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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reality of Intermediation>>True sense of the concept of intermediation (توسل)-PART3

True sense of the concept
of intermediation (توسل)

Some people are reluctant to
pray through the mediation of
the holy Prophet ( صلى الله
عليه وآله وسلم ) on
account of lack of knowledge.
They think that praying
through mediation is
incompatible with praying
directly to Allah. This attitude
is grounded in a
misunderstanding of the
Qur’ānic verses, which enjoin
upon the believers to pray
directly to Allah and to eschew
associating partners with Him.

As a result of misinterpretation
they believe that to approach
Allah through an intermediary
amounts to a denial of divine
unity. This conception is based
on ignorance and
misunderstanding and we should
try to correct it. To approach
Allah while praying, through a
prophet or a messenger, a
holy person or a pious deed, is
neither a denial of the oneness
of Allah nor is it inconsistent
with an unmediated appeal to

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  1. In spite of the intermediation,
    we pray to Allah directly and
    not to the intermediary. One
    commits the act of denying
    Allah only when he, in
    opposition to Him, regards
    someone else as the arbitrator
    of profit and loss, as the
    absolute power and as the
    granter of prayers. But the
    situation here does not
    warrant any such development.
    The prayer is submitted only
    to Allah, and while appealing to
    Him to grant these needs and
    desires, the mediation of the
    holy Prophet ( صلى الله
    عليه وآله وسلم ), a saintly
    person or a pious deed is cited
    because they enjoy Allah’s love
    and favour and, therefore, He
    has greater regard for them
    than for other creatures. So
    such form of intermediation not
    only makes the words of
    prayer more effective but also
    raises its chances of
    acceptance by Allah. Now his
    prayer is not a simple prayer,
    it is rather a blend of his
    request and divine love. The
    urgency of his need combines
    with Allah’s magnanimity and
    acquires a holier complexion. It
    should be noted that the
    grant of prayers is not
    contingent on mediation but it
    definitely expedites their
    fulfilment. The holy Prophet
    ( صلى الله عليه وآله
    وسلم) himself instructed his
    companions to pray through his
    mediation as we come to know
    through a tradition narrated
    by ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf that
    the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه
    وآله وسلم ) taught a blind
    man to pray:
    O Allah, I appeal to You, and
    submit to You through the
    mediation of the merciful
    Prophet Muhammad. O
    Muhammad, through your
    mediation I submit myself to my
    Lord to have my need granted.
    O Allah, acknowledge his
    intercession in my favour.[5]

    [ [5]. Ibn Mājah transmitted it in
    his Sunan, b. of iqāmat-us-salāt
    was-sunnah fīhā (establishing
    prayer and its sunnahs), ch.189
    (1:441#1385) and declared it
    sahīh (sound); Tirmidhī in al-
    Jāmi‘-us-sahīh, b. of da‘awāt
    (supplications), ch.119
    (5:569#3578) and graded it
    hasan (fair) sahīh (sound)
    gharīb (unfamiliar or rare);
    Ahmad bin Hambal in his
    Musnad (4:138); and Hākim in
    al-Mustadrak (1:313,519,526-7)
    and Dhahabī also declared it
    sahīh (sound). Bukhārī
    narrated it in at-Tārīkh-ul-
    kabīr (6:209-10); Nasā’ī, ‘Amal-
    ul-yawm wal-laylah
    (pp.417-8#658-60); Ibn
    Khuzaymah, as-Sahīh
    (2:225-6#1219); Bayhaqī, Dalā’il-
    un-nubuwwah (6:166-7); Ibn-us-
    Sunnī, ‘Amal-ul-yawm wal-laylah
    (p.202#622); Subkī, Shifā’-us-
    siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām
    (pp.123,125); Nawawī, al-Adhkār
    (p.83); Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāyah
    wan-nihāyah (4:558-9); Ibn-ul-
    Athīr, Asad-ul-ghābah (3:571);
    Mundhirī, at-Targhīb wat-
    tarhīb (1:473-4); Yūsuf Mizzī,
    Tuhfat-ul-ashrāf bi-ma‘rifat-il-
    atrāf (7:236#9760); Suyūtī,
    Khasā’is-ul-kubrā (2:201);
    Qastallānī, al-Mawāhib-ul-
    laduniyyah (4:594); Zurqānī in
    his Commentary (12:221-2); Ibn
    Hajar Haythamī, al-Jawhar-ul-
    munazzam (p.61); and Shawkānī
    in Tuhfat-udh-dhākirīn

    ‘Umar used to pray for rain
    through the mediation of the
    Prophet’s uncle ‘Abbās as is
    attributed to Anas.[6]

    [6]. Bukhārī narrated it in his
    as-Sahīh, b. of istisqā’ (to
    invoke Allah for rain at the
    time of drought) ch.3
    (1:342-3#964), and b. of fadā’il-
    us-sahābah (the virtues of the
    Companions) ch.11
    (3:1360#3507); Ibn Hibbān, as-
    Sahīh (7:110-1#2861); Ibn
    Khuzaymah, as-Sahīh
    (2:337-8#1421); Hākim, al-
    Mustadrak (3:334); Ibn ‘Abd-ul-
    Barr, al-Istī‘āb fī ma‘rifat-il-
    ashāb (3:97); Bayhaqī in as-
    Sunan-ul-kubrā (3:352) and
    Dalā’il-un-nubuwwah (6:147);
    Baghawī, Sharh-us-sunnah
    (4:409#1165); Nawawī, al-
    Adhkār (p.80); Subkī, Shifā’-us-
    siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām
    (p.128); Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī,
    Fath-ul-bārī (2:494); Qastallānī,
    (4:277); Zurqānī in his
    Commentary (11:151-3);
    Shawkānī, Tuhfat-udh-dhākirīn
    (p.58); and Muhammad Zāhid
    Kawtharī in his Maqālāt (p.380).

  2. Once
    when Medina was in the grip
    of a severe drought, ‘Ā’ishah
    asked some of the Companions
    and residents of the city to
    visit the holy Prophet’s grave,
    and on account of his
    blessings, it rained in buckets.
    [7]. Dārimī narrated it in ch.15
    of the muqaddimah
    (introduction) to his Sunan
    (1:43#93); Ibn-ul-Jawzī, al-Wafā’
    bi-ahwāl-il-Mustafā (2:801);
    Subkī, Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat
    khayr-il-anām (p.128);
    Qastallānī, al-Mawāhib-ul-
    laduniyyah (4:276); and Zurqānī
    in his Commentary (11:150).

    In short, this blessed act has
    been popular and prevalent
    from the days of Adam (عليه
    السلام) and other prophets
    to the period of the holy
    prophet ( صلى الله عليه
    وآله وسلم ), the Companions
    and the Successors and right
    down to the present-day
    Muslims. Now some people,
    hopelessly deficient in a correct
    understanding of dīn, are
    raising unfounded objections
    against its efficacy, and
    treating it as a challenge to
    the uniqueness of Allah.
    Therefore, it is imperative that
    the injunctions of Shariah
    should be understood in their
    true essence and perspective
    so that we do not distort
    them for lack of knowledge
    and understanding.