Question # 514: السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته اخي، I had a question, it’s related to people who are ignorant about major sins that lead to apostasy. People who have done witchcraft but truly did not know that it was forbidden. What if they are people who have just reached the age of puberty and committed such a grave sin of witchcraft or magic, because they didn’t know that what they were doing was wrong. Is this person to be executed even if he didn’t know and didn’t intend to harm anyone, and when he knew, he repented and never did such things again? Now another question, related to the one above. There is this game where people try calling the jinn with the help of a board called Ouija board, and they then ask him questions, does this come under witchcraft or is it like going to a soothsayer or fortune teller, and do people who have participated in these games need to be given hadd Punishment if they were ignorant about the ruling and matter, even if they played it for ‘fun’, did not believe anything the jinn said, and did not know about the dangers of this game and have repented afterwards? بارك الله فيك
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: Ouija board is believed to be a device apparently used for obtaining messages from the spirit world. The participants summon the spirits by asking a question to the board and placing a finger on the planchette which slides about to spell out answers to the questions asked. The paranormal and supernatural beliefs associated with Ouija have been criticized by the scientific community and are characterized as an ideomotor effect, an unconscious motion. Mainstream Christian denominations have warned against using Ouija boards believing that they can lead to demonic possession. The supporters of the Spiritualist Theory believe that no one should ever use the Ouija board, as malevolent forces can masquerade as good, and cause emotional damage or death to the user of the board. In contrast, others believe that the idea that one can actually contact demons or spirits using Ouija is fake and mere exaggeration and it is simply a harmless game.
From the Islamic perspective, whether it involves no more than unconscious motion, the Ouija board game poses a danger to the religious commitment of the player as it involves seeking the matters of the unseen. Therefore, the ruling on playing this game is no different than the ruling on going to fortune-tellers and soothsayers. Therefore, if a person approaches soothsayers, even if he does not believe in them, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days, and whoever goes to them and believes in them has committed an act of kufr (disbelief).
Nevertheless, the door of repentance is always open as Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah will accept the repentance of His slave so long as the death rattle has not reached his throat.” i.e., Every sin from which a man repents, before his death, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) will accept his repentance – even shirk. At the same time, one must resolve never to go back to such things again and strive hard to acquire knowledge so that he may worship Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) with correct understanding.
Long Answer: Ouija board, in occultism, is a device ostensibly used for obtaining messages from the spirit world, usually employed by a medium during a séance. The name is derived from the French and German words for “yes” (oui and ja). The Ouija board consists of an oblong piece of wood with letters of the alphabet inscribed along its longer edge in a wide half-moon. On top of this, a [planchette,] much smaller heart-shaped board is placed, mounted on casters, which enable it to slide freely. [The board has the words “yes” and “no” in its top corners and the word “goodbye” at the bottom. The participants ask a question to the Ouija board i.e., summon the spirits, and then] each participant lightly places a finger on the small board, which then slides about… The letters pointed out by the apex of the board may in some instances spell out words or even sentences, [as an answer to the question asked.] (Encyclopedia Britannica) The game does not end until the spirits or the participants finally say goodbye and the spirits go back to wherever they came from.
The paranormal and supernatural beliefs associated with Ouija have been criticized by the scientific community and are characterized as pseudoscience. The action of the board can be most easily explained by the unconscious movements of those controlling the pointer, a psychophysiological phenomenon known as the ideomotor effect. [On the other hand,] mainstream Christian denominations, including Catholicism, have “warned against using Ouija boards”, holding that they can lead to demonic possession. (Wikipedia). The supporters of the Spiritualist Theory believe that no one should ever use the Ouija board, as malevolent forces can masquerade as good, and cause emotional damage or death to the user of the board. In contrast, some believe that the Ouija board does not actually put anyone in contact with demons or spirits. The hearsay reports of real-life Ouija board horror stories are just exaggerations and false claims.
[As from the Islamic perspective,] the Ouija board game poses a danger to the religious commitment… of the player… as it involves calling upon and addressing the jinn, responding to them, believing their words, and being afraid of going against their orders. The ruling on playing this game is no different than the ruling on going to fortune-tellers and soothsayers, because of what happens to the player asking the jinn about matters that are unseen or unknown to him.
Some people try to take the matter lightly and make it merely a game for fun, but in fact, it is extremely serious…There are some people who believe that this movement comes from the devil-companions (qareen) of the players and that what they ask about is known to them only or is known in the realm of the jinn.
What is established in the mind of the Muslim is that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade going to soothsayers and said that “they are of no account.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]. [Further, it was narrated by Safiyyah, daughter of Abu ‘Ubaid, on the authority of some of the wives of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) who said, “He who goes to one who claims to tell about matters of the Unseen and believes in him, his Salat (prayers) will not be accepted for forty days.” (Sahih Muslim) In another hadith, Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever engages in sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman, or a woman in her anus, consults a soothsayer, then he has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi; graded hasan). In effect, the scholars say that] …if a person goes to [soothsayers], even if he does not believe in them, then no prayer will be accepted from him for forty days and that whoever goes to them and believes in them has committed an act of [kufr] (disbelief).
[Hence,] it is not permissible for the Muslim to seek the help of the jinn to find out unknown and unseen matters, even if he does not seek to draw close to them by doing acts of worship or obedience to them. Merely seeking their help is prohibited.
[The following verses from the Qur’an are worth pondering in this matter:]
- “And on the Day when He will gather them (all) together (and say): ‘O you assembly of jinns! Many did you mislead of men,’ and their Auliya (friends and helpers, etc.) amongst men will say: ‘Our Lord! We benefited one from the other, but now we have reached our appointed term which You did appoint for us’” (Soorah al-An‘aam, 6:128).
- “And verily, there were men among mankind who took shelter with the masculine among the jinns, but they (jinns) increased them (mankind) in sin and disbelief” (Soorah al-Jinn, 72:6).
[In conclusion,] it is haraam (forbidden) for the Muslim to play the Ouija board game, even if in fact it involves no more than unconscious movements because the player actually and intentionally calls upon the jinn, which comes under the heading of seeking the help of the jinn and the ruling on going to fortune-tellers and soothsayers.
[Nevertheless,] whatever the case is, the door of repentance is open, as it was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah will accept the repentance of His slave so long as the death rattle has not reached his throat.” [(Sunan Ibn Majah, graded hasan)] i.e., so long as the soul has not reached the throat. Every sin from which a man repents, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) will accept his repentance [– even shirk.] Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Say: O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Soorah al-Zumar, 39:53) [At the same time, one] …must resolve never to go back to such things again and strive to acquire knowledge so that he may worship Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) with [correct] understanding.
 Various theories and practices involving a belief in and knowledge or use of supernatural forces or beings.
 A person reputedly able to make contact with the world of spirits, especially while in a state of trance.
 A meeting centered on a medium, who seeks to communicate with spirits of the dead.
(The above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by:
- Islamqa.info; and
- Various Internet Resources)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.