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Are magic shows to entertain kids Halal or Haram?


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Author Topic: Are magic shows to entertain kids Halal or Haram?  (Read 869 times)
N. Truth Seeker
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« on: April 14, 2018, 03:20:32 am »



A sister and her husband who participate in our monthly group discussions are planning to celebrate the birthday their little son who hasn't yet started school, a party full of fun and enjoyment for kids - donkey rides, musical chair and a clown's magic show -  with plenty of appetizing snacks and refreshments.  But one brother in our group said the magic show should be removed from the party plan, interpreting it as Haram.  That left many of us wondering to what extent he's right.   The reason he thinks all modern, recreational magic shows to be Haram is because he compares them with the magic performed by the wizards in Pharaoh's court.  Most of us are of the opinion that that's a very incorrect comparison.   Pharaoh's court staged serious illusionary magic with an ulterior motive to brainwash the people turning them into disbelievers in The Almighty.  Such magical spells are similar to sorcery. Their purpose was to make Pharaoh appear most powerful who was the boss of his wizards.   A modern-day magic show for kids is a totally different event with absolutely no such motives, no such ideas, only for the purpose of amusement and fun for children.  Even if adults watch it for fun, it's fine.   These recreational magic shows do not  interfere with Faith, they don't involve any Haram acts like vulgarity or nudity nor use of alcohol.   

At present, we can categorize the topic of "magic" into two types: 

(1) Magics done with serious intent to bewitch the people, and to alter or misguide their beliefs.  It's also termed as "magic of illusions,"  e.g. Pharaoh's wizards or sorcerers who cast an evil spell on the cognizance of their audience when they threw their rods on the ground and the rods appeared to the viewers as if they moved like serpents, reference Verses 7:116 and 7:120-122.  To recap this Quranic story briefly:

"And when they threw, they bewitched the eyes of the people and overawed them, and produced a mighty spell."  7:116 Al-Araf.

"And the wizards fell down prostrate, Crying: We believe in the Rab of the Worlds, The Rab of Moses and Aaron."  7:120-122 Al-Araf.

The job of the wizards and sorcerers who worked for Pharaoh was to deceive the audience through their evil hypnotic practices into making the audience assume that Pharaoh and his sorcerers had super natural powers.  So, when these sorcerers threw down their ropes or other similar objects on the ground, their deceitful deeds and exaggerative statements cast deep fear into the people, producing a huge spell through sorcery.  The onlookers began having visual illusions, not reality.  But when Allah Almighty commanded Prophet Musa to throw down his staff, it looked like a serpent and swallowed the falsehoods of sorcery.  This was the miracle of Allah Almighty.  The sorcerers were dumbstruck.  They knew they were defeated by the Power of Allah, and they immediately fell prostrate before The Almighty and submitted to Him.  This made Pharaoh furious and ordered to execute the former sorcerers.  But they didn't care and preferred to die in a state of submission to The Almighty.
 
Indeed such practices are completely Haram and the Noble Quran confirms it.   The purpose of Pharaoh through his wizards and warlocks was to beguile the people into thinking he was their deity and the magicians served him, adding a supernatural dimension through falsification.

(2) Magic for entertainment is understood by the audience to be a joke for recreational purposes.  Even if you refer to it as "sleight of hand," it's a very different aspect from what was practiced by the conjurers working for Pharaoh.  No one is stupid enough to believe that a magic-show performer in a kids' birthday party has supernatural powers.  Kids too know it's a trick and buffoonery to make them laugh.  The performer treats his 'magic' as a game or professional hobby.   These jovial shows are NOT done by casting any spells on the audience.  Rather, many modern magic-show equipment work on the basis of technical or mechanical know-how sold in stores.  These magicians learn certain tricks for entertainment such as learning to juggle half a dozen ping-pong orbs simultaneously or learning how to safely put a lighted cigarette inside their pocket etc. through the trial and error method, as one would learn any other sport or acrobat.    Until now, I've not known of a single kid nor adult, who after watching these lighthearted jovial 'magics' for entertainment, has gotten misguided.    Based on the Noble Quran, intention is hugely important.  Intent or niyah often decides entirely whether the deed is Halal or Haram.  The intention or approach of magic shows for entertainment is not designed to go beyond a jest or funny prank to amuse the people who are already aware that it's a rib-tickler game.

There is a big difference between casual magic of games / tricks for entertainment and magic of illusion, sorcery and witchcraft which are seriously misguided ideas with plans and practices either to hurt others (to punish or kill people based on the sinful ideologies of purging them or human sacrifice) or to establish one's cult-like domineering presence by subjugating their disciples / followers through fear or rites of witchcraft.  Very often, such practices also involve communication with the jinn.  Non-Muslims may interpret this as "evil spirits" but it's actually jinn.  That's how different Haram magic and sorcery are from the commonly spoken (benign) magic for entertainment.

Thus, while the unpurposed recreational fun & games magic-show is Halal, the motivated magic of illusion, sorcery and witchcraft are HARAM.     

Many of our modern-day sheikhs and imams have prohibited the safe and benign magic for entertainment through fatwas saying that it promotes falsehood through tricks, showing something which doesn't actually happen as shown.  From that perspective, even Disneyland should be prohibited as nothing you see there is real.  But lots of Muslims, including our sheikhs and their families, visit such spots for an outing and entertainment, which if fine.  Some of our clerics are quick at pointing fingers on harmless magic shows, condemning them as promoting falsehood.  But they are complacent about the huge falsehood of Hadith they teach to thousands of people which involves forging the name of the beloved Final Messenger (pbuh) to influence the minds of the naive, making them embrace extra-Quranic concepts by ingnoring Quranic injunctions.  Isn't this just as dangerous a trick as Pharaoh's haram magic and sorcery?


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Ruhi_Rose
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2018, 04:17:57 am »


That's a bit like fearing the neighbor's little poodle puppy but no concerns over a wolf roaming in your yard.   Some of our folks really know how to make simple issues complicated out of their own thoughtlessness.  They worry that kids will be exposed to falsehood through harmless pranks and childhood game-tricks while the tidal wave of hadith flaws, fallacies and distortions are taught to them daily without the slightest of worry   ~ sigh ~

Good read.  Thanks brother.   As-salam Alaykum, peace.


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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2018, 02:44:05 am »



Exactly, Sister Ruhi.     The aspect of reality and intent is completely ignored by our clerical circles. 
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2018, 02:50:43 am »


Very well and comprehensively explained br. TS.   I'm glad you covered this topic.  It's an important one and somehow we hadn't yet put it up.   Thanks brother. 
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2018, 02:51:43 am »


Loads of welcome, Sister Zeynab.
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2018, 02:53:04 am »



What's the precise difference between haram magic,  sorcery and witchcraft?
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2018, 03:01:12 am »


Magic of illusion for evil purposes called haram magic (as in Pharaoh's court, details in Surah Al-Araf and Surah Ta Ha) and sorcery (aka black magic) through which the Israelites were tested during the time of Prophet Soloman (refer to MV post of Harut and Marut) are similar in my opinion, in that, both basically involve misguiding people by indoctrinating their minds with spellbound methods of communication.    Witchcraft (aka occult and some other weird titles) is a bit different as it apparently involves various traditional practices or rituals, one such ritual is referred in Surah Al-Falaq, Verse 113:4 where The Almighty condemns the practice of witchcraft - evil of those who blow on knots - which was apparently a particular ritual of those practicing witchcraft.  All of these concepts, whether magic of illusion, sorcery or witchcraft are confirmed as Haram by the Noble Quran.    Furthermore, Verse 2:102 on sorcery and Verse 113:4  on witchcraft also convey the concept that those who carry out such evil practices cannot harm others if those others have the protection of Allah, that is, if they are rightly guided and seek the protection of Allah.

However, the Quran does not use different words for harmful magic and sorcery.  Magic and sorcery are termed as "al-sihra" and magician as "sahirin."  In Arabic language sihra or sahar are the basic and most common terms for magic and sorcery.  In fact, in Arabic language witchcraft is also often referred to as "sahar," sometimes also "erafa."   But in the Quranic Verse 113:4 of Surah Al-Falaq, Allah Almighty mentions the expression "al-nafasati fil uqadi" which means "the blowers in the knots," .... as I mentioned earlier, this was probably a particular ceremonial rite of witchcraft widely practiced in Arabia and elsewhere.

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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2018, 03:12:40 am »



A big thanks Sis, for making it easier for me to understand. 
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2021, 03:25:21 pm »



Salams dear all.   Coming to this topic after a while.   The 18-year-old son of a sister friend of mine has taken to performing these light-hearted tricks and magic shows for school kids on Zoom.  After his parents made him read this post by brother TS, the boy assured he understood and would never try to misguide anyone.  He also makes it clear before starting his Zoom shows that these are just tricks learned through trial & error method, nothing more.  He says it keeps the kids amused during the pandemic when their outdoor activities are largely curtailed.  He also says it keeps him amused as he too has curtailed much of his outdoor activities on account of the pandemic.  His mom quietly told me she thinks his choice is the better of the "two evils" because prior to the pandemic he was getting into bad company .. like dating, smoking etc.  His parents talked to him in depth with much kindness, rationale and reflection.  After a month or two he began to realize matters and returned to the right path.  Furthermore the pandemic scared him and he stopped his outings with misguided friends.  So his mom and dad both feel it's better if his interest in kids' magics divert him from those other Haram activities.  At least the guy is home and the parents keep an eye on him.

Frankly I agree with his mom.  Considering the boy's previous instincts for the wrong and Haram type of outdoor life, his current interest is surely far better. 

What are your views?   Any feedback or anything to add so I can tell his mom as she requested?

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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2021, 04:35:30 pm »



Walaykom As-Salam Sister Ruhi.  In my opinion it's okay for him to perform those entertainment magic shows where everyone knows it's just a sleight of hand performance for amusing the audience particularly kids.  It seems that the 18-year-old guy has understood the importance not going beyond that, and I thank his parents for telling him to read my post.  And since his zoom shows are from their home, it's easy for the parents to know what he's doing and correct him if he strays.  But Insh'Allah, I think he will be okay with it and will keep within the required bounds.  However, what's more important is that his parents should continue counselling him for better Islamic social orientation so he gives up those Haram outdoor activities and learns the importance of spending time in the company of better friends.  Otherwise, it's possible his interest in entertainment magic shows will decline after a while, and if Insh'Allah, at any time in future the pandemic eases, he will again wish to indulge in those outdoor activities. 
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2021, 05:26:12 pm »



Salam Sis Ruhi.   My feedback would be ditto to brother TS.  The boy's past instincts of dating and smoking seem more a matter of concern than the benign magic show performances.  With care and affection, his parents should keep working on orientation & counseling with the boy.  Eighteen is a very impressionable age. His interest in zoom shows will not last forever.  If he doesn't have good orientation of Quranic values, he will at some point want to go out and start those Haram activities again.  The parents need to help him intelligently as much as they can to avoid that.  Though I also realize that parents can only do so much.  If the guy doesn't care for guidance, Allah won't guide him, and none else can help him.  Then he will have to be left to his own devices.
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« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2021, 06:01:55 pm »



Big thanks dear brother and sister.   I get your point.  I will Insh'Allah convey it to the boy's mom.   Guidance for children is just to important.

Another question on the benign magic show entertainments.  While the harmless magic shows for kids and light hearted audience isn't Haram, I guess one could still label such performers as benign "quacks" right? 😀  So, how do these quacks do their sleight of hand tricks e.g. bird or a little bunny coming out of a handkerchief etc.   For sure it's a pre-planned trick, just wanna know how they go about with it.

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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2021, 06:22:34 pm »



Those handkerchief, clothing etc. background setup are all pre-arranged.  That's why they can never perform immediate and surprise door-knock shows by simply stepping into one's home.  They require to prepare the stage themselves to practice all the necessary sleight measures. Then there's the tearing and repairing the dollar bill trick for example that's popular among kids in particular.  The guy (magician) folds a dollar bill, twice or thrice.  Then he tears off a corner of this dollar bill and appears to trash it.  Seconds later when he unfolds or straightens it, the dollar bill is undamaged and the stupid audience cheer.  What actually happens during this trick is the guy doesn't rip off the corner of the bill; he just makes a half-way tear without separating it from the rest of the bill which can later be used as a flap to cover the hole .. only pretends to throw the torn piece, which sometimes is another little bit of paper hidden between his fingers.  Then, when he unfolds the bill to show to the audience, with the sleight of hand, he flips the bent flap back into place so the bill appears undamaged. 

These are just one or two examples.  There are many such sleights of hand for other tricks.

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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2021, 06:24:45 pm »



Okaaay .... 😆 I see
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2021, 06:27:35 pm »




😅


And when they are performing tricks by showing appearances and disappearances of other people, that's still easier as it's much simpler to train and get the cooperation of humans for such shows.

Those magic shows on movies are the simplest to carry.  Every scene is shot separately in accordance with what the trick is supposed to be.
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