Evil Eye – al ‘Ain

Many people out there don’t believe in evil eye but many cultures believe in it and it is called by different names, such as al ‘ain by the arab speaking people, nazr or najr by the Turks, Indians and Pakistanis; mal occhio or mal de ojo in italian and spanish. Whatever you call it, we as Muslims have been informed about this through Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam). Our knowledge as humans is so limited as we can’t explain things like “the evil eye” or “telepathy” for that matter. It just somehow exists, but while they rest of the masses go wondering, WE know from hadeeth that it exists. Rasoolullah (SAW) has even given us ilaaj (treatment) for it and protection from it. So what is al’Ain?

Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) reported Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) said “Seek refuge with Allah from the evil eye for the evil eye is a reality”. (ibn Mājah 3508)
Ibn Hajr (rahimahullah) holds the view that the evil eye is a glance combined with jealousy that comes from a despicable person to affect another. (Fat-hul Bāri: 10/200)
Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) tells us that al ‘ain is something that comes through nafs which is in you without control most of the time, when you see something you like, but you fail to mention Allah’s name on it, you fail to say Māshā’Allah, TabārakAllah. It comes about by glancing at something without you noticing it, is part of the evil spirit in each and every one of us that comes out when you see something you like.
According Shaykh Wāhid Abdus Salām Bāli jealousy stems from the heart’s burning desire to see the targeted person stripped off his blessings. Evil eye on the other hand emanates from the eye. Therefore a person with an evil eye may affect a target of which he is not jealous such as inanimate things, crops, money. He may even affect himself with his own evil eye or his beloved child by his stare of admiration. Jealousy only comes from an evil, resentful person but an evil eye may come from a righteous person who admires something without having the desire to see it taken away.

Amir bin Rabi’a (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) affected Sahl bin Hunayf (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) with the evil eye, despite the fact that Amir was not only among the early persons to accept Islam but also participated in Badr.
Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reported Rasoolullah ((Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) said: “The evil eye is a reality , and if there is anything that could ever race with al Qadar (destiny), it would have been the evil eye; and if you have been requested to wash your body, then do it”. (Muslim, Book of as Salām, Chapter: Medicine and Ruqā (an Nawawi 14/171)
In the above hadeeth, it is confirmed that a person has affected another person with his evil eye, and has been requested to wash his body and give the wasted water to the affected one to wash with, then he should do so.

How should we protect ourselves from this?
Rasoolullah ((Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) permitted using Ruqya in accordance with Shari’ah for treating al ‘ain (evil eye) as reported by Muslim in a sound Hadith.
Among what Rasoolullah ((Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) used to tell people to do to treat al ‘ain is the following: The perpetrator of al ‘ain should make a special form of ablution and pour the water of that ablution on the person who has been struck by al ‘ain.
Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah) said that al ‘ain can be cured by reciting Surahs al Falaq, an Naas, al Faatihah, the verse of al Kursiyy (Aayatal Kursiyy) and the Prophetic Du’a (supplications) many times.
The influence of the evil eye can be caused through sight or communication. Evil eye can come from Jinn (creatures created by Allah from smokless fire). Therefore we should read the relevant du’as when undressing, looking into mirror, etc.
It is recommended that if a Muslim sees something he likes he should ask Allah to bless it whether it belongs to him or someone else. This counteracts al ‘ain.

What is the best thing to say whenever you see something you like?
Some scholars like ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) is of the view that saying “Māshā’Allah lā quwwata illā billā” will defend an evil eye. When he commented on the verse in Surah al Kahf- There were two men, one of them had a garden or two gardens. One was boasting about it and he was rejecting the idea that there would be a day of judgement. His companion told him that he should believe in Allah and that when he entered the gardens he should have said: “Māshā’Allah lā quwwata illā billā” and this would defend the evil eye.
Howeve the most authentic opinion (to deflect an evil eye) whenever you see something you like or admire say something like “BārakAllahu lak”. So instead of saying “Wow, you look so gorgeous, or nobody can cook like me, or what an expensive car!”, say “Masha’Allah, TabārakALlah. BārakAllahu laka, bārakaAllahu laki and so on, like “May Allah bless this child, May Allah bless your car, May Allah bless your house” and so on.

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