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TAWASSUL OR WASEELAH

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THE ‘TAWASSUL’ OF THE QABAR PUJAARIS IS A KUFR CONCEPT

Question: Please see the attached circular issued by the Sunni Jamiatul Ulama. Mufti A.K. Husain had said, according to the pamphlet, that Tawassul is kufr. The Sunnis are furious and refuting his claim. What is the correct view?

ANSWER

The ‘Sunni’ cardboard ‘Jamiatul Ulama’ consists of Qabar Pujaaris. They belong to the Barelwi Grave-Worshipping sect, and are given to acts of kufr and shirk. While Tawassul is valid, the Qabar Pujaaris subscribe to a kufr concept of tawassul which is tantamount to shirk. What Mufti A.K.Husain said is correct, and what the grave-worshippers say is baatil. Mufti A.K.Husain had referred specifically to the kufr tawassul of the Qabar Pujaaris.  The valid concept of Tawassul is as follows:

 

TAWASSUL OR WASEELAH

The concept of Waseelah which the misguided Salafi sect condemns as Shirk on the basis of the opinion of Ibn Taimiyyah was never correctly understood even by him, less by his blind followers. This brief explanation cannot discuss all the baseless arguments which Ibn Taimyyah and his errant followers have presented for their condemnation of Waseelah. A book shall have to be prepared in refutation of their arguments. Should Allah Ta’ala bestow the taufeeq and opportunity, we shall, Insha’Allah, embark on such a refutation.

 

ITS MEANING

Waseelah is to supplicate (make dua) to Allah Ta’ala by presenting the auspicious proximity to Allah Ta’ala enjoyed by either A’maal-e-Saalihah (Righteous Deeds) or Pious beings such as the Ambiyaa and Auliya. In simple terms, Waseelah is to make dua as follows: “O Allah! Accept my dua for the sake of Your Nabi…..(or a certain Wali)…..or (a certain good deed).”

Ibn Taimiyyah and his muqallideen (blind followers) brand this form of Waseelah haraam and shirk. His opinion in this regard is baseless. The Sahaabah and all the great Personalities of Islam from the earliest times resorted to such Waseelah and believed it to be perfectly permissible. 

In his books, Ibn Taimiyyah has made sweeping, albeit baseless, claims that all the Salf-e-Saaliheen (the Pious Predecessors) of the Khairul Quroon era declared such Waseelah to be shirk. His claims are utterly baseless. 

Once when there was a severe drought, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), the then Khalifah, supplicated to Allah Ta’ala by the Waseelah of Hadhrat Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu), the paternal uncle of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Narrating this fact, Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) said:

“When it used to be drought, then Umar Bin Khattaab (radhiyallahu anhu) would supplicate for rain through the medium of Abbaas Bin Abdul Muttalib (radhiyallahu anhu). He would say (i.e. make dua): “O Allah! Verily, we used to invoke the waseelah of our Nabi to You and You bestowed rain to us. (Now) we invoke You by virtue of the uncle of our Nabi. Therefore, bestow rain to us.” He (Anas) said: Then rain was bestowed to them.”     (Bukhaari) 

This Hadith recorded by Imaam Bukhaari (rahmatullah alayh) state with clarity that Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) would supplicate to Allah Ta’ala through the medium (waseelah) of Hadhrat Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu). Besides this Hadith, there are many other narrations which confirm the validity of waseelah. 

However, the misguided Salafis have attempted to circumvent this authentic Hadith by presenting an erroneous translation. Mr. Mohsin Khan the Salafi who translated Bukhaari Shareef into English, committed errors in both the translation of the Hadith and its commentary. Translating the Hadith, he states:

“(Narrated Anas—radhiyallahu anhu): Whenever drought threatened them, Umar bin Al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) used to ask Al-Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib (radhiyallahu anhu) to invoke Allah for rain. He used to say: “O Allah! We used to ask our Prophet to invoke You for rain, and You would bless us with rain, and now we ask his uncle to invoke You for rain. O Allah! Bless us with rain. And so it would rain.” (Page 285, Vol. 1, Dr. M. Muhsin Khan’s translation of Bukhaari Shareef)

This translation is incorrect. Nowhere in this Hadith is it mentioned “used to ask”. In this particular Hadith Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) did not ‘ask’ Hadhrat Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) to ‘invoke Allah for rain’. He (Umar), himself, made the dua for rain, hence he clearly supplicated: “O Allah! Through the (waseelah) of the uncle of our Nabi, bestow rain to us.”

Also, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) did not say: “We used to ask our Prophet to invoke You for rain.” This translation is completely wrong. The Hadith states with great clarity that Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “We would through the medium of our Nabi supplicate to You…”

The Salafis have conveniently mis-translated this Hadith in their attempt to refute the validity of the concept of Waseelah. This is a blatantly baseless and deceptive way to squeeze out evidence for the baseless claim that Waseelah is shirk.

 

BASELESS

Stating the Salafi belief acquired from their Imaam, Ibn Taimiyyah, Dr.Muhsin Khan says in his commentary on the aforementioned Hadith:

It is of great importance to notice that it is permissible for one to request a living  religious person to invoke Allah on his behalf but if you ask Allah through a dead or an absent (person, etc.) then it is not allowed. But it is absolutely forbidden to ask or request the dead for anything, it is regarded as Shirk.” (Page 285, Vol.  1,  Translation of Bukhaari Shareef) 

Firstly, the Salafis differentiate between (1) asking Allah through a dead person, etc., and (2) asking the dead for something. Regarding No.1, they say that “it is not allowed”. Regarding No. 2, they say that “it is absolutely forbidden and it constitutes shirk”. 

For this differentiation, the Salafis have neither logical nor Shar’i proof. In fact, the Shariah has not made this differentiation which is based on pure conjecture of the followers of personal opinion. What makes the former “not allowed” and the latter, “absolutely forbidden and shirk”? What is the Shar’i proof for claiming that the invocation through a dead or an inanimate intermediary (Waseelah) is not allowed or haraam? Other than conjecture and personal inference unsubstantiated by Shar’i daleel, the Salafis have absolutely no viable evidence from the Qur’aan and Ahaadith to substantiate their claim.

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD

The Salafis concede the validity and permissibility of Waseelah in relation to the living, but deny it with regard to the dead and inanimate and intangible things. This is apparent from Muhsin Khan’s comment, viz. “dead or absent persons, etc.” For this baseless differentiation there is no Shar’i daleel. If they have any evidence, other than their personal corrupt opinion, they should proclaim it. But inspite of the copious works of Ibn Taimiyyah and others of his kind, there has not been forthcoming from the deviant Salafi sect any Qur’aanic or Sunnah dalail for their baseless claim.

Asking a person to make dua is one thing. Making dua by citing that person as an intermediary is another thing. The concept of Waseelah under discussion excludes the former. Only the latter is the subject of the concept of Waseelah. In so far as the Shariah is concerned this concept of Waseelah applies equally to the living, the dead, inanimate and intangible things. There is ample evidence in the Ahaadith to substantiate this claim. Insha’Allah, this will be done in a detailed treatise on the subject if and when Allah Ta’ala grants us this taufeeq and opportunity. 

In brief, the Ahaadith mention with clarity that dua used to be made with the Waseelah of A’maal (righteous deeds) — this is of the intangible kind, and with the Waseelah of living persons as well as with the Waseelah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) after his demise. The practise of the Sahaabah is ample evidence for this.

 

THE CONCEPT

It is essential to correctly understand the meaning of Waseelah to avoid confusion and the charge of Shirk which the Salafis hurl against every kind of Waseelah. In the Shar’i concept of Waseelah the belief is correct, i.e. Dua is made to Allah Ta’ala, not to the living or the dead or to the inanimate and intangible things. 

It is understood in this concept that the being which is stated as the Waseelah is not the bestower of the need. Allah Ta’ala has not delegated power of bestowal to the being of Waseelah. He is the Sole Bestower. 

By ‘intermediary’ in his concept is meant that the supplicator asks Allah Ta’ala to accept his invocation (dua) by virtue of the close proximity (Qurb) which the being or deed has with Him. In this meaning of Waseelah there is no difference between the living and the dead. The Qurb which the Ambiya and the Auliya had with Allah Ta’ala during their lifetime is the same or even more after their death. This fundamental factor of Qurb-e-Ilaahi is not eliminated nor adversely affected by the incidence of death. The Qurb is not extinguished with Maut, hence the Waseelah of a living person, the validity of which even Ibn Taimiyyah concedes, is equally valid and permissible after his demise. 

Undoubtedly, the type of waseelah practised by ignoramuses who subscribe to corrupt beliefs of shirk such as the idea that the power of bestowal is enjoyed by the dead Wali, for example, is Shirk. But this type of waseelah is not the subject of our discussion.

 

A’MAAL-E-SAALIHAH

Ibn Taimiyyah and his muqallideen the Salafis do concede that it is permissible to invoke the Waseelah of good deeds which are intangible items. This is called Waseelah bil A’maal. The very same rationale which renders this Waseelah lawful, applies to Waseelah bil A’yaan (i.e. invoking the Waseelah of beings). The common factor is Qurb-e-Ilhaahi (Divine Proximity) which is found in both kinds of Waseelah. Thus, the meaning of Waseelah in the Shariah is nothing other than asking Allah Ta’ala to accept one’s dua by virtue of the rank and proximity which the being has with Allah Ta’ala.

25 Rabiuth Thaani 1436 – 16 February 2015

 

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