Fourth objection: Prophets and saints were themselves in search of mediationOne objection that flows from their slick tongues as coffee from a press-button percolator is that those who are close to Allah, and on whom we tend to rely as intermediaries, are themselves in search of a means to gain close access to Allah. Since they themselves are looking for support, how can they be expected to support others? On the basis of this reasoning, they declare that reliance on the prophets and the saints as intermediaries is invalid. And to validate their invalid viewpoint they rely on the following Qur’anic verse by misrepresenting its essence:
Those, whom they worship (that is, the angels, jinn, ‘Īsā (عليه السلام) and ‘Uzayr (عليه السلام) etc., - they make their portraits and statues and worship them), they (themselves) seek nearness to their Lord, through those who among them are the nearest (to Allah’s presence).
Proof for the justification of tawassul (توسل) in the holy verseThis Qur’anic verse furnishes a strong argument in favour of intermediation. To infer from it that the prophets and the righteous are themselves in search of mediation to have access to Allah and, therefore, they cannot serve as means of nearness to Him is invalid. The question arises if they themselves are pious and, therefore, near to Allah on account of their piety, then what other means are they seeking to possess what they already possess. The answer is provided by the Qur’an itself. Ayyuhum aqrab are the people who are nearer to Allah and the prophets and the righteous rely on them as intermediaries. This shows that intermediation is a graded process. There are those who are the nearest to Allah and there are those who are less near, while still there are others – who are on the periphery. Thus there are different grades of nearness and the process of drawing near to Allah is infinite. Those who are the closest to Him are trying to be still closer and those who are closer to these are trying to be closer to the ones who are the closest to Him. Thus, if intermediation is being practised by Him on intimates, how can it be declared invalid for the common man?
. Qur’an (al-Isrā’) 17:57.