Question: Is wearing the evil eye bead a superstitious practice, which is shirk?
Those who call wearing the evil eye bead shirk or a superstitious practice are Wahhabis and those who have been influenced by them.
The evil eye bead does not ward off the evil eye by itself. It is Allahu ta'ala who wards off it. When a person who looks at something first sees the bead, the harmful beams coming directly from his eyes hit the bead. Thus, one who wears the evil eye bead is protected against harmful looks. Hadrat Ibn Abidin states:
Tamimah (pl. tama'im) are beads that Arabs used to hang on their children. They, by doing so, thought that they repelled the evil eye from their children. Islam put an end to it. They believed that tama'im themselves were the source of cure and healing. What is worse, they ascribed divinity to them besides Allah because they used to expect tama'im to change the destinies written for them and to wipe them out. (Ibn Athir)
Tamimah is a piece of string that people used to wear around their necks and hands in the era of ignorance in order to avert harm from themselves. Islam forbade it. (Zaylai)
It is written in the book Haniyya, "There is no objection to setting up scarecrows in plantations and watermelon fields." People place them to ward off the evil eye because the evil eye is a fact and affects property, humans, and animals. When a woman asked our Master the Messenger of Allah what she should do in order to protect the crops in the field against the evil eye, he replied, "Place an animal skull in the field." When a person whose look causes harm looks at a field, he first casts his eye over the skull because it is eye catching as it is placed high above the ground. After that, one runs her eye over the field, which does not cause harm anymore. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
After explaining the tamimah that is impermissible to apply, Hadrat Ibn Abidin informs that it is permissible to put bones or animal skulls in a field to avert the evil eye. A person who looks at the field will first see these things and then the field. Hence, it is understood that carrying such things as blue beads and others with this intention is not tamimah; so it is permissible. (Endless Bliss)
There is no difference between an animal skull and the evil eye bead; neither of them repels the evil eye. The only benefit they bring is that the evil eye strikes them when a person looks at something for the first time. After that, his look does not cause any harm even if he looks at something else. However, it is not permissible to believe that the animal skull and bead themselves ward off the evil eye, for they are only means to avert it. Our Master the Prophet himself advised them. Those who call this command of our Master the Prophet's shirk also call the statement "O the Messenger of Allah, intercede for me" shirk. We should not value the statements of Wahhabis or those who have been influenced by them.
Question: Some people claim, "Burning incense is a superstitious belief. It has become prevalent in our country for the past 15 years, but it is a tradition practiced in Buddhism. Besides, a house where incense is burned is haunted by genies." Is it true?
Burning incense does not cause a house to be visited by genies. This is a superstitious belief.
Perfuming a place with incense is done in order to remove unpleasant odors. Burning incense is not a sin, even though it is practiced by Buddhists. Islamic books say, "It is permissible to incense the children who have been affected by the evil eye." (Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya)
The corpse, being covered, is washed by perfuming it with incense. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
Also, it is written in the book Ni'mat-i Islam that it is mustahabb (recommended) to incense the corpse.
Some pertinent hadith-i sharifs are as follows:
(The gift of a fasting visitor is to apply scent on his beard and to incense his clothes.) [Bayhaqi]
(The gifts of angels are to put incense in mosques.) [Abu ash-Shaikh]
The Messenger of Allah used to incense himself with aloe wood, and sometimes, he used to add camphor to it. (Muslim)
In addition to them, it is stated in a hadith-i sharif quoted by Abu Dawud that Hadrat Fatimah made incense.