Salah behind an immoral soothsayer who claims to have knowledge of the Ghayb

Q: Is it permissible for a fortuneteller or a soothsayer to lead people in congregational Salah (Prayer)? What is the ruling on offering Salah behind an immoral fortuneteller who claims knowledge of Ghayb (the Unseen)? There is a group of scholars in South Africa who are fortunetellers, deceiving millions of ignorant Muslims and cheating them out of their money by sorcery, soothsaying, writing talismans and using the Jinn (creatures created from fire). Some Indians and Pakistanis have some strands of hair which they claim belong to the Prophet (peace be upon him) which they use to deceive the people. (Part No. 1; Page No. 600) They sell this hair in the district of Lance for 30 or 100 pounds. Is this permissible? We denounce this practice, so please advise.


A: A fortuneteller or a soothsayer who claims knowledge of the Ghayb through divining, calling upon the Jinn, and the like is considered a Kafir (disbeliever), as Allah states (what means), Say: “None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (Unseen) except Allâh” (Surah Al-Naml, 27: 65) Allah also states, "(He Alone is) the All-Knower of the Ghaib (Unseen), and He reveals to none His Ghaib (Unseen)." Except to a Messenger (from mankind) whom He has chosen (He informs him of unseen as much as He likes), and then He makes a band of watching guards (angels) to march before him and behind him. (Surah Al-Jinn, 72: 26-27) He also states, Verily Allâh, with Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allâh is All-Knower, All-Aware (of things). (Surah Luqman, 31-34)The Prophet (peace be upon him) clarified this when he said, Whoever goes to a fortuneteller and asks him about any matter, his Salah (prayer) will not be accepted for forty nights. Narrated by Muslim in his Sahih (authentic) Book of Hadith. He (peace be upon him) also stated, Whoever goes to a soothsayer and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad. Narrated by Abu Dawud. He (peace be upon him) also stated, Whoever goes to a soothsayer or a fortuneteller (Part No. 1; Page No. 601) and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad. Narrated by the four Compilers of Hadith and Al-Hakim. He said, “It is Sahih (authentic) according to their conditions.” He (peace be upon him) also stated, Not of us (i.e. the Muslims): the one who sees omens or has omens seen for him; predicts the future or has the future predicted for him; performs magic or has magic performed for him. And whoever goes to a soothsayer and believes what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad. Narrated by Al-Bazzar with a good Isnad (chain of narration). Thus, it is impermissible for those who are aware of the wickedness of such people to offer Salah behind them; their Salah behind them is invalid.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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