Crossing fingers has become such a widespread gesture that we may sometimes do so out of habit when hoping for a pleasant outcome, or imploring God for protection; but now that doing so is deemed to be haram, the act may just be outlawed.
In a Q&A list posted on the FT Mufti’s Office website on Monday (October 24), it was explained why it is against Islamic teachings to cross one’s fingers in hopes of good luck.
A question submitted to the site read, “Assalamualaikum, the hand gesture or ‘fingers cross’ hand sign that signifies a prayer for good luck and avoiding bad things is a viral trend of late. I’m requesting an explanation regarding the law and whether the act resembles the cross. Thank you.”
The office of the mufti had the following to say in answer to the query over whether the gesture was allowed in Islam:
“Hand gestures or hand signals have their own function and meaning as a way to facilitate communication between people. For example, in Malaysia, it is common knowledge that the thumbs-up gesture indicates a good or good sign, as well as the V-shaped joined index and middle finger gesture that signifies ‘peace’.
“It is acceptable to use hand gestures or signals to communicate while holding the conviction that only Allah SWT has the authority to determine one’s fate or luck.
“However, one should avoid crossing their fingers because doing so invites imputation and contempt. Therefore, it is immoral to think that crossing one’s fingers will bring prosperity and good fortune as well as shield one from bad luck.”
Additionally, all Muslims were advised to pray and ask Allah SWT to protect them from all danger, per the FT mufti’s office.
Crossing fingers is believed to have originated in the early years of Christianity, while some historians think that it was a common way of fending off dark forces, according to a statement made by the FT mufti’s office, which cited a piece by an author by the name of Larry Ray Palmer. Some also allege that the intersection was believed to represent a gathering of good spirits and to act as a place to anchor a request until it could be fulfilled.
Another hypothesis that seems to point to a connection with Christianity was that since Christianity was an unlawful religion at the time, Christians crossed their fingers as a covert method of identifying their own.
The FT mufti’s office stated that none of these theories have been supported by any conclusive evidence. However, they maintain that it is against Islamic law to cross one’s fingers.