SEEKING MEANS (TAWASSUL)
THROUGH THE PROPHET
The specific tawassul through the Prophet is a request in acknowledgement of his standing as the chief intercessor for the Community before Allah, and it is a request for Allah's blessing as effected by Allah in the person of His Prophet and His saints -- not as effected by the latter without Allah, which is the belief those who oppose tawassul falsely impute to those who maintain it. Allah has said of His Holy Prophet, Peace be upon him:
He is anxious about what you do, and merciful with the believers. (9:128)
If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful (4:64)
And if they had had patience till thou camest forth unto them, it had been better for them. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (49:5)
If only they had been content with what Allah and His Apostle gave them, and had said, "Sufficient unto us is Allah! Allah and His Apostle will soon give us of His bounty: to Allah do we turn our hopes!" (9:59)
They swear by Allah to you (Muslims) in order to please you: But it is more fitting that they should please Allah and His Apostle, if they are Believers. (9:62)
Allah has mentioned all this about His Prophet because it is through His Prophet that He Himself has shown His greatest mercy and most comprehensive forgiveness, and it is by coming to the Prophet that the believers seek to obtain these from Allah. This is clear evidence, both now as it was then, that the mediation of the Prophet -- for that is the meaning of intercession -- can be sought to obtain forgiveness from Allah. The first hadith Imam Ahmad related from Anas ibn Malik in his Musnad Anas is: "The whole Community of the people of Madina used to take the hand of the Prophet and rush to obtain their need with it."
The Mufti of Mecca at the time of the spread of the Wahhabi heresy, al-Sayyid Ahmad Ibn Zayni Dahlan (d. 1304) said in Khulasat al-kalam:
Tawassul (using means), tashaffu` (using intercession), and istighatha (asking help) all have the same meaning, and the only meaning they have in the hearts of the believers is that of tabarruk (using blessings) with the mention of Allah's beloved ones, since it is established that He grants His mercy to all His servants for the sake of His beloved ones, and this is the case whether they are alive or dead, because in either case the actual effecting agent and true executor is Allah Himself, and these beloved ones are only ordinary causes for His mercy. Like any other secondary causes, they have no effective power of influence in themselves.
The early and late Imams of the Community have said clearly and unequivocally that tawassul through the Prophet is highly desirable and recommended for every person. Following are some of their words to this effect.
Imam Malik was asked the following question by the Caliph Abu Ja`far al-Mansur: "Shall I face the Qibla with my back towards the grave of the Messenger of Allah when making du`a (after salams)?" He replied:
How could you turn your face away from him when he is the means (wasila) of your and your father Adam's forgiveness to Allah on the Day of Resurrection? Nay, face him and ask for his intercession (istashfi` bihi) so that Allah will grant it to you as He said: "If they had only, when they were wronging themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful (4:64)."
It is cited by al-Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa (2:92-93) with a sound (sahih) chain, and also cited by Samhudi in Khulasat al-Wafa, Subki in Shifa' al-siqam, Qastallani in al-Mawahib al-laduniyya, Ibn Jama`a in Hidayat al-salik, and Haytami in al-Jawhar al-munazzam and Tuhfat al-zuwwar. See also Ibn `Abd al-Hadi in al-Sarim al-munki p. 244. Ibn Jama`a says in Hidayat al-salik (3:1381): "It is related by the two hafiz Ibn Bashkuwal and al-Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa' after him, and no attention is paid to the words of those who claim that it is forged purely on the basis of his idle desires."
The words "he is the means (wasila) of your and your father Adam's forgiveness to Allah" are confirmed by the verses whereby the Prophet is witness over all communities and people including their Prophets (2:143, 3:81, 4:41, 33:7), as well as the sound hadith of his intercession over all Prophets on behalf of all believers in Sahih al-Bukhari (Kitab al-tawhid). Furthermore, it is also established from the verse "And Adam received words from his Lord and He relented towards him" (2:37) that Adam has been forgiven.
Imam Ahmad made tawassul through the Prophet a part of every du`a according to the following report: `Ala' al-Din al-Mardawi said in his book al-Insaf fi ma`rifat al-rajih min al-khilaf `ala madhhab al-Imam al-mubajjal Ahmad ibn Hanbal (3:456):
The correct position of the [Hanbali] madhhab is that it is permissible in one's supplication (du`a) to use as one's means a pious person, and it is said that it is desirable (mustahabb). Imam Ahmad said to Abu Bakr al-Marwazi: yatawassalu bi al-nabi fi du`a'ih -- "Let him use the Prophet as a means in his supplication to Allah."
The same report is found in Imam Ahmad's Manasik as narrated by his student Abu Bakr al-Marwazi.
Similarly the lengthy wording of the tawassul according to the Hanbali madhhab as established by the hafiz Ibn `Aqil in his Tadhkira was cited fully by Imam Kawthari in his appendix to Shaykh al-Islam Taqi al-Din al-Subki's al-Sayf al-saqil included in Kawthari's edition of the latter.
The Prophet said on the authority of `Umar: "When Adam committed his mistake he said: O my Lord, I am asking you to forgive me for the sake of Muhammad. Allah said: O Adam, and how do you know about Muhammad whom I have not yet created? Adam replied, O my Lord, after You created me with your hand and breathed into me of Your Spirit, I raised my head and saw written on the heights of the Throne:
LA ILAHA ILLALLAH MUHAMMADUN RASULULLAH
I understood that You would not place next to Your Name but the Most Beloved One of Your creation. Allah said: O Adam, I have forgiven you, and were it not for Muhammad I would not have created you."
It was transmitted through many chains and was cited by Bayhaqi (in Dala'il al-nubuwwa), Abu Nu`aym (in Dala'il al-nubuwwa), al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (2:615), al-Tabarani in his Saghir (2:82, 207) with another chain containing sub-narrators unknown to Haythami as he stated in Majma` al-zawa'id (8:253), and Ibn `Asakir on the authority of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, and most of these narrations were copied in Qastallani's al-Mawahib al-laduniyya (and al-Zarqani's Commentary 2:62).
1. This hadith is declared sound (sahih) by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (2:651), although he acknowledges Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam, one of its sub-narrators, as weak. However, when he mentions this hadith he says: "Its chain is sound, and it is the first hadith of Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam which I mention in this book"; al-Hakim also declares sound another version through Ibn `Abbas.
2. al-Bulqini declares this hadith sound in his Fatawa.
3. al-Subki confirms al-Hakim's authentication (in Shifa' al-siqam fi ziyarat khayr al-anam p. 134-135) although Ibn Taymiyya's rejection and criticism of this hadith was known to him and he rejects it, as well as saying that Ibn Taymiyya's extreme weakening of Ibn Zayd is exaggerated.
4. The hadith is also included by Qadi `Iyad among the "sound and famous narrations" in al-Shifa, and he says that Abu Muhammad al-Makki and Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi mention it; Qadi `Iyad says: "It is said that this hadith explains the verse: 'And Adam received words from his Lord and He relented towards him' (2:37)"; he continues to cite another very similar version through al-Ajurri (d. 360), about whom al-Qari said: "al-Halabi said: This seems to be the imam and guide Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn `Abd Allah al-Baghdadi, the compiler of the books al-Shari`a devoted to the Sunna, al-Arba`un, and others.'" This is confirmed by Ibn Taymiyya in his Qa`ida fi al-tawassul: "It is related by Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Ajurri, in his book al-Shari`a."
5. Ibn al-Jawzi also considers it sound (sahih) as he cites it in the first chapter of al-Wafa bi ahwal al-mustafa, in the introduction of which he says: "(In this book) I do not mix the sound hadith with the false," although he knew of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd's weakness as a narrator; he also mentions the version of Maysarat al-Fajr whereby the Prophet says: "When satan deceived Adam and Eve, they repented and sought intercession to Allah with my name"; Ibn al-Jawzi also says in the chapter concerning the Prophet's superiority over the other Prophets in the same book: "Part of the exposition of his superiority to other Prophets is the fact that Adam asked his Lord through the sanctity (hurmat) of Muhammad that He relent towards him, as we have already mentioned."
6. Suyuti cites it in his Qur'anic commentary al-Durr al-manthur (2:37) and in al-Khasa'is al-kubra (1:12) and in al-Riyad al-aniqa fi sharh asma' khayr al-khaliqa (p. 49), where he says that Bayhaqi considers it sound; this is due to the fact that Bayhaqi said in the introduction to the Dala'il that he only included sound narrations in his book, although he also knew and explicitly mentions `Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd's weakness;
7. Ibn Kathir mentions it after Bayhaqi in al-Bidayat wa al-Nihaya (1:75, 1:180).
8. al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id (8:253 #28870), al-Bayhaqi himself, and al-Qari in Sharh al- shifa' show that its chains have weakness in them. However, the weakness of Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd was known by Ibn al-Jawzi, Subki, Bayhaqi, Hakim, and Abu Nu`aym, yet all these scholars retained this hadith for consideration in their books.
9. Three scholars reject it, such as Ibn Taymiyya (Qa`ida jalila fi al-tawassul p. 89, 168-170) and his two students Ibn `Abd al-Hadi (al-Sarim al-munki p. 61-63) and al-Dhahabi (Mizan al-i`tidal 2:504 and Talkhis al-mustadrak), while `Asqalani reports Ibn Hibban's saying that `Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd was a forger(Lisan al-mizan 3:360, 3:442).
10. At the same time, Ibn Taymiyya elsewhere quotes it and the version through Maysara and says: "These two are like the elucidation (tafsir) of the authentic ahadith (concerning the same topic)" (Fatawa 2:150). The contemporary Meccan hadith scholar Ibn `Alawi al-Maliki said: "This indicates that Ibn Taymiyya found the hadith sound enough to be considered a witness for other narrations (salih li al-istishhad wa al-i`tibar), because the forged (al-mawdu`) and the false (al-batil) are not taken as witness by the people of hadith"; al-Maliki also quotes (without reference) Dhahabi's unrestrained endorsement of the ahadith in Bayhaqi's Dala'il al-nubuwwa with his words: "You must take what is in it (the Dala'il), for it consists entirely of guidance and light." (Mafahim yajib an tusahhah p. 47).
11. It is furthermore evident that Ibn Taymiyya considers the meaning of the creation of everything for the sake of the Prophet as true and correct, as he declares in his Majmu`at al-fatawa in the volume on tasawwuf (11:95-97):
Muhammad is the Chief of the Children of Adam, the Best of Creation, the noblest of them in the sight of Allah. This is why some have said that "Allah created the Universe due to him," or that "Were it not for him, He would have neither created a Throne, nor a Footstool, nor a heaven, earth, sun or moon." However, this is not a hadith on the authority of the Prophet... but it may be explained from a correct aspect...
Since the best of the righteous of the children of Adam is Muhammad, creating him was a desirable end of deep-seated purposeful wisdom, more than for anyone else, and hence the completion of creation and the fulfilment of perfection was attained with Muhammad, may Allah Exalted bless him and grant him peace... The Chief of the Children of Adam is Muhammad, may Allah Exalted bless him and grant him peace, Adam and his children being under his banner. He, may Allah Exalted bless him and grant him peace, said: "Truly, I was written as the Seal of the Prophets with Allah, when Adam was going to-and-fro in his clay," i.e. that my prophethood was decreed and manifested when Adam was created but before the breathing of the Spirit into him, just as Allah decrees the livelihood, lifespan, deeds and misery or happiness of the slave when He creates the embryo but before the breathing of the Spirit into it.
Since man is the seal and last of all creation, and its microcosm, and since the best of man is thus the best of all creation absolutely, then Muhammad, being the Pupil of the Eye, the Axis of the Mill, and the Distributor to the Collective, is as it were the Ultimate Purpose from amongst all the purposes of creation. Thus it cannot be denied to say that "Due to him all of this was created", or that "Were it not for him, all this would not have been created," so if statements like this are thus explained according to what the Book and the Sunna indicate, it is acceptable.
12. Its latter part is mentioned as a separate hadith in the wording: "Were it not for Muhammad, I would not have created the spheres (al-aflak)." al-`Ajluni said in Kashf al-khafa' (#2123): "al-Saghani (d.650) said it is forged. I say: but its meaning is correct." Similarly `Ali al-Qari said in al-Asrar al-marfu`a (#754-755): "al-Saghani (in al-Ahadith al-mawdu`a p. 7) said: "It is forged," however, its meaning is sound (mi`nahu sahih), as Daylami has narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet said: "Gabriel came to me and said: O Muhammad! Were it not for you, Paradise would not have been created, and were it not for you, the Fire would not have been created." And Ibn `Asakir's narration has: And were it not for you, the world would not have been created."
As for Albani's rejection of Qari's use of Daylami in support of the hadith with the words: "I do not hesitate to declare it weak on the basis that Daylami is alone in citing it" (Silsila da`ifa #282), it shows exaggeration and deviation from the practice of the scholars concerning Daylami and his book. Ibn Taymiyya said in Minhaj al-sunna (4:38): "The fact that Daylami alone narrates a hadith does not indicate that the hadith is sound." Note that he never said: "The fact that Daylami alone narrates a hadith indicates that it is forged," yet this is what Albani concludes! The reader may compare Albani's method of apriori rejection in lieu of a discussion of the hadith itself, to Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani's reliance on a hadith narrated by Daylami, as is shown by hadith #33 of his Arba`un fi rad` al-mujrim `an sabb al-muslim, although Daylami is alone in citing it. Further in Minhaj al-sunna (4:78) Ibn Taymiyya declared of him and his book: "al-Daylami in his book al-Firdaws mentioned many sound (sahih) hadiths, and also fair (hasan) narrations and forged ones.... He was one of the people of knowledge and religion and he was not a liar."
13. Ibn al-Qayyim in his Bada'i` al-fawa'id went so far as to represent Allah saying to humankind that everything was created for the sake of human beings:
hal `arifat qimata nafsik? innama khalaqtu al-akwana kullaha laka... kullu al-ashiya'i shajaratun wa anta al-thamara
Have you realized your value? I only created all the universes for your sake... All things are trees whose fruit you are.
If Allah created all the universes for the sake of human beings, then how could all humanity be given what the Prophet is grudged, who is better than mankind and jinn put together?
14. Following are some of the hadiths of the mention of the Prophet's name together with Allah on the Throne and in the heavens cited by the hadith masters, as related by Suyuti in al-Khasa'is al-kubra (1:12-14):
a) In Ibn `Asakir from Ka`b al-Ahbar: Adam said to his son Sheeth: "O my son, you are my successor, therefore found my successorhip upon godwariness and the Firm Rope, and every time you mention Allah, do mention next to His name the name of Muhammad, for I saw his name written on the leg of the Throne as I was between the spirit and the clay. Then I circumambulated the heavens and I did not see in them a single spot except the name of Muhammad was written upon it, and when my Lord made me inhabit Paradise I saw in it neither palace nor room except the name of Muhammad was written on it. I have seen his name written on the bosom of the wide-eyed maidens of Paradise, on the leaves of the reed-stalks and thickets of the Garden, on the leaves of the Tree of Bliss, on the leaves of the Lote-tree of the Farthermost Boundary, and upon the veils and between the eyes of the angels. Therefore, make frequent remembrance of him, for the angels remember him in every moment."
b) Ibn `Adi and Ibn `Asakir from Anas: The Prophet said: "When I was taken up to heaven I saw written on the leg of the Throne:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah
ayyadtuhu bi `ali."
c) Ibn `Asakir from `Ali: The Prophet said: "The night I was enraptured I saw written on the Throne:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah
abu bakr al-siddiq `umar al-faruq
`uthman dhu al-nurayn."
d) Ibn `Adi, Tabarani in al-Awsat, Ibn `Asakir, and al-Hasan ibn `Arafa in his famous volume from Abu Hurayra: The Prophet said: "The night I was enraptured and taken up to heaven I did not pass a heaven except I saw in it my name written: muhammadun rasulullah with Abu Bakr at my side."
e) al-Bazzar from Ibn `Umar: The Prophet said: "When I was taken up to heaven I did not pass a heaven except I saw in it my name written: muhammadun rasulullah."
f) al-Khatib, Ibn `Asakir, and al-Daraqutni in al-Afrad (Reports from a single narrator), from Abu al-Darda': The Prophet said: "The night I was enraptured I saw a green garment on the Throne whereupon was written in letters of light:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah
abu bakr al-siddiq `umar al-faruq."
g) Ibn `Asakir from Jabir: The Prophet said: "On the gate of Paradise is written:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah."
h) Abu Nu`aym in al-Hilya from Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet said: "There is not in all Paradise one tree with a single leaf but inscribed:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah."
i) al-Hakim from Ibn `Abbas, and he graded it sahih (sound): "Allah revealed to `Isa the following: Believe in Muhammad and order all those of your Community who see him to believe in him, for were it not for Muhammad I would not have created Adam, nor Paradise, nor the Fire. When I created the Throne upon the water it shuddered. So I wrote upon it:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah
and it became calm." al-Dhahabi said: "Its chain contains `Amr ibn Aws and it is not known who he is."
j) In Ibn `Asakir from Jabir through Abu al-Zubayr: "Between Adam's shoulders is written:
muhammadun rasulullah khatam al-nabiyyin."
Imam Shawkani said in his commentary on al-Jazari's (d. 833) `Iddat al-hisn al-hasin entitled Tuhfat al-dhakirin bi `iddat al-hisn al-hasin (Beirut ed. 1970), p. 37: "He [al-Jazari] said: Let him make tawassul to Allah with His Prophets and the salihin or saints (in his du`a). I say: And exemplifying tawassul with the Prophets is the hadith extracted by Tirmidhi et al. (of the blind man saying: O Allah, I ask You and turn to You by means of Muhammad the Prophet of Mercy) [see below]... as for tawassul with the saints, among its examples is the hadith, established as sound, of the Companions' tawassul asking Allah for rain by means of al-`Abbas the Prophet's uncle, and `Umar said: "O Allah, we use as means to You the uncle of our Prophet etc. [see below]." We cite further below Shawkani's complete and detailed stand on tawassul from his treatise al-Durr al-nadir.
A blind man came to the Prophet and said: "Invoke Allah for me that he help me." He replied: "If you wish I will delay this, and it would be better for you, and if you wish I will invoke Allah the Exalted (for you)." He said: "Then invoke him." The Prophet said to him: idhhab fa tawadda', wa salli rak`atayn thumma qul -- "Go and make an ablution, pray two rak`at, then say: "O Allah, I am asking you (as'aluka) and turning to you (atawajjahu ilayka) with your Prophet Muhammad (bi nabiyyika Muhammad), the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (ya Muhammad), I am turning with you to my Lord regarding my present need / I am asking my Lord with your intercession concerning the return of my sight (inni atawajjahu bika ila rabbi fi hajati hadhih -- another version has: inni astashfi`u bika `ala rabbi fi raddi basari) so that He will fulfill my need; O Allah, allow him to intercede (with you) for me (allahumma shaffi`hu fiyya)."
It is related by Ahmad (4:138 #17246-17247), Tirmidhi (hasan sahih gharib -- Da`awat Ch. 119), Ibn Majah (Book of Iqamat al-salat wa al-sunnat, Ch. on Salat al-hajat #1385), Nasa'i (`Amal al-yawm wa al-laylat p. 417-418 #658-660), al-Hakim (1:313, 1:526), Tabarani in al-Kabir, and rigorously authenticated as sound (sahih) by nearly fifteen hadith masters including Ibn Hajar, Dhahabi, Shawkani, and Ibn Taymiyya.
1. The Prophet's order, here as elsewhere, carries legislative force for all Muslims and is not limited to a particular person, place or time; it is valid for all generations until the end of time unless proven otherwise by a subsequent indication from the Prophet himself, Peace be upon him.
2. The Prophet was not physically present at the assigned time of the invocation, since he said to the blind man: "Go and make ablution," without adding: "and then come back in front of me." With regard to physical absence, the living and the dead are exactly alike, namely: absent.
3. Despite the Prophet's physical absence, the wording (sigha) for calling upon his intercession is direct address: "O Muhammad." Such a wording -- "O So-and-So" -- is only used with someone present and able to hear. It should also be noted that Allah forbade the Companions from being forward or calling out to the Prophet in the ordinary manner used with one another (49:1-2). The only way, therefore, that the Prophet, Blessings and peace be upon him, could both be absent and at the same be addressed is that the first be understood in the physical sense and the second in the spiritual.
The above invocation was also used after the Prophet's lifetime, as is proven by the sound (sahih) hadith authenticated by Bayhaqi, Abu Nu`aym in the Ma`rifa, Mundhiri (Targhib 1:473-474), Haythami, and Tabarani in the Kabir (9:17-18) and the Saghir (1:184/201-202) on the authority of `Uthman ibn Hunayf's nephew Abu Imama ibn Sahl ibn Hunayf: A man would come to `Uthman ibn `Affan for a certain need, but the latter would not pay him any attention nor look into his need, upon which he complained of his condition to `Uthman ibn Hunayf who told him: "Go and make ablution, then go to the mosque and pray two rak`at, then say (this du`a)," and he mentioned the invocation of the blind man, "then go (to `Uthman again)." The man went, did as he was told, then came to `Uthman's door, upon which the door-attendant came, took him by the hand, and brought him to `Uthman who sat him with him on top of the carpet, and said: "Tell me what your need is." After this the man went out, met `Uthman ibn Hunayf again, and said to him: "May Allah reward you! Previously he would not look into my need nor pay any attention to me, until you spoke to him." He replied: "I did not speak to him, but I saw the Prophet when a blind man came to him complaining of his failing eyesight," and he mentioned to him the substance of the previous narration.
It is narrated that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph, would pray to Allah for rain during times of drought through the means, the honor and intercession of the uncle of the Prophet, `Abbas ibn `Abd Muttalib by using this supplication: "O Our Lord! Previously, when we had a drought, we used to come to You by means and intercession of Your Prophet. Now we are requesting intercession through the uncle of the Prophet to grant us rain," and it was granted. Bukhari relates it. `Umar added, after making this supplication: "He (al-`Abbas), by Allah, is the means to Allah" (hadha wallahi al-wasilatu ilallahi `azza wa jall). Ibn `Abd al-Barr relates it in al-Isti`ab bi ma`rifat al-ashab.
The scholars say that `Umar sought the means of al-`Abbas rather than the Prophet in order to show and acknowledge the status of the Prophet's uncle among the people and, more generally, of the Ahl al-Bayt or direct relatives of the Prophet. Kawthari in his Maqalat (p. 411) cites Ibn `Abd al-Barr's commentary in al-Isti`ab that `Umar used al-`Abbas in response to Ka`b's words: "O Commander of the believers, the Bani Isra`il in such circumstances used to pray for rain by means of the relatives of Prophets." It is not, as some have fancied, because the Prophet's means is no longer available that `Umar used al-`Abbas as a wasila. The hadith of `Uthman ibn Hunayf and the words of Malik to al-Mansur show that the Prophet continued to be sought by the Companions and Followers as a means of benefit even after he left this life.
The following is more evidence to this effect:
al-Darimi in the Chapter 15 of the Muqaddima (Introduction) to his Sunan (1:43) entitled: "Allah's generosity to His Prophet after his death," relates from Aws ibn `Abd Allah with a good chain: "The people of Madina complained to `A'isha of the severe drought that they were suffering. She said: "Go to the Prophet's grave and open a window towards the sky so that there will be no roof between him and the sky." They did so, after which they were watered with such rain that vegetation grew and the camels got fat. That year was named the Year of Plenty."
It is clear from the above narrations that the position of the Mother of the Believers `A'isha differs from that of modern-day "Salafis," since she recommended to the people of Madina to use the Prophet in his grave as a means of obtaining blessing and benefit and this remained in use until the Wahhabis took over the Hijaz, while "Salafis" declare this to be unacceptable. Either they know better than the fuqaha' of the Companions or, most certainly, they are peddling misguidance and innovation.
Shaykh Albani, in order to reject the hadith of Darimi, raised some objections which are so full of holes that one can not only see the sky through them, but also the sun, the moon, and the stars. He said in his little book translated under the name Tawassul: Its Types and Its Rulings (p. 130-131) about Darimi's chain of transmission for the report (Abu al-Nu`man from Sa`id ibn Zayd from `Amr ibn Malik al-Nukri from Abu al-Jawza' Aws ibn `Abd Allah from `A'isha):
This chain of narration is weak and cannot be used as a proof due to three reasons:
(i) Sa`id ibn Zayd who is the brother of Hammad ibn Zayd is somewhat weak. al-Hafiz [Ibn Hajar] said about him in al-Taqrib: "Generally acceptable, but he makes mistakes." Dhahabi said about him in al-Mizan: "Yahya ibn Sa`id said: Weak, and al-Sa`di said: He is not a proof, they declare his ahadith to be weak. Nasa'i and others said: He is not strong; and Ahmad said: He is all right. Yahya ibn Sa`id would not accept him."
However, the above documentation is partial and biased, and this is not surprising since "Salafis" only mention what advances their view while they cover up, rephrase, or declare weak whatever contradicts it. This is especially true of Albani, whose followers claim him as "the leading scholar of hadith of this age"(!) whereas he makes frequent mistakes, innovates in many of his rulings, and is generally unreliable except to those unschooled in the Islamic sciences. It would be more correct for "Salafis" to say: "He is our leading scholar," for in this we would agree with them completely. However, it is a fact that no one who has actual knowledge in hadith and fiqh uses Albani's books except that they check and verify anything they take from them against trustworthy scholars.
The present narration is a case in point, since Albani deliberately omits to mention the authentication of the narrators he seeks to declare weak, hiding basic evidence from his readers in order to mislead them, all because he is dead set against the issue at hand, even if it is authentically reported from the Mother of the Believers! Following is a point-by-point refutation of Albani's claims by the Moroccan hadith scholar `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Siddiq al-Ghumari in his booklet entitled: Irgham al-mubtadi` al-ghabi bi jawaz al-tawassul bi al-nabi (The coercion of the unintelligent innovator to the effect that using the Prophet as a means is permissible p. 23-25):
Albani's weakening of Sa`id ibn Zayd is rejected, because Sa`id is one of Muslim's narrators, and Yahya ibn Ma`in declared him trustworthy (thiqa)!
The editor of Ghumari's text, Ghumari's student Hasan `Ali al-Saqqaf says on the same page as the above:
Albani has adduced worthless proofs as is his habit when embellishing falsehood. He cited whatever fit his whim from Ibn Hajar's Taqrib, leaving out his mention that Sa`id ibn Zayd is one of Muslim's narrators in his Sahih. Beware, therefore, of this tadlis (concealment) on his part!... He added Dhahabi's notice on Sa`id ibn Zayd in the Mizan, and this is another deliberate cover-up, for he faithlessly omitted to mention what Ibn Hajar reported in Tahdhib al-tahdhib (4:29) from those who declared Sa`id ibn Zayd trustworthy, in addition to his being one of Muslim's narrators:
- Bukhari said: "Muslim ibn Ibrahim narrated to us: Sa`id ibn Zayd Abu al-Hasan narrated to us, and he is reliable and a memorizer of hadith (saduq hafiz)."
- al-Duri said on the authority of Ibn Ma`in: "Sa`id ibn Zayd is trustworthy (thiqa)."
- Ibn Sa`d said: "He was trustworthy."
- al-`Ujli said: "He is from Basra, and he is trustworthy."
- Abu Zur`a said: "I heard Sulayman ibn Harb say: Sa`id ibn Zayd narrated to us, and he was trustworthy."
- Abu Ja`far al-Darimi said: "Hibban ibn Hilal narrated to us: Sa`id ibn Zayd narrated to us, and he was a memorizer of hadith and he was reliable."
- Ibn `Adi said: "There is no denounced narration from him except someone else also narrates it, and I consider him one of those in the reliable category."
In addition to the above remarks it is noteworthy to mention that Albani cited Ahmad's grading of Sa`id ibn Zayd as la ba'sa bihi which his translator rendered as "he is all right," but neither the author nor the translator seems to know that in Imam Ahmad's terminology la ba'sa bihi is identical with thiqa, which means "trustworthy" and is among the highest gradings of authentication! Ibn Salah in his Muqaddima (p. 134), Dhahabi in Lisan al-mizan (1:13), Sakhawi in Fath al-mughith, Ibn Hajar in Hadi al-sari, Abu Ghudda in his commentary to Lucknawi's Raf` (p. 222 n. 3), as well as the editor of Nawawi's al-Taqrib wa al-taysir (p. 51) have indicated that the equivalency of saying "There is no harm in him" with the grade of trustworthy (thiqa) obtains for many early authorities of the third century such as Ibn Ma`in, Ibn al-Madini, Imam Ahmad, Duhaym, Abu Zur`a, Abu Hatim al-Razi, Ya`qub ibn Sufyan al-Fasawi, and others.
Albani continues in his list of reasons for weakening Darimi's narration:
(ii) It is mawquf (stopping at the Companion), coming only from `A'isha and not from the Prophet, and even if the chain of narration up to `A'isha were authentic then it would not be a proof since it is something open to personal judgment in which even the Companions are sometimes correct and sometimes incorrect, and we are not bound to act upon that (!).
To this claim it is easy to reply that not only is the narration sound and authentic, but also that there is no objection related from any of the Companions to the act recommended by the Mother of the Believers, just as there was no objection on their part to the istisqa' made by the man who came to the grave of the Prophet in the narration of Malik al-Dar cited below. This shows ijma` on the matter on the part of the Companions, and such ijma` is definitely binding in the sense that no one can declare unlawful or innovative something which they have tacitly declared lawful or desirable. As for the following the opinion of the Companions we say what Imam al-Shafi`i said as related by Ibn Qayyim in A`lam al-muwaqqi`in `an rabb al-`alamin (2:186-187): "Their opinion for us is better than our opinion to ourselves."
Albani listed the following as his last reason for weakening Darimi's narration:
(iii) Abu al-Nu`man... was originally a reliable narrator except that he deteriorated at the end of his life. The hadith master Burhan al-Din al-Halabi mentions him among those who deteriorated in later life in his book al-Muqaddima (p. 391) and he says: "The ruling about these people is that their narrations are accepted if reported from them by people who heard from them before they deteriorated. But narrations reported from them by those who heard from them after they deteriorated, or narrations reported from therm by people about whom we do not know whether they heard from them before they deteriorated or after, then these narrations are to be rejected."
I say: We do not know whether this report was heard by Darimi from him before or after his memory deteriorated, it is therefore not acceptable and cannot be used as evidence. [Footnote:] Shaykh al-Ghumari missed this weakness in Misbah al-zujaj (p. 43), just as it was ignored by another in order to give the impression to the people that this report is authentic(!).
Ghumari said regarding these claims about Abu al-Nu`man:
His weakening of Abu al-Nu`man is invalid, because Abu al-Nu`man's deterioration did not affect what is narrated from him! al-Daraqutni said [as cited by Dhahabi in Mizan al-i`tidal (4:81)]: "He deteriorated at the end of his life, and no denounced hadith issued from him after his deterioration whatsoever, and he is trustworthy (thiqa)." As for what Ibn Hibban said, that "Many denounced things occurred in his narrations after his deterioration," then al-Dhahabi refuted it when he said (4:8): "Ibn Hibban was unable to cite a single denounced narration from him, and the truth is just as Daraqutni said."
Shaykh Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Maliki said in his book Shifa' al-fu'ad bi ziyarat khayr al-`ibad (p. 152):
Abu al-Nu`man's deterioration neither harms nor is detrimental to his reliability, since Bukhari in his Sahih narrated over one hundred hadiths from him, and no narration was taken from him after his deterioration, as Daraqutni said.... The chain of transmission is all right, in fact I consider it good. The scholars have cited as evidence many chains that are like it or less strong than it.
Following are Saqqaf's further comments, beginning with Albani's charge against Shaykh al-Ghumari:
We know full well that it is Albani who betrays scholarly trust and deliberately misinforms the people, even if he accuses others of disinformation.... In weakening Abu al-Nu`man he has again acted faithlessly. His quotation from al-Burhan al-Halabi's book al-Ightibat bi man rumiya bi al-ikhtilat (p. 23) is designed to pull the wool over the eyes of his followers and those who only read his works! For it is necessary to also know that those who are branded as suffering from deterioration in the aforementioned book are divided among those whose narrations were unaffected by their deterioration and those whose narrations were affected. Abu al-Nu`man belongs to the first group, and al-Dhahabi made this clear in al-Mizan (4:8). Therefore our reply to Albani is: Shaykh al-Ghumari did not miss anything concerning this matter of deterioration, because he is a hadith scholar and a master memorizer (hafiz), however, it is you who have missed it, O slandering backbiter!
As for Albani's quotation of Ibn Taymiyya's claim in his al-Radd `ala al-Bakri (p. 68-74) whereby "a clear proof that it is a lie is the fact that no such opening existed above the house at all in the whole of the life of `A'isha"(!) then it is a weak objection which is no sooner brought up than cast out. Surely Imam al-Darimi and the scholars of the succeeding generations would know of such a detail better than latecomers. As for the authorities among the latter, then the hadith scholar and historian of Madina Imam `Ali al-Samhudi (d. 922) did not so much as look at Ibn Taymiyya's objection, rather he confirmed the truth of Darimi's narration by saying, after citing it in his Wafa' al-wafa' (2:549): al-Zayn al-Miraghi said: "Know that it is the Sunna of the people of Madina to this day to open a window at the bottom of the dome of the Prophet's room, that is, of the blessed green dome, on the side of the Qibla." I say: And in our time, they open the door facing the noble face (the grave) in the space surrounding the room and they gather there."
So much for the claims of naysayers regarding istisqa' through the Prophet.
· The act of the Mother of the Believers `A'isha in the narration of Darimi is explicitly confirmed by Abu Talib's famous line of poetry concerning istisqa' through the Prophet as related in the book of istisqa' in Bukhari's Sahih:
`Abdullah ibn Dinar said: "I heard Ibn `Umar reciting the poetic verses of Abu Talib:
A fair-skinned one by whose face rainclouds are sought,
A caretaker for the orphans and protector of widows.
`Umar ibn Hamza said: Salim narrated from his father (Ibn `Umar) that the latter said: "The poet's saying came to my mind as I was looking at the face of the Prophet while he was praying for rain -- and he did not get down till the rain water flowed profusely from every roof-gutter:
A fair-skinned one by whose face rainclouds are sought,
A caretaker for the orphans and protector of widows.
One sub-narrator added: "These were the words of Abu Talib."
Note that in his translation of Bukhari (2:65), Muhammad Muhsin Khan alters the wording of the hadith to read: "A white person who is requested to pray for rain" in place of "by whose face rain is sought," and Allah knows best the reason for this grave betrayal of the translator's trust in the most important Islamic source after the Qur'an.
al-Bayhaqi relates with a sound (sahih) chain: It is related from Malik al-Dar, `Umar's treasurer, that the people suffered a drought during the successorship of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished," after which the Prophet appeared to him in a dream and told him: "Go to `Umar and give him my greeting, then tell him that they will be watered. Tell him: You must be clever, you must be clever!" The man went and told `Umar. The latter said: "O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!" Ibn Kathir cites it thus from Bayhaqi in al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya and says: isnaduhu sahih; Ibn Abi Shayba cites it in his Musannaf with a sound (sahih) chain as confirmed by Ibn Hajar who says: rawa Ibn Abi Shayba bi isnadin sahih and cites the hadith in Fath al-bari. He identifies Malik al-Dar as `Umar's treasurer (khazin `umar) and says that the man who visited and saw the Prophet in his dream is identified as the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harith, and he counts this hadith among the reasons for Bukhari's naming of the chapter "The people's request to their leader for rain if they suffer drought." He also mentions it in al-Isaba, where he says that Ibn Abi Khaythama cited it. This hadith is discussed again further below with respect to Albani's claim: " We do not accept that this story is authentic..."
The legal inference here is not from the dream, because although the dream of seeing the Prophet is truthful, a dream cannot be used to establish a ruling (hukm) due to the possibility that the person who saw it makes an error in its wording. Rather, the inference from this hadith is based on the action of the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harith. The fact that Bilal came to the grave of the Prophet, called out to him, and asked him to ask for rain is a proof that these actions are permitted. These actions fall under the rubric of asking the Prophet for help (istighatha), seeking him as a means (tawassul), and using his intermediary (tashaffu`), and none of the Companions reprimanded him, and therefore it was understood that such actions are among the greatest acts of drawing near to Allah.
In his edition of Ibn Hajar, the Wahhabi scholar Bin Baz rejects the hadith as a valid source for seeking rain through the Prophet, and brazenly condemns the act of the Companion who came to the grave, calling it munkar (aberrant) and wasila ila al-shirk (a means to associating partners to Allah). We seek protection from Allah from ignorance and error.
The Prophet said: "My life is a great good for you: you will relate about me and it will be related to you; and my death is a great good for you: your actions will be presented to me (in my grave) and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if see other than that I will ask forgiveness of Him for you."
Haythami says in Majma` al-zawa'id (9:24 #91): "al-Bazzar relates it and its sub-narrators are all men of sound hadith." Qadi `Iyad cites it in al-Shifa (1:56 of the Amman edition) and Suyuti said in his Manahil al-safa fi takhrij ahadith al-shifa (Beirut 1988/1408) p. 31 (#8): "Ibn Abi Usama cites it in his Musnad from the hadith of Bakr ibn `Abd Allah al-Muzani, and al-Bazzar from the hadith of Ibn Mas`ud with a sound (sahih) chain." He says the same in his al-Khasa'is al-kubra. It is confirmed by al-Khafagi's and al-Qari's respective commentaries on al-Shifa'. al-`Iraqi said in Tarh al-tathrib: "Its chain is good" (isnaduhu jayyid).
It is cited in Shaykh al-Islam al-Taqi al-Subki's Shifa' al-siqam fi ziyarat khayr al-anam (The healing of the sick concerning the visit of the Best of Creation), where he mentions that Bakr ibn Abd Allah al-Muzani reported it, and Ibn al-Jawzi mentions it through Bakr and then again through Anas ibn Malik in the penultimate chapter of the penultimate section of al-Wafa, both huffaz without giving the isnad. However, Ibn al-Jawzi specifies in the introduction of his book that he only included sound traditions in it. He also mentions the version through Aws ibn Aws: "The actions of human beings are shown to me every Thursday night preceding Friday." See also Fath al-bari 10:415 and 11:385, al-Mundhiri's al-Targhib wa al-tarhib 3:343, and Musnad Ahmad 4:484.
The former Grand Mufti of Egypt Shaykh Hasanayn Muhammad Makhluf wrote in his Fatawa shar`iyya (Cairo: Dar al-i`tisam, 1405/1985, 1:91-92):
The hadith means that the Prophet is a great good for his Community during his life, because Allah the Exalted has preserved the Community through the secret of the Prophet's presence from misguidance and confusion and disagreement, and He has guided the prople through the Prophet to the manifest truth; and that after Allah took back the Prophet, our connection to the latter's goodness continues uncut and the extension of his goodness endures, overshadowing us. The deeds of the Community are shown to him every day, and he glorifies Allah for the goodness that he finds, while he asks for His forgiveness for the small sins, and the alleviation of His punishment for the grave ones: and this is a tremendous good for us. There is therefore "goodness for the Community in his life, and in his death, goodness for the Community."
Moreover, as has been established in the hadith, the Prophet is alive in his grave with a special "isthmus-life" (hayat barzakhiyya khassa) stronger than the lives of the martyrs which the Qur'an spoke about in more than one verse. The nature of these two kinds of life cannot be known except by their Bestower, the Glorious, the Exalted. He is able to do all things. His showing the Community's deeds to the Prophet as an honorific gift for him and his Community is entirely possible rationally and documented in the reports. There is no leeway for its denial; and Allah guides to His light whomever He pleases; and Allah knows best.
We cite more hadiths on tawassul in section c) below.
al-`Utbi said: "As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet, a Bedouin Arab came and said: "Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! I have heard Allah saying: "If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful" (4:64), so I have come to you asking forgiveness for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord. Then he began to recite poetry:
O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth,
And from whose fragrance the depth
and the height have become sweet,
May I be the ransom for a grave which thou inhabit,
And in which are found purity, bounty and munificence!
Then he left, and I dozed and saw the Prophet in my sleep. He said to me: O `Utbi, run after the Bedouin and give him glad tidings that Allah has forgiven him."
The report is mashhur (well-known) and related by Nawawi, Adhkar, Mecca ed. p. 253-254, al-Majmu` 8:217, and al-Idah fi manasik al-hajj, chapters on visiting the grave of the Prophet; Ibn Jama`a, Hidayat al-salik 3:1384; Ibn `Aqil, al-Tadhkira; Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni 3:556-557; al-Qurtubi, Tafsir of 4:64 in Ahkam al-Qur'an 5:265; Samhudi, Khulasat al-Wafa p. 121 (from Nawawi); Dahlan, Khulasat al-Kalam 2:247; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir 2:306, and al-Bidayat wa al-nihayat 1:180; Abu al-Faraj ibn Qudama, al-Sharh al-kabir 3:495; al-Bahuti al-Hanbali, Kashshaf al-qina` 5:30; Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Shifa' al-siqam p. 52; Ibn al-Jawzi, Muthir al-gharam al-sakin ila ashraf al-amakin p. 490; al-Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-iman #4178; Ibn `Asakir, Mukhtasar tarikh Dimashq 2:408; Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, al-Jawhar al-munazzam [commentary on Nawawi's Idah]; Ibn al-Najjar, Akhbar al-Madina p. 147. A similar report is cited through Sufyan ibn `Uyayna (Shafi`i's shaykh), and through Abu Sa`id al-Sam`ani on the authority of `Ali.
Evidently, al-`Utbi's account of the Arab's tawassul for forgiveness at the Prophet's grave is found in many books on the subject of ziyara (visiting the Prophet's grave in Madina) or manasik (rites of pilgrimage) by the many scholars of the Four Schools, none of whom have rejected it or declared it weak. See, for example, the translations of Ibn al-Jawzi, Nawawi, and Ibn Jama`a in the last section of this book. Those of the contemporary "Salafi" scholars who choose to contest this report of its established grade of mashhur, do not measure up to the reliability of a single one of the sources named above. As for the "Salafis'" recourse to the isolated opinions of Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn `Abd al-Hadi who have cast aspersions on the authenticity of the report, in the words of Ibn Jama`a: no attention is paid to it.
The sources also relate the report of Ibn Abi Fudayk, one of the early scholars of Madina and one of Shafi`i's shaykhs, who said: "I heard one of the authorities whom I have met say: "It has reached us that whoever stands at the Prophet's grave and recites: "Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet..." (33:56) and then says: "May Allah bless you, O Muhammad" (sallallahu `alayka ya Muhammad) seventy times, an angel will call him saying: May Allah bless you, O So-and-so; none of your needs will be left unfulfilled."" Ibn Jama`a related it in Hidayat al-salik 3:1382-1383, Ibn al-Jawzi in Muthir al-gharam p. 487, Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa', and Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (#4169).
The muhaddith al-Samhudi and others also relate the account of the Arab who sought the Prophet's means at his grave:
al-Asma`i said: I saw a Bedouin stand at the Prophet's grave and say: "O Allah, here is Your Beloved, and I am Your servant, and Satan is Your enemy. If You forgive me, Your Beloved will be happy, Your servant will attain victory, and Your enemy will be angry. If You do not forgive me, Your Beloved will be sad, Your enemy will be satisfied, and Your servant will be destroyed. But You are more noble, O my Lord, than to allow Your Beloved to be sad, Your enemy to be satisfied, and Your servant to be destroyed. O Allah, the highborn Arabs, if one of their leaders die, release one of their slaves over his grave in his honor, and this is the leader of the worlds: therefore release me over his grave, O Most Merciful of the Merciful!" al-Asma`i said: "I said to him: O brother of the Arabs! Allah has surely forgiven you and released you for the beauty of this request."
al-Hafiz Ibn al-Jawzi relates in Kitab al-Wafa (p. 818 #1536): (al-hafiz) Abu Bakr al-Minqari said: I was with (al-hafiz) al-Tabarani and (al-hafiz) Abu al-Shaykh in the Prophet's Mosque, in some difficulty. We became very hungry. That day and the next we didn't eat. When it was time for `isha, I came to the Prophet's grave and I said: "O Messenger of Allah, we are hungry, we are hungry" (ya rasullallah al-ju` al-ju`)! Then I left. Abu al-Shaykh said to me: Sit. Either there will be food for us, or death. I slept and Abu al-Shaykh slept. al-Tabarani stayed awake, researching something. Then an `Alawi (a descendant of `Ali) came knocking at the door with two boys, each one carrying a palm-leaf basket filled with food. We sat up and ate. We thought that the children would take back the remainder but they left everything behind. When we finished, the `Alawi said: O people, did you complain to the Prophet? I saw him in my sleep and he ordered me to bring something to you.
Imam Bukhari said that he wrote his biographical book on the subnarrators of authentic hadith al-Tarikh al-kabir by the Prophet's graveside, under the light of the moon. It is related by Ibn al-Jawzi in Sifat al-safwa (4:147) and al-Subki in Tabaqat al-shafi`iyya al-kubra (2:216).
Musnad Ahmad, Imam Ahmad's compilation of 30,000 mostly sound narrations from the Prophet, was held in such high reverence that it was read in the sixth century by a society of devout hadith scholars from cover to cover in fifty-six sittings before the grave of the Prophet in Madina. Where is such devotion to the Prophet found today?
Ibn Hajar said in Sulayman ibn Sunayd ibn Nashwan's biographical notice in his al-Durar al-kamina that he performed forty pilgrimages. On the fortieth he was seized by fatigue and fell asleep by the side of the Noble Grave. Thereupon he saw the Prophet who told him: "O So-and-so, how many times have you come, and you have received nothing from me? Give me your hand." He gave him his hand, and the Prophet wrote upon it something against fever after which, if ever he suffered from it, he would be cured by Allah's permission. This invocation is: "I have sought refuge with a Master who never judges unjustly nor leads to other than victory. Go out, O fever, from this body, nor does pain of any sort follow this." Ajluni mentions it in Kashf al-khafa (#1175).
SHAYKH AL-ISLAM AL-HAFIZ TAQI AL-DIN
AL-SUBKI'S INVOCATION OF TAWASSUL
This is Shaykh al-Islam al-hafiz Taqi al-Din al-Subki's invocation of tawassul through the Prophet. It is taken from his Fatwas, Vol. 1 p. 274, at the beginning of the fatwa entitled "The Descent of Tranquility and Peace on the Nightlights of Madina" (tanazzul al-sakina `ala qanadil al-madina).
al-hamdu lillahi al-ladhi as`adana bi nabiyyihi sallallahu
`alayhi wa sallama sa`adatan la tabid
wa ashhadu an la ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu
wa ashhadu anna muhammadan `abduhu wa rasuluhu al-hadi ila
kulli amrin rashid
sallallahu `alayhi wa `ala alihi salatan taliqu bi jalalihi
la tazalu ta`lu wa tazid
wa sallama tasliman kathiran ila yawm al-mazid
wa ba`d fa inna Allaha ya`lamu anna kulla khayrin ana fihi
wa manna `alayya bihi fa huwa bi sababi al-nabi sallallahu
`alayhi wa sallam wa iltija'i ilayh
wa i`timadi fi tawassuli ila Allahi fi kulli umuri `alayh
fa huwa wasilati ila Allahi fi al-dunya wa al-akhira
wa kam lahu `alayya min ni`amin batinatin wa zahira.
To Allah belongs all praise, Who has blessed us with his Prophet,
blessings and peace be upon him, with an endless felicity.
I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah alone without
partner, the protecting Friend, the Glorious.
I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, the
guide to every upright matter.
May Allah send blessings and peace upon him in a manner befitting
His majesty, with a blessing rising ever higher and increasing
And a superabundant greeting of peace until the Day of the
Increase (Day of Judgment).
To proceed: Verily Allah knows that every goodness in my life
which He has bestowed upon me is on account of the Prophet
and that my recourse is to him
And my reliance is upon him in seeking a means to Allah in
every matter of mine.
Verily he is my means to Allah in this world and the next.
And the gifts of Allah I owe to him are too many to count,
both the hidden and the visible.
This is the language of Ahl al-Sunna. We embrace this language as faultless and accept it. Those in whose hearts there is a disease find fault with it. And praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. Following is a short description of Subki's stature as an Imam in Islam, based on Nuh Keller's biographical notice in the Reliance of the Traveller:
Abu al-Hasan Taqi al-Din al-Subki (683-756 / 1284-1355) is the son and father of illustrious scholars and jurists all of the Shafi`i school. He was a hadith master (hafiz), Koranic exegete, and Islamic judge who was described by Ibn Hajar Haythami as "the mujtahid Imam whose imamate, greatness, and having reached the level of ijtihad (competence for independent legal reasoning) are agreed upon," by Dhahabi as "the most learned, eloquent, and wise in judgment of all the shaykhs of the age," and by Sakhawi as "one of those who are named Shaykh al-Islam" along with his son Taj al-Din. Suyuti says of him: "He authored more than 150 works, his writings displaying his profound knowledge of hadith and other fields and his magisterial command of the Islamic sciences. He educated the foremost scholars of the time, was a painstaking, accurate, and penetrating researcher, and a brilliant debater in the disciplines. No previous scholar attained to his achievements in Sacred Law, of masterful inferences, subtleties in detail, and carefully worked-out methodological principles." Salah al-Din Safadi said of him: "People say that no one like him has appeared since Ghazali, though in my opinion they do him an injustice thereby, for to my mind he does not resemble anyone less than Sufyan al-Thawri." With his vast erudition, he was at the same time a godfearing ascetic in his personal life who was devoted to worship and tasawwuf, though vigilant and uncompromising in matters of religion and ready to assail any innovation or departure from the tenets of the faith of Ahl al-Sunna.
TAWASSUL THROUGH THE AWLIYA'
The evidence for tawassul through the awliya' or saints is also abundant, and it suffices that Allah strictly warns all believers to keep company with them when He says: "O believers! Be wary of Allah, and keep company with the truthful!" (9:119) and He enjoins us to follow those who have turned to Him in true and complete repentence (31:15). The Prophet said to al-Firasi, concerning asking from people: "If you absolutely must ask from people, then ask from the righteous ones" (in kunta la budda sa'ilan fas'al al-salihin). There is no doubt that the visit of pious persons is a Sunna in Islam for that very purpose, as shown by the chapters to that effect entitled Bab ziyarat al-salihin in the books of etiquette and invocations.
Some people think that if a du`a from a holy man is answered while he is alive then he cannot help you if he is dead, as if the holy man or shaykh or saint is the origin of the help, but it is always Allah who is the source of the baraka and never a human being; so to think that Allah can only give when that saint is alive, and that when he is dead, Allah does not give anymore, is to say that the source is the person and not Allah in the first place! But in reality it is Allah who is giving help in both cases: life or death.
As for the objections of some "Salafis" today that it is not permissible to seek the blessings of saints after their death, they are based on the false belief that Allah's influence through the saints is in need for the saints' biological life to be effective, and this is absurd! As we said before, Allah's gift to the saints is independent from their being alive or dead, since in either case the real power always belongs to Allah, and the saints are only a secondary cause with no effective power in themselves. Moreover, the views of the early and late Imams and scholars quoted below concerning the permissibility of tawassul through the pious, also confirm that the objections of "Salafis" to tawassul through the saints after their passing from this life do not stand up to scrutiny.
It is obligatory for Muslims to believe that the abdal or Substitute-saints exist -- so called because, as the Prophet said (see #3 below), "None of them dies except Allah substitutes another in his place" -- and that they are among the religious leaders of the Community concerning whom there is no doubt among Muslims. No less than Ibn Taymiyya writes at the end of his `Aqida wasitiyya:
The true adherents of Islam in its pristine purity are Ahl al-Sunnat wal-Jama`a. In their ranks the truthful saints (siddiqin), the martyrs, and the righteous are to be found. Among them are the great men of guidance and illumination, of recorded integrity and celebrated virtue. The Substitutes (abdal) and the Imams of religion are to be found among them and the Muslims are in full accord concerning their guidance. These are the Victorious Group about whom the Prophet said: "A group within my Community manifestly continues to be in the truth. Neither those who oppose them nor those who abandon them can do them harm, from now on until the Day of Resurrection."
The Prophet emphasized in many authentic narrations the benefits brought to all creation through the intercession of Allah's saints and their standing with Him. Suyuti in his fatwa on the abdal in his Hawi li al-fatawi provided many examples of this type of universal intercession from which we quote the following:
1. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal says in his Musnad (1:112):
... The people of Syria were mentioned in front of `Ali ibn Abi Talib while he was in Iraq, and they said: "Curse them, O Commander of the Believers." He replied: "No, I heard the Messenger of Allah say: "The Substitutes (al-abdal) are in Syria and they are forty men, every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another in his place. By means of them Allah brings down the rain, gives (Muslims) victory over their enemies, and averts punishment from the people of Syria."" al-Haythami said: "The men in its chains are all those of the sahih except for Sharih ibn `Ubayd, and he is trustworthy (thiqa)."
2. al-Hakim narrated the following which he graded sound (sahih), and al-Dhahabi confirmed him:
`Ali said: "Do not curse the people of Syria, for among them are the Substitutes (al-abdal), but curse their injustice."
Note that any religious knowledge unattainable through ijtihad and authentically conveyed from one of the Companions is considered a hadith by the experts of that science.
3. Tabarani said in his Mu`jam al-awsat:
Anas said that the Prophet said: "The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful [Prophet Ibrahim], and through them people receive rain and are given help. None of them dies except Allah substitutes another in his place." Qatada said: "We do not doubt that al-Hasan [al-Basri] is one of them."
Ibn Hibban narrates it in al-Tarikh through Abu Hurayra as: "The earth will never lack forty men similar to Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful, and through whom you are helped, receive your sustenance, and receive rain."
4. Imam Ahmad also narrated in the Musnad (5:322):
The Prophet said: "The Substitutes in this Community are thirty like Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful. Every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another one in his place."
Hakim Tirmidhi cites it in Nawadir al-usul and Ahmad's student al-Khallal in his Karamat al-awliya'. Haythami said its men are those of the sahih except `Abd al-Wahid who was declared trustworthy by al-`Ijli and Abu Zar`a (as well as Yahya ibn Ma`in).
5. Abu Dawud through three different good chains in his Sunan (English #4273), Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (6:316), Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf, Abu Ya`la, al-Hakim, and Bayhaqi narrated:
Umm Salama the wife of the Prophet said: "Disagreement will occur at the death of a Caliph and a man of the people of Madina will come forth flying to Mecca. Some of the people of Mecca will come to him, bring him out against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner and the Maqam. An expeditionary force will then be sent against him from Syria but will be swallowed up in the desert between Mecca and Madina, and when the people see that, the Substitutes (abdal) of Syria and the best people (`asaba) of Iraq will come to him and swear allegiance to him..."
6. Imam Ahmad cited in Kitab al-zuhd, also Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Abu Nu`aym, Bayhaqi, and Ibn `Asakir narrated from Julays:
Wahb ibn Munabbih said: I saw the Prophet in my sleep, so I said: "Ya Rasulallah, where are the Substitutes (budala') of your Community?" So he gestured with his hand towards Syria. I said: "Ya Rasulallah, aren't there any in Iraq?" He said: "Yes, Muhammad ibn Wasi`, Hassan ibn Abi Sinan, and Malik ibn Dinar, who walks among the people similarly to Abu Dharr in his time."
Nawawi in Bustan al-`arifin (1985 ed. p. 31) mentions that the hadith master Hammad ibn Salama ibn Dinar (d. 167) was considered to be one of the abdal.
Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir Gilani said in the Third Discourse of his masterpiece Futuh al-Ghayb, as slightly adapted from the 1958 translation of M. Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad published in Lahore:
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said in his book al-Khayrat al-hisan fi manaqib al-imam Abi Hanifa al-Nu`man, chapter 35:
When Imam al-Shafi`i was in Baghdad, he would visit the grave of Imam Abu Hanifa, give him salam, and then ask Allah for the fulfillment of his need through his means (yatawassal ilallah ta`ala bihi fi qada' hajatihi).
Imam Kawthari mentioned in his Maqalat (p. 412) that the hafiz al-Khatib al-Baghdadi mentions Shafi`i's tawassul through Abu Hanifa in the beginning of his Tarikh Baghdad (1:123) with a good chain.
Haytami also said in many places in his book al-Sawa`iq al-muhriqa li ahl al-dalal wa al-zandaqa (cf. p. 180) and al-Khayrat al-hisan (p. 69): "Imam Shafi`i made tawassul through the Family of the Prophet (Ahl al-Bayt) when he said:
Al al-nabi dhari`ati wa hum ilayhi wasilati
arju bihim u`ta ghadan bi yadi al-yamini sahifati
The Family of the Prophet are my means and my
intermediary to him. Through them I hope to be
given my record with the right hand tomorrow.
This is found in Diwan al-Shafi`i as edited by `Umar Faruq al-Dabbagh (Beirut: Dar al-arqam, n.d.) p. 50.
· The hafiz al-`Iraqi relates with his chain in his Fath al-muta`al: "We narrated that the Imam Ahmad sought blessing from drinking the washing-water of Imam al-Shafi`i's shirt, and Ibn Taymiyya himself also related it."
******[this appears to be an error, s/be Imam Shafi`I sought blessing by the washing-water of Imam Ahmad’s shirt.]*******
al-Khatib relates that the hafiz Abu Nu`aym considered it incumbent upon all Muslims to invoke Allah for Abu Hanifa in their prayer due to his preservation of the Prophet's Sunan and fiqh for them. This is explained by the fact that among Abu Hanifa's merits that are exclusively his is his standing as the first in Islam to have compiled a book of fiqh.
al-hafiz Abu `Ali al-Ghassani relates in Ibn al-Subki's Tabaqat al-shafi`iyya 2:234: Abu al-Fath Nasr ibn al-Hasan al-Sakani al-Samarqandi came to us in 464 and said: "We had a drought in Samarqand some years ago. The people made the istisqa' (prayer for rain) prayer but they did not get rain. A saintly man named al-Salah came to the judge and said to him: I have an opinion I would like to show you. My opinion is that you come out followed by the people and that you all go to the grave of Imam Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-Bukhari and make istisqa' there. Perhaps Allah will give us rain. The judge said: What a good opinion you have. He came out and the people followed him, and he prayed for rain in front of them at the grave while people wept and sought the intercession of the one who was in it. Allah sent such heavy rain that those who were in Khartenk (where this took place, 3 miles away from Samarqand) could not reach Samarqand for seven days because of the rain's abundance."
The late mufti of Lebanon al-Shahid al-Shaykh Hasan Khalid said in his fatwa on tawassul on September 16, 1980 (reprinted in the Waqf Ikhlas offset reprint of Sayyid Ahmad ibn Zayni Dahlan's book Fitnat al-wahhabiyya 1992):
Tawassul was declared permissible in our own time by the mufti of the world, our shaykh the savant Abu al-Yusr `Abidin. We went with him to Nawa, a place in Hawran wherein is buried the Shaykh Muhyiddin al-Nawawi. When we arrived at his grave, our Shaykh Abu al-Yusr ordered us to ask Allah the Exalted for our need in front of him and said to us: "The du`a (invocation) at his grave is answered."
Ibn al-Jawzi in his biographies of the awliya entitled Sifat al-safwa lists many of those at whose graves tabarruk (seeking blessing) and tawassul is recommended. Among them:
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari: "al-Waqidi said: It has reached us that the Eastern Romans visit his grave and seek rain through his intercession when they suffer from droughts" (1:243). Mujahid said: "People would uncover the space above his grave and it would rain."
Ma`ruf al-Karkhi (d. 200H): "His grave can be seen in Baghdad, and one seeks blessings with it. al-Hafiz Ibrahim al-Harbi (d. 285H) -- Imam Ahmad's companion -- used to say: Ma`ruf's grave is proven medicine" (2:214) Ibn al-Jawzi adds: "We ourselves go to Ibrahim al-Harbi's grave and seek blessings with it" (2:410)
al-hafiz al-Dhahabi also relates Ibrahim al-Harbi's saying about Ma`ruf al-Karkhi: "Ma`ruf's grave is proven medicine." Siyar a`lam al-nubala' (9:343).
Abu al-Hasan al-Daraqutni said: "We used to seek blessings from Abu al-Fath al-Qawasi's grave" (2:471).
Abu al-Qasim al-Wa`iz: "His grave can be seen in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's cemetary and it is sought for blessings." Related in the notice on `Abd al-Samad ibn `Umar ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq (2:482).
al-Hafiz Abu al-Qasim Ibn `Asakir says in Musnad Abi `Uwana (1:430): "Abu `Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn `Umar al-Saffar said to me that the grave of Abu `Uwana in Isfarayin [near Naysabur] is a place of visitation for the whole world (mazar al-`alam) and a place for obtaining blessing for the entire creation (mutabarrak al-khalq)."
al-Hafiz Diya' al-Din al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali said in his book al-Hikayat al-manthura (Zahiriyya ms. 98, an autograph) that he heard the hafiz `Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali say that something like an abcess appeared on his upper arm for which there was found no medicine. He came to Ahmad ibn Hanbal's grave and applied his arm against it, after which he found himself healed. Imam Kawthari said that he read this account in Diya' al-Din's own handwriting. See Maqalat al-Kawthari (Riyadh and Beirut: Dar al-ahnaf, 1414/1993) p. 407, 412.
Do those who have left this life know about the affairs of the living?
Ibn Qayyim in Kitab al-ruh narrates with his chain from Ibn al-Mubarak on the authority of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari that the latter said: "The works of the living are clear to the dead. Whenever they see a good deed they rejoice and are pleased; but if they see evil they say: O Allah, return its equivalent in good."
Ibn Qayyim in the same book, and Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Kitab al-qubur narrated that `Abbad ibn `Abbad called upon Ibrahim ibn Salih while he was ruler of Palestine and said: "Exhort me." He said: "With what should I exhort you? May Allah set you right! I have heard that the works of the living are clear as day to their dead relatives. So consider what is laid open to the Messenger of Allah of your work." Ibrahim wept until his beard was wet.
Imam Suyuti in his book Sharh al-sudur (p. 263-266) has an entire chapter devoted to that topic entitled: "The Exhibition of the deeds of the living to the dead." In it he lists fifteen hadiths and sayings of the Companions to that effect:
1. Ahmad in his Musnad, al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi in Nawadir al-usul, and Ibn Mindah narrated from Anas that the Prophet said: "Your deeds are shown to your relatives and ancestors among the dead. If they consist in good they are happy with it, if otherwise, they say: O Allah! Don't let them die before you guide them as you have guided us."
2. al-Tayalisi in his Musnad narrated from Jabir ibn `Abd Allah that the Prophet said: " Your deeds are shown to your relatives and ancestors in their graves. If they consist in good they are happy with it, if otherwise, they say: O Allah! Inspire them to act in obedience to You."
3. Ibn al-Mubarak and Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Kitab al-qubur narrated from Abu Ayyub: "Your deeds are shown to the dead, who rejoice if they see any good in them, and if they see evil in them they say: O Allah, give them another opportunity."
4. Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf, al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Abi al-Dunya narrated from Ibrahim ibn Maysara that when Abu Ayyub campaigned to take Constantinople he passed by a story-teller who was saying: "What a servant does in the morning, before evening is shown to those in the hereafter who know him; and what he does at the end of the day is shown to them by the next morning." Abu Ayyub said: "Be careful what you say." He replied: "By Allah it is as I said." Abu Ayyub said: "O Allah, I seek refuge in You lest You reveal my shame to `Ubada ibn al-Samit and Sa`d ibn `Ubada concerning what I did after them."
5. al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi cited in Nawadir al-usul the hadith of `Abd al-Ghafur ibn `Abd al-`Aziz from his father, from his grandfather, whereby the Prophet said: "One's deeds are shown to Allah on Monday and Thursday, and they are shown to Prophets as
well as fathers and mothers on Fridays, at which time they rejoice for the good deeds, and the latter increase the brightness and light of their faces. Therefore be wary of Allah and do not harm your dead."
6. al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi also cited -- as well as Ibn Abi al-Dunya in his Book of Dreams (Kitab al-manamat) and Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman from al-Nu`man ibn Bashir: I heard the Prophet say: "Allah, Allah! [Be wary of Him] concerning your brethren among the dwellers of graves, for your deeds are shown to them."
7. Ibn Abi al-Dunya and al-Asbahani in al-Targhib cited from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet said: "Do not shame your dead with your evil deeds for your deeds are shown to your relatives among the dwellers of the graves."
8. Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Ibn Mindah, and Ibn `Asakir narrated from Ahmad ibn `Abd Allah ibn Abi al-Hawari: My brother Muhammad ibn `Abd Allah related to me: `Abbad al-Khawass walked in to see Ibrahim ibn Salih al-Hashimi when the latter was governor of Palestine. Ibrahim said: "Admonish me." He replied: "It has reached me that the deeds of the living are shown to their relatives among the deceased. Therefore beware what is shown to Allah's Messenger from your deeds."
9. Ibn Abi al-Dunya cited from Abu al-Darda' that he used to say: "O Allah, I seek refuge in You lest my maternal uncle `Abd Allah ibn Rawaha should loathe me when I meet him."
10. Ibn al-Mubarak and al-Asbahani cited from Abu al-Darda' that he said: "Your deeds are shown to the dead, whereupon they rejoice and they are saddened" and he would say: "O Allah, I seek refuge in You from committing a deed by which `Abd Allah ibn Rawaha should be dishonored."
This `Abd Allah ibn Rawaha al-Ansari was the great-grandson of the poet Imru' al-Qays and was himself a great poet among the Companions. He said of the Prophet:
law lam takun fihi ayatun mubina
lakana manzaruhu yunabbi'uka bi al-khabari
"Even if there were not, concerning him, clear and evident
signs, yet the sight of him would have told you the news."
Ibn Hajar narrated it in al-Isaba (2:299) and said: "This is the most beautiful verse of poetry by which the Prophet was ever praised."
Ibn Sayyid al-Nas said of Ibn Rawaha in Minah al-madh (p. 166):
He was killed as a martyr on the day of Mu'ta in Jumada 8 before the conquest of Mecca. On that day he was one of the commanders. He was one of the poets who did good and who used to fend off harm from Allah's Messenger. It was concerning him and his two friends Hassan (ibn Thabit) and Ka`b (ibn Zuhayr) that was revealed the verse: "Except those who believe and do good deeds and remember Allah abundantly." (The Poets 26:227).
Hisham ibn `Urwa narrated from his father that the latter said: I never saw anyone more aggressive or faster in his poetry than `Abd Allah ibn Rawaha. I heard Allah's Messenger say to him one day: "Recite some poetry appropriate to the moment, while I look at you." He rose up then and there and said:
inni tafarrastu fika al-khayra a`rifuhu
wallahu ya`lamu anna ma khanani al-basaru
anta al-nabiyyu wa man yuhramu shafa`atahu
yawma al-hisabi laqad azra bihi al-qadaru
fa thabbat allahu ma ataka min hasanin
tathbita musa wa nasran kalladhi nusiru
I foresee for you immense good, of this I am certain.
Allah knows that my sight never betrayed me.
You are the Prophet, and whoever is deprived of your intercession
On the Day of Reckoning, his destiny is disgrace.
May Allah make firm all the good that He gave you,
With a firmness like Musa's and the same victory.
Upon hearing this the Prophet said to him: "And you also, may Allah make you firm, O Ibn Rawaha." Hisham ibn `Urwa continued: Allah indeed made him firm with the staunchest firmness. He died as a martyr, and Paradise was opened for him and he entered it. End of Ibn Sayyid al-Nas's words. Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions!
11. Ibn al-Mubarak also cited from `Uthman ibn `Abd Allah ibn Aws that Sa`id ibn al-Jubayr said to him: "Give me permission to see my brother's daughter" -- `Uthman's wife and the daughter of `Amr ibn Aws -- so he permitted him. He went and asked her: "How is your husband treating you?" She said: "He does his utmost with me." Then Sa`id said: "O `Uthman! Treat her well, for there is nothing that you do with her except its news reaches `Amr ibn Aws." `Uthman said: "The news of the living reaches the dead?" He said: "Yes, there is no one with an intimate friend [among the deceased] except the news of his relatives reaches him. If it is good he rejoices and is cheered by it, and if it is bad he is saddened and distraught."
12. Ibn Abi al-Dunya cited the following report through Abu Bakr ibn `Iyash, from a grave-digger who was with the Banu Asad and who said: I was among the graves one night when I heard someone in a grave say: "O Abu `Abd Allah!" and another answered: "What, O Jabir?" He said: "Tomorrow our mother will be coming to us." The other replied: "Of what use will that be for her? Let her not come, for my father became angry with her and swore that he would not pray over her." The next day a man came to me and said: "Dig a grave for me between these two," indicating the graves from where I had heard the voices coming. Whereupon I said: "This one's name is Jabir, and that one is `Abd Allah?" He said: "Yes!" So I told him what I had heard. Then the man said: "Yes, I had sworn that I would not pray over her, but I shall break my oath and pray over her."
13. Abu Nu`aym cited from Ibn Mas`ud that the latter said: "Keep relations with those your father kept relations with, for that is the way relations are kept on behalf of the dead in their graves."
14. Ibn Hibban cited from Ibn `Umar that the Prophet said: "Whoever likes to keep relations with his father in his grave, let him keep relations with his father's brothers after him."
15. Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban cited from Abu Usayd al-Sa`idi that a man came to the Prophet and asked: "O Messenger of Allah! Does anything remain of my responsibility to keep piety to my two parents after their death?" He said: "Yes, four aspects of filial piety remain: praying for them, keeping the promises they made, honoring their friends, and keeping relations with those whom you know only because of them."
INTERMEDIARIES TO ALLAH
There is no contradiction in asking Allah both with or without an intermediary, although in reality there are always several kinds of intermediary present, beginning with one's own state, obedience, belief, acts, sincerity, etc. Only those with deficient knowledge or imperfect belief imagine that the person who asks Allah through an intermediary has associated another to his worship of Allah. The Prophet explained this to the Companions once and for all when he said to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq: "Help is not sought with me (i.e. in reality), help is sought with Allah." He did not say to Abu Bakr: "Asking me is forbidden and constitutes association to Allah." What he said meant that the Prophet is not the source of help but only the most effective intermediary to obtain help from Allah.
The meaning of the hadith is elucidated by the Qur'anic verses: "You did not throw when you threw, but Allah threw" (8:17) and: "Those who swear allegiance unto thee swear allegiance only unto Allah" (48:10). Further, the Prophet said, "I did not bear you but Allah bore you." Thus the meaning of the hadith "Help is not sought with me" is:
(Even if I am the one ostensibly being asked
for help,) I am not the one being asked for help,
in reality Allah Himself is being asked.
The hadith "Help is not sought with me" must therefore be interpreted in the light of the fact that asking for help applies to whoever the help comes from including in respect to causation and acquisition (i.e. secondary causes); this is what the Arabic means and the Shari`a permits. This meaning is supported by the hadith in Bukhari (Kitab al-tawhid) touching on intercession on the Day of Resurrection, in which people sought help from Adam, then Musa, then Muhammad, on him be Allah's blessings and peace, and the latter replies: "I can do it."
It is essential to understand that it is not, in reality, the Prophet who is the ultimate object of supplication, nor is he the one who grants it, but he is the best means of forwarding it to Allah and for its being granted by Allah. This is clear in the Prophet's prayer to Allah, in his words, "through Your Prophet and the Prophets before me" and "through those who ask" in the following two hadiths:
On the authority of Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him: He relates that the Messenger of Allah said: "The one who leaves his house for prayer and then says: O Allah, I ask you by the right of those who ask you and I beseech you by the right of those who walk this path unto you that my going forth bespeak not of levity, pride nor vainglory nor done for the sake of repute. I have gone forth in the warding off your anger and for the seeking of your pleasure. I ask you, therefore, to grant me refuge from Hellfire and to forgive me my sins, for no one forgives sins but yourself. Allah will accept for his sake and seventy thousand angels will seek his forgiveness."
It is related in Musnad Ahmad 3:21, Ibn Majah (Masajid), al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib 1:179, Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih, Ibn al-Sani, and Abu Nu`aym. Ghazali mentions it in the Ihya and `Iraqi said: "It is hasan." Nawawi mentions only Ibn al-Sani's two chains in the Adhkar and says they are da`if (weak). However, Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani says it is hasan in al-Amali al-masriyya (#54) and also in the Takhrij of Nawawi's book, explaining that the latter neglected Abu Sa`id al-Khudri's narration and omitted to mention Ibn Majah's. See Imam Kawthari's remarks on this hadith below.
The Prophet also said on the authority of Anas ibn Malik: "O Allah, grant forgiveness to my mother, Fatima Bint Asad, and make vast for her the place of her going in [i.e. her grave] by the right of thy Prophet and that of those Prophets who came before me" and so on until the end of the hadith.
Tabarani relates it in al-Kabir and al-Awsat. Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim declare it sound. The "Fatima" referred to here is the mother of Sayyidina `Ali who raised the Prophet. Ibn Abi Shayba on the authority of Jabir relates a similar narrative. Similar also is what Ibn `Abd al-Barr on the authority of Ibn `Abbas and Abu Nu`aym in his Hilya on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik relate, as al-hafiz al-Suyuti mentioned in the Jami` al-Kabir. Haythami says in Majma` al-zawa'id: "Tabarani's chain contains Rawh ibn Salah who has some weakness but Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim declared him trustworthy. The rest of its sub-narrators are the men of sound hadith." Imam al-Kawthari says about this hadith in his Maqalat (p. 410): "It provides textual evidence whereby there is no difference between the living and the dead in the context of tawassul, and this is explicit tawassul through the Prophets, while the hadith of Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, O Allah, I ask You by the right of those who ask You, constitutes tawassul through the generality of Muslims, both the living and the dead."
The Prophet used to say after the two rak`at of the dawn prayer: "O Allah, Lord of Jibril, of Israfil, of Mika'il, and Lord of Muhammad the Prophet: I seek refuge in You from the Fire..."
Nawawi mentions in the Adhkar that it was narrated by Ibn al-Sani, and Ibn Hajar graded it hasan or fair as mentioned by Ibn `Allan in his Commentary on the Adhkar (Vol. 2 p. 139). Shaykh Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Maliki said: "The specific mention of the above in his du`a is understood as tawassul, as if he were saying: "O Allah, I ask You and I seek as means to You Jibril, Israfil, Mika'il, and Muhammad the Prophet. Ibn `Allan referred to this in his commentary."
IMAM SHAWKANI'S FATWA ON TAWASSUL
AND HIS DENUNCIATION OF WAHHABIS
Imam Shawkani said in his treatise entitled al-Durr al-nadid fi ikhlas kalimat al-tawhid:
There is no harm in tawassul through any one of the Prophets or Friends of Allah or scholars of knowledge... One who comes to the grave as a visitor (za'iran) and invokes Allah alone, using as his means the dead person in the grave, is as one who says: "O Allah, I am asking that you cure me from such-and-such, and I use as a means to You whatever this righteous servant of Yours possesses for worshipping You and striving for Your sake and learning and teaching purely and sincerely for You." Such as this, there is no hesitation in declaring that it is permitted...
Shawkani's denunciation of Wahhabis
He also says in al-Durr al-nadid:
Regarding what those who forbid tawassul to Allah through the Prophets and the saints cite to support their position, such as Allah's sayings:
· "We only worship them in order that they may bring us nearer" (39:3)
· "Do not call on any other god with Allah, or you will be among those who will be punished" (26:213)
· "Say: Call on those besides Him whom ye fancy; they have no power to remove your trouble from you or to change them. Those unto whom they cry seek for themselves the means of approach to their Lord, which of them shall be the nearest; they hope for His mercy and fear His wrath: for the wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of" (17:57)
These verses are irrelevant. Rather: they support exactly the reverse of what the objectors to tawassul claim, since the verses are related to another issue. To wit: the verse "We only worship them in order that they may bring us nearer" explicitly states that they worship them for that purpose, whereas the one who makes tawassul through a scholar, for example, never worships him, but knows that he has a special distinction (maziyya) before Allah for being a carrier of knowledge; and that is why he uses him as a means.
Similarly irrelevant to the issue is Allah's saying: "Do not call on any other god with Allah." This verse forbids that one should call upon another together with Allah, as if saying: "O Allah and O So-and-so." However, the one who makes tawassul through a scholar, for example, never calls upon other than Allah. He only seeks a means to Him through the excellent works that one of His servants achieved, just as the three men in the cave who were blocked by the rock used their good works as a means to have their petition answered.
[Sahih Bukhari, English translation Volume 8, Book 73, Number 5: Narrated Ibn `Umar: Allah's Apostle said, "While three persons were traveling, they were overtaken by rain and they took shelter in a cave in a mountain. A big rock fell from the mountain over the mouth of the cave and blocked it. They said to each other: Think of such righteous deeds which you did for Allah's sake only, and invoke Allah by mentioning those deeds so that Allah may relieve you from your difficulty. One of them said: O Allah! I had my parents who were very old and I had small children for whose sake I used to work as a shepherd. When I returned to them at night and milked the sheep, I used to start giving the milk to my parents first before giving to my children. And one day I went far away in search of a grazing place for my sheep, and didn't return home till late at night and found that my parents had slept. I milked my livestock as usual and brought the milk vessel and stood at their heads, and I disliked to wake them up from their sleep, and I also disliked to give the milk to my children before my parents though my children were crying from hunger at my feet. So this state of mine and theirs continued till the day dawned. O Allah! If you considered that I had done that only for seeking Your pleasure, then please let there be an opening through which we can see the sky. So Allah made for them an opening through which they could see the sky. Then the second person said: O Allah! I had a female cousin whom I loved as much as a passionate man loves a woman. I tried to seduce her but she refused till I paid her one-hundred dinars So I worked hard till I collected one hundred dinars and went to her with that But when I sat in between her legs (to have sexual intercourse with her), she said: O Allah's slave! Be afraid of Allah! Do not deflower me except legally (by marriage contract). So I left her alone. O Allah! If you considered that I had done that only for seeking Your pleasure then please let the rock move a little to have a wider opening. So Allah shifted that rock to make the opening wider for them. And the last person said: O Allah! I employed a laborer for wages equal to a faraq (a certain measure) of rice, and when he had finished his job he demanded his wages, but when I presented his due to him, he gave it up and refused to take it. Then I kept on sowing that rice for him (several times) until I managed to buy, with the price of the yield, some cows and their shepherd. Later on the laborer came to me an said: Be afraid of Allah, and do not be unjust to me an give me my due. I said to him: Go and take those cows and their shepherd. So he took them and went away. If You considered that I had done that for seeking Your pleasure, then please remove the remaining part of the rock. And so Allah delivered them."]
Similarly irrelevant to the issue is Allah's saying: "Those unto whom they cry..." for it refers to people who call upon those who cannot fulfill their request, at the same time not calling upon Allah Who can; whereas one who makes tawassul through a scholar, for example, never called except upon Allah, and none other besides Him.
The above shows the reader that these objectors to tawassul are bringing forth evidence that is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Even more irrelevant is their citing of the verse:
· "The Day when no soul shall have power to do anything for another: for the Command, that Day, will be all with Allah." (82:19)
for that noble verse contains nothing more than the fact that Allah alone decides everything on the Day of Judgment, and that none other will have any say at that time. However, the maker of tawassul through one of the Prophets or one of the scholars, never believes that the one through whom he makes tawassul is in partnership with Allah on the Day of Judgment! Whoever believes such a thing in relation to a Prophet or non-Prophet is in manifest error.
Equally irrelevant is their objection to tawassul by citing the verses:
· "Not for you is the decision in the least" (3:128)
· "Say: I have no power over over good or harm to myself except as Allah wills" (7:188)
for these two verses are explicit in that the Prophet has no say in Allah's decision and that he has no power to benefit or harm himself in the least, let alone someone else: but there is nothing in those two verses to prevent tawassul through him or any other of the Prophets or Friends of Allah or scholars.
Allah has given His Prophet the Exalted Station (al-maqam al-mahmud) -- the station of the Great Intercession (al-shafa`a al-`uzma), and He has instructed creation to ask for that station for him and to request his intercession, and He said to him: "Ask and you shall be granted what you asked! Intercede and you shall be granted what you interceded for!" And in His Book He has made this dependence on the fact that there is no intercession except by His leave, and that none shall possess it except those whom He pleases...
Equally irrelevant is their adducing as proof against tawassul:
· "And admonish your nearest kinsmen" (26:214)
whereupon the Prophet said: "O So-and-so son of So-and-so, I do not have any guarantee on your behalf from Allah; and O So-and-so daughter of So-and-so, I do not have any guarantee on your behalf from Allah." For in the preceding there is nothing other than the plain declaration that he cannot benefit anyone for whom Allah has decreed harm, nor harm anyone for whom Allah has decreed benefit, and that he does not have any guarantee from Allah from any of his close relatives, let alone others. This is known to every Muslim. There is nothing in it, however, that prohibits making tawassul to Allah through the Prophet, for tawassul is a request from the One Who holds power to grant and deny all requests. The petitioner who makes tawassul only desires to place, at the front of his petition, what may be a cause for the granting of his petition by the One Who alone gives and withholds, the Owner of the Day of Judgment.
SHAYKH SALIH AL-NA`MAN'S FATWA ON TAWASSUL
The following legal opinion on tawassul was given by Shaykh Salih al-Na`man, the Secretary of the Section of Ifta' and Religious Education at the Ministry of Religious Endowments (wizarat al-awqaf) of the Syrian Arab Republic in the city of Hama on March 22, 1980. It is reproduced in full in the 1992 Waqf Ikhlas reprint of Sayyid Ahmad Zayni Dahlan's section of his history of Islam al-Futuhat al-islamiyya on the Wahhabi sect entitled Fitnat al-wahhabiyya.
Text of the fatwa:
"Praise belongs to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. Blessings and Peace on our Master Muhammad and on his Family and all his Companions.
"From the slave who is poor and in need of Him, the Secretary of Legal Opinions in the city of Hama (Syria) and the Preacher in the Madfan Mosque, to the brother who asked a question, Sayyid `Ashiq al-Rahman in Wilayatullah Abad in India: Warm greetings and blessings. To proceed: You have asked a question on a legal issue, and this answer is given after some delay because I was away in the Hijaz.
"You asked about al-tawassul ilallah ta`ala bi al-anbiya' wa al-mursalin -- seeking/using means to Allah the Exalted with/through/by means of the Prophets and the Messengers -- and about hukmu man tawassal, the law's position with regard to the person who makes tawassul. This is the answer:
"Praise belongs to Allah the Exalted! Seeking or using means (al-tawassul) to Allah through his Prophet or the Prophets or the Righteous (al-salihin) or with the deeds (a`mal) that are done purely for His glorious countenance: There is no legal prohibition against it, because Allah the Exalted said: "Seek ye the means to Him" (5:35) and "Had they but come to thee when they had wronged themselves, and asked Allah forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-Returning, Merciful" (4:64) and because the Companions -- may Allah be well pleased with them -- used to seek a means through Allah's Messenger, as narrated concerning the blind man who used Allah's Messenger as a means (to obtain his request) and his eyes were opened.
"The Community has reached consensus on the fact that tawassul is permissible as long as one's belief is sound (idha sahhat al-`aqida), and the consensus of the Community constitutes a legal proof (ijma` al-umma hujjatun shar`iyya); as the Prophet said: "My Community shall not agree on an error." As for the claim of some extremists (ghulat) of the Wahhabiyya whereby the law's position with regard to the person who makes tawassul is that it is shirk (worshipping other than Allah together with Him): there is no proof for such a claim either legally or rationally, because the person who makes tawassul does not contravene the Prophet's order: "If you ask, ask Allah, and if you seek help, seek help from Allah." Rather, he is asking Him through one beloved to Him in order that his supplication be answered, and this is what our Glorious and Majestic Lord likes from us. How then can we judge that he is committing shirk when he is not a mushrik (one who commits shirk). Such an act the law considers abominable and our religion declares itself innocent of it, since it has been said: "Whoever declares a believer to be an disbeliever has committed disbelief."
"Our master Usama ibn Zayd killed a mushrik after the latter had said: "There is no god but Allah" (la ilaha illallah). When news of this reached Allah's Messenger he condemned our master Usama in the strongest terms and he said to him: "How can you kill him after he said la ilaha illallah?" He replied: "But he said it with the sword hanging over his head?" The Prophet said again: "How can you kill him after he said la ilaha illallah?" He replied: "O Messenger of Allah, he said it in dissimulation (taqiyyatan)?" The Prophet said: "Did you split his heart open (to see)?" and he did not cease to reprove him until Usama wished that he had not entered Islam until after he had killed that man so that he might have been forgiven all his past sins through belief.
"From this and other narrations we conclude that some of the Wahhabis today may be guilty of hastening to accuse others of disbelief (takfir), as they have done in the past with hundreds of thousands in the Hijaz whom they massacred even as they were saying la ilaha illallah, and as the Kharijis have done in the time of our Master `Ali -- may Allah ennoble his countenance.
"In short, tawassul is not prohibited, rather it is legally commendable (mustahsanu shar`an), and it is not permitted to cast the label of shirk on the believer. This is what will be found in the established books of Islamic law. And Allah knows best."
6 Jumada I 1400
22 March 1980
Signature of the Secretary of Fatwas in Hama
Seal of the Ministry of Religious Endowments
District of the Muhafazat of Hama, Syria
FATWA OF SHAYKH SUHAYL AL-ZABIBI
The following fatwa on tawassul was given by Shaykh Abu Sulayman Suhayl al-Zabibi the Imam of the Mosque of Najjarin in Damascus. It is reproduced in full in the 1992 Waqf Ikhlas reprint of Sayyid Ahmad Zayni Dahlan's section of his history of Islam already cited.
Text of fatwa:
"In the Name of Allah the Merciful the Beneficent, and Blessings and Peace upon our Master Muhammad and upon his Excellent and Pure Family and all those who follow them with excellence until the Day of Judgment.
"To proceed, you have sent us a letter in which you ask the fatwa concerning belief in tawassul through the Prophets and Messengers, Blessings and Salutations be upon them, and the text of your question is: Is the person who believes in this (tawassul) a mushrik (one who worships other than Allah together with Him) or a kafir (disbeliever), and is his worship -- such as salat, zakat, hajj, and sawm -- sound or void (sahiha am fasida)? And you have asked for an exposition from the Glorious Book because it is the first source of legislation, and from the True Sunna because it holds the second rank in the derivation of proofs after the Noble Qur'an, and from the Consensus (ijma`) and the sayings of the pious early generations, may Allah be well pleased with them, because they are closer than us to the full understanding of Allah's Book and the Sunna of His Messenger.
"This is the answer which I give while asking Allah's help and His power and might:
Belief (i`tiqad) in tawassul through the Prophets and Messengers, Blessings and Peace be upon them, and through the Righteous Friends of Allah (al-awliya' al-salihin) upon whose goodness, righteousness, uprightness, and friendship with Allah there is general agreement, is true belief, not disbelief, and I consider it permissible, not forbidden; and
The person seeking such as the above as a means to Allah in order that his need be fulfilled is a believer and one who declares the oneness of Allah, not one who worships other than Allah together with Him, and all his acts of worship are sound.
"Among the proofs for this from Qur'an: Allah the Blessed and the Exalted said: "O ye who believe, fear Allah and seek ye the means to Him" (5:35) in surat al-Ma'ida verse 35 juz' 6. Some of the scholars of Islam have derived from this verse a proof for the legality of seeking help and a means to Allah through the righteous ones among His servants, and of considering them a means between Allah the Almighty and His servants for the fulfillment of needs provided that the person making tawassul believes that the effective doer (al-fa``al) is Allah and none other. If one thinks otherwise, he has committed disbelief, may Allah the Exalted protect us!
"Also among the proofs from Qur'an for tawassul is the saying of Allah the the Blessed and the Exalted: "Had they but come to thee when they had wronged themselves, and asked Allah forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-Returning, Merciful" from sura al-Nisa' verse 64 juz' 5. Ibn Kathir said in explanation of this verse: Allah the Exalted advises those who disobey and those who sin, when they commit their mistakes and disobedience, to come to Allah's Messenger and seek Allah's forgiveness in his presence and ask him (the Prophet) to forgive them. If they do this, Allah relents towards them, grants them mercy, and forgives them; whence He said: "They would have found Allah Oft-Returning, Merciful."
"Ibn Kathir continues: A large number of the scholars, among whom is Shaykh Abu Mansur al-Sabbagh in his book al-Shamil, have mentioned the well-known account related by al-`Utbi who said: As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet, a Bedouin Arab came and said: Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! I heard that Allah said: "If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful," so I have come to you asking forgiveness for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord (mustashfi`an bika ila rabbi). Then he began to recite poetry:
O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth,
And from whose fragrance the depth and the height
have become sweet,
May my life be the ransom for a grave which thou inhabit,
And in which are found purity, bounty, and munificence!
"Then he left, and I dozed and saw the Prophet in my sleep. He said to me: O `Utbi, run after the Bedouin and give him glad tidings that Allah has forgiven him. This is the end of Ibn Kathir's discourse.
"Here now is the proof from the noble hadith. The following hadith was extracted by the following masters of hadith among the Imams: Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih (the rank of which approximates that of Sahih Muslim), al-Nasa'i in his book `Amal al-yawm wa al-layla, al-Tirmidhi in his Jami` and he said of it hasan sahih gharib, that is, with respect to the fact that only Abu Ja`far `Umayr ibn Yazid al-Khutami al-Madani al-Basri narrates it, and he is thiqa (trustworthy) according to Nasa'i and Ibn Ma`in, therefore the fact that it is gharib does not jeopardize its rank of sahih. Ibn Majah also narrated it and confirmed Abu Ishaq [Ibn Rahawayh] who declared it sahih, and so did al-Hakim in his Mustadrak who said: "It is sound according to the criterion of Bukhari and Muslim," and Dhahabi confirmed him.
"From `Uthman ibn Hunayf: He was with the Prophet at the time a blind man came to him complaining of his lack of eyesight, etc. This is a sound hadith in which the Prophet explicitly orders those who have a certain need to make tawassul and call him in his absence -- both in his life and after his death. This is precisely what the Companions understood from him, as his order to any given person in the Community is directed to all the Community in every time as long as there is no proof that it is specific to an individual. What then if there is proof to the contrary -- i.e. that it is not specific to an individual? Tabarani related in his Mu`jam al-kabir and Mu`jam al-saghir that a man in need used to try to visit `Uthman ibn `Affan frequently, etc. Tabarani said the hadith was sound and Bayhaqi narrated it in Dala'il al-nubuwwa with a good chain."
Abu Sulayman Suhayl al-Zabibi
Imam of Masjid al-Najjarin
FATWA OF MUSTAFA IBN AHMAD IBN AL-HASAN
AL-SHATTI AL-HANBALI AL-ATHARI AL-DIMASHQI (1856-1929 C.E.)
From the 1994 Waqf Ikhlas offset reprint of al-Shatti's al-Nuqul al-shar`iyya fi al-radd `ala al-wahhabiyya (The Legal Proof-Texts Concerning the Reply to the Wahhabi Sect)
1. Fa istaghathahu al-ladhi min shi`atihi (28:15) "The man of his [Musa's] own people appealed to him [P: asked him for help] against his foe."
2. Wa law annahum idh zalamu anfusahum ja'uka fa istaghfarullah... (4:64) "If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee [Muhammad] and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them [P: and asked forgiveness of the Messenger], they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful."
If a Wahhabi says: "This is specific to him (the Prophet) being alive," we say there is unanimity and the clearest evidences about the Prophet being alive in his honored grave.
The rule of this noble verse is applicable now and any time Allah wills. This is why you see that all scholars recommend reading this verse when visiting his honored grave. This fact cannot be hidden from anybody who has studied the sayings of the scholars in this respect. There is no need to detail it again. Anyone who claims a contrary interpretation has to bring evidence to that effect. And how will he get such evidence when many other verses teach the believers to seek shelter with the Prophet?
Among such verses are: al-nabiyyu awla bil mu'minina min anfusihim (33:6) "The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are (as) their mothers," and wa ma arsalnaka illa rahmatan lil `alamin (21:107) "We did not send you except as a Mercy to the worlds. This is exactly what was understood by the father of humanity, Adam, from the juxtaposition of the name of the Prophet to Almighty Allah's name. Adam understood that the Prophet is the intermediary and the means to Him, so he sought intercession through him to his Lord in order to be forgiven; and he was forgiven as has been established.
As for the verses and ahadith which have been put forward by the Wahhabis such as the following: ud`uni astajib lakum (40:60) "Call on [P: pray unto] me; I will answer [P: hear] your prayer"; fa firru ila Allah (51:50) "Therefore flee unto Allah"; wa in yamsask Allahu bi durrin fa la kashifa lahu illa hu (6:17, 10:107) "If Allah touch thee with affliction, none can remove it [P: relieve therefrom] but He", "If Allah do touch thee with hurt, there is none can remove it but He"; wa nahnu aqrabu ilayhi min habl al-warid (50:16) "For We are nearer to him than his jugular vein"; Hadith: idha ista`anta fa ista`in billah "If you ask for help, then ask help from Allah" etc; these verses do not support the Wahhabis' claim that it is prohibited to use the means of Prophets and the pious. This is very clear. Those who agree among Muslims about the permissibility and recommendability of seeking the Prophets and pious ones as means never meant to suppose any effective power as originating in them. They never believed such a belief at all! Rather, all Muslims believe that Allah Almighty is the doer of His own free deliberation, and He alone is the giver and taker of existence, of benefit, and harm. This is one of the basic beliefs in Islam. The scholars never considered seeking the means of Prophets and the pious ones as consisting in mimman ittakhadha min dunillahi andadan or "taking equals other than Allah" as the Wahhabis have claimed.
How dare they use for evidence to support their school of thought verses like: wa la ya'murukum an tattakhidhu al-mala'ikata wal-nabiyyina arbaban (3:80) "[P:] And He commanded you not that ye should take the angels and the Prophets
for lords" and the like! This is a clear manipulation of the meaning of the verse and a use of something out of its proper place. If you mention the specious argument of those who forbid using an intermediary, namely that they see the common people often requesting from the pious ones, whether living or dead, what should properly be requested only from Allah Almighty: that is open to question in our opinion and not a proven fact as Ibn Taymiyya overtly misrepresents it in many of his books and treatises! For he discusses something to that effect in relation to the hadith of the blind man when he begins with the words: "Concerning this [tawassul] there is the hadith of the blind man..." This is a summation of his opposition to the issue at hand: "And they find that the common people say to the saint (wali): Do such-and-such for me, and these words that they use suggest an influence on their part which properly belongs only to Allah Almighty."
I answer that these confusing expressions must be interpreted figuratively, and the proof for their having to be taken figuratively is that they originate in the mouth of a pure monotheist (muwahhid). Therefore, if the common person is asked of the soundness of his belief in what he is saying, he will answer that Allah alone is the Most Effective Doer (al-Fa`al) without partner; and that he asks of those great ones who are honored by Allah and brought near Him because they mean by that to use them as their intermediaries to reach their goal which is Allah Almighty. The reason that they have recourse to the pious ones is that the latter have been placed high by Allah Himself and He is the One who holds them in such consideration and they obtain what they desire from Him, as He Himself has said.
We concede that it is good to recommend to the common people that they observe the path of good manners towards Allah Almighty in masking their requests; indeed it is a part of ordering the good and forbidding the reprehensible. However, it is not correct for us to forbid them from seeking means and using help in absolute terms. How can that be done when Allah Almighty said: "The man of his (Musa's) own people appealed to him against his foe" (28:15)?
REPUDIATION OF THOSE WHO COMPARE TAWASSUL AND ASKING INTERCESSION TO THE CHRISTIAN WORSHIP OF JESUS AND THE SAINTS, AND OF THOSE WHO LIMIT THE QUANTITY OF PERMISSIBLE SALAWAT ON THE PROPHET IN ANY WAY OR FORM
As for the specious comparison by some "Salafis" of Muslims making tawassul through the Prophet to the Christian worship of Jesus, or Muslims making tawassul through awliya to the Christian worship of saints, we ask Allah to reform those who make such comparisons and stray so widely from the right path in their views as to forget, by ignorance or design, that Muslims are strict monotheists who worship Allah alone and use the blessings of particular acts, times, places, and persons to benefit them, not as objects of worship. If they persist in not seeing the difference between taking one as an object of worship on the one hand, and using one as a means to obtain blessings on the other, we ask Allah for protection from such misguidance, for persistence in making analogies between the doctrines of Muslims and Christians in disregard of their fundamental disparity is a characteristic of the enemies of Islam.
One deviant sect in particular among these enemies of tawassul are the bukhala' or misers who wish to curtail sending "too much blessings and peace" on the Prophet on the pretense that it would foster worship of the Prophet. They claim -- and what a detestable claim -- that "praising him too much would be like ascribing a partner to Allah." Subhan Allah! The Prophet explicitly declared their status in the hadith when he said: "The miser (bakhil) is he before whom my name is mentioned and he does not invoke blessings and peace upon me."
"Verily, Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O believers! Invoke blessings upon him, and utmost greetings." (33:56)
The bukhala' have declared their opposition to Allah Himself, since Allah Himself is sending his salat on the Prophet. If Allah does something, can anyone compete with Him in that? If not, and if He gives the order nevertheless to do the same, then how can that same thing ever be "too much"? Even one salat of Allah on His Prophet is more than all the salawat jinn and mankind can ever make, even if they made it forever. For that reason, our salat on the Prophet can never be enough, nor does it consist of anything at all on our part, but is only our asking more salat from Allah on him: Allahuma salli `ala Muhammad, i.e. "O Allah, we beg You to send Your salat on Your Prophet."
It is beyond us how anyone can dare say that there is too much praise for the Prophet when his very name is the Praised One. The scholars have even said that Allah has cut the name of the Prophet from His Own Name, as we shall explain insha Allah in the section on the Prophet's Names. Suffice it to say here that the names of Muhammad, Ahmad, and Mahmud: "Praised One, Most Praised, and Praiseworthy," were never given to any one person before or after him; and Allah said, as read by al-Baydawi in his Commentary:
Allah suffices as witness
(that) Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah!
What differentiates the Muslims from the Jews? The Jews say la ilaha illallah but they never like to say Musa rasulullah. They are stingy in love for their Prophet. Christians similarly refuse to say `Isa rasulullah although for other reasons. Both groups refuse to say Muhammadun rasulullah and that is where we differ. You cannot be Muslim without the latter, even if you are a believer in God. This makes the second part of the shahada a requirement for entering Islam, and thus belief in the Prophet is a means for salvation from error and punishment. Allah never accepts anyone to come to Him saying "I love You directly": instead they must obey the order "If you indeed love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you" (3:31). Therefore love of Allah can only proceed from love of the Prophet and its sign is to praise him and invoke blessings upon him often, as he requested in the hadith akthiru al-salat `alayya ("Send much blessings upon me") which we cite below.
The scholars have explained that Allah's salawat or sending of blessings stands for rahma -- mercy-- while the believers' salawat or invocation of blessings stands for du`a -- supplication. This verse on the salawat of Allah and His angels is absolute in sense and unrestricted with respect to quantity and time. In other words Allah and His angels send blessings, peace, mercy, honor, gifts, and salutations upon the Prophet at all times and with boundless abundance. Allah orders the believers to invoke blessings upon him similarly, that is: incessantly, as far as they are able.
Furthermore, since the best remembrance is la ilaha illallah, a Muslim does not remember Allah except he also remembers the Prophet since he says directly after it: muhammadun rasulullah. This is established by Allah's saying: "Remember Me and I shall remember you" (2:152) as elucidated by the hadith: "Whoever invokes blessings upon me once, Allah sends ten blessings upon him." In this connection al-hafiz Sakhawi said:
Just as in the testimony of faith (shahada) Allah has placed His Messenger's blessed name next to His own sacred name and has said that he who obeys the Prophet obeys Him and he who loves the Prophet loves Him, in the same manner He has related our invoking blessings upon the Prophet to His own blessings upon us. Therefore just as Allah said about His remembrance: "Remember Me and I will remember you," likewise is His assurance: "Allah sends ten blessings on the one who invokes a single blessing on the Holy Prophet," as it is established in the sound hadith.
Sakhawi mentions on the same page al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi's similar explanation of the verse: "Whoso brings a good deed shall have ten the like of it" (6:160) as referring to the good deed of invoking blessings on the Prophet, in the light of the aforementioned hadith.
Anyone who dares claim that there is a limitation in quantity, quality, timeliness, or in any other aspect of invoking blessings and peace upon the Prophet has erred and strayed from the Qur'an, the Sunna, and the Religion of Islam. Be warned, Muslims who love your Prophet -- and every Muslim loves his Prophet -- about the dissemination of such false advice in your midst, which typifies the logic of those who cannot differentiate between worship and respect and are remiss in both, and typifies the hatred of non-Muslims for the central symbol of the Religion of Muslims -- Blessings and Peace upon him. Diminishing one's praise of the Prophet on the pretense that "it would foster his worship" is to imitate Iblis, who refused to prostrate to Adam on the claim that he only worships Allah.
Such are those who desire to extinguish Allah's light, but Allah will perfect His light in spite of them. None but non-Muslims cringe at the enthusiasm of the believers in invoking blessings on their Prophet. Such enthusiasm proceeds directly from the Prophet's own joy when he received news from Heaven of the immense mercy granted his Community for invoking blessings upon him:
Sahl ibn Sa`d narrates: Allah's Messenger came out and met Abu Talha. The latter rose and went to him saying: "My father and mother be sacrificed for you, Messenger of Allah! I see joy and delight in your countenance?" The Prophet said: "Yes, for Gabriel has just come to me saying: O Muhammad, whoever among your Community invokes blessings upon you once, Allah records for Him ten meritorious deeds, erases from his register ten evil deeds, and raises him ten degrees because of it." al-Sakhawi said: "Our shaykh (Ibn Hajar) graded it hasan without doubt."
Another extremely important reason why one must incessantly invoke blessings on the Prophet is that it is established in the hadith that "the du`a or invocation of the believer is suspended between heaven and earth as long as the invocation of blessings and peace upon your Prophet does not accompany it." Tirmidhi narrates this hadith from `Umar in the section of his Sunan entitled Sifat al-salat `ala al-nabi, and al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi comments it thus:
The chain of men who narrate this is sound and both Malik and Muslim have cited it though not Bukhari. Such an utterance on the part of `Umar can only be a Prophetic legislation because it is not subject to opinion. It is strengthened by Muslim's narration of the Prophet's words: "If you hear the mu'adhdhin, repeat his words after him then invoke blessings upon me... then ask Allah to grant me al-wasila..."
It is established that invoking blessings on the Prophet is especially meritorious on Friday according to the following hadith:
"Invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday because it is a day that is (particularly) witnessed and the angels witness it (abundantly). As soon as a person invokes blessings on me his invocation is shown to me until he ends it." Abu al-Darda' said: "Even after (your) death?" The Prophet replied: "Verily, Allah has forbidden the earth to consume the bodies of Prophets."
The Prophet explicitly confirmed that the believer gains by invoking blessings and peace upon him without restriction, even if one ceases all other forms of du`a. This is established in the hadith:
Ubayy ibn Ka`b said: "After one third of the night the Prophet used to get up. One such time he said: O People! Remember Allah! The rajifa [first blow of the Trumpet] is upon us! The radifa [second blow of the Trumpet] follows it. Death has come." Ubayy said: ya rasulallah inni ukthiru al-salata `alayka fa kam aj`al laka min salati "O Messenger of Allah, I make much salawat upon you as a habit. How much of my prayer should I devote to you?" The Prophet said: "As much as you like." Ubayy said: "A quarter?" The Prophet said: "As you like, but if you add to that it will be better for you." Ubayy then mentioned a third, then a half, then two thirds, and always the Prophet answered: "As you like, but if you add to that it will be better for you." Finally Ubayy said: ya rasulallah inni uridu an aj`ala salati kullaha lak "O Messenger of Allah, I want to devote my entire prayer (i.e. du`a) to you." Whereupon the Prophet said: "Then you will be freed from care and your sins will be forgiven." (Another version has: "Then Allah will suffice you in the matter of your worldly life and your hereafter.")
The scholars of Islam have contributed many commentaries on this important hadith, of which we cite the following from Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami's Fatawa hadithiyya and from the hafiz al-Sakhawi's al-Qawl al-badi`:
(Haytami:) It is understood from the wording of these narrations that the meaning of the word salat in the expression: "I shall devote my salat to you" is du`a' -- invocation... Then the meaning is: "There is a time in which I make du`a on behalf of myself: how much of that should I devote to you?" If this is established firmly, then consider what the Shaykh al-Islam al-hafiz Ibn Hajar said as reported from him by his student al-hafiz al-Sakhawi who particularly commended this saying of his: "This hadith constitutes a tremendous principle of the Religion for whoever makes du`a after his recitation and says: O Allah, grant our Master Allah's Messenger the reward of this worship."
(Sakhawi:) Salat in this hadith means invocation (du`a') and habitual devotion (wird) in the following sense: "There is a time in which I make du`a on behalf of myself: how much of that should I devote to you?" The Prophet did not consider that he should place a limit for him in this respect in order not to close the gate of superabundance for him. Accordingly he persisted in giving Ubayy the choice at the same time as he stressed for him surplus in invocation until Ubayy said: "I shall devote my entire prayer to you." That is: I shall invoke blessings upon you instead of asking anything for myself. Whereupon the Prophet said: "Then you will be freed from care," that is: do not worry either for your Religion or for your worldly need, because invoking blessings on me includes both remembrance of Allah and rendering honor to the Prophet; and the sense of this is an indication to Ubayy that he is actually invoking for himself, as confirmed by the Prophet's report on behalf of his Lord: "Whoever is occupied from beseeching Me because of remembering Me, I shall grant him the best of what I grant those who beseech." Know then that if you make most of your worship consist in invoking blessings upon your Prophet, Allah will suffice you in the matter of your worldly life and your hereafter.
However, according to the party of the bukhala' -- the mean and miserly -- to follow the Prophet's advice in this matter "would foster his worship"! How far is this "Salafi" opinion from the Qur'an and the Sunna! In 1,400 years of sending salawat on the Prophet far more abundantly than in our age, we have never witnessed what they claim; how then do they want us to fear its occurrence now? Have they forgotten that the Prophet specifically said: "Those closest to me in the hereafter are those who invoked blessings upon me the most (in dunya)" and "No people sit at length without mentioning Allah and invoking blessings on His Prophet except they will incur dissatisfaction from Allah (or: dissatisfaction on the Day of Rising): if He likes He will punish them and if He likes He will forgive them"? Rather, they are intent on hindering Muslims from expressing love for their Prophet through invoking blessings upon him, celebrating his birth, reading his life story, and encouraging each other towards knowing him and loving him more than their own parents and children. This is the great characteristic of this Community which its enemies wish to eradicate: we know our Prophet; we keep his status high; we prefer his Sunna to all other lifestyles; and we cherish his love among us more dearly than our own lives and properties.
The following is a list of the principal benefits obtained by invoking blessings on the Prophet as compiled by the hafiz al-Sakhawi in his book devoted to the topic, entitled al-Qawl al-badi` fi al-salat `ala al-habib al-shafi` (The Radiant Discourse Concerning the Invocation of Blessings on the Beloved Intercessor):
Among the rewards of one who performs salat upon Allah's Messenger are the following:
The salat -- blessing -- of Allah, His angels, and His Prophet on that person;
the expiation of his faults;
the purification of his works;
the exaltation of his rank;
the forgiveness of his sins;
the asking of forgiveness for him by his own salat;
the recording of rewards the like of Mount Uhud for him and his repayment in superabundant measure;
the comfort of his world and his hereafter if he devotes his entire salat to invoking blessings upon him;
the obliteration of more faults than that effected by the manumission of a slave;
his deliverance from affliction because of it;
the witnessing of the Prophet himself to it;
the guarantee of the Prophet's intercession for him;
Allah's pleasure, mercy, and safety from His anger;
admission under the shade of the Throne for him;
preponderance of his good deeds in the Balance;
his admission to drink from the Prophet's Pond;
his safety from thirst and deliverance from the Fire;
his ability to cross the Bridge swiftly;
the sight of his seat in Paradise before he dies;
numerous wives in Paradise;
the preponderance of his salat over more than twenty military conquests;
its equivalency to giving alms to the needy;
its being zakat and purification for him;
his wealth will increase because of its blessing;
more than one hundred of his needs will be fulfilled through it;
it constitutes worship;
it is the most beloved of all deeds to Allah;
it beautifies meetings;
it cancels out poverty and material duress;
it lets him expect and find goodness everywhere;
it makes him the most deserving of goodness;
he benefits from it as well as his children and theirs, as well as those to whom its reward is gifted in the register of his good deeds;
it brings him near to Allah and to His Prophet;
it is a light that helps him against his enemies;
it cleans his heart of hypocrisy and rust;
it commands the love of people and the sight of the Prophet in dreams;
it forbids slander (ghiba) against him;
In sum, it is among the most blessed, most meritorious, most useful of deeds in Religion and in the life of the world, and carries desirable rewards other than all this for those who are clever and eager to acquire the deeds which constitute treasures for them, and harvest the most flourishing and glowing of hopes. They do this by focusing on the deed that includes all these tremendous merits, noble qualities, manifold and all-encompassing benefits which are not found together in any other. Nor do they characterize any other human action or speech except this: sallahu `alayhi wa sallama tasliman kathiran -- may Allah bless him and greet him abundantly.
DARUD TAJ: INVOCATION OF BLESSINGS
UPON THE PROPHET KNOWN AS
"INVOCATION OF THE CROWN"
The following is a transliteration and translation of a famous invocation of blessings on the Prophet entitled Darud taj or "Invocation of the Crown" which is especially well known in the Indian subcontinent:
allahumma salli `ala sayyidina wa mawlana Muhammad
sahibi al-taji wal-mi`raji wal-buraqi wal-`alam
dafi` al-bala'i wal-waba'i wal-qahti wal-maradi wal-alam
ismuhu maktubun marfu`un mashfu`un manqushun fi al- lawhi wal-qalam
sayyidi al-`arabi wal-`ajam
jismuhu muqaddasun mu`attarun mutahharun munawwarun fil-bayti wal-haram
shams al-duha badr al-duja sadr al`ula nur al-huda
kahf al-wara misbah al-zulam
jamil al-shyam shafi` al-umam sahib al-judi wal-karam
wallahu `asimuhu wa jibrilu khadimuhu wal-buraqu markabuhu
wal-mi`raju safaruhu wa sidratu al-muntaha maqamuhu
wa qaba qawsayni matlubuhu
wal-matlubu maqsuduhu wal-maqsudu mawjuduhu
sayyid al-mursalin khatim al-nabiyyin
shafi` al-mudhnibin anis al-gharibin
rahmatun li al-`alamin
rahat al-`ashiqin murad al-mushtaqin
shams al-`arifin siraj al-salikin misbah al-muqarrabin
muhibb al-fuqara' wal-masakin
wasilatina fi al-darayn
sahibi qaba qawsayn
mahbub rabbi al-mashriqayni wal-maghribayn
jadd al-hasani wal-husayn
mawlana wa mawla al-thaqalayn
Abi al-Qasimi MUHAMMAD Ibni `Abdillah
nurin min nurillah
ya ayyuha al-mushtaquna bi nuri jamalihi
sallu `alayhi wa alihi wa sallimu taslima
Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin wa `ala ali Muhammadin wa sallim
O Allah, send blessings and Peace upon our Master and Patron Muhammad,
The Owner of the Crown and the Ascent and the Buraq and the Standard,
The Repeller of Affliction and Disease and Drought and Illness and Pain.
His name is written on high, served and engraved in the Tablet and the Pen,
The Leader of All, Arabs and non-Arabs,
Whose body is sanctified, fragrant, and pure,
Illumined in the House and the Haram,
The Sun of Brightness, the Full Moon in Darkness,
The Foremost One in the Highest Fields, the Light of Guidance,
The Cave of Refuge for Mortals, the Lamp That Dispels the Night,
The Best-Natured One, The Intercessor of Nations,
The Owner of Munificence and Generosity.
Allah is his Protector, Gabriel is his servant.
The Buraq is his mount, the Ascent is his voyage,
The Lote-Tree of the Furthermost Boundary is his station,
Two Bow-Lengths or Nearer is his desire,
His desire is his goal, and he has found his goal,
The Master of the Messengers, the Seal of the Prophets,
The intercessor of sinners, the friend of the strangers,
The Mercy for the Worlds,
The rest of those who burn with love, the goal of those who yearn,
The sun of knowers, the lamp of travellers,
The light of Those Brought Near,
The friend of the poor and destitute,
The master of Humans and Jinn,
The Prophet of the Two Sanctuaries,
The Imam of the Two Qiblas,
Our Means in the Two Abodes,
The Owner of Qaba Qawsayn,
The Beloved of the Lord of the Two Easts and the Two Wests,
The grandfather of al-Hasan and al-Husayn,
Our patron and the patron of Humans and Jinn:
Abu al-Qasim MUHAMMAD Son of `Abd Allah,
A light from the light of Allah.
O you who yearn for the light of his beauty,
Send blessings and utmost greetings of peace
Upon him and upon his Family.
ANOTHER INVOCATION OF BLESSINGS AND PEACE UPON THE PROPHET
This is another well-known invocation of blessings and peace upon the Prophet. Some of the words in it come from the Ansar who greeted the Prophet with outpourings of joy and acclamation when he entered Madina for his Emigration there. On this chapter the Companion al-Bara' ibn `Azib narrates:
The first people who came to us (in Medina) were Mus`ab ibn `Umayr and Ibn Umm Maktum who were teaching Qur'an to the people. Then there came Bilal, Sa`d, and `Ammar ibn Yasir. After that `Umar ibn al-Khattab came along with twenty other Companions of the Prophet. Later on the Prophet himself came and I had never seen the people of Medina so joyful as they were on the arrival of Allah's Apostle, for even the slave girls were saying, "Allah's Apostle has arrived!" Before his arrival I had already memorized the Sura starting with: "GLORIFY THE NAME OF YOUR LORD, THE MOST HIGH" (87:1) together with other Suras of al-Mufassal.
Blessings and peace on the one who said: "I was sent to all people without exception" and "I was sent only as Mercy. I was not sent as a punishment."
ya nabi salam `alayka
ya rasul salam `alayka
ya habib salam `alayka
O Prophet, Peace be upon you.
O Messenger, Peace be upon you.
O Beloved, Peace be upon you.
The Blessings of Allah be upon you.
tala`a al-badru `alayna
min thaniyyat al-wada`
wajaba al-shukru `alayna
ma da`a lillahi da`
The full moon has risen over us
From the mountains of al-Wada`.
We shall ever give thanks for it
As long as there will be callers to Allah.
anta shamsun anta badrun
anta nurun fawqa nur
anta iksiru al-wujud
anta misbah al-sudur
You are a sun, you are a full moon,
You are light upon light,
You are the quintessence of existence,
You are the lamp in every breast
ashraqa al-badru `alayna
fakhtafat minhu al-budur
mithla husnik ma ra'ayna
qattu ya wajh al-surur
The full moon has risen over us
Eclipsing all other moons.
Such as your beauty we have never seen
No, never, O face of delight!
ya habibi ya muhammad
ya `arus al-khafiqayn
ya mu'ayyad ya mumajjad
ya imam al qiblatayn
O My beloved, O Muhammad,
O bridegroom of the East and the West,
The one Allah vindicated and exalted,
O Imam of the Two Directions!
ya nabi salam `alayka
ya rasul salam `alayka
ya habib salam `alayka
Abundant Blessings and Greetings of Peace upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.
ALBANI'S REWORDING OF THE PROPHET'S
DU`A OF TAWASSUL
Following is a concise refutation of a recent dissertation by the "Salafi" shaykh Albani entitled Tawassul: Its Types and Its Rulings currently distributed in translation among English-speaking Muslims by his supporters in order to replace with "Salafi" ideology the understanding of Ahl al-Sunna regarding tawassul. It will be seen with Allah's permission that the commentary of Albani is a proof against "Salafis" and all those who follow new teachings instead of clinging to the sawad al-a`zam or massive majority of scholars. Their pretext that "there is disagreement about tawassul" and that "we follow proof not scholars" is a sham. There is no disagreement about tawassul among Ahl al-Sunna except the dissent of some lone voices in the matter, such as Ibn Taymiyya who declared travel undertaken to visit the Prophet an act of disobedience: this is not disagreement but shudhudh or dissent, as classified by Imam Ahmad in speaking of the disagreement of the lone scholar with the consensus. There seems to be little doubt that Albani has achieved the same dubious distinction of dissenting with one and all, as he proudly admits in the following lines of his book, especially the second sentence which we have emphasized:
The proofs that Albani alone purports to see -- against what the majority understand -- are characteristic of the "Salafi" method. As the scholars who debate them well know, the "Salafi" method consists in a lack of method in and a non-recognition of any of the established principles of the derivation of rulings from the primary sources other than what fits the purpose of their position at the time. Scholars of Ahl al-Sunna may traditionally familiarize themselves with the fiqh and the usul of other than their own school, but this is impossible to do with the "Salafis," because they completely lack any type of method and shift constantly from one position to another depending on the purpose at hand. Albani has achieved particular notoriety for his contamination of the field of hadith scholarship with this systematic unaccountability and free-lance style.
As we will see in the section on salat in the present work, Albani had previously suggested altering the prayer by changing the words as-salamu `alayka ayyuha al-nabi to as-salamu `ala al-nabi in the tashahhud whereas the Prophet explicitly said, as related in Bukhari and Muslim: "Pray as you see me pray," and: "Who innovates something in this matter of ours (meaning religion), it is radd (rejected)." And here is Albani now trying to alter the tawassul through the Prophet which is valid for all and for all times, and reduce it to a one-time du`a of the Prophet valid only for a single man in the Prophet's time. But, as the Prophet said: "There is no preventing what Allah has given, and there is no avoidance of what He has decreed."
1. ALBANI'S TAMPERING WITH THE HADITH ITSELF
1. Albani or his translator err on the narrator's name. This is the Companion `Uthman ibn Hunayf, not Haneef, and his full name is Abu `Amr `Uthman ibn Hunayf ibn Wahb of Aws, may Allah be well pleased with him.
2. The wording of the hadith is: "O Muhammad I have turned with you (bika) to my Lord." It is not "O Muhammad I have turned by means of your du`a (bi du`a'ika) to my Lord." We shall see that this blatant interpolation of another term in lieu of the explicit wording of the hadith is central to Albani's attempt to reword this hadith of the Prophet (we have already transcribed the complete and correct translation of this hadith above, in the section entitled SEEKING MEANS THROUGH THE PROPHET).
3. The blind man's final words are not "and accept my supplication for him" nor could they be, since he is not praying for the Prophet but for himself. He is imploring Allah to help him by means of the Prophet's intercession, not by means of his own, and he is practicing Islam, not egalitarianism!
The original Arabic is (in one of two versions in Ahmad): wa tashaffa`ni fihi which must be translated: "and join me to him in supplicating You (i.e. join my supplication to his)," as he is well aware that the likelihood of his being heard increases exponentially if it is linked to the Prophet's audience.
One may excuse the false suggestion that the man not only prays for the Prophet's intercession for him but also for his own interceding for the Prophet as stemming from a bad translation. However, the poor translation is just as deliberate as the misrendering of "O Muhammad I have turned by means of your du`a to my Lord," since Albani, as we shall see, tries to adduce the supposed du`a of the blind man on behalf of the Prophet as additional evidence to support his idea that the tawassul in the hadith is by means of du`a and not by means of the person of the Prophet.
Furthermore the words of the blind man's final request "and join me to him in supplicating You" are not in all versions. They are not found in Ahmad's first version out of two, nor in Tirmidhi's version, nor in Ibn Majah's version, nor in Nasa'i's version, nor in the version retained by Imam Nawawi in his Adhkar! Why then does Albani cite it as the primary text instead of assigning it parenthetical mention, as he does with the phrase: "(and in a narration: and if you wish have patience and that is better for you)"? Because, as we have said, he wants to make the entire hadith revolve around tawassul through the du`a of the Prophet as opposed to his person, and he wants to adduce the blind man's own supposed tawassul through his own du`a as additional evidence of his claim, as we see below.
2. ALBANI'S DISSENT AND CONTEMPT FOR THE SCHOLARS
Observe how he says "the opponents," although it is he who has brought opposition to something established in Islam, and he invented that it is not through the Prophet's sacred status (hurmat) or person (dhaat) but through his du`a that tawassul is permissible, in open contradiction to the understanding of the Salaf such as Mujahid, Imam Malik, Imam al-Shafi`i, Imam Ahmad, Ibrahim al-Harbi, and al-Shawkani as we have already seen, and that of Ibn al-Jawzi, Nawawi, Ibn al-Humam, and Ibn al-Qayyim as we see below.
Rather, Muslims believe as Ibn al-Jawzi said that it is through the Prophet's person and status and not only through his du`a that one makes tawassul, as is clear from this excerpt from his chapter concerning the Prophet's superiority over the other Prophets in his book al-Wafa:
Part of the exposition of his superiority to other Prophets
is the fact that Adam asked his Lord through the sacred status
(hurma) of Muhammad that He relent towards him, as we have
The importance of this remark does not lie in the veracity of the hadith, which is a separate discussion -- and Ibn al-Jawzi clearly considers it authentic -- but in the wording of Ibn al-Jawzi whereby tawassul is correct as made through the status of the Prophet. This is enough of an indication that Ibn al-Jawzi's `aqida or doctrine concerning tawassul fully contradicts that of Albani and his followers. It comes down to deciding who is closer to following the Sunna: the Imams, huffaz and historians on the one hand -- or the polemicist and scholar of books? al-hamdu lillah, this is no dilemma at all.
Indeed the position of Albani is not founded upon the explicit words of the hadith, but upon their figurative interpretation. The hadith clearly says: bi nabiyyika i.e. with/by means of/through Your Prophet. Even a child of seven years old can see that this does not mean "through the du`a of your Prophet." Nor does he provide any justification for his recourse to figurative interpretation in a matter where the literal meaning is clear and true.
This argument is entirely speculative and the Shari`a is not derived from speculation. The facts are clear. The ruling is not derived only from the fact that the blind man came to the Prophet but from the entirety of the hadith. The blind man came asking for the Prophet's du`a, and the Prophet subsequently taught him a form of du`a that he should make after performing wudu' and praying two rak`at. In the latter du`a the Prophet further taught him to make tawassul with certain clear and explicit words. These same words were used by the man in need in the time of sayyidina `Uthman ibn `Affan, after the time of the Prophet. Was the man in need not also an Arab who knew very well the meaning of 'tawassul' in the Arabic Language?
About the hadith of the man in need which we have already cited in full earlier, Shaykh Yusuf al-Rifa`i wrote in his rebuttal to a "Salafi" critic entitled "The Evidence of the Sunni Community" (Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a): "This is an explicit, unequivocal text from a prophetic Companion proving the validity of tawassul through the dead"; and Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid (1910-1969) has written in his "Rebuttals of Falsehoods" (Rudud `ala abatil): "As for calling upon the righteous (when they are physically absent, as in the words Ya Muhammad in the hadiths of `Uthman Ibn Hunayf), tawassul to Allah Most High through them is permissible, the supplication (du`a) being to Allah Most Glorious, and there is much evidence for its permissibility. Those who call on them intending tawassul cannot be blamed." Are Shaykh al-Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i, Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid, and Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Ghumari not also Arabs who know very well the meaning of 'tawassul' in the Arabic Language?
Were Imam Ahmad, Shawkani, and Ibn al-Jawzi not also Arabs who knew very well the meaning of 'tawassul' in the Arabic Language? What about Imam Nawawi and Ibn al-Humam, who are cited below as instructing every visitor to the Prophet in Madina to seek him as a means in tawassul -- are they not Arabs who knew very well the meaning of 'tawassul' in the Arabic Language? All these major scholars did not seem to experience the same problem as Albani with the language of tawassul, nor with the fact that tawassul is said by a person in need mentioning the name of another person as intermediary!
... in the words taught to him by the Prophet, which consist verbatim in asking Allah through the Prophet himself and his status. That is the essence of the du`a taught by the Prophet, and of the entire hadith.
Rather, the end does confirm that the essence of this du`a revolves around the Prophet's intercession, and that is what making tawassul through him means. Shaykh al-Ghumari is right when he says that the Prophet taught the du`a of tawassul as an answer to the blind man's request for du`a, since the du`a of tawassul is the main lesson of this hadith and the means through which Allah fulfills the Prophet's own du`a and returned the blind man's sight to him. Nor does the fact that the blind man asked the Prophet to make du`a for him preclude the Prophet in any way or form from teaching him that du`a -- and through him all Muslims -- in addition to responding to his specific request, for the Prophet is by essence the Teacher and Purifier of the Community:
Truly Allah was gracious to the believers when He raised up among them a Messenger from themselves, to recite to them His signs and to purify them, and to teach them the Book and the Wisdom, though before they were in manifest error. (3:164)
To insist that the Prophet could not have been acting didactically in a general way but only making the du`a for the blind man alone simply because that is all that the blind man wanted, is to act like the man who kept repeating to the Prophet: "Teach me something (about Islam)!" not realizing that the Prophet's answer: "Do not get angry" constituted a universal Islamic teaching of the highest order. Yet this is what Albani insists, in order to reduce the hadith to a one-time occurrence that bears no significance to the Umma at large, and in order to annihilate its availability to all Muslims as a universal and enduring du`a of tawassul.
The great characteristic of Islam is that the overwhelming part if not all of the Prophet's guidance, his teachings, and his miracles are enduring for all time, the greatest being the Glorious Qur'an, and not limited to the time of the Companions or to some individuals among them! To believe otherwise is to rob Islam of its primacy as the Religion that pleases Allah and to place it on a par with Christianity and Judaism as an abrogated religion, and we seek refuge in Allah from such aberrant suggestions.
Observe the aberration of Albani's declaration that "du'aa from him (SAW) after he left to join the highest company is something that those seeking tawassul for all various needs and desires do not know about," when it is established in the authentic hadith that the Prophet continually makes du`a and asks forgiveness for his Umma and makes tahmid (al-hamdu lillah) even in the grave:
My life is a great good for you, you will relate about me and it will be related to you, and my death is a great good for you, your actions will be presented to me (in my grave) and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if see other than that I will ask forgiveness of Him for you.
Observe also how Albani boldly claims: "they themselves do not seek tawassul by his (SAW) du'aa after his death" -- this is clear and manifest error, and may Allah save us from such. As we have shown in many places already, the Companions sought tawassul, tabarruk, istisqa, and istishfa` both through his person and through his du`a after his death, in which he stands the same as he stands in his life in the world in relation to Allah, i.e. praying and making du`a for his Community.
This is another clear proof against misguidance, and it is confirmed by Malik al-Dar's narration of the Companion Bilal Ibn al-Harith's request to the Prophet that he make istisqa' (prayer and du`a for rain) on behalf of his Community. We have already cited this hadith which Ibn Hajar said "Ibn Abi Shayba related with a sound chain from the narration of Abu Salih al-Saman from Malik al-Dar who was `Umar's treasurer":
The people suffered from drought during the successorship of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished"...
We will note here that in his obstinacy in asserting that the Companions did not seek tawassul by the Prophet's du`a after his death Albani went far afield trying to disprove the authenticity of this hadith:
1. The above is disproved by Ibn Sa`d's (d. 230) biographical notice on Malik al-Dar in his Tabaqat:
Malik al-Dar: `Umar ibn al-Khattab's freedman. He narrated from Abu Bakr and `Umar. He was known.
2. It is further disproved by the hafiz al-Khalili's (d. 445) notice on Malik al-Dar in his Kitab al-irshad fi ma`rifat `ulama' al-hadith:
Malik al-Dar: muttafaq `alayh athna `alayhi al-tabi`un -- He is agreed upon (as trustworthy), the Successors have approved highly of him.
3. It is further disproved by Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani's biographical notice on Malik al-Dar in his al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-sahaba:
Malik ibn `Iyad: `Umar's freedman. He is the one named Malik al-Dar. He has seen the Prophet and has heard narrations from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq. He has narrated from Abu Bakr and `Umar, Mu`adh, and Abu `Ubayda. From him narrated Abu Salih al-Saman and his (Malik's) two sons `Awn and `Abd Allah...
Bukhari in his Tarikh narrated through Abu Salih Dhakwan from Malik al-Dar that `Umar said during the period of drought: "O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!" Ibn Abi Khaythama also narrated it in those words but in a longer hadith:
The people suffered a drought during the time of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah for rain for your Community." The Prophet appeared to him in a dream and told him: "Go, see `Umar and tell him: You will be watered, and: You must put your nose to the grindstone (`alayk al-kaffayn)!" (The man went and told `Umar.) Then `Umar wept and exclaimed: "O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!"
We have also narrated in the Fawa'id of Dawud ibn `Amr and al-Dabbi compiled by al-Baghawi in the narration of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Sa`id ibn Yarbu` al-Makhzumi from Malik al-Dar: he said: "`Umar ibn al-Khattab summoned me one day. He had with him a purse of gold containing four hundred dinars. He said: "Take this to Abu `Ubayda," and he mentioned the rest of the story.
Ibn Sa`d mentioned him (Malik al-Dar) in the first layer of the Successors among the people of Madina and said: "He narrated from Abu Bakr and `Umar, and he was known." Abu `Ubayda said of him: "`Umar put him in charge of the dependents in his household. When `Uthman succeeded him, he put him in charge of financial allotments and he was then named Malik of the House."
Isma`il al-Qadi related from `Ali ibn al-Madini: "Malik al-Dar was `Umar's treasurer."
4. It is further disproved by Hasan al-Saqqaf's rebuttal of Albani's discourse and entire method on this hadith in Saqqaf's preface to `Abd Allah al-Ghumari's refutation of Albani entitled Irgham al-mubtadi` al-ghabi bi jawaz al-tawassul bi al-nabi (The compulsion of the ignorant innovator with the permissibility of seeking means with the Prophet):
Albani has declared this sound hadith weak upon pretexts frailer than a cobweb in his Tawassul. He has claimed that Malik al-Dar is unknown (majhul) and has reproduced only his biographical notice from Ibn Abi Hatim's Kitab al-jarh wa al-ta`dil in order to give his readers the impression that only one man has narrated from Malik al-Dar, and that is Abu Salih al-Saman. And it has been decided by Albani on the basis of what he reproduces from one of the scholars that a man remains "unknown" until two or more narrate from him. In order to help his cause he mentioned that al-Mundhiri and al-Haythami did not know Malik al-Dar, that he is therefore unknown, and that a chain of transmission containing an unknown is unsound. Then he began to brag saying: "This is a critical piece of information which none will know but those who have practiced this science." As for us we say to him: Rather this is deliberate concealment (tadlis) and deceit and treachery which none commits except one whose heart is filled with spite and enmity against the Sunna and Tawhid and its people...
Now, if al-Mundhiri and al-Haythami declared that they did not know him, we say to the searcher for truth: This means that they did not declare him either trustworthy or unreliable, because they do not know him. However, there are those who do know him, such as Ibn Sa`d, and Bukhari, and `Ali ibn al-Madini, and Ibn Hibban, and al-hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, and others! Which of the two assessments, O Albani, is retained: that of those who know him, or that of those who don't?!
It is a wonder that Albani approves the statement of those who don't know Malik al-Dar's case, selects it, and prefers it to the statements of those who do know it, which he conceals and with which he dislikes that anyone be acquainted.
What I will cite from the sayings of the Imams among the masters of hadith who have recognized Malik al-Dar as reliable is enough to confirm what al-Sayyid `Abd Allah al-Ghumari and other hadith scholars as well as some of those who work with hadith have said: namely, that Albani knows the correct facts in many matters but ... is not to be relied upon for (assessing) a single hadith. This is the explicit position of many of the scholars such as the three muhaddiths al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Ghumari, al-Sayyid `Abd Allah al-Ghumari, and al-Sayyid `Abd al-`Aziz; the shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda; the muhaddith of India and Pakistan Habib al-Rahman al-A`zami; Shaykh Isma`il al-Ansari; Shaykh Muhammad `Awwama; Shaykh Mahmud Sa`id; Shaykh Shu`ayb Arna'ut; and tens of others among the experts in this field and those that deal with it. The People of Hadith therefore witness that that man's word is not relied upon in the authentication and weakening of hadith because he authenticates and weakens according to whim and mood, not scientific rules, and whoever examines his sayings and writings can verify this.
A REFUTATION OF ALBANI
FROM IMAM NAWAWI AND
IMAM IBN AL-HUMAM AL-HANAFI
A further proof that tawassul through the Prophet after his time is universally recognized and encouraged in the Shari`a is Imam Nawawi's description of the etiquette of visiting the grave of the Prophet after the fulfillment of the Pilgrimage in the Book of Hajj in the Adhkar, where he says:
[After giving salam to the Prophet, Abu Bakr, and `Umar] Then he [the visitor] returns to his initial station opposite the Prophet's face, and he uses the Prophet as his means in his innermost (fa yatawassalu bihi fi haqqi nafsihi), and seeks his intercession before his exalted and mighty Lord (wa yatashaffa`u bihi ila rabbihi subhanahu wa ta`ala)... and he avails himself of this noble spot, and glorifies and praises and magnifies Allah and invokes blessings on His Messenger. Let him do all that abundantly.
Nawawi similarly says in the part devoted to visiting the Prophet in his book on Pilgrimage entitled al-Idah fi manasik al-hajj:
[The visitor stands and greets the Prophet, then he moves to greet Abu Bakr and `Umar] Then he returns to his original position, directly in front of Allah's Messenger, and he uses the Prophet as his means in his innermost self (fa yatawassalu bihi fi haqqi nafsihi), and seeks his intercession before his exalted and mighty Lord (wa yatashaffa`u bihi ila rabbihi subhanahu wa ta`ala) and one of the best things that he can say is what has been narrated by our colleagues on al-`Utbi's authority, and they admired what he said:
As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet, a Bedouin Arab came and said: "Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! I have heard Allah saying: "If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgive-ness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful" (4:64), so I have come to you asking forgiveness for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord..."
Similarly the Hanafi faqih Kamal al-Din ibn al-Humam said in Fath al-qadir (2:337), book of hajj, chapter on visiting the Prophet:
wa yas'alu allaha hajatahu mutawassilan ilallah bi hadrati nabiyyihi thumma qala yas'alu al-nabiyya sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam al-shafa`ata fa yaqulu ya rasulallah as'aluka al-shafa`ata ya rasulallah atawassalu bika ilallah
Then let him ask Allah for his need, using Allah's Prophet as his means to Allah; (then he said): Let him ask the Prophet for his intercession and say: O Messenger of Allah, I am asking you for your intercession; O Messenger of Allah, I am using you as my means to Allah.
It cannot be clearer that Albani is therefore innovating in:
a) claiming that tawassul is no longer made by asking for the Prophet's du`a after he left dunya;
b) claiming that tawassul is not made through the Prophet's person or status.
The complete words of the du`a are as follows: "O Allah I ask you and turn to you by means of your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad I turn by means of you to my Lord in this need of mine, so that it may be fulfilled for me, O Allah make him my intercessor (shaffi`hu fiyya)."
Therefore the du`a contains the following steps:
- Call and request to Allah stating that one uses the Prophet as means;
- Call to the Prophet stating that one uses him as means to Allah;
- Call and request to Allah to make the Prophet one's intercessor.
- that one may ask for the Prophet's intercession in this life;
- that one takes for granted that the Prophet's intercession is accepted;
- that one does not take for granted that his intercession is granted;
- and that such intercession is "by means of him," period.
Neither is the hadith taking place on the Day of Resurrection, nor is this hadith primarily about the Prophet's blessed shafa`a, which is explained in countless other ayats and ahadith, but about tawassul through the Prophet, which is the modality and language of asking for his shafa`a here and now. Albani is trying to make one and the same thing of tawassul and shafa`a, and furthermore he is trying to make the language say other than what it states explicitly.
Again: The hadith is about the asking for the intercession, not the intercession itself. Clearly, the one hoping intercession needs to ask, and the reason he is asking is because of the intercessor's status. Is this not obvious?
The proof for tawassul through the Prophet's person does not lie in the particular part of the du`a which says "O Allah accept his shafa`a for me" but in the du`a as a whole, as has been shown above.
Albani's contempt and mistrust of the scholars whose view invalidates his typifies his tendency to disrespect persons on the basis of his disagreement and that is the general tendency of his admirers also. What can be meant by his phrase "some recent writers"? Are Nawawi and Ibn al-Jawzi, who respectively state that tawassul is through the Prophet's person and status, "recent writers"? The only "recent writer" here is Albani himself.
The above impossibility seems axiomatic to Albani perhaps, but to others it is clear that the statement quoted also refers to the phrase: "I ask you and turn to you by means of your Prophet" and so the full meaning is: "Accept my du`a and accept the request that I may make this du`a to you by means of him." As much as Albani tries to conceal this basic meaning he cannot.
The blind man was merely blind in the eyes, but Allah spoke of those who are blind-hearted and this is a graver illness.
The shafa`a of the Messenger for the blind man benefits the blind man. The shafa`a of the blind man for the Messenger benefits the blind man also! The former is the Prophet's request on behalf of the blind man. The latter is the blind's man request that he be given permission to have the Prophet request for him. It is very clear, but it seems Albani ekes out his argument only in order to confuse the issue, just as he shuffled the lexical meanings of tawassul and shafa`a.
The above is a good illustration of Albani's method of narrowing down the outward sense of the du`a, which is: "I am turning to You by means of your Prophet" to a specific sense: "I am turning to You by means of your Prophet's du`a." In order to achieve this he comes up with terms that are not in the hadith -- "by means of the du`a" -- and he dictates that they are the governing terms around which the sole meaning of the hadith revolves -- that is: Albani's meaning.
This is perhaps the greatest fallacy in his entire argument, since in making it he completely ignores the countless verses and hadiths which show the Prophet's tremendous status, including his own explicit statements that he is the Master of the children of Adam and the noblest of them in Allah's sight, and the ijma` of Muslims concerning his praiseworthy station.
The lexical "proof" has been rejected as shafa`a is not the same as tawassul. And the "proof" that the wasila is purely the Prophet's du`a has been rejected, as it was shown that the wasila is the Prophet himself in addition to the du`a which he taught the blind man, and the du`a which he himself made on his behalf.
One goes to one's nearest means among the salihin or saintly people, as is established by `Umar's tawassul through al-`Abbas the Prophet's uncle. This is not only permissible but recommended by all Four Schools. As for Imam Ahmad, he made tawassul through the Prophet a part of every du`a as has been reported, nor did he try, unlike Albani, to alter the modality of the tawassul or its meaning.
Note that Albani moved from denying that the tawassul can be made through the Prophet's person to accepting it, then denying that it be made by other than the blind man, then accepting it, and finally denying that it be made through other than the Prophet!
If it were forbidden to seek the Prophet's person as a means for obtaining cure and blessings in this life, then why did the Companions and the Followers seek such blessings through the hair of the Prophet, his minbar, his sweat, his saliva, his grave, and other items which we shall not mention? If one cannot deny the benefit derived by a mere particle of the Prophet's body long after his time, they surely one cannot deny the benefit derived by his noble person -- except one whom Allah has deprived of true understanding, such as those who insist on denying even when the proofs are brought right under their nose. And Allah knows best.
Ahmad, Musnad 3:98 (#11947).
See also al-Khatib (11:173) and Suyuti in al-Durr al-manthur (4:153). al-Haythami cites it in Majma` al-zawa'id as narrated from the Companion "Abu al-Hamra' (Hilal ibn al-Harith) the servant of the Prophet," rather than Anas, and says: "Its chain contains `Amr ibn Thabit, and his narrations are abandoned (matruk)." This is different from `Amr ibn Thabit al-Tabi`i (the student of `Abd Allah ibn `Umar), who is trustworthy (thiqa).
al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id narrates it with the addition: `ali akhu al-nabi sallallahu `alayhi wa sallama qabla an yakhluqa al-khalq (in another version: qabla an yakhluqa al-samawati wa al-ard) bi alfay sanatin. Haythami says: "Tabarani narrated it in al-Awsat and its chain contains al-Ash`ath ibn `Amm al-Hasan ibn Salih who is weak, and I don't know him."
al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id says: "In Tabarani from Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet said: "There is a tree in Paradise" -- or: "There is no tree in Paradise," the narrator `Ali ibn Jumayl was unsure -- "except all of its leaves are inscribed:
la ilaha illallah muhammadun rasulullah
abu bakr al-siddiq `umar al-faruq
`uthman dhu al-nurayn.
Tabarani narrates it and its chain contains `Ali ibn Jumayl who is weak."
 Narrated by Ahmad in the Musnad, Abu Dawud, and al-Nasa'i in their Sunan. al-Dhahabi said: "Its chain is good" (isnaduhu salih). See Dhahabi, Mu`jam al-shuyukh (Ta'if: maktabat al-siddiq, 1408/1988) 2:420 (#1028).
al-Haytami, al-Khayrat al-hisan (Cairo: al-Halabi, n.d.) p. 63. It is also related that Imam Ahmad made tawassul through Imam Shafi`i to the point that his son `Abd Allah expressed his surprise, and Ahmad replied: "al-Shafi`i is like the sun for the people and like health for the body." When Imam Shafi`i heard that the people of al-Maghrib made tawassul to Allah through Imam Malik, he did not object to it.
In addition to the hadiths we have already mentioned, these evidences can be perused in Jalaluddin al-Suyuti's Anba' al-adhkia' fi hayat al-anbiya (The reports of the enlightened ones concerning the lives of Prophets) in al-Rasa'il al-`ashr (The ten treatises) (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, 1409/1989) p. 197-211, also included in his Hawi li al-Fatawi; and Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Husayn al-Bayhaqi, Kitab ma warada fi hayat al-anbiya'i ba`da wafatihim (What has been said concerning the lives of Prophets after their demise) (Beirut: Mu'assassat Nader, 1410/1990).
Related by Ibn Majah with a sound chain through Abu al-Darda'. Also related with a sound chain from Aws ibn Aws al-Thaqafi by Ahmad, Ibn Abi Shayba, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa`i, Ibn Majah, al-Darimi, Ibn Khuzayma, Ibn Hibban, al-Hakim (sahih, confirmed by Dhahabi), Tabarani in his Kabir, and Bayhaqi in many places, some with the initial addition of the following: "The best of your days is Friday, for in it Adam was created, and in it his soul was taken back, and in it is the Blowing of the horn, and in it is the universal Seizure, therefore invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday," etc.
The first part (concerning the order to invoke more salat on Friday and the disclosure ot this invocation to the Prophet) is related by Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman through Abi Umama, Anas, and Abu Mas`ud al-Ansari, and by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak from the latter. Shafi`i in his Musnad relates the first part only ("Invoke blessings upon me abundantly on Friday") mursal from Safwan ibn Salim.
Narrated by Tirmidhi (Qiyama 23 -- hasan sahih), Ahmad (5:136, 2:527), Abu Dawud (2041), al-Hakim (sahih), and al-Bazzar through various chains. al-Dhahabi narrates it from one of his shaykhs, Tahir ibn `Abd Allah al-`Ajami, in Mu`jam al-shuyukh: al-mu`jam al-kabir (Ta'if: maktabat al-siddiq, 1408/1988) 1:311 (#342).
Narrated from Ibn `Umar by Tabarani with a "soft" chain bi sanadin layyin according to Ibn Hajar in Fath al-bari (Beirut, 1989 ed. 11:161, #6329), i.e. the narrations of one or more of the narrators, although retained, need investigation. Cf. the definition of layyin in Muqaddimat Ibn al-Salah (p. 239 of the 1974 Egyptian ed.) and Nawawi's Taqrib (p. 51 of the 1987 Beirut ed.). However, Ibn Hajar considers this hadith authentic (11:177, #6345). Also narrated by Bukhari in his Tarikh (2:115), Abu Nu`aym in al-Targhib (1337), Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-Tamhid (6:46), and Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (1:413-414 #573-574). Also narrated from Abu Sa`id by Tirmidhi (last hadith of Thawab al-Qur'an #2926, hasan gharib) with the wording "Whoever is occupied by the Qur'an and My remembrance..."
Bu`ithtu ila al-nasi `ammatan / kaffatan. Narrated by Ahmad (3:304), Bayhaqi in the Sunan (2:433), Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (2:112, 281, 3:389, 4:397, 6:101, 506, 512), Tabarani in the Kabir (12:413), and others. al-Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id (8:259-261): "The narrators in Ahmad's chain are trustworthy."
Imam Malik said to al-Mansur inside the Prophet's Mosque in Madina: "Face him [the Prophet] and ask for his intercession (istashfi` bihi)." It is cited by al-Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa (2:92-93) with a sound (sahih) chain, and also cited by al-Samhudi in Khulasat al-Wafa, Subki in Shifa' al-siqam, Qastallani in al-Mawahib al-laduniyya, Ibn Jama`a in Hidayat al-salik, and Haytami in al-Jawhar al-munazzam and Tuhfat al-zuwwar. See also Ibn `Abd al-Hadi in al-Sarim al-munki p. 244. Ibn Jama`a says in Hidayat al-salik (3:1381): "It is related by the two hafiz Ibn Bashkuwal and al-Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa' after him, and no attention is paid to the words of those who claim that it is forged purely on the basis of his idle desires."
Haythami says in Majma` al-zawa'id (9:24 #91): "al-Bazzar relates it and its sub-narrators are all sound (rijaluhu rijal al-sahih)." Qadi `Iyad cites it in al-Shifa (1:56 of the Amman edition). Suyuti said in his Manahil al-safa fi takhrij ahadith al-shifa (Beirut 1988/1408) p. 31 (#8): "Ibn Abi Usama cites it in his Musnad from the hadith of Bakr ibn `Abd Allah al-Muzani, and al-Bazzar from the hadith of Ibn Mas`ud with a sound (sahih) chain." Ibn al-Jawzi mentions it through Bakr and then again through Anas ibn Malik in the penultimate chapter of the penultimate section of al-Wafa, and also mentions the version through Aws ibn Aws with a sound chain: "The actions of human beings are shown to me every Thursday on the night of (i.e. preceding) Friday." See also Fath al-bari 10:415, al-Mundhiri's al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib 3:343, and Musnad Ahmad 4:484.
Abu Ya`la al-Khalil ibn `Abd Allah al-Khalili al-Qazwini, Kitab al-irshad fi ma`rifat `ulama' al-hadith, ed. Muhammad Said ibn Umar Idris, 1st ed., 3 vols. (Riyad : Maktabat al-Rushd, 1989), as quoted in `Abd Allah al-Ghumari, Irgham al-mubtadi` al-ghabi bi jawaz al-tawassul bi al-nabi, ed. Hasan `Ali al-Saqqaf, 2nd ed. (`Amman: Dar al-imam al-Nawawi, 1412/1992) p. 9.