Islamic perspective on Neopaganism/Wicca/Witchcraft

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by nsaid, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. nsaid

    nsaid New Member

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    Greetings to all.

    I am writing a research paper on interfaith dialogue. Actually, it doesn't only explore the possibilities for dialogue between religions, but also between religions and what would be characterised as "spiritualities".

    The dialogue between the three Abrahamic religions has been tackled by many and a lot of research material is readily available, which is why I prefer to focus on exploring possibilities for dialogue between some more "unusual" combinations. One of them is Islam vs. Neopaganism/Wicca/Witchcraft.

    Before writing anything else, I would like to explain what these denominations mean from their "inner" point of view (as I find it extremely important to offer a perspective of those who practice, not of those who only theoretize and very often judge based on their own set of beliefs). In my initial Internet research I discovered that much too often the reason of quarrels is a misunderstanding of the meaning of these three concept.

    Also, my role in this research is that of a mediator, a third party which belongs neither to the Islamic nor the Neopagan/Wiccan/Witchcraft tradition. Therefore the views that I present in the discussion are not mine but the views and opinions gathered from the practitioners through interviews and correspondence.

    Neopaganism (or just paganism, "neo" refers to the revival of the old ways) is a spirituality, not a religion. It is based on revering nature and its cycles, its fertility and its dualistic nature. God and Goddess in paganism are perceived in most cases as archetypes and anthropomorphized principles we find in the nature, the feminine and the masculine. Paganism is not a fixed set of beliefs, it is open to dynamic reinterpretation. What most of the pagans share is celebrating the important points in the Earth's yearly cycle such as solstices and equinoxes, perceiving them important from the point of view of changing the seasons and influencing agricultural calendar.

    Wicca is often defined by their practitioners as a religion based on Neopagan values (even though opinion may differ from person to person). Despite a large number of different traditions, each has a more of less fixed set of beliefs. Wicca is only one of the religions and spiritualities which evolved from the Neopagan values. It could be said it is a revival of the old pagan spiritualities with some modern alterations.

    Witchcraft is the practice of magic. Magic is defined as using your intention to shape energy with the aim of bringing about a certain result. Practitioners of Witchcraft say there is no black or white magic, the energy is one and all-pervading, it is your intention that shapes it. Witchcraft is not a spirituality nor religion. It is not connected with belief. It is a mere practice. Most of the Pagans and Wiccans do not practice Witchcraft. This was most often the point of misunderstanding in debates between the people belonging to Islamic tradition and people belonging to Neopagan/Wiccan traditions. According to my research, in 100% of cases the equivalence sign was put between the three of these, which cannot be further from the truth, according to the Neopagans/Wiccans.

    Having this is mind, I would kindly request anyone from the Islamic tradition to offer his/her religion's perspective towards Neopaganism/Wicca/Witchcraft. As the topic of my research paper is dialogue, I would much appreciate any points in that direction.

    Thank you very much.
     
  2. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    We have few Muslim posters here and it's likely they wouldn't see this here. If you post on the Islamic section a link to this thread you may get better results.

    Interesting perspective also.
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Since you put this in the Comparative Religion section (good placement) I'd suggest you go to the Islam forum and post this link there, and even PM a few Muslims and ask them to comment on it.

    (edit, oops cross post...that is what happens when start a response and then do other things for a few minutes...)

    I do look forward to the discussion/comments that ensue.
     
  4. nsaid

    nsaid New Member

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    Thanks a lot!
     
  5. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Great minds, wil.
    Best of luck, nsaid.
     
  6. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    Just so you don't give up, I'll try to work with you on this once I get home. Currently I'm at work on break and do not have the time to go into a discussion on such things.

    I am probably not your average newsworthy Muslim however as I am not Arab and I Reverted/Converted from Christianity somewhat recently.
     
  7. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    First off, I would like to, to a minor degree, disagree with you that Paganism is not a religion. It is in fact a collection (or a number) of religions with a few common factors. You could argue that Wiccan is one of said religions in which there is a belief that all things in nature have a god associated with them. Some older versions of Paganism are the Greek/Roman Theology, Nordic Theology, and Animalism. Generally "Pagan" in history has been synonymous with Polytheism. But due to that not being your question of is Pagan a religion/etc. I'll digress and continue with your definitions.

    From an Islamic perspective, Paganism in general is bad. Whether you are saying there are multiple gods, or there are parts of a single god working independently to preserve nature or whatnot. The Polytheists are mentioned many times in the Quran, and many translations use Pagans as that is what the groups were known to outsiders as. These Pagans sometimes believed in Allah (SAW) but also many partners or lesser gods. This is one of the first defined cases of shirk mentioned in the Quran. Anyone who associates partners with Allah (SAW) is committing shirk. Many Christians now are guilty of shirk as they believe Jesus (PBUH) is his son (in the literal sense) and that he himself is both part of Allah (or God in the Bible) and having a separate or shared will. This leads many uneducated Muslims to refer to Christianity as a polytheistic or Pagan religion.

    The Wiccan religion believes in idol worship, deities (multiple), and (correct me if I am wrong) that people are capable of changing or resisting the will of the deities. I am basing these things off a single individual who I knew personally. To any monotheistic ideology this is not acceptable. In the Quran "There is no god but Allah" and "There is no god worthy of worship except Allah". In the Bible (English, KJV) "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Idol worship is also forbidden in both texts and therefore can be concluded that is is not acceptable in any Abrahamic Faith.

    Witchcraft, you define as use of magic, most would define as use of dark magic. Once again I'll digress to your definition. Witchcraft is forbidden in Islam. It is considered a tool of the unbelievers and an art of deception. Whether contemporary magic (truly just deception) or spell magic (false miracles) it can be easily found in all Abrahamic faiths that it is expressly forbidden by Allah (SAW).

    In truth all Abrahamic religions' texts forbid any and all of these mentioned. Islam is no different than Judaism or Christianity in reference to the texts on the topics you ask about. There are differences in how Pagans/Polytheists should be handled, but that tends to start a fight. So I will just mention some of the things mentioned about Pagans/Polytheists in the Quran.
    I put this one first because people tend to get stuck on the 9:5, but for fairness sake I will post 9:4-5 with a small intercession of context.
    The treaty mentioned here was one that Mohammed (PBUH) had made with the Pagans/Polytheists many times to allow him and his followers into the city for Hajj. Allah tells him to honor the pact. After the pact is fulfilled he is allowing Mohammed (PBUH) to continue the ongoing war/fued. Now, not all polytheists wanted to fight Mohammed (PBUH) so Allah (SAW) commanded Mohammed to be merciful and allow anyone who wished refuge or escape or surrender to leave in peace, and offer them protection if they so request.

    This isn't the only account of Pagan/Polytheists being mentioned, but it shows 1 major aspect of your question. Perspective. Pagans/Polytheists are wrong. But if they are peaceful, you must be peaceful to them.

    I am still a bit crunched for time, so I must leave it here. If you would like more information, or need more specific information please ask it and I or one of the other brothers or sisters here will be happy to try to answer.

    Salaam Allahikum
     
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  8. Amica

    Amica Member

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    I am a Muslim and based on the Islamic teachings any type of witchcraft is forbidden sin. According to the Qur'an, seeking assistance from spiritual being (spirits/jinns/demons/ or such to do one's bidding) goes against what God SWT has ordained and may lead people to believe in God's creations rather than God. Black magic is mentioned in the Qur'an as brought to humanity by demons and Muslims are instructed to seek protection against it.

    "And they followed what the devils recited upon the kingdom of Solomon. Solomon did not disbelieve, but the devils disbelieved. They taught the people sorcery, and what was brought down upon the two angels in Babylon, Haroot and Maroot. Both of them did not teach anyone without saying: "We are a test, so do not disbelieve." Then they learn from them what they use to separate a person from their partner, but they do not harm anyone with it except by God’s permission, and they learn what harms them and does not benefit them, and they know that whoever buys into that will have no share in the Hereafter. Miserable indeed is what they sell themselves for, if they only knew." Qur'an 2:102

    "And (I also seek refuge in God) from the evil of those who blow on knots" (a practice of witchcraft) Qur'an 113:4.

    Polytheism, according to Islam, is worshiping/revering God's creation rather than God. Such, in Islam, is one of the worst sins and one that God promised never to forgive:

    “Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with him, and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases, and whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin.”(Qur'an 4:48)

    “Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust.”(Surah al-Mā’ida 5:72)

    “Do not associate aught with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous inequity.”(Surah Luqmān 31:13).

    “And whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin.”(Surah an-Nisā’ 4:48)

    Among His Signs are the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon. Adore not the sun and the moon, but adore Allah, Who created them, if it is Him ye wish to serve.
    ( سورة فصلت , Fussilat, Chapter 41, Verse 37).


     
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  9. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    :) much more detailed, but I would like to respectfully add to the point of Allah not forgiving the sin of believing in other gods/creations, This applies to people who have received the Quran (and purportedly according to some, all People of the Book) as Conversion/Reversion can wipe away all sins. If you do not know the truth and then discover it why would you be punished for rejecting that belief.

    All in all nice post, hopefully the OP is still reading.
     
  10. Spirt

    Spirt New Member

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    Hi, I am new here but I have been questioning things a lot lately and I find my self drawn to Islamic values but I am highly protective of women and have a strong tie to Wicca especially Freya. I found through some research that she has a counterpart named Allat. Then as I began to think about it spirits really dont have a gender but perhaps for people who have been abused by Christian male leaders aka phonies ... its difficult to embrace another world view that centers on the masculine. I am straight so nothing like that and quite chaste. Its just that I am so close to if not already embraced Allah but difficulty moving past the some what negative record of Islam with women's rights. Have you any thoughts on that? Especially Allat?
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Oh where is MuslimWoman when you need her.... Hopefully one of the other women will pipe up, or some of the Muslim men will ask one to respond
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi nsaid —
    Welcome to IO. Not a Muslim, so nothing to offer there, but as someone who takes an interest in the history of religions, I thought I'd throw a few comments as asides. Feel free to ignore them ...
    That distinction is quite modern, and based on a dubious philosophical premise.

    In more modern times, the cultural meme 'I'm spiritual, but not religious' has become quite popular in consumer culture. I won't bother critiquing it here, a web search will supply the pros and cons. Suffice to say there's little historical support for the idea, and none within the religious traditions.

    Well 'pagan' derives from the Latin 'paganus' meaning 'villager' or 'rustic'. Pagan traditions generally refer to pre-Christian (or in your case pre-Moslem) native traditions, which were very much religions. The Druids, for example, were a powerful religious force in their day.

    As for the neopagan revivals of the early-mid 20th century, such as Wicca ... mostly romantic invention.

    Oh, I rather think it was and is. It's theories are garnered from the various religious and Hermetic traditions.

    Good luck!
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    . Doesn't that make sense? The people that say that eschew religion!

    These are the folks that in modern, not historical times, have had enough of the tradition and dogma, enough of the edifices and ritual.... They don't dance to the collective drummer.
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Exactly.

    Yes, I rather think they think that ...



    People for whom the meme has relevance usually – and I say usually, not always – regard such ideas as 'freedom', 'autonomy', 'happiness', 'fulfilment',etc., as having access to the greatest number of choices, the ability to free-range over whatever is on offer.

    The wise man knows the opposite is true.

    Invariably, such freedom is a quantitative measure. The assumption is that anything that limits is therefore bad.

    They've had enough of 'tradition' and 'dogma' and replace them with their own subjective and often untried truths (or someone else's nostrums). Ditto for edifices and ditto for rituals ... and when you look at them, they're all doing the same thing ...
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I don't mean to be down on folks, but it is invariably true that most people who critique religion have a very shallow understanding of what they're critiquing, or of human nature, it seems to me ...

    +++

    If you look at people like Matthieu Ricard, the Buddhist commentator, he has liken the mind to a monkey on the loose.

    Now while I agree that, for example, mindfulness meditation, within a Buddhist context, can open vistas of the spiritual domain, as indeed can any orthodox practice of any tradition, removed from the tradition, that is not the case at all, much as people might convince themselves it is.

    Neurological research has shown that one can achieve a certain peace by the practice of meditation, but the same can be achieved by reading poetry, listening to calming music, observing the more romantic aspects of nature, etc...

    But the fact is that meditation, drumming, chanting, yoga, tai-chi, etc., are spiritual disciplines which are repackaged without the 'dogma, edifice and ritual' – often the very vehicles of their spiritual efficacy – and marketed to the west as an ersatz spiritual practice, or simply a feel-good set of exercises with physical benefits.

    As ever, it's not what you do, it's why you do it ...

    I find it very hard not to read the spiritual/religious meme as 'I'm doing it my, way, on my terms, as suits me' ... with the assumption that the Gods are obliged to fall in line ...
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Everyone has their own path..:. As you have had yours. Do you not believe that you benefitted from your experiences and knowledge gained from exploration and your time away from Catholicism? You would not have that wife or girls without it.... All the "mistakes" we have made have led us to where we are, rejoice in it, and don't deny, judge, or degrade those that are still on theirs!

    Luv ya brother
     
  17. Spirt

    Spirt New Member

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    I was raised in Freyan type care. That means chastity and courage. I see Spirits as entities that help us and not bow down and worship. I would love to hear from some one who is Islam about the ideas of Indigenous religion ... ie pre Monotheism... Is polytheism accepted in some Islamic circles? Is it prohibited? Is it overlooked for the good that it does? I know what Christians believe becasue I grew up in such a country.
     
  18. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    This is a very odd response for me. First: It's results oriented thinking. Do you think things are good now? Then every choice you have made is ultimately good. If things are bad, has every choice I've mad been ultimately been bad?

    Second: The criticism was that people reject something they don't really understand, if this is true then it should be said, no? What if Thomas is there on the side of peoples paths making people question how much they really understand Catholicism. Aren't we all here standing on the side of each others paths!?

    Wait...if Thomas isn't suppose to point out others flaws...should you also not point out the flaws you see in Thomas? Stop degrading him, man!
     
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  19. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Withdrawn ... ACOT said it ...
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    You are correct...I am not standing on the side of the road... I am pointing out what I see on the path ....directly. Honoring who you are...and the 'mistakes' you made to get here! Yes they are all good...we are all moving toward the good...

    The world is the best it has ever been...we all know that...it is just we are living today...and have issues comparing to what it was 100 or 1000 years ago.
     

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