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al-hamdu liAllaahi wahdah, wal-salaatu wal-salaamu alaa man-laa nabiyya badah

Tawassul

Waseelah (tawassul) linguistically means way of approach; something or
someone serving as intermediary towards attainment of an intended goal.
In Religious terminology, waseelah pertains to actions whereby Allaah
s affiliation is attained in junction with the Almightys directive:

O ye who believe! Do your duty to Allaah , seek unto Him the


means of approach (al-waseelah), and strive with might and main in
his cause: that ye may prosper
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Here specifically jihad (struggle) is described as waseelah unto God i.e.
striving for goodness and at odds against evil is that which provides a
person waseelah (means of approach) whereby he gains Gods pleasure
and subsequent closeness (qurb). Qatadah(d.118H) said the ayah
means: seek waseelah to Him (God) by obeying Him and performing
acts that please Him.
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Hence, the correct and only form of waseelah (in
Shareeah) are righteous deeds: performing deeds in accordance to what
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[Al-Quran, 5:35]
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[See: tafseer Ibn Katheer]
Allaah has ordained and abstinence from what He has forbidden.
Moreover, Allaahs orders (ahkaam) come through an agency; a man
who receives and conveys God revealed ordinances; in other words: a
prophet. In this regard, Muhammad_, being the Seal of Prophet-hood,
serves as our last way of attaining Allaahs pleasure (waseelah);
through replicating whose example, character, and nobility, one gains
closeness with the Almighty. Thus belief in Prophet Muhammad_ as
intermediary (waseet) between us and Allaah regarding what He, the
Most-High is pleased or un-pleased with becomes an in-dispensable
element of Muslim faith in Messenger-ship. Allaah states:

Inform them (O Prophet_ __ _): If ye do love Allaah , then follow me:


Allaah will love you and forgive you your sins: for Allaah is Oft-
Forgiving, Most Merciful
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Actions of obedience to Allaah Almighty and His noble Prophet_ is to
remain God-conscious, as the ayah clarifies, which necessitates, first and
foremost, the five-time daily prayer (salaah): the most complete form of
worship (gratitude/praise/obedience) in and essential part of ones life in
submission (Istislaam) unto God; abandonment whereof leaves one
lurking outside the pale of Religion. Then other pillars follow: fasting
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[Al-Quran, 3:31]
(sawm): one of the most beloved means by which one gains his Lords
pleasure, the pilgrimage (hajj) which one may call journey unto God.
Making prayer (duaa) to Him is most desirable, fulfillment of vows
(nadzr), constant re-counting (dzikr), learning, implementing, exhorting
towards the Quran as well as its supplementary manual the Sunnah,
abstaining from un-lawful and detestable things, avoiding Shirk at all
cost; are all actions bringing one closer to Allaah. Lets not forget
giving alms (zakaah), charity (sadaqah), sincerity (ikhlaas), favor (ihsaan),
charitable character (akhlaaq) and genteel manners (adaab), pleasant
speech (lateef kalimah) and soft-heartedness (raqeequl-qalbi), un-
selfishness (Iethaar), enjoining kindness (amru bil-maroof) and abhorr-
ing evil (nahi anil-munkar); all of which are morally prescribed means of
recourse unto God (tawassul ilaAllaah).
Some, however, have designed strange interpretations of tawassul that
are not just scripturally un-substantiated but also harboring heathen
tendencies. It is postulated that tawassul is to seek closeness unto
Allaah via prerogative medium of Gods befriended (awliyaa
Allaah): and that means to supplicate (istadaa) them in times of need
irrespective whether they be alive or inhumed (deceased)! To elaborate
on what is conveyed hereby, we take assistance from one of the most
glorified clergies of recent part, who declared: when you be faced with
distress: seek assistance from those entombed...
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This hypothesis stems
from the idea that deceased saints whove attained closeness to God are
more entitled to have their prayers answered, thus; instead of directly
praying God, requesting these is more desirable. Not only this but due to
their climb up the spiritual ladder, it is believed they become exceedingly
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4
Ahmad Ridhaa Khaan, al-amnu wal-ulaa linaaitil-mustafaa bidaafiil-balaa, p. 46]
powerful and are vouchsafed by God mystical works (karamaat) for the
very purpose that (ordinary) people may seek their assistance and
beseech them in occasions of ordeal
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.
This understanding of tawassul is a very poor one for numerous sharee
reasons;
1. The Glorious Quran records a number of prayers from previous
prophets and prescribes many more for our benefit. However, there is
not a single prayer in the entire Quran that would seemingly collaborate
an interpretation of waseelah wherein deceased elders, prophets,
messengers, even alive angels are directees of supplication (duaa). This
fact alone should be enough for a truth-seeker (taalibul-haqq) to realize
how in-significant such wasaail (pl. waseelah) are to Allaah; for if it
were as desirable as our respected clergies over-stress: there is no reason
why Allaah wouldnt reveal it plain and simple in His Glorious Quran.
2. There isnt an iota of evidence from the Sunnah of the holy Prophet_
nor his companions that would indicate after the Prophets_ demise
people directed him any invoke. On the contrary, evidence shows once
during drought, instead of turning to the Prophets_ grave for aid;
people asked Abbaas b. Abdul-Muttalib to plea for rain
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. This type of
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Awliyaa, can serve as waseelah unto Allaah if they be obeyed in goodness for the Allaah and
His Apostle_ with conscious knowledge their (saints) guidance is in line with the Glorious Quran
and established Sunnah, and in full realization of the fact they are likely to err and are by no means
infallible (masoom anil-khataa).
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[Sahih Bukhari, kitaabul-istisqaa]
intercession is certainly allowed; that certain noble of the community be
asked to supplicate the Almighty if hardship befell.
3. It is well known taking tombs and shrines as places of worship is
reprehensible (haraam) regardless whether yearning be aimed at Allaah
or deceased saints. The Prophet_ sternly warned his people not to make
an idol out of his grave by performing religious rituals thereat
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, calling it
a parallel religion (to Islaam)
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and forbad ceremonial comemmoration
(urs) be conducted near his burial place. He even disliked for one to pay
special visit to his grave-site just to offer blessings and salutations
(durrod-o salaam).
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Moreover, when building edifices and shrines itself is
forbidden
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, performing religious rites thereat is necessarily in vain.
Similitude thereof is of interest money which is given in sadaqah! And
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[Muwatta Malik, kitaab qasrul-salaati fil-safr] The holy Prophet_ invoked Allaah by saying: O
Allaah! Do not make my grave an idol that is worshiped. The anger on those who took graves of
their Prophets as places of prostration was terrible.
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[Ibid, kitaabul-jaami] Umar b. Abdul-Azeez said: one of the last things (before death) the
Messenger_ of Allaah said was: May Allaah fight the Jews and the Christians! They took the
graves of their Prophets as places of prostration. Two deens shall not co-exist in the land of the
Arabs.
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[Sunan Abi Dawud, kitaabul-manaasik] Abu Hurayrah narrated from the holy Prophet_ as
commanding: Do not make your houses graves (by not establishing salaah therein), and do not
make my grave an Eid (place of festivity and gathering); but invoke blessings on me: for your
blessings reach me wherever you may be.

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[Sahih Muslim, kitaabul-salaah] Ali b. Abi Taalib told Abul-Hayyaaj Asadi: Should I not send you
on the same mission as Allaahs Messenger_ sent me? Do not leave an image without
obliterating it, or a high grave without leveling it.
leave behind building mausoleum, for according to the Shareeah:
even cementing graves is banned
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.
4. Makkan pagans conjured similar (if not same) wasaail they believed
brought closer to Allaah. The very reason of adoring idols - so they
conjoined - was to gain approximaty with God
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thinking addressed
saints are thereby pleased and intercede with Allaah on their behalf
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.
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[Ibid] Jabir reported from the holy Prophet_ that graves should not be plastered or be used
as places of council (majaalis), or that certain building (mausoleum etc) be built over them.
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[Al-Quran, 39:3] ... ... ... ...those who take for protectors those who take for protectors those who take for protectors those who take for protectors ( (( (awliyaa awliyaa awliyaa awliyaa) ) ) ) other than Allaah other than Allaah other than Allaah other than Allaah ( (( (say say say say): ): ): ): We only We only We only We only
serve them in order that they may bring us even nearer to Allaah serve them in order that they may bring us even nearer to Allaah serve them in order that they may bring us even nearer to Allaah serve them in order that they may bring us even nearer to Allaah ... ... ... ... Imam Fakhrul-Deen al-Razi
(d.606H), commenting on this ayah, said: ...their intent is that their worship of them (idols) will
bring them closer to Allaah. And it is possible for it to be said that the intelligent being does not
worship an idol in the sense that it is mere wood or stone, but they worship it due to their belief
that these (idols) are representations of stars or heavenly spirits or representations of prophets
and righteous who have passed away. And their intent behind worshiping them is to direct those
acts of worship to those for which they have made these representations as (tangible) forms for
them. The essence of the speech of idol-worshipers is: they say the greatest deity (Allaah) is
more lofty than man should worship Him (directly), however, it is more befitting for man that he
should occupy himself with worship of senior ones from the servants of Allaah, such as stars, and
such as heavenly spirits, and then they in turn will be occupied in worship of the greatest deity.
This is what they mean by their saying: We worship them only that they may bring us closer to We worship them only that they may bring us closer to We worship them only that they may bring us closer to We worship them only that they may bring us closer to
Allaah Allaah Allaah Allaah . [tafseer kabeer, 26/241]
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[Al-Quran, 10:18] They serve They serve They serve They serve, , , , besides Allaah besides Allaah besides Allaah besides Allaah , , , , things that hurt them not nor profit them things that hurt them not nor profit them things that hurt them not nor profit them things that hurt them not nor profit them, , , , yet yet yet yet
they insist they insist they insist they insist: : : : these are our intercessors with Allaah these are our intercessors with Allaah these are our intercessors with Allaah these are our intercessors with Allaah ! !! ! al-Razi wrote: They made these idols and
statues upon the form and shape of their prophets and senior ones (akaabireen), and claimed
that when they occupied themselves with worship of these statues; those seniors will be
intercessors for them with Allaah. And equivalence of this in our time is the occupation of many
of the creation with veneration of the graves of the senior ones (awliyaa) upon the belief that
when they venerate their graves, they (the deceased) will become intercessors for them with
Allaah... [tafseer kabeer, 17/63]
Five idols named after holy-men of God were likewise besought, one of
whom, incidentally, is named yaghuth (), that is one who rescues
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,
strikingly similar to his Muslim counterpart yawth (); an appellation
zealots give to Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al-Jeelaanee (d.561H) which means
rescuer. Allaah informs us in advance that none of their intercession
was ever going to avail when His wrath descended upon the people of
Noah
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.
5. Why even bother discussing veracity of waseelah in question when the
Quran, Allaahs Kalam, is as clear as the full moon on its abhorence;

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[Al-Quran, 71:23] And they said And they said And they said And they said ( (( (to each other to each other to each other to each other): ): ): ): Abandon not your gods Abandon not your gods Abandon not your gods Abandon not your gods: : : : abandon neither abandon neither abandon neither abandon neither
Wadd nor Suwa Wadd nor Suwa Wadd nor Suwa Wadd nor Suwa, , , , neither neither neither neither Yaguth Yaguth Yaguth Yaguth nor Yauq nor Yauq nor Yauq nor Yauq, , , , nor Nasr nor Nasr nor Nasr nor Nasr. .. . It is of paramount importance to realize
that associationism (Shirk) isnt merely idolatry, nor do idolaters serve mere lifeless stones as al-
Razi pointed out, rather, they use images or sculptures to aid themselves in concentrating and
make contact with spirits those statues resemble, whereas, in essence; spirits of elders
(buzurgaan) are sought just as grave-adorers seek spirits of entombed and not glamorized graves.
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[Al-Quran, 71:25] Because of their sins they were drowned Because of their sins they were drowned Because of their sins they were drowned Because of their sins they were drowned ( (( (in the flood in the flood in the flood in the flood) )) ), , , , and were made to and were made to and were made to and were made to
enter the Fire enter the Fire enter the Fire enter the Fire ( (( (of Punishment of Punishment of Punishment of Punishment): ): ): ): and they found and they found and they found and they found - - - - in lieu of Allaah in lieu of Allaah in lieu of Allaah in lieu of Allaah - - - - none to help them none to help them none to help them none to help them. .. . Maulana
Abul-Alaa Maududi, in his famous tafheemul-Quran, notes: That is, none of the gods whom
they looked upon as their supporters and helpers came to their rescue. This, in fact, was a warning
to the people of Makkah, as if to say: if you too are subjected to the torment of Allaah, these
gods on whom you have placed all your reliance, will avail you absolutely nothing. Same can be
said of those who cling to heretical notions in our times, un-aware of the reality that their service
literally makes these saints gods (worshiped entities) besides Allaah.

Tell them: Invoke those whom you imagine (to be endowed with
divine powers) beside Him and (you will find that) they have it not
in their power to remove any affliction from you, or to shift it
(elsewhere). Those (saintly beings) whom they invoke are
themselves striving to obtain their Sustainers favour - (even) those
among them who are closest (to Him) - hoping for His grace and
dreading His chastisement: for, verily, thy Sustainers chastisement
is something to beware of!16

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16
[Al-Quran, 17:56-57] Maulana Maududi, in his famous tafheemul-Quraan, remarks: This
warning helps to elaborate the Doctrine of Tawhid and negate Shirk. According to this, Shirk is not
confined merely to falling prostrate before any other than Allaah but it is also Shirk to pray to or
invoke the help of any other than Allaah; for praying to or calling for help any other than Allaah
is in reality a kind of worship. Therefore, the one who invokes for help any other than Allaah is as
much guilty of Shirk as the worshiper of an idol. This verse also shows clearly that none other than
Allaah has any power to attend to prayers and relieve any one of trouble or alter any ones bad
condition. Hence, if one believes that some one other than Allaah has any power, he shall be
guilty of Shirk. The words of the text are a clear proof that the deities and the helpers referred to in
this verse were not idols of stone but were either angels or dead saints. It is clearly implied in this
that no prophet, no saint and no angel, whom people invoke for help, has the power to hear
prayers and help anyone. They themselves hope for mercy from Allaah and dread His
punishment and vie with one another in seeking means for nearness to Him.

And who is more astray than one who invokes besides Allaah ,
such as will not answer him to the Day of Judgment, and who (in
fact) are un-conscious of their call (to them)? And when mankind
are gathered together (at the Resurrection), they will be hostile to
them and reject their worship (altogether)!
17

Say: Will ye worship, besides Allaah , which hath no power either


to harm or benefit you? But Allaah ,-
He it is that heareth and knoweth all things
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[Al-Quran, 46:5-6] Maududi writes: That is, they (awliyaa) will say: we had neither told the
people to invoke us for help, nor are we aware that they used to invoke us. They themselves had
presumed that we could fulfill their needs and so had started invoking us. [Ibid]
18
[Al-Quran, 5:76] The evidence (ayah) is directed towards Christians telling them how even
someone of Christ Jesus prestige has no power whatsoever to aid you, for only Allaah alone is
omniscient and omnipotent. It also informs that if Jesus presumably had these divine powers,
Christian polytheism wouldve been vindicated.
And your Lord says: Call on Me; I will answer your (prayer): but
those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves
in Hell - in humiliation!
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Any sanely minded persson will question what is an extremely hypothetic
doctrine (to say the least). Why should one seek assistance from the dead
when its far better off requesting some physically alive person? When
dubiousness of such an idea is exposed (as above), one must ask what
motives underlay postulation of these apparently remote and illogical
ideas? My views might sound bit harsh and to some provocaive but the
reality of situation is far graver than what is voiced hereunder. We have
already said that a majority amongst religious clergies of the sub-
continent advocate a creed which holds that holy-men (awliyaa) are to
be sought in adversity irrespective whether they be dead or living. In fact,
they recommend visiting graves of deceased saints in search for aid over
those alive, since, as is propounded; death frees saints from bodily
shackles causing increase in authority over natural and in spiritual realms
(tasaruf fawqul-asbaab).
Now one of the basic reasons why man turns to God is succor. Man sees
himself surrounded with trials and despair, he looks for a way out but
theres no way to go. So he seeks beyond a being who not only
transcends merciless universal laws but is also all-knowing as well as fully
capable of providing him relief and that being is God. This is pure human
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[Al-Quran, 40:60] Allaah also says: When My servants ask thee concerning Me When My servants ask thee concerning Me When My servants ask thee concerning Me When My servants ask thee concerning Me, , , , I am indeed I am indeed I am indeed I am indeed
close close close close ( (( (qareeb qareeb qareeb qareeb): ): ): ): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: : : : Let them also Let them also Let them also Let them also, , , ,
with a will with a will with a will with a will, , , , Listen to My call Listen to My call Listen to My call Listen to My call, , , , and believe in Me and believe in Me and believe in Me and believe in Me: : : : That they may walk in the right way That they may walk in the right way That they may walk in the right way That they may walk in the right way. .. . [Al-Quran,
2:186]
nature, whereas, opposite to this theorem is the subnormal idea that in-
animate objects are able to bring respite and deliverance, and this is
human ignorance. Man when compounded with ignorance hastily jumps
for immediate ease which often times, in desperation, causes him to
accept things like stone, idol, graven images, tree, bones, skull, etc, as aid
to alleviate adversity. Couple these contradictory concepts and you are
left with: ...turn to shrines of saints for succor
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or in other words, grave-
worship. Here, both set of sentiments are conjoined; having a grave up
front suits mans despairing eagerness, whilst, the spiritual link
provided by the heavenly saint gives the mind divine satisfaction it
naturally yearns for. Allaah alludes this in His Glorious Book:

And they make semi-gods besides Allaah (in hope) they might
receive help!
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So when a disciple (mureed) sees his needs being fulfilled through the
agency of entombed awliyaa two things occur;
1.
the need to invoke God
is lost: he may no longer seek Allaah since all his needs are being
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[Ahmad Ridhaa Khaan, al-amnu wal-ulaa linaaitil-mustafaa bidaafiil-balaa, p. 44] Imaam
Abu Haneefah said: It is not valid for anyone to supplicate Allaah except through Him and I
hate that one should say: By the glory of your Throne or By the right of your creation.
[Fataawaa Hindiyyah, (5/280)] To the Imaam even supplicating Allaah via means of the
Prophet_ is detestable, what then have we to say with regards to those who actually invoke
deceased elders directly insisting that is means of attainment (waseelah) unto Allaah?
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[Al-Quran, 36:74]
realized through the grave, thus practically making the inhabitant of
grave his god, and
2.
this delusion carries him to the abyss of slavery,
wherein, henceforth, he will remain trapped at the mercy of enthroned
elite (gaddi nasheen) who obtain full control of his mind and power
thereby.
Therefore, devotees (mutaqideen) are encouraged to take graves as sites
of performing religious rituals like that of prayer (salaah), bowing
(rukoo), prostration (sujood), circumambulation (tawaaf). And for extra
blessing and instant access unto entombed saints (awliyaa), devotees
(mutaqideen) are obliged to make vows (nadzr) and present in holy-
presence some gift (hadiyah), offer charity (sadaqah) and oblation
(niyaaz), which, ironically, doesnt reach the saint but sure does warm
pockets of the enthroned (sajjaadah nasheen). These enthroned elite
(khawaas) along with their specialized henchmen (khulafaa) spam
spurious stories on illiterate masses, enticing them to seek intercession
(shafaaat) through these blessed elite (khawaas) since they possess
sacred privilege of shrine custodianship and enjoy spiritual contact
with intombed awliyaa. Hence, these are more qualified to make
request on a mureeds behalf unto the elect of the elite (khusoosul-
khawaas) i.e. deceased entombed saints, who further convey the petition
up to those greater awliyaa (abdaal) dwelling in higher spiritual
realms. Passing through an entire hierarchy of saints the petition finally
reaches the greatest of saints presumably the Pivot (qutb), till it finally
reaches the holy Prophet_ who then pleas Allaah for acceptance. If all
goes according to plan, the accepted prayer descends in the same order
unto the enthroned patriarch (pir) who, with a grimacing smile, gives
glad-tidings to his disciple (mureed) often for a ransom or two.
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Thus is enslavement (mureedi) installed; first via sensationalizing saints
super-natural faculties (tasarruf alal-umoor) and forging fantastic feats
(karamaat); and then preceptors (pir) self-portrayal of special-alliance
(nisbat-i khaassah) with saints and misuse of the Quranic command
thou shalt seek route (waseelah) unto God mixed with their ludicrous
self-fancied interpretations. Their underlying aims are quite manifest:
manipulate mind of the masses and monopolize their money! Shrines
and edifices are built for the same monetary purpose and annual
ceremonies (uroos) are held allowing sheepish devotees (mutaqideen)
to seek blessing (tabarruk) thereof. Associationism (Shirk) is sold
wholesale in shape of amulets, souvenirs, kalaavas, even heavenly gates
(beheshti darwaazah) and sacred footmarks (nalayn shareef) are
planted to lure maximum customers. All designed to further enrich the
enthroned elite (sajjaadah nasheen) and their henchmen (khulafaa)
robing mindless hoi polloi of their hard earned wealth, at the same time,
snatching up their personal liberty and forcing upon them perpetual
subjugation via means similar to those deploid by leaders in pre-Islaamic
Arabia who made people slaves to themselves by enforcing upon their
people adulterated creeds (faasid aqaaid) carefull construed in self-fancy
in order to subjugate man unto in-animate objects and dead humans so
as to entirely remove any thought of liberty that might theated their caste
rule.
The Almighty Lord states:

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And they have taken (for worship) gods other than God, to gain
(worldly) power and glory!
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Islaam however comes to free man of this slavery and place human
beings upon their original state (al-fitrah) of liberty to exercise personal
will and boundlessly turn his face towards direct serfdom to his Lord
Allaah. Whereas, discipleship (mureedi) composed of un-checked
bigotry (taqleed) of patriarchs (pirs), hermits (dervishes), clergymen (
ulemaa), even saints (awliyaa) is likely to cause distraction therein and in
extreme cases bonds with Jews and Christians who took their priests and
anchorites to be lords besides Allaah by offering them un-inhibited
obedience wherein they are licensed to authorize any creed and
command any exercise they see fit
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. Imaam Maalik said: Everyone
after the holy Prophet_ will have his sayings accepted and rejected - not
so the Prophet_.
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Such are in truth responsible for idleness and
downfall of this sheepish Muslim community (ummah) which shall
continue due course to destruction unless we look up to the light of
Allaahs Quraan and desert decorated paths of the cursed Shaytaan.
In closing, I ask Allaahs pardon for any impurity in intention and
shortcoming in writing this essay whereof people should not harbor
misconception that it serves as just another sectarian publicity paper the
underlying aim of which is defamation of a particular group: as I firmly
believe no single sect has with it complete and ultimate truth, just as its
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[Al-Quran, 19:81]
23
[Al-Quran, 9:31, 7:3]
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[See: Albaanees sifatu salaatul-nabee_]
not possible for a single doctor to specialize in different fields of
medicine, or scientist to expertize in variant fields of science. Each group
has positives and frailties alike; what truth-seekers must do is extract
what is beneficial therefrom and leave off that which is harmful, and in
this regard our criterion for discernment should only be Allaahs
Revelation and the Messengers_ Sunnah. My aim has clearly been to
present the right concept regarding tawassul and not only refute
heretical ideas linked thereto but also expose underlying motives of
those who adeptly misuse religious creed and cult in self-interest.
Allaahs refuge is sought from their evil and evil within ourselves, and
His forgiveness for myself and the believers among men and women, wa
l-salaamu alaykum!
M.Usman - 6sman.wordpress.com
mu6sman@yahoo.com
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