Exorcism in Islam
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Exorcism in Islam
The 72nd chapter of the Qur'an entitled Al-Jinn (The Jinn), as well as the heading and introductory bismillah of the next chapter entitled al-Muzzammil (The Enshrouded One).

Exorcism in Islam is called 'aza'im IPA: [?aza?im]) and is part of a wider body of Islamic medicine [1] called "prophetic medicine".[2] Ruqya (Arabic: ?IPA: [ruqja]) on the other hand summons jinn and demons by invoking the names of God, and to command them to abandon their mischiefs[3] and is thought to repair damage believed caused by jinn possession, witchcraft (sihr) or the evil eye.[]

Islamic religious context

Belief in jinn, and other spiritual beings, is widespread among Muslims. Jinn is an Arabic collective noun deriving from the Semitic root jinn (Arabic / ?, jann), whose primary meaning is "to hide".[4]:68[5]:193:341 Some authors interpret the word to mean, literally, "beings that are concealed from the senses". Such creatures are believed to inhabit desolate, dingy, dark places where they are feared. The jinn are subtle creatures created from fire and air (marijin min nar) thought to be able to possess animate and inanimate objects. Unlike demons, they are not necessarily evil, but own a capacity of free-will.[6] The demons are believed to infect the metaphorical heart (qalb), turning the soul and thoughts away from that which is good. By means of this, a strong affection by devilish whisperings is compared to devil-possession.[7]

Reasons for possession

A possession by a jinni can happen for various reasons. Ibn Taymiyyah explained a Jinni could sometimes haunt an individual, because the person could (even unintentionally) harm the jinni; urinating or throwing hot water on it, or even killing a related jinni without even realizing it.[8][better source needed] In this case the jinni will try to take revenge on the person. Another cause for jinn possession is when a jinni falls in love with a human and thereupon the jinni possesses the human.[9][better source needed] Some women have told of their experiences with jinn possession; where the jinn tried to have sexual intercourse from inside their bodies.[10][better source needed] Thirdly, it occurs when a jinni is evil and simply wants to harm a human for no specific reason, it will possess that person, if it gets the opportunity, while the human is in a very emotional state or unconsciousness.[9][better source needed]


The process of Quranic healing in order to exorcise spirits can be divided into three stages. The first includes removing any distractions, such as music instruments and golden jewelry. The healer also removes all pictures in the room allowing angels to enter. The healer then tells the client and the family, that everything happens by God's will and that he is merely a mediator, also mentioning that other forms of healing, such as by sorcery, are not acceptable to Islam. In the second stage, the healer determines if the client is possessed or not and tries to enter a dialogue with the spirit. The healer might ask the spirit about type (Zar (red wind), ghosts (Arwah), jinn (genii), samum (devils), div), religion, sex or reason for possession. When he asks the client, instead of the spirit, about dreams and feelings involved of the dream. After that, the healer cleans himself, the room, and asks the people in the room to do the same. In the third stage, actual exorcism begins by reciting Quranic verses such as Al-Fatiha, Al Baqara, Al-Baqara 255, Al-Jinn and three Qul (Al-Ikhlas, An-Nas and Al-Falaq), depending on the type of spirit. Other treatments include using honey and water, as a purification ritual to clean the soul and body from sins.[11] In a typical Islamic exorcism the treated person lies down while a white-gloved therapist places a hand on their head while reciting verses from the Quran.[12]

Islamic exorcists

Al-Jzari (1987) and Al-Daramdash (1991) list several characteristics for a Quranic-Healer including belief in God, following the prophet Muhammad's practice as personified by Islamic saints, believe that the Quran can influence evil spirits, must be a righteous person and doing nothing that is forbidden, have knowledge of the world of evil spirits, know which Surahs to use for specific types of spirits, have a sense of good-will to help people attacked by evil spirits, not be distracted by sexual dynamics during the process and be mindful of God during throughout the process in order to avoid infiltration by evil spirits.[13]

Exorcism and Islamic Law

Prohibited techniques[14] often utilize shirk, which is found in practices that prepare amulets or talismans. This is prohibited because shirk is the sin of practicing idolatry or polytheism i.e. the deification or worship of anyone or anything besides the singular God. Many times Qur'anic verses are added throughout the recitation when using these objects in order to 'mask' their shirk. However, God believes he has provided sufficient cures in executing an exorcism, therefore exorcists should not have to rely on methods involving shirk.[14]

Sunni scholars have pointed some conditions from the Quran and Hadith, which includes performing exorcism using the words of Allah or his names, reciting in Arabic or in language which can be understood by the people, not using any talismans or amulets or fortune-tellers or any magic, nor asking jinn to help. [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] Scholars have difference of opinion whether talismans using the Quran is permissible or not. [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22]

Hadith of the 70,000 who do not ask for ruqya and will not be brought to account

A hadith recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:76:479 states: "Seventy thousand people of my followers will enter Paradise without accounts, and they are those who do not practice Ar-Ruqya(Exorcism) and do not see an evil omen in things, and put their trust in their Lord." Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, a scholar, commented on this hadith, stating: "That is because these people will enter Paradise without being called to account because of the perfection of their Tawheed, therefore he described them as people who did not ask others to perform ruqyah for them. Hence he said "and they put their trust in their Lord." Because of their complete trust in their Lord, their contentment with Him, their faith in Him, their being pleased with Him and their seeking their needs from Him, they do not ask people for anything, be it ruqyah or anything else, and they are not influenced by omens and superstitions that could prevent them from doing what they want to do, because superstition detracts from and weakens Tawheed".[23]

See also


  1. ^ Hall, Helen (2018-04-17). "Exorcism - how does it work and why is it on the rise?". The Conversation. Retrieved . Beliefs and rituals which could appropriately be labelled exorcism are found in almost all cultures and faith traditions, but in the West are encountered most frequently within Christian or Islamic settings.
  2. ^ Gerda Sengers Women and Demons: Cultic Healing in Islamic Egypt BRILL, 2003 ISBN 9789004127715 p. 50
  3. ^ Travis Zadeh Commanding Demons and Jinn: The Sorcerer in Early Islamic Thought," in No Tapping around Philology: A Festschrift in Honor of Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.'s 70th Birthday, ed. Alireza Korangy and Dan Sheffield (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2014), 131-60
  4. ^ al-?abar?, Mu?ammad ibn Ayy?b. Tu?fat al-ghar?'ib. I.
  5. ^ R?z?, Ab? al-Fut. Tafs?r-e raw? al-jen?n va r al-jan?n.
  6. ^ Joseph P. Laycock Spirit Possession around the World: Possession, Communion, and Demon Expulsion across Cultures ABC-CLIO 2015 ISBN 978-1-610-69590-9 page 166
  7. ^ Szombathy, Zoltan, "Exorcism", in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Consulted online on 15 November 2019<http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_26268> First published online: 2014 First print edition: 9789004269637, 2014, 2014-4
  8. ^ ?Umar Sulaym?n Ashqar The World of the Jinn and Devils Islamic Books 1998 page 204
  9. ^ a b Moiz Ansari Islam And the Paranormal: What Does Islam Says About the Supernatural in the Light of Qur'an, Sunnah And Hadith iUniverse 2006 ISBN 978-0-595-37885-2 page 55
  10. ^ Kelly Bulkeley, Kate Adams, Patricia M. Davis Dreaming in Christianity and Islam: Culture, Conflict, and CreativityRutgers University Press 2009 ISBN 978-0-813-54610-0 page 148
  11. ^ Alean Al-Krenawi and John Graham Social work and Koranic mental health healers International Social Work 1999
  12. ^ Staff (14 May 2012). "Belgium court charges six people in deadly exorcism of Muslim woman". Al Arabiya.
  13. ^ Alean Al-Krenawi and John Graham Social work and Koranic mental health healers International Social Work 1999
  14. ^ a b "Chapter 4: Other Beliefs and Practices". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 2012-08-09. Archived from the original on 2018-08-08. Retrieved . Islamic tradition also holds that Muslims should rely on God alone to keep them safe from sorcery and malicious spirits rather than resorting to talismans, which are charms or amulets bearing symbols or precious stones believed to have magical powers, or other means of protection.
  15. ^ a b [1]
  16. ^ a b [2]
  17. ^ a b [3]
  18. ^ a b [4]
  19. ^ a b [5]
  20. ^ a b [6]
  21. ^ a b [7]
  22. ^ a b [8]
  23. ^ al-Jawziyya, Ibn Qayyim. Zad al-Ma'ad [Provisions of the Hereafter]. pp. 1/475.

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