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Exorcisms are conducted within some branches of Christianity (Roman Catholicism), and is common within Hinduism.

I believe there is also the practice of ruqya which summons jinn and demons by invoking the names of God, in order to command them to abandon their mischiefs and to repair damage that may have been caused by jinn possession, witchcraft (sihr) or the evil eye.

Are exorcisms permitted within Islam? If so, under whose authority are the jinns cast out?

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Ruqya (رقية) and Aza'im (العزائم) are synonyms. This is a means of healing achieved by supplicating to Allah, or by reciting the Quran, or by blowing wind or pouring water on a patient after reciting the Quran or a supplication, or by writing it down.

Ruqya is meant as a cure for any ailment, not just possession by the jinn. Using it is permissible according to majority view, as long as it does not involve shirk. see Is practicing ruqya prohibited?

As for exorcism (i.e. evicting devils), the following ahadith come to mind:

عن عثمان بن أبي العاص، قال لما استعملني رسول الله ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ على الطائف جعل يعرض لي شىء في صلاتي حتى ما أدري ما أصلي فلما رأيت ذلك رحلت إلى رسول الله ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فقال ‏"‏ ابن أبي العاص ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قلت نعم يا رسول الله ‏.‏ قال ‏"‏ ما جاء بك ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قلت يا رسول الله عرض لي شىء في صلاتي حتى ما أدري ما أصلي ‏.‏ قال ‏"‏ ذاك الشيطان ادنه ‏"‏ ‏.‏ فدنوت منه فجلست على صدور قدمى ‏.‏ قال فضرب صدري بيده وتفل في فمي وقال ‏"‏ اخرج عدو الله ‏"‏ ‏.‏ ففعل ذلك ثلاث مرات ثم قال ‏"‏ الحق بعملك ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قال فقال عثمان فلعمري ما أحسبه خالطني بعد

‘Uthman bin Abul-‘As said: “When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) appointed me as governor of Ta’if, I began to get confused during my prayer, until I no longer knew what I was doing. When I noticed that, I travelled to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and he said: ‘The son of Abul-‘As?’ I said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah.’ He said: ‘What brings you here?’ He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I get confused during my prayer, until I do not know what I am doing.’ He said: ‘That is Satan. Come here.’

So I came close to him, and sat upon the front part of my feet then he struck my chest with his hand and put some spittle in my mouth and said: ‘Get out, O enemy of Allah!’ He did that three times, then he said: ‘Get on with your work.’”

Uthman said: “Indeed, I never felt confused (during my prayer) after that.”

Ibn Majah

عن يعلى بن مرة ... لقد خرجت معه في سفر حتى إذا كنا ببعض الطريق مررنا بامرأة جالسة، معها صبي لها، فقالت: يا رسول الله، هذا صبي ، أصابه بلاء، وأصابنا منه بلاء، يؤخذ في اليوم، ما أدري كم مرة، قال: " ناولينيه " فرفعته إليه، فجعلته بينه وبين واسطة الرحل، ثم فغر فاه، فنفث فيه ثلاثا، وقال: " بسم الله، أنا عبد الله، اخسأ عدو الله " ثم ناولها إياه، فقال: " القينا في الرجعة في هذا المكان، فأخبرينا ما فعل " قال: فذهبنا ورجعنا، فوجدناها في ذلك المكان، معها شياه ثلاث، فقال: " ما فعل صبيك؟ " فقالت: والذي بعثك بالحق، ما حسسنا منه شيئا حتى الساعة، فاجترر هذه الغنم قال: انزل فخذ منها واحدة، ورد البقية "

[My own paraphrased and summarized translation]

Ya'la ibn Murrah said: I was traveling with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ when we saw a woman sitting and with her was her child.

She said: O Messenger of Allah this my child is afflicted by possession which takes hold of him many times a day.

The messenger of Allah took the child, blew into in its mouth three times and said: "In the name of Allah, I am the servant of Allah, Get out O enemy of Allah"

[in one version he said "Get out Enemy of Allah for I am the Messenger of Allah"]

[in one version the child vomited what became a black dog and ran away]

The child was cured. The woman gifted them some sheep, the prophet took one and returned the rest.

Musnad Ahmad

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  • Thank you for that, and for the link to the other quesion asking if ruqya is prohibited.
    – Lesley
    Aug 16 at 15:47
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Asalaam alaikum

i believe the last part of your question needs to be answered first. you have asked under whose authority are the jinns cast out?.

Allah the mighty and sublime says in the quran;

....and Allah has power over all things.[48:21]

And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah has power over all things.[3:189]

there are numerous other verses that states that it is Allah with Whom all power is and all the authority. no one, no created being can do anything except by the will of Allah. the jinns are cast out also by the will and might of Allah (swt). to believe otherwise is a form of 'shirk'. may Allah protect you and me from such.

exorcism (ruqya) is allowed in islam but we must understand though there are numerous authentic hadith relating to performing/reciting ruqya, we must always try to follow and adhere to what the prophet (P.B.U.H) has thaught us to be the best way in doing something.

Narrated Ibn `Abbas:

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Seventy thousand people of my followers will enter Paradise without accounts, and they are those who do not practice Ar-Ruqya and do not see an evil omen in things, and put their trust in their Lord.

Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 6472

these people will enter paradise without being brought to account because of the perfection of their Tawheed, their complete trust in Allah and their independence from people. the one who asks for ruqyah from others is not included in that seventy thousand who will enter paradise without being brought to account, due to the shortfall in their trust in Allah, because asking for ruqyah involves a kind of humiliation and need of the raaqi (the one who performs ruqyah), and part of complete trust and Tawheed is that the muslim should not ask people for anything.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

These people are praised because they did not ask anyone to recite ruqyah for them, and ruqyah is a type of du’aa’, so they did not ask others to pray for them. The phrase “and they did not recite ruqyah” which is mentioned in the hadeeth is a mistake (on the part of the narrator), for their ruqyah for themselves and for others is a good deed. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited ruqyah for himself and for others; he did not ask anyone to recite ruqyah for him. His reciting ruqyah for himself and others was like his making du’aa’ for himself and others; this is something that is enjoined, for all the Prophets asked of Allaah and prayed to Him, as Allaah tells us in the stories of Adam, Ibraaheem, Moosa and others.

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 1/182

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

This hadeeth indicates that not asking is better, just as not using cautery is better, but when there is a need for it, there is nothing wrong with asking for ruqyah or using cautery, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) told ‘Aa’ishah to ask for ruqyah for an illness that had befallen her, and he told the mother of the children of Ja‘far ibn Abi Taalib (may Allah be pleased with him), whose name was Asma’ bint ‘Umays (may Allah be pleased with her), to seek ruqyah for them. This indicates that there is nothing wrong with that when there is a need to ask for ruqyah. End quote.

Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn Baaz, 25/118-119

it is always better to perform ruqya on yourself as it is a type of dua and as believers, dua is the strongest weapon we have against anything. in the same vein as the saying 'prevention is better than cure', islam teaches us the best practice. reciting the daily zikr, performing the obligatory duties, avoiding sin, much remebrance of Allah and having complete trust in Allah is the protection and remedy we can have against anything.

Allah knows best.

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