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)


Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Act of Prostration


The actual act of physical prostration is universally accepted as making oneself in humility whether among men or toward God. This is commonly done by lowering the chin towards touching the neck as the Japanese do, or taking the chin still lower until one reach the level where the hands can hold both the knees while still standing and this is the bowing action. It is quite common to the European during the Elizabethan era they bow by taking off their hats and lowering the chin to show their humility.

The other common act of prostration to the European or more toward the culture of the Christians is kneeling. The act of kneeling is still lowering the chin to show humility to the Crown or to the Church.

However in Islam the ultimate action which is the humblest position is lowering the chin until the forehead touch the ground and this is the prostration in submission and this action is normally done for God only. The prostration is defined in the Quran as ordained in the verse below based on the Arabic word “chin” is mentioned.

Say: “Whether you believe in it or not, those who were given the knowledge before it, when it is recited unto them fall down by lowering their chin (lil azqaani), prostrating.” (Surah 17:107)

So the action of lowering the chin towards touching the neck, or lowering it halfway towards the ground while still standing or the lowering it until the forehead touch the ground while kneeling are all actions of prostration.

The example of a Queen action during King Solomon reign since she was worshipping the sun as her God she may be in the position of prostrating on her forehead at which she was at her humblest posture in submission to her god.

I found her and her people prostrating themselves to the sun instead of God, and Satan has made alluring their deeds to them and has hindered them from the Way, so they are not guided. (Surah 27:24).

However that kind of prostration at our humblest should be for the humility due to God only. Prostration on the forehead is an act of total submission and only for God should we be subjected and none others to such a mortification.

And His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun and the moon, but prostrate yourselves to God, who created them, if it is He you worship. (Surah 41:37)

The example of total submission is set by Ishmael when he fell on his forehead willing to be sacrifice because of his patience and constancy to God.

So when they have both submitted their will, and he had laid him prostrate on the forehead (lil jabin). We call out to him: “O Abraham you have already fulfilled the vision!” thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial; and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. (Surah 37:103-107)

Thus the act of prostration to humble oneself to show humility is a universal culture and we have to respect how each culture or religious entity do their act of humility. We cannot force others to complied with our form of prostration, any act of lowering the chin is appropriate enough to show one own action of humility.


Monday, February 21, 2011

The Original Sin


The verse below will take us to the original sin. There are three parties being tested by God.

First the test to the angel

And when your Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Will you place therein one who will make mischief and shed blood, although we celebrate Your praise and glorify your Holiness.” He said: I know what you know not. (Surah 2:30)

From the above verse we can deduce several aspects to get to a certain conclusion.

First we can see that God also gave the angels certain freedom of choice otherwise they would not be protesting when God mentioned that He wanted to create a vicegerent on earth?

Second how do the angels know that this vicegerent will be one who will make mischief and shed blood on earth?

If we take the time factor in the existence of the oldest dinosaur and the oldest man or even if ape fossil is being taken to represent man. The statistic below showed that the dinosaur live earlier than man on this earth.

“The oldest dinosaur types are known from rocks in Argentina and Brazil and are about 230 million years old. The most primitive of these types, Eoraptor, was a small meat-eating dinosaur. Because Eoraptor's skeleton shows some advanced skeletal features, older dinosaurs may yet be found.”

“Humans evolved from a common ancestor shared both by us and by the apes we see in the world today - gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans. This common ancestor is referred to as Kenyapithecus. Its fossils have been found in Africa, and are ~16 million years old, indicating it lived 16 million years ago! Over time (millions of years!), subgroups of Kenyapithecus became sufficiently different that they could no longer interbreed (different species). One of these subgroups led to the line Homo - our direct descendants”.Thus we can deduce that the angels have witnessed what the environment on earth was like with the dinosaur and that trigger their anticipation the same will happen if man is to be on the same earth.

The test to the angels and the Jinn

And behold We said to the angels: ”Prostrate to Adam! ”They all prostrate except Iblis: He refused and was arrogant: he was of those who reject Faith. (Surah 2:34)

God said: “What prevented you from prostrating yourself when I commanded you?” He said: “I am better than he, You have created me from fire, and him from clay.” (Surah 7:12)

Here we can see that God did not create the devil (Satan) a devil. All the angels passed their test by obeying God’s command to prostrate to Adam but not Iblis; he was arrogant and he became the devil (Satan) out of his own doing because of his ego. And certainly he was not of the angels he was one of the Jinn.

Behold! We said to the angels: “Prostrate to Adam!” So they prostrated, except Iblis he was one of the Jinn and he broke the command of his Lord. (Surah 18:50)

Unlike the angels who took a reconciliatory approach with God by obeying God’s command; Iblis did not repent but show increase in his defiant by pledging to do more sin

Iblis said: “My Lord, because You have left me astray, I shall make evil alluring to them and I shall lead them all astray, except Your devoted servants among them.”
Thus Iblis became evil by not obeying God’ command and further increase his evil schemes to entice man to deviate from the right path.

The test to Adam

And We said: “O Adam live with your wife in the Garden, and eat from it freely as you please, but do not come near this Tree lest you become wrongdoers.”
(Surah 2:35)

But Satan whispered to him, saying: O Adam, shall I guide you to the Tree of Eternity and to a dominion which never decays?” So the two of them ate of it, and their nakedness appeared to them and they both began to cover themselves with leaves from the Garden. And Adam disobeyed his Lord and went astray.
(Surah 20:120-121)

Here Adam failed the test by disobeying the Command of God not to eat of the fruit but they repented to God of their error

They said: “Our Lord, we have wronged our souls, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy on us, we shall certainly be among the losers.” (Surah 7:23)

From the above we can deduced that the origin of sin can come from two sources one from your own soul like Iblis’s soul of being arrogance and the other is from the Devil who can entice mankind to deviate from the right path ordained by God.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Salam to all


Welcome to my blog call me Asar

I like to use this opportunity to share the knowledge on the Quran. I have been studying it for some times and now I have put it into practicing. I begin with reading and understanding it and apply it on my daily live.

The articles I will post on my blog will be only on the Quran and how to practice by the guidance of the Quran. I will try to make reference from the Quran every single deed that is required by God and I hope readers who are only serious may give their comments and their views. The path I shall take will be based on the following principles in the Quran

Recall this verse dearly if we do not use the power of our brain this is where we will end

Almost bursting with fury, every time a group is cast therein, its keepers will ask, “Did no Warner come to you?” They will say: “Yes indeed; a Warner did come to us, but we rejected him and said, “God has not revealed anything: you are nothing but an egregious delusion!” they will further say: “Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we should not now be among the companions of the blazing fire.” (Surah: 67:8-10)

Consensus can be achieved by applying the following verses below by giving references from the Quran to take the best meaning -

Those who listen to the Word and follow the best meaning in it: those are the ones whom God has guided, and those are the ones endued with understanding.
(Surah 39:18)

Those who hearken to their Lord and establish regular prayers who conduct their affairs by mutual consultation, who spend out of what We bestow on them for sustenance. (Surah 42:38)

God inspired the Prophet Muhammad to say the following and this is the important guiding principle:- to follow the Words of God

“O men! I am sent unto you all as the Apostle of God to whom belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He that give both life and death. So believe in God and His Apostle, the unlettered prophet, who believe in God and His Words: follow him that you may be guided.
(Surah 7:158)