As expected there was much frenzy around
the latest Harry Potter book. Bookstores
and clubs around the world arranged
special midnight parties and other
events in celebration of the launching
of the long-awaited fifth book in the
series. A grandiose countdown was held
in Times Square for the coming of the
The book was set to break many old
records. Online bookseller Amazon had
already received one million pre-orders
of the new book, its largest pre-order
ever. Scholastic, the American publisher
had ordered 8.5 million copies as the
largest first printing ever. Worldwide,
13 million copies of the book had rolled
off the presses in a massive print run.
The other books in the Harry Potter
series have been translated into more
than 55 languages, including Urdu,
Persian, and Turkish. Nearly 200 million
copies of the first four books have been
sold in 200 countries.
What is all this craze about?
The series chronicles the growing up of
a young orphan wizard named Harry Potter
who attends a secret magic boarding
school called Hogwarts School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Harry is a very unique wizard. His
parents are killed while he is a baby by
a wicked powerful wizard named Voldemort,
but generally called "you-know-who" or
fails in his attempt to kill Harry and
instead is nearly destroyed when his
magic rebounds on him. Harry is left
with a lightning shaped scar on his
Harry is sent to live with his "muggle"
(non-magical people) relatives for the
next ten years. He lives a miserable
life, tormented by his aunt and uncle
and his spoiled cousin. They attempt to
keep him from knowing that he is a
Then, suddenly a letter arrives from
Hogwarts on his eleventh birthday,
changing his life completely. Harry
finds out he is a wizard and rather
famous for his encounter with the evil
lord Voldemort. Despite opposition from
his aunt and uncle, Harry goes to the
wizard boarding school where he meets
new people, including his best friends
Ron and Hermione. Harry discovers that
he has both admirers and enemies.
Each book details the events of one
While the books are characterized by
most people as innocent fantasy and
entertainment, they contain many evil
messages - not all of which are subtle.
The books glorify magic and sorcery.
Harry and his classmates regularly cast
spells, brew potions, learn to tell the
future, communicate with the spirits of
the dead, train magical animals, and
ride brooms. They study astrology,
crystal gazing, numerology,
transfiguration, and divination. Darker
things occur as well such as murder,
human sacrifice, drinking of unicorn
blood, etc. The fight between good and
evil in this book is actually a conflict
between "good magic" and "evil magic",
both of which are evil.
The books are in effect promoters of
paganism. They glorify magic and
paganism while non-magical people,
called Muggles, are despised and
portrayed as boring, narrow-minded, and
paranoid of magic.
Not surprisingly, the main characters in
the story have few noble qualities; they
lie with impunity, use profanity, don't
respect their elders, break rules
regularly, and are unrepentant.
And for all these qualities and more,
the books are popular and are having an
effect. It is the "in" thing to purchase
the book. And not just the book.
Children have gone crazy over Harry
Potter memorabilia, surrounding
themselves with Harry Potter T-shirts,
posters, toys, costumes, wands, hats,
Welcome to the world of capitalism and
paganism, where superstitions and the
occult reign supreme in the hearts and
minds of people, and where the twin
forces have forged an "alliance of the
willing" that is doing its "magic" on a
Capitalism is all about maximization of
profits and if that requires appealing
to the lowest instincts and the darkest
recesses of human nature, so be it.
Millions of dollars have been spent on
advertising the latest craze on
billboards, buttons, bumper stickers,
and posters etc. U.S. publisher
Scholastic alone has planned a $4
million marketing budget for this single
book - among the largest advertising
budgets ever for a book.
The media machine --- equally adept at
political, cultural, and commercial
propaganda --- has been doing its part
faithfully, paying a great deal of
attention to the smallest events
relating to the coming of the fifth
book. It has been glorifying the book
that glorifies sorcery.
Even if it were innocent entertainment
(which it is not) the extreme devotion
would be unjustified. But this culture
is given to extremes and incidents of
mass craziness are nothing new in it.
The cabbage patch dolls craze in the
1980s was similar to current craze over
the Harry Potter books. The Cabbage
Patch Dolls were the fad of the 1980s.
The most distinctive feature about them
was that each doll looked a bit
different from others and came with its
own unique name and birthday, "adoption
papers," and a "birth certificate."
Marketing gimmick and television
coverage combined to make sales explode
starting in 1983. Chartered planes were
used to bring the dolls from the
overseas manufacturing plants to meet
the ever increasing demand. Fist fights
among eager customers often broke out in
retail stores when a shipment of dolls
arrived. In 1985, Coleco posted record
sales of $600 million, thanks to their
Cabbage Patch Kids.
When life has no higher purpose,
entertainment and fun become the
over-riding goal in life. When there is
no belief in or clear concept of God as
Creator and Master of the universe,
superstition, sorcery, and the occult
It is a reflection on the state of the
society that there has been scarce
opposition to this series that promises
to become darker with each new release.
The Role of
In this current state of hysteria,
Muslims should have played an important
role in opposing this book and exposing
the flaws of this culture. It is the
duty of Muslims to guide the world,
rather than blindly follow the ignorant
masses. The Qur'an commands us in Surah
Al-Kahf, "And don't obey any whose heart
We have permitted to neglect the
remembrance of Us, one who follows his
own desires, whose case has gone beyond
all bounds." [Al-Kahf 18:28]
Yet, unfortunately, we find very little
opposition or reflection from Muslims,
many of whom have chosen to blindly
follow the pop culture. Many Muslims
have assured themselves that the books
are harmless fiction. Others even claim
them to be beneficial because they
encourage reading. Reading what? It does
not occur to them to ask that question.
Islam prohibits both pointless
entertainment (lahw) and sorcery. But
countless Muslims seem to be unaware of
that. And they are the ones fascinated
by Harry Potter.