What is the correct Dua (supplication) to prevent the Evil Eye?

Question: What are the most appropriate words as per sunnah to prevent giving others the Evil eye? It is seen that people say “MaashaAllah” to prevent the evil eye. Is it correct? 

Answer:

Praise be to Allah!

The most common & widespread practice seen among the Muslims of today, when they see something that amazes them, is to say ” ما شاء الله Maa shaa Allah” in order to avoid harming others with Evil eye. Some also say “Maa shaa’ Allah laa quwwata illaa billaah” or “Maa shaa Allah Tabaarak Allah”. They consider this to be the Dua (dhikr) which is to be said at the times of amazement to ward off the Evil eye from harming others. And this is precisely why a person begins to fear the evil eye if the other person does not say “Maa shaa Allah”. Infact the parents and elders force the younger ones to say “Maa shaa Allah” on seeing something good of someone.

And seeking protection from the evil-eye by saying ما شاء الله (Maa shaa’ Allah – Whatever Allah Wills), ما شاء الله لا قوة الا بالله (Maa shaa’ Allah laa quwwata illaa billaah – Whatever Allah Wills! There is no power but with Allah) or ما شاء الله تبارك الله (Maa shaa’ Allah tabaarak Allah – Whatever Allah Wills, Blessed is Allah) is a clear Bid`ah.

Evil-eye & its reality:

The Evil-eye is real and there is no difference between the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaah regarding it. They unanimously agree that Evil eye is a fact and exists.

Narrated Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه: Allah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“العين حق”

“The evil eye is a fact.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah]

Narrated `Abdullaah ibn `Abbaas رضي الله عنهما: Allah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“لو كان شيء سابق القدر لسبقته العين واذا استغسلتم فاغتسلوا”

“The influence of an evil eyes is a fact; if anything would precede the destiny it would be the influence of an evil eye, and when you are asked to take a bath (as a cure) from the influence of an evil eye, you should take bath.” [Sahih Muslim]

Imam al-Nawawi رحمه الله said in Sharh Sahih Muslim:

“In this Hadith there is proof of the existence of al-Qadr and it also authenticates the fact that the harm from the evil-eye is powerful.”

Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله said:

“It is an arrow, shot by the one who is jealous or (or is known) for giving evil-eye towards the one who is envied – hitting (the target) sometimes and missing it sometimes. So if it is encountered while uncovered and without protection, then the person is affected by it. But no doubt, if it is encountered while taking precaution, then it will not affect him; rather it may happen that this arrow (evil-eye) is returned back to the owner himself (i.e. the owner is affected by his own evil-eye)”. [Zaad al-Ma`aad (4/154)]

Is saying “Maa shaa’ Allah (whatever Allah Wills)” in such situation according to Sunnah?

No, this is not as per sunnah and rather it is considered a bidah (innovation), because Dhikr comes under Ibaadah (worship) and after Tawheed, Ibaadah has 2 conditions which should be fulfilled for it to be accepted (by Allah):

  1. Ikhlaas (sincerity).
  2. Al-Mutaabi`ah (following the Qur’an and Sunnah).

Al-Mutaabi`ah is adhering to the teachings of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم (following it as it is) and not abandoning it; doing what he صلى الله عليه وسلم did is a Sunnah. Thee Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:

“من أحدث في أمرنا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد”

“Whoever innovates in this religion of ours that which is not from it, it will be rejected.”

[Sahih al-Bukhaari and Sahih Muslim on the authority of `Aaishah رضي الله عنها]

“من عمل عملا ليس عليه أمرنا فهو رد”

And in another narration it is: “He who did any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, it will be rejected” [Sahih Muslim]

The one who tries to follow the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in the acts of `Ibaadaat should also follow him in respect to time, place, reason, form, characteristic and number (of times). So, if a person says “Maa shaa’ Allah” for preventing the evil-eye, then he has not followed the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in respect to “the reason”. Doing an act of worship for a specific reason is not to be done except in accordance to the Dhikr which he صلى الله عليه وسلم has instructed at the time of the occurrence of such incident and (in this case) it is to say:

“بارك الله لك أو عليك”

(“Baarak Allahu lak” or “Baarak Allahu `alaik” meaning Allah bless you or Allah’s blessing be upon you).

 

The principle in the matter of Adhkaar (doing remembrance of Allah) is Tawqeef (i.e. in matters of `Ibaadah, only those acts are to be done for which there is a text to support it from the Qur’aan or the Sunnah). It is not permissible for anyone to act on this bid`ah (of saying “Maa shaa’ Allah”) only because he finds it to be good or by blindly following someone and not investigating the authenticity of it by going back to the evidences from the Book and the Sunnah and the actions of the Sahaabah رضي الله عنهم. Approving an act to be good by one’s own will (and desire) is the Madhhab of the Mu`tazilah (the deviated group which tries to interpret the Qur’aan with their own limited understanding instead of following the Salaf – allowing what they deem as good or changing the meaning of the things which they don’t understand).

What is the correct Dhikr for pushing-away the evil-eye or to prevent harm from it?

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم made this very clear as has been mentioned in the Muwatta of Imam Maalik رحمه الله on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Abu Umaamah bin Sahl bin Hunayf heard his father say: “My father, Sahl ibn Hunayf did a ghusl at al-Kharraar. He removed the jubbah he had on while `Aamir ibn Rabee`ah was watching, and Sahl was a man with beautiful white skin. `Aamir said to him: ‘I have never seen anything like what I have seen today, not even the skin of a virgin.’ Sahl fell ill on the spot, and his condition grew worse. Somebody went to the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and told him that Sahl was ill, and he will not be able to go with you. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم came to him, and Sahl told him what had happened with `Aamir. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“علام يقتل أحدكم أخاه , ألا برّكت ان العين حق توضأ له”

‘Why would anyone of you kill his brother? Why did you not say: “Allah bless you?” The evil eye is true. Do wudhu for him.’ `Aamir did wudhu for him and Sahl went with the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and there was nothing wrong with him.” [Muwatta Imam Maalik and it is “Sahih”]

 

In the statement of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم: “الّا برّكت”  (Why did you not ask (Allah’s) blessing for him?) is the clear statement on what is to be said when someone sees a thing and it amazes him and he fears of giving it an evil-eye.

And the words: “الّا برّكت” are explained in the Hadith which was mentioned by Mu`mar al-Azdee in his Jaami` with a “Sahih” (authentic) chain that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“اذا رأى أحدكم منه ما يعجبه فليدع له بالبركة”

“When one of you sees in him (i.e. in his brother) which amazes him, then let him supplicate (to Allah) to bless him.” [Jaami` Mu`mar (19766)]

 

It was narrated that Abu Umaamah bin Sahl bin Hunaif said: `Aamir bin Rabee`ah passed by Sahl bin Hunaif when he was having a bath and said: ‘I have never seen such beautiful skin.’ Straightaway, he (Sahl) fell to the ground. He was brought to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and it was said: ‘Sahl has had a fit.’ He صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“مَنْ تَتَّهِمُونَ بِهِ”

“Whom do you accuse with regard to him?” They said: `Aamir bin Rabee`ah. He صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“عَلَامَ يَقْتُلُ أَحَدُكُمْ أَخَاهُ، إِذَا رَأَى أَحَدُكُمْ مِنْ أَخِيهِ مَا يُعْجِبُهُ، فَلْيَدْعُ لَهُ بِالْبَرَكَةِ”

“Why would anyone of you kill his brother? If he sees something that he likes, then let him pray for blessing for him.”

Then he called for water, and he told Aamir to perform ablution. So he (Aamir) washed his face and his arms up to the elbows, his knees and inside his lower garment, then he صلى الله عليه وسلم told him to pour the water over him (Sahl). (One of the narrators) Sufyaan said: Ma`mar narrated from al-Zuhree: ‘And he commanded him to pour the water over him from behind.’ [Sunan Ibn Maajah (3509) and graded as “Sahih” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

Ibn Abdul-Barr in “al-Tamheed” said:

““al-Tabreek” (seeking for blessing) is by saying: تبارك الله أحسن الخالقين اللهم بارك فيه” (Tabaarak Allahu ahsan al-Khaaliqeen, Allahumma baarik feeh – Blessed is Allah the best of Creators, O Allah bless him).” [al-Tamheed (6/241 & 13/70)]

 

Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله said:

“The one who gave the evil-eye is commanded to say: “اللهم بارك عليه” (Allahumma baarik `alaih – O Allah send your blessings upon him) for pushing away this malicious condition by making a supplication, which is an act of charity for the one who has been afflicted with the evil-eye. The cure of evil is by doing its opposite.” [Zaad al-Ma`aad (4/157-158) and also in Tibb al-Nabawee (1/127)]

So the legislated Dhikr for warding off the evil-eye is the Dhikr which is proven by the apparent meaning of the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in the narrations which explain it, i.e. by supplicating for him for barakah as has been mentioned by Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Abdul-Barr in their explanation, by saying: “Allahumma baarik feeh” or “`alaih”.

The meaning of: “الّا برّكت”. Al-Barakah (blessing) is with the meaning: prosperity and increase. And al-Tabreek: it is supplication for blessing.

Al-Suyoottee said in “al-Dibaaj”:

“al-Barakah means: requesting an increase in goodness and honor; and it is also said: (seeking for) cleansing and purification; and also: stability.”

So the meaning of the statement of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم: “الّا برّكت” is explained by the (other) statement of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم: “فليدع له بالبركة”(pray for blessing for him). And this is done by saying: “اللهم بارك فيه أو عليه” (“O Allah bless him” or “send your blessing upon him”).

And the statement of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم: “الّا برّكت” does not mean that one says: “تبارك الله” (Tabaarak Allah – Allah is blessed) and it is not correct, because the meaning of Tabaarak Allah is: praising and glorifying Allah. So this statement is for revering Allah تعالى, and it has no relation with the du`aa for barakah.

Regarding the Ayah of Qur’an where the word “Maa shaa Allah” comes

{ولولا اذ دخلت جنتك قلت ما شاء الله لا قوة الا بالله}

{It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden: ‘That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allah!}[Surah al-Kahf (18): 39]

 

This aayah is a dialogue between a Believer and a kaafir. The kaafir said about his garden which Allah تعالى had given him:

{ما أظن أن تبيد هذه أبدا وما أظن الساعة قائمة}

{I think not that this (garden) will ever perish; And I think not the Hour will ever come} [Surah al-Kahf (18): 35-36]

for he had disbelieved in the Resurrection. So the Believer responded to his statement of kufr and urged him – that if he believes in what he said – to return back from his statement which he uttered about the garden that it will never perish, so that his (own) amazement (about his garden) goes away and that he (returns back to the) belief that it (the garden) is under the Will of Allah and His Power, and that it is Allah تعالى Alone (in sustaining and perishing) that garden. So he (the Believer) said: {ولولا اذ دخلت جنتك قلت ما شاء الله}

{It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden: ‘That which Allah wills (will come to pass)!} meaning: while believing that the goodness and the garden which you are in, are all there by the Will of Allah and His Might and Power. He said this so that the kaafir’s belief would change towards this. The Believer’s speech with the kaafir was for calling him towards Imaan (Faith) in Allah and to rely upon Him for his affairs and to stop him from committing Shirk and Kufr with Allah. This dialogue was not to teach the kaafir about the Adhkaar on how to protect his garden from the evil-eye. Rescuing the religion (i.e. guiding a person towards the correct creed) takes precedence over rescuing the piece of garden from the harm (because sooner or later this world is going to perish). And Allah تعالى said:

{والأخرة خير وأبقى}

{Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting} [Surah al-A`laa (87): 17]

Moreover, there is a consensus that a kaafir is not called towards doing the acts of `Ibaadah (worship) till he believes in Allah, and singles Him out in his worship.

وصلي الله علي نبينا محمد وعلي اله وصحبه وسلم تسليما مزيدا

 

[Extracted from the book of Shaikh Maaher bin Dhaafer al-Qahtaanee: رفع الغين عن بيان بدعية قول ما شاء الله لدفع العين]

 

Translator’s Note:

Some additional points:

  1. Weakness of the Hadith: Saying “Maashaa-Allah” when you see something that amazes you:

Anas ibn Maalik رضي الله عنه narrated that Allah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

<<من رأى شيئا فأعجبه ، فقال : ما شاء الله ، لا قوة إلا بالله ، لم يضره العين>>

“Whoever sees something that amazes him, let him say: “Maashaa-Allah, Laa Quwwata illaa billaah” Hence, by doing so that person won’t be affected by the evil Eye.” [Ibn Sunni in “`Amal yaum wal-lail” (207) and Al-Haythami graded this Hadith as being “Dha`eef Jiddan” (extremely weak) (Majmoo` (5/109) and Shaikh al-Albaanee also graded its chain as “Dha`eef Jiddan” in “Takhreej al-kalim al-tayyib”]

  1. One should also supplicate to Allah to bless him in what He تعالى has provided him, as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to do in du`aa al-Qunoot:

<<اللَّهُمَّ… وَبَارِكْ لِي فِيمَا أَعْطَيْتَ>>

“Allahumma…wa baarik lee fee ma a`tait. (O Allah! And bless for me in that which you have bestowed)” [Sunan Abu Dawood (1425), Sunan al-Tirmidhee (464), Sunan Ibn Maajah (1178), Sunan al-Nasa’ee (1745) and graded as “Sahih” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

Summary:

  1. The correct is to say “Baarak Allahu feek” or “`alaik” when you are amazed by someone. (The last word will change when there is a change in the gender or the number of people – as per the `Arabic grammar).
  1. This is the apparent meaning of the Sunnah.
  1. This is what the scholars, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn `Abd al-Barr and Al-Suyoottee رحمهم الله mentioned.
  1. Saying anything other than this does not qualify to prevent the evil-eye.
  1. The aayah of Surah al-Kahf is a dialogue between a Believer and a kaafir, calling him towards Tawheed and not about preventing the evil-eye.
  1. The Hadith which mentions to say: “Maashaa-Allah” is very weak, and thus not to be acted upon.
  1. One can also seek blessing for own self and can seek Allah’s refuge for his children from the evil-eye.

 

 

Shaikh Ibn al-`Uthaymeen رحمه الله:

In the event that you are afflicted by the evil eye, you should use the treatments recommended in Sharee`ah, which are:

  1. Reciting ruqyah. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“لَا رُقْيَةَ إِلَّا مِنْ عَيْنٍ، أَوْ حُمَةٍ”

“There is no ruqyah except in the case of the evil eye or fever.”

[Tirmidhee and Abu Dawood; graded as “Sahih” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

Jibreel used to do ruqyah for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and say:

“بِسْمِ اللَّهِ أَرْقِيكَ، مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ يُؤْذِيكَ، مِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ نَفْسٍ أَوْ عَيْنٍ، أَوْ حَاسِدٍ اللَّهُ يَشْفِيكَ، بِسْمِ اللَّهِ أَرْقِيكَ”

“Bismillaahi arqeeka min kulli shay’in yu’dheeka, min sharri kulli nafsin aw `aynin haasid Allahu yashfeek, bismillaahi arqeek (In the name of Allah I perform ruqyah for you, from everything that is harming you, from the evil of every soul or envious eye may Allah heal you, in the name of Allah I perform ruqyah for you).”

[Sunan Tirmidhee and Sunan Ibn Maajah and graded as “Sahih” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

  1. Asking the person who has put the evil eye on another to wash, as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم commanded `Aamir ibn Rabee`ah to do in the Hadith quoted above. Then the water should be poured over the one who has been afflicted.

With regard to taking his waste, such as his urine and stools, there is no basis for doing so; the same applies to taking any of his belongings. Rather what is narrated is that which is mentioned above, washing his limbs and washing inside his garment, or likewise washing inside his headgear and garments. And Allah knows best.

  1. There is nothing wrong with taking precautions against the evil eye before it happens, and this does not contradict the idea of tawakkul (putting one’s trust in Allah). In fact this is tawakkul, because tawakkul means putting one’s trust in Allah whilst also implementing the means that have been permitted or enjoined. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to seek refuge for al-Hasan and al-Husayn and say:

“أُعِيذُكُمَا بِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ التَّامَّةِ، مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ وَهَامَّةٍ، وَمِنْ كُلِّ عَيْنٍ لَامَّةٍ”

“U`eedhukumaa bi kalimaat Allah al-taammaati min kulli shaytaanin wa haammah wa min kulli `aynin laammah (I seek refuge for you both in the perfect words of Allah, from every devil and every poisonous reptile, and from every evil eye).” [Sunan al-Tirmidhee, Sunan Abu Dawood and Sunan Ibn Maajah and graded as “Sahih” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]. And he would say: “Thus Ibraaheem used to seek refuge with Allah for Ishaaq and Ismaa’eel عليهم السلام.” [Sahih al-Bukhari (3371)]

[Fataawa Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (2/117–118)]

 

 

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