One of the basic aims of the Islamic Shari`ah is to free human beings from harmful, burdensome customs and superstitions. What you have told about the prayer mats and trees is a sheer superstition that has no backing from either the Qur’an or the Sunnah. It is the role of local scholars in the areas where such superstitions are rampant to warn people against them and advise them to the pure Islamic creed as described by Allah and explained by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

As for the other issue, we would like to stress that there is no room in Islam for anyone predicting the future. Here, it is noteworthy to mention what the prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states regarding the issue:

“Numerology has no logical rules and does not represent scientific facts. We would like to ask who arranged the letters in that certain way known to numerologists? Why do we have to accept this way of arranging and reject others? Why do we have to give the alphabetical letters these specified numbers? All these questions need an answer that is based on scientific facts not mere speculations and superstitions. Using the so-called numerology for determining the time of the Last Day is totally unacceptable, for it contradicts the clear significance of the Qur’anic verses showing that the time of the Hour is known to Allah alone. Almighty Allah says: “They ask thee of the (destined) Hour, when will it come to part. Say: Knowledge thereof is with my Lord only. He alone will manifest it at its proper time. It is heavy in the heavens and the earth. It cometh not to you save unawares. They question thee as if thou couldst be well informed thereof. Say: Knowledge thereof is with Allah only, but most of mankind know not.” (Al-A`raf: 187)

Explaining the Qur’an via using this so-called numerology opens the door before further superstitions and turns these illuminating verses into mere words subject to any deviant or unreasonable thinking. May Allah shower His mercy on Caliph Abu Bakr who said: “How can I feel rest or comfort, if it happens that I explain the Qur’an using something which I know not.”

This point is further elaborated on by S. A. Mohamed Burhanudeen, as he writes:

“Numerology is prohibited in Islam. Some people have introduced this in Islam by giving some numbers to Arabic letters. Our innocent Muslims believe that this is also part of Islam. Islam is the true religion of Allah. He perfected His religion in all aspects. No one can introduce any new thing in the religion. Our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has warned severely about importing innovations into Islam, for it has been perfected by Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Every innovation is misguidance and going astray, and all what drives man astray leads to Hell-Fire.”