Deceitful acts of dervishes

Question:

What is the ruling on people who call themselves “dervish” who stab themselves with daggers and knives and do similar acts? Instead of invoking Allah, they invoke Al-Rifa’i. What is the Islamic ruling on that? Is there any evidence supporting the legality of their acts? May Allah reward you the best!

Answer:

These people are liars and imposters and their acts have no origin in Shari’ah (Islamic law). They use certain techniques that deceive people to think that they are stabbing themselves while they are not. However, they are deceiving people and bewitching their eyes, as Allah (Exalted be He) says about the sorcerers of Fir’awn; they struck terror into people and bewitch their eyes. Thus, this type of imposters and liars should not be believed in what they are doing since it has no basis. They are just liars deceiving people, whether they invoke Al-Rifa’i or anyone else.

It is major Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) to invoke Al-Rifa’i, ask the Messenger of Allah to grant victory or intercession or to call upon ‘Ali. Some people say, “O my master ‘Ali!”, “O Husayn”, “O so-and-so”, “O my master Al-Badawi” or the like. All of these invocations fall under major Shirk and worshiping other than Allah (Exalted be He). Other types are worshiping graves, Al-Lat and Al-‘Uzza (idols of pagan Arabs) and other false gods. This is major Shirk and we seek Allah’s Refuge from it.

Furthermore, those who stab themselves with daggers and knives are only deceiving people and their practice has no basis in religion. They are mere imposters and Muslim rulers in their countries should punish them with Ta’zir (discretionary punishment) and discipline them until they make Tawbah (repentance to Allah) from their evil deeds.