V. The Fifth Article
Ibn Taymiyah's Prohibiting the Tawassul by the Anbiya' and Awliya' and the Tabarruk by them and their Traces
Among the most famous issues that were confirmed about Ibn Taymiyah by the reporting of the scholars contemporary to him and others who came after them, are his prohibiting the tawassul by the anbiya' and salihun (righteous Muslims) after their death and in their absence while alive and tabarruk by them and their traces, and his prohibiting to visit the grave of the Prophet, ^alayh-is-salatu was-salam, for the purpose of tabarruk. As was shown, he accuses the Muslim a'immah (pl. of imam) of treachery. He disagreed with Imam Ahmad and Imam Ibrahim Ibn Ishaq al-Harbiyy. He is, as Hafiz as-Subkiyy said about him: No one among the Salaf and Khalaf preceded Ibn Taymiyah to disapprove the tawassul. He said what no scholar before him had ever said.
Ibn Taymiyah and his followers accuse of kufr the people who perform the tawassul and istighathah (asking for help) by the Messenger of Allah and others of anbiya' and awliya'. What led them to this, is their ignorance of the meaning of ^ibadah (worship) mentioned in the like of the ayah 5 of al-Fatihah, which means: We worship You (Allah) and we ask You for help and the ayah 3 of az-Zumar, which means: Those who worshipped the idols said: We do not worship them except to achieve a higher status by them from Allah. The ^ibadah in the language of the Arabs is what the linguists defined. The famous linguist, Imam az-Zajjaj defined it by saying: The ^ibadah in the language of the Arabs is obedience with subjugation. In "Mufradat-ul-Qur'an" the Linguist, Imam Abul-Qasim ar-Raghib al-'Asbahaniyy said: The ^ibadah is the ultimate humbleness. Imam, Hafiz, Faqih, Linguist, and Mufassir (Explainer of the Qur'an) ^Aliyy Ibn ^Abd-il-Kafi as-Subkiyy in his tafsir (explanation) of ayah 5 of al-Fatihah which means: We (Muslims) worship You (Allah) said: That is, we make our ^ibadah (worship), which is the ultimate fear with subjugation, exclusive to You (Allah). Those people (Ibn Taymiyah and his followers were also ignorant of the meaning of the du^a' mentioned in the Qur'an in many positions, like the ayah 13 of al-Hajj, which means: They perform du^a' to (worship) those idols, the harm of which by being worshipped is closer than their benefit by being intercessors, or the ayah 5 of al-'Ahqaf, which means: Who is more astray than the one who performs du^a' to (worships) other than Allah, who will not answer his du^a'. They thought that the meaning of du^a' in these two ayat mean the mere nida' (calling) and did not know that it is the ^ibadah which is the ultimate humbleness. The scholars of Tafsir have agreed that the du^a' in those ayat is their ^ibadah (worship) to other than Allah in this manner. No linguist or scholar of Tafsir explained the du^a' as the mere calling. Consequently, those ignorant people started accusing of kufr whoever says: O Messenger of Allah, or O Abu Bakr, or O ^Aliyy, or O Jilaniyy, or the like in the absence of those people while alive or after their death thinking that this calling is an ^ibadah to other than Allah. This is far from what they think. Did these not know that it is not permissible to explain the Qur'an and Hadith with what disagrees with the (Arabic) language? What would these say about what al-Bukhariyy related in "al-'Adab-ul-Mufrad" about Ibn ^Umar that his leg was benumbed severly and he was told: Mention the name of the most beloved person to you. Then he said (what means): O Muhammad. The result was as if his leg was untied from a knot. Would they accuse him of kufr for this calling or what would they do? What would they say about al-Bukhariyy mentioning this incident? Would they rule that he mentioned shirk in his book to be applied?
Among their suspicious matters is their quoting the Hadith of al-Bukhariyy and others: The du^a' is the worship. Al-Bukhariyy related it in "al-'Adab-ul-Mufrad" and Ibn Hibban did. They want to let the people believe that the tawassul by the anbiya' and awliya' after their death or in their absence if alive is shirk and ^ibadah to other than Allah. The answer is: The meaning of the Hadith is that the du^a' which is imploring Allah, as the scholars of language defined the du^a', is among the greatest types of worship, with the meaning of what is done to achieve a better status from Allah, because the Salah which, after the belief, is the best action to seek a better status from Allah includes the du^a'. This is from the ^ibadah which is one of the two meanings according to the norm of the scholars of the Religion. It is like naming relief ^ibadah. The Messenger of Allah said: Awaiting the relief is an ^ibadah (Ibn Hibban). This naming stems from the general definition of ^ibadah which is the ultimate humbleness, because when the slave (of Allah) performs du^a', he implores Allah, ta^ala, since He is the Creator of benefit and harm, then he has humbled himself to Allah with the ultimate humbleness. Our performance of obedience to Allah and our avoidance of disobedience to Allah is due to Allah's help and protection, respectively.
Those negators of tawassul want, by mentioning this Hadith, to accuse of kufr whoever says: O Messenger of Allah, or O Messenger of Allah, help me, or the like, such as the saying of ^Abdullah Ibn ^Umar when his leg was benumbed: O Muhammad. They are told: If the saying of someone upon calamity: O Muhammad or O Messenger of Allah is shirk according to you, then [would you] accuse of kufr the scholars of Hadith who put this in their writings, such as al-Bukhariyy and others!
Then it is known that the ^ibadah is used Islamically by the carriers of the Shari^ah (Islamic Law) as whatever is done to seek a better status from Allah. It was mentioned in the sahih (authentic) [A sahih Hadith is a Hadith which is related by an ^adl from another ^adl back to the Prophet or Sahabiyy, devoid of any shuthuth or defect.] Hadith to mean the hasanah, like the Prophet's saying: Awaiting the relief is an ^ibadah (Ibn Hibban), i.e., a hasanah by which one seeks a better status from Allah. In this meaning, are the sadaqah (charity), Siyam (fasting), and doing obedience and the good things to people; this is very much widespread.
Among the proofs of the people of truth for the permissibility of tawassul by the Messenger of Allah in his life and after his death are:
In his mu^jaman, al-Mu^jam-ul-Kabir and al-Mu^jam-us-Saghir [Al-Mu^jam is a book of Hadith in which the Ahadith are mentioned according to the alphabetical order of the shuyukh. Al-Mu^jaman is the dual form of al-mu^jam.] at-Tabaraniyy akhraj about ^Uthman Ibn Hunayf that a man used to go to ^Uthman Ibn ^Affan who did not pay attention to him and did not look into his case. He met ^Uthman Ibn Hunayf and complained to him about it. He said: Go to the wash place, perform Wudu' and rak^atan, then say (what means): O Allah, I ask You and direct my request to You by our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy. O Muhammad, I direct my request to Allah by you to be fulfilled. Then let us go together. The man went and did what he was told. Then he came to the gate of ^Uthman. The gateman came, took him by hand, admitted him to ^Uthman Ibn ^Affan, and seated him on his rug. ^Uthman Ibn ^Affan asked him: What is your wish? He mentioned his wish to him. ^Uthman fulfilled his wish and said: I did not remember your wish until this time. Then the man left and met ^Uthman Ibn Hunayf and said: May Allah reward you with good things. He would not have looked into my wish had you not talked to him about me. ^Uthman Ibn Hunayf said: By Allah, I did not talk to him, but I witnessed a blind person who came to the Messenger of Allah complaining about losing his sight. The Messenger of Allah said (what means): If you would be patient or else I will make a du^a' for you. He said: O Messenger of Allah, losing my sight is hard for me and I have no guide. He said (what means): Go to the wash place, perform Wudu', pray rak^atan, then say: O Allah, I ask You... to the end of the du^a'. The man did what he was told. By Allah, neither had we departed yet nor had the sitting lasted for long time, the man came to us sightful as if he had never had any problem.
In his Mu^jaman, at-Tabaraniyy said that the Hadith is sahih. According to the scholars of Hadith, the word Hadith is reserved to what has been marfu^ [Al-Marfu^ is a Hadith which is attributed to the Prophet by a Companion.] to the Prophet and to what is mawquf [Al-Mawquf is a Hadith which is attributed to a Companion, but not to the Prophet.] to the Sahabiyy, as it is established in the books of Istilah (Science of Hadith). Imam Ahmad used the word Hadith for an athar [Al-'Athar refers to the marfu^ and mawquf Hadith or to the mawquf Hadith only.] of ^Umar about cheese brought by the Majus (fire worshippers) whose habit was to use the rennet of the maytah [Al-Maytah is an animal which was not slaughtered as per the rules of al-'Islam. It is a great sin to eat a maytah.].
The Hadith of ^Uthman Ibn Hunayf is an evidence for the permissibility of tawassul by the Messenger of Allah in his life and after his death, in his presence and his absence. The matter is not like what Ibn Taymiyah says: It is not allowed to perform tawassul except by the alive and present person. Since al-'Albaniyy follows him, he discredited the portion of the Hadith which is mawquf by saying: The mawquf Hadith is munkar [Al-Munkar is the opposite of ma^ruf Hadith; it is a Hadith which is related by one person who has not reached a proper level of memory and trusworthiness.]. The source of the confusion of al-'Albaniyy is his going beyond his limit. He did not stop at the statements of the scholars of the Hadith that whoever did not reach the level of Hafiz has no right to judge whether a Hadith is sahih, da^if [Ad-Da^if is a Hadith which lacks any of the requisites of the sahih or hasan Hadith.], or mawdu^ [Al-Mawdu^ is a Hadith which is fabricated upon the Prophet.]. This Hadith was related also by Hafiz as-Subkiyy and Hafiz al-Bayhaqiyy.
Another proof is the Hadith: Whoever says when he goes out to the masjid (mosque): O Allah, I ask You by the right of the askers upon You and by the right of this walking of mine, because I did not go out discontentedly, or to be praised or for fame; I went out to avoid Your punishment and seek Your acceptance. I ask You to save me from Hellfire, and to forgive my sins; no one forgives the sins except You, Allah accepts his du^a' and 70,000 angels ask Allah to forgive him. It is related by Ibn Majah. Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-^Asqalaniyy and Hafiz Abul-Hasan al-Maqdisiyy said: it is hasan [Al-Hasan is a Hadith, the relators of which are known for their trustworthiness and good memory. Included is the Hadith which is related in more than one riwayah (rendition) all of which are devoid of any defect that blemishes its authenticity. It is accepted by the scholars of al-'Islam, and is used for inferring Islamic rulings.]. There is no attention to al-'Albaniyy's tad^if of the Hadith after these Hafizan (dual of Hafiz) said it is sahih, because al-'Albaniyy is not at the level of Hafiz; he is far from it as far as the sky is from Earth. Moreover, he admitted in some of his books that he did not reach the level of Hafiz.
The condition for considering a Hadith sahih, da^if, or mawdu^ is that it is not taken except from the words of a Hafiz as stated by as-Suyutiyy in "Tadrib-ur-Rawi". Is the daring of al-'Albaniyy to say about Hadith that it is sahih, da^if, or mawdu^ a result of his ignorance of the words of the people of the Mustalah (Science of Hadith)? Or is it that he knew what they said, but his desires, and the love of showing up and claiming what is not his, thinking that he could fool the people if he said about Hadith that it is sahih, hasan, or da^if are the ones which dragged him?
Let us mention here the statement of Hafiz Ibn Hajar in summary, since this will remove any ambiguity that some people imagined for not differentiating between the Hadithan (dual of Hadith): the practical Hadith and the verbal Hadith. The practical Hadith is the one which is da^if, but the verbal Hadith is thabit (confirmed). Ibn Hajar said: The saying of an-Nawawiyy: We related in the book of Ibn as-Sunniyy from Bilal and by the previous sanad [Sanad or isnad refers to the chain of people relating a Hadith.] to Abu Bakr Ibn as-Sunniyy many times; ^Abdullah Ibn Muhammad al-Baghawiyy told us al-Hasan Ibn ^Arafah told us ^Aliyy Ibn Thabit al-Jazariyy from al-Wazi^ Ibn Nafi^ from Abu Salamah Ibn ^Abd-ir-Rahman from Jabir Ibn ^Abdillah, ^radiyallahu ^anhuma, from Bilal, ^radiyallahu ^anh, [Radiyallahu ^anh means: May Allah be pleased with him.] the mu'aththin of the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa ^ala alihi wa sallam, [Sallallahu ^alayhi wa ^ala alihi wa sallam means: May Allah raise the rank of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad and protect his Ummah from that which he fears for it. May the mercy of Allah be upon the Al of the Prophet.] who said what means: When the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa ^ala alihi wa sallam, went for Salah, he used to say: In the Name of Allah. I believe in Allah. I rely on Allah. No one avoids disobeying Allah except with the protection of Allah and no one has the strength to obey Allah except with the help of Allah. O Allah, I ask You by the right of the askers upon You and by the right of this going out of mine, because I did not go out discontentedly, or to be praised or for fame; I went out seeking Your acceptance and to avoid Your punishnent. I ask You to protect me from Hellfire, and to admit me to Paradise. This is a very da^if Hadith. Ad-Daraqutniyy akhraj it in "al-'Ifrad" from this way and said what means: Al-Wazi^ is the only relator of this Hadith. The author reported that it is agreed that he is da^if and his Hadith is munkar. I (Ibn Hajar) said: There is a tougher saying about him. Yahya Ibn Mu^in and an-Nasa'iyy said: He is not a thiqah (trustworthy). Abu Hatim and others said: His Hadith is matruk [Al-Matruk is a Hadith related by a da^if person, because, e.g., he is known to lie. His Hadith is abandoned.]. Al-Hakim said: He related mawdu^ (fabricated) Ahadith. Ibn ^Adiyy said: All of his Ahadith are not mahfuz [Al-Mahfuz is a Hadith in which the addition of the relator of a sahih or hasan Hadith to its wording disagrees with what a more trustworthy person related. The relating of the latter outweighs that of the former and is known as a mahfuz Hadith. The outweighed Hadith is known as a shathth Hadith.]. I said: He committed idtirab [Al-'Idtirab refers to the case when a person relates a Hadith in more than one version, such as adding more words in one version or changing the wording or meaning of the Hadith. Additionally, the two versions are equally authentic, but neither one version outweighs the other nor it is possible to bring the two versions together. The Hadith is called mudtrib.] in this Hadith. In "al-Yawm wal-Laylah", Abu Nu^aym akhraj it in another version from him. He said: From Salim Ibn ^Abdillah Ibn ^Umar from his father from Bilal. There is no other evidence to strengthen the Hadith.
His saying: And we related in the book of Ibn as-Sunniyy means from the riwayah (rendition) of ^Atiyyah al-^Awfiyy from Abu Sa^id al-Khidriyy from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa ^ala alihi wa sallam. ^Atiyyah is da^if also. I said: His da^f is due to his tashayyu^ (following the Shi^ah) and tadlis [At-Tadlis is relating a Hadith in a delusive manner so that people would accept the Hadith from one. The tadlis is done by the relator, because, e.g., his shaykh is young or da^if, by dropping the name of his shaykh from the chain or mentioning him in such a way that people think that he is talking about another person.]. He himself is saduq (truthful). Al-Bukhariyy akhraj for him in "al-'Adab-ul-Mufrad" and Abu Dawud akhraj for him many Ahadith about which he kept silent. At-Tirmithiyy said that many of his Ahadith were hasan, some of which are of his ifrad [ Al-'Ifrad refers to the case when the relating of a Hadith is confined to one person or to one person from another person, or to a group of people from a certain area, for example.] . So do not think that he is like al-Wazi^.
I read, in Damascus, under Fatimah Bint Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn ^Uthman, the Dimashqiyyah (from Damascus) from Abul-Fadl Ibn Abu Tahir. He said: Isma^il Ibn Zufr told us; Muhammad Ibn Abu Zayd told us; Mahmud Ibn Isma^il told us; Abul-Husayn Ibn Fathshah told us; at-Tabaraniyy in the chapter on "Du^a'" told us; Bishr Ibn Musa told us; ^Abdullah Ibn Salih, who is al-^Ajaliyy, told us; Fudayl Ibn Marzuq told us from ^Atiyyah from Abu Sa^id al-Khidriyy, radiyallahu ^anh, who said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa ^ala alihi wa sallam, said what means: If a man went out of his house for Salah and said: O Allah, I ask You by the right of the askers upon You and by the right of this walking of mine, because I did not go out discontentedly, or to be praised or for fame; I went out to avoid Your punishment and seeking Your acceptance. I ask You to save me from Hellfire, and to forgive my sins; no one forgives the sins except You, Allah assigns 70,000 angels to ask Allah to forgive him and He accepts his du^a' until he finishes his Salah. This is a hasan Hadith which Ahmad akhraj from Zayd Ibn Harun from Fudayl Ibn Marzuq. Ibn Majah akhraj it also from Muhammad Ibn Yazid Ibn Ibrahim at-Tustariyy from al-Fadl Ibn Muwaffaq. Ibn Khuzaymah akhraj it also in the book "at-Tawhid" from the riwayah of Muhammad Ibn Fudayl Ibn Ghazwan and from the riwayah of Abu Khalid al-'Ahmar. Abu Nu^aym al-'Asbahaniyy akhraj it also. All of them akhraj it from the riwayah of Abu Nu^aym al-Kufiyy from Fudayl Ibn Marzuq. We related it in the chapter on as-Salah by Abu Nu^aym. He said in his riwayah from Fudayl from ^Atiyyah: He said: Abu Sa^id told me and he mentioned it but did not attribute it to a Sahabiyy. Consequently, he was safe from the tadlis of ^Atiyyah.
I was surprised by the Shaykh how he mentioned the riwayah of Bilal without Abu Sa^id and how he attributed the riwayah of Abu Sa^id to Ibn as-Sunniyy without Ibn Majah or others. Allah is the One who gives success [This is the end of Ibn Hajar's statement.].
In this Hadith, there is an evidence about the permissibility of performing the tawassul by the live and dead people, because the word 'askers' includes both of them, and the permissibility of tawassul by the good deed, which is the walking of the man to the masjid for the sake of Allah. The Shar^ did not differentiate between the tawassul by the good selves and the good deed. One may say: How would the tawassul by the self of the Messenger of Allah, who is the most honorable creation of Allah, not be permissible and it would be permissible to do that by the Salah, Siyam, and sadaqah of the slave? Both are creations of Allah: the good selves are creations of Allah and the good deeds, which the slaves perform, are creations of Allah. For what reason is the differentiation?
Most of the confusion which they adduce to prohibit the tawassul and visiting the grave of the Messenger are matters which are irrelevant to the tawassul, like the marfu^ Hadith of Ibn ^Abbas and in it: If you ask, ask Allah and if you ask for help, ask Allah for help. The answer is: This Hadith does not contain: Do not ask other than Allah or Do not ask other than Allah for help. The Prophet meant: Allah is more worthy to be asked and His help is more worthy to be sought. How do these people fabricate upon the Messenger of Allah and Ibn ^Abbas to prove their claim of accusing of kufr the one who performs the tawassul and asks help from the Messenger? This Hadith is like the saying of the Messenger of Allah in the Hadith related by Ibn Hibban: Do not accompany except a believer and let no one except a pious eat your food. Does this Hadith contain that accompanying the non-Muslim is prohibited? Would one understand from it that feeding the non-pious is prohibited? In His Book (al-Qur'an), Allah permitted the Muslims to feed their kafir (non-Muslim) prisoner and praised it in al-'Insan, 8: They feed the food out of their love for Allah to the needy who cannot earn, orphan, and the (non-Muslim) prisoner .
Among their suspicious actions is their adducing the Hadith of ^Umar that he asked Allah for rain by al-^Abbas. They claimed that ^Umar performed the tawassul by al-^Abbas, because the Messenger had died. The answer is: Did ^Umar or al-^Abbas tell you that this tawassul was because the Messenger had died? No! Neither ^Umar nor al-^Abbas said that or indicated it. It is only out of your fabrications upon them to support your desire to accuse of kufr the one who performs the tawassul by the Prophet.
As one of their suspicious things, they may mention a Hadith, which is agreed that it is da^if: Abu Bakr said (what means): Let us perform istighathah by (ask for the help of) the Messenger of Allah against this hypocrite. The Messenger of Allah said what means: I am not someone by whom help is asked. Allah is the only One Who is asked for help. The answer to this suspicious matter is: Firstly, this Hadith has Ibn Lahay^ah among its relators, who is da^if. Secondly, this Hadith is contradictory to the Hadith that al-Bukhariyy akhraj in his Sahih from the marfu^ Hadith of ^Abdullah Ibn ^Umar, and in it the sun approaches the heads of the people on the Day of Judgement. While they are like that, they ask Adam for help. How do they cling to an unconfirmed Hadith when it is opposed by the sahih Hadith.
In the book "Kashshaf-ul-Qina^", Volume 2, page 68 is mentioned: As-Samiriyy and the author of at-Talkhis said (what means): There is no objection to perform the tawassul by the shuyukh (plural of shaykh) and the poius scholars. In "al-Muthahhab" he said: It is permissible to ask Allah by performing the intercession by a righteous man, and it is said: it is mustahabb (liked) to do so.
In his Mansak which he wrote to al-Marwaziyy, Ahmad said: It is sunnah for the one who is asking Allah for rain to perform the tawassul (ask Him) by the Prophet. He determined it in "al-Mustaw^ab" and others. Then he said: Ibrahim al-Harbiyy said (what means): The du^a' at the grave of Ma^ruf al-Kurakhiyy is the tested antidote. Ibrahim al-Harbiyy [Ath-Thahabiyy said what means: He was born in the year 198 A.H. He acquired the Fiqh under Ahmad and was one of his most respectable companions. In "Tathkirat-ul-Huffaz", ath-Thahabiyy said what means: As-Salamiyy said (what means): I asked ad-Daraqutniyy about Ibrahim al-Harbiyy. He said (what means): He used to be compared with Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his zuhd, knowledge, and piety.] is one of the contemporaries of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. He died forty years after Ahmad. He was one of the most respected and trustworthy scholars of Hadith. The saying of Ibn Taymiyah that it is an ugly innovation is refuted by the agreement of the a'immah. The statement of Imam Ahmad and of Ibrahim al-Harbiyy, who was one of the respected scholars of Salaf, testify to the refutation. Where is the agreement that Ibn Taymiyah claims?
The meaning of what is mentioned about Abu Hanifah that he hated to say: I ask You by the right of Your anbiya', is not prohibiting the tawassul in general in all of its forms and wordings. Abu Hanifah hated this expression: by the right of Your anbiya', as the people of his mathhab said, because it may seem to mean that the slaves have a right which is obligatory upon Allah (to fulfil). The people of his mathhab are more aware of his words. The followers of Abu Hanifah have been and are still performing tawassul by the anbiya' of Allah and consider it something by which they seek a better status from Allah.
Concerning that he said (what means): Allah is not asked by other than Him, is far from being true. How could it be true when it is confirmed in the Sahih that due to rain, three men took shelter in a cave. A rock fell and blocked the entrance of the cave and they could not exit. Every one of them asked Allah by his good deed to relieve them of their calamity [; the rock moved away]. Al-Bukhariyy and others akhraj this Hadith. How would one pay attention to this report about Abu Hanifah which contradicts the sahih? Al-'Albaniyy mentioned in some of his circles: Abu Hanifah saved us the trouble concerning the tawassul, meaning that Abu Hanifah prohibits the tawassul in general as they do. Let those prove, if they can, that Abu Hanifah said: it is prohibited to perform the tawassul by the Prophet after his death, or while alive in his absence as the followers of Ibn Taymiyah claim in his saying: It is not permitted to perform the tawassul except by the alive and present person.
The tawassul, tawajjuh (directing oneself), and the istighathah (asking for help) lead to the same thing as Hafiz Taqiyy-ud-Din as-Subkiyy said. He is one of the linguists, as as-Suyutiyy said. This is evident. In the Ramadah Year, a companion went to the grave of the Messenger of Allah and said: O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah to give rain to your Ummah; they are close to perish. It is correct to call what he did tawassul and istighathah, because he went to the grave of the Messenger asking him to save them from the calamity that hit them by him (the Messenger) asking Allah to give them rain. Al-Bayhaqiyy and Ibn Kathir in his "Tarikh" said that this Hadith is sahih. This occurring from Ibn Kathir is an evidence that he did not follow Ibn Taymiyah in the issue of tawassul, because he did not find the evidence with him.
The negators of tawassul, the followers of Ibn Taymiyah, say: Why do you make a wasitah (an intermediary) by your saying: O Allah, I ask you by your slave fulan? [Fulan is equivalent to John Doe in the USA.] Allah does not need a wasitah! It is said to them: The wasitah may come with the meaning of helper which is impossible for Allah to have. However, the wasitah with the meaning of a means is not negated by the Shar^ or intellect. Allah is the Creator of the means and their causes. Allah is the Creator of medicines and the Creator of healing by them. Also, Allah, ta^ala, made the tawassul by the anbiya' and awliya' a means to benefit those who are performing it. Had the tawassul not been a means of benefit, the Messenger of Allah would not have taught the blind man the tawassul by him. Additionally, Allah is the Creator of the tawassul and of the benefit that happens by it, by the will of Allah. Performing the tawassul by the anbiya' and awliya' is of seeking the means, because the means are either necessary (essential) like eating and drinking, or unnecessary (non-essential) like the tawassul. Each is among the means. The believer who performs tawassul by the anbiya' and awliya' does not believe that their being wusata' (intermediaries) between him and Allah means that Allah uses their help to get the benefit to the performer of tawassul or that He cannot do it by Himself. They consider them as means made by Allah to achieve the benefit, by the will of Allah.
The goal of the performer of tawassul may or may not happen, as much as the one who takes medicine; he may or may not recover by it. Also, Allah made the visit to the graves of the anbiya' and awliya' seeking blessing, with the hope of having one's du^a' fulfilled there, a means to achieve benefit. This is known among Muslims, the lay ones and the scholars. No one before Ibn Taymiyah renounced it. An example is the aforementioned story of the companion who visited the grave of the Prophet in the Ramadah Year. Its authenticity was confirmed by al-Bayhaqiyy and Ibn Kathir.
The saying of the negators of tawassul: Why do you make wusata' between you and Allah and why do you not ask Allah for your needs has no sense, because the Shar^ permitted the believer to ask for his need with or without the tawassul. Whoever says: O Allah I ask You by Your Prophet or by the status of Your Prophet or the like, he has asked Allah. Whoever says: O Allah I ask You for this and that, he has asked Allah. Both matters comprise the slave asking his Lord. Both are included in the Hadith: If you ask, ask Allah.
O Taymiyyun (followers of Ibn Taymiyah), the matter is not like what you claim. You and your imam, Ibn Taymiyah, will meet the consequences of what occurs from you, since he spread this invalid belief of considering the tawassul and visiting the graves for tabarruk as straying and kufr, because it goes under the Hadith: Whoever initiates in al-'Islam a bad deed, he will carry its burden and the burden of everyone who acts in that way after him.
In another position, Ibn Taymiyah declared that going to the grave to make du^a' there is an ugly innovation. Al-Buhutiyy, the author of "Kashshaf-ul-Qina^", said reporting about the author of "al-Furu^": Our shaykh- meaning Ibn Taymiyah- said: one's going to the grave for du^a' hoping for its fulfillment there is an innovation and not something by which one seeks a better status from Allah by the agreement of the a'immah. The author of "al-Furu^" is Shams-ud-Din Ibn Muflih, al-Hanbaliyy and one of Ibn Taymiyah's students. In another place in "Kashshaf-ul-Qina^", he said: The shaykh- meaning Ibn Taymiyah- said: By the agreement of the a'immah, it is prohibited to perform Tawaf around other than al-Bayt-ul-^Atiq (al-Ka^bah), then he said: They agreed that he does not kiss it or rub his body with it; it is of the shirk. He said: Allah does not forgive the shirk even if it was the smaller shirk. This is the statement which al-Buhutiyy reported about him. In the folds of these words is accusing Abu Ayyub al-'Ansariyy, about whom it was confirmed that he placed his forehead on the grave of the Prophet, of kufr. Marwan Ibn al-Hakam saw him and held his neck. Abu Ayyub turned his face towards him. Marwan went away. Abu Ayyub said: I did not come to the stone. I came to the Messenger of Allah. I heard the Messenger of Allah say: Do not weep for al-'Islam if the qualified people were in charge, but weep for it if it was under the charge of the unqualified. Al-Hakim related it in "al-Mustadrak" and said it is sahih. Ath-Thahabiyy agreed to his authentication. If putting the face on the grave was not objected to by any of the Companions, what would Ibn Taymiyah say? Would he accuse Abu Ayyub of kufr or what would he do? Then what would he do with the statement of Imam Ahmad reported by his son ^Abdullah, which was mentioned previously in other than this article, that he said about kissing and touching the minbar and grave of the Prophet seeking the blessing and a better status from Allah: No objection to that.
Al-Buhutiyy said in "Kashshaf-ul-Qina^": Ibrahim al-Harbiyy said: It is mustahabb (liked) to kiss the chamber of the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam. Then al-Buhutiyy said: No objection to one's touching it (the grave) with one's hand.
Then he reported the words of Ibn Taymiyah: Rubbing one's body with, performing Salah at, and going to the grave (of the Prophet) believing that performing du^a' there is better than elsewhere, or committing a nathr (oath) for it or the like, the shaykh -meaning Ibn Taymiyah- said: This is not of the Religion of the Muslims, but is of what has been initiated of the ugly innovations which are of the branches of shirk. In "al-'Ikhtiyarat", Ibn Taymiyah said: The Salaf and a'immah agreed that whoever says salam to the Prophet or other prophets and righteous people does not rub his body with the grave or kiss it. They agreed that he does not hold or kiss except the Black Stone. The Yamaniyy Rukn is held, but correctly is not kissed. Then in response to Ibn Taymiyah, al-Buhutiyy said: I said: But Ibrahim al-Harbiyy said: It is mustahabb (liked) to kiss the chamber of the Prophet. Al-Buhutiyy is a Hanbaliyy (follower of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal), but when he knew of the incorrectness of Ibn Taymiyah's words, he repelled his words, thereby refuting Ibn Taymiyah's claim about the agreement of the Salaf to prohibit the kissing of the grave. He did not catch Ibn Taymiyah; he died after the year 1000 A.H.
In "Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah": Abu Bakr- meaning Ibn Abi Shaybah- told us; he said: Zayd Ibn Habbab told us; he said: Abu Mawdudah told me; he said: Yazid Ibn ^Abd-il-Malik Ibn Qasit told me; he said: I saw a group of the Companions of the Prophet if the Masjid was free for them, they stood up and went to the free rummanah (knob) of the minbar, rubbed it, and made du^a'. He said: and I saw Yazid do that.
Some followers of Ibn Hanbal, like Abul-Faraj Ibn al-Jawziyy and his Shaykh Ibn ^Aqil declared that it is makruh (disliked) to go to the grave for du^a'. However, they did not prohibit it. No one of the Salaf and Khalaf prohibited it. What was cited about some scholars is the karahah (disliking) and not the tahrim (prohibiting). However, Ibn Taymiyah's pen trespassed the limits; he deviated from the truth to accusing the Muslims of kufr for that. Whoever tracked the biographies of the muhaddithun and ^ulama' finds in a lot of them that a fulan of the scholars of Hadith or the righteous was buried in a certain town; he is visited and the du^a' is fulfilled there. Among that is what Hafiz Ibn ^Asakir mentioned in the biography of Hafiz ^Abd-ul-Ghafir Ibn Isma^il al-Farisiyy. He said: He was buried in Naysabur and his grave is visited and the du^a' is fulfilled there. It was mentioned previously that Ibrahim al-Harbiyy said:: The grave of Ma^ruf is the tested antidote. This was mentioned in "Tarikh Baghdad" by Hafiz al-Baghdadiyy. In his book "al-Hisn-ul-Hasin" and its summary "^Uddat-ul-Hisn-il-Hasin", Hafiz, Muhaddith, the Shaykh of the Qurra' (Reciters of al-Qur'an) Shams-ud-Din Ibn al-Jazariyy mentioned that the graves of the righteous are among the places of having the du^a' fulfilled. He came after Ibn Taymiyah and was a study mate of Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-^Asqalaniyy.
How does Ibn Taymiyah rule that this matter, which is mutawatir [A mutawatir Hadith is one related by a large number of Muslims in a way which was impossible for them to have agreed to lie about it, from the beginning of the chain of relators to the end. They have seen or heard what they related and it was true, i.e., not misconstrued. (The number of mutawatir Ahadith is around fifty.)] among the Muslims, is shirk. Praise to You Allah; this is a foul fabrication.
By this, it is clear that Ibn Taymiyah attributed the opinion of his which he desires to the a'immah and claimed their agreement upon it without any proof. Let this be known to those who took Ibn Taymiyah's saying and ruled with kufr upon those who visited the grave of the Messenger and others for performing du^a' there, that visiting the grave with this intention is shirk. Let them be warned against it and let them quit the blind imitation. The truth of the matter is what as-Subkiyy said: It is preferred to perform the tawassul by the Prophet and no one of the Salaf or Khalaf objected to it, except Ibn Taymiyah; he said what no scholar before him had said.
Their citation of ^Umar's cutting the tree of Bay^at-ur-Ridwan to support their prohibiting the tabarruk by the graves of the anbiya' and salihin is of no value. It is interpreted as that ^Umar was worried that there will come a time when people would worship the tree. He did not mean to prohibit the tabarruk with the traces of the Messenger. Had it been like what they thought, his son ^Abdullah would not have come to the tree of samur, under which the Messenger used to sit, seeking the tabarruk. He used to water it so that it does not dry out. Ibn Hibban related it and said it is sahih. There is no doubt that ^Abdullah understood his father's biography more than Ibn Taymiyah and his followers did.
We challenge whoever is fanatic about Ibn Taymiyah to bring forth a sahih report from the Salaf or Khalaf prohibiting visiting the grave of the Prophet for tabarruk or the tawassul by him in his life or after his death. They will not find it. That is why Ibn Kathir disagreed with his shaykh Ibn Taymiyah in the issue of tawassul. However, he followed him in the issue of divorce and was tortured for that. Ibn Kathir declared in his Tafsir with the liking of tawassul by the Prophet after his death and asking help by him. He mentioned it in his history book "al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah" in the biography of ^Umar Ibn al-Khattab.
As for their prohibiting the travel to visit the grave of the Prophet, inferrring from the Hadith [related by al-Bukhariyy]: There is no extra merit in packing luggage except to three masajid (mosques): al-Masjid-ul-Haram, al-Masjid-ul-'Aqsa, and my Masjid (Masjid-ur-Rasul), the answer is the following: No one of the Salaf understood what Ibn Taymiyah understood. Visiting the grave of the Messenger is sunnah whether with or without traveling as for the residents of al-Madinah. The Hanabilah stated, as others did, that the visit to the grave of the Prophet is sunnah, whether or not one meant to do it with traveling.
The meaning of the Hadith which the Salaf and Khalaf understood is: There is no extra merit in traveling to pray in a masjid except traveling to those three masajid, because the reward of Salah in them is multiplied up to 100,000 times in al-Masjid-ul-Haram, to 1000 times in Masjid-ur-Rasul, and to 500 times in al-Masjid-ul-'Aqsa. What is meant by the Hadith is: The traveling to perform Salah. This is shown by what Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal related in his "Musnad" from the route of Shahr Ibn Hawshab, from the marfu^ Hadith of Abu Sa^id: Animals should not be ridden to a masjid in which Salah is sought, except to al-Masjid-ul-Haram, al-Masjid-ul-Aqsa, and my Masjid (al-Masjid-un-Nabawiyy). Hafiz Ibn Hajar said that this Hadith is a hasan Hadith, and it shows the meaning of the previous Hadith. Explaining the Hadith with another Hadith is better than the perversion of Ibn Taymiyah. In his Alfiyyah (Poem of about one-thousand lines) of the Mustalah of Hadith, al-^Iraqiyy said: The best way to explain a text (ayah or Hadith) is by another text (ayah or Hadith).
What felled Ibn Taymiyah in this perversion is his ill-understanding. He is as Hafiz Waliyy-ud-Din al-^Iraqiyy said about him: His knowledge is greater than his mind. He mentioned that in his book "Al-'Ajwibat-ul-Mardiyyah ^alal-'As'ilat-il-Makkiyyah", which was mentioned previously.