You Wrote: However to firmly establish the social unit of family, Islam only recognises a relationship that is the result of the contract of marriage.
To my understanding what we call a marriage is a contract (A binding on a piece of paper) between two parties to stay together, but this has nothing to do with Islam, as it is a social binding applicable differently in different sects. Now if I have understood it correctly from QURAN then it is a mutual understanding (No paper binding) between a man and a women to stay together provided the prime objective is NOT lust and it is open to public. Isn't it so?
You Wrote: The Qur'an certainly has not informed us that this ability has been taken from the human being. However there is no reason to deny the possibility that today too certain individuals may posses the same evil skills that some people at the past possessed (as evident from the Qur'an).
I have strong reason to believe that it does not exist, as QURAN has solution to all our problems and no remedy is suggested there.
There is not an animal on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.(6:38)
You Wrote: Please note that the source of these two powers are different. Magic was something that was practiced by individual ordinary people. Commanding Jinn was one of the powers given to a prophet of God. While obviously the latter (commanding Jinn like the way Solomon - pbuh - did) cannot be applied to others in our era, there is no reason to believe that the first (being able to do magic) too was exclusive to the past nations.
There is a strong reason to believe that it does not exist, as in Era of Hazrat Solomon (PBUM), lot of humans had this power also and we don't see that evidence now:
Said one who had knowledge of the Book: "I will bring it to thee within the twinkling of an eye!" Then when saw it placed firmly before him, he said: "This is by the grace of my Lord!― to test me whether I am grateful, or ungrateful! And if any is grateful truly his gratitude is for his own soul; but if any is ungrateful, truly my Lord is Free of All Needs, Supreme in Honour!" (27:40)
You wrote: I do not see how the verse can simply be interpreted to be referring to fears and whispers (whatever the latter might mean). I am more convinced by the generally agreed upon explanation that this verse refers to magic.
Now please read Surah Falak and Naz again in detail. What I extracted from it was ALLAH is telling that we will fear 5 things:
1. Mischief of Darkness (It Exists now also)
2. Mischief of who blow on knots (Like false people doing now also, although nothing they can do)
3. Michief of Envious (It is present today also)
4. Mischief of whispers from mankind (A common practice)
5. Mischief of whispers of Jinn (Exists today)
And what ALLAH is saying here is that don't fear them as they cannot harm you if you seek refuge from ALLAH. Now telling me where it states that magic exists. The practice of Blowing on knots is ages old and we ourself clearly know, they just create fear in us on unknown, then why should I believe in Magic when ALLAH is telling me that it does not exist.
You Wrote: Having said that, if some one feels that he needs help from a human being I don't think that it goes against our faith in the Almighty.
I you think that some Human Being can solve our issue of unknown then in my opinion there is something wrong. What I understood from QURAN is that there is no one betwwen Me and ALLAH, who can resolve my issue of unknown and if I seek help from any third person ( Other then Me and ALLAH) then I am doin SHIRK. To me any Third entity (Human, Idol, Grave etc) whom I think can resolve issues of Unknown then that is SHIRK.
You Wrote: " I however cannot deny the possibility that there can be experienced people who might help a person with this regard. I am sure the genuine help will be the one that is not going against the premises of religion and is in fact heavily relying on religious concepts."
Who will determine the genuinety? What I Think and Do is known to me or ALLAH, then how can I or you judge? QURAN explicitly tells us that you should not judge people from Outer behaviours, what is his Internal Behaviour only He or I (ALLAH) knows. Also, when we have the BOOK and SUNNAH and a promise of ALLAH that HE will guide us, then why we and how we can find that genuine person? and move in direction of SHIRK?