Evil eye and envy in Islam

Evil eye and envy in Islam
Evil eye and envy in Islam

One of the cultural syndromes affecting the Muslim communities is the ‘Evil Eye.’ In Arabic, the word Al ‘Ayn means the one who put the evil eye on another. It is mainly envy and jealousy that stimulate the evil eye to cause harm.

One does not need to be in the presence of the envious person to cast the evil eye and even a blind person can still direct the evil eye to the person to afflict that person.

 According to Islamic tradition, the evil eye is a reality from two sources: the evil eye from mankind and the evil eye from Jinn.

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah suggested that the evil eye is like an arrow that comes from the soul of the one that emits the evil eye toward the one who is envied. According to Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen, the origin of the evil eye is envy that is because the one who causes the evil eye has in his heart envy for the servants of Allah and he does not love any good for anyone. 


Envy is a psychological state in which an individual shows resentment and wishes for the deprivation of a blessing from another person.

In other words, to want for oneself what someone else has or possesses. Envy has both positive and negative connotations in Islamic literature.

Envy that is free from malice is also referred to as positive desire. However, envy is harmful socially, psychologically, and spiritually. There are several causes and motives of envy including enmity, pride, supremacy, fear, love of leadership and authority, and the evil nature of the soul.

The Fatwa of the Scholars of the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ stated that anyone who casts an evil eye on another is an envier, but not every envier is necessarily a caster of the evil eye.

This chapter examines the evil eye from an Islamic perspective including evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

The effects, signs and symptoms, and issues and problems relating to evil eye and envy will also be examined.

Lessons from the Past


The evil eye can be recognized in two ways. They are signs and symptoms that the patient will express or show through incantation as prescribed in Islam.

Those who deal with Ruqyah have mentioned some of the symptoms from which it may be known whether a person has been affected by the evil eye.

They are not definitive symptoms and may vary from individual to individual. Some symptoms which might appear while reciting this Ruqya include excruciating pain in the eye; water flowing from the eyes; and strange itchiness in the body.

 Other symptoms may include pallor of the face, headaches, sweating and urinating a great deal, weak appetite; tingling, heat or cold in the limbs, palpitations in the heart, pain in the lower back and shoulders, sadness and anxiety, insomnia, and many others.

There are symptoms that have no known organic or medical explanations.

The Muslim has to protect himself against the evil eye by having strong faith in Allah and by putting his trust in Him, seeking refuge in Allah, and seeking the blessings of Allah.


There are protections from having an evil eye. It is reported that the Prophet  used to seek refuge for al-Hasan and al-Husayn and said: “U’eedhukuma bi kalimat Allah al-tammati min kulli shaytanin wa hammah wa min kulli ‘aynin lammah (I seek refuge for you both in the perfect words of Allah, from every devil and every poisonous reptile, and from every evil eye).

Some misguided Muslims sometimes used non-Islamic ways the protection of evil eyes.

This may be due to mistaken cultural beliefs for religious beliefs and acculturations. These include the use of amulets (Ta’wiz), talismans, touching wood, and beads, using salt, ‘Hands of Fatima,’ and many other rituals.

Muslims also hang amulets all over their houses, shops, bodies, cars, and even on animals and trees, which they believe have powers to protect and cure against evil, harm and destruction diseases, suffering, and misfortunes.

This is misleading and against the teaching of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

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