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Tawassul Of Dead: Does It Invalidate Aqeedah Of Tawheed?


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Introduction:

- Tawassul bil amwat (i.e. intermediation of dead) is of three types. 1) Asking a dead to make dua to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) on your behalf. 2) Asking the dead directly to aid you in time of difficulty bi'iznillahi ta'ala. 3) Invoking Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) with mentioning the word bi'haqqi (i.e. right) and then name of Prophet or a Wali'ullah (i.e. bi'haqqi nabiyyi Muhammed, with right of Prophet Muhammed – sallalahu alayhi was'salam).

Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammats belief is that these three forms of tawassul are permissible and do not invalidate a Muslims belief in Tawheed of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala). In Wahhabi-Khariji sect anyone who practices tawassul bil amwat such a individual is Mushrik. In less technical term it means a Kaffir who associates with Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) a partner absolute, a god, a deity.

Seriousness Of Takfir & Its Dangers.

- Anyone who accuses the majority group: ”... seventy-two of them will go to Hell and one of them will go to Paradise, and it is the majority group (Jama'ah).”[1] the 'Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat' of Shirk has indirectly made takzeeb of beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayahi was'salam). For he has stated about the Muslims: “By Allah! I am not afraid that after me you will worship others besides Allah, but I am afraid that you will start competing for (the pleasures of) this world."[2] in another narration: “... by Allah, I am not afraid concerning you that you would associate anything (with Allah after me) ...”[3] From this it becomes clear that 'Sawad Al Azam' the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat will not be guilty of of worshiping others beside Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) nor they would attribute absolute partners with Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) in any aspect of Tawheed.

Takfir of Muslimeen is serious because Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) has stated that if a believer calls another believer a kaffir one of them is kaffir: "If a man says to his brother, O Kafir (disbeliever)!' Then surely one of them is such (i.e., a Kifir).”[4] Servant has established that Ummah as whole will not be guilty of 'Shirk Al Akbar' nor will the majority group be guilty of Shirk because Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) revealed they will be people of paradise. Therefore the one who makes Takfir of the majority of Muslims has apostatized from deen of Islam, and its essential that they repent. So 'O Wahhabi-Khariji's!' do not ruin your Islam and not be of those about whom Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) stated:

Surah Aa'li Imran (3) Verse 86: “How shall Allah Guide those who reject Faith after they accepted it and bore witness that the Messenger was true and that Clear Signs had come unto them? but Allah guides not a people unjust.”

Surah Aa'li Imran (3) Verse 90: “But those who reject Faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of Faith,- never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have (of set purpose) gone astray.”

Surah At'Tawbah (9) Verse 66: “Make ye no excuses: ye have rejected Faith after ye had accepted it. If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you, for that they are in sin.”

Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) bore witness that Ummah as whole will not commit Shirk Al Akbar by associating others with Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) nor will his Ummah worship others beside Allah (subhana wa ta'ala). Hence one who makes Takfir of a Muslim has disbelieved in Messenger of Allah (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) which is kuffr. Such a person is dhalim, Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) will not guide the dhalimeen nor will their repentance be accepted because they have gone astray – into kuffr, nor will Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) accept their excuses.

Way Forward.

Its understood that this exhortation in the previous part alone may not be sufficient enough for Wahhabi-Khariji's to hold their tongues from branding Muslims as Mushrikeen, grave-worshipers, kaffirs. Therefore servant will establish with Quranic proofs validity of this practice, and this will insha'allah ta'ala ul aziz satisfy the Wahhabi-Khariji demand of proof[5] and prevent them from making unjustified takfir of Muslims. Insha'allah it will help them to come to understanding that Tawassul Bil Amwat is issue of fiqh when no aspect of Tawheed is negated and is an issue of Fiqh. Therefore if there was no evidence for the validity of this practice it would be at worst a reprehensible innovation and not 'Shirk Al Akbar'.

Evidence Of Tawassul Bil Amwat.

Part Two - Surah Al Baqarah (2) Verse 89:

- Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) states about Jews:

Surah Al Baqarah (2) Verse 89: “And when there comes to them a Book from Allah, confirming what is with them,- although from of old they had prayed for victory against those without Faith,- when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognized, they refuse to believe in it but the curse of Allah is on those without Faith.”

The verse of Quran is little vague hence commentaries to clarify the subject of verse:

Tafsir Al Jalalayn: When there came to them a Book from God, confirming what was with them, in the Torah, that is the Qur’ān — and they formerly, before it came, prayed for victory, for assistance, over the disbelievers, saying: ‘God, give us assistance against them through the Prophet that shall be sent at the end of time’; but when there came to them what they recognized, as the truth, that is, the mission of the Prophet, they disbelieved in it, out of envy and for fear of losing leadership (the response to the first lammā particle is indicated by the response to the second one); and the curse of God is on the disbelievers.

Tafsir Ibn Abbas: (“And when there cometh unto them a Scripture from Allah, confirming that in their possession”) which accords with that which is in their possession (“though before that”) before Muhammad (“they were asking for a signal triumph”) through Muhammad and the Qur'an (“over those who disbelieved”) of their enemies: the tribes of Asad, Ghatafan, Muzaynah, and Juhaynah (“and when there cometh unto them that which they knew”) of his traits and description in their Book (they disbelieved therein) they denied it was him. (“The curse of Allah”) His wrath and torment (“is on disbelievers”) the Jews.

Neither of the two quoted commentaries make it clear that the dua made by the Jews to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) was for the war at hand or victory via Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) when he is born. The two commentaries can be interpreted to mean that the Jews seek-ed victory via Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) when he is born, or it can mean that they made dua to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) seeking victory over tribes of Asad, Ghatafan, Muzaynah, Juhaynah in upcoming war.

The ambiguity is explained in a detailed Tafsir:

Tafsir Asbab Un Nuzul: (“…though before that they were asking for a signal triumph over those who disbelieved…”) [2:89]. Said Ibn 'Abbas: “The Jews of Khaybar were at war with Ghatafan, and whenever the two parties used to meet, Khaybar ended up in defeat. For this reason they devised the following supplication: 'O Allah! We beseech You by the truth of the unlettered Prophet whom You promised to send forth to us at the end of time to give us victory over them'. And so whenever they said this supplication, Ghatafan was defeated. But when the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, was sent forth, they disbelieved in him. It is due to this that Allah, exalted is He, revealed ...” [by: Al Wahidi]

From this it becomes clear that there were two victories in mind of Jews when they made dua to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) for victory. One, immediate victory in the upcoming war and two complete victory over the Mushrikeen which would be achieved with Prophet's (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) advent.

- Having said that one question will be raised: How does the above dua of Jews be evidence for 'Tawassul Bil Amwat'? To answer that question I need to refer to another verse, and for you to understand it you need to keep the above in mind.

Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) states that when people will be raised on the day of judgment they will say:

Surah Al Momin (40) Verse 11: “They will say: "Our Lord! Twice hast Thou made us without life, and twice hast Thou given us Life! Now have we recognized our sins: Is there any way out (of this)?"

This verse has been explained by another verse:

Surah Al Baqarah (2) Verse 28: “How can you disbelieve in Allah Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life and then unto Him you will return.''

According to Quran the period before our birth is our state of death, then Allah (subhana ta'ala) gave us life (i.e. our birth), then he caused us to die, and then we will be resurrected again, there we have two deaths, and two lives. And Yahood made tawassul of Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) mentioned in Quran before his birth, therefore period before his birth is state of his death. Therefore Tawassul (i.e. Bil Amwat) of Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) with words: 'O Allah subhana wa ta'ala We beseech you by the truth of the beloved Prophet Muhammed (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) whom you have sent as khatimun nabiyeen wa rusul give us victory over the Khariji-Wahhabi.' would be absolutely substantiated.

Part One – A: Surah An'Nisa Verse 64:

Ambiyah (alayhis salatu was'salam) are alive in their graves. RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) is alive in his grave and hears those who visit his resting place and recite salawat upon him. When life of the dead is restored the hearing of the deceased is restored as well. In one hadith of Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) stated: "When a human being is laid in his grave and his companions return and he even hears their foot steps, ...”[6] in another Hadith about a particular group of dead Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) stated: "By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad's (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) soul is, you do not hear, what I say better than they do!"[7] and this was possible because Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) restored their life: "Allah brought them to life (again) to let them hear him, …" this proves that life of general public in grave is life of hearing, seeing, and for Shuhadah (i.e. martyrs) its also of eating. By default the rank of Ambiyah (alayhis salatu was'salam) is higher therefore their constant life in the in hereafter consists of hearing, seeing, eating, praying, etc …

Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) states in the Quran:

Suran An'Nisa (4) Verse 64: “We sent not an apostle, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah. 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.”

Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) states when they the sinners, the munafiqeen, had been unjust to them self’s, they should have come to you O Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) and then asked forgiveness from Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) as well as if you had seek-ed forgiveness for them, then Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) would have been forgiving, and merciful. Note the ayaat of Quran is in Mutliq (i.e. general) and not Muqayyid (i.e. specific) meaning when should the sinners come to him in his life time or when he moves into the heavenly resting place. Hence Allah's (subhana wa ta'ala) recommendation is for all times, during the life of Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) and after he departs this world for heavenly abode. Therefore if a believer was to visit the blessed Prophet's (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) grave and was to invoke Allah (subhana wa ta'ala), and then ask Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) to invoke Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) on his behalf, Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) will grant what is asked in the dua.

A quick summarisation of discussion, Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) has passed away, yet he is alive in his heavenly resting place, able to hear, see, perform prayers etc … Anyone visits his heavenly resting place and asks him to invoke Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) on his behalf, the request of dua to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) is heard by him. This proves two forms of disputed tawassul, asking the deceased to make dua to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) on your half, and secondly the deceased is making the dua on to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) on your behalf this is proof of the dead directly helping you.

Part One – B: Mufassireen Who Supported The Interpretation:

The mufassireen have supported the above interpretation with narrations which they have recorded in their Tafasirs. Importantly these narrations were mentioned in Tafasirs by Imams of Ahle Sunnat because these narrations supported their belief in 'Tawassul Bil Amwat'.

Imam Qurtbi (rahimullah alayhi ta'ala) narrates in his Tafsir:

“Narrated Abu Sadiq from Ali: "After three days of burying the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) a Bedouin came and did threw himself on the grave of the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam), took the dust and threw it on his head. He said: "Ya RasoolAllah! (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) You did speak and we did hear, you learned from Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) and we did learn from you. Between those things which Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) did send you, is following: “And if they had come to you, when they had wronged their souls, ...” I am the one, which is a sinner and now I did came to you, so that you may ask for me." After that a call from the grave did came: "There’s no doubt, you are forgiven!" [Ref Arabic: Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Chapter 4 Verse 64]

Ibn Kathir narrates a more detailed tradition of Bedouin in his Tafsir:

“Seikh Abu Mansur al-Sabbagh narrates from Utbi in his book.[8] He states once he was sitting near the Prophet’s grave a Bedouin came and he said: 'Peace be on you, O Allah’s Messenger.' I have heard Quran Al Kareems verse: “Wa lau an'nahum izlamu ...” (i.e. “And if they had come to you, when they had wronged their souls, and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger also had asked forgiveness for them, they would have surely found Allah the Giver of repentance, extremely Merciful.”) I have come in your presence, asking forgiveness for my sins and I make you as my intermediary before my Lord and I have come to you for this purpose.” Then he recited these verses: “O, the most exalted among the buried people who improved the worth of the plains and the hillocks! May I sacrifice my life for this grave which is made radiant by you ( O Prophet!) the one who is (an embodiment) of mercy and forgiveness.” Then the Bedouin went away and I fell asleep. In my dream I saw the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'salam). He said to me: O ‘Utbi, the Bedouin is right, go and give him the good news that Allah has forgiven his sins.” [Ref Urdu:Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol 1, Page 727]

The content of these two narrations makes it clear that intermediation of the deceased is permissible even when the deceased is directly asked to help or asked to invoke Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) for forgiveness of sinner or asked to invoke Allah (subhna wa ta'ala) for something else.

Heretical Wahabiya might argue the Sanad of these narration is weak, therefore to act of 'Tawassul Bil Amwat' is not substantiated, which is altogether a different subject. In this article servant is only attempting to prove that 'Tawassul Bil Amwat' of disputed type is not 'Shirk Al Akbar', not worship of the dead, grave worshiping, etc. It should be noted that a Mufassir can come to a understanding of verse according to his knowledge then quote a suitable hadith to support his position. Even if the hadith quoted hadith is weak this might weaken his interpretation of verse but it can not repeal his aqeedah unless he has mentioned his rejection of it explicitly. Therefore if the belief of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat was heretical innovation or Shirk then these Imams as well as countless others would not have believed in 'Tawassul Bil Amwat', and there was no chance of them establishing this belief of 'Tawassul Bil Amwat' in their commentaries.

Conclusion:

'Tawassul Bil Amwat' asking Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) with the tawassul, wassail of Prophet Muhammed (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) , as well as asking directly to Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) has been established with evidences from Quran hence it is not Shirk and it does not invalidate Aqeedah of Tawheed of a Muslim. Aded bonus references of classical Ulamah of Ahle Sunnat have been added to supplement the position of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat.

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.

Muhammed Ali Razvi

Foot Notes:

- [1] Sunan Abu Dawood, Book 40, Hadith 4580: “... 'Beware! The People of the Book before (you) were split up into 72 sects, and this community will be split up into 73, seventy-two of them will go to Hell and one of them will go to Paradise, and it is the majority group (Jama'ah).”
- [2] Sahih Bukhari, Book 76, Number 434
- [3] Sahih Muslim, Book 030, Number 5688
- [4] Sahih Bukhari, Book 73, Hadith 125
- [5] Note, In Wahhabi-Khariji methodology if there is proof for a practice which they deem as 'Shirk Al Akbar' then its not 'Shirk Al Akbar'. Where as in reality if a practice was 'Shirk Al Akbar' with or without evidence it will remain 'Shirk Al Akbar'. Let me explain, belief that Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) has a son is 'Shirk Al Akbar', and if Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) had taken a son from out of what He created [Ref: 39:4] this belief would have been 'Shirk Al Akbar' even then. With difference that then in Allah's (subhana wa ta'ala) religion of Islam 'Shirk Al Akbar' would have been valid belief as is in the case of man-made Christianity, and was for Mushrikeen of Makkah who attributed to Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) daughters. Similarly if tawassul bil amwat was 'Shirk Al Akhbar', it would have be 'Shirk Al Akbar' with or without evidence, and if it was 'Shirk Al Akbar' and had evidence then 'Shirk Al Akbar' wouldnt have been reprehensible. Therefore this logic of Wahhabi-Khariji's is absolute none-sense, evidence or no evidence 'Shirk Al Akbar' will remain 'Shirk Al Akbar' in all cases, in all times, from beginning of creation till the end universe thereafter.
- [6] “The Prophet (saws) said, "When a human being is laid in his grave and his companions return and he even hears their foot steps, two Angels come to him and make him sit and ask him: 'What did you use to say about this man, Muhammad (saws)?' He will say: 'I testify that he is Allah's slave and His Messenger.' ...” [Ref: Sahih Al Bukhari, Book 23, Hadith 456]
- [7] Sahih Al Bukhari, Book 59, Hadith 314: “... When he halted at the edge of the well, he addressed the corpses of the Quraish infidels by their names and their fathers' names, "O so-and-so, son of so-and-so and O so-and-so, son of so-and-so! Would it have pleased you if you had obeyed Allah and His Messenger? We have found true what our Lord promised us. Have you too found true what your Lord promised you” Hadrat 'Umar (r.a.) asked "O Allah's Messenger (saws)! You are speaking to bodies that have no souls!" Allah's Messenger (saws) replied "By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad's (saws) soul is, you do not hear, what I say better than they do!" … "Allah brought them to life (again) to let them hear him, to reprimand them, and slight them, and take revenge over them, and caused them to feel remorseful and regretful."
- [8] Al-Shamil AlHikayat Al Mashhura.

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