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Divining arrowsBy Choosa
Allah Almighty says, "O believers! wine (khamr), games of chance (maisir), idols (ansab), and divining arrows (azlam) are a clear abomination (rijs) and some of satans work.
One example and an explanation of 'divining arrows' is as follows:
Hubal was the name of one of the most respected images/idols which belonged
to the tribes of the Quraysh. Hubal was placed in the middle of the Kaba in
pre Islamic times.
Alongside Hubal there were 7 arrows, each of which contained some words:
- One was marked 'bloodwit'. When the people disputed about who should play
the bloodwit they cast lots with the seven arrows and he on whom the arrow
fell would have to pay the money
- One was marked 'yes' and another 'no', and they acted accordingly on the
matter on which the oracle had been invoked.
- Another was marked 'of you'; another 'mulsaq' (not a member of the tribe),
another 'not of you'.
- One was marked 'water'. If they wanted to dig for water they cast losts
containing this arrow and wherever it came forth they would start to dig.
If they wanted to circumcise a boy, or make a marriage, or bury a body, or
doubted someone's genealogy, they took him to Hubal with 100 dirhams and
slaughtered a camel and then gave this to the priest who would cast the
lots; then they would bring near the man saying, 'O our god (i.e. Hubal),
this is A the son of B with whom we intend to do so and so, so show us the
right course of action concerning him'.
Then they would say to the man who would cast (throw) the arrows, 'Cast!' and if it came out 'of you' then he would be a member of the tribe.
- If it came out 'not of you' he was an ally. And if it came out 'mulsaq' he had no blood relation to them and was not an ally.
- Where 'yes' came out, they would accept that, and when 'no' came out they would defer the matter for a year.
They would conduct their affairs according to the decision of the arrows.
What Allah Almighty did was prohibit this custom of making decisions based on how an arrow would fall. There are two aspects to consider, first the worship of an idol which is haram. The second, to make decisions based on chance opposed to basing decisions by evaluating the best course of action. And may Allah Almighty have mercy and guide us all, amen.