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Is Evil Eye Greater Than Qadar and Free Will?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Apr 22, 2017

Question

This is a complicated question for which I haven't found a satisfactory answer yet. I have read the answers about free will and destiny (qadar) on your site. From what I understood (correct me if I'm wrong) is that man has limited free will as he is subject to the Divine Law of Cause effect which has an effect on his earthly life as well as after life. A person has the freedom to choose, and those choices determine his or her destiny. If you work hard, you 'might' be rewarded in this world. I use the word 'might' because from what I read, how these actions will affect him to alter his destiny, again depend on whether God decides to reward or punish him for those actions, out of His Will, as the Final Authority to reward mankind rest with God. Thus, every person may or may not be rewarded or punished in this life. Now, examining this concept, another complication arises: I read in a Hadith about Evil Eye, that "if there is anything that could overtake the Divine Decree (Qadar), it could be the "Evil Eye". "The question which comes is that this suggests that the evil eye is more powerful than a man's actions in this world. It can also alter the Divine Decree that God has intended for him. Now if we say that a man was intended to be given the evil eye in his predetermined destiny, then the man himself becomes nothing but a scapegoat, who has no control over his destiny, because it was predetermined that he was born to be given the Evil eye by someone else. Since the evil eye is evil, so is black magic. A lot of people have had their lives affected by black magic, which has 'altered' their earthly destinies (qadar). The lucky ones are the ones who've managed to purify themselves of black magic possession or evil eye possession so that their destinies can be 'normal' again. I even read on blogs that a person who supposedly dies under the influence of black magic or evil eye gets the reward of his actions (or suffering) in the next world. So doesn't this make the evil eye or black magic greater than human free will or the Divine Decree (destiny) that humans are born with? For e.g. I could cast a spell or evil eye on a person and destroy their earthly life and destiny - especially if that person can't purify himself or herself from the malefic effects of the evil eye or spell. Because the evil eye has the power to overtake the Divine Decree and a person's free will. So isn't this a bit disheartening or fatalistic for a believer? From one side, we say that we can choose to control over what we want for ourselves. From the other side, it appears someone's evil can overtake our destiny. So does this make the Evil eye greater than Free will and Qadar (Destiny) itself?

Consultant

Answer


Is Evil Eye Greater Than Qadar and Free Will?

Salam Brother,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

The hadith about evil eye you quoted is as follows:

The evil eye is real and if anything were to overtake the divine decree, it would be the evil eye. When you are asked to take a bath (to provide a cure) from the influence of the evil eye, you should take a bath. (Muslim, Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi)

Most Islamic scholars are of the view that the evil eye is real, as narrated in several ahadith like the above one. The evil eye is evidently harmful to the victim, and the Prophet has urged his followers to seek refuge from its effect with Allah Almighty.

The evil eye usually (but not necessarily) originates from an envious person, and its deleterious effect is on the person who is envied. But if the target is careful and takes protection from it, it may not affect him.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to advise his wife Aisha to recite the ruqyah (a protective reading from the Quran and the Hadith) seeking safety from the harm of the evil eye. One should particularly recite the verse:

{Allah is sufficient for me. None has the right to be worshiped but He; in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.} (Quran 9:129)

One is also advised to say as part of the ruqyah: “I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from the evil of that which He has created”.

Your question is particularly about this part of the hadith: “…if there is anything that could overtake the Divine Decree it could be the evil eye”.

We know that everything in the universe exists or acts within the scope of the Will and Plan of Allah Almighty; and certainly the Quran does not support the idea of anything being capable of overtaking the Divine Command. One may note the verse:

{But truly, the command is with Allah in all things!} (Quran 13:31)

And again,

{With Allah is the Decision, in the past and in the future.} (Quran 30:4)

We need to look at the Prophetic statement in the light of the above two verses. For, Allah’s Messenger would not so much as hint at a concept that challenges Allah’s unquestionable sovereignty and dominion in the universe.

So, the meaning of the hadith is just that the evil eye could be so potent that it could be supposed to be capable even of overtaking the Divine Decree; not that it can overtake the Divine Decree.

Besides, Allah in the Holy Quran says what means:

{And the Unbelievers would almost trip thee up with their eyes when they hear the Message.} (Quran 68:51­)

According to scholars, this could be a reference to the evil eye of the disbelievers. And it is Allah Almighty Himself who says that their evil eye can make the believers slip from the right path.

This is an indication that the action of the evil eye is not outside the purview of Divine Decree, but only that the evil eye is one of the trials a believer has to face in this worldly life: In other words, the evil eye does not overtake the Divine Decree, but is subject to the Divine Decree.

You also suggest that the evil eye is more powerful than a man’s freewill or freely chosen actions in this world by saying:

“Now if we say that a man was intended to be given the evil eye in his predetermined destiny, then the man himself becomes nothing but a scapegoat, who has no control over his destiny, because it was predetermined that he was born to be given the Evil eye by someone else. Since the evil eye is evil, so is black magic. A lot of people have had their lives affected by black magic, which has ‘altered’ their earthly destinies (qadar)”.

First of all, we cannot accept the idea that a man can have control over his destiny, even if there is no evil eye.

It is indeed a fact that our lives are affected by a number of things outside our control, let alone evil eye or black magic. But our destiny is not in our hands, it is with Allah Almighty.

Allah does not hold us accountable for all those things outside our control; we are judged on the basis of our own freely chosen actions as well as on the motives or intentions that generate those actions. Certainly we are not answerable for anything that happens in our lives irrespective of our own desires and decisions.

You have said that a person can destroy another person’s life with evil eye. Do you mean to say that one can use it like a weapon? Certainly not. The evil eye can harm one; but not necessarily.

It depends on Allah’s decree. Destroying a person’s life with evil eye is not as easy as drawing a revolver and shooting him down. If one can use evil eye like a weapon, revenge on a dictator, for instance, would be easy: the victims can simply destroy him with evil eye!

We should realize that life in this world is a test, and all the bad things – as well as the good things – that happen to us in this life are part of that test – whether they are caused by natural disasters like earthquake or flood or man made atrocities like war.

Evil eye could be the starting point of a person’s suffering or destruction. But nothing happens except by the leave of Allah:

{Say: “Never can anything befall us save what God has decreed! He is our Lord Supreme; and in God let the believers place their trust!”} (Quran 9:51)

So nothing happens except as Allah as decreed. His Decree overtakes all; and nothing overtakes His Decree.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Six Actions to Take against the Evil Eye

Does Belief in Qadar Justify Passivity?

How to Know You Are Afflicted with the Evil Eye? 11 Signs




About Professor Shahul Hameed

Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.


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