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A soothsayer and foreteller have similar characteristics but with a slight difference. Both of them make predictions about the future. The soothsayer would overhear some jinn and disclose the secret to people which would sometimes prove true, because the jinn's got their information from Satan who sometimes stole away some information from the angels. But after the annunciation of the Prophet (peace be upon him) it was made impossible for Jinns and Satans to overhear anything in the skies. Moreover, Soothsayer and others of his like would make predictions on the basis of certain signs and circumstantial evidence. These could also go wrong or right. This is so even to this day. Astrological prediction is also a form of foretelling but this is often wrong. The foreteller, who mostly carries out what is known to be as divination, is also an indication of some future occurrence on the basis of certain causes and events.




These things can come in so many different forms and ways. The key point they revolve around is trying to predict what will be in the future, notwithstanding the manner it is done. All such things are unlawful and have been strictly forbidden by Islam. If anything predicted by these means comes by chance true, it does not furnish any justification for their validity. It is just like you or anyone at all closes his eyes and predicts something, and to our surprise it comes to reality. Has that made it a fact that you or that person that predicted what later came to be true has the knowledge of the future?!




Imam Al-Baghawi said, "Al-'Arraf (foreteller) is a person who claims to know the matters with fore signs by which he can point to stolen items, the place of lost things and the like." Some said, it is the Kahin (soothsayer) and Kahin (soothsayer) is the one who foretells of unseen matters in the future. It is also said that it is the one who informs of the inner secrets.




Ibn Taimiyah said, "Al-'Arraf is a name for the fortuneteller and the astrologer (Al-Munajjim), and the diviner (Ar-Rammal), and the like of them who speak of having knowledge of matters in similar ways."




Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said about those people who write Abjad (alphabet -to use in soothsaying, fortunetelling etc.) and gaze at the stars i.e., believe in their influences on the earth -"I do not see that whoever does such has any share with Allah."




In fact, these are some of the grave sins in Islam. They are strictly forbidden with harsh punishment prescribed for anyone found guilty. Below are some of the prohibiting texts from the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him):


{Whoever goes to a fortuneteller and asks him something and believes in his words, will have his prayer (Salat) rejected for forty days.} [Muslim]




Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said:{Whoever visited a soothsayer and believed in his words, has denied the Revelation to Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) (i.e. Qur'an)} [Abu Dawud]




He said (peace be upon him): {He is not from us who seeks omens or has omens interpreted for him; or who practices fortunetelling or has his fortune told; or who practices sorcery and magic or goes to have it done for him; and whoever goes to a Kahin (fortuneteller) and believes in what he says has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him)} [al-Bazzar and at-Tabrani].




It is crystal clear in Islam that these acts are prohibited and even the person who goes to them has committed abomination. You may want to ask why such strict handling of such matters? It is simply because no one knows the future, on one hand, and is one of the easiest way of exploiting fellow human beings on the other hand.




It is only Allah who knows the future and has hidden it from man. So anyone who claims knowing the future is indirectly telling you that Allah, Who told us that none aside Him knows the future, is a liar. He is challenging the Supreme Authority of Allah. When the issue is treated deeper, you will find out that it does not just end here, it goes beyond. They get into magic and conjuring the evil spirits (Jinns) all to get the best of results in their craft. Finally, they claim power of life and death which in turn leads to a chaotic society. Therefore, the Islamic prohibition of these practices is duly justified even before man.


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