Good luck and bad luck – insights into Safar

[dropcap]?[/dropcap]A rabbit’s foot brings good luck ’, ‘Friday the 13th is an unlucky day’; these are some of the common beliefs that are found in many communities.

Believing in good and bad luck or being superstitious is something that our Prophet (May Allah bless him) grew up in and had to tackle it through faith in Allah.

The Arabs before Islam associated bad luck with the month of Safar.

Islamic Belief regarding ‘good’ and ‘bad’

All good and bad is from Allah. They are created as a test. This is our core belief found in the Qadr (predestination) section of hadeeth Jibreel. It is with the will of Allah, that both goodness and badness is found in his creation.

There is nothing that can cause benefit or harm without his will.

The Arabs used to call Bad luck ‘Tiyarah’. They used to believe that certain things or actions cause misfortune or accidents.

The term ‘Fa’l’ was used to mean good luck. They used to believe that certain things or acts will cause good fortune.

The Prophet (May Allah bless him) educated the people to believe that there is no good and bad except from Allah.

As for believing in Tiyarah or bad luck then it is completely unacceptable for a believer in Allah to entertain such belief. However ‘Fa’l was allowed if it is associated with any good acts with the belief that the ‘goodness’ is from the will of Allah. Hence, Fa’l is similar to barakah – blessings from Allah.

Ruling: If certain acts or items have been proven to contain bad effects from the Quran, hadeeth and general common sense then it is correct to abstain from them; in the case of good effects then to adopt them. The main condition is that good and bad is the creation of Allah.

The common examples of superstitious beliefs are

  1. It is bad luck to look in the mirror at night
  2. Walking under the ladder will bring harm
  3. To break a mirror will bring seven years of bad luck
  4. Friday the 13th is an unlucky day
  5. If a black cat crosses your path you will have bad luck
  6. If you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake in one go you will get whatever you wish
  7. A rabbit’s foot brings good luck
  8. Breaking cups or plates is a sign of calamity

Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger (May Allah bless him) said,

‘(There is) no Adwa (no contagious disease is passed on without Allah’s permission). nor is there any bad omen (from birds), nor is there any Hamah, nor is there any bad omen in the month of Safar, and one should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari) 

Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar:

“The Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him) said: ‘There is no ‘Adwa (contagious illness etc), no omen, and no Hamah.’ A man stood up and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what if a camel has mange (skin disease) and another camel gets mange from it?’ He said: ‘That is the Divine decree. Who causes the mange in the first one?’” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

There are several beliefs mentioned in the above narrations

  1. Laa Adwa- No contagious disease

The explanation of contagious illness is that it is Allah alone who causes the actual transfer of illness from one to another. To believe that they can pass on their own is incorrect. The hadeeth below shows that the Prophet ordered people to stay away from a leper because of its contagious nature. This is how the both hadeeth are reconciled.

  1. Laa Tiyarah – No bad luck

This has been explained above.

Allah dismisses Tiyarah (Bad Luck)

Allah, the Al-Mighty says;

“When good times came to them, they said, “This is our right.” And if an evil touched them, they took it as an ill omen of Musa and those with him. Listen, their ill omen lies with Allah only, but most of them do not know”. (Al-A’araf 7:131)

“They (the People of the Town) said, “We take you as a bad omen for us. If you do not desist, we will certainly stone you and you will be afflicted by a painful punishment from us.” (18) They said, “Your bad omen is with yourselves. (Do you take it as bad omen) if you are given a good counsel? Rather, you are a people who cross all limits”. (Yaseen 36: 18-19)

In the above verses the disbelievers understood the Prophets to be a reason for bad luck. The Prophet dismissed the assumption of bad luck because of their mere presence has nothing to do with any future misfortune or calamity.

  1. Laa Haamah (No Haamah)

Haamah is an owl which the Arabs used to consider it as being a cause of bad luck. 

  1. Laa Safara

There is no bad luck in the month of Safar. The pre-Islamic Arabs used to believe that Safar was a bad luck month.

Fa’l- Good luck

Narrated by Anas: That the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him) said: “There is no ‘Adwa and no Tiyarah, and I like Fa’l.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! What is Fa’l?” He said: “A good statement.” (Jami Tirmidhi)

Fa’l is similar to barakah. Which means in some good words and actions Allah puts more goodness in it, for example keeping good names.

‘Urwah bin ‘Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

When talking of omens was mentioned in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him) he said, “The best type of omen is the good omen.” He added, “A Muslim should not refrain from anything because of an omen.” He (May Allah bless him) told them, “When any of you sees anything which he dislikes, he should say: ‘Allahuma la ya’ti bil-hasanati illa Anta, wa la yadfa’us- sayyi’ati illa Anta, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa Bika (O Allah! You Alone bring good things; You Alone avert evil things, and there is no might or power but in You).”  (Abu Dawood)

Summary

It is Allah alone who causes good and bad to come in effect. As Muslims we must not be superstitious whatsoever but rather believe every goodness or calamity to be from Allah for reasons that we may comprehend or not.

To keep good names or say good things hoping Allah will bring about goodness because of it is Sunnah and rewarding.

– By Mawlana Muhammad Rayhan

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