Sunday, February 27, 2011

Magic, Sorcery and Witchcraft


Origin of Witchcraft

According to World of Wicca, witchcraft originated with the human civilization itself. The fear of the unknown and its imagined role in making our day to day life easy or difficult, created witches and their craft. Even though witchcraft as such was practiced mainly by experienced and old women, men also practiced it. Witches were the mediators between the human beings and the mysterious super powers such as spirits and angels. When a witch succeeded in resolving the apparently mysterious problem of someone, the performance was termed as magic, a process that could not be easily explained away through any logical analysis. The witches prayed to the higher powers or the spirits for help and guidance in resolving the problem by performing certain rituals and the whole process was called witchcraft.

Witchcraft, an earth based religion, was practiced in almost all the societies and cultures across the world according to local beliefs and traditions.

According to scholars of witchcraft, it was a belief system whose origin predates the majority of well known religions on this earth. It dates 40,000 years back to Paleolithic period. It has been evolving since then and its present form is quite different from what it was a thousand or five thousand years back. It did not probably have this name as well. Even different covens perform the witchcraft differently.

Witchcraft and sorcery are almost identical terms as both use the magic spells, mystical or paranormal means to harness occult forces to produce desired results. Ideally speaking, persons pursuing witchcraft do not aim at producing evil results. Somehow the term sorcery is used pejoratively to denote the use of supernatural powers to produce unnatural and negative course of events.

Another factor that differentiates witchcraft from sorcery is that while sorcery can be learnt and practiced by anyone, witchcraft is considered to result from inherent mystical powers and is practiced by invisible means. Modern witches, however, claim that witchcraft can be acquired through learning as well.

However magic on the other hand is defined in the English dictionary as the art of producing marvelous results by compelling the aid of spirits, or by using the secret forces of nature, such as the power supposed to reside in certain objects as “giver of life”: enchantment: sorcery: art of producing of illusions by legerdemain: a secret or mysterious power over the imagination or will.

What the Quran says about magic and sorcery.

The Quran mentioned the art of magic was sent down to two angels Harut and Marut at Babylon but they taught what to be benefited and gave caution that the art can be misused. When magic is misused it becomes sorcery and the evil ones take the negative option by misusing magic to cause discord to mankind.

They follow what the evil ones gave out falsely against the power of Solomon: the blasphemers were, not Solomon, but the evil ones, teaching men magic, and such things as came down at Babylon to the angels Harut and Marut. But neither of these taught anyone such things without saying: “We are only for trial; so do not blasphemy.” They learn from them the means to sow discord between man and wife. But they could not harm anyone except by God’s permission. And they learn what harmed them, not what benefited them. And they knew that the buyers of magic would have no share in the happiness of the hereafter. And vile was the price for which they did sell their souls, if they but knew. (Surah 2:102)

During the reign of Solomon he used the art of magic for good purposes and one example he did was when he called upon his chiefs who can bring to him the throne of his contemporary the Queen of Saba. The Queen of Saba was also a powerful ruler at that time.

He said: “O chiefs, which one of you will bring me her throne, before they come to me in submission?” One of the Jinn said: “I will bring it to you before you rise from your council, indeed I have full strength and I am trustworthy.” One who possessed knowledge of the book said: “I will bring it to you in the wink of an eye.” So when he saw it before himself, he said: “This is from my Lord’s bounty, that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful, and if any is grateful, truly his gratitude is a gain for his soul; but is any is ungrateful, truly my Lord is Free of all needs, Supreme in Honor!” (Surah 27:40)

However the magic for good purpose was made into sorcery by Pharaoh during the time of Moses and he used it to put fear to the people that they will submit to his authority and to exploit the people of Moses. And both used the skill to overpower one another; while Pharaoh employed the skill of his sorcerers to show their feat, Moses left it to divine intervention to help him.

So the sorcerers came to Pharaoh saying, “Of course we shall have a reward if we win?” He (Pharaoh) said: “Yes, and you shall certainly be of those who are near to me.” They said: “O Moses will you cast first or shall we cast?”. He said: “You cast.” So when they cast they bewitched the eyes of the people and frightened them, and produced a great magic. And We inspired Moses to throw his staff, then it devoured their false magic. So the truth was established and that which they did was proved false. So they were vanquished there; and they returned humiliated. (Surah 7:113-119)

The stories of Moses and the sorcerers above give us some details how he succeeded to over come the authority of Pharaoh as his sorcerers used their magic in the name of his power but Moses won by divine help in his prayer; the status below provide what they both declared:

So they threw their ropes and their rods’ and said: “By the might of Pharaoh, it is we who will certainly win!” (Surah 26:44)

When they had their throw, Moses said: “What you have brought is sorcery: God will surely make it of no effect: for God prospered not the work of those who make mischief. And God by His words does prove and establish His Truth, however much the sinners may hate it!” (Surah 10:81-82)

And Moses said to them: ”Woe unto you! invent not a falsehood and attribute it to God, lest He destroy you with a severe chastisement. Whoever invents falsehood will perish.” (Surah 20:61)

From the above we can conclude that whenever one feels that he is under the spell of any sorcery or witchcraft one may chant or recite the above example by Moses in tackling this issue. Only if one put his total belief in the help of God by His Words, there is sure to be only success as none can challenge the Power of God Al Mighty.

Below are more examples to add to one prayer to gain confidence in the power of God’s Words from the Quran. And these are prevention effort compared to the Words to cure as shown in the examples of Moses

In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
“I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn.
From mischief of created things;
From the mischief of darkness as it overspreads;
From the mischief of those who practice Secret’s art;
And from the mischief of the envious one as he practises envy.
(Surah 113)

In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
“I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of mankind.
The King of mankind;
From the mischief of the slinking whisperer;
Who whispers in the heart of mankind;
From among Jinn and mankind.
(Surah 114)


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