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Tawassul - Seeking a Way unto Allah (Part 4)

duaa (supplication)

Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayah 18 of Surah al-Jinn
Another reason put forward by the Salafiyyah such as Muhammad Rashid Rida on non-permissibility of tawassul to the Prophet (PBUH) after his death is that any wasilah for proximity to God should be a thing which God has determined for mankind such as faith, action and supplication.
It was in the middle ages that tawassul to the person of the Prophets and pious men became widespread and they were considered wasa'il ila Allah (means to Allah) by people who would invoke God by their names and would supplicate to them at their tombs for their needs, when supplication is a form of worship as God says in the Holy Qur'an:

“So call you not anyone with Allah.” (72:18)

“Surely, those whom you call other than Allah are subservient (to Allah) like unto your own selves...” (7:194)
Critique
In answer to this objection it should be said that every supplication is not a form of worship or even the spirit of worship, since the root of dua'a (supplication) is da'wat, a word which along with its derivatives occurs frequently in the Holy Qur'an. For instance,

“let us call (nad'u) our sons (3:61)”

and

“Make you not the addressing (dua'a) of the Prophet among you like your addressing one another” (24:63)

As could be discerned, in most of the 'Ayah the word du'a' means to call or address. Accordingly neither every nida' (call) is du'a' nor every du'a' is 'ibadat (worship). In other words dua'a (supplication) becomes 'ibadat when the rules of worship such as servitude and submissiveness to Allah are observed with acknowledgement of the over lordship of the Almighty Creator. What connection does this have with tawassul and tabarruk to the Prophet (PBUH) and the Infallible Imams (A.S) and requesting them for help and succour?

Thus, the narration al-dua'a huwa al-'ibadah (supplication is among the acts of worship), does not necessarily mean that every supplication is a form of worship.25
Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayahs 13-14 of Surah al-Fatir
The Salafiyyah also resort to the following Ayah of the Holy Qur'an as part of their attempt to discourage tawassul
And those whom you call upon other than Him, own not (even) a straw. If you call on them they shall hear not your call; and even if they hear they shall answer you not; and on the Day of Judgment they will deny your associating them (with Allah); and none can (ever) inform you as the All-Aware. (35:13- 14)
Critique
This Ayah refers to the polytheists who worship idols instead of the One and Only God and supplicate to these man-made objects in their hour of need. Allah says here that these idols do not own even a straw, so how can they grant anything to those who worship and prostrate before them? No matter how fervently these idols are called upon, they do not listen since they are inanimate objects, and suppose even if they were to listen, they cannot answer since they do not have the tongues.26
As is crystal clear for any discerning person, it has no connection whatsoever concerning tawassul to the Prophet (PBUH) and the Infallible Imams (A.S) or saints. First and foremost, it is a gross mistake to place those who seek tawassul in the same category as the polytheists, since idolaters seek their needs from idols and not from the Almighty Creator.
But those who make tawassul beseech Allah for their needs and regard Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a wasilah or means for the acceptance of their supplications, since he is the Messenger of Allah. To quote Rashid Rida himself, those who seek tawassul are like guests who approach the host for some of their needs, and at times request the members of the household or friends of the hosts who have been appointed to serve the guests, since they consider everything to be the favour of the host.27

Secondly, it is a manifest error to equate with idols the Prophet (PBUH) who has been sent by Allah as a divine sign and is called Habib-Allah (Friend of God) by all Muslims. Even Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab maintains that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is alive in his grave and his life in the intermediary world (barzakh) is superior to the life of the martyrs, since he hears the voices of those who send blessings upon him.28

Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayah 194 of Surah al-A'raf
The fifth reason that the Salafiyyah such as Ibn Taymiyyah, Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad Rashid Rida have cited as non-permissibility of tawassul to the Prophet (PBUH) after his death, is the following Ayah of the Holy Qur'an:
“Surely, those whom you call other than Allah are subservient (to Allah) like unto your own selves...” (7:194)
Critique
All exegetes of the Holy Qur'an have unanimously stated that this Ayah refers to the idol-worshippers who associate man-made objects with God in creation and in administering the affairs of the world. In contrast, tawassul is made by those who never regard the Prophets as partners of Allah in creation and in running world affairs, and neither do they worship the Last Prophet (PBUH).

Since every day several times they bear testimony that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the servant and Messenger of Allah (ash-hadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa rasuluh). As the Holy Qur'an says, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been sent as mercy to the entire creation (21:107) and is a means of acceptance of supplications, so it is natural for us to request him to supplicate and intercede (shafa'at) with Allah for us.
Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayah 3 of Surah al-Zumar
The Chief Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh 'Abd al-'Aziz bin Baz, in his exchange of letters with Iran's Ayatullah Muhammad Wa'iz-Zadeh Khurasani, has remarked, The polytheists also testified to the Oneness of Allah but as the Holy Qur'an states, they tried to justify their worshipping of idols by saying:
“We worship them not but (in order) that they make us near to God” (39:3).
This is similar to the actions of those who make tawassul to those in the graves in order to seek proximity to Allah 29.
Critique
'Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Tabataba'i responding to such a reasoning says that according to the books of religions and the testimony of idol-worshippers, hundreds of millions of whom live in India, China and Japan, idolatry is based on the theory that the creation of the universe and even the deities which are worshipped, have as their source the same Almighty God.
But since He is beyond comprehension there is no other choice but to worship some of His closest servants such as angels, genies and saints so that they make intercession (shafa'at) and people may reach the proximity of God through them. In the opinion of the polytheists, angels are like the builder to whom the owner of the house has entrusted the building and hence intercession (shafa'at) is according to His discretion.
But, adds 'Allamah Tabataba'i, in the Holy Qur'an tawassul to the Prophets is in the manner of an intermediary and is not something independent, and for this reason it has not been considered as shirk or polytheism. Similarly, the polytheists have been reproached in the Holy Qur'an not because of seeking intercession (shafa'at) but because of worshipping other than God.30
Salafiyyah Interpretation of Ayah 10 of Surah Yunus
Shaykh Bin Baz in his answers to Ayatullah Wa'iz-Zadeh has also cited the following Ayah of the Holy Qur'an as another instance of non-permissibility of tawassul, saying that in his opinion Muslims who uphold tawassul to the Prophet (PBUH) are like idolaters who seek intercession from objects which are of no use:
“And they worship beside Allah which can neither hurt them nor profit them, and they say: these are our intercessors with Allah...” (10:18)
Critique
First, this Ayah has no connection with Muslims since they do not worship anything or object except Allah.
Secondly, as said earlier, addressing the Prophet is not meant to worship him but to request him for supplication and intercession.
Thirdly, it is a matter of surprise to compare the Prophet to those whom the Holy Qur'an says “can neither hurt them nor profit them,” since the fact cannot be denied that obedience to the Prophet is to the benefit of Muslims and disobedience to him, whether during his lifetime or after his death, is certainly detrimental to them.
Similarly, the supplication and intercession of the Prophet for those who are eligible, whether in worldly life or in the Hereafter, are profitable for the Muslims as unanimously confirmed by the 'ulama'.
Fourthly, it is a grave error to equate the belief of the Muslims that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the intercessor, with the belief of the polytheists “these (idols) are our intercessors with Allah,” since God has explicitly rejected their claim as lies.

“Those who take guardians besides Him, (say) we worship them not but (in order) that they make us near to Allah; surely Allah will judge between them about what they differ; surely Allah does not guide the one who is a liar and an ingrate.” (39:3)

As is clear from the wordings of the Holy Qur'an the polytheists who make such claims are liars. They are not conscious of God, neither do they worship Him or prostrate to Him nor have they any faith in their Unseen Creator.

“And when it is said to them prostrate you in obeisance to the Rahman (the Beneficent God), they say: Who is Rahman? Shall we prostrate in obeisance unto what you bid us? And it (only) adds to their flight (from the truth).” (25:60)

Source: al-islam.org


Notes:
25. Manawi, al-Fayd, vol. 3, p. 540; Hassan bin 'Ali Saqqaf, al-Tandid bi-man Addada al-Tawhid, pp. 30-40.
26. Tafsir al-Jalalayn; Baydawi, Anwar al-Tanzil, vol. 2, 270
27. Tafsir al-Manar, vol. 1, p. 59.
28. Ibn ''Abd al-Wahhab, Risalah Kashf al-Shubahat, cited in al-Rasul Yad'ukum, p. 295
29. Risalatan Bayn al-Shaykhayn al-Ustadh Muhammad Wa'iz-Zadeh Khurasani wa al-Ustadh 'Abd al-'Aziz bin 'Abdullah bin Baz, pp. 32-33.
30. 'Allamah Tabataba'i, Majmu'ah-yi Maqalat, pp. 313-317


Other links: 

Muslims visiting tombs in order to Invoke Blessings 
Views of Sunni thinkers on visiting tombs to invoke blessing

Wahhabists and Asking for Blessing

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