Question # 351: Asking duas from wasila is a different thing to which you have replied in your Answer # 350 that it is shirk and you have given references for it….but my point here is that we do not believe that Holy Prophet saws and Imams (as) have the power like Allah to grant our needs. It is Allah (swt) who has decided who can intercede. Shirk is calling someone else for fulfilling your needs or associating someone with Allah (swt). But by making the holy Prophet saws or Imams as a wasila is with the understanding that they are only intermediaries because at the end of the day it is only Allah who can grant our duas and accepting the intercession or no is also the choice of Allah (swt).
What I am mentioning below now is what I have read and I want you to tell me if the source is correct and if possible elaborate on it.
Some specific people can intercede with Allah by His permission. But this is not granted to every people. Now, I would like to give also more references from Sunni Hadith collections in this regard. The first reference is on the Tawassul of Ibn Abbas (ra) to Imam ‘Ali (as). Please note that Ibn Abbas spoke the following words after the martyrdom of Imam ‘Ali. Thus he did ask for intermediary of what you called a dead person.
[Hadith # 1] “When the death time of Abdullah Ibn Abbas (ra) approached, he said: `O Allah! I seek to approach toward you by means of Wilayah (accepting the mastery) of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib.’“
– Fada’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p662, Tradition #1129
– al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v3, p167
– Manaqib Ahmad
Please note that Ibn Abbas died in 68/687 which was 28 years after the martyrdom of Imam ‘Ali (as). If resorting (Tawassul) to a dead was considered association (shirk), then Ibn Abbas would not dare to say so, and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal would not have recorded it.
[Hadith # 2] As for resorting to alive, al-Bukhari reported that Umar used make Tawassul to al-Abbas for rain:
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 5.59
Whenever there was drought, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab used to ask Allah for rain through Al-’Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib, saying, “O Allah! We used to request our Prophet to ask You for rain, and You would give us. Now we request the uncle of our Prophet to ask You for rain, so give us rain.”And they would be given rain.”
Evidence for Tawassul by a Sunni Writer
From: email@example.com (Masud Khan)
There has been a lot of discussion about intercession recently, and a few ill-informed people have issued “fatawa’s”condeming the practice as “shirk”. If, as some individuals say, tawassul is “shirk” then from the evidence available it seems that The Prophet (pbuh) taught a man to commit “shirk” and so did the Rightly Guided Khalifa ‘Uthman ibn Affan! (May Allah be our refuge from such thoughts).
Tawassul – Supplicating Allah Through And Intermediary
Definition: Supplicating Allah by means of an intermediary, whether it be a living person, dead person, or a name or attribute of Allah Most High. Yusuf Rifa’i: I here want to convey the position, attested to by compelling legal evidence, of the orthodox majority of Sunni Muslim on the subject of supplicating Allah through an intermediary (tawassul), and so I say (and Allah alone gives success) that since there is no disagreement among scholars that supplicating Allah through an intermediary is in principle legally valid, the discussion of it’s details merely concerns derived rulings that involve interschool differences, unrelated to questions of belief or unbelief, monotheism or associating partners with Allah (shirk); the sphere of the question being limited to permissibility or impermissibility, and its ruling being that it is either lawful or unlawful. There is no difference among groups of Muslims in their consensus on the permissibility of three types of supplicating Allah through an intermediary (tawassul):
1 tawassul through a living righteous person to Allah Most High, as in the Hadith of the blind man with the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as we shall explain;
2 the tawassul of a living person to Allah Most High through his own good deeds, as in the hadith of the three people trapped in a cave by a great stone, a hadith related by Imam Bukhari in his Sahih (Ref: vol 3 no 418);
3 and the tawassul of a person to Allah Most High through His entity (dhat), names, attributes, and so forth.
Since the legality of these types is agreed upon there is no reason to set forth the evidence for them. The only area of disagreement is supplicating Allah (tawassul) through a righteous dead person. The majority of the orthodox Sunni community hold that it is lawful, and have supporting hadith evidence, of which we will content ourselves with the hadith of the Blind Man, since it is the central pivot upon which the discussion turns.
[Hadith # 3] – The Hadith Of The Blind Man
Tirmidhi relates, through his chain of narrators from ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, that a blind man came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and said, “I’ve been afflicted in my eyesight, so please pray to Allah for me.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Go make ablution (wudu), perform two rak’as of prayer, and then say:
“‘O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through my Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy; O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I seek your intercession with my Lord for the return of my eyesight (and in another version: “for my need , that it may be fulfilled. O Allah, grant him intercession for me”).’”
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) added, “And if there is some need, do the same.”
Scholars of Sacred Law infer from this hadith the recommended character of the need, in which someone in need of something from Allah Most High performs such a prayer and then turns to Allah with this supplications together with other suitable supplications, traditional or otherwise, according to the need and how the person feels. The express content of the hadith proves the legal validity of tawassul through a living person (as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was a alive at the time).
It implicitly proves the validity of tawassul through a deceased one as well, since tawassul through a living or dead person is not through a physical body or through a life or death, but rather through the positive meaning (ma`na tayyib) attached to the person in both life and death. The body is but the vehicle that carries that significance, which requires that the person be respected whether alive or dead; for the words “O (Ya) Muhammad”are an address to someone physically absent – in which state the living and the dead are alike – an address to the meaning, dear to Allah, that is connected with his spirit, a meaning that is the ground of tawassul, be it through a living or a dead person.
[Hadith # 4] – The Hadith Of The Man In Need
Moreover, Tabarani, in his al-Mu`jam al-saghir, reports a hadith from ‘Uthman ibn Hanayf that a man repeatedly visited ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (Allah be well pleased with him) concerning something he needed, but ‘Uthman paid no attention to him or his need.
The man met Ibn Hunayf and complained to him about the matter – this being after the death of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and after the caliphates of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar – so ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, who was one of the Companions who collected hadiths and were learned in the religion of Allah said: “Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then come to the mosque, perform two rak’as of prayer therein, and say,
“‘O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy; O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I turn through you to my Lord, that He may fulfill my need,’ “and mention your need. Then come so that I can go with you (to the caliph ‘Uthman).”
So the man left and did as he had been told, then went to the door of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (Allah be pleased with him), and the doorman came, took him by the hand, brought him to ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and seated him next to him on a cushion. ‘Uthman asked, “What do you need?” and the man mentioned what he wanted, and ‘Uthman accomplished it for him and then said, “I hadn’t remembered your need until just now,” adding, “Whenever you need something, just mention it.” Then the man departed, met ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, and said to him, “May Allah reward you! He didn’t see to my need or pay any attention to me until you spoke with him.”‘Uthman ibn Hunayf replied, “By Allah, I didn’t speak to him, but I have seen a blind man come to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and complain to him of the loss of his eyesight. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘Can you not bear it?’ and the man replied, ‘O messenger of Allah, I do not have anyone to lead me around, and it is great hardship for me.’ The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) told him, ‘Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then pray two rak’as of prayer and make these supplications.’ “Ibn Hunafy went on, “By Allah, we didn’t part company or speak long before the man returned to us as if nothing had ever been wrong with him.”
This is an explicit, unequivocal text from a prophetic Companion proving the legal validity of tawassul through the dead. The account has been classed as rigorously authenticated (Sahih) by Bayhaqi, Mundhiri, and Haytami.
(Muhammad Hamid – a leading Hanafi scholar of this century:) As for calling upon (nida’) the righteous (when they are physically absent, as in the words “O (Ya) Muhammad”in the above hadiths), tawassul to Allah Most High through them is permissible, the supplication (du’a) being to Allah Most Glorious, and there is much evidence for its permissibility.
Those who call on them intending tawassul cannot be blamed. As for someone who believes that those called upon can cause effects, benefit, or harm, which they create or cause to exist as Allah does, such a person is an idolator who has left Islam – Allah be our refuge! This then, and a certain person has written an article that tawassul to Allah Most High through the righteous is unlawful, while the overwhelming majority of scholars hold it permissible, and the evidence that the writer uses to corroborate his view point is devoid of anything that demonstrates what he is trying to prove.
In declaring tawassul permissible, we are not hovering on the brink of idolatory (shirk) or coming anywhere near it, for the conviction that Allah Most High alone has influence over anything, outwardly, is a conviction that flows through us like our very lifeblood. If tawassul were idolatory (shirk), or if there were any suspicion of idolatory in it, the Prophet (Allah Most High bless him and give him peace) would not have taught it to the blind man when the latter asked him to supplicate Allah for him, though in fact he did teach him to make tawassul to Allah through him. And the notion that tawassul was permissible only during the lifetime of the person through whom it is done but not after his death is unsupported by any viable foundation from Sacred Law (Rudud ‘ala abatil wa rasa’il al- Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid).
Mostly taken from “Reliance of the Traveller” (Umdat as-Salik) by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (b. 702/1302 d. 769/1368) translated by Noah Ha Mim Keller.
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: Tawassul in Arabic means seeking to draw close and there are two types of Tawassul, correct Islamic Tawassul and forbidden Tawassul. The rulings on Islamically correct Tawassul vary according to its type. Some types are waajib, such as seeking to draw close to Allah through His names and attributes and through Tawheed (believing in His absolute Oneness), and some are mustahabb (recommended), such as seeking to draw close to Him by virtue of all kinds of righteous deeds. On the other hand, forbidden Tawassul is asking the dead for anything, which in effect is shirk, and asking the living for anything that no one except Allah is able to do, is also shirk.
In an attempt to prove that Tawassul to a dead person is permissible, the writer/questioner quoted four different ahadith in the question. The reader of this answer is recommended to read the Longer Version of the answer to have a better understanding of the analysis of these ahadith.
Long Answer: Before answering the question, it is important to point out that the excerpt in the question has been taken from a Shi’ite website Al-Islam.org which in turn is taken from a book ‘A Shi’ite Encyclopedia’. Furthermore, there is some evidence for Tawassul is provided from a totally unknown Sunni writer (just by using a name and an email address) and without reference to his knowledge, learning and status.
In an attempt to prove that Tawassul to a dead person is permissible, the writer quoted four different ahadith in the question. First, we will define the permissible and impermissible tawassul in Islam and then quote and analysis each of these ahadith from the correct perspective of aqeedah and with the help of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) disprove the absurd claim.
Tawassul in Arabic means seeking to draw close. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “… [they] desire means of access to their Lord…” (Soorah al-Isra, 17:57), i.e., means of drawing close to Him. There are two types of Tawassul, correct Islamic Tawassul and forbidden Tawassul.
Correct Islamic Tawassul: This means seeking to draw close to Allah through acts of worship which He loves and which please Him; these may be waajib (obligatory) or mustahabb (encouraged), and may take the form of words, actions or beliefs. Some types are as follows:
- Seeking to draw close to Allah by means of His names and attributes. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His names. They will be requited for what they used to do.” (Soorah al-Araaf, 7:180). So when a person makes du’aa to Allah, he begins by calling on Allah with the name that is most apt, such as al-Rahman (the Most Merciful) when seeking mercy and al-Ghafoor (the All-Forgiving) when asking for forgiveness, and so on.
- Seeking to draw close to Allah by means of faith and Tawheed. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Our Lord! We believe in what You have sent down, and we follow the Messenger, so write us down among those who bear witness (to the truth).” (Soorah Aal Imran, 3:53)
- Seeking to draw close to Allah through righteous deeds, whereby a person asks Allah by virtue of the best deeds that he has done, such as salah, fasting, reading Qur’an, avoiding haraam things, and so on. An example of this is the sahih hadith narrated in the Saheehayn about the three people who entered a cave, and a rock fell and blocked their way out. They asked Allah by virtue of their best deeds (to save them). A person may also ask Allah by virtue of his total dependency upon Him, as Allah mentions in the Qur’an: “[Ayyoob said:] Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.” (Soorah al-Anbiya, 21:83); or by admitting his own wrongdoing and his need for Allah, as Yoonus is described as saying: “None has the right to be worshipped except You (O Allah). Glorified (and exalted) are You. Truly I have been of the wrong-doers.” (Soorah al-Anbiya, 21:87)
The rulings on Islamically correct Tawassul vary according to its type. Some types are waajib, such as seeking to draw close to Allah through His names and attributes and through Tawheed (believing in His absolute Oneness), and some are mustahabb, such as seeking to draw close to Him by virtue of all kinds of righteous deeds.
Tawassul that is bidah and therefore forbidden: This is the attempt to draw close to Allah by means of things that He does not like and that do not please Him, whether they be words, deeds or beliefs. One example of this is trying to draw close to Allah by calling on the dead or people who are absent, asking them for help, and so on. This is a form of major shirk (shirk akbar), which goes against Tawheed and means that a person is no longer considered to be a Muslim. Calling upon Allah, whether it is for a purpose such as asking Him to grant some benefit or to ward off some harm, or as an act of worship to express humility and submission before Him, can only be addressed directly to Allah. If du’aas or prayers are addressed to anything or anyone else, this is shirk. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “And your Lord said: Invoke Me (and ask Me for anything), I will respond to your invocation. Verily! Those who scorn My worship [i.e., do not invoke Me and do not believe in My Oneness], they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” (Soorah Ghaafir, 40:60). In this ayah, Allah explains the punishment of those who arrogantly refuse to call on Allah, whether they call on someone other than Allah or they do not call on Him at all, out of pride and self-admiration, even if they do not call on anyone else.
Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret” (Soorah al-Araaf, 7:55). Allah commands His slaves to call on Him and not anyone else.
Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says of the people of Hell in the Qur’an: “[They say:] By Allah, we were truly in a manifest error when we held you (false gods) as equals (in worship) with the Lord of the Worlds. (Soorah al-Shuara, 26:96-97)
Anything that results in equating something other than Allah with Allah in worship or acts of obedience is shirk, the crime of associating partners with Him. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not answer him until the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them? And when mankind are gathered (one the Day of Resurrection), they (false deities) will become enemies for them and will deny their worshipping.” (Soorah al-Ahqaaf, 46:5-6)
Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “And whoever invokes (or worships) besides Allah, any other god, of whom he has no proof, then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely, al-kaafiroon (the disbelievers in Allah and in the Oneness of Allah) will not be successful.” (Soorah al-Muminoon, 23:117)
Allah states that anyone who calls on anything other than him is taking that thing as a god, as He (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “And those, whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a qitmeer (the thin membrane over a date-stone). If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call, and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you (O Muhammad), like Him Who is the All-Knower (of everything).” (Soorah Faatir, 35:13-14) In this ayah, Allah explains that He is the only One Who deserves to be called upon, because He, and no one else, is the Sovereign who is directing everything. Those things that are worshipped cannot hear du’aas, let alone respond to the one who invokes them, and even if they were able to hear, they cannot respond, because they do not have the power to either benefit or harm.
The mushrik Arabs, whom the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was sent to call, were disbelievers because of this shirk. They would call upon Allah sincerely at times of difficulty, but they became disbelievers at times of ease and plenty, when they would call on others besides Him. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allah, making their Faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.” (Soorah al-Ankaboot, 29:65) and “And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon besides Him vanish from you except Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safely to land, you turn away (from Him)” (Soorah al-Isra 17:67) and “till when you are in the ships and they sail with them with a favorable wind, and they are glad therein, then comes a stormy wind and the waves come to them from all sides, and they think that they are encircled therein, they invoke Allah, making their Faith pure for Him Alone” (Soorah Yoonus, 10:33)
The shirk of some people nowadays goes even further than the shirk of people in the past, because they direct some acts of worship to something other than Allah, calling upon them and asking them for help even at times of distress; laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (there is no strength and no help except in Allah).
To sum up: asking the dead for anything is shirk, and asking the living for anything that no one except Allah is able to do, is also shirk.
Hadith # 1 (Refer question)
In matters pertaining to shirk, there is no need to refer to any hadith because the Qur’an is extremely clear! There are literally hundreds of thousands of ahadith which have been manufactured after the death of these scholars and people have attributed all kinds of things to these pious slaves of Allah. It is absolutely inconceivable that a scholar of the status of Abdullah ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) would have said the above words of blatant shirk which are absolutely against the clear teachings and guidance of the Qur’an. Abdulla ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) is considered amongst the best scholars of Qur’an and Sunnah, and …he dared not say these words of shirk. Please bear in mind, that there are plenty of ahadith which are manufactured and added long after the death of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and his companions by unscrupulous people. The first condition of accepting a hadith or narration as [authentic] or sahih, is that it should be in conformity with the Qur’an if it is not, then it will be immediately rejected! [Nevertheless, for the satisfaction of the reader, The footnote to this hadith in the book ‘Fada’il al-Sahaba’ by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (same reference as provided by questioner) clearly states that one narrator in the chain is accused of lying and the other one is accused of fabrication; moreover, Ibn Habban said two of the narrators in the chain of his hadith are unknown to him]
Hadith # 2 (Refer question)
The hadith referred to by the questioner is a saheeh hadith which was narrated by al-Bukhari, but anyone who studies it will find that it is evidence that one should not seek help from Allah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) or of anyone else, because Tawassul (using a means to achieve a goal) and al-waseelah is the thing that helps you to achieve that goal. The waseelah referred to in this hadith (“we used to ask You for rain by virtue of our Prophet and You gave us rain. Now we ask You for rain by virtue of the paternal uncle of our Prophet, so give us rain” and they would be given rain) is seeking the help of Allah by virtue of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), as a man said: “O Messenger of Allah, our wealth has been destroyed and the roads are cut off, so pray to Allah to help us.” And because ‘Umar said to al-‘Abbas: “Get up, O ‘Abbas, and pray to Allah, so he prayed to Allah.” If this had come under the heading of seeking Allah’s help by virtue of a person’s status only, then ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) would have sought the help of Allah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) before doing so by virtue of the status of al-‘Abbas, because the status of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) is greater before Allah than that of al-‘Abbas or anyone else. If this hadith came under the heading of seeking the help of Allah by virtue of status that it would have been more appropriate for the ameer al-mu’mineen ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) to seek the help of Allah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), not the status of al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib.
To sum up, there is nothing wrong with seeking the help of Allah by means of the du’aa’ of a person who it is hoped will have his du’aa’s answered because of his righteousness. The Sahaabah (رضي الله عنه) used to seek the help of Allah by means of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) for them. Similarly, ‘Umar sought the help of Allah by means of the du’aa’ of al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (رضي الله عنه). So if you think a man is righteous and likely to have his du’aa’s answered because his food, drink, clothing and housing are halal, and because he is known to be a man of worship and piety, there is nothing wrong with asking him to pray to Allah for you and ask for what you like, on condition that this does not stir up self-admiration in this person whom you ask to make du’aa’ for you. If it does stir up self-admiration, then it is not permissible for you to doom him by making this request of him, because that will harm him.
I also say: This is permissible, but I do not recommend it. I think that each person should ask Allah by himself, without appointing any intermediary between him and Allah. That brings a greater hope and is nearer to fear of Allah. I also encourage anyone who asks his brother whose du’aa’s he hopes will be answered to make du’aa’ for him, to intend thereby to treat him kindly – i.e., the one who will make du’aa’ – and not do it for the sake of meeting his own needs, because if he asks him for the sake of meeting his own needs, then it will become like asking him for money and the like, which is blameworthy. But if he intends thereby to benefit his brother who will make du’aa’ by treating him kindly, then treating a Muslim kindly is something for which a person will be rewarded, as is well known – and that is better. And Allah is the source of strength. (Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il Ibn ‘Uthaymeen)
Hadith # 3 (Refer question)
Imam Ahmad and others narrated with a sahih isnad from ‘Uthmaan ibn Haneef that a blind man came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and said: Pray to Allah to heal me. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “If you wish, I shall pray for you; and if you wish, I shall delay that for you and that will be better for you.” [According to another report, he said: “… Or if you wish, you can be patient and that will be better for you.”] He said: Pray for me (now). So he instructed him to do wudu’ and do it well, then to pray two rak‘ahs and say this du’aa’ (supplication): “O Allah, I ask You and I turn to You by virtue of Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy. O Muhammad, I turn by virtue of you to my Lord concerning this need of mine, that it might be met for me. O Allah, accept his intercession concerning me and accept my intercession concerning him.” So the man did that and he was healed.
Some people are confused by this hadith and think that it constitutes evidence for some innovated types of Tawassul (seeking to draw close to Allah), but that is not the case.
This misinterpretation of this hadith has been answered by many of the scholars, who explained that it does not constitute evidence for any of those who believe in innovated kinds of Tawassul, whether that is by virtue of the Prophet’s person or by virtue of his status, let alone Tawassul by virtue of the dead and calling upon them instead of Allah. One of the best precise and academic responses concerning this issue is that which was written by the great scholar Shaykh Muhammad Naasir ad-Deen al-Albaani in his book at-Tawassul Anwaa‘uhu wa Ahkaamuhu (available in English under the title Tawassul: Its Types and Its Rulings). Among the comments that he made on this hadith is the following:
As for us, we believe that this hadith does not constitute evidence for them to support seeking to draw closer to Allah (Tawassul) by virtue of the Prophet’s person; rather it constitutes further evidence for the third type of lawful Tawassul – which is Tawassul through the du’aa’ (supplication) of a righteous man – because the Tawassul of the blind man was only by means of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) (and not by virtue of his person). The evidence for what we say is to be found in the hadith itself, in abundance. The most important points are as follows:
- The blind man only came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) to ask him to pray for him; that was when he said: Pray to Allah to heal me. This is seeking to draw closer to Allah (Tawassul) by virtue of his du’aa’, because he knew that the du’aa’ of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was more likely to be accepted by Allah, unlike the du’aa’ of anyone else. If the blind man’s intention was to draw close to Allah by virtue of the Prophet’s person or his status, there would have been no need for him to come to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and ask him to offer du’aa’ for him; rather he could have stayed at home and called upon his Lord by saying, for example: O Allah, I ask You by virtue of Your Prophet and His status before You to heal me and give me my sight. But he did not do that.
- The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) promised to offer supplication (du’aa’) for him whilst advising him of that which would be better for him, which is when he said: “If you wish, I shall pray for you; and if you wish, you can be patient and that will be better for you.”
- The blind man insisted that he offer supplication for him, as he said: Pray for me (now). This implies that the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did offer supplication for him, because he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was the best one in fulfilling promises, and he had promised him that he would offer supplication for him if he wanted, as stated above. So there is no doubt that he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) offered supplication for him. Thus what the blind man wanted was done. After that, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) turned towards the blind man out of compassion towards him and out of keenness that Allah answer his supplications for this man. So he turned to him and advised him of the second type of lawful Tawassul, which is Tawassul by virtue of righteous deeds, so as to combine all kinds of good and righteous deeds (to ensure that his need would be met). So he instructed him to do wudu’ and to pray two rak‘ahs, then to offer supplication for himself. These are all acts of obedience towards Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), that came before the supplication of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) for him, and these are included in the words of the verse in which Allah says in the Qur’an: “Seek the means of approach to Him” (Soorah al-Maa’idah, 5:35)… Based on this, the entire incident revolves around the supplication (du’aa’) – as is clear – and there is no mention at all of what they claim.
- In the supplication that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) taught him it says: “O Allah, accept his intercession concerning me.” It is impossible to interpret this as referring to Tawassul by virtue of the person or status of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), because what is meant is: O Allah, accept his (the Prophet’s) intercession for me; in other words, ‘Accept his supplication for my vision to be restored to me.’ The Arabic word shafaa‘ah (translated here as intercession) means supplication. It says in Lisaan al-‘Arab: Shafaa‘ah (intercession) is the words of the shafee‘ (intercessor) to the king asking him to meet the need of someone else, or the one who asks for something for someone else and intercedes for him to get what he is seeking…” Thus it is proven that the Tawassul of the blind man was only by virtue of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), not by virtue of his person.
- Among the things that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) taught the blind man to say was: “and accept my intercession concerning him”. What is meant is: accept my intercession, that is, my supplication, that his intercession, that is his supplication that my sight be restored, be accepted. This is the only way in which this sentence can be interpreted; there is no other way of interpreting it.
Hence you see those among later generations who hold different views ignoring this last phrase and not referring to it at all, because it utterly demolishes their interpretation of the hadith.
- This hadith is cited by the scholars as being one of the miracles of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and one of his supplications that were answered, and an example of what Allah manifested through the blessing of his supplication of extraordinary events and healing from sickness. By virtue of the Prophet’s supplication for this blind man, Allah restored his sight. Hence the scholars of hadith, such as al-Bayhaqi and others, narrated it among the signs of Prophethood (dalaa’il an-nubuwwah). This indicates that the reason for the healing of the blind man was the supplication of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
If the reason for the healing of the blind man was that he sought Tawassul by virtue of the Prophet’s status, as it was understood by many later scholars, that would imply that this healing should also have happened for other blind people who sought Tawassul by virtue of his status and sometimes added to it the status of all the Prophets and Messengers, and all the close friends of Allah, the martyrs and the righteous, and the status of anyone who has status with Allah among the angels, mankind and the jinn! But we do not know, and we do not think that anyone knows, of any such incident that was fulfilled throughout the many centuries from the death of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) until the present day.
From this explanation it becomes clear that what is meant by the words of the blind man in his du’aa’, “O Allah, I ask You and I seek to draw close to You by virtue of Your Prophet Muhammad”, is: I seek to draw close to You by virtue of the supplication of Your Prophet. The text of the hadith does not mention the supplication, but it is implied. This is something that occurs commonly in Arabic, as in the verse in which Allah says in the Qur’an: “And ask (the people of) the town where we have been, and the caravan in which we returned, and indeed we are telling the truth” (Soorah Yoosuf, 12:82); in the original text the word “people” is not mentioned but it is implied.
However, I would say: Even if we assume that the blind man did seek to draw close to Allah by virtue of the Prophet’s person, that would be a ruling that applied only to him (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and not to any other Prophet or righteous person, and applying it to them too is something that would not be acceptable to sound reasoning, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) is their leader and the best of them all. It is possible that this is something that Allah bestowed exclusively upon him and not them, like many other qualities that were given only to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), according to sahih reports. When it comes to that which was given exclusively to him, there is no room for applying it to others by analogy. If anyone thinks that the Tawassul of the blind man was by virtue of the Prophet’s person, then he has to apply it to him only and not to anyone else. This view was narrated from Imam Ahmad and Shaykh al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd as-Salaam (may Allah have mercy on them) and it is the only conclusion that can be reached by fair-minded academic research. And Allah is the One Who guides to what is correct. (at-Tawassul)
[It is clear from the above that it was not Tawassul of Dhaat (by virtue of his person) rather tawassul of Prayer and Imam Tirmidhi, Imam al Hakim, Imam Bayhaqi understood it the same way.] The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) clearly said whenever you have any need do the same. i.e., Come to me and I will pray for you, you will do wudu’, pray two rakah and supplicate for yourself. Allah will cure you. And Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) advised after his death go to Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه), another hadith states Allah support this Ummah because of the supplication, the Salah, and the sincerity of the weak ones.
Following are the proofs:
- A woman came to the Prophet who ordered her to return to him again. She said, “What if I came and did not find you?” as if she wanted to say, “If I found you dead?” The Prophet said, “If you should not find me, go to Abu Bakr.” (Sahih Bukhari)
- Narrated Abu Darda’: I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) say: Seek for me weak persons, for you are provided means of subsistence and helped through your weaklings. (Sunan Abi Dawud)
- It was narrated from Mus’ab bin Sa’d, from his father, that he thought he was better than other Companions of the Prophet. The Prophet of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Rather, Allah support this Ummah because of the supplication, the Salah, and the sincerity of the weak ones.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)
These above ahadith are proof that Allah help us through the dua of weak ones, after death of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) we should ask pious [(alive not dead)] to pray for us.
Not a Single early Muhaddith said this hadith proves “Tawassul bi Jaah An-Nabi“… Imam al Izz bin Abdus Salam… said regarding this hadith: “It is not allowed to ask Allah with tawassul accept the Prophet (peace be upon him and no other Prophet and wali)… If this hadith is authentic then it is specific for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) only, who was leader of children of Adam, Asking Allah by giving him Qasam (i.e. O Allah I ask you by so and so) is not allowed for others among the Prophets, Angels, Auliyah ” (Fatawa Sultan al-Ulama)
Hadith # 4 (Refer question)
The chain of this athar is Abu Saeed Al Makki whose name is Shabeeb bin Saeed. He has narrated this incident from Raoh bin Al-Qasim and Raoh bin Al Qasim narrated from Abu Jafar.
Regarding Abu Saeed, scholars of Jarah and Ta’deel say that only those of his ahadith will be accepted in which he narrates from Younus bin Yazeed. And narrator who narrates from him should be his son Ahmad. And in this hadith this criteria is not fulfilled and proof for our claim is as follows:
Here is whole Criticism and tadeel on Shabeeb bin Saeed:
- Hafidh Al Mizzi Mentioned in Tahdeeb al Kamal: Shabeeb bin Sa’eed at-Tameemi al-Khabti Abu Sa’eed al-Basri the father of Ahmed bin Shabeeb: He narrated from: Abaan bin Taghlab, Abaan bin Abi Ayaash, Ruh bin Al Qasim, Shu’ba bin Hajjaj, Muhammad bin Umar bin Alqama bin Waqas, Yahya bin Abi Anbasa and Yunus bin Yazid, From him narrated: his son Ahmed bin Shabeeb bin Sa’eed, Zayd bin Bashr al-Hadhrami, ABDULLAH BIN WAHB, Yahya bin Ayoob al-Misri, Ali bin Mudayni said He is Reliable and he is from the companions of Yunus bin Yazid, he went on trip for trade to Egypt and his “BOOK IS SAHIH” and from him wrote his son Ahmed. Abu Zara’ said: There is “NO HARM IN HIM” Abu Hatim said: He had book of Yunus bin Yazid and he (Shabeeb) is Saleh al hadith and there is no harm in him, Imam Nasai’i said: There is “NO HARM IN HIM”, Imam Abu Ahmed bin Adi said: Shabeeb had the Nuskha of Zuhri which had (narrations) from Yunus, the ahadith from him through Zuhri are fine and Ibn Wahb narrated Manakeer reports from him. Ibn Hibban mentioned him in “THIQAAT” (Tahdheeb ul Kamaal)
- Adh-Dhahabee said in al-Meezaan al aitedaal about shabeeb: “Sudooq Yaghrab, Ibn ‘Adiyy mentions him in his Kaamil and said: “He has a written manuscript copy of hadith from Yoonus ibn Yazeed which is fine. Ibn Wahb narrated Manakeer reports from him. Ibn al-Mudayni said: Shabeeb bin Saeed is Reliable: He used to go to Egypt for trade and his book (written narrations) are reliable and are written down from him by his son Ahmad and from him Narrated Abdullah bin Wahb. Ibn ‘Adiyy said: “Shabeeb sometimes made slips and errors when he narrated from memory. I hope that he did not do this intentionally. Then when his son Ahmad narrates from him with the ahadith of Yoonus, then it is as if it is a different Yoonus, meaning: he makes them good.” (Meezan ul aitedaal)
- Haafidh Ibn hajar Asqalani in at-Taqreeb said: “There is no harm in his those ahadith when they are narrated from him by his son Ahmad, but not when narrated from him by Ibn Wahb…”
- Ibn Abee Haatim says: “He had book of Yunus bin Yazid and he is Saleh in hadith. (al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel) So when he narrates from his books then he narrates well, but when he narrates from his memory he makes mistakes.
- Imam Abu Nasr Kalabazi (323h – 398 h) said: “Shabeeb bin sad, He narrates from Yunas bin Yazeed and his son Ahmad narrates from him in al Istaqraadh and Manaqib of Omar only, and in other places he is used Maqroonan (Rijaal Saheeh al Bukhari by Imam Abu Nasr with the tehqeeq of Abdullah al Laithi dar al Marifah)
- Hafidh Ibn Hajar Asqalani concluded by saying I say: “Bukhaaree brings his ahadith which were reported from him by his son, which he himself reports from Yoonus, but he does not bring anything which he himself reports from other than Yoonus, and he does not quote anything which Ibn Wahb reports from him.” (Muqaddimah al fathul bari)
- Shaykh Al albani said in Ahkam Anwa (his famous book on tawassul) after quoting the statement of Ibne Hajar Asqalani: “So here He (Ibne hajar) Rahimullah, gives an indication that criticism is valid about Shabeeb when he is reporting from other than Yoonus, even if they are things which his son Ahmad reports from him.”
- There are at least eight narrations in Bukhari from Shabeeb and Bukhari narrated only those of his ahadith where he is narrating from Yunus and from him his son Ahmad narrated. So the only chain used by Bukhari was “Ahmed bin Shabeeb–Abi (his father Shabeeeb bin Saeed)–Younus bin Yazeed” and not any other chain, Further Ibn Hajr defends that this is the only chain in Bukhari.
- Shaykh Albani said: So this speech means that the ahadith of this narrator Shabeeb are all right with two conditions:
- That they are narrated from him by his son Ahmad, and
- That Shabeeb is narrating from Yoonus.
Further weakness is the presence of conflicting reports from Ahmad ibn Shabeeb. The hadith is also reported by Ibn as-Sunnee in ‘Amalul-Yawm wal-Laylah and by al-Haakim by way of three chains from Ahmad ibn Shabeeb without any mention of the attached story (after the death of Prophet). It is likewise reported by ‘Awn ibn ‘Umaarah al-Basree: Rawh ibn al -Qaasim narrated to us with it. This is reported by al-Haakim. Then even though this narrator ‘Awn is weak, yet still his narration is to be given precedence over the narration of Shabeeb because he is agreed with in it by Shu’bah and Hammaad ibn Salamah, from Aboo Ja’far al – Khatamee. So, in conclusion this story is weak and contrary to what is authentically reported due to three reasons:
- The weakness of the memory of the one who is alone in reporting it;
- and the conflicting reports from him and;
- his contradicting those reliable narrators who do not mention it in the hadith.
The Chains of this athar in Dalaail an-Nabuwwah al Bayhaqi
1st chain: Abu Bakr bin Abdul-Malik bin Abi Othman Al-Zahid – Imam Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Ali bin Ismail Al-Shashi Al-Qifal – Abu Araba- Abbas ibn al-Faraj – Ismail bin Shabib – Raoh bin Qasim – Abu Jaafar al-Madani – Abu Amama bin Sahl bin Hanif
Some people said Imam al Bayhaqi considered this narration as authentic, but this is wrong because Imam al Bayhaqi said: “Our True madhab is that we do not accept the narration of UNKNOWN people; unless they are known by the conditions which oblige us to accept their narration (Qiraat Khalf al Imam)
Nowhere Imam al Bayhaqi said “This Athar is sahih” rather he mentioned the chain of narrators and following are the unknown and weak narrators in it:
- Ismaeel bin shabeeb is unknown, we cannot find his tarjuma in any of the book, and if he is Ismaieel bin Shabeeb ibn shayba taaifi then Hafiz Ibne Hajar said in Lisaan al Meezan he is severely weak, Nisai said Munkir al hadith, Uqayli said he narrated munkir and unproven ahadith.
- If he is any other Ismaeel bin Shabeeb then he is unknown because no one mentioned him in Shabeeb’s students, no is he mentioned in any of the book of Rijaal. i.e., He is Majhool alAyn whose name is mentioned, but only one narrator narrates from him.
Note: Mastoor or Majhool al Haal (He is one from whom two narrators narrates or more, and he is not declared trustworthy) is also weak according to Majority (see Nukhba tul Fikr of Ibn Hajar asqalani and Imam ash-Shafiee’s quote in Ikhtilaaf al Hadeeth)
- There is even Idhtiraab in it the chain because in the chain of Tabrani and Abu Nuyeem this is the story narrated by Uthman bin Hunaif, whereas in the chain of Bayhaqi this is the story from Abu Umama Sahl bin Hunayf. (See the book Tauheed e Khalis by Shaykh Badi ud din ar-Rashidi)
- Who is father of Ismaeel? We need a proof that Shabeeb had another son with the name of Ismaeel other than Ahmad. If he is any other Shabeeb than he is Majhool or if he is same Shabeeb bin Saeed then the criteria of accepting his hadith is that, only those of his ahadith will be accepted in which he narrates from Younus bin Yazeed. And narrator who narrates from him should be his son Ahmad.
2nd chain: It was narrated by Ahmad ibn Shabib, from Sa’id, from his father, as well.
Saeed is unknown in this chain and who is father of Saeed? We need authentications of these two narrators from muhadditheen.
3rd chain: Abu Ali Hassan bin Ahmed bin Ibrahim bin Shazan – Abdullah bin Jaafar bin Darastawi – Yaqoub bin Sufyan – Ahmed bin Shabib bin Said
This is not complete chain who is narrating from Ahmad bin Shabeeb bin Saeed? Secondly, if this is same chain then again same is the criteria i.e., Shabeeb should narrate from Younus not from any other.
The Claim that No one among the muhadditheen considered this athar as weak
- Nu’maan Ibn Mahmood Al-Aloossi (muhaddith) said in his book Jalaa’ Al-‘Aynayn Fi Muhaakamat Al-Ahmadayn commented on this narration: “There is something wrong about the chain of narrators of this narration reported by ‘Uthmaan Ibn Hunaif, at the time of the reign of the caliphate ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan (رضي الله عنه). Some scholars even say that the signs of fabrication are apparent in it, so how can this narration be acted upon while it contradicts the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet and the actions of the companions? Did you hear that anyone of them came to the grave of the Prophet and asked him about that which only Allah is capable of, while they were very keen to have their needs fulfilled and to attain the highest rewards?”
- Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani did Ikhtisaar of Targheeb Wat Tarheeb of Munzari and he only mentioned the hadith in the life of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), and he threw away the narration of man in need out of the book (Ikhtisaar of Targheeb wat Tarheeb Chapter of Salat al Hajah) The reason why Ibn Hajar threw this narration out of the book is the same mentioned before. i.e., He said: “Bukhari brings his ahadith which were reported from him by his son, which he himself reports from Yoonus, but he does not bring anything which he himself reports from other than Yoonus, and he does not quote anything which Ibn Wahb reports from him.”[Muqaddimah al fathul bari) And this criteria is not in the athar of Man in need. So, Ibn Hajar did not even mentioned this in the book.
- Ibn Tamiyah criticized this in Qaidah al Jaleelah.
- Hafidh Tabrani only said hadith is sahih he did not say this athar (after the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) passed away) is sahih. He said after narrating hadith: “No one reports it from Rawh ibn al-Qaasim except Shabeeb ibn Sa’eed, Aboo Sa’eed al-Makkee and he is reliable. He is also the one whom Ahmad ibn Shabeeb narrates from, narrating from his father, from Yoonus ibn Yazeed al-Aylee. This hadith is also reported from Shu’bah from Aboo Ja’far al-Khatamee, whose name is ‘Umayr ibn Yazeed, and he is reliable. It is reported from Shu’bah only by ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Umar ibn Faaris, and the hadith is Sahih and this hadith is narrated from OWN BIN AMARAH from Roah Bin al qasim from Muhammab bin Alinkdr from Jabir (رضي الله عنه).
One can see here Tabrani is talking about 3 chains:
- From Shabeeb bin Saeed
- From Shubah (after mentioning that he said hadith is sahih)
- From Own bin amarah
Hafidh Tabrani never said hadith is sahih after mentioning chain no. 1 (it is the chain of story of man in need after death of Prophet) but he said after chain no. 2 (which is the chain of blind man in the life of Prophet). Then Tabrani mentioned chain no. 3 as Shaykh Al Bani said in his book on Tawassul. “At-Tabrani only declared the hadith (of Uthman bin Hunaif when Prophet was in front of blind man) authentic, not the story (of man in need after the death of Prophet) So this is a clear statement that what he was talking about was the same hadith as that reported by Shu’bah,and Shu’bah did not narrate the story, so there is no proof for them in his words.” …Same Imam at-Tabrani relates from Ubadah bin Samit that a hypocrite used to bother the companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). Once some of the companions said, “Let us go and beseech the Prophet’s aide to help us against this hypocrite. Upon hearing this Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Indeed, no one beseeches me for help, but should only beseech Allah.”
- Imam al Haythami said after mentioning the story: “I say: Narrated by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah in which the story in the end is not mentioned, Tabrani said the HADITH is Sahih after mentioning the routs. (Majma az-Zawaid chapter of Salat al Hajah) Comment: Even Haythami was aware the story is not authentic that is why he only relied on the authenticity of the hadith.
Regarding Text of this athar
It clearly says “a person repeatedly visited Uthman bin Affan (رضي الله عنه) concerning something he needed but Uthman paid no attention to him”
Shaykh Al bani said: “This is a sentence in the story which if an intelligent and wise person who knows about the virtues of the Companions was to consider he would find it a further proof of the weakness and incorrectness of the story. It is the saying that the rightly-guided Caliph ‘Uthman (رضي الله عنه), did not take any notice of that man’s need and would ignore him! So how does this agree with what is authentically reported from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) that the angels used to feel shy from ‘Uthman, and with what is well-known about him, that he used to treat the people with kindness, gentleness and goodness? All of this causes us to further doubt that this story took place, since it shows oppression which totally conflicts with his behavior and manner”
Final word even for the sake of an argument, we consider this athar to be authentic then the intention is to recite that dua’a in the same original words. Like we recite in the tashahhud Assalamu alika Ayyu Han-Nabbiyu (Pece be upon you O Prophet) as it is proven from Umar (رضي الله عنه), Nowhere Umar (رضي الله عنه) meant he is directly talking with Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), as it is cleared from himself when he said “O Allah, we used to beseech You by means of (the du’aa’ of) Your Prophet for rain and You would give us rain; now we beseech You by means of (the du’aa’ of) the paternal uncle of Your Prophet, so grant us rain.”(Bukhari).In fact, some sahabah and tabiyeen after the death of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) even changed the words “Assalamu Alan-Nabbiyu” (Peace be upon Prophet) without khitab.
Aqeedah of Imam al Bayhaqi
- Imam al-Bayhaqi narrated this under the chapter of supplications of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). He did not say Chapter of Istigatha through Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
- Imam al Bayhaqi mentioned the athar of Umar (رضي الله عنه) where he asked Al Abbas (رضي الله عنه) to ask Allah for rain under the Chapter of asking someone to invoke Allah for rain whose dua has a hope of Barakah.
- He was also against seeking refuge from creation, he said, [mentioning the following ayah]: “And say, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the incitements of the devils. And I seek refuge in You, my Lord , lest they be present with me.” (Soorah Al-Mu’uminuna, 23:97-98) and “seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan, the outcast.” (Soorah Al-Nahl, 16:98) And it is not correct that the creation would seek refuge from other creation, This verse is the evidence that one who seeks refuge should seek refuge from the attributes of Allah, And He (Allah) ordered that seek refuge from the attributes of him, His attributes are not creation like Allah ordered to seek refuge from his dhaat and his dhaat is not creation (Asma wal siffat)
(The above answer is based on the following sources:
- Various answers by Islamqa.info
- Fatwa of Dr. Hatem al-Haj, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America
- Fatwa on Islamhelpline.net
- Bida`ee Tawassul Refutation Series (Athar of Man in need) (Systemoflife.com)
- ‘Fada’il al-Sahaba’ by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (Arabic version))
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.
 Sayings, actions and consent of the Sahabah, the companions of the Prophet Muhammad
 Maqroonan means he is used with others, i.e. to support not for evidence