REFLECTIONS

Website: www.ummah.net/islam/reflections

Quarterly: Issue No 38

Rabi-us-Saani 1427

 

www.ummah.net/islam/reflections

 

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WASEELAH (MEDIATION)

 

The correct means of supplication (du’a) to Allah by waseelah are the following:

- Supplicating to Allah by means of Allah’s Beautiful Names,

- Supplication to Allah by means of righteous deeds of the supplicant a

- Supplicating to Allah by means of the personality of a righteous person

 

SUPPLICATING TO ALLAH BY MEANS OF ALLAH’S BEAUTIFUL NAMES (Asmaa-ul-Husnaa):

Once, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saw a man saying in his Tashahhud: ‘I ask You by virtue of the fact that all praise belongs to You, none has the right to be worshiped but You Alone, having no partner. The Great Bestower of all blessings! O Originator of the Heavens and the Earth! O Possessor of Majesty and Honour! O Ever-Living! O Sustainer and Protector of all that exists! Indeed, I ask You for Paradise, and I seek Your Refuge from the Fire.” So the Prophet said to his companions: “Do you know what he has supplicated with?” They said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, he has supplicated to Allah by His Great Names, if He is called upon by them, He responds and if He is asked by it, He gives.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, Nisa’ee and Ahmad)

 

SUPPLICATING TO ALLAH BY MEANS OF ONE’S OWN RIGHTEOUS DEEDS (A’maal-us-Saalihaat):

Tawassul (mediation) by means of righteous deeds is to invoke Allah by mentioning one’s own righteous actions, in which he feared Allah and hoped for His Mercy and reward, while giving precedence to His obedience. Like saying,

Our Lord! We have believed in what You have sent down, and we follow the Messenger; so write us down among those who bear witness (to the truth i.e. none has the right to be worshiped except Allah).” (Qur’an 3:53)

 

SUPPLICATING TO ALLAH BY MEANS OF THE PERSONALITY OF PROPHETS & MESSENGERS:

Contrary to what is believed by some modern scholars, the belief in the use of prophets and messengers as intermediaries (waseelah) does NOT make the believer asking through them a mushrik or a kaafir.  Belief in the mediation (tawassul) of prophets and messengers is part of imaan (faith) and is not kufr (unbelief), and it is permissible not forbidden.  The one who asks using the mediation (tawassul) of these prophets TO ALLAH, in order that his request may be accepted, is a believer and a monotheist (muwahhid), and he is not a polytheist because he is asking ALLAH - not asking the prophets - but asking on behalf of their honour as prophets.  That is why his worship is accepted because he is worshipping ALLAH, not the prophets and saints.

In support of my view, let us see what the Qur’an and Sunnah have to say in this regards.

 

THE QUR’ANIC EVIDENCE:

Among the Qur'anic evidence is the verse in Suratul-Maidah:

O you who believe! Do your duty to Allah and fear Him. Seek the means of approach to Him, and strive hard in His Cause as much as you can so that you may be successful.” (Quran 5:35).   It is well-known from many authentic Hadith reports that the possessor of the title al-waseelah (means of approach) is our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). That is why the majority of scholars have understood from this verse that it is permissible to use the mediation of righteous people and to make them a means between Almighty Allah and ourselves in order that our request be accepted, on the condition that the one using the intermediary (waseelah) knows that the One granting his request is ALLAH, not the intermediary himself.  If he believes otherwise, then he is a kaafir (unbeliever).

We quote the Qur’anic verse from Suratun-Nisaa:

We sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah's Leave. If they (hypocrites), when they had been unjust to themselves, had come to you (Muhammad) and begged Allah's Forgiveness, and the Messenger had begged forgiveness for them: indeed, they would have found Allah All-Forgiving (One Who accepts repentance), Most Merciful. (Qur’an 4:64).

In explaining this verse, Allamah Ibn Kathir - one of the great scholars in Islam – said:  "Allah guides the sinners and neglectful (‘aasiy), if they do something sinful or corrupt, to come to the Prophet, take him as a means (waseelah), and ask forgiveness from Allah, and to ask the Prophet to also request Allah's forgiveness for them.  If they do this, Allah will forgive them, bless them and have mercy on them."  Many other scholars have explained this verse in a similar manner.  We know that the Qur’an is for all centuries, not only for a specific time, as it is Allah's Word (Kalaam). Therefore, all Muslims are under that order of Allah to come to Him through the means of the Prophet (wasilah).  Further, there are numerous other verses of the Qur’an which give a similar meaning, but for now it suffices to mention only these two.

 

EVIDENCES FROM THE HADITH:

Uthman bin Hanif was with the Prophet and a man came to the Prophet and complained about the loss of his sight. The Prophet told him: "If you like, I will supplicate to Allah for you, but if you can be patient, it is better." He said: "O Messenger of Allah, it is very hard on me to have lost my sight, and I have no one to lead me about." So the Prophet ordered him to make ablution and perfect it, pray two raka’aat (of salaah) and then to call upon Allah with this supplication: "O My Lord, I am asking You and turning to You through Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad! I am turning to My Lord, taking you as a means for my request to be granted. O Allah, grant me his intermediation.  And Uthman swore an oath: "By Allah, we did not part company before that person returned to us and his prayer had been granted. It was as if he had never been afflicted with the loss of his sight."  This is an authentic Hadith that has narrated in most books of Hadith, including Muslim, Ibn Khuzaimah, an-Nisa’i, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah.

 

The Prophet was very clear in his order that anyone who has a request should take the Prophet as a means to Allah (waseelah).  That person called on Allah in the absence of the Prophet, i.e. he went out to make his supplication. Here he used the phrase, ‘Ya Muhammad’ addressing the Prophet directly. From this it is clear that we can take the Prophet as a means to Allah in his presence or in his absence, during his lifetime and after his passing away. This is the understanding the Sahabas had of the Prophet's order, because his order to one person is like a general order in all times, unless there is a specific order to the contrary in the Sunnah.

 

EVIDENCE FROM THE PRACTICE OF THE SAHAABA:

A man used to come to Uthman bin Affan, the third caliph after the death of the Prophet, in order to make a request of him. Uthman used to ignore him and would not consider his request. One day, the man met Uthman bin Hanif and complained of this to him. Uthman bin Hanif said to him: "make ablution and go to the masjid and pray two raka’aat and say [the famous supplication that the Prophet had taught the blind man (stated above), ‘O my Lord! I am asking You and turning to You through Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad!  I am turning to My Lord, taking you as a means for my request to be granted. O Allah, grant me his intermediation.’ Then mention your request to Allah.  And then come to me and we will go together to Uthman bin Affan.

That person went and did as he was told, and afterwards passed by the door of Uthman bin Affan. The doorkeeper asked him to come inside to meet with Uthman bin Affan. Uthman bin Affan made him sit beside him on the pillow designated for important visitors.  He asked him: "What is your request?" The man mentioned his request.  It was immediately granted.  Then Uthman bin Affan asked him: "Why didn't you made this request before?" He then added: "Whenever you have a request come to us."   That man left and met Uthman bin Hanif again. He told him: "Thank you, my brother. Uthman bin Affan would not look at me and entirely ignored my request until you spoke to him."  Uthman bin Hanif said: "By Allah! I did not speak with him, but I taught you what the Prophet had taught the blind man."  This is an authentic Hadith classified as rigorously authenticated (sahih) by Bayhaqi and Mundhiri.  Tabarani explicitly states this Hadith in his al-Mu’jam al-Sagheer and Jalaaluddin Suyuti in his al-Khasaa’is al-Kubra.

Here that man invoked the Prophet by calling: "Ya Muhammad!" although he was fully aware that the Prophet had passed away, and the Companions (Sahabas) living at that time did not reject this act.

It is narrated that Umar bin al-Khattab, the second caliph, would pray to Allah for rain during times of drought through the means, the honour and intermediation of the uncle of the Prophet, Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib by using this supplication: "O Our Lord! Previously, when we had a drought, we used to come to You by means and intermediation of Your Messenger. Now we are requesting of You through the intermediation of the uncle of the Prophet to grant us rain."  This Hadith was narrated by Bukhari, Baihaqi and al-Hakim.

From these Ahaadith, we understand that mediation of supplication (tawassul) through the Prophet himself and through righteous people themselves, living or passed away, absent or present, is acceptable.

None of the Sahabas or the Followers (Tabi’een) denies the use of mediation (tawassul) by the Caliph Umar.  That is because the Qur’anic verses we quoted previously from Suratun-Nisaa and Suratul-Maidah gave a general order for all Muslims. Also the Ahaadith we quoted gave a general order to use righteous persons as intermediaries (waseelah) without specifying if the mediation (tawassul) was through their good deeds or through their pious personages.  If mediation (tawassul) by way of the personages of the Prophet and pious people was polytheism and unbelief (shirk and kufr), then the Sahabas would have denied the use of mediation (tawassul) by the Caliph Umar.

 

EVIDENCE FROM ISLAMIC SCHOLARS:

Hafiz Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyah, the student of Ibn Taymiyyah, wrote in his book Za'd al Ma'ad, "there is no way to happiness and success in this life and the Hereafter except through the prophets. You cannot receive Allah’s satisfaction except through their hands (waseelah)."  And he continued, "It is known that the means (waseelah) to happiness and success in this life and the Hereafter is through the personages of the prophets and messengers themselves (bi dhawaatihim)."

He adds, "Mediation (tawassul) through the prophets causes requests to be granted. And the granting of requests is by God." He continues, "Through mediation (tawassul) we receive blessings [ni'mat] from God. And the means to those blessings is itself a blessing from God. And no doubt the personage of the prophets and messengers is among the greatest of His blessings." That is why it is permissible to say that the personages of the prophets are themselves intermediaries (waseelah) to God.

He continues in the same book: "It must be known that the biggest blessing and the greatest goodness and the greatest favour from Allah is the very existence of the personage of Prophet Muhammad, because he is the greatest prophet, the mercy for all human beings, the seal of the prophets and the intercessor of sinners.  And Allah has mentioned about the honour (shaan) of the Prophet that Allah granted favours to the believers by sending Prophet Muhammad from among themselves."  He therefore concludes: "It is confirmed that Prophet Muhammad is al-waseelat-ul-udhmaa fid dunya wal-aakhirah - the greatest means and intermediary to Allah in this life and the Hereafter.  And happiness and success will never be obtained except through him."

To summarize we must admit that it is permissible to ask Allah by means of the Prophet and his mediation (tawassul) during his lifetime as well as after his death on the condition that the person using the intermediary (waseelah) knows that the One granting his request is ALLAH, not the intermediary himself.

We ask Allah Almighty to protect us from slipping into kufr (unbelief) and shirk (polytheism) and to guide us to the right path of Truth.  Ameen!

 

JANNAH - NOT PRICE FOR GOOD DEEDS

Paradise is something of immense value; a person cannot earn it by virtue of his deeds alone - Muslim reported from Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

"None of you will enter Paradise by his deeds alone." They asked:  "Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "Not even me, unless Allah covers me with His Grace and Mercy" [Saheeh Muslim, 4/2170, no. 2816]

The fact that some texts indicate that Paradise is the equivalent reward for deeds seem to be problematic, for example:  "No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as reward for they used to do." (Qur’an 32:17).  

However, there is no conflict between these Qura’nic verses and the meaning of the Hadith. The verses indicate that good deeds will be a reason, not the price, for admission to Paradise. The Hadith say that good deeds are not the price.

The commentator on at-Tahhaawiyyah said: "As for the ideas that recompense results directly from one's deeds, the Jabariyyah and the Qadariyyah are both misled, and Allah has guided the Ahlus-Sunnah.  The ‘ba’ of negation (nafiy) is not like the ‘ba’ used for affirmation.  The negation in the Hadith: "No one will enter Paradise by virtue of his deeds" (bi a’maalihi) is the ‘ba’ of substitution or exchange, as if good deeds were not the price of a man’s admission to Jannah. This is like the false Mu’tazilite claim that good deeds will give a person the right to enter Jannah, whereas the truth is that admission to Jannah is by the Grace and Mercy of Allah.  The ‘bi’ in the ayah "a reward for what they used to do [jazaa'an bi maa kanoo ya'maloon]" (Qur’an 32:17) is known in Arabic grammar as the ‘bi’ of causation i.e. because of their deeds.  But Allah is the Creator of Cause and Effect, so everything is referred back to His Grace and Mercy". (Sharh at-Tahhaawiyyah).

 

Paradise is something of immense value; a person cannot earn it by virtue of his deeds alone - Muslim reported from Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

"None of you will enter Paradise by his deeds alone." They asked:  "Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "Not even me, unless Allah covers me with His Grace and Mercy" [Saheeh Muslim, 4/2170, no. 2816]

The fact that some texts indicate that Paradise is the equivalent reward for deeds seem to be problematic, for example:  "No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as reward for they used to do." (Qur’an 32:17).  

However, there is no conflict between these Qura’nic verses and the meaning of the Hadith. The verses indicate that good deeds will be a reason, not the price, for admission to Paradise. The Hadith say that good deeds are not the price.

The commentator on at-Tahhaawiyyah said: "As for the ideas that recompense results directly from one's deeds, the Jabariyyah and the Qadariyyah are both misled, and Allah has guided the Ahlus-Sunnah.  The ‘ba’ of negation (nafiy) is not like the ‘ba’ used for affirmation.  The negation in the Hadith: "No one will enter Paradise by virtue of his deeds" (bi a’maalihi) is the ‘ba’ of substitution or exchange, as if good deeds were not the price of a man’s admission to Jannah. This is like the false Mu’tazilite claim that good deeds will give a person the right to enter Jannah, whereas the truth is that admission to Jannah is by the Grace and Mercy of Allah.  The ‘bi’ in the ayah "a reward for what they used to do [jazaa'an bi maa kanoo ya'maloon]" (Qur’an 32:17) is known in Arabic grammar as the ‘bi’ of causation i.e. because of their deeds.  But Allah is the Creator of Cause and Effect, so everything is referred back to His Grace and Mercy". (Sharh at-Tahhaawiyyah).

  

O Allah!  We are all dependent upon Your Mercy.   Enshroud us all with Your Mercy (Rahmah) and grant us all forgiveness (Maghfirah) of the evils we have committed.  

Your forgiveness (Maghfirah) is far wider (comprehensive, greater) than our sins, and we rely on Your Mercy more than on our deeds.  So be merciful to us.  O our Most Merciful Allah! 

Ameen!

 

Requesting your humble du'aas!

 

I request your humble du'aas.

Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir

Umhlanga Rocks, KZN

South Africa