Intercession – Tawassul

Intercession – Tawassul

Intercession – Tawassul

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 said that He is near and answers whoever calls Him directly?

What about the statement in al-Wala’ wal-Bara’ according to the `Aqeedah of the Salaf whereby among the “ten actions that negate Islam” is “relying on an intermediary between oneself and Allah when seeking intercession”?

What about those who compare tawassul and asking intercession to the Christian worship of Jesus and the saints, those who reject tabarruk bi al-athar — getting blessings from the Prophet’s relics — as being outside Islam, and those who put limitations on invoking salawat — blessings and peace — on the Prophet?

And what about Albani’s claims that tawassul is not through the person of the Prophet even after his time, but through his du`a and only in his lifetime?

Table of Content

Introduction

The Proofs for Intercession (Shafa`a) in Islam

What is the meaning of Intercession?

Proof-texts of intercession in the Qur’an and Hadith

  1. Linguistic definitions
  2. Statement of the Doctrine of Intercession in Islam and the Obligations of Belief Therein
  3. Proofs of intercession and mediation in the Qur’an
  4. Proofs of intercession/mediation in the Hadith
  5. Overview of the events of the Last Day at the stage of intercession

Seeking means (tawassul) through the Prophet

Tawassul through the Awliya’

Intermediaries to Allah are integral to true belief

Fatwa of Mustafa ibn Ahmad al-Hasan al-Shatti al-Hanbali al-Athari al-Dimashqi (1856-1929 C.E)

Repudation of those who compare asking intercession to the Christian worship of Jesus and the saints

Darud Taj: Invocation of blessing upon the Prophet known as “Invocation of the Crown”

Other Invocations of blessings and Peace Upon the Prophet

Answers to those who reject getting blessings from the Prophet’s relics (Tabarruk bi al-athar) as being outside Islam

  1. Basics
  2. The Companions’ Seeking of Blessings With the Prophet’s Person and His Relics
    1. Tabarruk with the Prophet’s hair and nails
    2. Tabarruk with the Prophet’s sweat
    3. Tabarruk with the Prophet’s saliva and ablution water
    4. Tabarruk with the Prophet’s cup
    5. Tabarruk with the Prophet’s minbar
    6. Tabarruk with money the Prophet gave away
    7. Tabarruk with the Prophet’ s staffs
    8. Tabarruk with the Prophet’s shirt
    9. Tabarruk with the Prophet’s musallas or places of prayer
    10. Tabarruk with the Prophet’s grave
    11. Tabarruk with the Prophet’s jubba (robe or cloak)
    12. Tabarruk with spots and people the Prophet had touched
    13. Tabarruk with the soil and vegetation of Madina
    14. Tabarruk with his Holy Hand and Feet
    15. Tabarruk From His Blessed Skin
    16. Tabarruk with places the Prophet visited
    17. The Prophet’s sandals

Introduction

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 a means of intercession before Allah for their doer.

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 whereby 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 times except for 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 with Allah’s greatest mercy, dislike for the Prophet, pride, 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, and 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?

THE PROOFS FOR INTERCESSION (SHAFA`A) IN ISLAM

In Islam every action of a believer is an intercessor, and the Prophet 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. According to Shari`a even the involuntary 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 Thawbiyya 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 he 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.

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