The Permissibility of Asking Allâhu ta’âlâ for Things by Some of His Creation

If performing tawassul had been blasphemy, then the believers, i.e., the Prophet, sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam’, his Companions, and the Salaf and Khalaf of this nation would not have done it.[1]Yet it is mentioned in the sahih hadith of the Prophet that the Prophet used to ask Allâh by saying:

Which means: <<O Allâh, I ask You by the status of those who ask You.[2] >> Without doubt, this is tawassul. The Prophet, sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam, used to teach this supplication (du^a’) to his Companions and order them to say it. This issue was expounded upon in different books and treatises refuting Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab Najdi.

There is a hadith related by al-Hakim that mentions after Adam ate from the tree, he performed tawassul by our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam’. He did that, because he saw the name of the Prophet written on the ^Arsh, Adam said: <<O Allah, by the dignity of this son [Muhammad], forgive this father [Adam].>>

It was also related by Ibn Hibban, that upon the death of Fatimah Bint Asad, may Allâhu ta’âlâ raise her rank, the Prophet, ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam’, with his own honorable hands, put her in her grave and said: <<O Allâh, forgive my mother[3], Fatimah Bint Asad, and widen her place by the status of Your Prophet and the prophets who came before me. You are the most Merciful.>>

There is a hadith classified as sahih[4], that a blind man asked the Prophet, ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam’, to make a supplication (du^a’) to Allâhu ta’âlâ to return his sight. The Prophet ordered him to make ablution (wudu’) and pray two rak^ahs and then say:

“O Allah, I ask You and direct myself to You by Your Prophet, Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad, I ask Allâh by you to fulfill my need. O Allâh, enable him to intercede for me.”

The blind man did what the Prophet taught him to do[5] and Allâhu ta’âlâ  brought his sight back. Moreover, as related by at-Tabaraniyy, the tawassul made by the blind man was used by the Companions and Salaf after the death of the Prophet.[6]

^Umar Ibn al-Khattab performed the tawassul by al-^Abbas (the uncle of the Prophet), may Allâh reward their deeds, when he prayed the Salah of ’Istisqa’[7] with the people. There are other proofs mentioned in the books of the Islamic scholars but we will not recount them at length here.

The one who pursues the saying of the Companions and their followers will find a great deal of proof about the validity of calling the prophet by saying “O Muhammad” in his presence as well as in his absence and in his life as well as after his death. In fact, many texts include the phrase which means, “O Muhammad”. Calling the name of the Prophet, ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam’, is permissible. An example is the saying of the Companion, Bilal Ibn al-Harith, may Allâh reward his deeds, when he went to the grave of the Prophet. He said: “O Messenger of Allâh, ask Allâh to send rain to your Nation.” His saying contains this format[8].

Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Kurdiyy[9] was among the authors who wrote refuting Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab. He was Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab’s own shaykh. Among what he said is as follows:

O Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab, I advise you, for the sake of Allâhu ta’âlâ, to hold your tongue regarding the Muslims. If you hear from anyone who asks for help from other than Allâhu ta’âlâ that one has the power to effect things without the Will of Allâhu ta’âlâ, then teach him the right thing about this issue, and show him the proofs which state no one other than Allâhu ta’âlâ brings things from non-existence into existence. The one who rejects that is blasphemous. You have no right to label the majority of the Muslims as blasphemers[10] while you are deviant from the majority of the Muslims. In fact, it is more reasonable to consider the one who deviates from the majority of the Muslims as a blasphemer then to consider the Muslims as a nation as blasphemers–because the deviant one has followed a path other than the path of the believers. In Surat an-Nisa’, Ayah 115, Allâhu ta’âlâ said:

This ayah means: [Whomever contends with the Messenger after the right path was exposed to him and follows other than the way of the believers, Allâh will leave him to whatever he followed and put him in Hell (Jahannam)].

The Permissibility Of Visiting The Grave Of The Prophet
Visiting the grave of the Prophet, ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam’, was performed by the Companions and the Salaf and Khalaf who came after them. Many hadiths cite the benefit of this deed and the scholars of Islam have written books about this matter[11].

Calling On Someone Other Than Allâhu ta’âlâ
Among of what was mentioned concerning calling on someone other than Allâhu ta’âlâ, whether that one is present, absent, dead or alive, is the saying of the Prophet:

Which means: <<If the animal of anyone of you went out of control in the wilderness, then call: ‘O slaves of Allâh, help me’>>, since there are slaves of Allâh [i.e. the angels] who will respond to him.

There is another hadith related by al-Bazzar in which the Prophet said:

Which means: << If one of you lost something or needs help while in an open land, then let him say: “O slaves of Allâh, help me.”>> Another narration says:

Which means <<Rescue me, because Allâh has created slaves whom you do not see.>>

When traveling at nightfall the Prophet, sallallahu ^alyhi wa sallam, used to say:

Which means: << O earth, my Lord and your Lord is Allâh.>>

When the Prophet visited the grave of Muslims, he used to say:

Which means: << O people of the graves, peace be upon you.>>

In the Tashahhud in as-Salah the Muslim says:
which means: << “O Prophet of Allâh, may Allâh protect you from infirmities, and have mercy and blessings on you.”>>

There is no harm in calling on and performing tawassul by someone unless one believes that someone other than Allâhu ta’âlâ actually creates things. Hence, as long as one believes that only Allâhu ta’âlâ creates them, there is no harm in performing tawassul. Likewise, attributing a certain doing to other than Allâhu ta’âlâ does not harm unless one believes this doer actually creates. So once it is established the person does not believe the creating is for other than Allâhu ta’âlâ then attributing a doing to other than Allâhu ta’âlâ is understood in its proper context. When one says: “This medicine benefited me,” or “This particular righteous Muslim benefited me,” he is merely exposing the created reason of the benefit. These statements are also similar to when one says: “This food satisfied my hunger,” or “This water quenched my thirst,” or “This medicine cured me.” When Muslims say such statements, they understand them in their proper context, i.e., food, water, and medicine are only reasons, and Allâhu ta’âlâ is the Creator of their benefit.

The general proofs mentioned in this summary are enough to refute Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab. The scholars of Islam have expounded on this issue in several treatises.

At the time Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab and his assistants initiated their treacherous ideology by which they called the Muslims blasphemers or disbelievers, they were gaining control of eastern Arabia one tribe after another. This expansion eventually encompassed al-Yaman, Makkah, al-Madinah, and the tribes of al-Hijaz all the way to ash-Sham.

The Methodology Of Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab
Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab took the verses revealed to speak about the blasphemers or disbelievers and applied them to the Muslims. The following examples from the Qur’an illustrate this point. Allâhu ta’âlâ, said in Surat al-Ahqaf, Ayah 5:

This verse means: [Who is more astray than the one who performs supplication (du^a’) to [worship] other than Allah; the one other than Allah he supplicates to will not answer his du^a’.]

Allâhu ta’âlâ said in Surat Yunus, Ayah, 106:
This verse means: [Do not perform supplication (du^a’) to [worship] other than Allah; the one other than Allah you supplicate to will not benefit you and will not harm you.]

He also considered visiting the grave of Prophet Muhammad and the graves of other prophets and righteous Muslims for blessings as blasphemy. Allâhu ta’âlâ revealed Ayah 3 of Surat az-Zumar in reference to the mushrikun:

This verse means: [Those who worship the idols said: “We do not worship them except to achieve a higher status from Allah.”]

Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab falsely stated: “Those who perform tawassul (asking Allah by the prophets, for example) are similar to those blasphemers mentioned in Surat az-Zumar, Ayah 3, who claim they do not worship the idols except to achieve a higher status from Allah.” He said: “The blasphemers did not believe the idols create anything; they believed Allah is the Creator.” He gave his version of proof from the Qur’an by citing Surat Luqman, Ayah 25 and Surat az-Zumar, Ayah 38, in which Allah said:

These verses mean: [If you ask them, ‘Who created the heavens and earth?’ They will say, ‘Allah’.]

In Surat az-Zukhruf, Ayah 87, Allah said:
Which means: [If you ask them, ‘Who created them?’ They will say, ‘Allah’.] Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab falsely concluded from these verses that the Muslims who perform tawassul are similar to those blasphemers or disbelievers.

The verses in the Qur’an similar to these ones are numerous. Muhammad Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab gravely misinterpreted the previously cited verses and said: “The Muslim who asks help from the Prophet, ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam’, other prophets, ’alaihimu ’s-salâtu wa ’s-salâm’ or the righteous people (salihun ‘rahimahuma’llâhu ta’âlâ’), or who calls or asks any of them for intercession is like those blasphemers or disbelievers mentioned in the Qur’an.” According to the false claim of Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab, the Muslims who do these things are blasphemers.[12] Rasûlullâh (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) declared, “A time will come when the âyats revealed about disbelievers will be used as documents to slander Muslims,” and “What I fear most is that some people will come to use the âyats for purposes which Allâhu ta’âlâ does not approve of.” These two hadîths, which were related by ’Abdullâh ibn ’Umar (radî-Allâhu ’anhumâ), foretold that the lâ-madhhabî people would appear and ascribe the âyats revealed about disbelievers to Muslims and calumniate the Qur’ân al-karîm.

The Scholars Refute Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab
In their writings to refute Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab’s sayings, the scholars said his deduction was false. The believers did not consider the prophets or the awliya’ as gods and they did not deem them partners to Allâhu ta’âlâ. Instead, they correctly believe the prophets and awliya’ are good slaves and creations of Allâhu ta’âlâ, and they do not deserve to be worshipped.

The blasphemers intended in these verses believed their idols deserved Godhood. They exalted them as one would exalt his Creator, even though they believed the idols did not create the heavens and the earth. The believers, on the other hand, do not believe the prophets or righteous Muslims (awliya’) deserve to be worshipped, nor do they deserve to be attributed with Godhood, nor do they exalt them as one would exalt God. They believe these people are good slaves of Allah, His beloved ones whom He chose, and by their blessings (barakah) Allah grants His mercy to His creation. Hence, when the slaves of Allah seek the blessings (barakah) of the prophets and righteous Muslims (awliya’) they are seeking these blessings as a mercy from Allah.

There are many proofs and examples from the Qur’an and Sunnah about this basic belief of the Muslims. Muslims believe Allah is the Creator, the One Who grants benefit and inflicts harm, and the only One Who deserves to be worshipped. Muslims believe that no one other than Allah has the power to affect the creation. The prophets and righteous people do not create anything. They do not possess the power to bestow benefit or inflict harm on others, but Allah is the One Who bestows the mercy upon the slaves by the righteous Muslims’ blessings.

Hence, the belief of the blasphemers, i.e., the belief their idols deserve to be worshipped and have Godhood, is what makes them fall into blasphemy. This saying of the blasphemers, as previously cited in Surat az-Zumar, Ayah 3, was said in an effort to justify their belief when they were disproved and shown idols do not deserve to be worshipped.

How can Ibn ^Abdul-Wahhab and those who follow him find it permissible to equate the believers, who believed in tawhid, to those blasphemers, who believed in the Godhood of the idols? All the previously cited verses and the verses which are similar to them are specific to the blasphemers who associate partners with Allah–none of the believers are included.

Al-Bukhari narrated by the route of Ibn ^Umar, may Allah raise their ranks, that the Prophet, ‘sall-Allahu ta’ala ‘alaihi wa sallam’, described the Khawarij as those who took the verses revealed about the blasphemers and attributed them to the believers! In the narration by the route of Ibn ^Umar the Prophet said:

Which means: <<What I fear most for my nation is a man who mis-explains the Qur’an and takes it out of context.>> This hadith and the previous one apply very well to the Wahhabis.

Allâhu ta’âlâ and the believers are sufficient
Al-Imâm ar-Rabbânî (rahimah-Allâhu ta’âlâ) declared: “Our Prophet (’alaihi wa ’alâ ’âlihi ’s-salawâtu wa ’ttaslîmât) had requested Allâhu ta’âlâ to strengthen and disseminate Islam through Hadrat ’Umar’s help. And Allâhu ta’âlâ helped His beloved Prophet through Hadrat ’Umar and declared in Sûrat al-Anfal, ‘Oh My Prophet! Allah and those who follow you will suffice for you as helpers.’ ’Abdullâh ibn ’Abbâs reported that this âyat descended upon Hadrat ’Umar’s embracing Islam.” (Maktûbât, II, 99th letter)

Al-Imâm al-Baidâwî (rahimah-Allâhu ta’âlâ), the “Crown” of the scholars of tafsîr who passed away in Tebriz in 685 A.H. (1285), wrote: “This âyat descended at the place called Bîdâ during the Battle of Badr, or, according to Hadrat ’Abdullah ibn ’Abbâs, after thirty three men and six women and lastly Hadrat ’Umar (radî-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anhum ajma’în) became believers in Mecca. It means ‘Allâhu ta’âlâ and the believers are sufficient for you.’ ” (Tafsîr al-Baidâwî. Also the Tafsîr Husainî and Tafsîr al-Jalâlain write the same)

Al-Hâdimî wrote: “Imâm Muhammad (rahimah-Allâhu ta’âlâ) declared in his book Jâmi’ as-Saghîr that praying by saying ‘for the Prophet’s sake’ or ‘for the sake of [such and such] a walî,’ was makrûh tahrîma. On this statement the book Al-hidâya comments, ‘Because, creatures have no rights on Allâhu ta’âlâ.’ However, it was also stated that it was not makrûh to pray so thinking of the right bestowed on a beloved servant of His by Allâhu ta’âlâ. Rasûlullâh (sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sallam) prayed by saying, ‘Oh my Rabb! For the sake of those who pray to You and for the sake of Muhammad,’ (’alaihi ’ssalâm) and the fatwâ of Bazzâziyya, too, stated that it was permissible to pray so.” (Barîqa, p. 1053)

Similarly, Allâhu ta’âlâ alone suffices for everyone in every affair everywhere everytime. There is no other Helper and it is polytheism to ask others for help, yet, it was permitted to pray with these words thinking of the right given by Allâhu ta’âlâ, who uses prophets, pious people, scientists, various substances and powers, owners of wealth, businesses and high positions as means or media for His creating. It is permissible to hold fast to these means and to expect Allâhu ta’âlâ to create through them. It would be good to say, “They, as causes for Allâhu ta’âlâ’s creating, are sufficient for us.” For this reason, the profound ’ulamâ’ of tafsîr explained the above-mentioned âyat al-karîma as “Allâhu ta’âlâ and the believers around you are sufficient for you.”

The hadîth ash-sharîf related by Imâm Ahmad and Muslim (rahimahuma’llâhu ta’âlâ) on the authority of Abu Huraira (radî- Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anh), declares, “Rubba ash’asin madfû’un bi ’labwâbi law aqsama ’ala’llâhi la abirrahu.” (You see many a person who are dismissed from doors and not listened to for their hair and beard are uncombed and clothings patched; if they take an oath with Allah’s Name, Allâhu ta’âlâ, for the sake of these beloved servants of His, immediately creates and grants their requests.) This hadîth sharîf is one of the proofs of the fact that the knowledge of tasawwuf and seeking for a rehber (guide) and trying to gain his heart is right. Taking this hadîth sharîf as a reference, he books Barîqa and Al-hadîqa comment on the twenty,third of the sixty prohibited statements: “It is written in the fatwâ of Bazzâziyya that such prayers as ‘Oh my Rabb! I ask for the sake of the value that You have bestowed upon Your [such and such] prophet or servant who is a walî, ’âlim or sâlih,’ are permissible, that is, halâl. As understood from Munya and many other books, it is mustahab to pray so. It is written in valuable books that many ’ârifs told their disciples: ‘You ask me when you will ask Allâhu ta’âlâ for something! I am the mediator between Allâhu ta’âlâ and you now.’ Hadrat Abu ’l-’Abbâs al-Mursî (rahimah-Allâhu ta’âlâ) advised his disciples, ‘When you ask Allâhu ta’âlâ for something, ask for the sake of Imâm Muhammad al-Ghazalî (rahimah-Allâhu ta’âlâ),’ These are written in many books, for example, in Al-hadîqa and Hisn al-basîn.”

If a person who talked to a dead person in a grave had been a disbeliever, our Prophet (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam), great ’ulamâ’ and the Awliyâ’ would not have prayed in this manner. It was our Prophet’s (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) habit to visit the Bakî Cemetery in Medina and the martyrs of Uhud. In fact, it is written on the 485th page of the Wahhâbite book Fath al-majîd that he greeted and talked to them.

[2]: Ibn Majah and others related this hadith and the-Hafidh, Ibn Hajar, deemed it a strong hadith.

[3]: The Prophet called her ‘my mother’ out of likening her to his real mother.

[4]: Sixteen hafidhs of hadith classified this hadith as sahih, including at-Tirmidhiyy, at-Tabaraniyy, al-Bayhaqiyy, as-Subkiyy, among others.

[5]: It is clear in the narrations of this hadith, the blind man was not in the session of the Prophet when he did as the Prophet ordered him.

[6]: In a hadîth sherîf reported by ’Uthmân ibn Hunaif (radiy-Allâhu ’anh) one of the greatest of the Ansâr, it is told how the Prophet (’alaihi ’s-salâm) ordered a blind man, who asked him to pray for his healing, to perform an ablution and a salât of two rak’as and then to say, “Allâhumma innî as’aluka wa atawajjahu ilaika bi-nabiyyika Muhammadi ’n-nabiyyi ’r-Rahma, yâ Muhammad innî atawajjahu bika ilâ Rabbî fî hâjatî hâdhihî li-takdiya lî, Allâhumma shaffi’hu fiyya.” In this prayer the blind man was commanded to have recourse to Muhammad (’alaihi ’s-salâm) as a mediator so that his prayer would be accepted. The Sahâbat al-kirâm often recited this prayer, which is quoted in the second volume of Ashi’at al-lama’ât and also in Al-hisn al-hasîn with its references and, in its explanation, interpretation as, “I turn towards Thee through Thine Prophet.” These prayers show that it is permissible to put those whom Allâhu ta’âlâ loves as mediators and to pray to Him by saying “for their sake.”

[7]: Salah of ’Istisqa’ refers to performing a specific prayer which includes making supplication for rain.

[8]: Al-Bayhaqiyy related this hadith and classified it as Sahih.

[9]: Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Sulaym al-Kurdiyy was the one who wrote al-Hashiyah on the explanation of Ibn Hajar to the text of Bafadl.

[10]: It is mentioned in a hadith it is easier for the devil to trick the lonely person who is away from other Muslims. The Prophet, sallallahu al ^alayhi wa sallam, while encouraging the Muslims to perform the prayers in congregation said:

Which means: <<Moreover, the wolf will eat the lonely lamb.>>

[11]: Among these hadiths is the one related by ad-Daraqutniyy that the Prophet said: <<On the Day of Judgment, I will intercede for the one who visits my grave with the good intention.>>

[12]: It is declared in a hadîth sherîf, “One who says, ‘Lâ ilâha ill-Allâh’, should not be called a kâfir on account of his sinning! He who calls him a kâfir will become a kâfir himself.”

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