Is the hadith stating that the prayers of a person who visits a fortune teller will not be accepted for forty days sound?

The Details of the Question

- Are the prayers of a person who visits a fortune teller not accepted for forty days?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Safiyya bint Abi Ubayd reports from the wives of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him): “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“If a person visits a fortune teller and asks him something and then confirms what he says, his prayers will not be accepted for forty days.” (Muslim, Salam, 125)

A fortune teller is a soothsayer, that is, a person who claims to know the unseen (ghayb). No matter if they are called by different names such as astrologer, soothsayer or fortune-teller, the judgment about them is the same. However, fortune-teller is also the name given someone who claims to know the location of stolen or lost property. Such people are also sometimes called witch doctor.

Knowing the unseen is peculiar to Allah. It is something that is confirmed by the verses of the Quran. Therefore, the claim of knowing the unseen has a serious meaning like fighting with the Quran. As such, it is definitely contradictory to belief for a believer to visit a soothsayer seriously, listen to him, believe in him and approve of him and it is not in accordance with the manners of being a believer.

The scholars state that what is meant by the prayers of those who visit a soothsayer and approve of him not being accepted is being deprived of the reward of the prayer. That is, such a person does not become an unbeliever. It is not decreed that “the prayers he has performed for forty days are not acceptable and that they have to be performed again”. It means that “he will be deprived of the reward of his prayers for forty days”. Scholars unanimously agree on it. However, if he repents and understands his mistake, inshallah he will regain the thawab of the prayers he has performed.

It should also be noted that in some hadiths, the sanction for visiting a fortune teller is non-acceptance of the prayer while in others, the sanction is takfir (being regarded as an unbeliever). It is attributed to the fact that those who visit a fortune teller are in two states. A narration of Tabarani emphasizes those two states:

“If a person visits a fortune teller and confirms what he says, he will be away from what has been sent down to Muhammad, and if he visits a fortune teller but does not confirm what he says, his prayers will not be accepted for forty days.” (Musnad, II, 429; III, 14; IV, 68; V, 380; Muslim, Salam, 125; Abu Dawud, Tibb, 21; Ibn Majah, Taharah, 122; Tirmidhi, Taharah, 102)

(İbrahim Canan, Kutub-i Sitte Tercüme ve Şerhi, Akçağ Yayınları: 8/96)

Questions on Islam

Was this answer helpful?
In order to make a comment, please login or register