Does the “Evil Eye” Really Exist?

There has always been chatter and discussion about the “evil eye” in our communities. We hear our elders warning us to take care of our prized possessions in case someone casts an evil eye on them. We get advised to reduce speaking about our accomplishments or achievements to others because they might get jealous and cast an evil eye. It’s become such a common term that even if we accidentally get a paper cut, an auntie or other well-meaning community member will claim it’s because of the evil eye.

Numerous studies have found that more than half of the Muslims surveyed believed in the evil eye. In particular, several Middle Eastern, African, and South Asian nations, strongly believe in this idea. But what is the evil eye exactly? And does it really exist?

what is the evil eye?

The evil eye refers to the harm someone may encounter due to jealousy or envy towards others. Hasad, or jealousy and envy, is a sin in Islam. It is considered one of the most destructive emotions as it commonly results in the downfall of a person’s mental health, self-esteem, and happiness. Jealousy is also known as a disease of the soul.

does it exist?

The term evil eye, or al-ayn in Arabic, stems from envy and jealousy and takes the form of misfortune or bad luck. And it is very much a real thing.

When we are trying to legitimize a term or an action, we should look to the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad SAWS. The Prophet Muhammad SAWS spoke about the evil eye in different hadiths narrated by Bukhari. He advised the Sahabah to protect themselves from the evil eye by reciting certain verses of the Quran and making dua to Allah for protection.

Surah Al Falaq is one such surah that legitimizes the evil eye. We know that the evil eye occurs due to envy, and in Surah Al Falaq, Allah SWT tells us to seek refuge in Him from “…the mischief of the envious one as he practices envy.”

how do we protect ourselves from it?

But how can we protect ourselves from the evil eye? The Prophet Muhammad SAWS encouraged his companions to recite Ruqyah, which is seeking protection in Allah in the way of reciting a compilation of ayahs and dua’s from the Quran. For example, some of these dua’s are:

Hasbi Allahu la ilaha illa huwa, ‘alayhi tawakkaltu wa huwa Rabb ul-‘arsh il-‘azeem.” Allah is sufficient for me; there is no god but He. On Him is my trust, He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne” (Quran 9:129).

A’oodhu bi kalimat-Allah al-tammati min ghadabihi wa ‘iqabihi, wa min sharri ‘ibadihi wa min hamazat al-shayateeni wa an yahduroon.I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from His wrath and punishment, from the evil of His slaves and from the evil promptings of the devils and from their presence.

We can also protect ourselves by continuously reciting Ayat-al-Kursi, Surah Fatiha, and the last three surahs in the Quran, Surah Ikhlaas, Falaq, and Naas. The Prophet Muhammad SAWS also encouraged his companions to continue praising Allah SWT when admiring someone or something. We should incorporate saying “Masha Allah” into our daily lives.

should we blame everything on the evil eye?

Unfortunately, the term “evil eye” has become so normalized that even if we experience the smallest of difficulties or the tiniest of setbacks, we tend to automatically blame it on being the unfortunate recipient of the evil eye.

We accuse innocent people of giving the evil eye. We need to be considerate and careful when blaming others for actions they may not have taken. We should remember that this life is a test from Allah SWT; not everything is a result of someone’s envy or jealousy. Sometimes the bad things we experience are simply the consequences of our own actions.

The term ‘evil eye’ has become so normalized that even if we experience the smallest setbacks, we tend to automatically blame it on being the unfortunate recepient of the evil eye.

In many cultures and countries it’s very common to use talismans or amulets, hanging them around the home or neck to ward off Shaytaan and the evil eye. Resorting to using talismans, amulets, or charms and relying on them, or any other attribute other than Allah SWT, is haram. May Allah SWT protect us all.

As Muslims, we must remember that any calamity or success that we encounter in this world is from Allah SWT. This world is a test and we should always turn to Him when we are in doubt.

Asiya is a writer and journalist based in Brisbane, Australia.