Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Question: What do you think of the following claim: Tawassul in Arabic means seeking to draw close. Allaah says in the Qur'aan (interpretation of the meaning): "…[they] desire means of access to their Lord…" [al-Isra' 17:57], i.e., means of drawing close to Him.

Answer: Tawassul does not mean to seeking to draw close, it means "taking a means". Tawassul and intercession are part of the same thing in the sense that seeking intercession is a form of tawassul. Seeking intercession is allowed, as it was narrated by Al-Bukhaariy that people will come to Prophet Muhammad on the Day of Judgement to ask him for intercession.

Question: What do you think of the following claim: Tawassul that is bid'ah and therefore forbidden: One example of this is trying to draw close to Allaah by calling on the dead or people who are absent, asking them for help, and so on.

Answer: Merely calling someone for help is not shirk unless one believes that this person can help without Allah willing it, or that this person has the power to actually affect events (i.e. creative powers), or it is done in worship to that person.
Merely calling absent people as a means for drawing close to Allah is something we do every day in prayer. "Assalaamu ^alayka yaa 'Ayyuha-n-Nabiyy..." This means that calling an absent persons name in worship to Allah only is not shirk.
We have also already established that calling an intercessor to request his intercession is allowed.
What the above claim entails is that doing this in the intercessors absence is blasphemy; that absence causes it to become blasphemy.
According to this, if you requested intercession from a person present with you, you are doing something permitted, but if he is not with you, you have commtted shirk. This is a claim without a proof. There is no proof anywhere that absence makes any difference, because this does not turn the request into worship of other than Allah.

Al-Bukhaariy narrated in his Adab Al-Mufrad that Ibn ^Umar said "O Muhammad" when his leg was numb/paralyzed and it immediately became healthy.

Ibn Kathiir narrated in his world history book that the battlecry of the Muslims when fighting Musaylamah was "Waa Muhammadaah!" which is a cry for help from the Prophet.

There are numerous examples like the above. They are merely forms of requesting intercession. To deny seeking intercession is to rejuvenate the school of the Mu^tazilah.
The secret behind seeking intercession is that a single request from Prophet Muhammad is much more valuable than a lifetime of supplications for a regular Muslim. This is why one seeks intercession. It is one of the causes that Allah has created for getting what one wants, just like medicine cause health for the sick by His Will. 
The wisdom in it being prescribed to request intercession from an intercessor, even in his absence, is that non-Companions get to still benefit from the ability to request it from the intercessor. This builds a stronger personal relationship and love to the intercessor, and loving the Prophet is a religious requirement.