Magic in Modern Times

From pre-Islamic Arabia, to Islamic Golden Age and the Ottoman period, Arab-Muslim thought has been largely influenced by cults relating to magic and esoteric sciences. Beliefs which were disseminated both in popular circles and among the scientific elites.

What are the origins of magic and sorcery in Islam?

According to the Qur’an, which is the Sacred Book par excellence of Islam, magic and sorcery were taught to the inhabitants of ancient Babylon by the two fallen angels Harut and Marut as explained in verse 102 of the S2. It emerges from this verse that magic and sorcery are a counter initiation of diabolical origin as opposed to religious initiation which is of divine origin. If religion has a vocation to make men know the existence of God and the distinction between good and evil, magic knows no distinction between good and evil and its vocation is only to satisfy the desires and ambitions of men with supernatural and generally illegal occult forces. This is why the Qur’an critics strongly magic and sorcery, considering them as tools used by religions opponents to fight them.

What remains of this magical thinking in Islam today?

It seems to have been totally repressed…

Magical thinking in Islam still exists to a greater or lesser extent in certain circles as well as in the countryside, although it no longer has the same attractions and influences as in the past as a result of modernity. However, it still resists in a secret way, since in recent times there have been several instances of talismans and charms accompanied by photos of men and women bearing inscriptions and magical signs buried in abandoned tombs during the cleaning of cemeteries.


Sorcery is a common belief in Islam, which is associated with evil called black magic. The Quran attests to the existence of Jinns in its hadiths and verses, and the different types of Sihrs Jinn causes and how occur. It is also evident that Islam, as well stated in the Quran, does not condone the practice of witchcraft because it has intent to harm, subjecting humans to psychological, spiritual, and emotional torture. Fundamentally, sorcery occurs when witchdoctors usurp Allah’s sacred powers. The intolerance to the evil practice, therefore, attracts the heavy consequence of death, except for some few exceptions. For Muslims, therefore, the only way to reverse the spells of the Sirh is to turn to God by reciting the scriptures, saying a prayer, and undergoing cunning therapy.