Can future be seen by a Soothsayer?

The Details of the Question
Salam aleikum. I converted to islam a few months ago, but my parents are christians. They went to a priest to read them from a book, which they say it can show the future. Is this possible? Is it possible that someone can read u the future?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Events that will happen in the future have always engaged people’s minds. In the stressful times in which social agitations are severe, people have recourse to several ways in order to predict what will happen in the future. Superstitions such as estimating fortune according to zodiac, soothsaying, and several fortune-telling games are only some of them.

Besides many superstitions, soothsaying was also in vogue among Arabians before Islam.  Apart from people who claimed that they were in touch with jinn and they took news from jinn, there were also some others who claimed they could predict events that would happen in the future from some signs. Besides some soothsayers who said they knew who had taken some stolen or lost things and where they were, there were also some soothsayers who believed that they knew who would do what and what kinds of events would happen in the future. 

Although the soothsayers among them who make judgments relying on the news jinn bring are correct in some issues, they are generally very distant from the truth. 

The Noble Qur’an refuses soothsaying by declaring that nobody can know what will happen in the future by those verses:

And with Him are the keys of the unseen. None knows them but He.”1 “No one knows what he shall earn on the morrow.”2 “Say: No one in the heavens and the earth knows the unseen but Allah.”3

The Noble Prophet, who had prohibited all kinds of soothsaying, also prohibited listening to soothsayers and approving them.

According to Aisha’s narration, some Companions come near the Prophet and ask his idea about soothsayers. The Prophet says,

Soothsayers are not anything.” When some among them ask again, “O, Messenger of Allah, they sometimes say something and it turns out to be right”; the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following:  

That word belongs to jinn. A jinni catches the news and clucks to his friend’s ear as a chicken clucks. He mixes more than one hundred lies in his words in that way.”4

Dissolute jinn’s, that are also deemed as devils, coming and whispering to the ear of humans that are their friends is expressed through a simile, which can be comprehended by everyone easily, as clucking of a chicken. While jinn are telling news to the ears of soothsayers, other devils who are present there also hear them. It is compared to a chicken’s informing to its other friends through clucking when it has found a grain…

The Prophet, who disapproved going to soothsayers and asking them news about the future, prohibited applying to them after the following question of Mu’awiya. One day, when Mu’awiya (may Allah be pleased with him) said “O, Messenger of Allah, we used to do some things in the age of Ignorance. We used to go to soothsayers”, the Noble Prophet stated: “Do not go to soothsayers anymore.”5

Acting upon the hadith 6 stating that someone will take a serious religious responsibility such as becoming an unbeliever if he approves what soothsayers tell, scholars state that going to soothsayers and believing them damage a person’s belief. Since most of the words of a soothsayer are fictitious and untrue, if a person believing him arranges his acts and his future in accordance with his hearings, he will either be deceived by inane hopes and make his imagination and thoughts  busy with useless things or he will give way to despair and pessimism because of the bad news he is told. That will damage that person’s spiritual life and even his family life.

In our age, in which science and technology has reached the highest degrees, those kinds of customs of Ignorance are practiced in different ways and manners and the curiosity of people is exploited. Horoscopes taking place in daily newspapers and magazines and books published about that subject are right before our eyes. Unfortunately, many people attach importance to them and they set their hopes and future on fictitious soothsaying.

Furthermore, supposedly telling news from the unseen and the future by looking at palms of hands, playing cards, coffee cups or bowls of water are other kinds of soothsaying. Most of the persons deeming that act as their jobs are miserable people that mislead pure and chaste Muslims. Despite their prestige in their appearance, they are ordinary and discredited persons of the community. To what extent can one rely on the words and the news of the ones who can not improve their own unfriendly behaviors and livelihoods and can not get rid of their illegitimate lives?

The verses and hadiths we presented above are also valid for those kinds of fortune-telling. Fortune-telling, asking someone for fortune- telling and believing sootsaying are behaviors that do not behoove to believers. They should not be esteemed.


1. Qur’an, The Cattle (Al-An’am); 59 (6: 59).

2. Qur’an, Luqman; 34 (31: 34)

3. Qur’an, The Ants (An-Naml); 65 (27:65)

4. Muslim, Salam: 123

5. Muslim, Salam: 121

6. Ibn Maja, Tahara: 122

Mehmed Paksu

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