Hanging or wearing of amulets (ta’wiz) is normally permissible for protection or healing provided certain conditions are met:
1) That they consist of the names of Allah Almighty or his attributes;
2) That they are in Arabic;
3) That they do not consist of anything that is disbelief (kufr);
4) The user does not believe the words have any affect in themselves, but are empowered to do so by Allah Most High.
It is narrated from Amr ibn Shu’ayb, from his father, from his grandfather (Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas (Allah be pleased with them all), that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) used to teach them (the Sahabas) for fearful situations the following words:
“I seek refuge in Allah’s perfect words from His wrath, the evil of his servants, the whispered insinuations of devils, and that they come to me”
Abd Allah ibn Amr used to teach these words to those of his sons who had reached the age of reason, and used to write them and hang them upon those who had not reached the age of reason (narrated by Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi, and Tirmidhi classed it as an authentic narration).
In the Musannaf of Imam Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shayba, the permissibility of hanging Ta’wizes is reported from many of the Companions and early Muslims (Salaf), including: Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab, Ata’, Mujahid, Abd Allah ibn Amr, Ibn Sirin, Ubaydullah ibn Abd Allah ibn Umar, and others (Allah be well pleased with them all). [See: al-Musannaf, 5.439].
Due to the above, most of the scholars have declared the using of amulets (ta’wiz) permissible as long as the above conditions are met. It is similar to using medication which is permissible and not against the concept of reliance in Allah (tawakkul) or monotheism Tawhid. However, it is not permissible to regard the Ta’wiz to be effective in it self, just as it is not permissible to regard medicines to be effective in them selves.
As for that which is reported from some, including Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him), that hanging Ta’wizes is shirk, this is understood to mean those Ta’wizes that resemble the one’s used in the days of ignorance (jahiliyya), or if used thinking that it is the ta’wiz itself that cures or protects, not Allah, or if it contains impermissible invocations or one’s whose meaning is not known.
The great Hanafi Jurist, Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“Using of Ta’wizes will not be permissible if they are written in a non-Arabic language in that its meaning is not known. They may consist of black magic, disbelief or impermissible invocations. However, if they consist of Qur’anic verses or prescribed supplications (duas), then there is nothing wrong with using them (Radd al-Muhtar).
Imam Ibn Taymiyya (Allah have mercy on him) writes in his Fatawa:
“It is permissible for an ill or troubled person, that certain verses from the Qur’an are written with pure ink, then it is washed and given to the ill to drink. Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have mentioned a certain Dua that should be written and placed close to the woman who is experiencing hard labour at the time of giving birth.
Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) says: This Dua should be written and tied to the arm of the woman. We have experienced that there is nothing more amazing than this” (Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya, 19/65).
Imam Ibn Taymiyya’s student Imam Ibn al-Qayyim also narrates the permissibility of using Ta’wizes from a number of salafs including the great Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him). Thereafter Ibn al-Qayyim himself quotes various Ta’wizes (Zad al-Ma’ad, 3/180).
In view of the foregoing, it becomes clear that generally using of Ta’wizes is not something that is impermissible or Shirk. However, it is necessary that the above mentioned conditions are met.
Today we have people who are victims of immoderation. There are some people who declare all types of Ta’wizes to be Shirk and Kufr. Others, on the other hand, think Ta’wizes to be everything. Both these types of understandings are incorrect.
Using of Ta’wizes is permissible, but with moderation. Normally it is better to recite the Duas which are prescribed for every problem and illness, and along with that resort to medical treatment. However, if Ta’wizes are used sometimes, then it is permissible.
If there is a fear that a person will begin to think the Ta’wiz to be effective in it self, then he should not be given the Ta’wiz. This will be the decision of the person who is giving the Ta’wiz, and not for us to decide for him.
There are many people who never make Dua and are neglectful of the Shariah injunctions, but always depend on Ta’wizes. For such people, it is better not to give them Ta’wizes, rather to direct them to the straight path.
Once, a sister asked me to mention to her a Dua or write something for her in order to get married to someone she desired, and she also mentioned that her Duas were not being answered. I asked: “Do you cover your self when you emerge out of your home?” no, was the reply. I said: “Do you perform your Salat (Prayers)?” Again, “no” was the reply. I said: “From tomorrow, you make this special Dua after the Fajr Salat, and you carry on performing this for 6 months, and Insha Allah your Dua will be accepted. Also a very Important Ta’wiz is that you recite a certain Dua and blow on your scarf and wear that scarf when emerging out of your home”!
In conclusion, generally it is permissible to use amulets (ta’wizes) in compliance with the conditions mentioned above. However, if there is something that is impermissible, then it will not be allowed.
And Allah Knows Best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK