Rulings for Quackery in Islam
We are going to mention several indications that explained about the rulings for quackery in Islam. Quackery isn’t something new in men’s life. It has been there long before Prophet Muhammad -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- was sent. As Allah has denied the claim of the Quraish to Prophet Muhammad -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- :
فَذَكِّرْ فَمَا أَنْتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِكَاهِنٍ وَلَا مَجْنُونٍ [الطور/29]
“So exhort (them, O Prophet), for by your Lord’s Grace, you are neither a soothsayer nor a madman.”
In this verse, Allah denied the false claim of the infidels toward Prophet Muhammad -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- that he was a quack or a shaman or a mad man. Because the Messenger of Allah peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- has brought them news about the upcoming events at the Doomsday through the divine revelation that Allah has revealed to him. They wanted to liken a prophet to a quack who liked to make prophesies about the future events, as a reason to reject the teaching of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-.
From that verse too, we could conclude that there are three kinds of people who bring news about the future events:
First: A prophet who received divine revelation from Allah, as Allah decreed,
ذَلِكَ مِنْ أَنْبَاءِ الْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهِ إِلَيْكَ [آل عمران/44]
“(O Muhammad), We reveal to you this account from a realm which lies beyond the reach of your perception.”
Second: A Quack, as we’ve explained previously about its existence.
Third: A mad man who talked out of his sense.
The Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had warned his followers not to visit and trust a quack, or to practice quackery. Here are several hadith about that prohibition:
Prohibition to visit a quack
It was confirmed by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- in his saying,
عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ الْحَكَمِ السُّلَمِىِّ قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أُمُورًا كُنَّا نَصْنَعُهَا فِى الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ كُنَّا نَأْتِى الْكُهَّانَ. قَالَ «فَلاَ تَأْتُوا الْكُهَّانَ». رواه مسلم
From Mu’awiya Ibn Hakam -may Allah be pleased with him-, he told the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-: “There are several things that we used to do at the time of our ignorance, we used to visit a quack?”. The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- replied, “Don’t visit a quack.” .
Prohibition to ask something to a quack (soothsayer)
The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,
عَنْ بَعْضِ أَزْوَاجِ النَّبِىِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنِ النَّبِىِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ « مَنْ أَتَى عَرَّافًا فَسَأَلَهُ عَنْ شَىْءٍ لَمْ تُقْبَلْ لَهُ صَلاَةٌ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً ». رواه مسلم
It was narrated by some of the wives of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, from him -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- :” Whoever visits a soothsayer to ask about something, then his prayer wouldn’t be accepted for forty days.” 
It is explained in this hadith about the terrible sin of visiting a quack just for asking about something, that it will vanish the rewards of praying for forty days. It shows us how serious the sin of visiting a quack is.
Prohibition to trust a quack
It is explained in a hadith:
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أنَّ النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال «من أتى كاهنا فصدقه فقد كفر بما أنزل على محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم» رواه أبو داود والترمذي وابن ماجه
From Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him-, that the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “Whoever visits a quack/soothsayer then trusts him, indeed, he has committed infidelity toward what has been divinely revealed to Muhammad -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-.” .
In the hadith above, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- differed between the ruling for visiting a quack and the ruling for trusting him. The ruling for visiting a quack is that the prayer of that visitor will not be accepted for forty days. As for the ruling for trusting the saying of a quack or a soothsayer about the unseen things is that it risks the doer to commit infidelity. Although the scholars held different opinions about the meaning of this infidelity. Some of them said that it means the greater infidelity (major one). But some others said that it means the lesser infidelity (minor one). And some beside them chose not to further detail the meaning to greater or lesser, since the context was about threat .
Some scholars commented about the threat in the above hadith  : If that is the threat for people who visit and trust a quack, then what about the quack himself? Of course, the threat and torment will be greater.
Prohibition to ask for quackery and open quackery practices
The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, :
((ليس منَّا من تَكَهَّنَ أو تُكُهِّنَ له)) رواه الطبراني وصححه الألباني في “السلسلة الصحيحة”: رقم الحديث (2195).
“People who seek for quackery or perform quackery are not from our kind.” 
It is very clear in this hadith that the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- disgraced people who seek for the help of a quack or lend a help in quackery.
Rulings for the yield of quackery
Below are a hadith from the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- that explains about the ruling for wealth that comes from the practice of quackery:
عَنْ أَبِى مَسْعُودٍ الأَنْصَارِىِّ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَهَى عَنْ ثَمَنِ الْكَلْبِ وَمَهْرِ الْبَغِىِّ وَحُلْوَانِ الْكَاهِنِ ». متفق عليه
From Abu Mas’ud -may Allah be pleased with him-, that the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- forbids them to consume the result of dog trading, wage of a prostitute, and wage of a quack.” .
Imam an Nawawi said  : “Know that quackery, visiting a quack, learning quackery, astrology, predicting something with sand, grain and gravel, including teaching all these things are unlawful, and receiving wage for it is also unlawful based on valid indications.”
It was narrated that Abu Bakr ash Shiddiq -may Allah be pleased with him- once was given some food by his slave. After Abu Bakr ash Shiddiq -may Allah be pleased with him- swallowed the food, his slave asked him: ” Do you know where was this food came from?” “No”, answered Abu Bakr. His slave replied, “At the time of ignorance I used to pretend as a soothsayer, and this is the wage.” Then Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- thrusted his fingers into his throat until he vomited what was in his stomach .
In summary, there are three kinds of evil done by the quack:
- Claiming to know about the unseen things, which is a shirk in tawheed rububiyya, since he claimed to know about the unseen things. Knowing the unseen things is a special power of Allah alone, as Allah mentioned in the verse below,
قُلْ لَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ [النمل/65]
“Say: “None in the heavens or on the earth has knowledge of the Unseen save Allah. They do not know when they will be raised to life.”
- Partnering with jinn/satan, in which that partnership will bring a consequence of them obeying that jinn/satan in some affairs. This is a shirk in tawheed uluhiyya.
- Spreading lies among the society and devouring their wealth in a wrong way.
To be continued, insha Allah..
Author: Sheikh Dr. Ali Musri Semjan Putra, M.A