When Would Believing in a Fortuneteller Constitute Disbelief?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My question is to do with this – https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/does-going-to-a-fortuneteller-entail-disbelief/

Can you please clarify what exactly would entail disbelief with respect to believing a fortuneteller?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health states.

What Entails Disbelief

Visiting a fortuneteller is a major sin, but entails disbelief only if the person believes in what is conveyed by the fortuneteller in a manner that negates the existence, knowledge, will or power of Allah Most High.

Thus, as long as one believes that:

— Allah Most High alone has knowledge of the unseen and alone has full control of everything in the universe, and

— the fortuneteller or soothsayer has no independent access to any knowledge, and

— if they do convey anything, that they convey only what Allah allows for them to convey, whether by guesswork/coincidence, by means of jinn, or any other means that are created by Allah and under the complete dominion of Allah,

Then one has not committed disbelief. Yet even with this understanding, believing in fortunetellers/soothsayers is still a major sin and enormity.

A Grave Enormity

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever goes to a fortuneteller or soothsayer and believes in him, then he has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” [Musnad Ahmed; Tabarani Awsat; Sunan Bayhaqi]

As the cited answer states, scholars mention that it is actual disbelief only if the person deems the act to be lawful, or if he believes that the fortuneteller actually conveys from the unseen realm (ghayb), i.e., in a manner that entails rejection of Allah or His attributes.

If neither is the case, then the person would not have committed disbelief but rather a serious enormity. In such a case, the use of the word ‘disbelief’ is understood as an indication of the immense gravity of the sin. [Mubarakpuri, Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi; Azimabadi, `Awn al-Ma`bud; Munawi, Fath al-Qadir]

Rather, Islam teaches that we do not go to them, and we do not give them any attention or consideration. We reject what they convey, and we focus instead on the realities convey to us by the Qur’an and Noble Sunna.

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani