Looks Can Kill - Read About The Evil Eye

You have probably heard the saying "if looks could kill..." or even said it yourself to note the look of envy, scorn, hatred et al expressed on the face of a person towards you or towards another person. Well, guess what? Muslims know that looks can actually kill, courtesy of the evil eye.  Evil eye is translated as al-‘ayn in Arabic and it refers to when a person harms another with his eye by looking at the person with thoughts rooted in envy, hatred and the like. A person can afflict another person with the effects of the evil eye by simply looking at the person with feelings of amazement rooted in envy, malice etc.

A verse in the Qur'an describes how the evil eye can manifest by almost making the afflicted person stumble while walking. The verse refers to the deep seated hatred of the unbelievers (polytheists) towards the Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of GOD be upon him) because of his message of monotheism to them.

Qur'an: 68: 51:

"51. And the Unbelievers would almost trip thee up with their eyes when they hear the Message; and they say: "Surely he is possessed!"

A chapter in the Qur'an is a prayer revealed to be recited as protection from the evils that manifest by the darkness of the night and against the effects of witchcraft and the evil eye.

Qur'an: 113:

"In the name of ALLAH, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
1. Say: I seek refuge with (ALLAH), the Lord of the daybreak,
2. From the evil of what he has created,
3. And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness; (or the moon as it sets or goes away),
4. And from the evil of those who practise witchcraft when they blow in the knots,
And from the evil of the envier when he envies."

The following hadith recounts the actual manifestation of the effect of the evil  eye among the companions of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him):

"Imam Ahmad, Malik, al-Nasai and Ibn Hibban narrated from Sahl ibn Haneef that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) came out and traveled with him towards Makkah, until they were in the mountain pass of al-Kharar in al-Jahfah. There Sahl ibn Haneef did ghusl (bathed), and he was a handsome white-skinned man with beautiful skin. ‘Amir ibn Rabee’ah, one of Banu ‘Adiyy ibn K’ab looked at him whilst he was doing ghusl and said: “I have never seen such beautiful skin as this, not even the skin of a virgin,” and Sahl fell to the ground. They went to the Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of ALLAH, can you do anything for Sahl, because by ALLAH he cannot raise his head.” He said, “Do you accuse anyone with regard to him?” They said, “‘Amir ibn Rabee’ah looked at him.” So the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) called ‘Amir and rebuked him strongly. He said, “Why would one of you kill his brother? If you see something that you like, then pray for blessing for him.” Then he said to him, “Wash yourself for him.” So he washed his face, hands, forearms, knees and the sides of his feet, and inside his izaar (lower garment) in the vessel. Then that water was poured over him, and a man poured it over his head and back from behind. He did that to him, then Sahl got up and joined the people and there was nothing wrong with him." Classed as saheeh (authentic) by al-Albani in al-Mishkat.

Another hadith about the evil eye is as follows:

"Muslim, Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (may ALLAH be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) said: “The evil eye is real and if anything were to overtake the divine decree, it would be the evil eye. When you are asked to take a bath (to provide a cure) from the influence of the evil eye, you should take a bath.”

Most often than not, when a person is afflicted with the effects of the evil eye, it is as a result of envy, the Arabic word al-hasad means envy. It is to wish that the blessings of another be taken away from him or her and given to you so that you can be in a higher state than that person. Or to desire that a blessing be taken from another so that you may at least feel that you are the equal of that person - misery loves company. The concept of hasad includes hating to see someone superior or better off than yourself, disliking it when someone else receives a bounty, or wishing that someone else would lose some blessing they have, for example good looks, talent, property, wealth et al.

Envy is one of the major sins because the envier is expressing displeasure with ALLAH's authority to bestow his blessings upon his creations.

Qur'an: 4: 54-55:

"Or do they envy men for what ALLAH has given them of His bounty? Then We have already given the family of Abraham the Book of Wisdom, and conferred upon them a great kingdom. Of them were (some) who believed in him (Muhammad) and of them were some who averted their faces from him and enough is Hell for burning (them)..."

Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of GOD be upon him) was reported to have said:

Jealousy eats away at good deeds, just as fire eats away at firewood.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

In another hadith:

It was reported by Abu Huraira (may ALLAH be pleased with him) that the Messenger of ALLAH (may ALLAH’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially raise prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not turn your back on each other; and do not undercut one another in business transactions. And be, [O] servants of ALLAH, bretheren. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He does not wrong him. He does not fail him [when he needs him]. He does not lie to him. And he does not show contempt for him. Piety is here" – and he pointed to his chest three times. "It is enough of evil for a person to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All of a Muslim is inviolable to another Muslim: his blood, his wealth and his honour." (Muslim).

Envy can be overcome by acknowledging GOD's favours upon you, by sincerely wanting for others what you want for yourself and by believing that the blessings of GOD are infinite, someone else does not have to be deprived of their blessings for you to be blessed.

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of ALLAH said:

"Look to those lower than you and do not look to those above you, lest you view the favours of ALLAH  (upon you) as trivial." [Muslim].

“By the One in Whose Hands is my soul, none of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].


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