Difference between Sihr and the evil eye

Q 2: What is the difference between Sihr (witchcraft) and ‘Ayn (the evil eye)? (Part No. 1; Page No. 547) Is the evil eye something real from the perspective of religion and does it have a legal ruling on it? What is the remedy for both the envier and the envied if the evil eye has a real effect?

A: In the linguistic sense the word Sihr means: What is hidden and its means are secret. In the terminological sense, Sihr is the practice of using charms and spells, some of which afflict hearts and bodies causing the person to fall ill, sometimes to die, or cause separation between man and his wife. Allah (Exalted be He) says (what means): And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allâh’s Leave. As for the Arabic word ‘Ayn (literally, the eye), it is derived from (‘Aan - Ya‘in), and refers to the situation where a person harms another by casting an evil eye on him. The ‘Ayn (evil eye) is real, for it is narrated in the authentic Hadith that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The (evil) eye is real; and if anything were to precede destiny, it would be the (evil) eye. And if you (the envier) are asked to take a bath (to provide a cure for the envied), you should take such a bath.” The ‘Ayn (evil eye) is forbidden the same as Sihr (witchcraft). The remedy for the envier is that upon seeing something that pleases him, one should mention Allah and invoke Allah to bless what he sees, as it is narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you see something that you like, why do you not supplicate (Allah’s) blessings on it? He should say, “Ma sha’ Allah laa quwwata illa billah.” (Whatever Allah wills! There is no power except with Allah), then invoke Allah’s blessings for that person. As for the envied, he should protect himself by strong faith and trust in Allah. He should also read a regular portion of the Qur’an and recite the Prophetic supplications to be said at regular times of the day. If it happens that the envied knows the person who cast an evil eye on him, he is sanctioned by Shari‘ah to ask that person to wash his face, hands and the inside of his waist-wrap in a basin of water then he (the envied) should take a bath with that water. (Part No. 1; Page No. 548) The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in this regard: And if you (the envier) are asked to take a bath (to provide a cure for the envied), you should take such a bath. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.