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V. The Fifth Article

Ibn Taymiyah's Prohibiting the Tawassul by the Prophets 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 (Ya 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' (Prophets) and awliya' (Pious) 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.