The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement Blog


New area: Miracles, Myths, Mistakes and MattersSee Title Page and List of Contents

latest, 3rd October 2017: Adam Who? But, Son Of Adam I.E. You And Me – At Least According To Quran


See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

Read: Background to the Project

List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3‎ — completed, 28th June 2013


Archive for October, 2015

Pickthall, Quran, H.G. Wells and all the musings about – ‘Morning Star of a Creedless Faith’

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Submitted by Ikram.


While browsing Woking Muslim Mission archives (link) in the journal Islamic Review & Muslim India, August 1917, p. 337, I came across an article by Marmaduke Pickthall ‘Islam and Progress,’ which he opens with the following paragraph:

THE opinion prevalent in Christian countries with regard to El Islam is that, as compared with Christianity, it is a religion essentially unprogressive, and to some extent degrading to the human intellect. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The sort of lethargy, comporting ignorance and superstition, which has weighed upon the Muslim masses for the last three centuries, is the result of historical circumstances very similar to those which darkened Western Europe in the period before the Renaissance. It has little more than a geographical connection with the Muhammadan religion; and now, with the revival of a scientific education, it is at an end. It would be a serious mistake to suppose, in view of the relatively backward state of the Islamic world, that El Islam itself is unprogressive in the modern meaning of the word. How can it be, when one reflects that modern progress is the outcome, not of any Christian doctrine, but free, thought, and that Islam: unlike Christianity, prescribes free thinking as a duty for believers.

With the above read, the verse of Quran, in its chapter ‘Al-Rum – The Byzantines,’ resonated in my mind:

30:30. So pay your whole-hearted attention to (the cause of) faith as one devoted (to pure faith), turning away from all that is false. (And follow) the Faith of Allâh (-Islam) to suit the requirements of which He has made the nature of humankind. There can be no change in the nature (of creation) which Allâh has made. That is the right and most perfect Faith, yet most people do not know (it). [Nooruddin]

In the same issue of Islamic Review, a few pages down, in Editor’s mail [p. 353] is a letter under the title – ‘MORNING STAR OF A CREEDLESS FAITH – which apparently is excerpted from the letter of a Minister to the Unitarian Church:

There is so much in your Faith that rings harmonious with my own deepest belief that I hardly think it necessary to mention points on which there is a difference, and I cannot help thinking that an unprejudiced reading of such publications as the ISLAMIC REVIEW would do much to prepare the way for the rising of that "Morning Star of a Creedless Faith" which, if I interpret aright, was the dream of Jesus and the Faith of your Holy Prophet.

‘Morning Star of a Creedless Faith’ is a quote within a chapter ‘The Idea of a Church’ in the book ‘God, the Invisible King’ by H. G. Well (p. 185, link) that was published in the same year as Islamic Review. I could not help but reproduce it in its entirety below.

Due to its length this post is continued below as a comment.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ‘Message of Peace’ more relevant today than ever

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Submitted by Rashid Jahangiri.


Two or three days before his death, in 1908, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib wrote his last book ‘Message of Peace’. HMGA had foreseen Hindu-Muslim tension based on religion.  To prevent escalation and bloodshed between the followers of these two religions he wrote his book and gave practical suggestions to avoid mayhem. HMGA made one such suggestion that out of respect for Hindus religious feelings, Muslims should stop slaughtering and eating meat of Hindus deity Cow, and Hindus should stop disrespecting and making vituperative attacks on Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS.

Of course no one among Muslims cared for HMGA suggestion. Last 100 years history is witness to what followed. Hindu-Muslims riots, extreme was in 1947 at time of independence from British rule, then wars between India and Pakistan. In India there have been continuous riots against Muslims. Riots took place in State of Gujrat when Narendra Modi was its Chief Minister. And riots and killing of Muslims taking place in India, on cow slaughter and consumption of its meat by Muslims, when Narendra Modi is Prime Minister of India.

The way new laws are enacted in India in recent days, slaughter of cow and eating of its meat by Muslims will become a serious crime. Muslims will be prevented from eating cow meat. On other hand Hindus will make more bold vituperative attacks on Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS.

I wish Muslims in India had listened to HMGA, and today situation could have been prevented.

Once again it is proved that Muslims who do not listen to appointees of Allah SWT learn through hard way.

Message of Peace by HMGA: http://www.ahmadiyya.org/bookspdf/mess-pc.htm

Link to news on cow slaughter in India: http://www.firstpost.com/tag/cow-slaughter

Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s speech in January 1913 saying only those are kafir who brand Ahmadis as kafir

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

During the period of Headship of Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din, when Mirza Mahmud Ahmad returned from performing the Hajj to Makkah, some welcome meetings were held for him in Qadian. One such meeting, attended by the Hazrat Maulana, was held on 14th January 1913, and was organized by the pupils of the Ahmadiyya religious school. At the request of the gathering Mirza Mahmud Ahmad made a speech about his journey. This event, along with the speech, is reported in Badr, 30 January 1913, pages 17-18.

In this speech he mentioned various questions and objections that he encountered from people during the journey and his answers to them. He relates one of these as follows:

"Then a man raised the objection that the Holy Prophet has said that in every century there will be a group in his Ummah who will receive salvation, but you (i.e., Ahmadis) say that after the Companions till today all Muslims have been kafir as they believed that Jesus is alive. I replied to him that we do not call non-Ahmadis as kafir because of their believing in Jesus to be alive. We call them kafir because they call the followers of Mirza sahib, who are Muslims, as kafir. Therefore, under the Holy Prophet's order, we call them kafir because they call Muslims as kafir." (p. 18, column 2)

This speech was, of course, made almost two years after his well-known article of April 1911, in which he declared all other Muslims to be kafir, all those who "decline to accept his claims", "even if they called him a righteous person with their tongues".

See the image of this part of the speech below.

badr-1913-Jan-30-p18-300

The image of the complete report in Badr can be read in pdf format at this link. The report begins in the 3rd column of the first page (p. 17). I have marked appropriate points by red lines.

Anti-Ahmadiyya group claims victory for Qadiani Jamaat against LAM in Shimla debate of 1915

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Earlier this month I received an e-mail sent by Mr Akber A. Choudhry to a list of people including me. It pointed us to his website (I say "his website" because the link he sent carries his personal copyright notice at the bottom) where a Qadiani Jamaat publication has been uploaded containing the proceedings of a debate between Qadiani Jamaat and Lahore Ahmadiyya representatives at Shimla (formerly spelt as Simla).

In this debate each party put forward its arguments before an impartial, non-Ahmadi Muslim arbitrator as to its interpretation of the claims of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The arbitrator's verdict, printed in this book, is presented to show that he ruled that the Qadiani explanation of his claim, that he claimed to be a prophet, was correct.

I sent a preliminary reply to Mr Akber A. Choudhry's e-mail, but he gave no response. I have now compiled an article on the subject at this link.

I wonder if he will care to respond (I am sending him a link to this blog post).

His webpage says: "These proceedings represents the closest we will get to the original positions and it includes many very interesting references and interpretations."

This statement shows the gross ignorance which we have come to expect from anti-Ahmadiyya websites. The "references and interpretations" in these proceedings can be found extensively in Qadiani and LAM literature, including on the Qadiani and LAM websites, and were a matter of common discussion for decades.

Zahid Aziz

You Can Do Magic♫ You Can Have Anything That You Desire♪ – But, Not So In Quran – Harut, Marut and the not so Holy Masons

Monday, October 5th, 2015

You Can Do Magic♫ You Can Have Anything That You Desire♪1 – But, Not So In Quran – Harut, Marut and the not so Holy Masons

Humans have always been fascinated with the ‘unknown’. We were all children once and children are universally enthralled with ‘magic.’ Magic tugs at their hearts and evokes fancy that goes beyond the physical confines of apparently ‘rigid’ laws of physics. By thinking magically, children can imaginatively transcend time and space. Impossible becomes possible and wishes find hope in magic. ‘Magic’ and ‘magical thinking’ provide an imaginary means to give one control over the physical world in which a person might otherwise find oneself helpless. In technical terms, it protects the (Freudian) ego. Some of the adults outgrow their ‘magical thinking’, while others continue to believe in it. Still, others dwell in it to the extent that they try to practice, preach and prove it. Some take it to the next level and set up shops providing an actual fee for service either to cast a spell or remove a presumptive one. They gain monetarily by diagnosing, treating and preventing the magical effects on one’s health or social relationships. Different experts catering to the market needs provide services in sub-specialties of magic – evil eye, amulets, ghoul, demon-possession, exorcism, witchcraft, fortune telling, astrology, palmistry, horoscope, clairvoyance, knowledge of the hidden, soothsayer, diviner, voodoo etc. Those Muslims who believe in ‘magic’ try to sanctify their occult beliefs and practices through Quran and Hadith. This chapter is addressed squarely at such beliefs and expunges any validation, no matter how remote, of such nonsense that uses crutch of Quran to stand on.

Quran frequently uses terms metaphorically. These symbolizations, if read concretely, can seed myths, for example, fire of Hell, fruits of Heaven and giving of life to a dead land. Similarly, the term ‘magic’ is misunderstood. It is alleged that Quran can be used to cast magic on the audience, but nowhere does Quran actually endorse magic as it is commonly understood. Like the followers of other religions, Muslims too, over a period of time, started attributing magical stories to their faith, their Prophet and their Book to the extent that now magic is a commonly held belief amongst many Muslims. The mythical basis of magic inferred from Quran is then conjectured into literature and apologies. The reproduction in this chapter of several examples of such literature, though lengthy, goes a long way to show the extent and pervasiveness of such beliefs. Following is an example where its author tries to validate magic from Quran by tracing its roots to the trio of Prophet Solomon, Satan and the two angels – Harut and Marut:

How black magic started – The history and story of Harut, Marut, Prophet Sulaiman, and the devils
The events in this post are based on two Quranic verses of Surah Al-Baqara and Ibn Kathir’s writings. Harut and Marut (mentioned in the Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah) were two angels who are known to be behind bringing black magic to this world. Quran clarifies the misunderstanding related to their role. They are mentioned in connection with the events that took place during the time of Prophet Solomon / Sulaiman (alaihis salam) the wise prophet and king, who came after Prophet Moses / Musa (alaihis salam). Allah’s revelation in the Quran about Sulaiman (alaihis salam) also clears the misconceptions that the Jews had about him that he was “just a sorcerer or idolator who was carried by the wind.”

Prophet Sulaiman’s powers
Allah had bestowed Prophet Sulaiman (alaihis salam) with certain powers over mankind, Jinn and all other living creatures. Satan wanted to deprive him of this power. One day, as it was his practice, before going to answer the call of nature, Sulaiman (alaihis salam) gave his ring to a woman called Al-Jaradah. Satan took advantage of this opportunity, came in the form of Sulaiman, and took the ring from her and put the ring on. As Allah had decreed to bless the holder of the ring to have many powers, all mankind, the jinn and devils submitted to Satan. Later, when Sulaiman came seeking his ring from the woman, she accused him of being an imposter. Prophet Sulaiman endured this with patience as he knew that this was a test from Allah the Almighty.

How black magic and fortunetelling became widespread?
With Satan having new powers, the devils were now free to do whatever they wished. It was at this time that they wrote books of black magic and buried them underneath the throne of Prophet Sulaiman (alaihis salam). Black magic and fortune telling came to the earth through these devils who (after having the new powers) would eavesdrop on the descending angels about matters decreed in the Heavens. The devils would then come down to inspire the soothsayers with it, and the latter would add to it many lies of their own. People would then believe them and regard them as trustworthy. The people started writing down these matters and the word spread among the Children of Israel that the Jinn knew the unseen.

Later, when Allah restored to Prophet Sulaiman (alaihis salam) his kingdom, and all those who had strayed away came to follow the straight path once again, Allah the Almighty informed Sulaiman (alaihis salam) about the magic that had become commonplace among his people. This then drove Sulaiman to quickly seize and gather all these writings and put them in a chest and bury them under his throne. All the devils who tried to even approach the chest were burned alive. Prophet Sulaiman took an even harder stance declaring that he would behead anyone who claimed that the devils knew the unseen.

Asif was Sulaiman’s scribe. He knew the Greatest Name of Allah and used to write what he was ordered to by Sulaiman and then bury it underneath the throne. After Sulaiman’s death, a devil came in the form of a human being to the people and said: “I will lead you to an everlasting treasure that will never run out.” He was referring to the writings of Prophet Sulaiman that were buried under the chest. The Satan led the people to dig under Sulaiman’s throne. To provide credibility to his word he also offered to be killed if he was not correct in his claims. After the people dug out all the writings, the devil told them that it was these writings that had given Prophet Sulaiman power over mankind, the Jinn and the birds. The devils altered these books by adding magical and blasphemous writings. The devils wrote about different types of sorcery meant to fulfill different desires.

For example, the devils wrote about how people could get some wishes fulfilled by standing facing the sun and saying some words, and how they could get other wishes fulfilled by standing with their back to the sun and repeating some other words. They wrote this in a book and sealed it with a ring bearing the inscription found on Sulaiman’s ring and titled it with: “This is what has been written by Asif Ibn Barkhiya by the order of King Sulaiman Ibn Dawud: from the treasures of knowledge.” Then, they buried it under Sulaiman’s throne.

It was rumored and circulated that Sulaiman had been a sorcerer. Satan established himself as an orator and said: “O people! Sulaiman was not a prophet; he was only a sorcerer! Go and seek his sorcery in his dwellings and luggage.” And he led them to the buried “treasure”. The people said: “By Allah! Sulaiman was a sorcerer who subjected us through his magic.” But the believers from among them said: “Nay, he was a faithful Prophet.”

Quran’s verses and explanation on the reality of black magic
During Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.) time, the Jews kept these writings and disputed the prophet (s) regarding them. They would ask Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.) about matters from the Torah. They said: “Muhammad confounds the truth with falsehood: he puts Sulaiman with the prophets while he was just a sorcerer who was carried by the wind.” When they asked him about sorcery, Allah the Almighty revealed to the prophet (s) the following verses:

They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaiman (Solomon). Sulaiman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, “We are only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s Leave. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not. And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter. And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their ownselves, if they but knew.And if they had believed, and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allah, far better would have been the reward from their Lord, if they but knew! Quran (Surah Al-Baqara, Verses 102-103)

Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S) informed the Jews of this narration and they left defeated and humiliated. Regarding the angels Harut and Marut mentioned in the verses, Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) elaborated that: “The angels Harut and Marut used to warn anyone who came to them to learn magic and would say to him: “We are only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” They knew what is good, what is bad, what is belief and what is disbelief and thus they knew that magic was associated with disbelief. Ibn ‘Abbas continued: “However, if they could not dissuade the person, they would tell him to go to a particular place to learn magic.Allah the Almighty says:

“…And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife,…” (Al-Baqarah, 2:102).

i.e., the people learned from Harut and Marut the magic by which they would cause separation between man and his wife though the man and wife might have affinity and affection for each other. Separation between them is caused by the cunning of the devils as transmitted in Imam Muslim’s Sahih from the Hadith narrated by Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah as said by the Prophet (S.A.W.S.): “Iblis places his throne upon water; he then sends detachments (for creating dissension); the nearer to him in rank are those who are most notorious in creating dissension. One of them comes and says: “I did so and so.” And he says: “You have done nothing.” Then one amongst them comes and says: “I did not spare so and so until I sowed the seed of discord between a husband and a wife.” Satan goes near him and says: “You have done well.” Al-A’mash said: “He then embraces him.”

The dissension between a husband and wife can be created through magic by the devil making each of them imagine something bad — a view, or manner, etc. – about the other. Allah the Almighty says:

But they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s Leave” (Al-Baqarah, 2:102).

The lesson from the story is that magic is for real and Allah has provided Satan certain powers to harm mankind, especially those who believe in Allah and His message of truth. To prevent us from Satan’s plans and mischief, Allah has also provided us with many verses and adhkar that we can find in the Quran and Hadith. We should, therefore, be regular in reciting those Azkar to avoid getting in the traps of Satan all satanic activities.
Source: Ibn Kathir Stories2

Any intelligent reader will be perplexed by the above fantastic narrative in which its author presents hearsay for a fact and then relies on confabulations to interpret Quran. One is compelled to wonder if the author even for a moment considered his interpretations sheer nonsense. The myth states that Harut and Marut were angels. These angels were not only living amongst the Babylonians, but were also teaching them magic. This myth can be debunked by a single verse in Quran. The verse simply states that all and sundry can see the angels only after they are dead and that too only in the hereafter:

25:22. On the day when they will see the angels, there will be no good news for the guilty…3

The legend of Solomon for his magical powers, his magical kingdom and his epic return to power is also found in Arabic literature, eerily similar to the fantasy in the Hollywood production of Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King,’4 and is summarized below:

Miraculous Power: Solomon is represented as having authority over spirits, animals, wind, and water, all of which obeyed his orders by virtue of a magic ring set with the four jewels given him by the angels that had power over these four realms. A similar ring is mentioned in stories of the "Arabian Nights." The power inherent in the ring is shown by the following story: It was Solomon’s custom to take off the ring when he was about to wash, and to give it to one of his wives, Amina, to hold. On one occasion, when the ring was in Amina’s keeping, the rebellious spirit Sakhr took on Solomon’s form and obtained the ring. He then seated himself on the throne and ruled for forty days, during which time the real king wandered about the country, poor and forlorn. On the fortieth day Sakhr dropped the ring into the sea; there it was swallowed by a fish, which was caught by a poor fisherman and given to Solomon for his supper. Solomon cut open the fish, found the ring, and returned to power. His forty days’ exile had been sent in punishment for the idolatry practised in his house for forty days, although unknown to him, by one of his wives (Koran, sura xxxviii. 33-34; Baiḍawi, ii. 187; Ṭabri, "Annales," ed. De Goeje, i. 592 et seq.).5

The foremost basis for magic in Quran is attributed to two angels, Harut and Marut in Babylon, in verse 2:102. The advent of these angels occurred centuries after the reign of Solomon and will be part of discussion in this chapter. The mythical interpretation of Harut and Marut is essentially a Persian legend of two fallen angels, Avestan Haurvatāt and Amurdād, who were banished due to their promiscuous act with a Persian princess. The princess was then able to extract the secret name of God from them. Once she uttered that secret name, she ascended to the heavens as Venus (Al-Zuhrah). The angels in turn were punished and imprisoned in chains from ankle to knees, hanging upside down in a well in Mount Damāvand, their thirsty tongues sticking out just short of the water at the bottom and they taught magic. They will stay in this state till the Day of Judgment6. This legend of fallen angels has similarities in the Bible:

2 Peter 2:4 – For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;7

Since the support for magic in Muslim apologies is based upon references to verse 2:102 of Quran in which Solomon and angels Harut and Marut are mentioned, hence this verse will be addressed straightaway before the term ‘magic’ itself is expunged from Quran in the later part of this chapter. As a matter of principle, whenever there is a reference in Quran to a bygone event, Quran rectifies the errors of pervious Scriptures because it declares itself as a guardian of the truth and absolves, besides Solomon, numerous other prophets as well that have been smeared in the Old Testament:

5:48. And We have revealed to you this perfect Book [–Quran] comprising the truth and wisdom, fulfilling (the prophecies of) the Scripture which was present before it and stands as a guardian over it…8

To understand verse 2:102 it is important to take into account the historical events. These events spanned from Solomon in 9th century BC, to Harut and Marut in Babylon into 5th Century BC. The historical context is important in understanding the relevance of this verse in Madina during the 7th century AD.

About two hundred years after Solomon came Isaiah, the prophet. Isaiah gave a two part prophecy about Babylon. The first part of Isaiah’s prophecy states that Babylon will be overcome by a Persian-Mede king without pillage of the city. The second part of the same prophecy mentions total destruction of the city such that it will never resurrect again.

A hundred years after Isaiah, Nebuchadnezzer II, the Chaldean, razed Solomon’s temple and displaced Israelites from Canaan into Babylon in captivity.

Seventy years later Isaiah’s prophecies were indeed fulfilled. Babylon was overcome by a Persian-Mede king(s) without pillage of the city. This Persian king (or possibly two kings) had the characteristics of Harut, which is most likely a title rather than the name of any particular person. Harut comes from the root word Harat which means to ‘clear’ the land. The second prophecy also came true. The total destruction of Babylon was accomplished by another Persian king referred to as Marut in Quran. Marut comes from the root word Marat which means to ‘level’ the land. The Israelites got their freedom under Harut and Marut albeit over a century. They returned to Jerusalem.

The prophecy of Isaiah foretold the role of Harut and Marut in Babylon. Harut and Marut were no less than angels for the Israelites. Harut and Marut were probably not actual names of these kings. They were referred to as Harut and Marut because they possessed the attributes of Harat and Marat. One cleared Babylon and the other totally levelled. In fact Babylon was cleared by two consecutive Persian kings and thus Harut may refer to two individuals and not one.

The details of these will emerge as we discuss the verse 2:102 of Quran. This verse will be broken down into smaller parts to grasp the context and relevance of the matters that it addresses:

2:102. Moreover, they (- the Jews of the Prophet’s time) pursue (the same tactics) which the rebels [Arabic: shayāṭīnu i.e. devils] had followed against the empire of Solomon…9

Obviously, the verse is referring to intentions, actions and incitement by certain people, the Jews of Madinah (verse 2:101), who were conniving against the sitting government of the Prophet. They were hatching schemes in the same manner that was once done against the government of Solomon – Moreover, they (- the Jews of the Prophet’s time) pursue (the same tactics) which the rebels [Arabic: shayāṭīnu i.e. devils] had followed against the empire of Solomon.

2:102. …And it was not Solomon that had committed breach of faith [Arabic: kafara i.e. disbelieved], but it was the rebels [Arabic: shayāṭīna i.e. devils] that had committed breach of faith…10

This section of the verse 2:102 draws parallels between the rebels at the time of Solomon and the Jews at the time of Prophet Muhammad. The Jews in Madinah, similar to rebels at the time of Solomon, allege that Prophet Muhammad is committing breach of faith and is a false prophet. Whereas, it were the Jews of Madina who were breaching their own faith by their rebellious acts against the promised prophet. The advent of Muhammad was foretold in their own scriptures:

Deuteronomy 18:18. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you [–Moses] from among their brethren [–Ismaelites], and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.11

Deuteronomy 33:2. And he said: “The Lord came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran [–Hejaz, Makkah], And He came with ten thousands of saints [later during the conquest of Makkah]; From His right hand Came a fiery law [–Quran] for them…”12

Prophet “Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years,” (1 Kings 11:42)13 approximately from 971 (or 967) B.C. to 931 BC. His kingdom prospered and extended from Euphrates to Nile. He built the First Temple in Jerusalem. Verse 2:102 is a reference to the time of tranquility and prosperity under Solomon when people from far, China, India and Egypt, converged towards his kingdom and brought with them their respective faiths which became a source of rebellious ideas and movements in his kingdom. The falsehoods attributed to Solomon by these rebels/devils found their way into the Old Testament, unrefuted.14

In Quran, the use of the term ‘devils’ opposing the prophets is used for opposition leaders who use any and every vile scheme to disrupt the message of the prophets and tarnish their image. Similar to the scheming against Prophet Solomon by usurpers in his kingdom, schemes were hatched against Prophet Muhammad, but with a difference. Solomon faced conspiracies because he was a king. Whereas, Prophet Muhammad faced persecution because he was a commoner. The same term ‘devil’ or ‘rebel’ is used in Quran for leaders opposing both prophets:

2:13-14.And when it is said to them, Believe as the people [Arabic: l-nāsu; Companions of the Prophet] believe, they say: Shall we believe as the fools believe? Now surely they are the fools, but they do not know. And when they meet those who believe, they say, We believe; and when they are alone with their devils [Arabic: shayāṭīnihim; evil companions, ring-leaders], they say: Surely we are with you, we were only mocking.15

In the verse 2:102 when Quran states that it was not Solomon that had committed breach of faith, it is factually correcting the Bible which alleges that Solomon in his old age committed breach of faith and setup altars for worship by his non-Jewish wives:

1 Kings 11 – King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. 7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.16

Thus, according to Quran, it was the rebels [Arabic: shayāṭīna i.e. devils] that had committed breach of faith, and not Solomon. This rumor mongering of polytheistic practices of Solomon as spread by the ‘devils,’ the opposition against Solomon, later found its way into the quoted passage of 1 Kings 11, unrefuted. Even more, not only Prophet Solomon was accused of being an enchanter and a sorcerer, but also Prophets Moses and Muhammad, and even the Quran itself was called magic, which we know is not true:

10:2. Is this a (matter of) wonder for the people that We have sent Our revelation to a man from among themselves (saying), `Warn the people (against the evils of disbelief and sin) and give glad tidings to those who believe that they stand on a strong and honourable footing with their Lord?’ The disbelievers say, `Certainly, this (man) [–Muhammad] is an evident enchanter.’17

33:69. Believers! be not as those who maligned Moses [as a sorcerer: verses 20:57, 20:63, 20:71, 51:39]. Indeed Allâh absolved him of their allegations [including that Moses was a sorcerer]. And he (- Moses) is ever high- honored in the sight of Allâh.18

74:24-25. then said: This [Quran] is nothing but magic from of old, this is nothing but the word of a mortal!19

The angels under discussion, Harut and Marut and their alleged teaching of magic, come into picture much later after the death of Solomon when the Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 597 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar II, the Babylonian king, and he displaced the Israelites into Babylon. This exile period was the time of Prophets Daniel, Ezra, Ezekiel and Josiah.20 Verse 2:102 thus continues.

2:102. …They (- the Jews of Madînah) teach the people the modes of intriguing [Arabic: siḥ’ra i.e. enchantment, magic, embellished deceit]; and also (pursue) that which had (once) been revealed to the two angels, Hârût and Mârût in Babylon21[Emphasis added]

The very statement – that which had (once) been revealed to the two angels, is a multifactorial proof that Harut and Marut were not angels but humans. According to Quran angels are not the end recipients but conveyers of the revelations. Furthermore, angels do not live amongst humans:

17:95. Say, `Had there been angels on the earth (in place of human beings) walking about secure and sound We (too) would have invariably sent down an angel from heaven as a Messenger to them.’22

While it will become obvious in the discussion to follow that Harut and Marut were Persian kings who cleared and levelled out the enemies of Israelites, it is also important beforehand to clear the air surrounding the use of the word ‘angels’ for them. Both, within Quran and in common usage, the word ‘angel’ is ascribed by people to others for their virtuous characteristics. For example, after the guests of wife of Aziz heard about the pious behavior of Joseph and then saw him, they exclaimed and called him an angel:

12:30. And the women talked in the city, `The wife of the ‘Azîz (- Potiphar, the captain of king’s guard) seeks to seduce her young slave against his will. His love has indeed penetrated deep in her heart. Indeed, we see her in obvious error (in going too far in her love).’

12: 31. And when she heard of their sly whisperings (and taunting remarks), she sent for them and prepared a repast for them, then (on the women’s arrival) she gave to each one of them a knife (to eat fruit therewith) and said (to Joseph then), `Come forth in their presence.’ So when they saw him they found him a dignified personality and cut their hands (through wonder and) said, `Glory be to Allâh! He is not a human being. He is but a noble angel.23 [Emphasis added]

Two angels, Hârût and Mârût in Babylon is a reference to the history calling those savior kings angels. Quran is referring to a term used by Jews where it addresses them in the verse 2:102. This verse addresses the Jews of Madinah who were not only conspiring but were also teaching/inciting sihr, i.e. embellished deceit, to others as well, against the government of the Prophet. In doing so they were also using the tactics that were once employed at the time of Harut and Marut in Babylon. Before one starts interpreting the terms Harut and Marut from folklore one has to understand the root of these words, Harat and Marat, and their usage in Quran. In simple terms, Harat – means clearing up of the land. Marat – means levelling of the land.24

Harata To spear, slit, widen, impair (reputation), have a wide mouth, have wide sides of the mouth, tear up. Hârût: A descriptive name one who tore up. According to Ibn ‘Abbâs Harût and Marût were two men (Baghawî). They are both descriptive names the former being derived from harata (he tore up) and marata (he broke). These names signify that the object of these men (kings) was to tear asunder and break the glory and power of the empire of the enemies of the Israelites. The Holy Qur’ân discredits the Christian and Jewish stories of sinning and rebellious angels (II Epistle of Peter 2:4; Epistle of Jude 5:6; Midrash). See also Mârût. Hârût: Name of an Israelite king who was given the power and authority by God to destroy the enemies of the Israelites. (2:102). (L; T; R; LL) 25

Marata To break, make barren, Maratun: Barren and stripped land; Man without eyebrows. Mart: Hairless beast. Mârût: Attributive name of a king whose object was to break the glory of the enemies of Israelites, as Ibn ‘Abbâs says. His companion was Hârût. Mârût: Name of an Israelite king (2:102). (Ibn ‘Abbâs, Baidzâwî; Ibn Jarîr; Dhahhâq; LL).26

Similar to Gog and Magog27, Harut and Marut are also coupled terms. They signify certain peoples. Their names reflect their sequential actions i.e. Harat – who first cleared up the city of Babel, the ruins of which are found in southern Iraq of modern times, and Marat – who then levelled it altogether. Only then the Israelites, who were earlier displaced from Canaan by Nebuchadnezzar II, had their freedom restored and returned to Palestine. Thus, Harut and Marut must have been nothing but angels for the Israelites.

The origins of the term – that which had (once) been revealed to the two angels, Hârût and Mârût in Babylon is found in history. It was revealed in a prophecy to Prophet Isaiah (around 740 B.C.) the manifestation of two angels, Harut and Marut, who in their strategy will seek relief for Israelites from slavery by their developing an alliance with the kingdoms of Media (also written as Medes) and Persia. It so happened later that it were the Persian kings28 who ended the slavery for the Israelites after the city of Babel was first ‘cleared’ in 539 BC by Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II 560–530 BC, also known as Dhul Qurnain in Quran) who drained the moat around the fortification of the city and then took over the city peacefully and without pillage.29 This reflects the behavior of a Prophet King, be it Dhul Qurnain conquering Babel then or Prophet Muhammad conquering Makkah later. The prophecy states:

Isaiah 13:17. “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, Who will not regard silver; And as for gold, they will not delight in it.30

See also Isaiah 45:1-8.31

The second time Babel was again attacked and its rebellious king and his followers were killed in 521 BC by Darius I.32 The prophecy of Isiah was thus fulfilled for ‘Harut’:

Daniel 5: 13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king [Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar II] spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father [Nebuchadnezzar II] the king brought from Judah?… 30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans [–the natives of marshy south-east portion of Mesopotamia], was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.33

The mention of – “Then Daniel was brought in before the king,” clearly points to the fact that Israelites were still under the subjugation of the Babylonian king when ‘Harut’ struck – “Darius the Mede received the kingdom.” For the third time the city was pillaged, the citizens killed and the city itself ‘levelled’ forever by the army of Xerxes I in 482 BC.34,35 The same prophecy points to this event which fulfilled the role of ‘Marut’:

Isiah 13:18-20. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; Their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, The beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, Nor will it be settled from generation to generation; Nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, Nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there.36

See also Jermiah 5137

The exiled Israelites returned from Babylon over a period stretching from 538 B.C. to 445 B.C.38

In the stated verse – They (- the Jews of Madînah) teach the people the modes of intriguing; and also (pursue) that which had (once) been revealed to the two angels, Hârût and Mârût in Babylon, essentially points to the alliance that started in Babylon between the subjugated and displaced Jews and the Persian kings. This alliance continued even during the time of the Prophet in Madina. The Jews of Madina asked the Persian king for support against the Prophet. It is on record that the governor of Yemen, then province of Persia, sent guards to arrest the Prophet in Madina. By Divine knowledge, the next day, the Prophet told them that the Persian king whose orders they were following had been killed by his own son. The guards returned empty handed.

2:102. …But these two [–Harut and Marut] would not teach (anything to) anyone without first declaring, `We are but a trial (for you here), do not, therefore commit breach of faith.’…39

Harut and Marut, the kings, were Divinely inspired to convey to Israelites with whom they were in alliance, that even though they secured freedom for them, the whole effort was essentially a moral trial according to Quran – We are but a trial (for you here). Harut and Marut further conveyed to the Israelites that after they get their freedom from the Babylonians, the Israelites, in the future must not commit breach of faith in the same manner, as the rebels against Solomon had – it was not Solomon that had committed breach of faith, but the rebels that had committed breach of faith.

Here the Jews of Madina are admonished not to commit a similar breach of faith against the Prophet, the ruler of Madina. Despite their peace treaty with the Prophet, the Jews continued to stoke rifts between Aws and Khazraj, the Arab tribes in Madina, who had found peace between themselves only after they had converted to Islam. The Jews incessantly and successfully provoked Makkans to attack Madina resulting in battles of Badr and Uhad. Their tribe committed treason during the Battle of Confederates. They even tried to kill the Prophet by entrapping him in their neighborhood by attempting to crush him under a rock from a roof top. The breach of faith of peace treaty by Jews is summated in the book ‘Muhammad and the Jews. A Re-examination’ by Barakat Ahmad under its chapter ‘The Jewish Support for Medinan Opposition’(see footnote40).

The enslaved Israelites in Babylon were morally correct to hatch a secret alliance with the Persian kings. On the contrary, in Madina the Jews had no moral basis for their conspiracy against the government of Prophet Muhammad. After the arrival of the Prophet in Madina, they freely entered into a written alliance and on equal footing with the Prophet (Mesaq e Madina41). They lived as several independent tribes and went about their daily lives without any hindrance. After agreeing to an alliance treaty any secret planning by them against the Muslims was clearly a breach of faith. The current verse refers to it – do not, therefore commit breach of faith.

History is witness to the rebellious behavior of Israelites. They repeatedly lost to the outside forces, their kingdom, its capital Jerusalem and the Solomon’s Temple, not only before the time of Harut and Marut, but afterward as well. They contrived to kill Jesus and even tried to kill the Prophet in Madina. Quran recounts this disorderly conduct of the Israelites:

17:4. And in the Scripture We have conveyed to the Children of Israel with certainty (saying), `Twice you shall create disorder in the land and shall surely become exceedingly overbearing and arrogant.’

17:5. So when (in 588 B.C. the time for) the first of the two warnings came, We roused against you, (O Children of Israel! some of) Our servants possessed of great valour and might in warfare, and they penetrated into the innermost recesses of your country and habitations. Indeed, it was a warning (about the punishment) of Allâh bound to be carried out.

17:6. Then We gave you back the power to prevail over these (enemies of yours through Cyrus and Zerubbabel), and We helped you with (various) possessions and sons and We increased your man-power (militarily).

17:7. (We said,) `If you did good, you did it for your ownselves, and if you did evil it was only to the same end.’ So when (the time for carrying out) the latter warning came (We raised certain other people – Romans under Titus in 70 A.D., against you to destroy your glory), so that they might do evil to (you and) your leading men and invade and enter the Mosque (at Jerusalem) in the same way as others (of your enemies) had invaded and entered it the first time, and so that they might destroy utterly all that they had conquered.

17:8. Still it is well-nigh that your Lord will again have mercy on you, (through Islam) but if you return (to mischief, We warn,) We too will return (to Our punishment), We have made Gehenna a prison-house for the ungrateful.42

Quran refutes the notion that angels could possibly teach evil crafts. By definition angels are agencies of Allah, and only good flows from Allah, not evil. Angles cannot disobey God and have no free will of their own to mislead mankind:

16:49-50. And to Allah submits every living creature that is in the heavens and that is in the earth, and the angels (too) and they are not proud. They fear their Lord above them and do what they are commanded.43

66:6. …They [–the angels] do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, but do as they are commanded.44

If Harut and Marut were angels like Gabriel and Michael (verse 2:98), the possibility of their misleading the people by teaching magic is repugnant to teachings of Quran. If these angels were teaching magic, an evil craft, then this is clearly the Christian doctrine of ‘Fallen Angels’ and has nothing to do with Quran:

2 Peter 2:44. For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;45

Angels, real or mythical, at least by the standards of Quran, cannot disobey Allah because by their very attribute they do not have a free will of their own and they do as they are commanded (verse 66:6) by Allah. If by any remote imagination, Harut and Marut taught magic, then either they were not angels or God forbid, Allah Himself is the teacher of magic and deception through them (I seek mercy of Allah). The myth states that Harut and Marut taught magic to the people; hence by implication they were visibly interacting with humans. By Quranic standards, angels cannot be perceived by physical eyes. They can be ‘seen’ only with a spiritual vision, a subject that is dealt with in a separate chapter.

Angels teaching magic is a total misread of the verse 2:102. The revelation via the angels strictly adheres to the principles of faith and is free from misguidance. In the verses preceding the current verse it is stated that for one to go against Divine Commandments, in this case that knowledge which is revealed to Prophet Muhammad, in both spiritual and worldly domains, is actually one going against Allah Himself:

2:97-101. Say, `He who is an enemy to Gabriel, because it is he who has brought down this (Qur’ân) on your heart by the command of Allâh, and which confirms (the Scriptures) which preceded it, and is a guidance and good tidings to the believers, `(Let him bear in mind that) whoever is an enemy to Allâh and His angels and His Messengers and Gabriel [–the angel of highest knowledge, the revelations of spiritual domain] and Michael [–the angel of worldly and material knowledge], then, of course, Allâh (Himself) is an enemy to such disbelievers.’ And We indeed have sent down to you clear arguments which none but the disobedient reject. Is it not a fact that every time they made a covenant, some of them cast it away? Rather most of them have no (true) faith. And (now) when a great Messenger (Muhammad) has come to them from Allâh confirming that (Scripture) which is with them [–Torah], a party of those who were given the Scripture cast away the Book of Allâh behind their backs, as if they know (it) not.46

2:102. …So they (- the followers of Hârût and Mârût), learnt from them that (teaching) by which they made a distinction between man and his wife, (- they taught men only and not women), yet they would not harm anyone thereby (by their practice), save by the command of Allâh…47

This is a historical reference to the secrecy of alliance between enslaved Israelites in Babylon with kings of Media (now North-Western Iran) and Persia.48 The level of secrecy was of highest level to the extent that, metaphorically or for real, even their women folks were kept in dark. This practice of secret councils survived in the Masonic religion to this day. The core tenet of Freemasonry is to keep women out of their organization that Quran refers to when it states – they made a distinction between man and his wife, (- they taught men only and not women). This tenet is outlined in the ‘Constitution of Freemasons’:

The Persons admitted Members of a Lodge must be good and true Men, free-born, and of mature and discreet Age, no Bondmen, no Women, no immoral or scandalous Men, but of good Report.”49 [Emphasis added]

The modus operandi of Masonic societies makes distinction between man and his wife, and all their meetings and rituals are held in utmost secrecy. Jews of Madina during the time of the Prophet resorted to the same Masonic practices. They, like the time of Harut and Marut in Babylon, schemed and sought help from the king of Persia.

The reference in Quran – yet they [i.e Harut and Marut] would not harm anyone thereby (by their practice), save by the command of Allâh, points to liberating role of Cyrus II, Darius I and Xeres I in Babylon as discussed before. Further, Quran also admonished the Freemasons in Madina that their conspiracies would not harm anyone thereby, save by the command of Allâh. Early Islamic history testifies to fulfillment of this admonishment of Quran to the rebellious Jews of Madina and is outlined in the subsequent portion of the verse 2:102 below.

2:102. …But these people (- the Jews of the Prophet’s time, on the contrary) are learning things that would harm them and do them no good. (They do it) even though they know that he who adopts this course will have no share (of good) in the Hereafter. Indeed, evil is that thing which they have sold themselves for. Had they but known (this fact).50

In the last segment of the verse 2:102, Quran warns the holders of secret counsels against Islam. Since, Prophet Muhammad is holding an appointed office and his message is from Allah, anyone scheming against the Prophet is factually scheming against Allah. Such a person or organization is bound to commit things that would harm them and do them no good. This warning was validated later in Madina. The Jewish tribes of Banu Qainuqah, Banu Nadhir and Banu Quraiza were subsequently displaced out of the city for their incessant scheming against the Prophet and the Muslims. While Quran does not forbid holding councils to promote good in the society, it squarely addressed and forewarned the intriguing Masonic councils of Jews in Madina:

58:7. Do you not see that Allâh knows whatever lies in the heavens and whatever lies in the earth? There are no three holding a secret counsel but He is their fourth. There are no such five but He is their sixth. Whether they are fewer than that or more, He is with them, no matter where they are. Then on the Day of Resurrection He will tell them (in the form of requital) all that they have been doing. Surely, Allâh is Possessor of full-knowledge of all things.

58:8. Have you not seen those who were forbidden (to hold) secret counsels and yet repeatedly returned to what they were forbidden to do, and they conferred together secretly (encouraging) sin, transgression and disobedience to the Messenger? When they come to you they greet you (with words) with which Allâh has not greeted you, but they say one to another, `Why does Allâh not cause us to suffer for what we say (hypocritically).’ Sufficient for them is Gehenna (to reckon with them satisfactorily). They shall enter it. What an evil resort!

58:9. O you who believe! when you hold secret counsels do not confer to promote sin, transgression and disobedience to the Messenger. Rather confer (to promote) piety, and righteousness and restrain from evil. And take Allâh as a shield, (Allâh) before whom you shall be gathered together.

58:10. Holding secret counsels (with evil intentions) is (the work) of satan (who does it) to cause unrest and distress to those who believe. Yet he can do them no harm at all except by the leave of Allâh. Therefore let the believers repose their trust in Allâh.51 [Emphasis added]

In summary, the verse 2:102 brings to fore the devilish acts, the secret scheming by evil minded, the Jews of Madina against Prophet Muhammad. It also explains the modus operandi of these schemers which was based upon the same evil schemes that were plotted against Prophet Solomon, including efforts to defame him (1 Kings 11). The verse also recounts the story of Harut and Marut who liberated Israelites. The verse highlights the distinctive characteristic of the schemers in that they exclude women from among their midst – the Freemasons, a secret society with its origins during construction of Solomon temple, if not earlier.52 The Jews of Madina were in collusion with Persian kings in their schemes. The goal of these schemers was to destroy Islam. The verse ends with the prophecy that they would fail. That was evidenced later by the expulsion of Jews from Madina.53 Maulana Muhammad Ali also explains the matter in one of his sermons (see footnote).54

After refuting magic attributed to verse 2:102 we turn our attention the word ‘magic.’ Various terms that the advocates of magic allude to by referencing them in Quran are discussed for their lexicographical basis in ‘Dictionary of Quran’ by Abdul Mannan Omar:

Sahara, Suhura / Sahira To gild, fascinate, bewitch, wheedle, turn anyone from enchant, practice sorcery, hoax, involve in trouble, deprive of understanding. Sihr: Witchcraft; Sorcery; Eloquence; Seduction; Falsehood; Deception; Turning of a thing from its proper manner to another manner; Anything the source of which is not quite visible; Showing off falsehood in the form of truth; Crafty device; Mischief; Mesmerism; Hypnotism. Sâhir plu. Sâhirûn and Sâharâ; Wizards; Fraud; Deluder; Man of vast knowledge. Mashûr: Bewitched; Feeded. Sihrân: Two magics, two magicians. Mushharun: Bewitched. Sahira: To rise or act at day break. Sahar/Suhar: plu. Ashâr: Day break; End; Edge. Later part of the night; Core of the heart; Inner part of the heart; Heart. Saharû (prf. 3rd. p.m. plu.): They enchanted, cast a spell. Tashara (imp. 2nd. p.m. sing. acc.): Thou enchant, cast a spell. Tusharûna (pip. 2nd. p.m. sing.): Ye are turned away, led away. Sihrun (n.): Intrigue; Hoax; Device; Spell; Enchantment; Deception; Sorcery; Skillful eloquence; Witchcraft; Fraud; Illusion; Magic; Trickstery. Sihrân (n. dual.): Two magicians. Sâhirun (act. pic. n. sing.): Magician; Thing of which the origin is subtle; Corruption; Falsehood. Sâhirûna (act. pic. m. plu): Magicians. Sâhirâni (act. pic. m. dual.): Two magicians. Saharatun (act. pic. m. plu.): Magicians. Sahhâr (ints.): Big magician. Mashûr (pct. pic. m. sing.): Enchanted; Defrauded; Deprived of reason; Under spell; Victim of deception; Who is given food. Mashurûna /Mashurîna (nom./acc. act. pic. m. plu. II.): Enchanted ones. Musahharin (pis. pic. m. plu. II.): Bewitched one; Under Spell; Who are dependent on being given food. Saharun (n.): Early dawn; In the last watch of the night. Ashâr (n. plu. of Sahar): Early dawn. (L; T; R; LL; Râzî) The root with its above forms has been used in The Holy Qur’ân about 63 times.55

It would be an error to discuss or even refute ‘magic’ from within Quran. There is no such existential entity of ‘magic’ and it is not the subject matter of Quran to discuss a non-entity. Still the term ‘magic’ has many hues to it, for example, the illusory enchantment and sorcery of arguments which fall under their metaphorical usage in Quran. The alleged sorcery attributed to Moses and the priests of Egypt is rebutted in a separate chapter.56 If at all, magic and omens fall in the rubric of superstitions. Quran expunges superstitions, one and all, from its midst:

5:103. Allâh has not instituted (superstition like those of) any Bahîrah (-an animal having her ear slit and let loose for free pasture, dedicated to some god, their milk was not used, nor their back, nor their meat); or Sâ’ibah (-an animal having given birth to ten females, liberated to pasture where she would, not be ridden, nor milk drunk except by her young); or Wasîlah (-an animal which gave birth to seven females consecutively and at the seventh birth she bore a pair male and female. Each of the latter was let loose and the milk of the animal drunk by men only and not by women;) or Hâmi (-an animal that is left at liberty without being made use of in any way whatsover). But those who disbelieve have fabricated a lie (by such superstitious dedications) in the name of Allâh. Most of them cannot refrain (from such polytheistic superstitions).

5:104. And when it is said to them, `Come to what Allâh has revealed and to this perfect Messenger.’ They say, `Sufficient for us is that (tradition) whereon we have found our forefathers.’ What! (would they follow them blindly) even though their forefathers had no knowledge whatsoever and had no guidance? 57

Not to be left behind in superstition mongering, ironically, even some exegesis of Quran advocate magic. Instead of refuting superstitions altogether, the exegesis promote its existence and then offer apologies. Following is an example from such an exegesis where it quotes the example of a fee for service of ‘Quranic spells’ and sanctifies it from alleged reports attributed to the Prophet and his Companions:

Many people in this regard argue from Hadrat Abu Said Khudri’s tradition which has been related in Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud and Ibn Majah, and it is supported also by a tradition related in Bukhari on the authority of Ibn Abbas. According to it the Holy Prophet sent some of his Companions including Hadrat Abu Said Khudri on an expedition. They halted on the way at the settlement of an Arabian tribe and demanded hospitality from the people, but they refused to extend any hospitality. In the meantime the chief of the tribe was stung by a scorpion and the people came to the travelers to ask if they had any medicine or formula by which their chief could be cured. Hadrat Abu Said said: "Yes, we do have, but since you have refused us hospitality, we would not treat him unless you promised us to give us something." They promised to give them a flock of goats (according to some traditions, 30 goats), and Hadrat Abu Said went and started reciting Surah Al-Fatihah and rubbing his saliva on the affected place. Consequently, the chief felt relieved of the effect of the poison and the people of the tribe gave them the goats as promised. But the Companions said to one another; "Let us not make any use of the goats until we have asked the Holy Prophet about it", for they were not sure whether it was permissible to accept any reward for what they had done. So they came before the Holy Prophet and related what had happened. The Holy Prophet smiled and said: "How did you know that Surah Al-Fatihah could also be used for curing such troubles? Take the goats and allocate my share also in it."

But before one used this Hadith for permission to adopt a regular profession of granting amulets and reciting charms, one should keep in view the conditions under which Hadrat Abu Said Khudri had recourse to it, and the Holy Prophet not only held it as permissible but also said that a share for him also should be allocated so that there remained no doubt in the minds of the Companions that such a thing was permissible. The conditions in Arabia in those days were, as they still are, that settlements were situated hundreds of miles apart, there were not hotels and restaurants where a traveler could buy food when he reached one of these after several days journey. Under such conditions it was considered a moral duty that when a traveler reached a settlement the people of the place should extend hospitality to him. Refusal on their part in many cases meant death for the travelers, and this was looked upon as highly blameworthy among the Arabs. That is why the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) allowed as permissible the act of his Companions. Since the people of the tribe had refused them hospitality, they too refused to treat their chief, and became ready to treat him only on the condition that they should promise to give them something in return. Then, when one of them with trust in God recited Surah Al-Fatihah over the chief and he became well, the people gave the promised wages and the Holy Prophet allowed that the wages be accepted as lawful and pure. In Bukhari the tradition related on the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas about this incident contains the Holy Prophet’s words to the effect: "Instead that you should have acted otherwise, it was better that you recited the Book of Allah and accepted the wages for it." He said this in order to impress the truth that Allah’s Word is superior to every other kind of enchanting and practice of secret arts. Furthermore, the Message also was incidentally conveyed to the Arabian tribe and its people made aware of the blessings of the Word that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had brought from Allah. This incident cannot be cited as a precedent for the people who run clinic in the cities and towns for the practice of secret arts and have adopted it as a regular profession for earning livelihood. No precedent of it is found in the life and practice of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) or his Companions, their followers and the earliest Imams.58

The manner in which the above incidence is described is repugnant to the very spirit of Quran. The exegesis alleges that the Companions of the Prophet withheld and refused to offer its message and its benedictions to a victim of scorpion bite. The exegesis also alleges that benedictions of Quran were offered only in return for a fee, an act, which later the Prophet not only endorsed but also for his share of the fee. On the contrary, Quran repeatedly mentions that the Prophet does not, cannot and will not ask for a reward for the message of Quran:

6:90. It is these whom Allâh has guided; so follow their guidance. Say, `I ask you no reward for bringing this (guidance). This is nought but a reminder for all world.59

10:72. `But if you turn back (you will suffer for it). I have asked of you no reward (for any of my services to you). My reward lies with Allâh alone. And I have been commanded to be of those who fully resign themselves (to Him).’60

11:51. `My people! I ask of you no reward for this (teaching). My reward is not due but from Him Who created me. Will you not then understand?61

26:109. `And I ask no reward from you for it (- the delivery of the Message of God). My reward lies with the Lord of the worlds alone.62

26:127. `I ask no reward from you for this (service I render). My reward lies only with the Lord of the worlds.63

36:21. `Follow those who ask no reward from you and who are following the right path.64

The said exegesis sanctifies withholding of help by Hadrat Abu Said from the victim of scorpion bite. On the contrary, Quran looks down on such a behavior by anyone, especially by a Muslim, from withholding a simple good deed:

107:4-7. So woe to those who Pray, But are unmindful of their Prayer (and ignore the spirit and aim of it), And they like (only) to be seen (of people while they make a show of their deeds), And who withhold (legal) alms and other acts of kindness (starting from the Zakât to the lowest form of lending ordinary things of utility like a needle or a piece of thread to a neighbour).65

According to Quran, withholding of good from others is essentially a trait of hypocrites:

9:67. The hypocrites, both men and women, are all (strictly) alike. They enjoin the wrong and forbid the right and withhold their hands…66

The above account of treating a scorpion (or snake) bite victim fails to mention other interventions that were probably conducted for the patient besides the payer that any Muslim intuitively recites in Surah Al-Fatihah. Asking fee for a service and one’s labor is quite legitimate. Bites of snakes and scorpions are painful and distressing to the victim, but with passage of time some recover on their own, which might have happened in this case. Additionally, the report also mentions Prophet’s laughter, implying that he made light of the whole matter.67

Returning to the subject at hand, with a pre-existing belief in magic, some readers of Quran try to find references in it to validate their beliefs. They ascribe the origin of magic to Prophet Solomon (PBUH), which are essentially Jewish folktales. The myths attributed to Solomon include his magical Seal and his control over demons etc. The origins of magic are reinforced with a superficial read in Quran where it mentions Jinns, Harut, Marut; Solomon talking to Birds (Hudud) and Ants; and subservience of wind to Solomon. The myths specific to Solomon are addressed in a separate chapter. Quran rubbishes it all, the imaginative knowledge of the ‘unseen,’ fortune telling, the supernatural of the magic and mind reading. The unseen is not be confused with that which is discovered by science. Discovering of the unseen by science is knowledge based experience of God’s laws and is encouraged in Quran:

20:114. …say: My Lord, increase me in knowledge.68

18:109. Say, `If every ocean became ink for (recording) the words and creation of my Lord, surely, the oceans would be spent up before the words and creation of my Lord came to an end, even if we brought to add (therewith) as many more (oceans).69

31:27. And if all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea with seven more seas added to it (were ink), the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.70

Underlying the presumed mystery of magic is the power to know and to control the unseen, which according to Quran is with only God:

2:255. Allâh, there is no other, cannot be and will never be One worthy of worship but He, the Ever Living, Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. Slumber overtakes Him not, nor sleep. Whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth belongs to Him. Who is there that will intercede with Him, save by His leave? He knows their future and their past; and they encompass nothing of His knowledge (of the things) except of such (things) as He (Himself) pleases (to tell). His knowledge and suzerainty extends over the heavens and the earth and the care of them both tires Him not. He is the Supreme, the Great. 71

6:59. All the treasures of the unseen lie at His disposal. No one knows them but He; He knows whatsoever is in the land and in the sea. There falls not a single leaf but He knows it, nor is there a grain in the dark beds of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry but all is recorded in a clear book (-in God’s perfect knowledge).72

6:73. … He is the Knower of all the hidden realities and the seen. And He is the All-Wise, the All-Aware. 73

20:110. (God the Almighty) knows all that is before (-the people – their future) and all that is behind them (-their past); they cannot encompass Him with (their) knowledge.74

22:76. He knows the future of the people and their past; and to Allâh do all matters stand referred (for judgment).75

64:18. He is the Omniscient of the unseen and the seen. (He is) the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.76

Of all the people, even Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was unaware of the unseen and the future, minus the prophecies disclosed to him:

7:187. They ask you about the Hour, when it will come to pass. Say, `Surely, the knowledge thereof is with my Lord. He alone will reveal it at its proper time. It shall be heavy on the heavens and on the earth. It shall not come upon you but all of a sudden.’ They ask you (about it) as if you were curiously solicitous about it (from Allâh). Say, `The knowledge of it is only with Allâh, but most people do not know (this fact).’

7:188. Say, `I have no power over (bringing) any gain or (avoiding) any harm to myself save to the extent that Allâh will. And had I known the unseen I would surely have secured a great deal of good (for myself) and no harm would ever have come to me. I am only a Warner (to the wicked) and a Bearer of good tidings (to the people who believe).77

21:109. But if they still turn back say, `I have given you clear warning in all fairness. I do not know, however, whether that threat held out to you will be (fulfilled in the) near or distant (future).78

72:25. Say, `I have no knowledge whether that (punishment) you are threatened with is near (at hand) or whether my Lord will fix a later term for it.’79

No human, including the prophets, has been given the power to know that which is in the minds of the others:

5:109. (Imagine) the day when Allâh will gather together all the Messengers and asks, `What response did you receive?’ They will say, `We have no real knowledge (about the minds of the people), surely it is You alone Who have true and perfect knowledge of all things unseen.’80

According to Quran, no person has the knowledge of the future beyond a prediction based upon some naturally occurring variable such as weather:

53:35. Has he [–the disbeliever in Quran or for that matter any ordinary human] the knowledge of the unseen so that he can see (his own future)?81

No human can achieve the knowledge of the ‘unseen’ of his/her own future, be it the formal ‘education’ of the occult and fortune telling:

19:77-78. Have you considered the case of one who denies Our Messages and says `I shall indeed be given great wealth and a number of children.’ Has he looked into and gained knowledge of the unseen or has he taken a promise from the Most Gracious (God)?82

The only exception to knowledge of future is the prophecies based solely upon that which is imparted by God Himself. The example of prophecies in Quran are of Noah asked to prepare for the flood, Lot and his followers told to leave the dwellings of Sodom and Gomorrah, Joseph interpreting the dreams and predicting the famine and the fate of his fellow inmates, Exodus of Moses and Israelites, Mary foretold of the birth and mission of Jesus, Prophet Muhammad informed of his overcoming the Makkans etc.:

72:26-28. He [–Allah] alone knows the hidden (future) and He does not grant predominance to any one over His secrets, Except to him whom He chooses to be a Messenger (of His, to whom He frequently tells many news about the hidden future). (And when He does this) He orders an escort of (guarding angels) to go before him and behind him; That He may make it known (to the people) that they (- the Divine Messengers) have properly delivered the Messages of their Lord. He encompasses (in His knowledge) all that they have, and keeps count of all things.83

3:179. And Allâh is not going to leave (you), the believers, as you are, unless He has distinguished the corrupt from the good. Nor is Allâh going to reveal fully to (everyone of) you, the unseen; but Allâh chooses (for His Messages) such of His Messengers as He will. Believe, therefore in Allâh and His Messengers; and (remember) if you believe (truly) and guard against evil then there is for you a great reward.84

The miseries that people suffer from and then attribute them to magic spells and cast counter spells for relief are debunked by Quran:

6:63. Say, `Who delivers you [including the soothsayers, the magicians] from the horrors of the land and the sea when you call upon Him in humility and in open supplication (saying), "If He delivers us from this (hardship) we shall ever be grateful (to Him)"‘

6:64. Say, `It is Allâh who delivers you from these (horrors) and from every calamity, still you associate partners (with Him).’

6:65. Say, `He has power to send upon you a calamity from above and from beneath your feet or He may throw you into confusion by making you confront with conflicting parties, and make you taste the dissension (and violence) of one another.’ Behold! how We explain Our Messages in different ways so that they may give thought.

6:66. Your people have cried lies to this (Qur’ân), though it is the truth. Say, `I am not responsible for your affairs.’85

Quran ridicules any ‘magical’ beliefs in all matters:

6:71. Say, `Shall we call, besides Allâh, upon that which can neither profit us nor harm us (by itself), and shall we be turned back on our heels (and led astray) after Allâh has guided us, like one whom the evil ones have made to follow his caprices (leaving him) utterly bewildered in the land; (whilst) he has companions who call him to the guidance (of Allâh, saying), "Come to us".’ Say, `Verily Allah’s guidance is the only perfect guidance. And we are commanded (by Him) to submit to the Lord of the worlds.’86

As to the detractors from the message of Quran who base their faith on superstitions, Quran states:

6:70. And leave alone those who take their religion as a futile and frivolous thing causing diversion (from Allâh). Present life has beguiled them, therefore go on admonishing (such people) by means of this (Qur’ân) lest a soul should be consigned to perdition because of its misdeeds. There is no patron for it (-the soul) apart from Allâh, nor intercessor, and even if it may offer every compensation it will not be accepted from it. It is these who are destroyed for what they accomplished. There awaits them a drink of boiling water and a grievous punishment because they disbelieved.87

Nowhere Quran endorses the nonsense of magic. Rather, it ridicules the deniers of Quran who called Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as an enchanter:

10:2. … The disbelievers say, `Certainly, this (man) is an evident enchanter.’88

Further, the same people who alleged witchcraft to the success of Prophet Muhammad even called Quran itself as magic:

74:24. And said, `This (Qur’ân) is nothing but an age long magic handed down (by tradition).89

If no human can know the future or what’s in the minds of the people, and while Quran makes a mockery of the concept of magic, then one wonders as to what leads certain readers to ascribe the endorsement of magic in Quran? That kind of confused thinking emanates from certain verses which are discussed and clarified next. The last two chapters of Quran, namely the Dawn90 and Mankind91 (jointly called Mu’awwidhatayn) are attributed by a superficial read as a protection against the supernatural evils and witchcraft. The subject matter of these chapters has nothing to do with magic. These chapters remind one of the evil of everything created and the evil whisperings into the minds that mankind suffers from. When reading these surahs, reproduced from ‘English Translation of The Holy Quran With Explanatory Notes’ by Maulana Muhammad Ali, edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz, the reader is encouraged to also read the corresponding footnotes which bring to light the full context of what is stated in these chapters:

 

113:1. Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn,92
113:2. from the evil of what He has created,93
113:3. and from the evil of intense darkness,94 when it comes,
113:4. and from the evil of those who cast (evil suggestions) in firm resolutions,95
113:5. and from the evil of the envier when he envies.96

 

114:1 Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
114:2. the King of mankind,
114:3. the God of mankind,
114:4. from the evil of the whisperings of the sneaking (devil),
114:5. who whispers into the hearts of people,
114:6. (and is) from among the jinn and mankind.97

Here a prayer has been taught to seek protection in Allah against all such evils which come in the way of a believer in his/her struggle of life.98 There is also an associated myth surrounding these surahs about the Prophet. The single sourced legend is attributed to Hisham bin Urwah. According to the report a Jew cast magical spell on the Prophet. Due to the spell he fell ill for an extended period of time. Under the effects of the spell he almost lost his mind to the extent that even his prophethood becomes questionable. Consequently, Gabriel revealed the two stated chapters of Quran to the Prophet after reciting of which he was able to shed off the alleged spell and recovered his health. Even though the whole story could be refuted on the sole basis that in it there is also mention of Ali, Zubair and others prominent Companions as witnesses to the matter, but no hadith is related from these Companions for this significant event. We quote the following from an exegesis which takes the report both for a fact and then offers an apology which factually endorses the ‘magic’ as a fact rather than a myth. The exegesis interprets ‘magic’ for its literal and infantile meanings in Quran rather than its implied metaphorical usage:

As far as the historical aspect is concerned, the incident of the Holy Prophet’s being affected by magic is absolutely confirmed, and if it can be refuted by scientific criticism, then no historical event of the world can be proved right and genuine. It has been related by Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Imam Ahmad, Abdur Razzaq, Humaidi, Baihaqi, Tabarani, Ibn Sad, Ibn Mardayah, Ibn Abi Shaibah, Hakim, Abd bin Humaid and other traditionists on the authority of Hadrat Aishah, Hadrat Zaid bin Arqam and Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas, through so many different and numerous channels that forgery is out of the question. Although each tradition by itself is an isolated report (khabar wahid), we give it below as a connected event from the details provided by the traditions.

After the peace treaty of Hudaibiyah when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) returned to Madinah, a deputation of the Jews of Khaibar visited Madinah in Muharram, A.H. 7 and met a famous magician, Labid bin Asam, who belonged to the Ansar tribe of Bani Zurayq. They said to him: "You know how Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) has treated us. We have tried our best to bewitch him but have not succeeded. Now we have come to you because you are a more skilled magician. Here are three gold coins, accept these and cast a powerful magic spell on Muhammad." In those days the Holy Prophet had a Jewish boy as his attendant. Through him they obtained a piece of the Holy Prophet’s comb with some hair stuck to it. Magic was worked on the same hair and the teeth of the comb. According to some traditions, magic was worked by Labid bin Asam himself, according to others, his sisters were more skilled than him and he got the spell cast through them. Whatever be the case, Labid placed this spell in the spathe of a male date-tree and hid it under a stone at the bottom of Dharwan or Dhi Arwan, the well of Bani Zurayq. The spell took one whole year to have effect upon the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace). In the latter half of the year the Holy Prophet started feeling as if was unwell. The last forty days became hard on him, of which the last three days were even harder. But its maximum effect on him was that he lay melting away from within. He thought he had done a thing whereas, in fact, he had not done it: he thought he had visited his wives whereas he had not visited them; and sometimes he would doubt having seen something whereas, in fact, he had not seen it. All these effects were confined to his own person; so much so that the other people could not notice what state he was passing through. As for his being a Prophet, no change occurred in the performance of his duties.

There is no tradition to say that he might have forgotten some verses of the Qur’an in those days, or might have recited a verse wrongly, or a change might have occurred in the assemblies and in his counsels and sermons, or he might have presented a discourse as Revelation which may not have been revealed to him, or he might have missed a Prayer and thought that he had performed it. God forbid, if any such thing had happened, it would have caused a clamor and the whole of Arabia would have known that a magician had overpowered the one whom no power had been able to overpower. But the Holy Prophet’s position as a Prophet remained wholly unaffected by it. Only in his personal life he remained worried on account of it. At last, one day when he was in the house of Hadrat Aishah, he prayed to Allah to be restored to full health. In the meantime he fell asleep or drowsed and on waking he said to Hadrat Aishah: "My Lord has told me what I had asked of Him." Hadrat Aishah asked what it was. He replied: "Two men (i.e. two angels in human guise) came to me. One sat near my head and the other near my feet. The first asked: what has happened to him? The other replied: Magic has been worked on him. The first asked: who has worked it? He replied: Labid bin Asam. He asked: In what is it contained? He replied: In the comb and hair covered in the spathe of a male date-tree. He asked: where is it? He replied: under a stone at the bottom of Dhi Arwan (or Dharwan), the well of Bani Zurayq. He asked: what should be done about it? He replied: the well should be emptied and it should be taken out from under the stone. The Holy Prophet then sent Hadrat Ali, Hadrat Ammar bin Yasir and Hadrat Zubair: They were also joined by Jubair bin Iyas az-Zurqi (two men from Bani Zurayq). Later the Holy Prophet also arrived at the well along with some Companions. The water was taken out and the spathe recovered. There they found that beside the comb and hair there was a cord with eleven knots on it and a wax image with needles pricked into it. Gabriel (peace be on him) came and told him to repeat the Mu’awwidhatayn. As he repeated verse after verse, a knot was loosened and a needle taken out every time, till on finishing the last words all the knots were loosened and all the needles removed, and he was entirely freed from the charm. After this he called Labid and questioned him. He confessed his guilt and the Holy Prophet let him go, for he never avenged himself on anyone for any harm done to his person. He even declined to talk about it to others, saying that Allah had restored him to health; therefore he did not like that he should incite the people against anyone.

This is the story of the magic worked on the Holy Prophet. There is nothing in it which might run counter to his office of Prophethood. In his personal capacity if any injury could be inflicted on him as it happened in the Battle of Uhud, if he could fall from his horse and be hurt as is confirmed by the Hadith, if he could be stung by a scorpion as has been mentioned in some Traditions and none of these negates the protection promised him by Allah in his capacity as a Prophet, he could also fall ill under the influence of magic in his personal capacity. That a Prophet can be affected by magic is also confirmed by the Qur’an. In Surah Al- A’raf it has been said about the magicians of Pharaoh that when they confronted the Prophet Moses, they bewitched the eyes of thousands of people who had assembled to witness the encounter (v. 116). In Surah Ta Ha it has been said that not only the common people but the Prophet Moses too felt that the cords and staffs that they cast were running towards them like so many snakes, and this filled Moses’ heart with fear. Thereupon Allah revealed to him: "Don’t fear for you will come out victorious. Cast down you staff." (vv. 66-69). As for the objection that this then confirms the accusation of the disbelievers of Makkah that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was a bewitched man, its answer is that the disbelievers did not call him a bewitched man in the sense that he had fallen ill under that effect of magic cast by somebody, but in the sense that some magician has, God forbid, made him mad, and he had made claim to Prophethood and was telling the people tales of Hell and Heaven in his same madness. Now, obviously this objection does not at all apply to a matter about which history confirms that the magic spell had affected only the person of Muhammad (upon whom be peace) and not the Prophethood of Muhammad (upon whom be peace), which remained wholly unaffected by it.

In this connection, another thing worthy of mention is that the people who regard magic as a kind of superstition hold this view only because the effect of magic cannot be explained scientifically. But there are many things in the world which one experiences and observes but one cannot explain scientifically how they happen. If we cannot give any such explanation it does not become necessary that we should deny the thing itself which we cannot explain. Magic, in fact, is a psychological phenomenon which can affect the body through the mind just as physical things affect the mind through the body. Fear, for instance, is a psychological phenomenon, but it affects the body: the hair stand on end and the body shudders. Magic does not; in fact, change the reality, but under its influence man’s mind and senses start feeling as if reality had changed. The staffs and the cords that the magicians had thrown towards the Prophet Moses, had not actually become snakes, but the eyes of the multitude of people were so bewitched that everybody felt they were snakes; even the senses of the Prophet Moses could not remain unaffected by the magic spell. Likewise, in Al-Baqarah: 102, it has been said that in Babylon people learned such magic from Harut and Marut as could cause division between husband and wife. This too was a psychological phenomenon. Obviously, if the people did not find it efficacious by experience they could not become its customers. No doubt, it is correct that just like the bullet of the rifle and the bomb from the aircraft, magic too cannot have effect without Allah’s permission, but it would be mere stubbornness to deny a thing which has been experienced and observed by man for thousands for years. 99

The above exegesis does not take into account other versions of the myth that have contradictory details between them make the whole matter not worthy of any further review and must be rejected. This report is attributed to Hisham bin Urwah, who for most of his life lived in Madinah, and in his later years moved to Iraq where he died. Imam Muslim, who was his peer in Madina, quotes him for other hadiths, but not this one. One can safely state that this hadith came to fore during later years of Hisham while he was in Iraq. The timeline alone proves that Hisham did not have this hadith in Madina. From other sources, we know that while in Iraq, Hisham had started to lose his sensibility, most likely because of his old age. It is from Iraq that Hisham became the source for another nonsensical hadith alleging marriage of the Prophet to Aisha when she was six years old.100 It conclusively proves that such single sourced hadiths of Hisham, when he was old and after he had moved to Iraq; he based his narrations on hearsay and attributed them to Urwah, his father. In some manner this hadith actually fits the mental state of Hisham himself when he was losing his memory in his old age – “He thought he had done a thing whereas, in fact, he had not done it: he thought he had visited his wives whereas he had not visited them; and sometimes he would doubt having seen something whereas, in fact, he had not seen it.” This hadith is not about magic, but a disguised malice and attack on the sanity of the Prophet and consequentially on Islam itself. No sane person can simultaneously live in two different realities as this report alleges. It seems that the myth of magic afflicting the Prophet is sourced on similar myths attributed to prophets in the Bible, for example, in New Testament Jesus is led by Satan to Jerusalem:

Luke 4:5-9. The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here…101

Little do the exegetes know that in their concocted magical spell afflicting the Prophet to the point of him going insane, they are factually forwarding the allegations of the ardent enemies of the Prophet, both during his lifetime, and even in the present:

15:6. And they say, `O you to whom this Reminder (- the Qur’ân) has been revealed! you are a mad man indeed.102

23:25. `He is but a man gone mad, you had better bear with him for a while (and see the consequences).’103

68:51. Those who disbelieve would fain have dislodged you (from your God-given mission) with their (angry) looks when they heard the Reminder full of admonition (- the Qur’ân, but you were firm and steadfast). And they say, `He is certainly a mad man.’104

While the said report clearly alleges the Prophet to have lost his sanity, Quran repeatedly absolves him of any vestige of insanity:

52:29. So (Prophet!) keep on exhorting, as by the grace of your Lord, you are neither a soothesayer, nor a mad man.105

68:2. By the grace of your Lord you are not a mad man at all. 106

81:22. And that this compatriot of yours (-Muhammad) is not at all mad.107

In their advocacy the proponents of the stated hadith make a distinction between the so called afflictions of ‘magic’ and ‘satan’ as if they are two separate entities. These advocates are probably unware themselves and even make the Prophet ignorant of the fundamental guidance in Quran to seek Allah’s help:

41:36. Should some sort of trouble from satan vex you, seek refuge in Allâh. For surely He, only He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.108

The above report of magic vexing the Prophet if taken in the manner that it is interpreted in the exegesis; it raises more questions than it answers109. The stated hadith mentions two angels appearing to the Prophet, maybe in a dream, and that too after about a year of his pain and sufferings. Whereas, we know, Gabriel appeared immediately after the Prophet was chased out of Taif with injuries. Why was there such a delay of angels coming to the rescue while he was still receiving revelations during the 7th and 8th years of Hijrah and the magic was still in effect? Was the Gabriel absent during this period? Did the yearlong delay by the angels not risk his message? If this hadith is taken as true then it creates a fundamental contradiction against Quran. One is constrained to ask as to where were those guarding angels that are promised to every Messenger?

72:26. He alone knows the hidden (future) and He does not grant predominance to any one over His secrets,

72:27. Except to him whom He chooses to be a Messenger (of His, to whom He frequently tells many news about the hidden future). (And when He does this) He orders an escort of (guarding angels) to go before him and behind him;

72:28. That He may make it known (to the people) that they (- the Divine Messengers) have properly delivered the Messages of their Lord. He encompasses (in His knowledge) all that they have, and keeps count of all things.110

It is a bogus hadith which goes against Quran for the mere fact that there is no such thing as magic. In Quran, the Prophet’s safety and sensibility at the hands of his enemies at any time was assured by Allah Himself111:

5:67. O Messenger, deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do not, you have not delivered His message. And Allah will protect you [– Muhammad] from people. Surely Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.112,113[Emphasis added]

In summary, there is no ‘magic’ to be found in Quran, nor in the life of the Prophet, nor in the doctrine of Islam. But, we are still left with the word ‘magic’ in history, minds and beliefs. Whatever its source maybe, according to Quran, to entertain magic in one’s thoughts or actions is a waste of time because  – the enchanters never succeed (10:77).114

Magic can only be found in a wishful thinking of a child, or an adult who has refused to grow up, or in the insanity of someone struck with love. That bewitched mind may find more of solace than truth in the ballad sung beautifully by the band ‘America.’ It can be consolingly enjoyed by listening to this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb8Sa0jp7Pw

"You Can Do Magic"115


I never believed in things that I couldn’t see
I said if I can’t feel it then how can it be
No, no magic could happen to me
And then I saw you

 

I couldn’t believe it, you took my heart
I couldn’t retrieve it, said to myself
What’s it all about
Now I know there can be no doubt

You can do magic
You can have anything that you desire
Magic, and you know
You’re the one who can put out the fire

You know darn well
When you cast your spell you will get your way
When you hypnotize with your eyes
A heart of stone can turn to clay
Doo, doo, doo …

And when the rain is beatin’ upon the window pane
And when the night it gets so cold, when I can’t sleep
Again you come to me
I hold you tight, the rain disappears
Who would believe it
With a word you dry my tears

You can do magic
You can have anything that you desire
Magic, and you know
You’re the one who can put out the fire

You know darn well
When you cast your spell you will get your way
When you hypnotize with your eyes
A heart of stone can turn to clay
Doo, doo, doo …

And If I wanted to
I could never be free
I never believed it was true
But now it’s so clear to me

You can do magic
You can have anything that you desire
Magic, and you know
You’re the one who can put out the fire

You know darn well
When you cast your spell you will get your way
When you hypnotize with your eyes
A heart of stone can turn to clay
Doo, doo, doo …

You’re the one who can put out the fire
You’re the one who can put out the fire
You’re the one who can put out the fire …

 


 

1 The title of this chapter is a satire of the song by ‘America’. Link: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/america/youcandomagic.html
3 Al-Furqan – The Criterion: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
8 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
9 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
10 ibid
14 Excerpted and rendered into English of explanation of verse 2:102 by Nooruddin – Haqaiq ul Quran (Urdu). Link: http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/?page=205&region=H1
15 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
17 Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin
18 Al-Ahzab – The Confederates: Nooruddin
19 Al-Muddaththir – The one wrapping himself up: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
20 Excerpted and rendered into English of explanation of verse 2:102 by Nooruddin – Haqaiq ul Quran (Urdu). Link: http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/?page=206&region=H1
21 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
22 Isra – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin
23 Yusuf – Joseph: Nooruddin
24 Excerpted and rendered into English of explanation of verse 2:102 by Nooruddin – Haqaiq ul Quran (Urdu). Link: http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/?page=206&region=H1
25 Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 589-590
26 ibid, p. 529
27 Materialism And Falsehood – Gog, Magog And Dajjal, The Antichrist. Link: http://ahmadiyya.org/WordPress/2015/07/05/materialism-and-falsehood-gog-magog-and-dajjal-the-antichrist/
28 Wikipedia: Achaemenid kings and rulers. Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaemenid_Empire#Attested
31 “Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut: ‘I will go before you And make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+45.1-3&version=NKJV
32 Wikipedia: Wars of Darius I, Babylonian_revolt. Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wars_of_Darius_I#Babylonian_revolt
39 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
42 Isra – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin
43 Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
44 Al-Tahrim – The Prohibition: Nooruddin
46 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
47 ibid
48 Wikipedia. Map – Achaemenid Provinces during the rule of Darius I. Link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_(region)#/media/File:Provinces_of_the_Achaemenid_empire.png
49 The Constitutions of the Free-Masons (1734): The Charges of a Free-Mason – III. Of LODGES. p. 49. Produced by James Anderson, Benjamin Franklin (Grand Master of Masons of Pennsylvania) Link: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1028&context=libraryscience
50 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
51 Al-Mujadilah – The Pleading Woman: Nooruddin
52 The Constitutions of the Free-Masons (1734): The Constitution, History, Laws, Charges, Orders,
Regulations, and Usages of the Right Worshipful Fraternity of Accepted Free-Masons. p. 7-47. Produced by James Anderson, Benjamin Franklin (Grand Master of Masons of Pennsylvania) Link: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1028&context=libraryscience
53English rendering and paraphrase from the footnotes of verse 2:102 in ‘Bayan ul Quran (Urdu)’ by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 63-64, pub. 1980.
54 The Three Conditions Of Humankind: Friday Sermon of Hazrat Ameer (Head) Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib – November 27, 1914. Link: http://aaiil.org/text/hq/sermons/mali/3cond_pf.shtml
55 Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 250-251
56 Staff Of Moses – Rod Of Mastery Not Mystery; Serpentine, But Not Suppositious (Part I). Link: http://ahmadiyya.org/WordPress/2015/04/26/staff-of-moses-rod-of-mastery-not-mystery-serpentine-but-not-suppositious-part-i/
57 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
58 Question of Reciting Charms and Amulets in Islam. ‘Tafhim al-Qur'an’ – The Meaning of the Qur'an: Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. Introduction for both Surah Al Falaq (113) and Surah An Nas (114). Link: http://www.englishtafsir.com/Quran/113/index.html
59 Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
60 Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin
61 Hud – Hud: Nooruddin
62 Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
63 ibid
64 Ya Sin – O Perfect Man!: Nooruddin
65 Al-Maun – The Acts of Kindness: Nooruddin
66 Al-Taubah – The Repentence: Nooruddin
67 The referred passage from the said exegesis maybe understood when read for its full context in light of ‘Fazalul Bari’ (in Urdu) by Maulana Muhammad Ali for its hadith number 2276* and its footnote 1, and hadith number 5737* and its footnote 3 to the extent that one may legitimately ask for compensation for one’s efforts and expertise – Link: http://www.muslim.org/fazlul-bari/main.html. The corresponding hadiths in Muhsin’s Khan ‘Sahih Bukhari’ are: Volume 7, Book 71, Number 645* and 633** – Link: http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/071-sbt.php
68 Ta Ha – Ta Ha: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
69 Al-Kahf – The Place of Refuge: Nooruddin
70 Luqman – Luqman: Nooruddin
71 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
72 Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
73 ibid
74 Ta Ha – Perfect Man! be at Rest: Nooruddin
75 Al-Hajj – The Pilgrimage: Nooruddin
76 Al-Taghabun – Manifestation of Loss: Nooruddin
77 Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
78 Al-Ambiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
79 Al-Jinn – The Jinn: Nooruddin
80 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
81 Al-Najm – Parts of the Qur'ân: Nooruddin
82 Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
83 Al-Jinn – The Jinn: Nooruddin
84 al`Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
85 Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
86 ibid
87 ibid
88 Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin
89 Al-Muddaththir – One Endowed With Excellent Capabilities: Nooruddin
90 Al-Falaq – The Dawn: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
91 Al-Nas – The Mankind: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
92 Footnote: a (1) The reference in the Lord of the dawn is to the gradual manifestation of the Truth and its ultimate triumph.
93 Footnote: b (2) Editor’s Note: Anything which God has created can cause harm if it is used in an incorrect way, without the light of knowledge.
94 Footnote: c (3) This signifies darkness in which there is no ray of light, and stands for the dark difficulties with which an affair is sometimes attended — difficulties through which a person is unable to see his way. Man is, therefore, here taught to pray that his affairs may not be enveloped in utter darkness.
95 Footnote: d (4) These words indicate those who put evil suggestions into the resolution of people or into the management of their affairs. This verse deals with the second difficulty in the management of an affair. The first difficulty is its being enveloped in utter gloom (v. 3); the second is that darkness is dispelled, but the resolution to accomplish the affair is yet weak. (Editor’s Note: The view that this verse refers to witches, who had once cast a spell on the Holy Prophet by “blowing on knots”, is entirely baseless and contrary to the teachings of the Quran.)
96 Footnote: e (5) This is the third difficulty. Success is now in sight, but there are those who envy that success. Therefore, Divine protection has still to be sought when a person is successful in accomplishing an affair.
Note that the Prophet, who was charged with the heavy task of establishing truth in the world and making it triumphant over falsehood, had to face all these difficulties, and his faithful followers, whose goal of life is the same as that of the Prophet, stand most in need of resorting to this prayer with which the Quran draws to a close.
97 Footnote: a (6) These verses are a complement to the previous chapter. Three kinds of mischief are pointed out there which may be done to the cause of Truth. Here a fourth, but the gravest mischief of all, is pointed out, that of the sneaking devil, who comes stealthily and casts evil suggestions into the hearts of people. The whispering of the evil one is the greatest mischief because its source is in the hearts of people (v. 5). Al-khannas (v. 4) is the devil because he retires or shrinks or hides himself.
Man is here taught to seek refuge in God Who is, in the first place, the Rabb of mankind, i.e., its Nourisher by degrees to Perfection; secondly, He is the Malik or King of mankind, i.e., holds control over them, so far as the physical laws of nature are concerned; thirdly, He is the Ilah of mankind, Who alone deserves to be worshipped and before Whom the whole of mankind must ultimately bow. In other words, the protection of God is sought because He is the Nourisher Who brings to perfection, and He holds control over Matter as well as Mind. The Divine purpose is thus again disclosed at the end, as it is disclosed in the very beginning (1:1) of the Holy Quran. It is to bring mankind to perfection. Nothing in this world can frustrate this purpose, as God holds control over matter as well as mind.
98 Commentary on Chapter 113 (Al-Falaq – The Dawn) of the Holy Quran: by Dr. Basharat Ahmad, Translated by Imam Kalamazad Muhammad. Link: http://aaiil.org/text/hq/comm/bash/ch113_pf.shtml
99 Question of Holy Prophet's being affected by Magic. ‘Tafhim al-Qur'an’ – The Meaning of the Qur'an: Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. Introduction for both Surah Al Falaq (113) and Surah An Nas (114). Link: http://www.englishtafsir.com/Quran/113/index.html
102 Al-Hijr – The Rock: Nooruddin
103 Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin
104 Al-Qalam – The Pen: Nooruddin
105 Al-Tur – The Mount: Nooruddin
106 Al-Qalam – The Pen: Nooruddin
107 Al-Takwir – Loosing Of The Light: Nooruddin
108 Fussilat – Detailed and Clear in Exposition: Nooruddin
109 The referred passage from the said exegesis can be rejected by its full and erroneous context in light of ‘Fazalul Bari’ (in Urdu) by Maulana Muhammad Ali for its hadiths number 3268* and its footnote 1– Link: http://www.muslim.org/fazlul-bari/main.html. The corresponding hadiths in Muhsin’s Khan ‘Sahih Bukhari’ are: Volume 7, Book 71, Number 658, 660 and 661* – Link: http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/071-sbt.php
110 Al-Jinn – The Jinn: Nooruddin
111 Excerpted and rendered into English of explanation of Chapter 113 by Nooruddin – Haqaiq ul Quran (Urdu). Link: http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/?page=572&region=H4
112 Al-Maidah – Food: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
113 Footnote: a (67) The promise is given here that the Holy Prophet will remain under Divine protection as against the innumerable dangers that threatened him from all quarters and the numerous plots against his life. But it also refers to the Prophet’s spiritual protection. God protects prophets by creating them pure from every sin in their very nature, keeping them firm in trials, sending down tranquility upon them and protecting their hearts against evil.
114 Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin