Skip to main content

On the Use of Tamīmah/Taʿwīdh

A warning from the senior Scholars against the well-known innovation and superstition of wearing amulets, necklaces and ‘lucky charms’ for the purpose of removing evil and harm.

This is what is depended upon to hang taʿwādhāt on the necks of young children and it has criticism [fī-hī kalām]

Bismillah Walhamdulillah wa-al-Ṣalātu wa-al-Salām ʿalá Rasulillah
alhamdulillāh wa-al-ṣalātu wa-al-salāmu ʿalá nabiyyinā wa habeeibnaa Muḥammad

The ḥadīth of ʿAmr ibn Shu`ayb, from his father, from his grandfather [`Amr ibn al-`Aas], that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ used to teach them for fearful situations the words: ‘I seek refuge in Allāh’s perfect words from His wrath, the evil of His servants, the whispered insinuations of devils, and lest they come to me.’ ʿAbdullāh 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.

This full wording being reported by al-Tirmidhī [no.3754, 9/355 of Tuhfah al-Aḥwadhī], the wording without the addition [ʿAbdullāh ibn Amr used to …] is reported by Abū Dāwūd [no. 3875, 10/386 of Awn al-Ma`bood]. A very similar wording without the addition is also reported via another munqati` route by Aḥmad and others.

This ḥadīth has been criticized by a number of scholars such as al-Ḥāfiẓ al-Mundhirī as mentioned by al-Ḥāfiẓ Adheemabaadee in Awn al-Ma`bood [10/387] saying, “its isnād contains Muḥammad ibn Ishāq and the critique concerning him has preceded and Amr ibn Shu`ayb.”

It was also criticised by ʿAbd al Ḥaqq ad-Dahlawee who said, “this is what is depended upon to hang taʿwādhāt on the necks of young children and it has criticism [fīhee kalām]” as quoted by al-Ḥāfiẓ al-Mubārakfūrī in his Tuhfah al-Aḥwadhī [9/356].

Shaykh al-Albānī declared the ḥadīth to be ḥasan without the addition as in his Da`eef Sunan al-Tirmidhī [no. 705], Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan al-Tirmidhī [no.2793], Daʿīf Sunan Abū Dāwūd [no.840] Muḥammad ibn Ishāq is a mudallis and reports the ḥadīth via an`ana.

Shaykh ʿAbd al ʿAzīz ibn Bāz says in his notes to ‘Fath al- Majīd’ [pg. 109], “the narration (of `Amr ibn Shu`ayb) is weak and it does not prove the validity (of hanging ta`aaweedh). This is because ibn `Amr used to teach these words to his older sons and write them on tablets and hang them on the necks of his younger sons. Therefore, the clear sense of these words shows that he hung them on their necks so that they could learn the words not that they act as a Tamīmah (i.e. ta`weedh). The tamīmah is written on paper, not on tablets. The evidence for what has preceded is that he made his older sons memorize the supplication.”

However, it is important to note that the matter of using Tamīmah is clear with regards to anything that does not contain only the Qurʾān, the Names and Attributes of Allāh or the authentic prescribed supplications of the Prophet ﷺ. If however, the Tamīmah does contain only the above-mentioned three things then know that the Ṣaḥābah themselves differed about the permissibility of this.

Imām Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al Wahhab said in his ‘Kitāb al-Tawḥīd’, “…but if what is hung around the necks is (verses) of the Qurʾān then some of the Salaf allowed this and some of them did not allow this but rather considered it to be forbidden. From amongst this latter group was ʿAbdullāh ibn Mas`ud, may Allāh be pleased with him.”

Shaykh ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Ḥasan, may Allāh have mercy upon him, said in a commentary to these words, “Know that the scholars from amongst the Ṣaḥābah and the Taabi`een and those who came after them differed about hanging Tamīmahs which contained only the Qurʾān or the Names and Attributes of Allāh (written in them).

A group said that this was permissible and this was the opinion of ʿAbdullāh ibn `Amr [indicating the above ḥadīth] and it is the clear sense of what is reported from Āʿishah. This was the opinion of Abū Ja`far al-Baaqir and Aḥmad in a report from him. This group understood the ḥadīth (containing the prohibition of using Tamīmahs) to refer to that which contained shirk in it.

Another group said that this was not permissible and this was the opinion of ibn Mas`ud and ibn ʿAbbās. It is the literal sense of the saying of Hudhayfah and it is the opinion of Aḥmad in a report from him. This opinion was chosen by many of Aḥmad’s companions and declared with certainty by the later ones. They depended upon this ḥadīth and other aḥādīth that conveyed the same meaning.

I say: this opinion is the correct one due to three reasons that will become apparent for the one who considers it carefully.

a) The generality of the prohibition and there is no (text) that would specify this generality

b) Preventing opening the doors to shirk.

c) The one who wears this will definitely be tried by wearing this when relieving himself, performing istinjaa and the likes.….”[Fath al- Majīd pg. 109]

A similar discussion was presented by Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn is his commentary to Kitāb al-Tawḥīd.

An additional point concerning Ruqya: al-Ḥāfiẓ al-Ṣuyutī said, “the scholars are unanimously agreed that Ruqya is permissible when three conditions are met:

1) That it be with the Words of Allāh or with His Names and Attributes.

2) That it be in the Arabic Language with words whose meaning is understood.

3) That the person believe that the Ruqya in and of itself has no effect rather it is the decree of Allāh, the Exalted (that has the effect).” [Fath al- Majīd pg. 108]

I mention this to show the error of those ‘sufi masters’ and ‘peers’ who go around teaching people weird and wonderful phrases that they make the people to believe will bring them benefit or others harm.

And our Lord Most High Knows best.

Published: June 15, 2007
Edited: April 3, 2023


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments