It has become popular in modern times to deny that magic has any reality to it at all. Popular stories about the effects of magic are explained away as the result of psychological disorders like hysteria, etc., and it is pointed out that magic only affects those who believe in it . Magical feats are all described as hoaxes based on a series of illusions and tricks.
In spite of the fact that Islam rejects the effects of charms and amulets with regards to the prevention of misfortune and the attraction of good fortune, it does recognize that some aspects of magic are real. It is true that much of the magic around today is a product of trickery involving gadgets cleverly designed to deceive audiences. But, just as in the case of fortunetelling, there exist around the world some people who practice real magic resulting from their contact with the Shayateen (the evil Jinns ). Before looking at the Jinn and their abilities, let us look at the evidence from the Qur’an and the Sunnah used to support the position that Islam recognizes a reality to some manifestations of magic. Such an approach to the subject is essential, as the ultimate criterion for truth and falsehood in Islam lies in these two sources of divine revelation to man.
“They follow what the shayateen [devil] related concerning Solomon’s kingdom , but it was not Solomon who disbelieved, it was the devils who disbelieved by teaching the people magic and that which was revealed to the angels Haroot and Maroot in Babylon. Although the two would not teach anyone anything until after they warned them saying , ‘ Verily we are only a test and trial, so do not commit disbelief ’ But the people went ahead and learned from the two of them what could cause the separation of a man from his wife.
However, they could not harm anyone with it except by Allah’s permission. They [in fact] learned what would only harm their own souls and not benefit them. Verily they knew that whoever purchases it would have no share in the Hereafter. Evil indeed was the price for which they sold their own souls if they only knew.”
(Qur’an 2; 102)
Eternal residence in the fire could only be a punishment for an extremely haram action. The verse also proves that the magician as well as one who learns or teaches magic are kafirs (disbelievers). The phrase, “ Whoever purchases it” (i.e. acquires it) is general in its implications. It includes whoever acquires wealth from teaching it, whoever pays to leam it, or simply whoever has knowledge of it. Allah also referred to magic as being kufr (disbelief) in the phrase: “ Verily we are a test and a trial so do not commit disbelief”and “it was not Solomon who committed disbelief it was the devils who disbelieved by teaching the people magic" (Qur’an 2: 102).
The previously mentioned verse proves without a doubt that some magic has reality to it. There is also a hadith in Sahih al- Bukhari and other books of hadith which mentions that the Prophet (saws) himself suffered from the effects of magic:
“Zayd ibn Arqam reported that a Jew by the name of Labeeb ibn ‘Asam, cast a magical spell on the Prophet saws and when he began to suffer from it, Jibreel (Gabriel a.s) came to him and revealed the Mu ‘awwa-dhatan ( Surahs al-Falaq and an-Nas ) then said to him, ‘Surely it was a Jew who cast this spell on you and the magical charm is in a certain well’ The Prophet saws sent ‘ Ali ibn Abi Talib (May Allah be pleased with him) to go and fetch the charm. When he returned with it, the Prophet saws told him to unite the knots in it, one by one, and recite a verse from the Surahs with each. When he did so, the Prophet saws got up as if he had been released from being tied up .”
Collected by 'Abd ibn Humayd and al-Bayhaqi and much of it can also be
found in Bukhari, (Arabic-Eng.), vol. 7, Pp. 443-4, hadith no. 660 and
Muslim, (Eng. Trans.), vol. 3, Pp. 1192-3, hadith no. 5428.
From The Fundamentals of Tawheed by Dr Abu Aminah Bilal Philips, chapter on magic
So belief in the existence of magic, and in jinns, is part of Islam.