The Evil Eye

As illustrated by Abu’l Mundhir Khaleel, author of The Jinn and Human Sickness: Remedies in the Light of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the “evil eye refers ti when one person harms another by means of the eye.” (pg. 253) In his text, Khaleel quotes many passages from the Qur’an, which, proves the existence of the evil eye. For instance, in one passage Allaah says, “And verily, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes (through hatred).” (Al-Qalam 68:51-52) (pg. 254) According to Khaleel, the phrase “make you slip with their eyes” refers to the evil eye. “This Verse is evidence that the effect and impact of the evil eye is something real and happens by Allaah’s will.” (pg. 255) However, the idea of the evil eye was incorporated by early Islam teachers from earlier Muslim and Jewish cultures across the Arab land. Raphael Patai describes how these cultures were unified. In The Seed of Abraham, Patai claims that, for example, “in morocco, two distinct variants of the same folk cure, based on the same belief in the evil eye, were found among the Muslims and the Jews.” (pg. 153) Furthermore, Patai demonstrates how certains measures to protect against the evil eye were found in both cultures. Patai mentions the use of amulets, called khamsa or “the hand of Fatima”, which were shaped im the form of a human hand. Patai says that paintings or stylized graffiti were commonly found “on many houses of both Muslims and Jews in all parts of Morocco.” (pg. 154) In addition to ” the hand of Fatima”, or “he“, “the name of the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet (pg. 155), Muslims and Jews used charms that were in the shape of either a crescent or of the Star of David to ward off the evil eye. In conclusion, the evil eye is only one example of how Muslim and Jewish cultures were interwoven before the dawn of the monotheistic religions.


According to Raphael Patai, author of the Seed of Abraham, the jinn is “one of the most pervasive features of folk culture in the whole Middle East.” (pg. 151) Jinn is the “belief in, and fear of, the evil spirits, and the resort to protective measures against them.” (pg. 151) Throughout the Arab countries the jinn became an important aspect of cultural practice. “In Arab countries the most frequent encountered term among both Muslims and Jews denoting evil spirits was jinn.” (pg. 151) Jinn proved to be a connection between the Muslim world and the Jewish world. Patai described how the belief in jinn were basically identical in both practices. “In fact, the fear of the jinn and the necessity to provide oneself with the protection against them, were significant unifying factors among Jews and Muslims in the Arab world.” (pg. 152) Furthermore, Patai refers to Eward Westermarch’s Ritual and Belief in Morocco, which shows how “various means and measures employed in order to protect oneself from the jinn’s baleful power were shared by the Jews and Muslims in Morocco and other countries of North Africa.” (pg. 152) These two cultural communities were uniquely interwoven to understand and protect against evil spirits and the supernatural. There are various descriptions of jinn. According to the Koran, the jinn is the equivalent to Satan. “Although the jinn are composed of either flame or of vapor, they are mostly invisible, hence imperceptible to our sense.” (pg. 151) Jinn are also able to assume different shapes and forms and illustrated by Patai, “the jinn were created prior to man, are capable of salvation, and Muhammad was sent to them as well as to mankind.” (pg. 151) Jinn has been an important part in understanding the transition from a folk religion to an official doctrine.