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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reality of Intermediation>>Different views about intermediation (توسل)-PART2

Different views about
intermediation (توسل)

There is complete agreement
on some aspects of
intermediation while a fractious
climate of opinion marks its
other aspects.
The Muslim scholars agree that
virtuous deeds like prayer,
fasting, pilgrimage to Makkah,
zakat and recitation of the
holy Qur’ān can serve as
legitimate means of
intermediation. There are, of
course, some people who deny
intermediation without action
(passive intermediation) i.e.
through prophets, righteous
ones, saints and relics, though
the Muslim scholars have
affirmed the possibility of
intermediation through these

These differences have
been eloquently highlighted by
Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī:
“The conflicting view relates to
intermediation without action
(passive intermediation), i.e.
when individuals and
personalities are taken as
means, for example, to say, “O
God, I take Your Prophet
Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه
وآله وسلم ) as an
intermediary to You,” or “I
take Abū Bakr as-Siddīq or
‘Umar bin al-Khattāb or
‘Uthmān or ‘Alī as
intermediaries to You.”

scholars treat it as forbidden. I
believe that this difference is
only superficial because in
intermediation through an
individual, the intermediary
powers are vested in that
individual on the basis of his
deeds and intermediation
through action is unanimously
acceptable. People who deny
intermediation have adopted a
stubborn posture. If they had
cared to look at the problem
perceptibly, it would have
cleared up, the doubts would
have vanished and the conflict
would have resolved which has
led them to hurl unsavoury
allegations against the Muslims.
Intermediation without action is
actually attributed to the
intermediary and he has
acquired this status on the
basis of his actions. A man
tends to choose someone as
his intermediary because he
loves him and reposes
unqualified trust in his spiritual
superiority as a consequence
of this love, or he believes the
intermediary is loved by Allah
As He says:
(Allah) loves them and they
love Him.[3]
[3]. Qur’ān (al-Mā’idah) 5:54.

Or he believes that all these
qualities are found in the
intermediary. If you reflect on
it, you are bound to find this
matrix of love. And this belief
is the action of the
intermediary because belief is a
form of action, which grips his
heart. The intermediatee seems
to say:
“O, my Lord! Undoubtedly, I
love such and such person and
I truly believe that he also
loves You, he is Your loyal
servant and he wages jihad
for Your sake, and I believe
You love him too, and You are
pleased with him, and I offer
him as an intermediary on
account of my love for him,
and I believe You will grant my

“But there are a number of
religious scholars
(intermediationists) who limit its
scope to the One Whose
knowledge spans the secrets
of the heavens and the earth
and Who can detect the
waywardness of the eyes and
penetrate the secrets of the
hearts. A person who says, “I
take the Prophet ( صلى الله
عليه وآله وسلم ) as my
intermediary,” and the other
who says, “I take the Prophet
( صلى الله عليه وآله
وسلم) as my intermediary
because I love him,” are both
on the same footing because
he has chosen the first source
of intermediation on the basis
of his trust in the Prophet
( صلى الله عليه وآله
وسلم) and his love for him. If
the prayee had not loved and
trusted the Prophet (صلى
الله عليه وآله وسلم ), he
would not have chosen him as
his intermediary. The same
applies to the saints and the
holy personages.
“This discussion lifts the haze
off of the concept of
intermediation. It clearly shows
that the difference is only
superficial and does in no way
insinuate that the prayees
(intermediatees) should be
maligned as non-believers and
chucked out of the fold of
Islam. It is a moral stigma.”[4]
[4]. Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-
Mālikī, Mafāhīm yajib an
tusahhah, (pp.117-8).

Islamic Concept of Intermediation - Tawassul > Reality of Intermediation

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