Their Supplication by way of Charms and Esoteric Symbols and Their Seeking of Help From Unknown Entities

Their Belief That the Sand of Hussain’s Grave is a Cure for Every Sickness
April 12, 2017
Istikharah in ways That Resemble the Divination of the Days of Ignorance
April 12, 2017

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Discussion Six

Their Supplication by way of Charms and Esoteric Symbols and Their Seeking of Help From Unknown Entities


One form of their misguidance and shirk is their supplications with charms and letters which they consider to be from their Imams’ forts, their supplications and shield. They write these charms and read them in order to gain cure and safety. In this regard al Majlisi has quoted many a narration in his book al Bihar; similarly he has documented words which do not possess any meaning and has placed sketches of some charms which are written in a very eerie font claiming that this was the method of the Imams in order to gain cure.[1]

According to the Shia, riddled letters which have no meanings were used by their Imams to seek refuge from evil.[2] Whereas Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

وَلِلّٰهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنٰى فَادْعُوْهُ بِهَا

And Allah has beautiful names so call unto him by way of them.[3]


Writing such riddles and charms with letters and amulets is indeed ascribing partners with Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, the unique and the powerful. For it is a form of supplication to others besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala due to it not containing any of his names or attributes. And the names of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala are those which appear in the Qur’an and the Sunnah; they are based upon divine sources and hence, it would not be permissible for us to call unto him with any other name.

Similarly, these charms have no specific meaning. Imam al Saghani, therefore, says:


و ربما يكون التلفظ بتلك الكلمات كفرا لأنا لا نعرف معنيها بالعربية،و قد قال الله تعالي ما فرطنا في الكتاب من شيء

And at times the enunciation of these words can lead to disbelief because we do not know their meanings in Arabic. Allah says, “We have not left any aspect of the book unaddressed.”[4] And yet he (the Shi’i) still says:

آهيا شراهيا

Ahiya Sharahiya.[5]


Al Saghani further goes onto mention that many people were led astray due these unfounded supplications.[6]

As to seeking help from unknown entities, they seek help from them when losing direction on a journey; very similar to how they seek help from the dead (as has passed earlier). Whereas seeking help from the dead, from among the angels, Jinns, and humans who are not visible to those who seek help from them (in order to derive benefit or circumvent harm), is a type of shirk which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will not forgive unless a person repents sincerely from it. Because seeking help in this manner is considered to be an ‘Ibadah which is not permissible but for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

The evidence for this is what Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has taught us to read in the verse:


إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِيْنُ

It is only thee that we worship and it is only from thee that we seek help.[7]


Likewise the verse:

وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوْا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has decreed that you worship none but him.[8]


There are many other verses which establish the same point.[9]

The following appears in their reliable books:


عن ابي بصير عن ابي عبد الله قال:إذا ضللت الطريق فناد يا صالح أو يا ابا صالح أرشدونا إلي الطريق يرحمكم الله.

Abu Basir narrates from Abu ‘Abdullah that he said, “When you lose your way on journey announce thus, “O Salih,” or “O Abu Salih, show us the way. May Allah shower His Mercy upon you.”[10]


Ibn Babuwayh states the following after citing the previous narration under the chapter, ‘the prayer of a person who loses his way’:


وروي أن البر موكلته صالح،و البحر موكل به حمزة.

It is reported that Salih is appointed over the land and Hamzah is appointed over the ocean.[11]


Who is Salih and who is Hamzah? In al Khisal of Ibn Babuwayh, there appears a narration which defines the personality of Salih for us. It reads as follows:

و من ضل منكم في سفر و خاف علي نفسه فليناد يا صالح أغثني،فإن في إخوانكم من الجن جنيا يسمي صالح يسبح في البلاد لمكانكم محتسبا نفسه لكم،فإذا سمع الصوت أجاب و أوشد الضال منكم و حبس عليه دابته.

He who goes astray on a journey and fears upon himself should call out, “O Salih! Help me!” Amongst your Jinn brothers there is a jinn by the name of Salih who, with the hope of reward, traverses all the cities in order to guide you. So when he hears the voice he responds, guides the stray among you, and holds the reigns of his animal.[12]


They have ostensibly inherited this from the people of the era of the first ignorance, for this was part of their culture as is alluded to in the following verse of Qur’an:

وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ رِجَالٌ مِّنَ الْإِنسِ يَعُوْذُوْنَ بِرِجَالٍ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَزَادُوْهُمْ رَهَقًا

And verily there were men that would seek the refuge of Jinns. Thus they increased them in anxiety.[13]


The scholars write: it was the wont of the Arabs in the days of ignorance that when they would halt at a place they would seek the refuge of a notable jinn so that he does not afflict them with any evil; just as when they would enter the territories of the enemies they would seek the refuge and amnesty of a respectable person. When the Jinns saw that the humans are seeking their refuge due to fear they increased them in their anxiety, fear and terror till eventually they became more fearful then they were before. Qatadah says, “’They increased them in anxiety’ means that the Jinns’ insolence increased against them… so when they would seek the refuge of the jinn they would harass them and make them feel more anxious.”[14]

After the advent of Islam they sought the refuge of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala alone and abandoned the Jinn.[15] Which implies that seeking refuge from the jinn is seeking refuge from those besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.[16]


وَإِنْ يَّمْسَسْكَ اللّٰهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلَّا هُوَ وَإِنْ يُّرِدْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَلَا رَادَّ لِفَضْلِهِ يُصِيْبُ بِهِ مَنْ يَّشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَهُوَ الْغَفُوْرُ الرَّحِيْمُ

If Allah inflicts upon you hardship there is none that can remove it save Him. And if He intends good for you then there is none that can reverse His favour. Allah grants it to whomsoever He wishes from His bondsmen. And verily He is the Very Forgiving the Most Merciful.[17]


NEXT⇒ Istikharah in ways That Resemble the Divination of the Days of Ignorance

[1] An example of one such charm is the following: the treasure of Amir al Mu’minin ‘alayh al-Salam for an enchanted person, a possessed person, an unconscious person, a poisoned person, for protection against the ruler, the devil and all that a person fears. It reads as the following:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم أي كنوش أي كنوش أرشش عطنيطنيطح يا مطيطرون فريا لسنون ما و ما ساما سويا طيطشا لوش خيطوش…

Thereafter there is a sketch of weird symbols in the form of intertwining lines… (Bihar al Anwar: 94/193). There are similarly sketches of this nature on p. 229, 265, 297 of the same volume.

One of the protective supplications of the Imams read as follows:

أعوذه بيا آهيا شراهيا

The reference is same as the above cited narration.

[2] One such example is the following:

اللهم بالعين والميم والفاء الحاءين بنور أبو ألأشباح… إكفني شر من دب ومشي..

They consider these to be a barrier which the Imams read to secure themselves against the evil of any who intended bad for them. (Ibid).

[3] Surah al A’raf: 180

[4] Surah al An’am: 38

[5] Mawdu‘at al Saghani p. 63

[6] Ibid

[7] Surah al Fatihah: 5

[8] Surah al Isra’: 23

[9] This was the legal verdict (Fatwa) given by the council of scholars for academic discussions (al Lajnah al Da’imah li al Buhuth al Ilmiyyah). Refer to: Jaridah al Jazirah (published on Friday the 6th of Rajab 1407 A.H.).

[10] Ibn Babuwayh: Man la Yahduruhu al Faqih 2/195; Al Barqi: al Mahasin p. 362 (with a slight variation); Wasa’il al Shia 8/325.

[11] Man la Yahdurhu al Faqih 2/195; al Mahasin: p. 362; Wasa’il al Shia 8/325.

[12] Al Khisal 2/618; Wasa’il al Shia 8/325.

[13] Surah al Jinn: 6.

[14] Tafsir Ibn Kathir 4/455; Tafsir al Tabari 29/108; Fath al Qadir 5/305. The same has been narrated in the Tafsir books of the Shia as well. Refer to: al Burhan 4/391; Tafsir al Qummi; Tafsir al Safi 5/235; Tafsir Shibr p. 535.

[15] Tafsir al Tabari 29/109

[16] Kitab al Tawhid p. 175.

[17] Yunus: 107.

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