Sorcery is a major sin because the sorcerer must necessarily disbelieve and the accursed Devil has no other motive for teaching a person witchcraft than that he might thereby ascribe associates to Allah.
Allah, the Almighty, says,
“Solomon did not disbelieve but Satan disbelieved, teaching men magic, and such things as came down at Babylon to the angels Harut and Marut. But neither of these taught anyone (such things) without saying, ‘We are only for trial,’ so do not blaspheme.’ They learned from them the means to sow discord between man and wife. But they could not harm anyone except by Allah’s permission. And they learned what harmed them, not what profited them. And they knew that the buyers of (magic) would have no share in the happiness of the Hereafter.” (AI- Baqarah: 102)
Thus, you might find some people who are astray delving in learning sorcery and thinking that it is just unlawful. Actually, they do not consider what they do as disbelief, but it is! They embark on learning all kinds of sorcery: Pure sorcery, increasing or decreasing the love between a man and a woman, making a man important and the like.
All of these practices are done by means of some unknown words, most of which lead to unbelief.
The penalty for a sorcerer is to be killed. This is because he is an unbeliever. The Prophet (pbuh) said,
“Avoid the seven heinous sins.”(Reported before)
And he mentioned sorcery.
“The penalty for a sorcerer is the sword.”(Tirmidhi)
Bijalah Ibn Abah related, ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) came to us one year before his death and said,
“Kill every sorcerer (male or female).”(Abu Dawud)
Wahb Ibn Munabbih said, “I read in a book: ‘Allah the Almighty says, ‘There is no god but Me. He is not of Me who practices sorcery, or asks someone to practice with him. The one who foretells or the foretold, the one who seeks an omen or for whom an omen is sought.” (Al- Haythami in “Majma’ Az-Zawa’id to Al-Bazzar)
Ali Ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said, A fortuneteller is a sorcerer, a sorcerer is a disbeliever.”
Abu Musa Al-Ashari, may Allah be pleased with him, related that the Prophet (pbuh) said,
“The drunkard, the one who severs the ties of kinship, and whoever believes in sorcery will not enter Paradise.”( Ahmad)
Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (pbuh) said,
“Incantations, amulets and spells are Shirk (polytheism).”(Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and Ahmad)
These are treated as Shirk because the ignorant believes that these things can affect what has been predetermined by Allah. However, Al Khattabi said, “Incantations or healing words are permitted if they consist of the Qur’an or the Most Beautiful Names of Allah.”
The Prophet (pbuh) used to recite (incantate) Al-Hasan and Al-Husain by saying,
“I seek refuge for you in Allah’s Perfect Words from every Devil, beast or envious.” (Bukhari)