What is a Ta’weez?

The word “Ta’weez” is an Urdu representation of the Arabic word “Ta’weedh”, which is often translated as Amulet. The root of this word is “Ya’oodhu” which means to seek protection and refuge. This word is not used specifically by the prophet himself but was used by past scholars. The word used in general by the prophet was “Tameemah” and at other times, he used the name of specific type of Ta’weez being referred to.

The Origins of Ta’weez

According to one non-Muslim cultural anthropologist, amulets are among the most common objects unearthed by excavators at archaeological sites. However, some of the oldest Ta’weez excavated date back to the ancient civilisations of Sumeria, Babylonia and Egypt. It is believed that the practise of using Ta’weez was brought about through trading, migration and the influence of one culture over another. This is why although many cultures conflict, their use of Ta’weez are generally similar.

The following is a list of things used past and present in a Ta’weez:

  • Human parts like hair, teeth, nails etc
  • Animals or animal parts
  • Organic substances, like coral, amber, seashells etc
  • Minerals and precious stones
  • Vegetables
  • Letters
  • Numbers
  • Colours
  • Materials
  • Images like hands, faces, symbols
  • Star signs in amulets
  • Tattoos

The following is a list of various objectives which Ta’weez are generally employed for:

  • Protecting oneself, family or belongings from harm
  • Fertility
  • Wealth
  • Finding lost property
  • Harming others
  • Controlling people
  • Safety in the hereafter life
  • Blessings
  • Change of fortune
  • Improving the behaviour of others

Is Using or Wearing Ta’weez Shirk?

There are two issues one must understand in regards to using Ta’weez. The first is that if the Ta’weez contains any form of shirk, then the scholars have all agreed that this is not allowed and there is absolutely no difference of opinion in this. The second issue is in regards to the Ta’weez in which only Qur’an or permissible supplications are used. It is on this point that many of the scholars differed and below will be a concise commentary of the points for and against.

Islamic Position Regarding Using Ta’weez from the Qur’an

There are many verses in the Qur’an in which Allah (SWT) has made it very clear that everything happens only by his permission and that when he intends something it can not be averted and if he does not intend a thing then it can never take place. We have constantly been told to put our trust in Allah (SWT) alone and never to rely on others besides him.

Allah (SWT) says:

The believers are only those who when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur’an) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone) (Al-Anfal: 2)

And if Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if He touches you with good, then He is Able to do all things. And He is the Irresistible (Supreme), above His slaves, and He is the All-Wise, Well-acquainted with all things. (Al-An’aam: 17-18)

And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help. Then, when He has removed the harm from you, behold! Some of you associate others in worship with their Lord (Allah). (An-Nahl: 53-54)

And if Allah touches you with hurt, there is none who can remove it but He; and if He intends any good for you, there is none who can repel His Favour which He causes it to reach whomsoever of His slaves He wills. And He is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Yunus: 107)

If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let the believers put their trust. (Al-Imran: 160)

“Allah is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs” was said by the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) when he was cast into the fire; and it was said by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ when the hypocrites said: {Verily the people (pagans) have gathered against you (a great army), therefore fear them." But it only increased them (i.e. the Prophet and his companions) in Faith, and they said: "Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs for us} (Al-Imran: 173)

Islamic Position Regarding Using Ta’weez from the Sunnah

Narrated by Abdullah ibn Masood (RAA), the Prophet ﷺ said: “Indeed Ruqya (which consists of the names of idols, devils etc), Amulets and Tiwalah (charms) are Shirk. (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah, As-Saheehah by Al-Albani)

Narrated by Uqbah ibn A’mir (RAA), the Prophet ﷺ was approached by a group of men who wanted to pledge allegiance to him. He ﷺ accepted the allegiance of nine and refused one. They asked: “O Messenger of Allah! You accepted nine and refused this one?” He ﷺ said: “Indeed, he is wearing a Tameemah. So the man entered into his garment and broke it and then the Prophet ﷺ accepted his pledge and said: “Whoever wears an Amulet has committed Shirk.” (Ahmad, Al-Haakim and Al-Haythamee)

Narrated by Ruwayfi ibn Thaabit (RAA), the Prophet ﷺ said: “O Ruwayfi, perhaps you may live for a long period of time after, so inform the people that whoever ties up his beard, or twists it in braids or to make the curly, or hangs a ‘witr’ (amulet), or cleans himself with animal dung, then indeed Muhammad is free of him. (An-Nasai, Abu Dawood, Ahmad, Saheeh by Al-Albani)

Narrated by Zaynab the wife of Abdullah ibn Masood from Abdullah that he said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say, Ruqya (which contains blasphemy), Amulets and love-charms are shirk.” I said, “Why do you say this? By Allah, my eye was weeping with a discharge and I kept going to So and so, the Jew, who did a spell for me. When he did the spell, it calmed down.” ‘Abdullah said: “That was just the work of the Shaytaan who was picking it with his hand, and when (the Jew) uttered the spell, he stopped. All you needed to do was to say as the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to say: ‘Adhhib il-ba’s Rabb al-naas ishfi anta al-Shaafi laa shifaa’a illa shifaa’uka shifaa’an laa yughaadiru saqaman (Remove the harm, O Lord of mankind, and heal, You are the Healer. There is no healing but Your healing, a healing which leaves no disease behind.’” (Abu Dawood & Ibn Maajah)

Ta’weez in the Muslim world today and the different types out there

Unfortunately, most kinds of Ta’weez that are to be found in the Muslim world today contain blasphemous, obnoxious and objectionable things and are therefore forbidden. They can be divided into the following types, although in many cases, they combine some or all of what follows:

  • Ta’weez which contains only Qur’an
  • Ta’weez with unknown names and polytheistic supplications and poetry
  • Ta’weez whose contents cannot be deciphered
  • Ineffective Ta’weez
  • Ta’weez which debase the Qur’an

Ta’weez in the non-Muslim World

There are many forms of Ta’weez in the world today which are used by non-Muslims for different reasons. Many are used for the same reasons that the ignorant amongst the Muslims use it for; protecting oneself, family or belongings from harm, Fertility, Blessings, Change of fortune, Controlling people etc. There are many types in circulation, so please refer to the book “Ta’weez - Amulets in light of the Qur’an & Sunnah by Sheikh Fahd as-Suhaymee” for examples.

Why Muslims are using Ta’weez

There are many reasons why Ta’weez is so popular amongst the various Muslim communities, from amongst them are the following reasons:

Ignorance regarding the Tawheed of Allah and what nullifies and corrupts ones Imaan from the matters of shirk and kufr (disbelief)

Ignorance of the reality of Tawakkul and the conditions of carrying out the means in order to fulfil one’s objective

Ignorance of the alternative ways of attaining benefit and averting harm without having to rely on Ta’weez.

Fear of being struck by misfortune or harm without channelling that fear in the correct legislated manner.

Gullibility and beguilement at the hands of so called Awliya, saints and peers who legitimise the use of Ta’weez

Stubborn Taqleed of forefather, religious figures and the ways of previous nations, irrespective of what the book and Sunnah say.

The spread of corrupt websites, books and booklets which encourage the use of Ta’weez.

Inaccessibility or unawareness of reliable scholars and books which clarify the impermissibility of such practices.

Seeking an easy way of receiving Allah’s blessings and protection without having to work hard for it.

Regardless of what the reason is, Ta’weez is strictly forbidden due to its various ways of taking people away from Tawheed, which is the purpose of our lives.