Those who deny spells and sorcery do so either because they do not believe in anything related to metaphysics or what they suppose to be connected with religion or because they are completely unaware of the realities beyond the physical realm. A man in his fifties once told me:

Until last year I did not believe in things like spells and sorcery. However, last year one of my relatives went mad. When he had a fit, he became rigid with his eyes fixed on a certain point. There were left no doctors to whom we did not apply, but in vain. Finally, we went to somebody known to break spells. He recited incantations and did some other things. On the way back, the patient asked in a normal tone: "Where am I? What happened to me?" He had recovered. I came to believe that sorcery is a reality.

There are innumerable cases like the one mentioned which almost all of us have witnessed or heard of. As the Messenger declared that the evil eye is an undeniable fact, magic or sorcery is also an undeniable reality. The Holy Book speaks about the sorcery practiced to create a rift between spouses and severely condemns it. According to the Holy Book, the practice of sorcery and magic or casting spells is as a grave sin as unbelief. However, breaking a spell is a good, meritorious deed, but it must not be adopted and practiced as a profession. Although the Messenger met with Jinn, preached Peace to them and took their allegiance, he never spoke about how one could contact them and how a spell could be cast or broken. However, he taught how Jinn approach human beings and seek to control them and how one can secure oneself against their evil. He also taught how we could protect ourselves against the evil eye and be saved from it.

How we can be secured against evil spirits

The safest way to be secure against evil spirits is to be strong in loyalty to God and His Messenger. This requires following the principles of Islam strictly.

Prayer should never be abandoned

Secondly, we should never give up praying. Prayer is a weapon of a believer against all hostilities. That is, praying is an important means to be protected against all kinds of harm and attain our goals.

Prayer does not mean to ignore and neglect the (material) means in attaining goals. Rather, prayer is of four kinds. In fact, what reaches to the Court of God from the whole universe is a kind of prayer. Some creatures, like plants and animals, pray through the tongue of their potential to achieve a full form and to manifest certain Divine Names.

Another kind of prayer is expressed in the tongue of natural needs. All living beings pray to God, Who is the Absolutely Generous One, for the satisfaction of their vital needs, which they themselves are unable to meet.

There is a third kind of prayer, which is done in the tongue of complete helplessness. A living creature in straitened circumstances takes refuge in its Unseen Protector with a genuine supplication, and turns to its All-Merciful Lord. These three kinds of prayer are always acceptable unless somehow impeded.

The fourth type of prayer, which is known to everybody, is the one we do. This also falls into two categories: one is active and by disposition, and the other, verbal and with the heart. For example, to act in accordance with causes is active prayer. Man, by complying with causes, tries to gain God's approval for his request, for causes alone are not sufficient for the result to be produced, and it is God alone, Who produces the result. To plough the earth, for example, is an active grayer, which is actually to knock at the door of the treasury of God's Mercy. Similarly, to go to a doctor is also an active prayer for recovery from an illness. For this reason, it is incumbent upon a believer to go to a doctor when he is ill. Believing psychiatrists should be preferred in case of mental illnesses. Innumerable cases have shown emphatically that most mental illnesses are not due to material causes and (physical) therapy is not sufficient to cure them. Most of them require 'spiritual' therapy.

The active type of prayer is in most cases acceptable since it is a direct application to the Divine Name, the All Generous. As for the second category of the prayer of human beings, which is done with the tongue and the heart, this is the real one. It is to ask God from the heart for something, which we ourselves are unable to obtain. The most important aspect of this sort of prayer, and its finest and sweetest fruit, is that the supplicant knows that there exists One Who hears him, is aware of whatever occurs to his heart, Whose power extends everywhere, Who can satisfy his every desire, and Who comes to his aid out of mercy for his weakness and inadequacy.

Prayer is a form of worship and the reward for worship is principally given in the Hereafter. For this reason, we must not say, 'Our prayer has not been answered', when we are not given what we pray for. The prayer being answered does not necessarily mean its 'acceptance' in all circumstances. There is an answer for every prayer; but to accept the prayer and to give what is prayed for depends on God's Wisdom. Suppose that a sick child is asking a doctor to give him that certain kind of medicine. The doctor either will give him that certain kind of medicine or he will give him a better one for the benefit of the child; or he will give him no medicine at all, if he judges that any kind of medicine may be bad for the health of the child.

Similarly, God Almighty, Who is the All-Hearing and All-Seeing, certainly answers the prayer of his servant, and He changes the depression of loneliness into the pleasure of His Company. But His answer does not depend on the fancies of man; rather it depends on Divine Wisdom. According to His Wisdom, He either gives what is requested or what is better or He gives nothing at all. However he answers, we must pray.

We should request those having nearness to God to pray for us

As we pray ourselves, we must also request those who we believe are near to God to pray for us. The Companions frequently asked our Prophet to pray for them.

'An insane child was brought to God's Messenger, who touched him and said: "Come out, o enemy of God!" Then, he washed the child's face and prayed. The child recovered from insanity.'

There are many similar cases narrated in the Bible. The Prophet Jesus was famous for healing the mad by God's leave and power.

One must refrain from appealing to exorcists

People tend to go to those who are known as exorcists. Although there may be few among people who know how to drive out evil spirits by different ways, this is in most cases dangerous. For most of the people known as exorcists deceive the masses. Second, an exorcist must be one who is very careful about his religious obligations and refrains from sins. He should also be an upright person who knows very well how to exorcise somebody. Thirdly, patients usually rely en exorcists and attribute to them their recovery. They also rely on the written charm or amulets they are advised to carry. However, our Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, declared that God would admit in Paradise seventy thousand people without calling them to account for their deeds in the world. They are those who do not wear armlets, nor amulets, and do not consider things auspicious or inauspicious, and who put their trust completely in God.

We should go to believing psychiatrists

The psychiatrist or doctor to whom we appeal should not be one who has restricted himself to the narrow confines of matter. A materialist psychiatrist who does not believe in the spirit and spirit beings may advise his patient who suffers from spiritual dissatisfaction or is possessed by evil spirits to indulgence in pleasures and amuse himself. This is like advising a thirsty person to quench his thirst with salty seawater.

There are certain, special prayers to be recited

There are special prayers, which God's Messenger recited on certain occasions and to be protected against the evils of Satan and other unbelieving jinn. The Verse of Throne is one of them. A Holy Book's verse reads:" If a stimulus from Satan occurs to you, seek refuge in God immediately (41:36)."That is, we should say: "I seek refuge in God from the accursed Satan."

God's Messenger recited Chapter Daybreak and Menthree times every morning and evening, and breathing into his palms, which he joined, and rubbed them against the parts of his body he could reach. Again, God's Messenger used to recite three times every morning and evening:

"In the Name of God, whom nothing on the earth and in the heaven can give harm despite His Name, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing."

This recitation and the following one are among the prayers advised for protection against paralysis:

"I seek refuge in all of God's words from all devils and vermin and from all evil eyes."

Imam Ghazali advises against spells, charms and evil spirits the recitation of "In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate once, God is the Greatest ten times, and The magician will not be successful wherever he appears (20:69), and from the evil of blowers upon knots (113:4)."

Another Imam advises the recitation of the two verses above nineteen times each time after taking a sip of fluid like water, tea or soup.