umm Abdillah, Radio Islam Programming | Friday, 13 March 2015 | 21 Jumadal Ula 1436 H
The fear of Friday the 13th is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia. The word comes from Frigga, the name of the Norse goddess after whom Friday is named, and triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number thirteen. According to a study by the North Carolina Stress Management Center, an estimated 17 to 21 million people suffer from a fear of Friday the 13th in the US alone. A study in the British Medical Journal, showed a significant level of traffic-related incidences on Friday the 13th as opposed to other random Fridays in the UK. What’s up with this? umm Abdillah takes a look.
The origins of the lie
The origin of superstition surrounding Friday the 13th is unclear. There is evidently no written mention of it before the 19th century. However it is said to date back to at least 1700 BC.
There has been a longstanding myth that if 13 people dine together, one will die within a year. The myth comes from the Christian faith - the Last Supper, when Jesus dined with the 12 Apostles prior to his death. Another source is the Norse myth, in which 11 close friends of the god Odin dined together only to have the 12-person party gatecrashed by a 13th person - Loki, the god of evil and turmoil.
Friday, as a day of the week has also long been considered an unlucky day by some. Some say it’s because Jesus was allegedly crucified on a Friday according to some Christian tradition. Another states that the superstition regarding Friday comes from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, where Friday is considered a day of misfortune and ill luck. In numerous publications Friday the 13th was outlined as an unlucky day to take a trip or to begin a new project etc.
Friday is the Eid of a Believer – Trash the superstitions
Nabi (saw) said: “Allah led those who came before us away from the day of Friday. The Jews had Saturday, and the Christians had Sunday. Then Allah brought our ummah and guided us to Friday…” [Hadith – Muslim]
It was narrated in an explanation of the above hadith that Musa (as) enjoined Friday upon the Yahood as their special day and told them of its virtues, but they disputed with him and argued that Saturday was better, and it was said to him, ‘Let them be.’ [Imam Nawawi]
In another hadith Nabi (saw) said: “Friday is the master of days, and the greatest of them before Allah. It is greater before Allah than the day of al-Adha and the day of al-Fitr…” [ibn Majah]
Nabi (saw) also said: “If any Muslim dies on a Friday or the night preceding Friday, Allah will protect him from trials of the grave.” [Tirmidhi]
Setting the record straight
The Prophet (saw) forbade superstitions and belief in bad luck omens. He explained to us it is a kind of shirk (associating others with Allah) that detracts from Tawheed. Superstition is something that the Shaytaan uses to create fear. In fact, we’ve rather been encouraged to rather seek out good omens and good symbolism.
Once, mention of tiyarah (superstitious omens) was made in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (saw), and he said: “The best of it (omens/tokens) is fa’l (optimism, belief in good omens). Superstition should not prevent a Muslim from going ahead (with his plans). If any one of you sees something that he dislikes, let him say:
‘Allaahumma laa ya’ti bil-hasanaat illa anta, wa laa yadfa’al-sayi’aat illa anta, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa bika.’
O Allah, no one brings good things but You, and no one wards off bad things but You, and there is no power and no strength except with You.” [Abu Daud]
But, Sometimes we have those thoughts…
The blessed Sahabi, ibn Mas’ud (ra) once said: “Even though tiyarah – superstitious beliefs are shirk, there is none among us (who does not feel such things). However Allah takes those feelings away by means of tawakkul (putting one's trust in Him).” [Abu Daud/Tirmidhi]
His words “but there is no one among us (who does not feel such things) but Allah takes that feeling away by means of tawakkul (putting one's trust in Him)” means that there is no human among us who does not some superstitious feelings in his heart from time to time, but Allah takes them away from his heart by means of trust in Him, and delegating one’s affairs to Him.
Finally, Imam Ahmad narrated in his Musnad that our beloved Nabi (saw) said:
“Whoever lets tiyarah (superstition) stop him from doing something is guilty of shirk.” The Sahaba asked: “What is the kafaarah (expiation) for that?” viz. how can we overcome that if it does happen? Rasulullah (saw) responded: “Say:
Allaahumma, la khayra illaa khayruka, wa laa tayra illaa tayruka, wa laa ilaaha ghayruka.
“O Allah, there is no good except Your good, no birds (of evil omen) except Yours, and there is no god beside You.”
Ameen, ya Rabbal Aaalameen.
Wa billah at-taufeeq.