Pessimism: Its ruling, types and how to rid it
Fatwa No: 14326

  • Fatwa Date:28-2-2011 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 25, 1432
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Question

What is the ruling of Islam on Pessimism (believing in evil omens) and how can one get rid of this?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

Belief in evil omens is pessimism. Fundamentally, it refers to any disliked saying, act or scene. In the past, people would augur ill of some animals; for instance, they used to monitor gazelles and birds before going on their journeys; if they moved towards the right, they would take that to be a good omen and go for their journey. However, if they went left, they would believe that to be an evil omen and would not dare to travel, and this caused them to miss many opportunities. The Islamic Sharee‘ah has prohibited pessimism and even considered it a type of Shirk (polytheism). This is supported by the Hadeeth where the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, mentioned that pessimism is Shirk. [Abu Daawood, Ibn Maajah and Imaam Ahmad]

In fact, pessimism could be major Shirk; that is, it could result in apostasy, if one thinks that what he believes to be an evil omen can in itself harm him or bring him benefit. It could also be minor Shirk; that is, a grave sin but not one which results in apostasy, if one believes that Allaah is the only One who can harm him or bring him benefit but that what he believes to be an evil omen is a cause for that harm or benefit. This is considered Shirk as well because of considering something a cause, which has not been made a cause by Allaah The Almighty. The narrator of the previously mentioned Hadeeth, ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him informed that the best method for getting rid of pessimism is relying on Allaah The Almighty and putting one’s trust in Him.

A person will not to be blamed or held accountable for any thoughts of the sort that occur to his mind as long as he does not act upon them.

Allaah Knows best.

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