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Taking Part in the Charlie Charlie Challenge

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked is a Muslim is allowed to take part in the viral internet phenomenon, the Charlie Charlie challenge.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have a question regarding a challenge. A few years ago the Charlie-Charlie challenge went viral. What is the ruling on doing this challenge? Does someone that does this challenge become a disbeliever?

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you’re well insha Allah.

Participating in games such as the Charlie Charlie challenge are prohibited due to them coming under the general rubric of games of divination and luck, which are forbidden. Allah Most High tells us, “O you who believe! Wine, gambling, altars, and divining arrows are all evil of Satan’s handiwork. Therefore, refrain from it, so that you may be successful.” (Sura al Mai’da 5:90)

Despite being strictly prohibited, participating in such games would not normally entail disbelief.

The Charlie Charlie Challenge

The Charlie-Charlie Challenge is generally seen as a rudimentary version of the Ouija board. Its origin is a Spanish game called Juego de la Lapicera. It came to attention to the English speaking world online in 2008 and went viral in 2015.

The game involves placing two pencils on a piece of blank paper in the shape of a cross with the words “yes” and “no” written on either side of the pencils. Players say the phrase “Charlie, Charlie can we play?” in order to connect with the “demon.” Players then ask questions of the “demon” and the pencils move to indicate his answer. Other versions have it that the two players each hold two pencils in the shape of a square, pressing the ends of their pencils against the other player’s.

Supernatural or Rational?

Groups have differed as to the explanation of how such games work. Are they really delving into the supernatural and dabbling with the paranormal, or is there a rational explanation for the movement of the pencils?

Those who argue that it is interacting with the paranormal, state that it is opening the players (mainly vulnerable teenage or younger players) to an unseen world of evil spirits, so strongly argue against such games. Those who explain the games rationally, state that the movement of the pencils occur through psychological suggestion or through concepts such as the ideomotor phenomenon, wherein a subject makes motions unconsciously. Due to a supposed inherent ability to find meaning in anything, the person perceives significance in otherwise ambiguous or vague “answers.”

Ruling and Wisdom

We have already mentioned that such games are impermissible in Islam, and parents should closely monitor what games, videos, websites, and discussions their children play or enter into, especially online.

Whether or not the games really do dabble with the unseen or not is irrelevant to the ruling. However, even if they do not, and it is a purely rational phenomenon, the potential psychological detriment and negative imprint such games may have on vulnerable and sensitive minds should not be ignored.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


How Do I Seek Protection from Evil and Harm?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: As salam alaykum,

What can be recited to completely undo magic that has been done to me by a recently deceased relative? I also have somebody bothering me in my sleep. What can I do about this?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

The general “treatment” is four matters:

(1) Renew commitment to perform the five daily prayers on time, with renewed commitment to turn to Allah in them. This is the greatest protection of light, from Allah.

(2) Renew your commitment to leave sins—particularly major sins such as wronging others, nor fulfilling their rights, breaking closing relations, or other wrongdoing. This is the source of greatest darkness in life, and repentance from such sins removes the darkenesses that lead to spiritual and other harms.

(3) Recite the three Qul’s (Surat al-Ikhlas, Surat al-Falaq, Surat al-Nas—Suras 112-114 of the Qur’an), regularly. At least, commit to reciting them upon waking and when going to sleep. Ideally, also recite them after every obligatory prayer—bringing to mind their meanings, each time, as one recites them. Surat al-Ikhlas tells us about the Absolute Uniqueness and Perfection of Allah (al-Ahad, the Unique One); that Allah is the Absolutely Independent (al-Samad), whom all depend upon; and that He is Absolutely Self-Reliant, and Absolutely Distinct from everything, in every way—for everything besides Him is created by Him and dependent upon Him. Surat al-Falaq and Surat al-Nas teach us to seek shelter in the protection, care, and mercy of Allah from every type of harm—recognizing that we our hope and fear, reliance and trust are only upon Him.

(4) Recite Ayat al-Kursi, similarly—morning and night, and ideally after every prayer. Recite it with reflection on its meanings. Ayat al-Kursi tells us about Allah’s Unique Oneness: that He alone is the Absolutely Living (al-Hayy), whom all life depends upon for its very existence; and that He is the Absolutely Sustaining (al-Qayyum), who needs none to sustain Him, and who sustains all things in every way, at every moment—and the rest of the verse tells us about the Absolute Knowledge, Will, and Power of our Mighty and Merciful Lord.

If you wish further assistance, three recommended practices are:

1. Perform the prayer of need (salat al-haja):

Perform wudu, and pray two rakats of prayer, after which you should make heart-felt dua, asking Allah for your needs. It is good to recite the specifically-recommended sunna supplication (dua) of need:

How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?

2. Recite this brief Prophetic supplication, regularly:

يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيثُ
“O Alive and everlasting One,
I beseech You by Your mercy.” [Mustadrak Hakim]

See also:
Some Prophetic Supplications for Difficulty and Distress

3. Many scholars (such as Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf) recommend this practice:

After Isha, recite Hasbuna’l Llahu wa ni`ma’l Wakeel (Allah is our sufficiency and is the best of guardians) 450 times, sitting alone in a quiet room, facing the qibla, in state of wudu, with reflection on its meanings.

This is taken from the Qur’anic praise of true believers, in Surah Aal-Imran:

“Those whose faith only increased when people said, ‘Fear your enemy: they have amassed a great army against you,’ and who replied, ‘God is enough for us: He is the best protector,’ returned with grace and bounty from God; no harm befell them. They pursued God’s good pleasure. God’s favour is great indeed.” [3.173-175]

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation. ​

If there remain harms beyond this, then consult a reliable, learned scholar about the specifics.

wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

Podcast (you will be abe to listen to the recording of this answer)

Is It Permissible to Believe In Astrology and Horoscopes?

Answered by Sidi Faraz A. Khan

Question: I read a lot of islamic rulings on astrology saying it is haram and the basis for it.  I know that in Islam reading signs, going to fortune tellers, and predicting the future is haram.

My question is if it is okay to read about people’s personality traits based on the month that they are born. I find a lot of these traits to be true of myself and people that I know.  Is it okay to find compatibility based on their signs knowing how their personality will be?  Is this allowed in Islam. I really need to know because I know several muslims who really follow this.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

As you state in your question, it is unlawful to follow astrology, as based on many rigorously-authenticated hadiths in which the Messenger of Allah [peace and blessings be upon him] forbade it. This prohibition is general and without exception, and hence includes following horoscopes even if only to note compatibility of personality traits and the like.

Some Hadiths on the Matter

In his masterful collection of Prophetic hadiths, Riyadh al-Salihin [Gardens of the Righteous], Imam Nawawi placed an entire chapter called “The Prohibition of Going to Soothsayers, Astrologers and Diviners, and of Seeking Omens.”

Some of the hadiths in that chapter are as follows, all of which clearly indicate the immense gravity and seriousness of the sin:

“If one goes to a soothsayer, asks about something, and believes it, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days.” [Muslim]

“Divination and taking omens from the flight of birds are types of idolatry.” [Abu Dawud]

“If one takes knowledge from the stars [i.e., astrology], he in fact takes a branch of sorcery. The more knowledge he gains [of that], the more sin he gains.” [Abu Dawud; commentary from Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir]
And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani