The reality of the evil or envious eye

Q 1: What is the reality of the evil or envious eye? Allah (Exalted be He) says: "And from the evil of the envier when he envies." Is the following Hadith authentic: One third of those who are in the graves are there because of the evil eye. ? What should someone do and say if they think that they are envied? Will it cure them if they use water with which the envier has washed themselves? Should they drink that water or wash themselves with?


A: The Arabic word `Ayn (literally, the eye) is derived from (`Aana - Ya`inu) and refers to when a person harms another by casting an evil eye on him. It usually starts with admiration for something felt by the person who casts an evil eye, and is then followed by a reaction of his evil soul towards it, seeking assistance in putting its venom into effect by eyeing the victim. Allah commanded His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to seek refuge with Him from enviers, saying: "And from the evil of the envier when he envies." Anyone who casts an evil eye on another is an envier, but not every envier is necessarily a caster of the evil eye. The envier is more general in meaning than a caster of the evil eye. Therefore, seeking refuge with Allah from an envier includes seeking refuge with Him from a caster of the evil eye, which is like an arrow darting from the soul of the envier or caster of evil eye towards the envied person. Sometimes they hit them and sometimes they miss. If the arrows find the person exposed and vulnerable, they will affect them, but if they find them cautious, well-armed, and impenetrable, the arrows will not affect them; perhaps they may even recoil upon the one who aimed them. (Adapted from Zad Al-Ma`ad) (Part No. 1; Page No. 272) There are Hadiths authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) which affirm the effect of evil eye, among them is the Hadith reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Lady `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her), who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace he upon him) used to command me to use Ruqyah (reciting Qur'an and saying supplications over the sick seeking healing) to cure and protect myself from the evil eye. It was related by Muslim, Ahmad, and Al-Tirmidhy (who ranked it as an authentic Hadith) on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The evil eye is real. 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. It was related by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhy (who ranked it as an authentic Hadith) that Asma’ bint `Umays said: 'O Messenger of Allah, the children of Banu Ja`far have been afflicted by the evil eye, should we recite Ruqyah over them?' He (peace be upon him) said, 'Yes, if anything were to precede destiny, it would be the evil eye.' Abu Dawud also related that `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The man who cast the evil would be commanded to perform Wudu' (ablution), and then the man afflicted by the evil eye was washed with it. It was related by Imam Ahmad, Malik, Al-Nasa'y, and Ibn Hibban (who ranked it as an authentic Hadith) that Sahl ibn Hanif said: (Part No. 1; Page No. 273)  The Prophet (peace be upon him) set out accompanied by some people towards Makkah. They reached the mountain pass of Al-Kharar in Al-Juhfah, and there Sahl ibn Hanif bathed himself. He was a white man with a handsome body and skin. `Amir ibn Rabi`ah, one of the family members of Banu `Ady ibn Ka`b, looked at him while he was taking a bath and said, 'I have never seen the like of what I have seen today, not even the skin of a virgin in a boudoir,' and immediately Sahl suffered a seizure and fell to the ground. He was brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and it was said, 'O Messenger of Allah, can you do anything for Sahl; by Allah he cannot raise his head or recover consciousness.' He (peace be upon him) said, 'Do you accuse anyone with regard to him?' They said, '`Amir ibn Rabi`ah looked at him.' The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) summoned `Amir and spoke angrily to him, saying, 'Why would one of you kill his brother? If you see something that you like, why do you not supplicate Allah's blessings on it?' Then he said to him, 'Wash yourself for him.' So he washed his face, hands, forearms, knees, the ends of his feet, and the inside of his Izar (garment worn below the waist) in a vessel. Then that water was poured over Sahl - a man was pouring it over his head and back from behind. He was titling the vessel to pour it out on him from behind. This was done to him, then Sahl got up and joined the people and there was nothing wrong with him. The Jumhur (dominant majority of scholars) have confirmed the risk of harm by the evil eye based on the Hadiths quoted above and others, and because of the corroborating actual occurrences. As for the Hadith you have mentioned: "One third of those who are in the graves are there because of the evil eye," we do not know it to be authentic. However, the author of Nayl Al-Awtar said that Al-Bazzar narrated from Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) through a good Sanad (chain of narrators) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Bearing in mind the Divine Decree, most people of my Ummah (nation based on one creed) die due to envy. (Part No. 1; Page No. 274) Muslims must fortify themselves against the devils from among Jinn (creatures created from fire) and mankind by having strong faith in Allah and by putting their trust in Him and seeking refuge with Him and beseeching Him. They should recite the Du`a's (supplications) prescribed by the Prophet (peace be upon him) for refuge and protection. They should often recite Al-Mu`awwidhatayn (Surahs Al-Falaq and Al-Nas), Surah Al-Ikhlas, Surah Al-Fatihah, and Ayat-ul-Kursy (the Qur’anic Verse of the Throne, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:255). One of the Prophetic Du`a's for refuge and protection is to say: I seek refuge with the Perfect Words of Allah from the evil of what He has created. And: I seek refuge with the Perfect Words of Allah from His Anger and Punishment, and from the evil of His creatures, and the incitements of devils and their presence. And the Saying of Allah (Exalted be He): Allâh is sufficient for me. Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He) in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne. This is in addition to other Du`a's prescribed by Shari`ah (Islamic law); for this is what is meant by the words of Ibn Al-Qayyim quoted at the beginning of this answer.If a person thinks or suspects that someone has cast an evil eye on them, the one who cast an evil eye should be ordered to wash themselves for the person afflicted by the evil eye. A vessel of water should be brought to them, in which the one who cast the evil eye should dip their hand and rinse out their mouth into the vessel, then wash their face, then dip their left hand and pour water over their right knee into the vessel, then dip their right hand and pour water over their left knee into the vessel. Then, they should wash the inside of their Izar. The water should then be poured over the head of the person afflicted by the evil eye from behind in one go. By the Will of Allah, they will be healed.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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