Wednesday, August 3, 2011


From the Layman’s Desk-14.
Part No.13: Istigatha (Imploring for Help)/Tawassul (Mediation) continued:

Certainly, your protecting Friend ( ) is only Allah and His Most Beloved Messenger (Sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.(Qur’an: 5-55). 
This Qur’anic verse clearly establishes that Allah is the Guardian and solver of grievances of people.  In addition, Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) is also the guardian and solver of grievances of people in the sense that Allah listens to his prayers more than anyone else’s.  Similarly, Sahabah and Awliya Allah are also guardians and solvers of grievances of people in the sense that their Dua is answered faster than the Dua of sinful Muslims. This Quranic verse  and Ahadith, which are available in abundance, clearly establish the authenticity of Istighatha (asking for help)  and Tawassul (Mediation) of Prophet Mohammad (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam), Sahabah ® and Awliya kiraam during their lives and after their deaths.
Although in the previous posts we have provided the definitions of Istigatha/Istiana/Tawassul, etc., by the great Islamic scholars, let us dwell further on a few issues that have been raised by Islamic brothers on the websites:

a) It is a fundamental belief of Muslims that only Allah benefits or harms; that only Allah gives and takes;
b) It is also a fundamental belief of Muslims that Allah has created means for humans to take;
c) However, the relationship between these created means and their effects is only normative: it is Allah who creates the means, and Allah who creates the results.
This is why Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri (Allah have mercy on him), the great spiritual guide and master of the sciences of faith (aqida) from Damascus, explained:  “Taking means is necessary, and denying that they are effective is necessary. Whoever negates means is denying the Wisdom of Allah, and whoever relies upon means is associating others with Allah.”  This is the understanding upon which Muslims “call upon other than Allah”.  It is no different from taking medicine when sick, or going to a mechanic when your car is giving trouble: if you think that the medicine itself creates the healing, or that the mechanic is the one himself creates the fixing, then you have serious innovation in belief. The sound understanding is that Allah creates the healing when you use the medicine, and He creates the fixing when the mechanic does their job: we affirm these means, but also affirm that it is Allah who created both the means and the resultant effect.   This is pure affirmation of Divine Oneness. How can it “smack of shirk”?

Considering  that Almighty Allah is the Giver in reality and asking  the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) then that is called Istiana or Istighatha.  This is the same as someone asks somebody to help him knowing that help comes from Allah.  Yet he asks some person to help him.  This helping is MAJAZ and is permissible in  Qur’an, Sunnah and Hadith.  Again, the lawfulness of istighatha or calling for help of a creature (who is qualified to help) is established in the Qur’an and Sunna as is evidence by the Qur’anic verses: “And his countryman sought his help (istaghâthahu) against his enemy" (28:15).  In other words, an Israelite  asked for Musa (a..s.)’s  help against the enemy, namely an Egyptian.  Dhul Qarneyn said: “…Do but help me with strength (of men), I will set between you and them a bank”  (18:95).  Therefore, “asked (or sought) for help” and “help me”  (a’eenuni) have the same root as “nasta’een” in Surah Fatiha.   Also, in al-Bukhari's narration of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) from Ibn `Umar ® (ISTIGHÂTHÛ bi âdam  thumma bi mûsâ thumma bi muHammadin Sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallama), already quoted in the previous post,  that dealt with the istighatha of the prophets on the Day of Judgment.
Let us now check out incidence of Istigatha/during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wassallam) and the Sahaba ®:
Maymuna bint Harith, the blessed wife of Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) narrates: The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) was doing Wudhu for Tahajjud Salaah at the home of Hazrat Maimuna (radi Allahu anha). He suddenly called out three times, "Labbaik, Labbaik, Labbaik!" (Here I am) and "Nusirtu, Nusirtu, Nusirtu!" (I helped you). Hadhrat Maimuna (Radhi Allaho anha) further asked him why he had called out those words". He replied: "Raajiz (a sahabi from far) was calling me because Quraish wanted to kill him"[Imam Tabarani in Mu’jam as-Sagheer, Volume No.2, Hadith # 968]

What actually happened was that the Quraish wanted to kill Hazrat Umar bin Saalim Raajiz (radi Allahu anhu) as he was on the road leading to Madinatul Munawwarah. He called out: Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam): Help me or else the enemies will kill me!" Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sal Alahu alayhi wasallam) responded to his call from home and saved him from death.  This narration shows that the Sahaba would seek help from the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) from afar and he (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) would answer their calls for help. When Rajiz asked the Prophet the following morning for help, the Messenger of Allah, (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) did not stop him from asking for this help. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) was at some distance, yet he still assisted.  In other words, this Hadith Shareef proves four points:

1. The Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) is observing his Ummah.
2.  It is permissible to call upon the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) for help.
3.  The Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) can hear the call of the Ummah.
4.  The Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) can help those who are in distress regardless of the distance. 

The Hadith of the Blind Man:

A blind man came to the Prophet and said: "Invoke Allah for me that he help me." He replied: "If you wish I will delay this, and it would be better for you, and if you wish I will invoke Allah the Exalted (for you)." He said: "Then invoke him." The Prophet said to him: idhhab fa tawadda', wa salli rak`atayn thumma qul -- "Go and make an ablution, pray two rak`at, then say: "O Allah, I am asking you (as'aluka) and turning to you (atawajjahu ilayka) with your Prophet Muhammad (bi nabiyyika Muhammad), the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (ya Muhammad), I am turning with you to my Lord regarding my present need / I am asking my Lord with your intercession concerning the return of my sight (inni atawajjahu bika ila rabbi fi hajati hadhih -- another version has: inni astashfi`u bika `ala rabbi fi raddi basari) so that He will fulfill my need; O Allah, allow him to intercede (with you) for me (allahumma shaffi`hu fiyya)."

[It is related by Ahmad (4:138 #17246-17247), Tirmidhi (hasan sahih gharib -- Da`awat Ch. 119), Ibn Majah (Book of Iqamat al-salat wa al-sunnat, Ch. on Salat al-hajat #1385), Nasa'i (`Amal al-yawm wa al-laylat p. 417-418 #658-660), al-Hakim (1:313, 1:526), Dhahabi, Shawkani, and as-Subki, among others.  This hadith was recorded was recorded by Bukhari in his "al-Tarikh al-kabir", by Abu Nu'aym in "Ma'rifa al-Sahaba", by Baihaqi in "Dala'il al-nubuwwa", by Mundhiri in "al-Targhib wa al-tahrib", by Haythami in "Majma' al zawa'id wa manba' al-fawa'id", by Tabarani in "al-Mu'jam al-kabir", by Ibn Khuzayma in his "Sahih", and by others. Nearly 15 hadith masters ("huffaz", hadith authorities with more than 100,000 hadiths and their chains of transmission by memory) have explicitly stated that this hadith is rigorously authenticated (sahih). As mentioned above, it has come with a chain of transmission meeting the standards of Bukhari and Muslim, so there is nothing left for a critic to attack or slanderer to disparage concerning the authenticity of the hadith.  Consequently, as for the permissibility of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through either a living or dead person, it follows by human reason, scholarship, and sentiment, that there is flexibility in the matter. Whoever wants to can either take tawassul or leave it, without causing trouble or making accusations, since it has been this thoroughly checked ("Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a , 79-83).]

1. The Prophet's order, here as elsewhere, carries legislative force for all Muslims and is not limited to a particular person, place or time; it is valid for all generations until the end of time unless proven otherwise by a subsequent indication from the Prophet himself, Peace be upon him.

2. The Prophet was not physically present at the assigned time of the invocation, since he said to the blind man: "Go and make ablution," without adding: "and then come back in front of me."  With regard to physical absence, the living and the dead are exactly alike, namely: absent.

3. Despite the Prophet's physical absence, the wording (sigha) for calling upon his intercession is direct address: "O Muhammad." Such a wording -- "O So-and-So" -- is only used with someone present and able to hear. It should also be noted that Allah forbade the Companions from being forward or calling out to the Prophet in the ordinary manner used with one another (49:1-2). The only way, therefore, that the Prophet, Blessings and peace be upon him, could both be absent and at the same be addressed is that the first be understood in the physical sense and the second in the spiritual.

The Hadith of the Man in Need:
Moreover, Tabarani, in his "al-Mu'jam al saghir", reports a hadith from 'Uthman ibn Hunayf that a man repeatedly visited Uthman ibn Affan (Allah be pleased with him) concerning something he needed, but Uthman paid no attention to him or his need. The man met Ibn Hunayf and complained to him about the matter - this being after the death (wisal) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and after the caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar - so Uthman ibn Hunayf, who was one of the Companions who collected hadiths and was learned in the religion of Allah, said: "Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then come to the mosque, perform two rak'as of prayer therein, and say:

'O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I turn through you to my Lord, that He may fulfill my need,' and mention your need. Then come so that I can go with you [to the caliph Uthman]." So the man left and did as he had been told, then went to the door of Uthman ibn Affan (Allah be pleased with him), and the doorman came, took him by the hand, brought him to Uthman ibn Affan, and seated him next to him on a cushion. 'Uthman asked, "What do you need?" and the man mentioned what he wanted, and Uthman accomplished it for him, then he said, "I hadn't remembered your need until just now," adding, "Whenever you need something, just mention it." Then, the man departed, met Uthman ibn Hunayf, and said to him, "May Allah reward you! He didn't see to my need or pay any attention to me until you spoke with him." Uthman ibn Hunayf replied, "By Allah, I didn't speak to him, but I have seen a blind man come to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and complain to him of the loss of his eyesight. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "Can you not bear it?' and the man replied, 'O Messenger of Allah, I do not have anyone to lead me around, and it is a great hardship for me.' The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) told him, 'Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then pray two rak'as of prayer and make the supplications.'" Ibn Hunayf went on, "By Allah, we didn't part company or speak long before the man returned to us as if nothing had ever been wrong with him."

As Shaykh Nuh says: "This is an explicit, unequivocal text from a prophetic Companion proving the legal validity of tawassul through the dead. The account has been classed as rigorously authenticated (SAHIH) by Bayhaqi, Mundhiri, and Haytami". 

In his discussion of the above Sahih Hadith Shaykh Nuh Keller points out:
"The authenticity of Tabarani's hadith of the man in need during the caliphate of Uthman (Allah be well pleased with him) is not discussed by the article in detail, but deserves consideration, since the hadith explicitly proves the legal validity of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through the deceased, for 'Uthman ibn Hunayf and indeed all the prophetic Companions, by scholarly consensus (ijma'), were legally upright ('udul), and are above being impugned with teaching someone an act of disobedience, much less idolatory (shirk). The hadith is rigorously authenticated (sahih), as Tabarani explicitly states in his "al-Mu'jam al-saghir." The translator (Nuh Ha Mim Keller), wishing to verify the matter further, to the hadith with its chain of narrators to hadith specialist Sheikh Shu'ayb Arna'ut, who after examining it, agreed that it was rigorously authenticated (sahih) as Tabarani indicated, a judgement which was also confirmed to the translator by the Morrocan hadith specialist Sheikh 'Abdullah Muhammad Ghimari, who characterized the hadith as "very rigorously authenticated," and noted that hadith masters Haythami and Mundhiri had explicitly concurred with Tabarani on its being rigorously authenticated (sahih). The upshot is that the recommendedness of tawassul to Allah Most High - through the living or the dead - is the position of the Shafi'i school, which is why both our author Ibn Naqib Al-Misri, and Imam Nawawi in his "Al-Adhkar (281-282)", and "al-Majmu" explicitly record that "tawassul" through the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and asking his intercession are recommended."
According to Shaykh Nuh, the telling reason for the validity is that everything the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) ordered to be done during his lifetime was "legislation" and this legislation is  valid for all generations until the end of time unless proven otherwise by a subsequent indication from the Prophet himself (Allah bless him and grant him peace), the tawassul he taught during his lifetime not requiring anything else to be generalized to any time thereafter.

We can also observe that in the narration there is dalil (evidence) of the permissibility of Tawassul (taking a means) through the Messenger of Allah (saw) to Allah azza wa-jal with the firm belief (I’tiqad) that the only active agent (Faa’il) is Allah subhanahu wa’ta’aala, for verily He alone is the Giver and Preventer, what He wishes, is, and what He does not wish never can be. 

Ibn Hajar al-Makki (reh.) after pointing out to both the above hadiths stated: Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) himself did not pray but taught him the prayer. He wanted him to turn towards Allahu ta'ala, to entreat Him and to put Rasulullah ('alaihi 's-salam) as an intercessor and wished his prayer to be accepted in this way. He (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) was and has been put as an intercessor both when he was alive and after his death. The Salaf as-Salihin, after his death, said this prayer very often and attained their purposes through it. [This passage is translated from Ibn Hajar al-Makki's Jawhar al-munazzam. It is also quoted in Shawahid al-haqq.]

Imam Muwaffaq ud-Deen Ibn Qudamah’s (reh) has quoted this du’a in his al-Wassiyah.  The English translation is as follows:
“Allah! I ask You and turn to You with Your Prophet, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, the prophet of mercy. Muhammad! I turn with you to my Lord, Mighty and Majestic, so that my need be fulfilled. O Allah! I make intercession with him, so let it be so with him.” You should then mention your need.

The Arabic transliteration of the supplication is as follows:
Allaahumma inni as’aluka wa atawajjahu ilaika bi nabeeyeeka muhammadin sallallaahu alaihi wa sallama nabeey irrahmah.  Ya Muhammad. Inni tawajjahtu bika ilaa rabb fee haajati hadhihee li-tuqdaa lee.  Allaahumma Fa Shaffi` hu fee.

[Collected by Imāms at-Tirmidhī in his Sunan, Book of Supplications; Ibn Mājah in his Sunan, Book of Establishing the Prayer under the chapter, Prayer of Need; Ibn Khuzaimah, al-Hākim and Jalāl ud-Dīn as-Suyuti in al-Jāmi` us-Saghir #1279, and classed as authentic by them. Also Imāms `Alawī al-Haddād (Misbāh ul-Anām, pp. 140-147); Jamīl Al-Afandī (al-Fajr as-Sādiq, pp. 40-46); Zaynī Dahlān (ad-Durar as-Sannīyyah, pp. 8-11); Mustafa ash-Shattī al-Hanbalī (an-Nūqul ash-Shar`īyyah, pp. 100-102)].

Ibn Qudamah  also says after quoting this du’a “The early Muslims [i.e. the Salaf] had their needs fulfilled by saying this.”  It is related that some of the early generations would seek to have their needs fulfilled by praying two rak`ah, then they would say:

“Allah! It is with You that I seek victory, and with You that I seek need.  I come to You, turning to You with your Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Allah! The difficulty of my matter has come upon me. Make the lifting of this difficulty easy and make for me more than that which I could hope for, and turn the evil from me more than that which I was fearing.”*

[* Supplications like this and similar to it were made by such grand Imāms of the first three generations as Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Mansik (Kash-shāf ul-Qinā`, V. 2, pp.70-73); Abū Bakr al-Marwadhī (275 AH/888  al-Mubdi, V.2, pp. 203-204) and other giants of those three generations.]

Ibn Taimiyya says in his book Qayda Jaleela Fit-Tawassul wal-Waseela, p.91 and confirms and establishes his argument: confirmed that this kind of DUA was the practice of as-Salaf and Salaf-as-Saliheen and Almighty Allah accepts this. 
Qadhi Shawkani writes: I says this hadith is proof for Intercession of Prophets (a.s.) narrated by Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Nisa’I, Imam Ibn Maja, Imam Ibn Khuzaimah in his Sahih, and Hakim said hadith is correct on Bukhari and Muslim conditions. [Tuhfah uth-Dhakireen,  Publish Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon]

To continue, Insha Allah…

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