Predicting the Future; Is Fortune-Telling Allowed in Islam?

18 August, 2020
Q If a person predicts something to happen in the future blindly during a general conversation, while the person does not make the claim that he knows the unseen, will this come under the prohibited category of fortune telling? What is the ruling on determining something based on guesswork and calculations? Do speculations and predictions about future come under the title of fortune telling? Kindly tell me weather fortune telling is considered as shirk or not.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

1- It is not permissible for anyone to claim to have knowledge of the unseen.

2- No one should claim such definite knowledge of what happens in the future.

3- It is not wrong to predict the weather or say something based on our experience of nature’s laws.

4- Predicting weather or speaking of what may happen based on reading signs of nature does not fall in the forbidden category of fortune telling.


In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Knowledge of the Unseen

Speaking of the future is wrong if one arrogates to himself the knowledge of unseen realities or the future.

Sure, precise knowledge of what will happen in the future is the exclusive realm of divinity. Such knowledge is not given to anyone, including the angels or chosen messengers of Allah. The Quran states:

{Say, ‘I do not have the treasures of God, nor do I know the unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me.’ Say, ‘Is a blind person like one who can see? Why will you not reflect?’} (Al-Anam 6:50)

{Say [Prophet], ‘I have no control over benefit or harm, [even] to myself, except as God may please: if I had knowledge of what is hidden, I would have abundant good things, and no harm could touch me. I am no more than a bearer of warning and good news to those who believe.’} (Al-Araf 7:188)

So, no one should claim such definite knowledge of what happens in the future.

Predicting the Future

Having said this, it is not wrong to predict the weather or say something based on our experience of nature’s laws as we know them from our experience.

Allah tells us in the Quran that the universe functions on laws, and these are not altered or changed erratically.

When the Prophet Muhammad’s son Ibrahim died, the people said it was because of Ibrahim’s death. The Prophet (peace be upon him) corrected them by saying: “Sun and moon are signs of Allah; they do not eclipse or disappear because of birth or death of anyone.” (Muslim)

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So predicting weather or speaking of what may happen based on reading signs of nature does not fall in the forbidden category of fortune telling. The Prophet (PBUH) himself made a similar statement on the coming of rain based on such observations.

So, suppose a person made a statement without claiming a sure knowledge of the future that is not haram. In that case, however, no one should make a statement based purely on conjecture or speculation without evidence-based observation of the natural patterns.

Almighty Allah knows best.