INTERMEDIATION : INTERCESSION : WASILA : SHAFAAT :
The Beloved Messenger of Allah Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa 'aalihi wa Sallam said :
"Whoever visits my grave, my Intercession will be guaranteed for him"
The Intercession of the Beloved Messenger of Allah
Seeking means (tawassul) through the Beloved Messenger of Allah
Intermediation through the Beloved Messenger of Allah
Islamic Comcept of Intermediation
Response with clear proof to the one who denies tawassul
Question on tawassul
What is the meaning of Intercession
Proofs for Intercession (shafa'at) in Islam
Proofs from within the Qur'an al-karim
Proofs from Ahadith
Shafa'at (Intercession) in Islam
An overview of the events of the Last Day at the stage of Intercession
Tawassul of Hadrat Umar through al-Abbas
Tawassul through the Awliya
Tawassul is supplicating to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala by means of an intermediary, whether it be a living person, dead person, a good deed, or a name or Attribute of Allah Most High. The scholar, Yusuf Rifa'i, says: I here want to convey the position, attested to by compelling legal evidence, of the orthodox majority of Sunni Muslims 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 its 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 Beloved 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;"
(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.
Reference : 'Reliance of the Traveller'
Tirmidhi relates, through his chain of narrators from 'Uthman ibn Hunayf, that a blind man came to the Beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give 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:
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 give 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 "prayer of need," in which someone in need of something from Allah Most High performs such a prayer and then turns to Allah with this supplication 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 - peace be upon him - was alive at that 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 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 dead or alive; for the words "O Muhammad" are an address to someone physically absent - in which state the living and 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 dead person.
Tirmidhi has stated that the hadith of the blind man is "a hadith that is well or rigorously authenticated but singular, being unknown except through his chain of narrators, from the hadith of Abu Ja'far, who is not Abu Ja'far Khatmi," which means that the narrators of this hadith, despite Abu Ja'far being unknown to Tirmidhi, were acceptable to the degree of being well or rigorously authenticated in either case.
But scholars before Tirmidhi established that Abu Ja'far, this person unknown to Tirmidhi, was Abu Ja'far Khatmi himself. Ibn Abi Khaythama said: "The name of this Abu Ja'far, whom Hammad ibn Salama relates from, is 'Umayr ibn Yazid, and is the Abu Ja'far that Shu'ba relates from," and then he related the hadith by the channel of transmission of 'Uthman from Shu'ba from Abu Ja'far.
Ibn Taymiya, after relating the hadith of Tirmidhi, said: "All scholars say that he is Abu Ja'far Khatmi, and this is correct."
Reflect on this.
The hadith master, Ibn Hajar, notes in "Taqrib al-tahdhib" that he is Khatmi, and that he is reliable (saduq).
Ibn 'Abd al-Barr likewise says that he is Khatmi, in "al-Istii'ab fi ma'rifa al-ashab." Moreover, Baihaqi related the hadith by way of Hakim and confirmed that it was rigorously authenticated (SAHIH), Hakim having related it by a chain of transmission meeting the standards of Bukhari and Muslim, which the hadith master Dhahabi confirmed, and Shawkani cited as evidence. Dhahabi and Shawkani, who are they? The meaning of this is that all the men of the hadith's chain of transmission are known to top Imams of hadith such as Dhahabi (and who is severer than he?), Ibn Hajar (and who is more precise, learned, or painstaking than he?), Hakim, Baihaqi, Tabarani, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, Shawkani, and even Ibn Taymiya.
This hadith was recorded was recorded by Bukhari in his "al-Tarikh al-kabir", by Ibn Majah in his "Sunan", where he said it was rigorously authenticated (SAHIH), by Nasa'i in "Amal al-yawm wa al-layla", by Abu Nu'aym in "Ma'rifa al-Sahaba", by Baihaqi in "Dala'il al-nubuwwa", by Mundhiri in "al-Targhib wa al-tahrib", by Haythami in "Majma' al zawa'id wa manba' al-fawa'id", by Tabarani in "al-Mu'jam al-kabir", by Ibn Khuzayma in his "Sahih", and by others. Nearly 15 hadith masters ("huffaz", hadith authorities with more than 100,000 hadiths and their chains of transmission by memory) have explicitly stated that this hadith is rigorously authenticated (sahih). As mentioned above, it has come with a chain of transmission meeting the standards of Bukhari and Muslim, so there is nothing left for a critic to attack or slanderer to disparage concerning the authenticity of the hadith. Consequently, as for the permissibility of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through either a living or dead person, it follows by human reason, scholarship, and sentiment, that there is flexibility in the matter. Whoever wants to can either take tawassul or leave it, without causing trouble or making accusations, since it has been this thoroughly checked ("Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a , 79-83).
It is well to review some salient features of the proof that was given , such as:
(3) The authenticity of Tabarani's hadith of the man in need during the caliphate of Uthman (Allah be well pleased with him) is not discussed by the article in detail, but deserves consideration, since the hadith explicitly proves the legal validity of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through the deceased, for 'Uthman ibn Hunayf and indeed all the prophetic Companions, by scholarly consensus (ijma'), were legally upright ('udul), and are above being impugned with teaching someone an act of disobedience, much less idolatory (shirk). The hadith is rigorously authenticated (sahih), as Tabarani explicitly states in his "al-Mu'jam al-saghir." The translator (Nuh Ha Mim Keller), wishing to verify the matter further, to the hadith with its chain of narrators to hadith specialist Sheikh Shu'ayb Arna'ut, who after examining it, agreed that it was rigorously authenticated (sahih) as Tabarani indicated, a judgement which was also confirmed to the translator by the Morrocan hadith specialist Sheikh 'Abdullah Muhammad Ghimari, who characterized the hadith as "very rigorously authenticated," and noted that hadith masters Haythami and Mundhiri had explicitly concurred with Tabarani on its being rigorously authenticated (sahih). The upshot is that the recommendedness of tawassul to Allah Most High - through the living or the dead - is the position of the Shafi'i school, which is why both our author Ibn Naqib Al-Misri, and Imam Nawawi in his "Al-Adhkar (281-282)", and "al-Majmu" explicitly record that "tawassul" through the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and asking his intercession are recommended.
Reference : 'Reliance of the Traveller'
Moreover, Tabarani, in his "al-Mu'jam al saghir," reports a hadith from 'Uthman ibn Hunayf that a man repeatedly visited Uthman ibn Affan (Allah be 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 (wisal) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give 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 was 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:
Source : Reliance of the Traveller
The Hanafi scholar, Muhammad Hamid says: As for calling upon (nida') the righteous (when they are physically absent, as in the words "O 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 is permissible, and the evidence the writer uses to corrobrate his viewpoint is devoid of anything that demonstrates what he is trying to prove. In declaring tawassul permissible, we are not hovering on brink of idolatory (shirk) or coming anywhere near it, for the conviction that Allah Most High alone has influence over anything, outwardly or inwardly, is a conviction that flows through us like our very lifeblood. If tawassul was idolatory (shirk), or if there were any suspicion of idolatory in it, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant 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 is 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]
Source : 'Reliance of the Traveller' by Shaykh Nu Ha Mim Keller
There is no contradiction in asking Allah both with or without an intermediary, although in reality there are always several kinds of intermediary present, beginning with one's own state, obedience, belief, acts, sincerity, etc. Only those with deficient knowledge or imperfect belief imagine that the person who asks Allah through an intermediary has associated another to his worship of Allah. The Beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) explained this to the Companions once and for all when he said to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq: "Help is not sought with me (i.e. in reality), help is sought with Allah." He did not say to Abu Bakr: "Asking me is forbidden and constitutes association to Allah." What he said meant that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is not the source of help but only the most effective intermediary to obtain help from Allah.
The meaning of the hadith is elucidated by the Qur'anic verses: "You did not throw when you threw, but Allah threw" (8:17) and: "Those who swear allegiance unto thee swear allegiance only unto Allah" (48:10). Further, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "I did not bear you but Allah bore you." Thus the meaning of the hadith "Help is not sought with me" is:
(Even if I am the one ostensibly being asked
for help,) I am not the one being asked for help,
in reality Allah Himself is being asked.
The hadith "Help is not sought with me" must therefore be interpreted in the light of the fact that asking for help applies to whoever the help comes from including in respect to causation and acquisition (i.e. secondary causes); this is what the Arabic means and the Shari'a permits. This meaning is supported by the hadith in Bukhari (Kitab al-tawhid) touching on intercession on the Day of Resurrection, in which people sought help from Adam, then Musa, then Muhammad, on him be Allah's blessings and peace, and the latter replies: "I can do it."
It is essential to understand that it is not, in reality, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) who is the ultimate object of supplication, nor is he the one who grants it, but he is the best means of forwarding it to Allah and for its being granted by Allah. This is clear in the Prophet's prayer to Allah, in his words, "through Your Prophet and the Prophets before me" and "through those who ask" in the following two hadiths:
On the authority of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him: He relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: "The one who leaves his house for prayer and then says: O Allah, I ask you by the right of those who ask you and I beseech you by the right of those who walk this path unto you that my going forth bespeak not of levity, pride nor vainglory nor done for the sake of repute. I have gone forth in the warding off your anger and for the seeking of your pleasure. I ask you, therefore, to grant me refuge from Hellfire and to forgive me my sins, for no one forgives sins but yourself. Allah will accept for his sake and seventy thousand angels will seek his forgiveness."
It is related in Musnad Ahmad 3:21, Ibn Majah (Masajid), al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib 1:179, Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih, Ibn al-Sani, and Abu Nu'aym. Ghazali mentions it in the Ihya and 'Iraqi said: "It is hasan." Nawawi mentions only Ibn al-Sani's two chains in the Adhkar and says they are da'if (weak). However, Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani says it is hasan in al-Amali al-masriyya (#54) and also in the Takhrij of Nawawi's book, explaining that the latter neglected Abu Sa'id al-Khudri's narration and omitted to mention Ibn Majah's. See Imam Kawthari's remarks on this hadith below.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) also said on the authority of Anas ibn Malik: "O Allah, grant forgiveness to my mother, Fatima Bint Asad, and make vast for her the place of her going in [i.e. her grave] by the right of thy Prophet and that of those Prophets who came before me" and so on until the end of the hadith.
Tabarani relates it in al-Kabir and al-Awsat. Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim declare it sound. The "Fatima" referred to here is the mother of Sayyidina 'Ali who raised the Prophet. Ibn Abi Shayba on the authority of Jabir relates a similar narrative. Similar also is what Ibn 'Abd al-Barr on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas and Abu Nu'aym in his Hilya on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik relate, as al-hafiz al-Suyuti mentioned in the Jami' al-Kabir. Haythami says in Majma' al-zawa'id: "Tabarani's chain contains Rawh ibn Salah who has some weakness but Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim declared him trustworthy. The rest of its sub-narrators are the men of sound hadith." Imam al-Kawthari says about this hadith in his Maqalat (p. 410): "It provides textual evidence whereby there is no difference between the living and the dead in the context of tawassul, and this is explicit tawassul through the Prophets, while the hadith of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, O Allah, I ask You by the right of those who ask You, constitutes tawassul through the generality of Muslims, both the living and the dead."
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to say after the two rak'at of the dawn prayer: "O Allah, Lord of Jibril, of Israfil, of Mika'il, and Lord of Muhammad the Prophet: I seek refuge in You from the Fire..."
Nawawi mentions in the Adhkar that it was narrated by Ibn al-Sani, and Ibn Hajar graded it hasan or fair as mentioned by Ibn 'Allan in his Commentary on the Adhkar (Vol. 2 p. 139). Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Alawi al-Maliki said: "The specific mention of the above in his du'a is understood as tawassul, as if he were saying: "O Allah, I ask You and I seek as means to You Jibril, Israfil, Mika'il, and Muhammad the Prophet. Ibn 'Allan referred to this in his commentary."
A Question was asked whether the Beloved Messenger of Allah Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has been blessed with the power of intercession or not ? It was also queried whether Allah ta'alas Habeeb Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam will only be given this permission to intercede on the 'Day of Qiyaamah' if Allah ta'ala Wills and that if Allah Ta'ala does not Will, then he will not be granted this power of Intercession.
THE ANSWER: Almighty Allah has blessed the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam with the permission to intercede even whilst he was still on this earth (in the sight of the people). He will verily without doubt intercede for us and is currently interceding, as it is evident from numerous Ahadith-e-Mubaaraka. It is sad that the Wahabis have tried to disprove such an established fact by causing confusion in the minds of the people with the intent of misleading them, through the whispering of Shaitaan. These people are with the Mu'tazilas who are there brothers and in most cases they have the same views as well, even though the Mu'tazilas don't even oppose the issue of shifa'at (intercession) directly. They only accept this however, as a blessing in reward. Both these sects are far and have diverted from the Siraat-e-Mustaqeem [the righteous path]. They have placed their foot into the valley of corruption.
Listen carefully! This issue of Intercession is so firm that there are verses of the Qur'an al-karim to prove it. There is also evidence of this in Sahih, Mashur and Mutawatti Ahadith. All the proofs of you people (Deviated sects) are nothing before these and are not worthy of anything. It is useless for you people to strive with all your efforts in disproving intercession as your efforts are useless. I will now present evidence on this issue through the grace of Almighty Allah and with my trust in him and with the blessings of Shafi-e-Mahshar Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam.
It is in Ash'atul Lam'aat vol 4 page 404 as follows: Shifa'at is actually the from the root word Shaf'a and this means to get connect one thing with another. Even in shifa'at, it is the connecting of the intercessor with the one who is sinful and requires intercession. There are numerous types of Shifa'at and they are all permissible and proven for the Beloved Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam. Some are uniquely for him and some through his blessings for others as well. The first person to open the doors of intercession on the Day of Reckoning will be the Beloved Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam. In reality all the paths of intercession are from him and it is he that is the true Intercessor.
The First Category of Intercession is called Shifa'at-e-Uzma in other words it is common for all the creation and unique for the Beloved Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam. No other Beloved Prophet has the authority in this department except the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam. This is for the day of reckoning when the Beloved Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam will intercede to make the process quick and have the ummah forgiven and pardoned. A detailed explanation of this is in the Hadith of Bukhari which will follow later.
The Second Category of Intercession is to bring a nation into Paradise without any reckoning. This too is proven for our Most Noble Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam. According to some Muhaqiqeen, this is also uniquely for the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam.
The Third Category is for those nations whose good and bad deeds are equivalent, thus they will require intercession to be entered into Jannat [heaven].
The Fourth Category is to enter that nation into Jannat who have been already sent towards Jahanum [hell-fire].
The Fifth Category is for the purpose of granting excellence to the people and for exalting the pious.
The Sixth Category is the removal of those ummati that are already in Jahanum. This it to grant them intercession so that their sins may be forgiven. This will be granted to other ambiya [Beloved Prophets], ma'laik [angels], ulama [scholars], shuhada [martyrs] etc; through the blessing of the Beloved Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam
The Seventh Category is in opening the 'Doors of Jannat' for entrance.
The Eight Category is to cause azaab to be lessened for certain Kufaar [non-muslims] who will always be in azaab.
The Ninth Category will be specifically for those people who live in Madinah Munawwara
The Tenth Category will be specifically for those who visited the Rawdah-e-Aqdas [blessed shrine] of the Beloved Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam.
It is on page 114 of the Sharah
Fiqh Akbar by Allama Mulla Ali Qaari 'alayhir rahman as
It must be noted that with the exception of this statement, there are numerous other statements related to this issue in this tafseer which have not been translated due to them being very lengthy and it (shifa'at is true). The alims, walis, shaheeds, those who had patients, those who lost their sons, the faqirs and ordinary believers will intercede.
Imam al-A'zam Abu Hanifa Radi
Allahu anhu has stated in his book Wasiyat:
The statement above is correct and evident. The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam will intercede and this will not only be for 'His Ummah', but all those ummahs towards whom he came (believers). The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam is mercy unto all and will be of assistance to all. The different categories of shifa'at have already been explained earlier.
The intercession is for the Beloved Prophets, the pious and the sinful and this is evident from numerous Ahadith. It is in Sharah Aqaaid Nasfiyah pg 86 as follows: 'And intercession is proven for Beloved Prophets and pious people for those with major sins.' And this is proven from famous narrations.
The hadith where the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said that his intercession is for the big sinners of the ummah is a very famous narration and has been narrated on numerous occasions with a strong chain of transmission.
It is also in Nasfiya that 'pardon and intercession' are facts and are proven from verses of the Qur'an al-karim and from Hadith Shareef.
NOTE: Here Allama Mahmood Jaan 'alayhir rahman has discussed the issues of the Mu'tazilas which are a corrupt and deviant sect that only accept one type of intercession and reject the others. He has addressed them here and explains to them the reality. The section has been omitted as it is complicated and not for general public reading.
It is in Maqaasid, 'According to us, intercession is for those who commit major sins of the ummah and this is proven as well from the verse of the Qur'an al-karim where Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam should intercede and pray for the sinners.'
This has been even further explained in the Sharah of Maqaasid: 'The ummat has consensus concerning the fact that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam will intercede for us and May there be blessings and salutations upon him for his intercession is accepted.' By the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam saying that his intercession is for the big sinners of the ummah proves that those who are such sinners will receive his intercession and they will be pardoned. This hadith is Sahih and in accordance with the verse of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala where the he is being asked to ask on behalf of the sinners. Those who make big sins are still muslims (even though they are sinners) and they will receive the intercession of the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam. The Mu'tazilas says that intercession is only to increase sawaab [reward] and not to remove azaab. This is not true and is incorrect.
It has now been proved that the intercession of the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam is proven from Dalaail-e-Qat'iya (evidence that is very strong namely from Qur'an al-karim and Hadith and can not be disputed). I will now present some evidence that will give coolness to the hearts of the believers.
It is in Mishkaat Shareef pg 480, a narration from Bukhari as follows: Hadrat Anas Radi Allahu anhu reports that verily Nabi Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, 'The believers will be made to reckon on the Day of Qiyaamah and until a time when they will become very sad and disillusioned. They will wish that someone would remove them from their hardships by interceding for them. They will wish that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'a'la should make someone who can intercede on their behalf. And I give them glad tidings that I will be standing at an appointed place They will come to Hadrat Adam 'alayhis-salaam, You are Adam, the father of all mankind Almighty Allah created you with His 'Daste Qudrat' and he blessed you with a place in Jannat and he commanded His Angels to prostrate before you and Allah taught you the names of all things. Please intercede for us by your Creator, so that we may be freed from this difficulty and attain salvation. Adam 'alayhis-salaam will then say, I am not here for this reason. He will think of the issue where he ate of the forbidden tree, but we are not allowed to discuss and speak about his in detail. Adam 'alayhis-salaam will send them to Hadrat Nuh 'alayhis-salaam and say that he was the first Nabi to be sent towards the people. All will go Hadrat Nuh 'alayhis-salaam. Hadrat Nuh 'alayhis-salaam will say, I am not able to assist you in this. He will think of his issue and the issue of his son where he wished to ask for du'a and Allah commanded him not to make dua. He will then send them to Hadrat Ibrahim 'alayhis-salaam saying that He is the friends of Allah and very blessed. Huzoor Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam says, 'They will then go to Hadrat Ibrahim 'alayhis-salaam will say, I am not able to assist you. He will send them to Hadrat Musa 'alayhis-salaam as he is the one that was given the torah and he was blessed with talking to Allah and with much excellence. The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, They will then come to Hadrat Musa 'alayhis-salaam He will say, 'I can not be of any help to you. Go to Hadrat Isa 'alayhis-salaam. He is a special Messenger of Allah and he is ruh (Roohullah is his title). The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, They will then come to Hadrat Isa 'alayhis-salaam and he too will say that he can not be of any help to them. He will then say, Go to Muhammad Sallam since he is that personality that Allah has forgiven those before and after him through his blessings. The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, 'They will all come to me and I will ask permission in the Court of my Creator to intercede. I will be given permission to come before my Creator and once I see the Majesty of my Creator before me, I will fall into prostration. Allah will let me remain in sajdah [prostration] for as long as He Wills. He will then command me by saying, 'Raise your head O' Muhammad ! Say what you wish. It will be heard. Ask what you wish and it will be given and intercede for whosoever you wish and your intercession will be accepted.' The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam says, 'I will then raise my head and praise my Creator in such eloquence like my Creator taught me. I will then intercede and Allah will set aside the amount for those that will be pardoned through my intercession. I will then come out of the blessed Court and I will remove that group from the fire of Hell and enter them into Jannat. (He will continue to then intercede over and over) until none will be left in the fire of Hell except for those who according to the divine verses will remain therein forever (Kufaar).' Then the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam read this verse, 'It is soon that your Lord will bless you with the station of Praise' and this is the 'Maqaam-e-Mahmood' that Allah has promised him (The Station of Praise).
Mulla Ali Qaari 'alayhir rahman says in Mirkaat Sharah Mishkaat as follows: It has been mentioned that he will be told that all that has happened from your father Adam 'alayhis-salaam and until the last, will all be forgiven. This refers to the followers. It is a law of aqeeda [firm belief] that All the Beloved Prophets are masoom [free from sinning] and this is even more for the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam.
It is in Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah on the authority of Hadrat Auf bin Maalik Radi Allahu anhu that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, A person came to me from my Creator (Jibra'il 'alayhis-salaam or some other angel) and asked if I wished to accept immediately the forgiveness of half my ummah or I wished to intercede and I took intercession. My intercession is proven for any such person who died without making shirk i.e. all true believers.'
It is on page 503 of Mishkaat, a narration of Muslim which is on the authority of Hadrat Abu Hurayrah Radi Allahu anhu that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, 'I am the leader of the children of Adam 'alayhis-salaam on the last day.' He also says, 'I am the leader of the people both on Earth and in the Hereafter and I do not say this out of pride.' This shows the excellence of the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam. He also says, 'I will be the first to rise on the last day when the graves are opened' and he said, 'My intercession will be the first to be accepted.'
It is in the same book on the authority of Hadrat Abu Hurayrah Radi Allahu anhu that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, 'I am the first to intercede to enter people into Paradise and to elevate their status.'
It is in the same book (page 505) on the authority of Tirmidhi and Daarimi on the authority of Hadrat ibn Abbas Radi Allahu anhu that the companions of the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam were seated together and the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam emerged from his blessed room. As he came close he heard us having a discussion. Some where saying that verily Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala had made Ibrahim 'alayhis-salaam His Khaleel, whilst others were saying that Allah blessed Musa 'alayhis-salaam the ability to converse with Him, whilst some others said that Isa 'alayhis-salaam was the verse of Allah and Roohullah. Some Sahaba said that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala created Adam 'alayhis-salaam without parents. As they were having this discussion, the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam suddenly came towards them and said, 'Verily I have heard your conversation and you amazement, that Ibrahim 'alayhis-salaam is the Khaleel of Allah and that is true and that Musa 'alayhis-salaam spoke to Allah and that too is true and Isa 'alayhis-salaam is the Roohullah and that too is true and that Adam 'alayhis-salaam was created without parents and that too is true. Let it be known that I am the beloved of Allah and I have no pride over this and on the 'Day of Qiyaamat' I will carry the flag of Praise under which Adam 'alayhis-salaam and all those who came after him will be under and I have no pride over this as well. I will intercede and my intercession will be the first to be accepted and I have no pride over this as well. And I will be the first to knock on the door of Jannat and Allah will have the Door opened for me first. I will then enter Jannat and the Faqeer Muslims will enter with me, and I have no pride over this. I am the most exalted in the Court of Allah from all people and this too, I do not say to you out of pride, but I say this with gratefulness (To Allah).'
It is in the same kitaab from Daarimi on the authority of Hadrat Jaabir Radi Allahu anhu that verily the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, 'I am the leader of the Beloved Prophets and I have no pride and I am the Final Messenger and I have no pride. I will be the first to intercede and my intercession will be the first to be accepted and I say this without any pride.'
It is narrated from Tirmidhi on the authority of Abi bin Ka'ab Radi Allahu anhu that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, 'On the Day of Qiyaamah I will be the leader of all the Beloved Prophets, and I will be there Representative, Leader and their Intercessor and due to this, I have no pride.'
It is from Tirmidhi and Daarimi on the authority of Hadrat Anas Radi Allahu anhu. He says that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, 'I will be the first to rise from my grave when all will be raised from their graves and I will be the leader of the people when all will be before Allah. And I will be the one to speak on their behalf when they are silent and I will intercede for them when they say nothing. And I will intercede for them by my creator and I will be the one to give them glad tidings of intercession when they become disillusioned.'
It is in one hadith that the keys will be given on 'Qiyaamah Day' in the hands of the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam.
It is in Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Hadrat Abu Hurayrah Radi Allahu anhu that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, 'I was resting and I saw that the keys of the treasures of the world and those keys where given to me, in other words left in my care.'
It is Mawahibul Laduniyah pg 533 as follows: 'From amongst the unique attributes of the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam one such attribute is that the Keys to the treasures of the treasures have been given to him.'
It is in Madarijun Nabuiwat vol 1 pg 523: 'The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has been made the Master of everything by the keys being given to him.'
It has been mentioned in numerous books such as Bukhari, Muslim and other books that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said that Allah is the Giver and he is the Distributor of Allah's bounties. This means that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam distributes all things, be it wealth, health, knowledge, wisdom, kindness forgiveness of sins, releasing us from the fire of hell, interceding for us and speaking on our behalf etc. This clearly proves the issue of intercession to be true and correct.
It is in Mishkaat Shareef
on the authority of Hadrat Abu Hurayrah Radi Allahu anhu
that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam
'I will be the first to rise from my blessed grave and will be first to be dressed in the garb of paradise and I will stand in front of the arsh at a station that will be for me alone and there is none from the creation who can stand there except me.'
Bukhari and Tirmidhi have mentioned that Maqaam-e-Mahmood is the station of Intercession and all the learned scholars have agreed unanimously to this.
It has thus been clarified that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has been blessed with the station of intercession and none can stand in this sacred position but him and this is proven from verses of the Qur'an al-karim and from Ahadith-e-Mubaaraka. It is not like the Wahabis say that it is not known who Allah will give the permission of intercession to. It will be only known on that day. This is incorrect as there is sufficient evidence that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has been blessed with this excellence. The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam always made Du'a-e-Maghfirat for His ummah. He always asked Allah to pardon his ummah. Let it be known that if this is not to intercede, then what is it? Verily it is intercession and it has been proven that he made Du'a-e-Maghfirat at all times.
It is in Tabqaat ibn Sa'ad and Qaadi Ismail and Haarith have narrated this in their Musnad, from Bakr bin Abdullah and Bazaar has narrated in his Musnad from Hadrat Abdullah ibn Mas'ood Radi Allahu anhu that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam said, 'My being on this earth is good for you and my passing from this world' is also good for you. Your deeds will be placed before me. I will thank Allah on seeing your good deeds and I will ask Allah to forgive your bad deeds. This too is evident and is proof of intercession.
Note: Other Narrations with the same crux have also been explained by Mawlana Mahmood Jaan 'alayhir rahman, but have been left out as the only differences are the books in which they are being narrated such as Takmeelul Imaan etc, since the narrations have been repeated to show strength of transmission.
Conclusion: We need to understand that the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam is definitely our intercessor and he will be the one to assist us and enter us into Jannat [heaven]. Everything that we wish for, we will get through the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam. None can attain anything without his blessings. It has been clarified that he will make shifa'at for us and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala has blessed him with the station of intercession. We need to direct all our love towards him if we wish to gain the Pleasure of Allah and we do not attain his pleasure then will never receive salvation. Salvation is through his love and his love is salvation.
Translated by a humble servant of ALLAH
Muhammad Afthab Cassim Razvi Noori
Some people believe that the Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) does not have the power to intercede. The belief of the Ahl al-Sunnah Wal Jama'at is that the Beloved of Allah (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) is an Intercessor and that he will intercede on the Day of Qiyamah by the permission of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. Allah Ta'ala says in the Qur'an al kareem: "Who is he that would intercede with him except with His permission. He knows what is before them and what is behind them." (3 : 1)
The Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) has been given the station of Maqam-e-Mahmood. Maqam-e-Mahmood is that point on intercession where all will praise and honour the Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace). (Tafsir Khaazin; Tafsir Jalalain) The Noble Qur'an states: "It is near that your Lord may make you stand at a place where all should praise you." (15 : 9)
The Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) said: "I will intercede for my Ummah until my Creator summons me, 'O Muhammad! Have you been pleased?' I will say, 'O my Creator! I am pleased'". (Durr Manthur; Roohul Bayaan)
Hadrat Abi bin Ka'ab (radi Allahu anhu) reports that the Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) said: "On the Day of Qiyamah, I will be the Leader and Khatib of all the Ambiya (alaihums salaam) and I will be the master of their intercession. I do not say this out of arrogance." (Mishkat Shareef; Ash'atul Lam'aat)
The Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) stated: "On the Day of Qiyamah, I will be the leader of the children of Hadrat Adam (alaihis salaam). I will be the first to rise from my grave. I will be the first to start interceding and my intercession will be the first to be accepted." (Mishkat Shareef; Sahih Muslim Shareef)
The Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) stated: "The Ulema, the Hufaaz, and the Shuhada of my followers will indeed intercede on the Day of Judgment. Even the infant whose parents are Muslims will intercede." If, as some misled individuals say, that it is not permissible to ask the creation for assistance but only from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, then how will these above-mentioned beloved slaves help us on the Day of Judgment? This again is proof that it is not wrong to ask them for help in this world also!
On the Day of Qiyamah, all the people will congregate and they will say among themselves, "We wish we could find some one to intercede for us in the Court of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala so that He may give us comfort at this point." They will go to Hadrat Adam (alaihis salaam) and ask him to intercede for them. He will tell them to go to Hadrat Nuh (alaihis salaam) as he is the first Nabi that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala sent towards the people on earth.
Hadrat Nuh (alaihis salaam) will tell them to go to Hadrat Ibrahim (alaihis salaam) as he is the Friend of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. He in turn will tell them to go to Hadrat Moosa (alaihis salaam) as he is a special servant of Allah Ta'ala. He will say to them to go to Hadrat 'Isa (alaihis salaam) as he is the special servant and Rasool of Allah Ta'ala, and His Kalma and His Ruh.
The people will then present themselves before Hadrat 'Isa (alaihis salaam) who will say, "This is not my job. Go into the court of Hadrat Muhammad (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) who is a unique servant of Almighty Allah Ta'ala and it is through him that Almighty Allah has forgiven those before and after him." Then the Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) said, "They will come to me. I will ask for permission in the Court of Almighty Allah and permission will be granted. When I see Almighty Allah, I will make Sajdah and Almighty Allah will say, 'O Muhammad (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace)! Lift up your head, ask, request and it will be given, and intercession will be accepted'." (Bukhari Shareef; Ibn Majah)
The Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) will then intercede. After him, the great Prophets and Saints will intercede. Those who say that the Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and grant him peace) cannot intercede, how will it be permissible on the Day of Judgment?
source : raza academy
The specific tawassul through the Beloved Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) is a request in acknowledgement of his standing as the chief intercessor for the Community before Allah, and it is a request for Allah's blessing as effected by Allah in the person of His Prophet and His saints -- not as effected by the latter without Allah, which is the belief those who oppose tawassul falsely impute to those who maintain it. Allah has said of His Beloved Prophet, (Allah Bless him and grant him peace):
He is anxious about what you do, and merciful with the believers. (9:128)
If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful (4:64)
And if they had had patience till thou camest forth unto them, it had been better for them. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (49:5)
If only they had been content with what Allah and His Apostle gave them, and had said, "Sufficient unto us is Allah! Allah and His Apostle will soon give us of His bounty: to Allah do we turn our hopes!" (9:59)
They swear by Allah to you (Muslims) in order to please you: But it is more fitting that they should please Allah and His Apostle, if they are Believers. (9:62)
Allah has mentioned all this about His Prophet because it is through His Prophet that He Himself has shown His greatest mercy and most comprehensive forgiveness, and it is by coming to the Prophet that the believers seek to obtain these from Allah. This is clear evidence, both now as it was then, that the mediation of the Prophet -- for that is the meaning of intercession -- can be sought to obtain forgiveness from Allah. The first hadith Imam Ahmad related from Anas ibn Malik in his Musnad Anas is: "The whole Community of the people of Madina used to take the hand of the Prophet and rush to obtain their need with it."
The Mufti of Makkah at the time of the spread of the Wahhabi heresy, al-Sayyid Ahmad Ibn Zayni Dahlan (d. 1304) said in Khulasat al-kalam:
Tawassul (using means), tashaffu' (using intercession), and istighatha (asking help) all have the same meaning, and the only meaning they have in the hearts of the believers is that of tabarruk (using blessings) with the mention of Allah's beloved ones, since it is established that He grants His mercy to all His servants for the sake of His beloved ones, and this is the case whether they are alive or dead, because in either case the actual effecting agent and true executor is Allah Himself, and these beloved ones are only ordinary causes for His mercy. Like any other secondary causes, they have no effective power of influence in themselves.
The early and late Imams of the Community have said clearly and unequivocally that tawassul through the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) is highly desirable and recommended for every person. Following are some of their words to this effect.
Imam Malik was asked the following question by the Caliph Abu Ja'far al-Mansur: "Shall I face the Qibla with my back towards the grave of the Messenger of Allah when making du'a (after salams)?" He replied:
How could you turn your face away from him when he is the means (wasila) of your and your father Adam's forgiveness to Allah on the Day of Resurrection? Nay, face him and ask for his intercession (istashfi' bihi) so that Allah will grant it to you as He said: "If they had only, when they were wronging themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful (4:64)."
It is cited by al-Qadi 'Iyad in al-Shifa (2:92-93) with a sound (sahih) chain, and also cited by Samhudi in Khulasat al-Wafa, Subki in Shifa' al-siqam, Qastallani in al-Mawahib al-laduniyya, Ibn Jama'a in Hidayat al-salik, and Haytami in al-Jawhar al-munazzam and Tuhfat al-zuwwar. See also Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi in al-Sarim al-munki p. 244. Ibn Jama'a says in Hidayat al-salik (3:1381): "It is related by the two hafiz Ibn Bashkuwal and al-Qadi 'Iyad in al-Shifa' after him, and no attention is paid to the words of those who claim that it is forged purely on the basis of his idle desires."
The words "he is the means (wasila) of your and your father Adam's forgiveness to Allah" are confirmed by the verses whereby the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) is witness over all communities and people including their Prophets (2:143, 3:81, 4:41, 33:7), as well as the sound hadith of his intercession over all Prophets on behalf of all believers in Sahih al-Bukhari (Kitab al-tawhid). Furthermore, it is also established from the verse "And Adam received words from his Lord and He relented towards him" (2:37) that Adam has been forgiven.
Imam Ahmad made tawassul through the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) a part of every du'a according to the following report: 'Ala' al-Din al-Mardawi said in his book al-Insaf fi ma'rifat al-rajih min al-khilaf 'ala madhhab al-Imam al-mubajjal Ahmad ibn Hanbal (3:456):
The correct position of the [Hanbali] madhhab is that it is permissible in one's supplication (du'a) to use as one's means a pious person, and it is said that it is desirable (mustahabb). Imam Ahmad said to Abu Bakr al-Marwazi: yatawassalu bi al-nabi fi du'a'ih -- "Let him use the Prophet as a means in his supplication to Allah."
The same report is found in Imam Ahmad's Manasik as narrated by his student Abu Bakr al-Marwazi.
Similarly the lengthy wording of the tawassul according to the Hanbali madhhab as established by the hafiz Ibn 'Aqil in his Tadhkira was cited fully by Imam Kawthari in his appendix to Shaykh al-Islam Taqi al-Din al-Subki's al-Sayf al-saqil included in Kawthari's edition of the latter.
The Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) said on the authority of 'Umar: "When Adam committed his mistake he said: O my Lord, I am asking you to forgive me for the sake of Muhammad. Allah said: O Adam, and how do you know about Muhammad whom I have not yet created? Adam replied, O my Lord, after You created me with your hand and breathed into me of Your Spirit, I raised my head and saw written on the heights of the Throne:
LA ILAHA ILLALLAH MUHAMMADUN RASULULLAH
I understood that You would not place next to Your Name but the Most Beloved One of Your creation. Allah said: O Adam, I have forgiven you, and were it not for Muhammad I would not have created you."
It was transmitted through many chains and was cited by Bayhaqi (in Dala'il al-nubuwwa), Abu Nu'aym (in Dala'il al-nubuwwa), al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (2:615), al-Tabarani in his Saghir (2:82, 207) with another chain containing sub-narrators unknown to Haythami as he stated in Majma' al-zawa'id (8:253), and Ibn 'Asakir on the authority of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, and most of these narrations were copied in Qastallani's al-Mawahib al-laduniyya (and al-Zarqani's Commentary 2:62).
1. This hadith is declared sound (sahih) by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (2:651), although he acknowledges Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam, one of its sub-narrators, as weak. However, when he mentions this hadith he says: "Its chain is sound, and it is the first hadith of Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam which I mention in this book"; al-Hakim also declares sound another version through Ibn 'Abbas.
2. al-Bulqini declares this hadith sound in his Fatawa.
3. al-Subki confirms al-Hakim's authentication (in Shifa' al-siqam fi ziyarat khayr al-anam p. 134-135) although Ibn Taymiyya's rejection and criticism of this hadith was known to him and he rejects it, as well as saying that Ibn Taymiyya's extreme weakening of Ibn Zayd is exaggerated.
4. The hadith is also included by Qadi 'Iyad among the "sound and famous narrations" in al-Shifa, and he says that Abu Muhammad al-Makki and Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi mention it; Qadi 'Iyad says: "It is said that this hadith explains the verse: 'And Adam received words from his Lord and He relented towards him' (2:37)"; he continues to cite another very similar version through al-Ajurri (d. 360), about whom al-Qari said: "al-Halabi said: This seems to be the imam and guide Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn 'Abd Allah al-Baghdadi, the compiler of the books al-Shari'a devoted to the Sunna, al-Arba'un, and others.'" This is confirmed by Ibn Taymiyya in his Qa'ida fi al-tawassul: "It is related by Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Ajurri, in his book al-Shari'a."
5. Ibn al-Jawzi also considers it sound (sahih) as he cites it in the first chapter of al-Wafa bi ahwal al-mustafa, in the introduction of which he says: "(In this book) I do not mix the sound hadith with the false," although he knew of 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd's weakness as a narrator; he also mentions the version of Maysarat al-Fajr whereby the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) says: "When satan deceived Adam and Eve, they repented and sought intercession to Allah with my name"; Ibn al-Jawzi also says in the chapter concerning the Prophet's superiority over the other Prophets in the same book: "Part of the exposition of his superiority to other Prophets is the fact that Adam asked his Lord through the sanctity (hurmat) of Muhammad that He relent towards him, as we have already mentioned."
6. Suyuti cites it in his Qur'anic commentary al-Durr al-manthur (2:37) and in al-Khasa'is al-kubra (1:12) and in al-Riyad al-aniqa fi sharh asma' khayr al-khaliqa (p. 49), where he says that Bayhaqi considers it sound; this is due to the fact that Bayhaqi said in the introduction to the Dala'il that he only included sound narrations in his book, although he also knew and explicitly mentions 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd's weakness;
7. Ibn Kathir mentions it after Bayhaqi in al-Bidayat wa al-Nihaya (1:75, 1:180).
8. al-Haythami in Majma' al-zawa'id (8:253 #28870), al-Bayhaqi himself, and al-Qari in Sharh al- shifa' show that its chains have weakness in them. However, the weakness of Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd was known by Ibn al-Jawzi, Subki, Bayhaqi, Hakim, and Abu Nu'aym, yet all these scholars retained this hadith for consideration in their books.
9. Three scholars reject it, such as Ibn Taymiyya (Qa'ida jalila fi al-tawassul p. 89, 168-170) and his two students Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi (al-Sarim al-munki p. 61-63) and al-Dhahabi (Mizan al-i'tidal 2:504 and Talkhis al-mustadrak), while 'Asqalani reports Ibn Hibban's saying that 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd was a forger (Lisan al-mizan 3:360, 3:442).
10. At the same time, Ibn Taymiyya elsewhere quotes it and the version through Maysara and says: "These two are like the elucidation (tafsir) of the authentic ahadith (concerning the same topic)" (Fatawa 2:150). The contemporary Meccan hadith scholar Ibn 'Alawi al-Maliki said: "This indicates that Ibn Taymiyya found the hadith sound enough to be considered a witness for other narrations (salih li al-istishhad wa al-i'tibar), because the forged (al-mawdu') and the false (al-batil) are not taken as witness by the people of hadith"; al-Maliki also quotes (without reference) Dhahabi's unrestrained endorsement of the ahadith in Bayhaqi's Dala'il al-nubuwwa with his words: "You must take what is in it (the Dala'il), for it consists entirely of guidance and light." (Mafahim yajib an tusahhah p. 47).
11. It is furthermore evident that Ibn Taymiyya considers the meaning of the creation of everything for the sake of the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) as true and correct, as he declares in his Majmu'at al-fatawa in the volume on tasawwuf (11:95-97):
Muhammad is the Chief of the Children of Adam, the Best of Creation, the noblest of them in the sight of Allah. This is why some have said that "Allah created the Universe due to him," or that "Were it not for him, He would have neither created a Throne, nor a Footstool, nor a heaven, earth, sun or moon." However, this is not a hadith on the authority of the Prophet... but it may be explained from a correct aspect...
Since the best of the righteous of the children of Adam is Muhammad, creating him was a desirable end of deep-seated purposeful wisdom, more than for anyone else, and hence the completion of creation and the fulfilment of perfection was attained with Muhammad, may Allah Exalted bless him and grant him peace... The Chief of the Children of Adam is Muhammad, may Allah Exalted bless him and grant him peace, Adam and his children being under his banner. He, may Allah Exalted bless him and grant him peace, said: "Truly, I was written as the Seal of the Prophets with Allah, when Adam was going to-and-fro in his clay," i.e. that my prophethood was decreed and manifested when Adam was created but before the breathing of the Spirit into him, just as Allah decrees the livelihood, lifespan, deeds and misery or happiness of the slave when He creates the embryo but before the breathing of the Spirit into it.
Since man is the seal and last of all creation, and its microcosm, and since the best of man is thus the best of all creation absolutely, then Muhammad, being the Pupil of the Eye, the Axis of the Mill, and the Distributor to the Collective, is as it were the Ultimate Purpose from amongst all the purposes of creation. Thus it cannot be denied to say that "Due to him all of this was created", or that "Were it not for him, all this would not have been created," so if statements like this are thus explained according to what the Book and the Sunna indicate, it is acceptable.
12. Its latter part is mentioned as a separate hadith in the wording: "Were it not for Muhammad, I would not have created the spheres (al-aflak)." al-'Ajluni said in Kashf al-khafa' (#2123): "al-Saghani (d.650) said it is forged. I say: but its meaning is correct." Similarly 'Ali al-Qari said in al-Asrar al-marfu'a (#754-755): "al-Saghani (in al-Ahadith al-mawdu'a p. 7) said: "It is forged," however, its meaning is sound (mi'nahu sahih), as Daylami has narrated on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet said: "Gabriel came to me and said: O Muhammad! Were it not for you, Paradise would not have been created, and were it not for you, the Fire would not have been created." And Ibn 'Asakir's narration has: And were it not for you, the world would not have been created."
As for Albani's rejection of Qari's use of Daylami in support of the hadith with the words: "I do not hesitate to declare it weak on the basis that Daylami is alone in citing it" (Silsila da'ifa #282), it shows exaggeration and deviation from the practice of the scholars concerning Daylami and his book. Ibn Taymiyya said in Minhaj al-sunna (4:38): "The fact that Daylami alone narrates a hadith does not indicate that the hadith is sound." Note that he never said: "The fact that Daylami alone narrates a hadith indicates that it is forged," yet this is what Albani concludes! The reader may compare Albani's method of apriori rejection in lieu of a discussion of the hadith itself, to Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani's reliance on a hadith narrated by Daylami, as is shown by hadith #33 of his Arba'un fi rad' al-mujrim 'an sabb al-muslim, although Daylami is alone in citing it. Further in Minhaj al-sunna (4:78) Ibn Taymiyya declared of him and his book: "al-Daylami in his book al-Firdaws mentioned many sound (sahih) hadiths, and also fair (hasan) narrations and forged ones.... He was one of the people of knowledge and religion and he was not a liar."
13. Ibn al-Qayyim in his Bada'i' al-fawa'id went so far as to represent Allah saying to humankind that everything was created for the sake of human beings:
hal 'arifat qimata nafsik? innama khalaqtu al-akwana kullaha laka... kullu al-ashiya'i shajaratun wa anta al-thamara
Have you realized your value? I only created all the universes for your sake... All things are trees whose fruit you are.
If Allah created all the universes for the sake of human beings, then how could all humanity be given what the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) is grudged, who is better than mankind and jinn put together?
14. Following are some of the hadiths of the mention of the Prophet's name together with Allah on the Throne and in the heavens cited by the hadith masters, as related by Suyuti in al-Khasa'is al-kubra (1:12-14):
a) In Ibn 'Asakir from Ka'b al-Ahbar: Adam said to his son Sheeth: "O my son, you are my successor, therefore found my successorhip upon godwariness and the Firm Rope, and every time you mention Allah, do mention next to His name the name of Muhammad, for I saw his name written on the leg of the Throne as I was between the spirit and the clay. Then I circumambulated the heavens and I did not see in them a single spot except the name of Muhammad was written upon it, and when my Lord made me inhabit Paradise I saw in it neither palace nor room except the name of Muhammad was written on it. I have seen his name written on the bosom of the wide-eyed maidens of Paradise, on the leaves of the reed-stalks and thickets of the Garden, on the leaves of the Tree of Bliss, on the leaves of the Lote-tree of the Farthermost Boundary, and upon the veils and between the eyes of the angels. Therefore, make frequent remembrance of him, for the angels remember him in every moment."
b) Ibn 'Adi and Ibn 'Asakir from Anas: The Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) said: "When I was taken up to heaven I saw written on the leg of the Throne:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah
ayyadtuhu bi 'ali."
c) Ibn 'Asakir from 'Ali: The Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) said: "The night I was enraptured I saw written on the Throne:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah
abu bakr al-siddiq 'umar al-faruq
'uthman dhu al-nurayn."
d) Ibn 'Adi, Tabarani in al-Awsat, Ibn 'Asakir, and al-Hasan ibn 'Arafa in his famous volume from Abu Hurayra: The Prophet said: "The night I was enraptured and taken up to heaven I did not pass a heaven except I saw in it my name written: muhammadun rasulullah with Abu Bakr at my side."
e) al-Bazzar from Ibn 'Umar: The Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) said: "When I was taken up to heaven I did not pass a heaven except I saw in it my name written: muhammadun rasulullah."
f) al-Khatib, Ibn 'Asakir, and al-Daraqutni in al-Afrad (Reports from a single narrator), from Abu al-Darda': The Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) said: "The night I was enraptured I saw a green garment on the Throne whereupon was written in letters of light:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah
abu bakr al-siddiq 'umar al-faruq."
g) Ibn 'Asakir from Jabir: The Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) said: "On the gate of Paradise is written:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah."
h) Abu Nu'aym in al-Hilya from Ibn 'Abbas: The Prophet said: "There is not in all Paradise one tree with a single leaf but inscribed:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah."
i) al-Hakim from Ibn 'Abbas, and he graded it sahih (sound): "Allah revealed to 'Isa the following: Believe in Muhammad and order all those of your Community who see him to believe in him, for were it not for Muhammad I would not have created Adam, nor Paradise, nor the Fire. When I created the Throne upon the water it shuddered. So I wrote upon it:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah
and it became calm." al-Dhahabi said: "Its chain contains 'Amr ibn Aws and it is not known who he is."
j) In Ibn 'Asakir from Jabir through Abu al-Zubayr: "Between Adam's shoulders is written:
muhammadun rasulullah khatam al-nabiyyin."
Imam Shawkani said in his commentary on al-Jazari's (d. 833) 'Iddat al-hisn al-hasin entitled Tuhfat al-dhakirin bi 'iddat al-hisn al-hasin (Beirut ed. 1970), p. 37: "He [al-Jazari] said: Let him make tawassul to Allah with His Prophets and the salihin or saints (in his du'a). I say: And exemplifying tawassul with the Prophets is the hadith extracted by Tirmidhi et al. (of the blind man saying: O Allah, I ask You and turn to You by means of Muhammad the Prophet of Mercy) [see below]... as for tawassul with the saints, among its examples is the hadith, established as sound, of the Companions' tawassul asking Allah for rain by means of al-'Abbas the Prophet's uncle, and 'Umar said: "O Allah, we use as means to You the uncle of our Prophet etc. [see below]." We cite further below Shawkani's complete and detailed stand on tawassul from his treatise al-Durr al-nadir.
A blind man came to the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) and said: "Invoke Allah for me that he help me." He replied: "If you wish I will delay this, and it would be better for you, and if you wish I will invoke Allah the Exalted (for you)." He said: "Then invoke him." The Prophet said to him: idhhab fa tawadda', wa salli rak'atayn thumma qul -- "Go and make an ablution, pray two rak'at, then say: "O Allah, I am asking you (as'aluka) and turning to you (atawajjahu ilayka) with your Prophet Muhammad (bi nabiyyika Muhammad), the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (ya Muhammad), I am turning with you to my Lord regarding my present need / I am asking my Lord with your intercession concerning the return of my sight (inni atawajjahu bika ila rabbi fi hajati hadhih -- another version has: inni astashfi'u bika 'ala rabbi fi raddi basari) so that He will fulfill my need; O Allah, allow him to intercede (with you) for me (allahumma shaffi'hu fiyya)."
It is related by Ahmad (4:138 #17246-17247), Tirmidhi (hasan sahih gharib -- Da'awat Ch. 119), Ibn Majah (Book of Iqamat al-salat wa al-sunnat, Ch. on Salat al-hajat #1385), Nasa'i ('Amal al-yawm wa al-laylat p. 417-418 #658-660), al-Hakim (1:313, 1:526), Tabarani in al-Kabir, and rigorously authenticated as sound (sahih) by nearly fifteen hadith masters including Ibn Hajar, Dhahabi, Shawkani, and Ibn Taymiyya.
1. The Prophet's order, here as elsewhere, carries legislative force for all Muslims and is not limited to a particular person, place or time; it is valid for all generations until the end of time unless proven otherwise by a subsequent indication from the Prophet himself, Peace be upon him.
2. The Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) was not physically present at the assigned time of the invocation, since he said to the blind man: "Go and make ablution," without adding: "and then come back in front of me." With regard to physical absence, the living and the dead are exactly alike, namely: absent.
3. Despite the Prophet's physical absence, the wording (sigha) for calling upon his intercession is direct address: "O Muhammad." Such a wording -- "O So-and-So" -- is only used with someone present and able to hear. It should also be noted that Allah forbade the Companions from being forward or calling out to the Prophet in the ordinary manner used with one another (49:1-2). The only way, therefore, that the Prophet, Blessings and peace be upon him, could both be absent and at the same be addressed is that the first be understood in the physical sense and the second in the spiritual.
The above invocation was also used after the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) lifetime, as is proven by the sound (sahih) hadith authenticated by Bayhaqi, Abu Nu'aym in the Ma'rifa, Mundhiri (Targhib 1:473-474), Haythami, and Tabarani in the Kabir (9:17-18) and the Saghir (1:184/201-202) on the authority of 'Uthman ibn Hunayf's nephew Abu Imama ibn Sahl ibn Hunayf: A man would come to 'Uthman ibn 'Affan for a certain need, but the latter would not pay him any attention nor look into his need, upon which he complained of his condition to 'Uthman ibn Hunayf who told him: "Go and make ablution, then go to the mosque and pray two rak'at, then say (this du'a)," and he mentioned the invocation of the blind man, "then go (to 'Uthman again)." The man went, did as he was told, then came to 'Uthman's door, upon which the door-attendant came, took him by the hand, and brought him to 'Uthman who sat him with him on top of the carpet, and said: "Tell me what your need is." After this the man went out, met 'Uthman ibn Hunayf again, and said to him: "May Allah reward you! Previously he would not look into my need nor pay any attention to me, until you spoke to him." He replied: "I did not speak to him, but I saw the Prophet when a blind man came to him complaining of his failing eyesight," and he mentioned to him the substance of the previous narration.
It is narrated that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph, would pray to Allah for rain during times of drought through the means, the honor and intercession of the uncle of the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace), 'Abbas ibn 'Abd Muttalib by using this supplication: "O Our Lord! Previously, when we had a drought, we used to come to You by means and intercession of Your Prophet. Now we are requesting intercession through the uncle of the Prophet to grant us rain," and it was granted. Bukhari relates it. 'Umar added, after making this supplication: "He (al-'Abbas), by Allah, is the means to Allah" (hadha wallahi al-wasilatu ilallahi 'azza wa jall). Ibn 'Abd al-Barr relates it in al-Isti'ab bi ma'rifat al-ashab.
The scholars say that 'Umar sought the means of al-'Abbas rather than the Beloved Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) in order to show and acknowledge the status of the Prophet's uncle among the people and, more generally, of the Ahl al-Bayt or direct relatives of the Prophet. Kawthari in his Maqalat (p. 411) cites Ibn 'Abd al-Barr's commentary in al-Isti'ab that 'Umar used al-'Abbas in response to Ka'b's words: "O Commander of the believers, the Bani Isra'il in such circumstances used to pray for rain by means of the relatives of Prophets." It is not, as some have fancied, because the Prophet's means is no longer available that 'Umar used al-'Abbas as a wasila. The hadith of 'Uthman ibn Hunayf and the words of Malik to al-Mansur show that the Prophet continued to be sought by the Companions and Followers as a means of benefit even after he left this life.
The following is more evidence to this effect:
al-Darimi in the Chapter 15 of the Muqaddima (Introduction) to his Sunan (1:43) entitled: "Allah's generosity to His Prophet after his death," relates from Aws ibn 'Abd Allah with a good chain: "The people of Madina complained to 'A'isha of the severe drought that they were suffering. She said: "Go to the Prophet's grave and open a window towards the sky so that there will be no roof between him and the sky." They did so, after which they were watered with such rain that vegetation grew and the camels got fat. That year was named the Year of Plenty."
It is clear from the above narrations that the position of the Mother of the Believers 'A'isha differs from that of modern-day "Salafis," since she recommended to the people of Madina to use the Prophet in his grave as a means of obtaining blessing and benefit and this remained in use until the Wahhabis took over the Hijaz, while "Salafis" declare this to be unacceptable. Either they know better than the fuqaha' of the Companions or, most certainly, they are peddling misguidance and innovation.
Shaykh Albani, in order to reject the hadith of Darimi, raised some objections which are so full of holes that one can not only see the sky through them, but also the sun, the moon, and the stars. He said in his little book translated under the name Tawassul: Its Types and Its Rulings (p. 130-131) about Darimi's chain of transmission for the report (Abu al-Nu'man from Sa'id ibn Zayd from 'Amr ibn Malik al-Nukri from Abu al-Jawza' Aws ibn 'Abd Allah from 'A'isha):
This chain of narration is weak and cannot be used as a proof due to three reasons:
(i) Sa'id ibn Zayd who is the brother of Hammad ibn Zayd is somewhat weak. al-Hafiz [Ibn Hajar] said about him in al-Taqrib: "Generally acceptable, but he makes mistakes." Dhahabi said about him in al-Mizan: "Yahya ibn Sa'id said: Weak, and al-Sa'di said: He is not a proof, they declare his ahadith to be weak. Nasa'i and others said: He is not strong; and Ahmad said: He is all right. Yahya ibn Sa'id would not accept him."
However, the above documentation is partial and biased, and this is not surprising since "Salafis" only mention what advances their view while they cover up, rephrase, or declare weak whatever contradicts it. This is especially true of Albani, whose followers claim him as "the leading scholar of hadith of this age"(!) whereas he makes frequent mistakes, innovates in many of his rulings, and is generally unreliable except to those unschooled in the Islamic sciences. It would be more correct for "Salafis" to say: "He is our leading scholar," for in this we would agree with them completely. However, it is a fact that no one who has actual knowledge in hadith and fiqh uses Albani's books except that they check and verify anything they take from them against trustworthy scholars.
The present narration is a case in point, since Albani deliberately omits to mention the authentication of the narrators he seeks to declare weak, hiding basic evidence from his readers in order to mislead them, all because he is dead set against the issue at hand, even if it is authentically reported from the Mother of the Believers! Following is a point-by-point refutation of Albani's claims by the Moroccan hadith scholar 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Siddiq al-Ghumari in his booklet entitled: Irgham al-mubtadi' al-ghabi bi jawaz al-tawassul bi al-nabi (The coercion of the unintelligent innovator to the effect that using the Prophet as a means is permissible p. 23-25):
Albani's weakening of Sa'id ibn Zayd is rejected, because Sa'id is one of Muslim's narrators, and Yahya ibn Ma'in declared him trustworthy (thiqa)!
The editor of Ghumari's text, Ghumari's student Hasan 'Ali al-Saqqaf says on the same page as the above:
Albani has adduced worthless proofs as is his habit when embellishing falsehood. He cited whatever fit his whim from Ibn Hajar's Taqrib, leaving out his mention that Sa'id ibn Zayd is one of Muslim's narrators in his Sahih. Beware, therefore, of this tadlis (concealment) on his part!... He added Dhahabi's notice on Sa'id ibn Zayd in the Mizan, and this is another deliberate cover-up, for he faithlessly omitted to mention what Ibn Hajar reported in Tahdhib al-tahdhib (4:29) from those who declared Sa'id ibn Zayd trustworthy, in addition to his being one of Muslim's narrators:
- Bukhari said: "Muslim ibn Ibrahim narrated to us: Sa'id ibn Zayd Abu al-Hasan narrated to us, and he is reliable and a memorizer of hadith (saduq hafiz)."
- al-Duri said on the authority of Ibn Ma'in: "Sa'id ibn Zayd is trustworthy (thiqa)."
- Ibn Sa'd said: "He was trustworthy."
- al-'Ujli said: "He is from Basra, and he is trustworthy."
- Abu Zur'a said: "I heard Sulayman ibn Harb say: Sa'id ibn Zayd narrated to us, and he was trustworthy."
- Abu Ja'far al-Darimi said: "Hibban ibn Hilal narrated to us: Sa'id ibn Zayd narrated to us, and he was a memorizer of hadith and he was reliable."
- Ibn 'Adi said: "There is no denounced narration from him except someone else also narrates it, and I consider him one of those in the reliable category."
In addition to the above remarks it is noteworthy to mention that Albani cited Ahmad's grading of Sa'id ibn Zayd as la ba'sa bihi which his translator rendered as "he is all right," but neither the author nor the translator seems to know that in Imam Ahmad's terminology la ba'sa bihi is identical with thiqa, which means "trustworthy" and is among the highest gradings of authentication! Ibn Salah in his Muqaddima (p. 134), Dhahabi in Lisan al-mizan (1:13), Sakhawi in Fath al-mughith, Ibn Hajar in Hadi al-sari, Abu Ghudda in his commentary to Lucknawi's Raf' (p. 222 n. 3), as well as the editor of Nawawi's al-Taqrib wa al-taysir (p. 51) have indicated that the equivalency of saying "There is no harm in him" with the grade of trustworthy (thiqa) obtains for many early authorities of the third century such as Ibn Ma'in, Ibn al-Madini, Imam Ahmad, Duhaym, Abu Zur'a, Abu Hatim al-Razi, Ya'qub ibn Sufyan al-Fasawi, and others.
Albani continues in his list of reasons for weakening Darimi's narration:
(ii) It is mawquf (stopping at the Companion), coming only from 'A'isha and not from the Prophet, and even if the chain of narration up to 'A'isha were authentic then it would not be a proof since it is something open to personal judgment in which even the Companions are sometimes correct and sometimes incorrect, and we are not bound to act upon that (!).
To this claim it is easy to reply that not only is the narration sound and authentic, but also that there is no objection related from any of the Companions to the act recommended by the Mother of the Believers, just as there was no objection on their part to the istisqa' made by the man who came to the grave of the Prophet in the narration of Malik al-Dar cited below. This shows ijma' on the matter on the part of the Companions, and such ijma' is definitely binding in the sense that no one can declare unlawful or innovative something which they have tacitly declared lawful or desirable. As for the following the opinion of the Companions we say what Imam al-Shafi'i said as related by Ibn Qayyim in A'lam al-muwaqqi'in 'an rabb al-'alamin (2:186-187): "Their opinion for us is better than our opinion to ourselves."
Albani listed the following as his last reason for weakening Darimi's narration:
(iii) Abu al-Nu'man... was originally a reliable narrator except that he deteriorated at the end of his life. The hadith master Burhan al-Din al-Halabi mentions him among those who deteriorated in later life in his book al-Muqaddima (p. 391) and he says: "The ruling about these people is that their narrations are accepted if reported from them by people who heard from them before they deteriorated. But narrations reported from them by those who heard from them after they deteriorated, or narrations reported from therm by people about whom we do not know whether they heard from them before they deteriorated or after, then these narrations are to be rejected."
I say: We do not know whether this report was heard by Darimi from him before or after his memory deteriorated, it is therefore not acceptable and cannot be used as evidence. [Footnote:] Shaykh al-Ghumari missed this weakness in Misbah al-zujaj (p. 43), just as it was ignored by another in order to give the impression to the people that this report is authentic(!).
Ghumari said regarding these claims about Abu al-Nu'man:
His weakening of Abu al-Nu'man is invalid, because Abu al-Nu'man's deterioration did not affect what is narrated from him! al-Daraqutni said [as cited by Dhahabi in Mizan al-i'tidal (4:81)]: "He deteriorated at the end of his life, and no denounced hadith issued from him after his deterioration whatsoever, and he is trustworthy (thiqa)." As for what Ibn Hibban said, that "Many denounced things occurred in his narrations after his deterioration," then al-Dhahabi refuted it when he said (4:8): "Ibn Hibban was unable to cite a single denounced narration from him, and the truth is just as Daraqutni said."
Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Alawi al-Maliki said in his book Shifa' al-fu'ad bi ziyarat khayr al-'ibad (p. 152):
Abu al-Nu'man's deterioration neither harms nor is detrimental to his reliability, since Bukhari in his Sahih narrated over one hundred hadiths from him, and no narration was taken from him after his deterioration, as Daraqutni said.... The chain of transmission is all right, in fact I consider it good. The scholars have cited as evidence many chains that are like it or less strong than it.
Following are Saqqaf's further comments, beginning with Albani's charge against Shaykh al-Ghumari:
We know full well that it is Albani who betrays scholarly trust and deliberately misinforms the people, even if he accuses others of disinformation.... In weakening Abu al-Nu'man he has again acted faithlessly. His quotation from al-Burhan al-Halabi's book al-Ightibat bi man rumiya bi al-ikhtilat (p. 23) is designed to pull the wool over the eyes of his followers and those who only read his works! For it is necessary to also know that those who are branded as suffering from deterioration in the aforementioned book are divided among those whose narrations were unaffected by their deterioration and those whose narrations were affected. Abu al-Nu'man belongs to the first group, and al-Dhahabi made this clear in al-Mizan (4:8). Therefore our reply to Albani is: Shaykh al-Ghumari did not miss anything concerning this matter of deterioration, because he is a hadith scholar and a master memorizer (hafiz), however, it is you who have missed it, O slandering backbiter!
As for Albani's quotation of Ibn Taymiyya's claim in his al-Radd 'ala al-Bakri (p. 68-74) whereby "a clear proof that it is a lie is the fact that no such opening existed above the house at all in the whole of the life of 'A'isha"(!) then it is a weak objection which is no sooner brought up than cast out. Surely Imam al-Darimi and the scholars of the succeeding generations would know of such a detail better than latecomers. As for the authorities among the latter, then the hadith scholar and historian of Madina Imam 'Ali al-Samhudi (d. 922) did not so much as look at Ibn Taymiyya's objection, rather he confirmed the truth of Darimi's narration by saying, after citing it in his Wafa' al-wafa' (2:549): al-Zayn al-Miraghi said: "Know that it is the Sunna of the people of Madina to this day to open a window at the bottom of the dome of the Prophet's room, that is, of the blessed green dome, on the side of the Qibla." I say: And in our time, they open the door facing the noble face (the grave) in the space surrounding the room and they gather there."
So much for the claims of naysayers regarding istisqa' through the Prophet.
∑ The act of the Mother of the Believers 'A'isha in the narration of Darimi is explicitly confirmed by Abu Talib's famous line of poetry concerning istisqa' through the Prophet as related in the book of istisqa' in Bukhari's Sahih:
'Abdullah ibn Dinar said: "I heard Ibn 'Umar reciting the poetic verses of Abu Talib:
A fair-skinned one by whose face rainclouds are sought,
A caretaker for the orphans and protector of widows.
'Umar ibn Hamza said: Salim narrated from his father (Ibn 'Umar) that the latter said: "The poet's saying came to my mind as I was looking at the face of the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) while he was praying for rain -- and he did not get down till the rain water flowed profusely from every roof-gutter:
A fair-skinned one by whose face rainclouds are sought,
A caretaker for the orphans and protector of widows.
One sub-narrator added: "These were the words of Abu Talib."
Note that in his translation of Bukhari (2:65), Muhammad Muhsin Khan alters the wording of the hadith to read: "A white person who is requested to pray for rain" in place of "by whose face rain is sought," and Allah knows best the reason for this grave betrayal of the translator's trust in the most important Islamic source after the Qur'an.
al-Bayhaqi relates with a sound (sahih) chain: It is related from Malik al-Dar, 'Umar's treasurer, that the people suffered a drought during the successorship of 'Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished," after which the Prophet appeared to him in a dream and told him: "Go to 'Umar and give him my greeting, then tell him that they will be watered. Tell him: You must be clever, you must be clever!" The man went and told 'Umar. The latter said: "O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!" Ibn Kathir cites it thus from Bayhaqi in al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya and says: isnaduhu sahih; Ibn Abi Shayba cites it in his Musannaf with a sound (sahih) chain as confirmed by Ibn Hajar who says: rawa Ibn Abi Shayba bi isnadin sahih and cites the hadith in Fath al-bari. He identifies Malik al-Dar as 'Umar's treasurer (khazin 'umar) and says that the man who visited and saw the Prophet in his dream is identified as the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harith, and he counts this hadith among the reasons for Bukhari's naming of the chapter "The people's request to their leader for rain if they suffer drought." He also mentions it in al-Isaba, where he says that Ibn Abi Khaythama cited it. This hadith is discussed again further below with respect to Albani's claim: " We do not accept that this story is authentic..."
The legal inference here is not from the dream, because although the dream of seeing the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) is truthful, a dream cannot be used to establish a ruling (hukm) due to the possibility that the person who saw it makes an error in its wording. Rather, the inference from this hadith is based on the action of the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harith. The fact that Bilal came to the grave of the Prophet, called out to him, and asked him to ask for rain is a proof that these actions are permitted. These actions fall under the rubric of asking the Prophet for help (istighatha), seeking him as a means (tawassul), and using his intermediary (tashaffu'), and none of the Companions reprimanded him, and therefore it was understood that such actions are among the greatest acts of drawing near to Allah.
In his edition of Ibn Hajar, the Wahhabi scholar Bin Baz rejects the hadith as a valid source for seeking rain through the Prophet, and brazenly condemns the act of the Companion who came to the grave, calling it munkar (aberrant) and wasila ila al-shirk (a means to associating partners to Allah). We seek protection from Allah from ignorance and error.
The Prophet said: "My life is a great good for you: you will relate about me and it will be related to you; and my death is a great good for you: your actions will be presented to me (in my grave) and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if see other than that I will ask forgiveness of Him for you."
Haythami says in Majma' al-zawa'id (9:24 #91): "al-Bazzar relates it and its sub-narrators are all men of sound hadith." Qadi 'Iyad cites it in al-Shifa (1:56 of the Amman edition) and Suyuti said in his Manahil al-safa fi takhrij ahadith al-shifa (Beirut 1988/1408) p. 31 (#8): "Ibn Abi Usama cites it in his Musnad from the hadith of Bakr ibn 'Abd Allah al-Muzani, and al-Bazzar from the hadith of Ibn Mas'ud with a sound (sahih) chain." He says the same in his al-Khasa'is al-kubra. It is confirmed by al-Khafagi's and al-Qari's respective commentaries on al-Shifa'. al-'Iraqi said in Tarh al-tathrib: "Its chain is good" (isnaduhu jayyid).
It is cited in Shaykh al-Islam al-Taqi al-Subki's Shifa' al-siqam fi ziyarat khayr al-anam (The healing of the sick concerning the visit of the Best of Creation), where he mentions that Bakr ibn Abd Allah al-Muzani reported it, and Ibn al-Jawzi mentions it through Bakr and then again through Anas ibn Malik in the penultimate chapter of the penultimate section of al-Wafa, both huffaz without giving the isnad. However, Ibn al-Jawzi specifies in the introduction of his book that he only included sound traditions in it. He also mentions the version through Aws ibn Aws: "The actions of human beings are shown to me every Thursday night preceding Friday." See also Fath al-bari 10:415 and 11:385, al-Mundhiri's al-Targhib wa al-tarhib 3:343, and Musnad Ahmad 4:484.
The former Grand Mufti of Egypt Shaykh Hasanayn Muhammad Makhluf wrote in his Fatawa shar'iyya (Cairo: Dar al-i'tisam, 1405/1985, 1:91-92):
The hadith means that the Prophet is a great good for his Community during his life, because Allah the Exalted has preserved the Community through the secret of the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) presence from misguidance and confusion and disagreement, and He has guided the prople through the Prophet to the manifest truth; and that after Allah took back the Prophet, our connection to the latter's goodness continues uncut and the extension of his goodness endures, overshadowing us. The deeds of the Community are shown to him every day, and he glorifies Allah for the goodness that he finds, while he asks for His forgiveness for the small sins, and the alleviation of His punishment for the grave ones: and this is a tremendous good for us. There is therefore "goodness for the Community in his life, and in his death, goodness for the Community."
Moreover, as has been established in the hadith, the Beloved Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) is alive in his grave with a special "isthmus-life" (hayat barzakhiyya khassa) stronger than the lives of the martyrs which the Qur'an spoke about in more than one verse. The nature of these two kinds of life cannot be known except by their Bestower, the Glorious, the Exalted. He is able to do all things. His showing the Community's deeds to the Prophet as an honorific gift for him and his Community is entirely possible rationally and documented in the reports. There is no leeway for its denial; and Allah guides to His light whomever He pleases; and Allah knows best.
We cite more hadiths on tawassul in section c) below.
al-'Utbi said: "As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet, a Bedouin Arab came and said: "Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! I have heard Allah saying: "If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful" (4:64), so I have come to you asking forgiveness for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord. Then he began to recite poetry:
O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth,
And from whose fragrance the depth
and the height have become sweet,
May I be the ransom for a grave which thou inhabit,
And in which are found purity, bounty and munificence!
Then he left, and I dozed and saw the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) in my sleep. He said to me: O 'Utbi, run after the Bedouin and give him glad tidings that Allah has forgiven him."
The report is mashhur (well-known) and related by Nawawi, Adhkar, Mecca ed. p. 253-254, al-Majmu' 8:217, and al-Idah fi manasik al-hajj, chapters on visiting the grave of the Prophet; Ibn Jama'a, Hidayat al-salik 3:1384; Ibn 'Aqil, al-Tadhkira; Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni 3:556-557; al-Qurtubi, Tafsir of 4:64 in Ahkam al-Qur'an 5:265; Samhudi, Khulasat al-Wafa p. 121 (from Nawawi); Dahlan, Khulasat al-Kalam 2:247; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir 2:306, and al-Bidayat wa al-nihayat 1:180; Abu al-Faraj ibn Qudama, al-Sharh al-kabir 3:495; al-Bahuti al-Hanbali, Kashshaf al-qina' 5:30; Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Shifa' al-siqam p. 52; Ibn al-Jawzi, Muthir al-gharam al-sakin ila ashraf al-amakin p. 490; al-Bayhaqi, Shu'ab al-iman #4178; Ibn 'Asakir, Mukhtasar tarikh Dimashq 2:408; Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, al-Jawhar al-munazzam [commentary on Nawawi's Idah]; Ibn al-Najjar, Akhbar al-Madina p. 147. A similar report is cited through Sufyan ibn 'Uyayna (Shafi'i's shaykh), and through Abu Sa'id al-Sam'ani on the authority of 'Ali.
Evidently, al-'Utbi's account of the Arab's tawassul for forgiveness at the Prophet's grave is found in many books on the subject of ziyara (visiting the Prophet's grave in Madina) or manasik (rites of pilgrimage) by the many scholars of the Four Schools, none of whom have rejected it or declared it weak. See, for example, the translations of Ibn al-Jawzi, Nawawi, and Ibn Jama'a in the last section of this book. Those of the contemporary "Salafi" scholars who choose to contest this report of its established grade of mashhur, do not measure up to the reliability of a single one of the sources named above. As for the "Salafis'" recourse to the isolated opinions of Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi who have cast aspersions on the authenticity of the report, in the words of Ibn Jama'a: no attention is paid to it.
The sources also relate the report of Ibn Abi Fudayk, one of the early scholars of Madina and one of Shafi'i's shaykhs, who said: "I heard one of the authorities whom I have met say: "It has reached us that whoever stands at the Prophet's grave and recites: "Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet..." (33:56) and then says: "May Allah bless you, O Muhammad" (salla Allahu 'alayka ya Muhammad) seventy times, an angel will call him saying: May Allah bless you, O So-and-so; none of your needs will be left unfulfilled."" Ibn Jama'a related it in Hidayat al-salik 3:1382-1383, Ibn al-Jawzi in Muthir al-gharam p. 487, Qadi 'Iyad in al-Shifa', and Bayhaqi in Shu'ab al-iman (#4169).
The muhaddith al-Samhudi and others also relate the account of the Arab who sought the Prophet's means at his grave:
al-Asma'i said: I saw a Bedouin stand at the Prophet's grave and say: "O Allah, here is Your Beloved, and I am Your servant, and Satan is Your enemy. If You forgive me, Your Beloved will be happy, Your servant will attain victory, and Your enemy will be angry. If You do not forgive me, Your Beloved will be sad, Your enemy will be satisfied, and Your servant will be destroyed. But You are more noble, O my Lord, than to allow Your Beloved to be sad, Your enemy to be satisfied, and Your servant to be destroyed. O Allah, the highborn Arabs, if one of their leaders die, release one of their slaves over his grave in his honor, and this is the leader of the worlds: therefore release me over his grave, O Most Merciful of the Merciful!" al-Asma'i said: "I said to him: O brother of the Arabs! Allah has surely forgiven you and released you for the beauty of this request."
al-Hafiz Ibn al-Jawzi relates in Kitab al-Wafa (p. 818 #1536): (al-hafiz) Abu Bakr al-Minqari said: I was with (al-hafiz) al-Tabarani and (al-hafiz) Abu al-Shaykh in the Prophet's Mosque, in some difficulty. We became very hungry. That day and the next we didn't eat. When it was time for 'isha, I came to the Prophet's grave and I said: "O Messenger of Allah, we are hungry, we are hungry" (ya rasullallah al-ju' al-ju')! Then I left. Abu al-Shaykh said to me: Sit. Either there will be food for us, or death. I slept and Abu al-Shaykh slept. al-Tabarani stayed awake, researching something. Then an 'Alawi (a descendant of 'Ali) came knocking at the door with two boys, each one carrying a palm-leaf basket filled with food. We sat up and ate. We thought that the children would take back the remainder but they left everything behind. When we finished, the 'Alawi said: O people, did you complain to the Prophet? I saw him in my sleep and he ordered me to bring something to you.
Imam Bukhari said that he wrote his biographical book on the subnarrators of authentic hadith al-Tarikh al-kabir by the Prophet's graveside, under the light of the moon. It is related by Ibn al-Jawzi in Sifat al-safwa (4:147) and al-Subki in Tabaqat al-shafi'iyya al-kubra (2:216).
Musnad Ahmad, Imam Ahmad's compilation of 30,000 mostly sound narrations from the Prophet, was held in such high reverence that it was read in the sixth century by a society of devout hadith scholars from cover to cover in fifty-six sittings before the grave of the Prophet in Madina. Where is such devotion to the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) found today?
Ibn Hajar said in Sulayman ibn Sunayd ibn Nashwan's biographical notice in his al-Durar al-kamina that he performed forty pilgrimages. On the fortieth he was seized by fatigue and fell asleep by the side of the Noble Grave. Thereupon he saw the Beloved Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) who told him: "O So-and-so, how many times have you come, and you have received nothing from me? Give me your hand." He gave him his hand, and the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace) wrote upon it something against fever after which, if ever he suffered from it, he would be cured by Allah's permission. This invocation is: "I have sought refuge with a Master who never judges unjustly nor leads to other than victory. Go out, O fever, from this body, nor does pain of any sort follow this." Ajluni mentions it in Kashf al-khafa (#1175).
QUESTION : Is it true, as some people say, that tawassul or "seeking means" through the Prophet and the awliya', such as seeking their intercession, is not necessary nor a priority in Islam, because Allah says that He is near and answers whoever calls Him directly?
Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, and blessings and peace of Allah upon His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad, his Family and all his Companions.
There is not one single act of worship in Islam that is not a tawassul (seeking means to Allah), therefore it is inadmissible to say that tawassul is not an integral and central part of Islam.
Tawassul is the very heart of Islam, and the shahada contains a declaration of belief in tawassul, for one cannot be a Muslim unless one recognizes the messengership and prophethood of Muhammad, blessings and peace upon him, and of all Prophets, although the goal is Allah alone Who said: "I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me" (51:56). Therefore this is seeking an obligatory means to an obligatory end. The pillars of Islam similarly all consist in actions which are means before Allah for one who performs them.
Intercession is the greatest means as it will be only through intercession that the people of the Fire will enter Paradise, and Allah even called Himself "Intercessor" in the verse: "You have not, beside Him, a protecting friend or mediator" (32:4) and in the long hadith narrated by Muslim wherein the Prophet said:
Allah will say: "The angels have interceded. The Prophets have interceded. The believers have interceded. There does not remain except the Most Merciful of the merciful ones."
The Prophet also called the Qur'an an intercessor, declared that people were intercessors, and gave as an example the intercession of children for the parents who lost them in their infancy. We ask for the intercession of the dead person every time we pray janaza, when we say: allahumma la tuhrimna ajrahum which means "O Allah, do not prevent their benefit from reaching us." Allah declares that the best people are the Prophets, then those who are absolutely truthful (siddiqin) and these are the great saints, then the martyrs (shuhada), then the righteous (salihin), and the Prophet declared that every person will be making intercession on the Day of Resurrection, but with an order of priority among them, just as Allah gives precedence in this world to those who are closest to Him. All this is a great blessing of Allah to the worlds and the reason why we are greatly blessed on this earth despite our sins. For the earth is never empty of the true worshippers and there is still someone left saying "Allah." If you realize this, you will never harbor doubts about Muslims availing themselves of the blessings and guidance that Allah sends to them in the persons of the anbiya' and awliya'.
Nor do we believe that the friendship with Allah established in nubuwwa and wilaya stops with death. We strenuously reject the heresy of those who claim that the Prophet is dead and gone after delivering his message. Hasha, wa ta'ala Allahu 'amma yasifun. He is alive and fed, our greetings reach him, our actions are shown to him, he intercedes for us, and the dust of his grave is the most blessed spot on earth for which no show of love and honor is too great. No-one who has love in their heart approaches it without adab. It is the responsibility of every Muslim to ascertain what is correct from what is wrong, and tawassul is correct, recommended, and one of the greatest means of drawing close to Allah, first and foremost through the Prophet. This is the position of the overwhelming majority of the scholars until our own time, opposed by a handful of dissenters.
Tawassul is not a luxury for the rich, and its validity is not determined by circumstance, analogy, or personal feelings but by solid, known legal proofs and the practice of the righteous early generations. It is not a matter of procedure and scholarship but one of sound belief. Dislike for asking for the Prophet's help displays arrogance against Allah's greatest mercy, dislike for the Prophet, and a diseased heart. May Allah protect us from it at all times, especially in our time which is the time of fear of declaring love for our Prophet and that of rampant disaffection towards him. As for tawassul with the saints, no one can claim that they know Allah better than the Prophet, just as no one can claim that they know the Prophet better than the Friends of Allah. What then is the status of one who would stop seeking their company and asking for their help and guidance?
al-shafa'a (intercession) is derived from al-shaf' which means "even" as opposed to odd, since the interceder adds his own recommendation to the plea of the petitioner; in this way the number of pleaders becomes even, and the weak plea of the petitioner is strengthened by the prestige of the intercessor. We are accustomed in our social and communal life to seek others' intercession and help for fulfilling our needs.
We resort to it to get an advantage or to ward off a disadvantage. Here we are not talking about an advantage or a disadvantage, a benefit or a harm that is caused by natural causes, like hunger and thirst, heat or cold, illness or health; because in such cases we get what we want through natural remedies, like eating and drinking, wearing clothes, getting treatment and so on. What we are talking here about is the benefit and harm, punishment and reward resulting from the social laws made by civil authorities.
From the nature of the relationship of mastership-and-servitude, and for that matter, between every ruler and ruled, rise some commandments, orders and prohibitions; one who follows and obeys them is praised and rewarded, and the one who disobeys is condemned and punished; that reward or punishment may be either material or spiritual. When a master orders his servant to do or not to do a thing, and the servant obeys him he gets its reward; and if he disobeys he is punished. Whenever a rule is made, the punishment for its infringement is laid down too. This is the foundation which all authorities are built upon.
When a man wants to get a material or spiritual benefit but is not suitably qualified for it; or when he desires to ward off a harm which is coming to him because of his disobedience, but has no shield to protect himself, then comes the time for intercession.
In other words, when he wants to get a reward without doing his task, or to save himself from punishment without performing his duty, then he looks for someone to intercede on his behalf. But intercession is effective only if the person for whom one intercedes is otherwise qualified to get the reward and has already established a relationship with the authority. If an ignorant person desires appointment to a prestigious academic post, no intercession can do him any good; nor can it avail in case of a rebellious traitor who shows no remorse for his misdeeds and does not submit to the lawful authorities. It clearly shows that intercession works as a supplement to the cause; it is not an independent cause.
The effect of an intercessor's words depends on one or the other factor which may have some influence upon the concerned authority; in other words, intercession must have a solid ground to stand upon.
The intercessor endeavours to find a way to the heart of the authority concerned, in order that the said authority may give the reward to, or waive the punishment of, the person who is the subject of intercession. An intercessor does not ask the master to nullify his mastership or to release the servant from his servitude; nor does he plead with him to refrain from laying down rules and regulations for his servants or to abrogate his commandments (either generally or especially in that one case), in order to save the wrong-doer from the due consequences; nor does he ask him to discard the canon of reward and punishment (either generally or in that particular case). In short, intercession can interfere with neither the institution of mastership and servantship nor the master's authority to lay down the rules; nor can it effect the system of reward and punishment. These three factors are beyond the jurisdiction of intercession.
What an intercessor does is this: he accepts the inviolability of the above mentioned three aspects. Then he looks at one or more of the following factors and builds his intercession on that basis:
He appeals to such attributes of the master as give rise to forgiveness, e.g., his nobility, magnanimity and generosity.
He draws attention to such characteristics of the servant as justify mercy and pardon, e.g., his wretchedness, poverty, low status and misery.
He puts at stake his own prestige and honour in the eyes of the master.
Thus, the import of intercession is like this: I cannot and do not say that you should forget your mastership over your servant or abrogate your commandment or nullify the system of reward and punishment. What I ask of you is to forgive this defaulting servant of yours because you are magnanimous and generous, and because no harm would come to you if you forgive his sins; and/or because your servant is a wretched creature of low status and steeped in misery; and it is befitting of a master like you to ignore the faults of a slave like him; and/or because you have bestowed on me a high prestige, and I implore you to forgive and pardon him in honour of my intercession.
The intercessor, in this way, bestows precedence on the factors of forgiveness and pardon over those of legislation and recompense. He removes the case from the latter's jurisdiction putting it under the former's influence. As a result of this shift, the consequences of legislation (reward and punishment) do not remain applicable. The effect of intercession is, therefore, based on shifting the case from the jurisdiction of reward and punishment to that of pardon and forgiveness; it is not a confrontation between one cause (divine legislation) and the other (intercession).
By now it should be clear that intercession too is one of the causes; it is the intermediate cause that connects a distant cause to its desired effect.
Allah is the ultimate Cause. This causality shows itself in two ways:
First: in creation: every cause begins from Him and ends up to Him; He is the first and the final Cause. He is the real Creator and Originator. All other causes are mere channels to carry His boundless mercy and limitless bounty to His creatures.
Second: in legislation: He, in His mercy, established a contact with His creatures; He laid down the religion, sent down His commandments, and prescribed suitable reward and appropriate punishment for His obedient and disobedient servants; He sent prophets and apostles to bring us good tidings and to warn us of the consequences of transgression. The prophets and apostles conveyed to us His message in the best possible way. Thus His proof over us was complete: "and the word of your Lord has been accomplished with truth and justice, there is none to change His words" (6:115).
Both aspects of causality of Allah may be, and in fact are, related to intercession:
1. Intercession in creation: quite obviously the intermediary causes of creation are the conduits that bring the divine mercy, life, sustenance and other bounties to the creatures; and as such they are intercessors between the Creator and the created. Some Qur'anic verses too are based on this very theme: "Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission" (2:255); "Surely your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six periods, and He is firmly established on the throne, regulating the affair; there is no intercessor except after His permission" (10:3).
Intercession in the sphere of creation is only the intermediation of causes between the Creator and the created thing and effect in bringing it into being and regulating its affairs.
2. Intercession in legislation: intercession, as analyzed earlier, is effective in this sphere too.
It is in this context that Allah says: "On that day shall no intercession avail except of him whom the Beneficent God allows and whose word He is pleased with" (20:109); "And intercession will not avail aught with Him save of him whom He permits" (34:23); "And how many an angel is there in the heavens whose intercession does not avail at all except after Allah has given permission to whom He pleases and chooses" (53:26); "... and they do not intercede except for him whom He approves ..." (21:28); "And those whom they call upon besides Him have no authority for intercession, but he who bears witness of the truth and they know (him)" (43:86).
These verses clearly affirm an intercessory role for various servants of Allah, both men and angels, with divine permission and pleasure. It means that Allah has given them some power and authority in this matter, and to Him belongs all the kingdom and all the affairs. Those intercessors may appeal to Allah's mercy, forgiveness and other relevant attributes to cover and protect a servant who otherwise would have deserved punishment because of his sins and transgressions. That intercession would transfer his case from the general law of recompense to the special domain of grace and mercy (it has already been explained that the effect of intercession is based on shifting a case from the former's to the latter's jurisdiction; it is not a confrontation between one law and the other). Allah clearly says: "... so these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones" (25:70).
Allah has the power to change one type of deed into another, in the same way as He may render an act null and void. He says: "And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds, so We shall render them as scattered floating dust" (25:23); ... "so He rendered their deeds null" (47:9); "If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden, We will expiate from you your sins" (4:31);
"Surely Allah does not forgive that any thing should be associated with Him, and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases" (4:48).
The last quoted verse is certainly about the cases other than true belief and repentance, because with belief and repentance even polytheism is forgiven, like any other sin. Also Allah may nurture a small deed to make it greater than the original: "These shall be granted their reward twice" (28:54); "Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it" (6:160). Likewise, He may treat a nonexistent deed as existing: "And (as for) those who believe and their offsping follow them in faith, We will unite with them their offspring and We will not diminish to them aught of their work; every man is responsible for what he has done" (52:21) .
To make a long story short, Allah does what He pleases, and decrees as He wills. Of course, He does so pursuant to His servants' interest, and in accordance with an intermediary cause, and intercession of the intercessors (e.g., the Prophets, the Friends of Allah and those who are nearer to Him) is one of those causes, and certainly no rashness or injustice is entailed therein. It should have been clear by now that intercession, in its true sense, belongs to Allah only; all His attributes are intermediaries between Him and His creatures and are the channels through which His grace, mercy and decrees pass to the creatures; He is the real and all-encompassing intercessor: "Say: Allah's is the intercession altogether" (39:44); ... "you have not besides Him any guardian or any intercessor" (32:4); ... "there is no guardian for them nor any intercessor besides Him" (6: 51). Intercessors other than Allah only get that right by His permission, by His authority.
In short, intercession with Him is a confirmed reality in all cases where it does not go against the divine glory and honour.
In Islam every action of a believer is an intercessor, and the Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) has told us that the Qur'an also will intercede for us on the Day of Resurrection, while he himself is the greatest intercessor other than Allah. The position of the Prophet as the Intercessor between creation and the Creator is illustrated by his position as the one whom Allah consults with regard to his Community. This is established by the following authentic hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad:
∑ Hudhayfa said: The Prophet was absent and he did not come out until we thought that he would never come out anymore. When he did come out, he fell into such a long prostration that we thought that his soul had been taken back during that prostration. When he raised his head he said:
My Lord sought my advice (istasharani) concerning my Community, saying: "What shall I do with them?" I said: "What You will, my Lord, they are Your creation and Your servants!" Then He sought my advice again (fa istasharani al-thaniya), and I said to him the same thing, so He said: "We shall not put you to shame concerning your Community, O Muhammad."
Then He informed me that the first of my Community to enter Paradise will be seventy thousand, each thousand of whom will have seventy thousand with them [4,900,000,000], and none of them shall incur any accounting.
Then He sent me a messenger who said: "Supplicate and it will be answered to you. Ask and it will be given to you." I said to His messenger: "Will my Lord give me whatever I ask for?" He replied: "He did not send me to you except to give you you whatever you ask for."
And indeed my Lord has given me whatever I asked for, and I say this without pride: He has forgiven me my sins past or future while I am still alive and walking about; He has granted me that my Community shall not starve, and shall not be overcome. And He has given me al-Kawthar, a river of Paradise which flows into my Pond; and He has given me power and victory over my enemies, and terror running in their ranks at a month's distance from my Community; and He has granted me that I be first among the Prophets to enter Paradise; and He has made spoils of war lawful and good for me and my Community, and He has made lawful much of what He had forbidden those before us, nor did He take us to task for it."
Narrated by Imam Ahmad, and Haythami said in Majma' al-zawa'id (10:68) that its chain was fair (hasan).
According to Shari'a even the good action of the greatest apostate intercedes for him and profits him, as established by what is related in Bukhari whereby Abu Lahab freed his slave Thuwayba on the day the Prophet was born and that subsequently his punishment in the grave is diminished every Monday. Scholars have quoted this hadith to highlight the importance of praising the Prophet in that even non-believers benefit from the intercession of their own actions that denote his praise -- even unintentional. Two examples of such scholars are the hafiz of Syria and supporter of Ibn Taymiyya, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Qaysi, known as Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi (777-842) in his several books on the praiseworthiness of Mawlid, among them Jami' al-athar fi mawlid al-nabi al-mukhtar (The compendium of reports concerning the birth of the Chosen Prophet), al-Lafz al-ra'iq fi mawlid khayr al-khala'iq (The shining expressions for the birth of the Best of Creation) and Mawrid al-sadi bi mawlid al-nabi al-hadi (The continuous spring: the birth of the Guiding Prophet) and the hafiz Shams al-Din al-Jazari in his book `Urf al-ta'rif bi al-mawlid al-sharif (The beneficient communication of the Noble Birth of the Prophet).
Another principle of that hadith is that the benefit of intercession takes place before Resurrection.
Whether persons other than the Prophet are intercessors as well the answer is: yes, since the Prophet has explicitly declared it in many sound hadiths which quote below, among them the following:
"More people than the collective tribes of Banu Tamim shall enter Paradise due to the intercession of one man from my Community." It was said: "O Messenger of Allah, is it other than you?" He said: "Other than me."
The belief in the Prophet's intercession and that of other than him is obligatory in Islam. It is stated clearly in the 'Aqida tahawiyya of Imam al-Tahawi, in Ghazali's al-Iqtisad and the chapter on 'aqida in his Ihya', in the works of al-Ash`ari, and even in the 'Aqida wasitiyya of Ibn Taymiyya. These intercessors are a mercy from Allah and it is an obligation and an order for mankind to seek out Allah's mercy.
The seeking of intercession has two effects: one is immediate, in increasing the faith of the person and availing him all sorts of benefits in the world; the other is delayed until Resurrection.
About the statement in al-Wala' wa al-bara' that among the "ten actions that negate Islam" is "relying on an intermediary between oneself and Allah when seeking intercession," then the deceptiveness of the statement is obvious, since the meaning of intercession is intermediary. How can one at the same time seek an intermediary and refrain from relying on him? This would not be the act of a believer but of a duplicitous person. Besides language and logic it is clear in the hadith of the Great Intercession in Bukhari and Muslim that the people will seek intercessors in vain among all the Prophets until they come to the Seal of Prophets seeking to rely upon him for intercession, and he confirms that he is able to fulfill their request. This is one of the matters which the Prophet boasted about in the hadith "I have been given five things..." What then is the import of reducing it to an "action that negates Islam" other than to reduce the status of the Prophet himself and of his intercession?
Allah has created intercession as He has created everything else, out of mercy; He also said: "My Mercy encompasses all things" (7:156). No doubt His greatest Mercy is the Prophet, concerning whom He said: "We did not send you save as a Mercy to the Worlds" (21:107). Belief in the Prophet's intercession is tied to the witnessing to the truth he brought and the recognition by the believers of his right as Allah's greatest Mercy. The angels intercede according to Qur'an, yet the Prophet is nearer to Allah than the nearest among them. No-one will speak on the Day of Judgment except those who have permission, and it is related in authentic hadith that Allah gave permission to the Prophet. The Prophet will not be saying "I and Myself" but will be saying "ummati, ummati (My Community)" and that is intercession which, unless it is reliable, cannot be hoped for nor looked forward to, as the "Salafis" try to suggest.
Allah said in Surat Yunus:
Is it a matter of wonderment to men that We have sent Our revelation to a man from among themselves? that he should warn mankind and give the glad tidings to the Believers that they have with their Lord a truthful foothold/forerunner. But the unbelievers say: This is an evident sorcerer. (10:2)
The following is one of the authoritative explanations for the expression "a truthful foothold/forerunner" (qadama sidqin):
"A truthful foothold/forerunner": Bukhari in his Sahih [book of Tafsir for Surat Yunus, ch. 1], Tabari in Jami' al-bayan, Qurtubi in al-Jami 'li al-ahkam, Ibn 'Uyayna in his Tafsir, Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir, Suyuti in al-Durr al-manthur and al-Riyad al-aniqa, Abu al-Fadl al-Maydani in Majma 'al-amthal, Abu al-Shaykh, Ibn Mardawayh in his Tafsir, Ibn Abi Hatim in his Tafsir, and others said, on the authority of the Companions: 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, and the Tabi'in: al-Hasan, Qatada, Mujahid, Zayd ibn Aslam, Bakkar ibn Malik, and Muqatil: "It is Muhammad, blessings and peace upon him."
Qurtubi said: "It is Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, for he is an intercessor whom the people obey and who precedes them, just as he said: I will be your scout at the Pond (ana faratukum 'ala al-hawd). And he was asked about its meaning and said: It is my intercession, for you to use me as a means to your Lord (hiya shafa'ati tawassaluna bi ila rabbikum)." Ibn Kathir mentioned the latter meaning in his Tafsir (2:406, 4:183) as well as al-Razi in his (8:242).
al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi said: "Allah gave him precedence (qaddamahu) with the Praiseworthy Station (al-maqam al-mahmud). Qurtubi mentioned it.
Suyuti said: "Ibn Jarir al-Tabari and Abu al-Shaykh narrated that al-Hasan said: It is Muhammad blessings and peace upon him, who is an intercessor for them on the Day of Rising; and Ibn Mardawayh narrated from 'Ali ibn Abi Talib through al-Harith and from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri through 'Atiyya: It is Muhammad blessings and peace upon him, he is an intercessor in truth on their behalf on the Day of Rising."
Intercession in no way diminishes the fact that everything is under Allah's sovereignty. However, Allah created secondary causes and means, and He has said: "Seek the means to Allah" (5:35). Intercession is but one of those means and not the smallest. The fact that the Prophet said that to utter la ilaha illallah from the heart guaranteed his intercession, implies that there is immense good in his intercession; what would we wish for in addition to the benefit brought by uttering the kalima, if it were not to be prized immensely?
That is why sincere love of the Prophet and of pious people is of a tremendous benefit, as one hopes thereby to be loved back. The Prophet said to the Arab who had prepared nothing for the Final Hour other than love for Allah and His Prophet: yuhshar al-mar' ma' man ahabb, "One is raised in the company of those he loves," and the Companions who were present said this was the happiest day of their lives for hearing this promise. All this implies reliance, and contradicts the assertion of the book al-Wala' wal-Bara' that "relying on an intermediary between oneself and Allah when seeking intercession negates Islam."
The asking of intercession from the intercessor, as the asking of du'a from a pious Muslim, in no way implies that the person who asks believes any good can come apart from Allah. In effect he is asking Allah, but he is using the means that Allah put at his disposal, including the intercession of those who may be closer than himself to Allah. To refuse to believe that other may be closer than us to Allah is the sin of Iblis.
Imam Ghazali said in the section on doctrine of his Ihya':
It is obligatory to believe in the intercession of first the prophets, then religious scholars, then martyrs, then other believers, the intercession of each one commensurate with his rank and position with Allah Most High.
A contemporary scholar wrote the following explanation of the meaning of intercession:
In the Qur'an al kareem, intercession is:
a) negated in relation to the unbelievers,
b) established categorically as belonging to Allah,
c) further defined as generally permitted for others than Allah by His permission,
d) further specified as permitted for the angels on behalf of whomever Allah wills,
e) explicitly attributed to the Prophet in his lifetime,
f) alluded to in reference to the Prophet in the afterlife, and
g) alluded to in reference to the generality of the Prophets and the believers in the afterlife.
3.a) The Day of Judgment is described as a day on which no intercession will be accepted from the Children of Israel (2:48) or the unbelievers generally speaking (2:254), or the idolaters (10:18, 74:48):
- 2:48: "And guard yourselves against a day when no soul will avail another, nor intercession be accepted from it";
- 2:254: "O believers, spend of that wherewith We have provided you before a day comes when there will be no trafficking, nor friendship, nor intercession. The disbelievers, they are the wrong-doers."
- 10:18: "They worship beside Allah that which neither hurts nor profits them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allah."
- 74:48: "The mediation of no mediators will avail them then."
3.b) In absolute terms intercession belongs to Allah alone:
- 39:43-44: "Or choose they intercessors other than Allah? Say: What! Even though they have power over nothing and have no intelligence? Say: the intercession belongs to Allah."
3.c) A further definition that "intercession belongs to Allah" is that intercession is actually permitted to others than Allah but only by His permission:
- 2:255: "Who should intercede with Him, except by His permission?"
- 10:3: "There is no intercessor save after His permission."
- 19:87: "They will have no power of intercession, save him who has made a covenant with his Lord."
- 43:86: "And those unto whom they cry instead of Him possess no power of intercession, except him who beareth witness unto the truth knowingly."
3.d) Angels are permitted to intercede for whomever Allah wills, specifically among the believers:
- 21:26-28: "And they say: the Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son... Nay, but honored slaves [angels]... and they cannot intercede except for him whom He accepteth, and they quake for awe of Him."
- 40:7: "Those who bear the Throne, and all who are round about it... ask forgiveness for those who believe."
- 42:5: "The angels hymn the praise of their Lord and ask forgiveness for those on the earth."
3.e) The intercession of the Prophet in his lifetime is explicitly and frequently established:
- 3:159: "Pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs."
- 4:64: "And if, when they had wronged themselves, they had but come unto thee and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah forgiving, merciful."
- 4:106-107: "And ask forgiveness of Allah (for others). Allah is ever forgiving, merciful. And plead not on behalf of those who deceive themselves."
- 8:33: "But Allah would not punish them while thou wast with them, nor will He punish them while they seek forgiveness."
- 9:80, 84: "Ask forgiveness for them (the hypocrites) or ask not forgiveness for them; though thou ask forgiveness for them seventy times Allah will not forgive them... And never pray for one of them who dieth, nor stand by his grave."
- 9:103: "Pray for them. Lo! thy prayer is an assuagement for them."
- 9:113: "It is not for the Prophet, and those who believe, to pray for the forgiveness of idolaters even though they may be near of kin (to them) after it hath become clear that they are people of hell-fire."
- 24:62: "If they ask thy leave for some affair of theirs, give leave to whom thou wilt of them, and ask for them forgiveness of Allah."
- 47:19: "Know that there is no god save Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy sin and for believing men and believing women."
- 60:12: "Accept their [believing women's] allegiance and ask Allah to forgive them."
- 63:5-6: "And when it is said unto them: Come! The Messenger of Allah will ask forgiveness for you! they [the hypocrites] avert their faces and thou seest them turning away, disdainful. Whether thou ask forgiveness for them or ask not forgiveness for them, Allah will not forgive them."
3.f) The intercession and mediation of the Prophet on the Day of
Judgment has been established by the consensus of scholars (ijma') and is an article of belief in Islam as stated in section 2. The Mu'tazili heresy rejected it, as they held that the man who enters the Fire will remain there forever. The consensus of scholars is based on the principle of permission (see the verses in section 3.c above), on the allusive verses in the present section, and on the more explicit hadiths quoted further below:
- 17:79: "It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to a Praised Station."
- 93:5: "And verily thy Lord will give unto thee so that thou wilt be content."
3.g) The intercession of the generality of the Prophets as well as the believers has similarly been established by the verses of sections 3.c and 3.e above, i.e. based on permission, and also because Prophets have made a covenant with their Lord (33:7, 3:81) and do bear witness unto the truth knowingly. The latter is true also of the elite of the believers (3:18: "Allah, the angels, and the men of learning"). There are also the following verses concerning the Prophets' intercession in their lifetime:
- 12:97-98: "And they said: O our father! Ask forgiveness of our sins for us for lo! we were sinful. And he [Jacob] said: I shall ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. He is the forgiving, the merciful."
- 19:47: "He [Abraham] said: Peace unto thee. I shall ask forgiveness of my Lord for thee."
- 60:4: "Abraham promised his father: I will ask forgiveness for thee, though I owe nothing for thee from Allah."
There are also the following verses concerning the believers' intercession in their lifetime:
- 9:113: "It is not for the Prophet, and those who believe, to pray for the forgiveness of idolaters even though they may be near of kin (to them) after it has become clear that they are people of hellfire."
- 59:10: "And those who came after them say: Our Lord! forgive us and forgive our believing brothers who lived before us."
In the hadith,the power of intercession is emphasized as given ...
a) to the Prophet exclusively of other Prophets;
b) to special members of the Prophet's Community, such as saints and scholars;
c) to the common believers of the Prophet's Community.
4.a) Intercession of the Prophet:
4.a.1) In his lifetime for those who passed away:
- All the authentic traditions concerning the Prophet's prayer and takbir over the graves of the believers.
- Muslim (jana'iz): Abu Hurayra narrates that a dark-complexioned woman or young man used to sweep the mosque. When that person died, no-one told the Prophet until he enquired about it and then went to pray over the grave. He remarked: "Verily, these graves are full of darkness for their dwellers. Verily, Allah Mighty and Glorious illumines them for their occupants by reason of my prayer for them."
- Muslim (jana'iz): 'Awf ibn Malik said that after he heard the words of the Prophet's prayer over a dead person, he earnestly desired that he were that dead person.
- Muslim (jana'iz): Muhammad ibn Qays narrates from 'A'isha that the Prophet on every night that he was with her used to quietly get dressed and leave at the end of the night, and she once followed him surreptitiously until he reached Baqi' [the graveyard of the believers] where he prayed for the dead. Later he told her that Jibril had come to him and said: "Your Lord has commanded you to go to the inhabitants of Baqi' and beg forgiveness for them."
4.a.2) In the afterlife:
- al-Daraqutni, al-Dulabi, al-Bayhaqi, Khatib al-Baghdadi, al-'Uqayli, Ibn 'Adi, Tabarani, and Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih, all through various chains going back to Musa ibn Hilal al-'Abdi from 'Ubayd Allah Ibn 'Umar, both from Nafi', from Ibn 'Umar: "Whoever visits my grave, my intercession will be guaranteed for him."
Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said in his commentary on Nawawi's Idah fi manasik al-hajj:
Ibn Khuzayma narrated it in his Sahih but alluded to its weakness. Ibn al-Kharrat and Taqi al-Subki declared it sound (sahih). Daraqutni and Tabarani also narrate it with the wording: "Whoever visits me with no other need than visiting me, it is my duty to be his intercessor on the Day of Judgment." One version has: "It is Allah's duty that I be his intercessor on the Day of Judgment." Ibn al-Subki declared it sound.
Although declaring all the chains of this hadith imperfect (layyina), Dhahabi nevertheless said that they strengthened each other and declared the chain jayyid (good) as narrated, in Mizan al-i'tidal, (4:226): That is, the hadith is hasan. Sakhawi confirmed him in the Maqasid al-hasana, while al-Subki declared it sahih in Shifa' al-siqam (p. 12-13) and Samhudi in Sa'adat al-darayn (1:77). Imam Lucknawi in al-Ajwiba al-fadila (p. 155) said: "And this [declaring it authentic] until today is the custom of the people who have reached mastery of this science."
About Musa ibn Hilal, Dhahabi in his Mizan (3:220) said: "Huwa salih al-hadith" which means: "He is good enough in his narrations." Ibn 'Adi said in al-Kamil fi al-du'afa" (6:2350): "He (Musa ibn Hilal) is most likely acceptable; other people have called him unknown (majhul) and this is not true... He is one of the shuyukhs of Imam Ahmad and most of them are trustworthy." Lucknawi said in al-Raf' wa al-takmil (p. 248-249): "Abu Hatim [al-Razi]'s saying whereby Musa ibn Hilal is unknown is rejected, because it is established that those who are trustworthy narrated hadith from him." Even Albani declared him thabit al-riwaya (of established reliability) in his Irwa' (4:338).
About 'Ubayd Allah ibn 'Umar al-'Umari: Dhahabi calls him saduq hasan al-hadith (truthful, of fair narrations) in al-Mughni (1:348); Sakhawi says of him salih al-hadith (his narrations are good enough) in al-Tuhfa al-latifa (3:366); Ibn Ma'in said to Darimi about him: salih thiqa (good enough and trustworthy) in al-Kamil (4:1459).
al-Lucknawi also said about this hadith in his book Zafr al-amani (p.422): "There are some who declared it weak, and others who asserted that all the hadiths on visitation of the Prophet are forged, such as Ibn Taymiyya and his followers, but both positions are false for those who were given right understanding, for verification of the case dictates that the hadith is hasan, as Taqi al-Din al-Subki has expounded in his book Shifa' al-siqam fi ziyarat khayr al-anam."
Among those who fall into the category of "Ibn Taymiyya and his followers" on this issue: Ibn 'Abd al-Hadi who wrote al-Sarim al-munki in an attempt to refute Subki's book Shifa' al-siqam on the great merit of visiting the Prophet; the Saudi author Bin Baz who said: "the ahadith that concern the desirability of visiting the grave of the Prophet are all weak, indeed forged" (kulluha da'ifa bal mawdu'a) in the 1993 edition of Fath al-bari (3:387); Nasir al-Din Albani, who claimed that the visit to the Prophet ranks among the innovations in Talkhis ahkam al-jana'iz (p. 110) and elsewhere in his writings; and Nasir al-Jadya', who in 1993 obtained his Ph.D. with First Honors from the University of Muhammad ibn Sa'ud after writing a 600-page book entitled al-Tabarruk in which he perpetuates the same claim (p. 322). One will find such books printed and distributed far and wide, while the classical books of Ahl al-Sunna are deliberately ignored and made unavailable to Muslims at large.
Despite the claims of Wahhabis and "Salafis," the hadith "Whoever visits my grave is guaranteed my intercession" is one of the proof-texts adduced by the ulama of Islam to derive the obligation or recommendation of visiting the Prophet's grave and seeking him as wasila (intermediary/means), as will be seen further down, in the chapter on visiting the Prophet's grave. Sakhawi said in al-Qawl al-badi' (p. 160):
The emphasis and encouragement on visiting his noble grave is mentioned in numerous hadiths, and it would suffice to show this if there was only the hadith whereby the truthful and God-confirmed Prophet promises that his intercession among other things becomes obligatory for whoever visits him, and the Imams are in complete agreement from the time directly after his passing until our own time that this [i.e. visiting him] is among the best acts of drawing near to Allah.
- Muslim: "Whoever repeats after the words of the mu'adhdhin, my intercession will be guaranteed for him."
- Tirmidhi (hasan gharib) and Ibn Hibban: "Those closest to me in the hereafter are those who invoked blessings upon me the most (in dunya)."
- The Prophet said: "My intercession is for those people of my Community who commit major sins." It is narrated by Tirmidhi (hasan sahih gharib), Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, and 'Abd al-Haqq Ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili cited it in Kitab al-'aqiba. Ibn Hajar in Fath al-bari specified the following meaning of this hadith: "He did not restrict this to those who repented."
- In Bukhari, from 'Imran ibn Husayn, whereby the Prophet said: "A people will come out of the Fire through the intercession of Muhammad, and will enter Paradise. They will be called the Jahannamiyyun."
- In Muslim's Sahih: 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As narrated that the Prophet recited the prayer of Ibrahim: "My Lord! Lo! They have led many of mankind astray. But whoso followeth me, he verily is of me. And whoso disobeyeth me -- Still Thou art Forgiving, Merciful" (14:36). Then he recited the saying of 'Isa: "If Thou punish them, lo! they are Thy slaves, and if Thou forgive them (lo! they are Thy slaves)" (5:118). Then he raised his hands and said: "My Community, my Community!" and he wept. Allah said: "O Jibril, go to Muhammad and ask him what causes him to weep." When Jibril came and asked him he told him, upon which Jibril returned and told Allah -- Who knows better than him -- and He said: "O Jibril, go to Muhammad and tell him: We shall make thee glad concerning thy Community and We shall not displease you." (A reference to 93:5)
- Tirmidhi (hasan sahih) and Ibn Maja: Abu ibn Ka'b narrated that the Prophet said: "On the Day of Judgment I shall be the Imam of Prophets and their spokesman and the owner of their intercession and I say this without pride" (a reference to 4:41).
- Tirmidhi (hasan gharib): From Anas, similar to the one before but applying to all people not only to Prophets.
- Tirmidhi (hasan gharib sahih): Abu Hurayra narrates that the Prophet said: "I shall stand before my Lord Glorious and Mighty and I shall be adorned with a garment from the garments of Paradise, after which I shall stand to the right of the Throne where none of creation will stand except myself."
- Tirmidhi (gharib): Ibn 'Abbas narrates: "Some people close to the Prophet came and waited for him. When he came out he approached them and heard them saying: What a wonder it is that Allah Almighty and Glorious took one of His creation as His intimate Friend -- Ibrahim -- while another one said: What is more wonderful than His speech to Musa, to whom He spoke directly! Yet another one said: And 'Isa is Allah's word and His spirit, while another one said: Adam was chosen by Allah. The Prophet said: I heard your words, and everything you said is indeed true, and I myself am the Beloved of Allah (habibullah) and I say this without pride, and I carry the flag of glory on the Day of Judgment and am the first intercessor and the first whose intercession is accepted, and the first to stir the circles of Paradise so that Allah will open it for me and I shall enter it together with the poor among my Community, and I say this without pride. I am the most honored of the First and the Last and I say this without pride."
- Bukhari and Muslim: Jabir narrated that the Prophet said: "I have been given five things which no Prophet was given before me:
I was made victor over my enemies through fear struck in their heart;
I was permitted to take the booty of war;
The whole earth was made a place of prostration for me and its soil ritually pure, so when the time to pray comes upon anyone of my Community, let him pray there and then;
I was given shafa'a (intercession/mediation with Allah);
Every Prophet was sent to his people in particular and I was sent to all peoples.
- Tirmidhi (hasan) and Ibn Maja: Abu Sa'id al-Khudri narrated that the Prophet said: "I am the leader of human beings and I say this without pride. I am the first whom the earth will give up when it cleaves, and the first intercessor and the first whose intercession is accepted. I hold the flag of glory in my hand, and under it comes Adam and everyone else."
- Bukhari and Muslim: Anas and Abu Hurayra respectively narrate that the Prophet said: "Every Prophet has a request that is fulfilled, and I want to reserve my request of intercession for my Community for the Day of Judgment."
- Ahmad and Tabarani (hasan): Burayda narrates that the Prophet said: "Verily I shall intercede on the Day of Judgment for more men than there are stones and clods of mud on the earth."
- Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Hurayra narrates a long hadith wherein the Prophet intercedes and his intercession is accepted when all other Prophets are powerless to intercede. In al-Hasan's version in Bukhari, the Prophet intercedes and is accepted four times:
For those who have a grain of faith in their heart;
For those who have a mustard seed of faith in their heart;
For those who have less than that of faith in their heart;
For those who ever said: la ilaha illallah.
The following is quoted from Dr. Muhammad Abul Quasem's book Salvation of the Soul and Islamic Devotions:
Islamic [belief] is that for salvation intercession will take place at two stages: on the Day of Judgment and after the sinners' entry into hell.
On the Day of Judgment it will take place first before the divine questioning; it is the Prophet Muhammad who will intercede first for the forgiveness of his community. Accepting this intercession, Allah will grant him permission to take to Paradise through its right gate (al-bab al-ayman) built for them especially, all those people of his community who are entitled to it without giving an acount of their actions.
Then when, following the weighing of actions in the Balance the verdict of damnation will be passed to numerous groups of believers who commit major sins, intercessors, including all Prophets, will intercede for the forgiveness of many of them. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: "My intercession is for those people of my Community who commit major sins." Allah out of mercy will accept... and save a large number of sinners. This salvation is free from damnation.
The second stage of intercession is after the sinners being like coal as a result of constant burning in Hell-fire for a long time. When they are suffering thus, intercessors will pray to Allah for the rescue of many of them. The result of this will be divine forgiveness of them before the end of their redemptive punishment. This is salvation after damnation.
Who will intercede in the Hereafter? Not only the angels and all Prophets, but also those believers who have high status with Allah, such as saints, sufis, religious scholars, and other pious men [and women], will be able to intercede for others.
May Allah the Almighty send blessings and peace upon the Intercessor Brought Near to Him, our Master Muhammad, and upon his Family and Companions, and may He grant us his Prophet's intercession on the Day of Reckoning.
The evidence for tawassul through the awliya' or saints is also abundant, and it suffices that Allah strictly warns all believers to keep company with them when He says: "O believers! Be wary of Allah, and keep company with the truthful!" (9:119) and He enjoins us to follow those who have turned to Him in true and complete repentence (31:15). The Prophet said to al-Firasi, concerning asking from people: "If you absolutely must ask from people, then ask from the righteous ones" (in kunta la budda sa'ilan fas'al al-salihin). There is no doubt that the visit of pious persons is a Sunna in Islam for that very purpose, as shown by the chapters to that effect entitled Bab ziyarat al-salihin in the books of etiquette and invocations.
Some people think that if a du'a from a holy man is answered while he is alive then he cannot help you if he is dead, as if the holy man or shaykh or saint is the origin of the help, but it is always Allah who is the source of the baraka and never a human being; so to think that Allah can only give when that saint is alive, and that when he is dead, Allah does not give anymore, is to say that the source is the person and not Allah in the first place! But in reality it is Allah who is giving help in both cases: life or death.
As for the objections of some "Salafis" today that it is not permissible to seek the blessings of saints after their death, they are based on the false belief that Allah's influence through the saints is in need for the saints' biological life to be effective, and this is absurd! As we said before, Allah's gift to the saints is independent from their being alive or dead, since in either case the real power always belongs to Allah, and the saints are only a secondary cause with no effective power in themselves. Moreover, the views of the early and late Imams and scholars quoted below concerning the permissibility of tawassul through the pious, also confirm that the objections of "Salafis" to tawassul through the saints after their passing from this life do not stand up to scrutiny.
It is obligatory for Muslims to believe that the abdal or Substitute-saints exist -- so called because, as the Prophet said (see #3 below), "None of them dies except Allah substitutes another in his place" -- and that they are among the religious leaders of the Community concerning whom there is no doubt among Muslims. No less than Ibn Taymiyya writes at the end of his 'Aqida wasitiyya:
The true adherents of Islam in its pristine purity are Ahl al-Sunnat wal-Jama'a. In their ranks the truthful saints (siddiqin), the martyrs, and the righteous are to be found. Among them are the great men of guidance and illumination, of recorded integrity and celebrated virtue. The Substitutes (abdal) and the Imams of religion are to be found among them and the Muslims are in full accord concerning their guidance. These are the Victorious Group about whom the Prophet said: "A group within my Community manifestly continues to be in the truth. Neither those who oppose them nor those who abandon them can do them harm, from now on until the Day of Resurrection."
The Prophet emphasized in many authentic narrations the benefits brought to all creation through the intercession of Allah's saints and their standing with Him. Suyuti in his fatwa on the abdal in his Hawi li al-fatawi provided many examples of this type of universal intercession from which we quote the following:
1. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal says in his Musnad (1:112):
... The people of Syria were mentioned in front of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib while he was in Iraq, and they said: "Curse them, O Commander of the Believers." He replied: "No, I heard the Messenger of Allah say: "The Substitutes (al-abdal) are in Syria and they are forty men, every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another in his place. By means of them Allah brings down the rain, gives (Muslims) victory over their enemies, and averts punishment from the people of Syria."" al-Haythami said: "The men in its chains are all those of the sahih except for Sharih ibn `Ubayd, and he is trustworthy (thiqa)."
2. al-Hakim narrated the following which he graded sound (sahih), and al-Dhahabi confirmed him:
'Ali said: "Do not curse the people of Syria, for among them are the Substitutes (al-abdal), but curse their injustice."
Note that any religious knowledge unattainable through ijtihad and authentically conveyed from one of the Companions is considered a hadith by the experts of that science.
3. Tabarani said in his Mu'jam al-awsat:
Anas said that the Prophet said: "The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful [Prophet Ibrahim], and through them people receive rain and are given help. None of them dies except Allah substitutes another in his place." Qatada said: "We do not doubt that al-Hasan [al-Basri] is one of them."
Ibn Hibban narrates it in al-Tarikh through Abu Hurayra as: "The earth will never lack forty men similar to Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful, and through whom you are helped, receive your sustenance, and receive rain."
4. Imam Ahmad also narrated in the Musnad (5:322):
The Prophet said: "The Substitutes in this Community are thirty like Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful. Every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another one in his place."
Hakim Tirmidhi cites it in Nawadir al-usul and Ahmad's student al-Khallal in his Karamat al-awliya'. Haythami said its men are those of the sahih except 'Abd al-Wahid who was declared trustworthy by al-'Ijli and Abu Zar`a (as well as Yahya ibn Ma'in).
5. Abu Dawud through three different good chains in his Sunan (English #4273), Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (6:316), Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf, Abu Ya'la, al-Hakim, and Bayhaqi narrated:
Umm Salama the wife of the Prophet said: "Disagreement will occur at the death of a Caliph and a man of the people of Madina will come forth flying to Makkah. Some of the people of Makkah will come to him, bring him out against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner and the Maqam. An expeditionary force will then be sent against him from Syria but will be swallowed up in the desert between Mecca and Madina, and when the people see that, the Substitutes (abdal) of Syria and the best people ('asaba) of Iraq will come to him and swear allegiance to him..."
6. Imam Ahmad cited in Kitab al-zuhd, also Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Abu Nu'aym, Bayhaqi, and Ibn 'Asakir narrated from Julays:
Wahb ibn Munabbih said: I saw the Prophet in my sleep, so I said: "Ya Rasulallah, where are the Substitutes (budala') of your Community?" So he gestured with his hand towards Syria. I said: "Ya Rasulallah, aren't there any in Iraq?" He said: "Yes, Muhammad ibn Wasi', Hassan ibn Abi Sinan, and Malik ibn Dinar, who walks among the people similarly to Abu Dharr in his time."
Nawawi in Bustan al-'arifin (1985 ed. p. 31) mentions that the hadith master Hammad ibn Salama ibn Dinar (d. 167) was considered to be one of the abdal.
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said in his book al-Khayrat al-hisan fi manaqib al-imam Abi Hanifa al-Nu'man, chapter 35:
When Imam al-Shafi'i was in Baghdad, he would visit the grave of Imam Abu Hanifa, give him salam, and then ask Allah for the fulfillment of his need through his means (yatawassal ilallah ta'ala bihi fi qada' hajatihi).
Imam Kawthari mentioned in his Maqalat (p. 412) that the hafiz al-Khatib al-Baghdadi mentions Shafi'i's tawassul through Abu Hanifa in the beginning of his Tarikh Baghdad (1:123) with a good chain.
Haytami also said in many places in his book al-Sawa'iq al-muhriqa li ahl al-dalal wa al-zandaqa (cf. p. 180) and al-Khayrat al-hisan (p. 69): "Imam Shafi'i made tawassul through the Family of the Prophet (Ahl al-Bayt) when he said:
Al al-nabi dhari'ati wa hum ilayhi wasilati
arju bihim u'ta ghadan bi yadi al-yamini sahifati
The Family of the Prophet are my means and my
intermediary to him. Through them I hope to be
given my record with the right hand tomorrow.
This is found in Diwan al-Shafi'i as edited by 'Umar Faruq al-Dabbagh (Beirut: Dar al-arqam, n.d.) p. 50.
∑ The hafiz al-'Iraqi relates with his chain in his Fath al-muta'al: "We narrated that the Imam Ahmad sought blessing from drinking the washing-water of Imam al-Shafi'i's shirt, and Ibn Taymiyya himself also related it."
******[this appears to be an error, s/be Imam Shafi'I sought blessing by the washing-water of Imam Ahmadís shirt.]*******
al-Khatib relates that the hafiz Abu Nu'aym considered it incumbent upon all Muslims to invoke Allah for Abu Hanifa in their prayer due to his preservation of the Prophet's Sunan and fiqh for them. This is explained by the fact that among Abu Hanifa's merits that are exclusively his is his standing as the first in Islam to have compiled a book of fiqh.
al-hafiz Abu 'Ali al-Ghassani relates in Ibn al-Subki's Tabaqat al-shafi'iyya 2:234: Abu al-Fath Nasr ibn al-Hasan al-Sakani al-Samarqandi came to us in 464 and said: "We had a drought in Samarqand some years ago. The people made the istisqa' (prayer for rain) prayer but they did not get rain. A saintly man named al-Salah came to the judge and said to him: I have an opinion I would like to show you. My opinion is that you come out followed by the people and that you all go to the grave of Imam Muhammad ibn Isma'il al-Bukhari and make istisqa' there. Perhaps Allah will give us rain. The judge said: What a good opinion you have. He came out and the people followed him, and he prayed for rain in front of them at the grave while people wept and sought the intercession of the one who was in it. Allah sent such heavy rain that those who were in Khartenk (where this took place, 3 miles away from Samarqand) could not reach Samarqand for seven days because of the rain's abundance."
The late mufti of Lebanon al-Shahid al-Shaykh Hasan Khalid said in his fatwa on tawassul on September 16, 1980 (reprinted in the Waqf Ikhlas offset reprint of Sayyid Ahmad ibn Zayni Dahlan's book Fitnat al-wahhabiyya 1992):
Tawassul was declared permissible in our own time by the mufti of the world, our shaykh the savant Abu al-Yusr 'Abidin. We went with him to Nawa, a place in Hawran wherein is buried the Shaykh Muhyiddin al-Nawawi. When we arrived at his grave, our Shaykh Abu al-Yusr ordered us to ask Allah the Exalted for our need in front of him and said to us: "The du'a (invocation) at his grave is answered."
Ibn al-Jawzi in his biographies of the awliya entitled Sifat al-safwa lists many of those at whose graves tabarruk (seeking blessing) and tawassul is recommended. Among them:
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari: "al-Waqidi said: It has reached us that the Eastern Romans visit his grave and seek rain through his intercession when they suffer from droughts" (1:243). Mujahid said: "People would uncover the space above his grave and it would rain."
Ma'ruf al-Karkhi (d. 200H): "His grave can be seen in Baghdad, and one seeks blessings with it. al-Hafiz Ibrahim al-Harbi (d. 285H) -- Imam Ahmad's companion -- used to say: Ma'ruf's grave is proven medicine" (2:214) Ibn al-Jawzi adds: "We ourselves go to Ibrahim al-Harbi's grave and seek blessings with it" (2:410)
al-hafiz al-Dhahabi also relates Ibrahim al-Harbi's saying about Ma'ruf al-Karkhi: "Ma'ruf's grave is proven medicine." Siyar a'lam al-nubala' (9:343).
Abu al-Hasan al-Daraqutni said: "We used to seek blessings from Abu al-Fath al-Qawasi's grave" (2:471).
Abu al-Qasim al-Wa'iz: "His grave can be seen in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's cemetary and it is sought for blessings." Related in the notice on 'Abd al-Samad ibn 'Umar ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq (2:482).
al-Hafiz Abu al-Qasim Ibn 'Asakir says in Musnad Abi 'Uwana (1:430): "Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Umar al-Saffar said to me that the grave of Abu 'Uwana in Isfarayin [near Naysabur] is a place of visitation for the whole world (mazar al-'alam) and a place for obtaining blessing for the entire creation (mutabarrak al-khalq)."
al-Hafiz Diya' al-Din al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali said in his book al-Hikayat al-manthura (Zahiriyya ms. 98, an autograph) that he heard the hafiz 'Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali say that something like an abcess appeared on his upper arm for which there was found no medicine. He came to Ahmad ibn Hanbal's grave and applied his arm against it, after which he found himself healed. Imam Kawthari said that he read this account in Diya' al-Din's own handwriting. See Maqalat al-Kawthari (Riyadh and Beirut: Dar al-ahnaf, 1414/1993) p. 407, 412.
Imam Shawkani said in his treatise entitled al-Durr al-nadid fi ikhlas kalimat al-tawhid:
There is no harm in tawassul through any one of the Prophets or Friends of Allah or scholars of knowledge... One who comes to the grave as a visitor (za'iran) and invokes Allah alone, using as his means the dead person in the grave, is as one who says: "O Allah, I am asking that you cure me from such-and-such, and I use as a means to You whatever this righteous servant of Yours possesses for worshipping You and striving for Your sake and learning and teaching purely and sincerely for You." Such as this, there is no hesitation in declaring that it is permitted...
Shawkani's denunciation of Wahhabis
He also says in al-Durr al-nadid:
Regarding what those who forbid tawassul to Allah through the Prophets and the saints cite to support their position, such as Allah's sayings:
∑ "We only worship them in order that they may bring us nearer" (39:3)
∑ "Do not call on any other god with Allah, or you will be among those who will be punished" (26:213)
∑ "Say: Call on those besides Him whom ye fancy; they have no power to remove your trouble from you or to change them. Those unto whom they cry seek for themselves the means of approach to their Lord, which of them shall be the nearest; they hope for His mercy and fear His wrath: for the wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of" (17:57)
These verses are irrelevant. Rather: they support exactly the reverse of what the objectors to tawassul claim, since the verses are related to another issue. To wit: the verse "We only worship them in order that they may bring us nearer" explicitly states that they worship them for that purpose, whereas the one who makes tawassul through a scholar, for example, never worships him, but knows that he has a special distinction (maziyya) before Allah for being a carrier of knowledge; and that is why he uses him as a means.
Similarly irrelevant to the issue is Allah's saying: "Do not call on any other god with Allah." This verse forbids that one should call upon another together with Allah, as if saying: "O Allah and O So-and-so." However, the one who makes tawassul through a scholar, for example, never calls upon other than Allah. He only seeks a means to Him through the excellent works that one of His servants achieved, just as the three men in the cave who were blocked by the rock used their good works as a means to have their petition answered.
[Sahih Bukhari, English translation Volume 8, Book 73, Number 5: Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle said, "While three persons were traveling, they were overtaken by rain and they took shelter in a cave in a mountain. A big rock fell from the mountain over the mouth of the cave and blocked it. They said to each other: Think of such righteous deeds which you did for Allah's sake only, and invoke Allah by mentioning those deeds so that Allah may relieve you from your difficulty. One of them said: O Allah! I had my parents who were very old and I had small children for whose sake I used to work as a shepherd. When I returned to them at night and milked the sheep, I used to start giving the milk to my parents first before giving to my children. And one day I went far away in search of a grazing place for my sheep, and didn't return home till late at night and found that my parents had slept. I milked my livestock as usual and brought the milk vessel and stood at their heads, and I disliked to wake them up from their sleep, and I also disliked to give the milk to my children before my parents though my children were crying from hunger at my feet. So this state of mine and theirs continued till the day dawned. O Allah! If you considered that I had done that only for seeking Your pleasure, then please let there be an opening through which we can see the sky. So Allah made for them an opening through which they could see the sky. Then the second person said: O Allah! I had a female cousin whom I loved as much as a passionate man loves a woman. I tried to seduce her but she refused till I paid her one-hundred dinars So I worked hard till I collected one hundred dinars and went to her with that But when I sat in between her legs (to have sexual intercourse with her), she said: O Allah's slave! Be afraid of Allah! Do not deflower me except legally (by marriage contract). So I left her alone. O Allah! If you considered that I had done that only for seeking Your pleasure then please let the rock move a little to have a wider opening. So Allah shifted that rock to make the opening wider for them. And the last person said: O Allah! I employed a laborer for wages equal to a faraq (a certain measure) of rice, and when he had finished his job he demanded his wages, but when I presented his due to him, he gave it up and refused to take it. Then I kept on sowing that rice for him (several times) until I managed to buy, with the price of the yield, some cows and their shepherd. Later on the laborer came to me an said: Be afraid of Allah, and do not be unjust to me an give me my due. I said to him: Go and take those cows and their shepherd. So he took them and went away. If You considered that I had done that for seeking Your pleasure, then please remove the remaining part of the rock. And so Allah delivered them."]
Similarly irrelevant to the issue is Allah's saying: "Those unto whom they cry..." for it refers to people who call upon those who cannot fulfill their request, at the same time not calling upon Allah Who can; whereas one who makes tawassul through a scholar, for example, never called except upon Allah, and none other besides Him.
The above shows the reader that these objectors to tawassul are bringing forth evidence that is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Even more irrelevant is their citing of the verse:
∑ "The Day when no soul shall have power to do anything for another: for the Command, that Day, will be all with Allah." (82:19)
for that noble verse contains nothing more than the fact that Allah alone decides everything on the Day of Judgment, and that none other will have any say at that time. However, the maker of tawassul through one of the Prophets or one of the scholars, never believes that the one through whom he makes tawassul is in partnership with Allah on the Day of Judgment! Whoever believes such a thing in relation to a Prophet or non-Prophet is in manifest error.
Equally irrelevant is their objection to tawassul by citing the verses:
∑ "Not for you is the decision in the least" (3:128)
∑ "Say: I have no power over over good or harm to myself except as Allah wills" (7:188)
for these two verses are explicit in that the Prophet has no say in Allah's decision and that he has no power to benefit or harm himself in the least, let alone someone else: but there is nothing in those two verses to prevent tawassul through him or any other of the Prophets or Friends of Allah or scholars.
Allah has given His Prophet the Exalted Station (al-maqam al-mahmud) -- the station of the Great Intercession (al-shafa'a al-'uzma), and He has instructed creation to ask for that station for him and to request his intercession, and He said to him: "Ask and you shall be granted what you asked! Intercede and you shall be granted what you interceded for!" And in His Book He has made this dependence on the fact that there is no intercession except by His leave, and that none shall possess it except those whom He pleases...
Equally irrelevant is their adducing as proof against tawassul:
∑ "And admonish your nearest kinsmen" (26:214)
whereupon the Prophet said: "O So-and-so son of So-and-so, I do not have any guarantee on your behalf from Allah; and O So-and-so daughter of So-and-so, I do not have any guarantee on your behalf from Allah." For in the preceding there is nothing other than the plain declaration that he cannot benefit anyone for whom Allah has decreed harm, nor harm anyone for whom Allah has decreed benefit, and that he does not have any guarantee from Allah from any of his close relatives, let alone others. This is known to every Muslim. There is nothing in it, however, that prohibits making tawassul to Allah through the Prophet, for tawassul is a request from the One Who holds power to grant and deny all requests. The petitioner who makes tawassul only desires to place, at the front of his petition, what may be a cause for the granting of his petition by the One Who alone gives and withholds, the Owner of the Day of Judgment.