My friends and I sometimes have fun with the Ouija Board – we call spirits. Is it really a sin to do so? Also, are magic tricks for kids’ parties allowed?

Answer: I have combined a comprehensive answer to both questions, as they encompass the same topic. Before that, it is important to define that magic (or sorcery) is the attempt to use or invoke supernatural powers for sinister purposes. We need to be crystal clear about this evil – it is a major sin, which may jeopardize our Iman.

As Muslims, we must take precautions in dealing with anything or anyone professing knowledge of the unseen or the future. Such beliefs and practices are against the spirit of Islam. Although Ouija board with alphabets and movable pointer may seem innocent, it is used to call upon spirits – we have to be aware, how this can lead to Shirk and destroy the very foundations of our beliefs.

We read in the Quran: “Say: ‘None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (Unseen) except Allah.” (An-Naml 27:65)

We learn that in Islam both the practice and learning of sorcery have been classified as disbelief, and anyone, who practices it and does not repent and give it up, is doomed to Hell: “And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter.” (Al-Baqarah 2:102)

Furthermore, our Prophet (sa) said: “The prescribed punishment for the magician is that he be executed by the sword.” (At-Tirmidhi)

We cannot deny the existence of magic, because since time immemorial, people have been practicing it. Though some of this magic may have been fabricated, it is very unlikely that the whole of mankind could have agreed to make up similar stories about magical and supernatural events. Anyone, who seriously contemplates the widespread presence of recorded supernatural phenomena, will conclude that there must be some common thread of reality to them. Haunted houses, séances, Ouija boards, voodoo, demonic possessions, speaking in tongues, levitation, etc., all represent puzzles to those unfamiliar with the world of the Jinns.

The above mentioned occurrences have their manifestations in various parts of the world; unfortunately, even the Muslim world is plagued with it. But behind these phenomena lies the hidden and sinister world of the Jinns, who can travel over vast distances instantaneously and can enter human bodies. The Jinn are the ones, who relate incidents from a person’s past, as in the case of the Ouija board, which appears to answer questions.

Therefore, getting involved in this seemingly innocent activity of calling spirits is not allowed. It is best to turn away and seek Allah’s (swt) help by reading the Quran (particularly Al-Falaq and Al-Nas) and relying only on our Creator.

However, magic tricks do not fall in the category of sorcery – they are just simple entertainment, which does not involve supernatural elements. Therefore, they are not Haram.

At this time, I invite you to reflect on a beautiful Hadeeth of our Prophet (sa). Abu Dharr (rta) narrated: “Allah’s Messenger (sa) said to me: ‘Fear Allah, wherever you are, and follow a bad deed with a good deed it will wipe it out, and behave with people with good conduct.” (At-Tirmidhi)

For further reading, I recommend “The Fundamentals of Tawheed” by Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilah Philips.