul dwells on the matter, and by continually looking at the person who has the thing of which he feels jealous, he directs his venom towards him. A person may put the evil eye on himself, or he may put the evil eye on someone else without intending to, because it is is a part of his nature. This is the worst type of human being. Our companions and other fuqahaa’ said: if someone is known for this, he should be detained by the imaam (leader), who should spend on him and provide for him until he dies. This idea is absolutely correct… [Zaad al-Ma’aad, 4/167].
  • Seeking refuge in Allah SWT from the evil eye:
    • For oneself: In the hadeeth, it says, “A’oodhu bi kalimaat-Illaah it-taamah min kulli shaytaanin wa haammah wa min kulli ‘aynin laammah (I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allaah from every devil and vermin and from every envious eye).” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3191) from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas, by Muslim, al-Dhikr wa’l-Du’aa, 4881)]
      •  The meaning of ‘vermin’ (haammah) is lethally poisonous animals and insects. The meaning of ‘envious’ (laammah) is that which causes harm because of jealousy (hasad).
    • For one’s children: It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to seek refuge with Allaah for al-Hasan and al-Husayn. He said: ‘Your father [i.e., Ibraaheem] used to seek refuge with Allaah for Ismaa’eel and Ishaaq with these words: A’oodhu bi kalimaat Allaah al-taammah min kulli shaytaanin wa haammah wa min kulli ‘aynin laammah (I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allaah, from every devil and every poisonous reptile, and from every bad eye).’”[Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Ahaadeeth al-Anbiyaa’, 3120].
    • Prevention is better than cure:
      1. Constant Dhikr.With regard to dealing with the evil eye and hasad (destructive envy), there is no doubt that when a person is close to Allaah, always remembering Him (dhikr) and reading Qur’aan, he is less likely to be affected by the evil eye and other kinds of harm from the devils of mankind and the jinn. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to seek refuge with Allaah for himself, and the greatest means of seeking refuge that is available to the Muslim is reading the Book of Allaah, above all the Mi’wadhatayn (the last two Soorahs of the Qur’aan, al-Falaq and al-Naas), Soorat al-Faatihah and Aayat al-Kursiy [al-Baqarah 2:255].
      2. Concealing one’s blessings such as engagement etc. 
        • Some scholars regarded it as mustahabb to conceal the engagement for fear of hasad (destructive envy) which could lead to trouble between the man and the family of his fiancée, as stated in Haashiyat al-‘Adawi ‘ala Sharh Mukhtasar Khaleel, 3/167.
        • This is supported by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Seek help in meeting your needs by keeping quiet, for everyone who is blessed is envied.” [Narrated by al-Tabaraani; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 943.]
        • This does not apply only to engagement, rather a person should not show openly the blessings that Allaah has bestowed upon him to one who will envy him for that.
      3. Invocations: Al-Zarqaani said in Sharh al-Muwatta’ (4/320): i.e., why don’t you say, Baarak Allaahu feek (May Allaah bless you), and that would cancel out what is feared of the evil eye and take away its effects.
        • Invoke blessings: It was narrated from Abu Umaamah ibn Sahl ibn Haneef that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Why don’t you invoke blessings, for the evil eye is real.” [Narrated by Maalik in al-Muwatta’ (2/938); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (6/149).]
        • This indicates that the evil eye cannot cause any harm if the one who may harm with the evil eye invokes blessings. What is prescribed for everyone who admires something is to invoke blessings, for if he prays for blessings, the harm must inevitably be diverted. Invoking blessings means to say: Tabaarak Allaah ahsan al-khaaliqeen, Allaahummah baarik fihi (Blessed be Allaah the best of creators, O Allaah bless it). Al-Nawawi said: It is mustahabb for the one who may harm with the evil eye to pray the blessing for the one who may be harmed and say Allaahumma baarik wa laa tadurrahu (O Allaah bless and do not harm him) and Ma sha Allaah laa quwwata illa Billaah (As Allaah wills, there is no power except with Allaah).
        • Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Baari (10/205): The one who admires something should hasten to pray that the thing he admires be blessed, and that will be a ruqyah on his part.
  • Although it is correct that the evil eye comes from people who feel jealous (hasad), it may also come from a person who is not jealous but merely likes something, because of the hadeeth:
    •  “Whoever among you sees something in himself or in his possessions or in his brother that he likes, let him pray for blessing for it, because the evil eye is real.” [Narrated by Ibn al-Sunni in ‘Aml al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah, p. 168; and by al-Haakim, 4/216. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Kalim al-Tayyib, 243.] This hadeeth explains that a person may harm himself or his wealth – and no one feels jealous of himself – but he may harm himself with the evil eye by admiring himself, so it is even more possible that he may harm his wife in the same way.
    • Ibn al-Qayyim said: And a man may put the evil eye on himself. [Zaa’d al-Ma’aad, 4/167].
  • A man may harm his wife with the evil eye by looking at her and noticing her beauty and admiring her, even if he does not actually say to her “You are beautiful.” It is mustahabb for him to say, “Allaahumma baarik fihaa (O Allaah, bless her).”
    • It was reported from Abu Umaamah ibn Sahl ibn Hunayf that his father told him that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out and they travelled with him towards Makkah until they reached Shi’b al-Khazzaar in al-Juhfah. Sahl ibn Hunayf washed himself, and he was a white man with a handsome body and skin. ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah, the brother of Bani ‘Udayy ibn Ka’b, looked at him when he was washing, and said, “I have never seen anything like this, not even the skin of a virgin in seclusion!” (this was a metaphor for the intense whiteness of his skin). Then Sahl suffered a seizure (an epileptic fit, in which he fell to the ground). He was brought to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and it was said, “O Messenger of Allaah, do you know what has happened to Sahl? By Allaah, he cannot raise his head and he will not wake up.” He said, “Do you accuse anyone with regard to him?” They said, “‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah looked at him.” So the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called ‘Aamir and spoke angrily with him, saying, “Would any of you like to kill his brother? If you see something that you like, why do you not pray for blessing for it?” Then he said to him (‘Aamir), “Do ghusl for him.” So he washed his face, hands, elbows, the soles of his feet and inside his izaar (lower garment) from a vessel, then that water was poured over him (Sahl) – a man poured it over his head and back from behind, tilting the vessel. This was done to him, then Sahl went on with the people and there was nothing wrong with him. [Al-Musnad, 3/486. Al-Haythami said: the men of Ahmad are the men of saheeh. Al-Majma’, 5/107)].
  • Evil eye can be given by a Kafir as well: The evidence for that is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “And verily, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes (through hatred) when they hear the Reminder (the Qur’aan)…” [al-Qalam 68:51]
    • Al-Saddi said: “[This means] they would harm you with their eyes (evil eye).” [Tafseer al-Baghawi, 8/202.] This is also indicated by the general meaning of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The (evil) eye is real.” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5740; Muslim, 2187.]
  • (Side note) Weak Hadith: When they like something, some people say “Ma sha’ Allaah laa quwwata illa Billaah (That which Allaah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allaah)”. They take as evidence for this an aayah in Soorat al-Kahf and a hadeeth. The aayah in question is (interpretation of the meaning): “It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden: ‘That which Allaah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allaah!’” [al-Kahf 18:39]. But this is not evidence (daleel), because the subject of the aayah has nothing to do with hasad (envy); in fact, Allaah destroyed his garden because of his kufr and transgression.
    • The hadeeth in question was reported from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him), saying that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Whoever sees something that he likes, and says, ‘Ma sha Allaah laa quwwata illa Billaah’, the evil eye will not affect him.” But this hadeeth is da’eef jiddan (very weak)! Al-Haythami said: this was narrated by al-Bazzaar from the report of Abu Bakr al-Hudhali, who is da’eef jiddan (very weak). [Majma’ al-Zawaa’id, 5/21].

And Allaah knows best.

 Source: Islam Q and A, Fatwa # 7190 , # 11359, # 31216, #89604, #67884

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