Islam and the Quran

What is the ruling on reading horoscope or coffee?

Question: What is the ruling on reading horoscope or coffee?

Horoscope and coffee are objects of telling fortune. Fortune-telling is absolutely forbidden in Islam. The almighty God decrees:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

“Oh you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, altars, arrows for seeking the future or luck are all abominations, the work of the Devil. So, keep away from them that you may attain what you hope for.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:90)

The Arabic word we translate as “arrows for seeking the future or luck” is “azlam = وَالْأَزْلَامُ”. Arabic people,  the revelation of these verses, used to write “do” or “don’t” on wooden arrows without fletches. They put the arrows in a sack and picked one to decide whether they should go for a war, start a journey, marry, make business contracts, etc. Critical decisions, such as determining the father of a child were also made this way. This process was called “azlam’.

We must notice that, not only performing azlam but also approaching it is forbidden because the almighty God decrees “keep away” from them. Therefore, anything that claims to tell us about the future should be avoided, even if it is for fun. Neither human beings, nor angels, nor jinn, nor The Messenger of Allah can predict the future:

“Say ‘No one in the heavens or the earth knows the unperceived, but only Allah.’ ” (An-Naml/ The Ant 27:65).

The following verses are especially about angels. Allah says:

“Surely We have created man and We know what his own self whisper to him, since We are closer to him than his jugular vein. (16)
There are two registrars [angels], sitting on the right and the left. Therefore, there is with him an observer ready to note every word he utters.”
(Qaf 50:16-18)

That means: Allah knows what is inside the humans, while angels only know what humans say.

The following verses inform us that jinn cannot know the future:

“And unto Solomon We gave the jinn who would work before him by permission of his Lord. And whoever deviated among them from Our command – We would made him taste the punishment of blaze. They made for him what he willed: high buildings, statues, basins like wells and cauldrons that are difficult to carry. Give thanks, O Family of David! We said: ‘Few of my servants are thankful.’ Then, when We decreed (Solomon’s) death there was no sign to show his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept gnawing away at his staff. So when he fell down, it has been revealed that the jinn would not have tarried in that humiliating penalty had they known the unseen.” (Saba’ 34:12–14)

Prophets only know what Allah reveals to them. Allah commands:

“Say, [O Muhammad], “I do not say to you the treasures of Allah are with me, nor I have the knowledge of the unseen, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me.” Say, ‘Is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Then will you not give thought?’” (Al-An’am/ The Cattle 6:50)

“Say: I have no power to benefit or harm myself, unless Allah decides. And had I knowledge of the unseen, I should have amassed all kinds of good, and no evil would have ever touched me. I am merely a warner and the herald of glad tidings to those who have faith.” (Al-A’raf/ The Elevated Place 7:188)

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