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Sunday, November 18, 2012

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 the followership of 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 duaa 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 sheihk 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 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 itself. 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, "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 tguidance. 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 benefit 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: The Prophet said: "The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful [Prophet Ibrahim], and through them people [Muslims] receive rain and are given victory (over their enemies). 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 you (Muslims) 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."
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said in his book al-Khayrat al-hisan fi manaqib al-imam Abi Hanifa al-Na`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 with a sound chain.
Haytami also said in many places in his book al-Sawa`iq al-muhriqa li ahl al-dalal wa al-zandaqa: "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.
al-Khatib relates that al-hafiz Abu Nu`aym said: 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 exclusive to him 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 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' (prayer for rain) 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 that 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 sin Ahmad ibn Hanbal's cemetary and it is sought for blessings." [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: Maqalat al-Kawthari (Riyadh and Beirut: Dar al-ahnaf, 1414/1993) p. 407, 412.