How Muhammad Was Affected By Magic?
TD]Aoa. I was recently debating with a non-Muslim person on Muhammad (peace be upon him)'s life and how just he was throughout his existence on Earth. However, he put a question to me with multiple Hadith quotes: Did Muhammad (peace be upon him) imagine sex with his wives? He provided me Sahih Bukhari a hadith in conjunction to this; (Book 71, 660; Book 73, 89) Is this true? Why would Allah humiliate His Prophet like this? I found this very troubling and would be very grateful if you responded.
Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Salam dear questioner,
Thank you for your question.
We highly appreciate your efforts in clearing the misconceptions about Islam and its Prophet. Always remember that when you talk to non-Muslims about Islam, be patient, and do not insult them. Ask them first what they think is wrong with Islam. Do not talk about detailed issues. Always focus on the basics; God’s existence and His Oneness.
Coming to your question, Islam teaches that magic is forbidden as it is based on misleading people and deceiving them. Learning magic and teaching it is also forbidden as indicated in the Quran (Al-Baqarah 2:102). Magic is described as an act of disbelief.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) teaches that seeking a fortune-teller is forbidden and that the one who believes in what a fortune-teller says is considered as having disbelieved in what was revealed to the Prophet. (Ahmad)
Islam also teaches that magic cannot have any effect on anyone except by the will of God. Any spell of magic can be dispelled by reading the Quran, remembering God and making du`aa’ (supplication). Praying the five daily prayers regularly, believing in God’s power, reciting morning and evening adhkar are also good means to protect oneself against the touch of magic.
Concerning the Prophet’s being affected by magic, Muslims believe that the hadith of magic against the Prophet is an authentic one and it is reported in famous collections of hadith such as that of Al-Bukhari and Muslim as you mentioned in your question.
Muslims also believe that the effect of magic had to do with worldly affairs. This is a kind of a test to the Prophet to prove that he was a human being like other human beings. The spell of magic is similar to the affliction of sickness.
Therefore, there is nothing strange in imagining something with some worldly affairs that was not true. This is the same view that was expressed by Ibn Hajar who commented that: This is what is stated clearly in the report of Ibn `Uyaynah that is narrated by Al-Bukhari, which says: “until he thought that he had had intercourse with his wives when he had not done so.” This is exactly the text of the hadith which you referred to in your question.
Al-Qadi `Iyad says: The magic was cast on the Prophet’s body and physical faculties, not over his discernment and beliefs.
Muslims also believe that the Prophet was protected in matters that have to do with religion. Muslims hold that the revelation which the Prophet came with is authentic and was protected against corruption or alternation.
What the Prophet experienced does not entail any kind of humiliation. It is nothing more than a sickness that anyone could suffer from. Allah made the Prophet infallible throughout his life. The spell of magic does not affect the status of the Prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad as it did not happen with regard to conveying the message of Islam.
One of the two references you mentioned reads:
Aishah reported that: Magic was worked on Allah's Messenger so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect).
Then one day he said, "O Aishah do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other. What is wrong with this man?' The latter replied he is under the effect of magic the first one asked, who has worked magic on him?' The other replied Labid bin Al-A'sam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.' The first one asked, what material did he use)? The other replied, 'A comb and the hair stuck to it.' The first one asked, 'Where (is that)?' The other replied. 'In a skin of pollen of a male date palm tree kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan''' So the Prophet went to that well and took out those things and said "That was the well which was shown to me (in a dream) Its water looked like the infusion of Henna leaves and its date-palm trees looked like the heads of devils." The Prophet added, "Then that thing was taken out' I said (to the Prophet) "Why do you not treat yourself with Nashra?" He said, "Allah has cured me; I dislike to let evil spread among my people." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Reflecting on this narration would reveal that the Prophet was well aware of what he was imagining. The Prophet says: "O Aishah do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about?
What we can learn from this incident is that the Prophet asked Allah for cure. He did not go to a fortune-teller to find a solution for him. Allah sent two angels to the Prophet to tell him about the location of the materials which Labid ibn Al-A`sam used to cast magic on him.
We have to put our trust in Allah and His Power to cure us from any harm that would afflict us.
I hope this answers your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.
تحمَّلتُ وحديَ مـا لا أُطيـقْ من الإغترابِ وهَـمِّ الطريـقْ
اللهم اني اسالك في هذه الساعة ان كانت جوليان في سرور فزدها في سرورها ومن نعيمك عليها . وان كانت جوليان في عذاب فنجها من عذابك وانت الغني الحميد برحمتك يا ارحم الراحمين
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