This is an interesting question, as it prompts the question of whether Mind Reading is Magic or not.
When discussing stage magic, we normally would include mentalists in that broader category of magic.
So it would be fair to say that Mentalism can be called Magic.
Just let me add that I could find no Fatwas or prohibition that related directly to Mind reading, so I have looked at those that refer to magic in general.
At this stage, we need to establish what certain Islamic terms mean, so we can be accurate in answering this question.
Too many people make pronouncements about Islam without first having an understanding of the subject.
Is Mind Reading allowed in Islam? Yes, Mind reading is allowed in Islam as long as the performer does not claim to have real Mind reading skills and admits openly that his performance is just an illusion and not real magic.
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The term Haram in Arabic means “Forbidden” so if something is described as Haram in Islam; they are saying it is not allowed, it is forbidden by Allah, and is one of the five Islamic Commandments.
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If something is considered “Haram”, then however good the intention, that activity is not allowed.
The term Fatwa in Islam is an official ruling or explanation on the point of Islamic law.
Qualified legal scholar hands out this ruling called a Mufti.
Fatwas are typically the result of a request for adjudication by an individual or an Islamic court.
Is Magic Haram?
Now we understand those terms we can look for any ruling (Fatwa) on the subject of Magic shows.
I found many with references to Magic, but most were in a totally different context to Stage Magic Shows.
I narrowed down my search and came up with two Fatwas on the subject.
The first Fatwa I came across was Number “82697.” Issued in March 2001.
This Fatwa was on the subject of watching Magic Shows.
It states that “Magic is a major sin” and then went on to add, “so attending Magic Shows is forbidden, as it helps magicians sin.”
This seemed rather confusing as most magicians go to great lengths to deny there is anything paranormal in their acts, so why would watching them be Haram?
I decided to pursue my investigations, as having read many Fatwas by now, I found most of them to be quite sensible in their approach.
I did manage to find another Fatwa which took a more enlightened approach, to magic shows.
Fatwa Number: “255790 ” which was issued in June 2014.
This Fatwa was on the topic of “Magic Shows and Islam.”
This followed a request from a Muslim that asked whether it was ok to buy a ticket for a charity show that included a magician.
The Fatwa responded to the question by stating:
“Perhaps what you are talking about is a show where there are illusions and sleight of hand tricks which may occasionally involve the deception of the eyes.”
This does not involve prohibitions such as lying, claiming some knowledge of the unseen, or other such acts that are forbidden.
We believe that is what these performers do, and if this is the case, then no harm is done watching these shows.
You can therefore buy tickets to the performance.
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To summarize what we have learned today.
Firstly, there is no specific ruling on Mind Reading within Islam.
Probably because nobody has yet asked a Mullah to rule on the subject, however, based on the Fatwa on Watching Magic Shows where it is stated that there is typically no claim of real magic, it is just illusion, which is ok, I think even if there were a ruling, it would not prohibit Mind reading.
If we look at Christianity, we see that most Christian denominations regard Magic as Satanic and condemn it.
Equally, I am sure that very few, if any, Christian scholars would regard a Mind reading Act as something evil.