Question and Answer: Ruling of Hypnotism
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh
Ustadz, recently, there are many magic show broadcasted on TV, for example :The Master, Uya Emang Kuya, Demian Show, etc. Yesterday (when I was browsing the channels), I’ve got a glimpse of the show Uya Emang Kuya. One of the segments was when he hypnotized a teenager (age 14 years old) who was shopping with her mother at the mall. When the teenager fell asleep (under the hypnoses), she was asked about various things, and she admitted that she is in a romantic relationship with her boyfriend and (pardon) has kissed and hugged him. But when she woke up from the hypnoses, and was asked about the same things,she denied having any relationship before, moreover kissing and hugging any boy.
I was reminded that sometimes ago, there was a discussion broadcast on Metro TV channel regarding hypnotism, and how it could be used by the police to make the arrested terrorists to confess to their crime. Usually, they would be placed under hypnosis, losing consciousness, and will be asked about many things.
I’ve also heard that there are kinds of treatment for disease by hypnosis, as well as diet by hypnosis.
Thus, I’m curious about several things:
- What is the ruling of hypnotism?
- What is the ruling of hypnotism if it is used for good purposes (interrogating terrorist, treatment, diet)?
May Allaah reward you with goodness for your kind answer.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh
Nelly Tsabita Hanifah
Wa’alaikumussalam warohmatullah wabarokatuh
All praise be to Allaah, peace and prayer may be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his companions.
Next, recently, there are many talks about hypnotic therapy or hypnosis. It further causes the public to be divided into two large groups, one that support (supports) it, and one that against it (opposes).
To shed a light for readers here, so that they won’t be confused as to how to deal with this hypnotic therapy, I feel the need to give a little clarification on this topic.
Brothers, it is important to know that generally, the hypnotism that exists in our society is classified into two categories:
- Classical hypnosis
Classical hypnosis is an ability to penetrate and manipulate others mind, or even his or her own mind, which is acquired from various methods that are laden with occultism/mysticism, such as through offerings, burning myrrh or incense, using certain potions, and so on. There is no doubt that such deeds are against Islamic principles, and even worse, can drag the perpetrator to plunge into the abyss of shirk towards Allaah the Exalted. It is because its highly likely among the ritual performed, its by offering sacrifices or offerings to satan. Which is, of course, a form of shirk that can threaten the Islamic state of the perpetrator.
وَيَوْمَ يِحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ قَدِ اسْتَكْثَرْتُم مِّنَ الإِنسِ وَقَالَ أَوْلِيَآؤُهُم مِّنَ الإِنسِ رَبَّنَا اسْتَمْتَعَ بَعْضُنَا بِبَعْضٍ وَبَلَغْنَا أَجَلَنَا الَّذِيَ أَجَّلْتَ لَنَا قَالَ النَّارُ مَثْوَاكُمْ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا إِلاَّ مَا شَاء اللّهُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَليمٌ
And on the Day when He shall muster them all together, He will say (to the jinn): “O assembly of jinn, you have seduced a good many of mankind.” And their companions from among the humans will say: “Our Lord! We did indeed benefit from one another and now have reached the term which You had set for us.” Thereupon Allah will say: “The Fire is now your abode, and therein you shall abide.” Only those whom Allah wills shall escape the Fire. Surely your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing. (Chapter Al An’am/The Cattle:128)
- Modern hypnosis
Scholarts whose expertise is Qur’an interpretation said that genie and humans can use each other for their own benefit. The genie/jinn uses men through the offerings they give to them, and in return, men use the genie by reaping many special services that it gives to its worshipper. (See: At Tamhid Syarah Kitab At Tauhid, page 374)
However, if the potions used by the hypnotizer are merely concoction made from certain aromatic leaves that can influence people’s mental state, such as marijuana or the likes of it, then the hypnosis is only ruled as unlawful deed that doesn’t expel the doer from Islam.
- Modern Hypnosis
Modern hypnosis is the one that is currently trending, improved and taught by various training institutes in society. As far as I know, the so called modern hypnosis is an improvement and management of the functions of the right and the left brain (right and left hemispheres of the brain). The practitioners name the left brain as the conscious mind, whereas the right brain is the subconscious mind.
Through certain training and exercise, one could optimize the function of his right brain, thus it can work in balance with his left mind, in subconscious state.
The modern day scientists are succeeded in learning about the working pattern of the two hemispheres of the human brain; the right and the left. They explained that the left brain is programmed to think about logical things, and typically, it always work under our conscience. Whereas the right brain functions as the one responsible for processing everything is related to taste, art, and serves as a data bank for various data, events, and feelings that men have been through.
Usually, the right brain works under our conscience. For example, when you were in elementary, junior high, and highschool, you light have a lot of friends. However, if now I ask you to mention 50 of your elementary school friends, 50 of your junior high school friends, and 50 of your highschool friends, I’m sure that you’ll be quite troubled to answer it. However, simply by meeting and seeing them in person, you’ll instantly and spontaneously remember, not only their names, but also many of your past experiences with them, as if you are back to your past. Isn’t it?
Where are those datas of your friend being stored? According to the experts, those days are stored in your right brain, or what the hypnotherapists called as the subconscious brain.
This phenomenon is what the hypnotherapists use; they tinker with the functions of the right and the left brain, and attempt to use various bitter or sweet memories that their patients had gone through. That is because sometimes, disease that afflicts a person might be caused by certain trauma or perception regarding unpleasant things. A hypnotherapist works by attempting to change the patient’s mind map regarding the traumatic incident, or the causes of his disease, or probably by transferring the brainwork, which previously centered at the right brain, into the left brain, or vice versa.
For example: If you suffer from stomach irritation, it may cause you to be afraid of consuming chilli, since you believe that chilli can trigger your stomach irritation. Or if you suffer from hypertension, you might be afraid of consuming roasted lamb satay, because you believe that lamb meat can increase your blood pressure which will result in fatality. Isn’t it?
But what do you think and feel, if you know that the vitamin C in chilli is more abundant compared to the yellow colored fruits? And it is believed that vitamin C can boost your immune system to fight against diseases. Just as how the cholesterol contained in lamb meat is the lowest compared to beef, camel meat, ox, and horse meat? Will you still avoid the lamb meat and consume beef?
That is, for example, a brief picture and simple example of how hypnotherapy works.
One day, I’ve traveled out of town with my family, using a town-to-town public bus. In the middle of the journey, my eldest daughter who was 6.5 years old complained that she was dizzy, and nauseous. Since the destined town was still quite far, I started to panic. I tried to massage her back and neck, rub her body with oleum cajuputi, and put her to drink a little dose of anti-motion sickness syrup. However, it didn’t work. I became increasingly panicked, worried that she might suffer from the real motion sickness and ended up vomiting, which would be very troublesome. After a while, I remembered that human brain consists of two hemispheres; the right and the left, and both work in crossing pattern. The right brain is responsible for the left bodily function, and the left brain controls the right bodily function.
Also, as explained before, the left brain focuses on logical problems, whereas the right brain is largely connected to emotion/feeling and art-related matter.
Using this modern invention about human brain’s working pattern, I tried to connect the dizziness that my daughter suffered with human brain’s working pattern. I ordered my daughter to close her left nostril using her left hand, and I asked her to count backwards, from 30 to 29, 28, and so on. This backwards counting method was surely quite hard for a child, thus forcing the focus of her brain, which was currently feeling dizzy on its right part, to the left brain which is responsible for logical matter in order to solve the counting. The result was magnificent, she was just reaching number 18 in her backwards counting when she said that her dizziness was gone, and her face was reenergized and happy again. Maybe this personal experience can serve as another simple example that illustrates how the modern hypnotherapists work.
However, since this science is the result of human’s research and it is still improved by the general public, to each her and his own; moreover, on its practical level, it’s often connected to myth, ideology, or local tradition as a means to enter the patient’s subconscious realm (his or her right brain memory), as a result, there are many differences and even possibly many things that are against Islamic principles, especially if the ones improving and practicing it are the disbelievers, or those who do not understand Islamic principles in creed and beliefs. This is the reason why many of the scholars forbid this science. Most of the hypnotherapists do not understand Islamic beliefs, thus in real practice, they often tell or do things that aren’t in line with Islamic teaching; hence, many of the current scholars forbid hypnotism.
It is worsened by the fact that in hypnotism, there is something known as filter for every “suggestion” or whispering or input that is conveyed to the patient. This filter comes in various kinds, from language filter, to ideology, emotional, tradition, mindset, etc. it is possible that in this step, a hypnotherapist could alter or influence your ideology, in order to bring you to the state that he or she wishes.
For example: in order to enter your subconscious realm (or the right brain), a hypnotherapist may whisper to you that friday night is a haunted night, there are ghosts venturing around, ones with terrifying look, with giant fangs, red eyes, furry body, long and sharp nails, their voices are loud and harsh, and their smells are foul. He deliberately uses these words in order to open a door to your subconscious realm. If, when you hear this horrible depiction of ghosts, your demeanor change and you look terrified, it means that the door to your subconscious real is wide open, and in the next step, the hypnotherapist could whisper various “suggestions” or words that are aimed to control your mind, nerve, and body.
As a believer, you’d say that what the hypnotherapist does above contains mythical or shirk elements, thus you’ll judge that the deed is unlawful, or is a form, of shirk.
But if the hypnotherapist is a person who believes in the oneness of Allaah, he could easily alter the words used in the paragraph above. For example, imagine that right now, the angel of death is already above your head, his appearance is terrifying, his voice is thunderous, and behind him there are other angels in line bringing a fabric from hell that is very coarse and foul smelled. Then the angel of death shouts out to you, “O evil soul, come out towards the hatred and wrath of Allaah.”
Undoubtedly, upon hearing such words, as a believer, you’ll say, “These are honest words and they are alright, thus the hypnosis or hypnotherapy that he does is alright and unproblematic at all.”
It is similar to the branch of martial arts named Kung Fu; some developed it only as the skills of hand, feet, and reflex movements, and some developed it together with certain magical element, thus the results and the rulings are different. This is the reason why some scholars in the past forbade Kung Fu; however, today, that past fatwa is abolished along with the development and understanding of public regarding the essence of kung fu itself.
Brothers! This division of hypnotherapy or hypnosis into two categories may often just a theoretical, because it is possible that in reality many of the hypnotherapists use them interchangeably, or even mix these classic and modern types of hypnosis. Even so, we are not allowed to refuse the possibility that there are some among them who do not mix the methods, and merely use the second method that rely only in using the work of the right and the left brain. (The conscious and subconscious brains).
Therefore, I can’t give a definite answer regarding hypnotherapy or hypnosis or hypnotism that exist in our society, but it is preferable for every occasion and every hypnotherapist is analyzed independently, in order to issue the right ruling based on their nature. If there are things that against religious principles, then we should forbid them according to its level of deviation. Contrary to it, if it has nothing that against religious principles, then such practice and science are alright.
May this short answer help to unveil the ruling regarding hypnotherapy that is starting to spread and practiced in society. And Allaah knows best.
Answered by: Ustadz Dr. Muhammad Arifin Badri, M.A.
Today, many people use hypnosis/hypnotism as part of their businesses. This answer given by honorable ustadz is not a general answer to hypnotism as a whole, nor that it is a justification towards business that use hypnotism in it. To verify the ruling of hypnotism from shariah perspective, it has to be done by examining the practice of hypnotism case by case independently.