Tawassul with prophets and righteous people or their honor


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Q: A seeker of knowledge in Indonesia enquires about the validity of Tawassul (supplicating to Allah by virtue of the status of) the dead righteous people and prophets. The concerned learner would like to know your opinion regarding a book that mentions that such Tawassul is not only permissible but also Sunnah (a commendable act). The author adds that Tawassul in question was practiced by prophets, messengers, and our Salaf (righteous predecessors). He proceeds that no scholar rejected Tawassul except the Shaykh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah. The author, who claims to be affiliated with Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream), states that it is permissible to make Tawassul by the Prophet (peace be upon him) before his birth, during his lifetime, and after his death. He quotes proofs for all this and arrogates that Ahmad made Tawassul by Al-Shafi`y and that Al-Shafi`y made Tawassul by Abu Hanifah. He seeks evidence in some sayings that he attributes to some righteous scholars. The author also mentions that Du`a' (supplication) made by the graves or righteous people is accepted. Please tell us about your opinion regarding all this. Are the Hadiths mentioned by the concerned author such as the one on Adam's sin and that on Tawassul by Al-`Abbas Sahih (authentic)? Regarding the second Hadith, did such an incidence happen during the lifetime of Al-`Abbas or after his death? It may be worth mentioning that the concerned Indonesian brother works as a driver and prays with me every day in the Masjid (mosque). Attached are sixteen pages of the book in question that the Indonesian brother photocopied. Please, advise!


A: First: Making Tawassul by prophets and Awliya' (pious people) is Bid`ah (innovation in religion) and a means to Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). However, (Part No. 1; Page No. 182) making Tawassul by Du`a' of live prophets and Awliya' for a person is permissible. Evidence for this is that when Muslims suffered from drought, they made Tawassul by Du`a' of the Prophet (peace be upon him) i.e. they asked him to make Du`a' for rain. Moreover, a blind man made Tawassul by the Prophet so he (peace be upon him) asked Allah (Exalted be He) for the man to restore his eyesight and Allah (Exalted be He) responded to His Prophet's invocation.On the other hand, making Tawassul by a person's belief in prophets and their love and obedience to them is a good deed and a means to draw close to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) whether done when prophets are alive or after their death. The same applies to making Tawassul by a person's love and copying of righteous people. Conversely, making Tawassul through asking dead prophets or righteous people to make Du`a' for a person is Shirk. This is because a deceased person is not in a state to be asked to make Du`a' or anything else for anyone.As for making Tawassul by honor of the prophets or righteous people or swearing oaths by them or by their merits in the sight of Allah; all this is a sort of impermissible Tawassul that is equivalent to Bid`ah. The following is a Fatwa that we issued previously on this matter: Question: Is it permissible for Muslims to make Tawassul by prophets and pious people? It is worth mentioning that I read a viewpoint by some scholars to the effect that making Tawassul by Awliya' is permissible as Du`a' is directed only to Allah (Exalted be He). Nevertheless, I came across some other different opinions. Could you please tell me the correct ruling on this issue?Answer: A waliy is whoever believes in Allah, fears Him, conforms to His commands, and refrains from His prohibitions. Allah (Exalted be He) says: No doubt! Verily, the Auliyâ’ of Allâh [i.e. those who believe in the Oneness of Allâh and fear Allâh much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which he has forbidden), and love Allâh much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve. Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism), and used to fear Allâh much (by abstaining from evil deeds and sins and by doing righteous deeds). (Part No. 1; Page No. 183) Making Tawassul to Allah (Exalted be He) through His Awliya` is of four kinds:1- That a person asks a Waliy who is alive to make Du`a' for them that Allah grants them abundant Rizq (sustenance), cures them from a specific disease, guides them to truth, makes them successful, etc. Such type of Tawassul is permissible. Evidence for this is that when the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) suffered from drought, they asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to make Du`a' for rain. The Prophet did so and Allah (Exalted be He) responded to His Prophet's invocation and it consequently rained. Another proof is when the Sahabah asked Al-`Abbas during the caliphate of `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them all) to make Du`a' for rain. Whereupon Al-`Abbas invoked His Lord and all other Sahabah said Amen" behind him. Besides, it was the common practice of the Sahabah during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to make Du`a' for each other that Allah might grant them goodness and protect them against evil.2- That a person calls upon Allah while making Tawassul by his love for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), his obedience to him, and his love to Awliya'. Such type of Tawassul is also permissible. A person thus may say: "O Allah! I ask you by virtue of my love to your Prophet (peace be upon him), my obedience to him, and my love for Awliya' that you may grant me so and so." This is equivalent to supplicating to Allah by virtue of a person's good deeds which is permissible as it is authentically reported that the three people were confined in the cave (Part No. 1; Page No. 184) and made Tawassul by their good deeds.3- To ask Allah by virtue of the honor of His prophets or Awliya' by saying for example: "O Allah! I ask You by virtue of the honor of Your Prophet or of Al-Husayn, etc." This type of Tawassul is not permissible. Although the honor of Awliya' is of great status in the sight of Allah (Exalted be He) especially that of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), making such Tawassul is not a Shar`y (Islamic legal) reason for the acceptance of Du`a'. When the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them all) faced drought after the death of the Prophet; they did not make Tawassul by virtue of the Prophet's honor. Instead, they made Tawassul by asking the Prophet's uncle i.e. Al-`Abbas to make Du`a' for rain. The Sahabah did so though the status of the Prophet is higher than the honor of all other people. Yet, no narration is available to the effect that the Sahabah - who belonged to the best generation and were the most loving to the Prophet and knowledgeable about his status - made Tawassul by the Prophet (peace be upon him) after his death.4- If a person asks Allah (Exalted be He) for their need while swearing an oath by Allah's Waliy or Prophet or by their honor, this type of Tawassul is not permissible for since swearing an oath by one of the creatures of Allah to ask another creature of Allah to do something is Haram (prohibited), such a prohibition is more emphatic with regard to swearing an oath by one of the creatures of Allah to ask Allah - the Creator - to do something. In addition, Allah (Exalted be He) does not owe a created being any right. In other words, a person's obedience to Allah (Glorified be He) does not qualify them to swear an oath that Allah may do a certain thing.This division of types of Tawassul is not only supported by authentic proofs but it also protects Islamic `Aqidah (creed) and blocks the means to Shirk. May peace and blessings be upon (Part No. 1; Page No. 185) our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!Secondly: Calling upon Allah (Exalted be He) by graves is Bid`ah and a means to Shirk as it leads to invoking the deceased. Hence, `Aly ibn Al-Husayn blamed the man who used to go to a gap by the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for making Du`a'. `Aly said to such man: "I will inform you of a Hadith that I heard from my father who heard from the Prophet (peace be upon him): Do not make my grave a place of worship and do not make your houses graves (by not offering voluntary Prayer in them), but invoke blessings on me, for your blessings reach me wherever you may be. Narrated in Al-Mukhtarah Collection of Hadith.Since the foregoing Hadith prohibits making the Prophet's grave a place of worship, the same prohibition is more emphatic with regard to all other graves.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.




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