Home > Shia Answers > Recourse (Tawassul) to Maintainers of Islam (Awliya Allah)
Recourse (Tawassul) to Maintainers of Islam (Awliya Allah)
▲Recourse (Tawassul) among Verses and Proof of Sanity
This Matter (recourse to Awliya Allah) in presence of Allah for solving material and spiritual problems is one of most important and brawly matters between Wahhabies and other Muslims of the world. Wahhabies affirms that Tawassul to Allah with good acts has no problem, but Tawassul to Awliya Allah is not permitted. They know it as a kind of polytheism (Shirk), while other Muslims of the world permit Tawassul to Awliya Allah in the way that we will explain.
Wahhabies assume that some verses of Qur'an forbade this kind of Tawassul and they consider that polytheism, like holy verse “We only worship them in order that they bring us closer to Allah”1 which is for idol like angels and polytheists of ignorance age said: “If we worship then, it is in order that they bring us closer to Allah” and Qur'an considered this expression of them as polytheism. Qur'an says in another verse: “Do not call anyone along with Allah”.2
Qur'an says in another verse: “Those whom they call other than Allah, will answer nothing to them”.3
Wahhabies assume and hallucinate that these verses forbid to recourse to Awliya Allah. Moreover, they have another discussion. They say that we assume Tawassul to holy Prophet (s.a.) is permitted during his life according to some cabbalas, so we have no permission of Tawassul after his dead. These were their claims in brief.
But unfortunately, due to this without evidence expressions Wahhabies accuse lots of Muslims to heresy and polytheism and consider their blood and their assets Mubah (religious neutral) (free to kill and take the assets). Lots of blood shed by this pretext and lots of assets depredated.
Now that we understood their belief it is better to return to main expression and solve the problem of Tawassul from the root.
First we go for “Tawassul” in meaning and verses and cabbalas:
“Tawassul” is in the meaning of choosing the means, and means is the thing that makes human closer to another.
Lessaan Alarab which is one of famous dictionaries says: “Tawassul to Allah and choosing the means is that human performs an act which makes him/her closer to Allah and Waseela (means) is the thing that human approaches another thing with its help.”
In Misbah Allughat is also mentioned: “Waseela (means) is the thing that human get closer to other thing or person with that and its plural form is “Wasael”. We read in Mugha’yees Allughat: “Waseela is in the meaning of propensity and demand”.
Therefore Waseela is in the meaning of both asking for approach and the thing that causes the approach and this is an expanded concept. We return to verses of holy Qur'an.
The word Waseela has been used in two places in holy Qur'an. First is the verse 35 of Ma’eda Sura that says: “People who believe! Abstain from (opposing the order) of Allah and seek a Waseela for approaching him; and perform Jihad in his way in order to reach salvation”. This verse talks to all believer people. Three orders has been issued here: first ordering to virtue, second order of choosing Waseela, a Waseela (means) that makes us closer to Allah and third order to perform Jihad (strive) in the way of Allah. The result of these attributes (virtue, Tawassul and Jihad) is the same thing that has came at the end of the verse: “This is the cause of your salvation”.
Second case that Waseela has been used in Qur'an is verse 57 of Isra’ Sura. For understanding the verse 57 we should return to the verse 56 that says: “Prophet! Say: Call those whom you worship other than Allah! They cannot neither solve any problem of yours nor make any change in it”.
According to the sentence “Call those whom you worship” it is understood that purpose of Qur'an is not idols and like them, because “whom” is used for those who have wisdom, but they are angels that they worshiped or Jesus that a group worshiped his holiness.
This verse says that neither angels nor Jesus cannot solve your problems and repair you loss.
The next verse says: “Those whom they call, seek a Waseela to approach their god, which means these (Jesus and angels) are who go to Allah and seek a Waseela for approaching him a Waseela which is closer, and they hope for his mercy, and fear from his torment, because the torment of your god is the thing that anyone fears from that”.
The big mistake of Wahhabies is that they assume the definition of Tawassul to Awliya Allah is knowing them as resolvers of problems and repairers of losses. They assume that people know them the source of acceptance of needs and rectifying misfortunes, while the meaning of Tawassul is not this. Verses which Wahhabies has referred to them are related to worship, while nobody worships Awliya Allah.
Do we worship holy prophet (s.a.) in Tawassul to him? Do we know Prophet (s.a.) independent in efficacy and rectifier of misfortunes? The Tawassul which holy Qur'an has invited to that is that we get closer to Allah by its means. It means that they do intercession (Shefa’at) in front of Allah the same thing that we said in our request.
In fact the nature of Tawassul (recourse) and Shefa’at (intercession) is the same. Many verses are the proofs of Shefa’at and two others are for Tawassul, and it is interesting that in verse 57 of Ma’eda Sura Qur'an says the statement “any of them who is closer”, angels and Jesus also choose a Waseela (means) for themselves, a Waseela which is closer. “of them who” refers to plural form of thinking existence that means they recourse to righteous persons and Awliya Allah, Any of these righteous persons who is closer to Allah.
Anyhow, it should be cleared at the beginning of discussion that what is Tawassul to Awliya Allah? Is it worshiping them? Anywise. Is it knowing them as independent efficient? Anywise. Are they acceptants of needs and resolvers of plights? Anywise. They intercede in front of Allah for the person who has turned to them for assistance, it is just like that I want to go to the house of a superior person and he does not know me. I ask someone who knows me that I want to accompany you to the house of that superior person; you introduce me to him and intercede for me in front of him. This act neither is worship nor independence in efficacy.
It is proper here that we go for interesting expression that “Ibn Alavi” has said in his famous book “Mafaheem Yajeb an Tasahhuh” (Concepts must be corrected), he says: “Lots of people mistook in understanding the truth of Tawassul and because of that we express the correct definition of that as we think and we should remind some points before starting the matter:
1- Tawassul is a kind of pray and in fact it is one of the ways of noticing to glorious Allah. Therefore the main destination and purpose is Allah and the person whom you asked for intercession is the means and medium of approaching Allah and if anyone believes other than this is polytheist.
2- Persons whom people asked them to intercede for them in front of Allah, are those who people like them and believe that glorious Allah likes them too, and if assumably the opposite of this matter appears, then people abstain completely from those persons and will oppose them. Yes, the criterion is that if Allah likes them or not.
3- If a person who recourse believes that person whom he has asked for intercession is independently and by himself like Allah, then he is polytheist.
4- Tawassul is not a necessary and obligatory act and is not the exclusive and only way of praying. The important thing is to pray and approaching Allah, As he said in Qur'an: “And when my servants ask you about me, say: I am close (to them)”.4
Ibn Alavi Maliki goes for opinions of scholars and Faqihs of Ahl -e- Sonnat in this issue after this preview and says: There is no contradiction between Muslims in lawfulness of Tawassul to Allah with good acts; it means that human can seek closeness to Allah by performing good acts. This is not in disagreement that if a person performs fasting, performs prayer, recites Qur'an and gives alms in the way of Allah, then he has sought Tawassul to Allah and has approached him. This is obvious and is from self evident matters which there is no discussion about them.
Even Salafies has accepted this kind of Tawassul, for instance Ibn Taimiyya has accepted that in his different books especially in disquisition “القاعدة الجليله في التوسل و الوسيله ” (Venerable Rule in Tawassul and Waseela).
Ibn Taimiyya has affirmed the permission of this kind of Tawassul, meaning Tawassul with good acts, then what a place for contradiction or opposition? The place of contradiction is in Tawassul by other than good acts? Like Tawassul to Awliya Allah in this way that a person says: Allah! I recourse you and seek closeness to you by means of your prophet Mohammad (s.a.); then he adds and says: In fact, contradiction in this concept and denial of Wahhabies about Tawassul to Awliya Allah is a difference in appearance and expression and it is not in nature, and in other hand is a literal contest. Because in fact, Tawassul to Awliya Allah returns to Tawassul of a person to their acts which is permitted, therefore if oppositions sees the matter fair and with knowledge, then the matter will be cleared for them and problem will be solved and contest will be ended and there will remain no chance for accusing Muslims to polytheism and aberrance. Then he says in explanation of this expression: A person who recourse to one of Awliya Allah is because of that he/she likes that righteous person. Why does he/she like the person? Because he/she believes, that person is righteous or likes Allah or Allah like him/her, or the person who asks likes this medium. When we investigate in all these, we see that we reach the act; it means that it is Tawassul to good acts in front of Allah, the thing that is in agreement of all Muslims.5
Albeit we will say that although Tawassul to persons is for they superiority and not for their acts, because they are honorable, dear and proud or any other reason, but we do not know them independent in efficacy and we know them interceder in front of Allah. This Tawassul is neither heresy nor incorrect.
It has been pointed to this kind of Tawassul in several verses of holy Qur'an. Polytheism is that we know a thing independent in efficacy in against Allah. The mistake of Wahhabies is that they have combined “worship” and “intercession” together in the holy verse “we do not worship them in a reason other than they makes us closer to Allah”6 and have assumed Shefa’at (intercession) is also polytheism, while worship of mediums is polytheism, not their intercession and not Tawassul to them. (Attention!)
Tawassul in Islamic Cabbalas
Moreover the verses of Tawassul which considered any kind of Tawassul that is not against the correct Islamic creedal principles permitted, and acceptable, we have also lots of cabbalas in this field which are proved sequentially or close to sequence.
Lots of these cabbalas are related to Tawassul to holy prophet (s.a.) himself which some of them are from before his birth, some after his birth or during his life and some others after the departure of his holiness.
And another part is related to Tawassul to other than holy Prophet (s.a.) from Rijal (men) of religion.
I add that some of them are in form of demand and pray, some of them in form of asking intercession in presence of Allah and some others calling Allah for the sake of dignity of holy Prophet (s.a.). Anyhow all kinds of Tawassul can be seen in these cabbalas in the way that no chance remains for
1- Zumar Sura, verse 3.
2- Jinn Sura, verse 18.
3- Ra’d Sura, verse 14.
4- Baqara Sura, verse 186.
5- Mafaheem Yajeb an Tasahhuh, pages 116 and 117.
6- Zumar Sura, verse 3.
Wahhabi cavillers. Now pay attention to some examples of these cabbalas:
1- Tawassul of Adam to holy prophet (s.a.)before his birth. “Haakem” in “Mustadrak” and a group of other Hadith tellers has quoted this Hadith that holy Prophet (s.a.) says: “When Adam did that mistake, said: “God! I ask you to forgive me for the sake of Mohammad (s.a.)”. Glorious God said: How did you know Mohammad while I have not created him yet?!
Adam said: God! It is because that when you created me by your power and blew to me from your soul, I raised my head and I saw that this sentence is written on pillars on empyrean: “لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله” (There is no god other than Allah and Mohammad is his prophet). I understood from this expression that you do not add the name of Mohammad after your name, unless he is your most beloved creature.
God said: You are right Adam. “He is the most beloved creature for me”. “Call me for the sake of Mohammad, I will forgive you”.1
1- Haakem in Mustadrak, vol.2, page 615 and Hafiz Sayooti has quoted that in Alkhasa’is Alnabawiyya and has knew that correct and Beihaghi has placed it in Dala’el Alnobowa which he doesn’t pace weak cabals in this book and Qastalani and Zarqani have quoted this Hadith in Mawahib Alladoniyya and considered that correct an other persons, for more information refer to the book Mafaheem Yajeb an Tasahhuh, page 121 and afterward.
2- Another Hadith is about Tawassul of Abu Talib to holy Prophet (s.a.)during his childhood; the brief of Hadith is that Ibn Asakir quotes in the book “Fath Albari”: When famine happened in Mecca, Quraish tribe went to Abu Talib and said: All land has been dried, famine has spread all over, come to ask for rain from God.
Abu Talib moved while a child was with him (that child was holy prophet (s.a.) in his childhood). Face of this child was shining like the sun. While Abu Talib had this child in his arms, leaned to Ka’ba and did recourse to this child; when there was no cloud in the sky, suddenly clouds came along from each side and joined each other and it started raining so much that all dry lands became green and virescent. Abi Talib composed a poem in laud of holy prophet (s.a.):
و أبيض يستسقي الغمام بوجهه ثمال اليتامي عصمة للأرامل
It means: “Holy prophet is a white skin whom clouds rain for the sake of him. He will be the shelterer of orphans and safe keeper of widows”.1
1- Fath Albari, vol. 2, page 494 and also Halabi Sirah, vol. 1, page 116.
3- Tawassul of blind man to Prophet (s.a.),who came to holy prophet (s.a.) during his prophecy and healed and regained his eye. This cabbala has been quoted in Sahih of Tirmizi and also Sunan of Ibn Maja, Musnad of Ahmad and other books.1
In this way Hadith has important evidences. Brief of Hadith is this:
A blind man came to holy prophet (s.a.) and said: prophet of Allah! Ask Allah to heal me and return my eye to me.
Prophet said: I will pray if you want, but you can also wait. This waiting is better for you (and maybe it is expedient for you to be in this condition). But old man insisted on his demand.
Holy prophet ordered him to perform complete and well ablution and perform two Rak’ats prayer and after the prayer say this pray: “Allah! I call you and notice to you by Waseela (means) of Mohammad, prophet of mercy, Mohammad! I notice my God in my demand in order that my demand will be accepted, Allah! Make him my interceder”.
Man went for that plan to perform ablution and prayer and prays like prophet had taught him.
Osman ibn Umayr, teller of this Hadith, says: We were sitting in that assembly and we were talking, a short time passed, we saw that blind man came to assembly while there was no sign of blindness in him and his eye had sight.
It is interesting that lots of great scholars of Ahl -e- Sonnat affirmed that this Hadith is correct. Tirmizi know Hadith correct. Ibn Maja said that it is correct. Rifa’ee said that there is no doubt that this Hadith is correct and famous.2
1- Sahih of Tirmizi, page 119, Hadith 3578 and in Sunan of Ibn Maja, vol. 1, page 441, Hadith 1385, Musnad of Ahmad, vol. 4, page 138.
1- For more explanations you can refer to the book Majmu’a Alresa’el and Almasa’el, vol. 1, page 18, printed in Beirut . The exact text of Ibn Taimiyya is this: “ان النسائي و الترمذي روياً حديثاً صحيحاً أنّ النبي (ص) علّم رجلاً ان يدعو فسيأل الله ثم يخاطب النبي فيوسّل به ثم يسأل قبول شفاعته ”.
4- Tawassul to holy Prophet (s.a.)after his life, one of famous scholars of Ahl -e- Sonnat called “Darami” says in his famous book named “Sunan of Darami” in a chapter titled “باب ما حكم الله تعالي نبيه (ص) بعد موته ” (this chapter is about wonders and respects that glorious Allah had to Prophet after his death):
Severe famine happened in Medina. A group of people went to Ayesha and asked him for seeking help, Ayesha said: Go beside the tomb of Prophet. Make a hole in the roof above the tomb in the way that sky could be seen through it and wait for result. They went and made that hole in the way that sky could be seen through it, a heavy rain started so much that after a while dry lands changed green and camels became fat.1
1- Sunan of Darami, vol. 1, page 43.
5- Tawassul to prophet’s uncle, Abbas,“Bokhari” quotes in his Sahih that when famine happened in Medina, Omar ibn Khattab asked Allah for rain by Waseela (means) of Abbas ibn abdulmotaleb and his expression of pray was this: “Allah! We did recourse to our Prophet and you sent rain for us, Now we recourse to the uncle of our Prophet, and you send us rain”. Teller says that after that a heavy rain started.1
1- Sahih of Bokhari, vol. 2, page 16, Chapter of صلاة الاستسقا .
6- Ibn Hajr of Meccaquotes in Sawaiq from Imam Shafe’ee, famous leader of Ahl -e- Sonnat, that Shafe’ee did recourse to Ahl -e- Bait of Prophet (s.a.) and quotes this poem from him:
آل النبي ذريعتي وهم اليه وسيلتي
ارجوا بهم اعطي غداً بيد اليمين صحيفتي
Dynasty of holy prophet (s.a.) are my Waseela, they are the cause of my approach in his presence, I hope that in tomorrow of judgment day my letter of acts will be given to my right hand because of them!
Rifa’ee has quoted this Hadith in his book “Altawassul ela Haqiqat Altawassul”.1
The same author who is very rigorous about Tawassul, has quoted 26 Hadith in there from books and different resources of Ahl -e- Sonnat, although he tries to show that some of these Ahadith are changed, but Ahadith are proves sequential or near to sequence and have been quoted in reliable and famous books of Ahl -e- Sonnat and there is no place for animadverting. We cited only a part of Ahadith, because they are many in this field.
Fanatic Wahhabies for reaching his goal, that is accusing Muslim who seek Tawassul to righteous persons to infidelity and heresy, start to pretext against above verses and cabbalas that permit Tawassul in all of its different kinds, and indeed these pretexts are just like pretexts of little children!
Sometimes the say Tawassul to the essence of superiors is forbidden not Tawassul to their dignity, pray or intercession. These are permitted and Tawassul to them is forbidden.
Sometimes they say that Tawassul during the life is permitted not after the death, because when they move to another world they will be disconnected from us. Holy Qur'an says: “Prophet! You can not reach your voice to dead persons”1, you have been disconnected from them.
But these kinds of pretexts are really shameful, because:
First: Holy Qur'an has a general order that we know all kinds of Tawassul which have no contradiction with “unity in worship” and “unity of action” permitted according to generality or its predication. Qur'an says: “وابتغوا إليه الوسيله” we said that Waseela means the thing that is the medium of approaching Allah. Yes, choose any matter that might be your Waseela for approaching Allah: Pray of Prophet, intercession of Prophet, dignity of Prophet, The essence of Prophet that is close to Allah because of his obedience, worship, servitude and attributes and feature, seek closeness to Allah by these matters. Therefore, there is no reason for limiting Tawassul to good acts of people themselves as it is in words of Wahhabies.
And these that we said neither has changed unity of worship, because we only worship Allah not Prophet, nor has changed unity of action, because this is only Allah that can be the source of any benefit of loss. Anyone has all that he/she has from Allah and by him.
What do we expect more with this generality that is in verses? This is exactly like that holy Qur'an says: “Recite how much you can from Qur'an”.2 Now what happens if we start pretexting and say is it permitted to recite Qur'an while standing or not, what about in laying position?
The generality of verse says that all kinds of recite of Qur'an are permitted, in presence or travel, with ablution, without ablution, unless a reason against it arose.
Generalities and predication of holy Qur'an are acceptable, while there is no obstacle. Verses of Tawassul are also general and general verses of Qur'an are acceptable and we act to them until there is no obstacle and pretexting is not correct.
Second: Cabbalas of Tawassul that we mentioned a part of them above are so different that permit any kind of Tawassul, Tawassul to prophet himself like Tawassul which had been mentioned in the story of that blind man, Tawassul to pray of Prophet, intercession of Prophet, like those which had been mentioned in other cabbalas. There remain no place for pretext with these different cabbalas and different kinds of Tawassul.
Third: What does Tawassul to essence of prophet mean? Why prophet is respectful to us and we ask intercession from his essence in front of Allah, why? Because Prophet had very deep and expanded obedience and worships, therefore our Tawassul to Prophet is Tawassul to his obedience, worships and acts. This is the same thing that Wahhabies say Tawassul to worship is permitted, and then it is literal contest.
It is wonderful that some of them has denied the life of holy prophet (s.a.) after his departure and enumerated his departure compared to death of infidels. Qur'an has cited eternal life for martyrs: “Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their God”3, is the dignity of Prophet of Islam (s.a.) is lower than the rank of martyrs, besides, all of you say salaam to him in your prayers, if you do not understand Tawassul of those who seek Tawassul, then you salaam is meaningless (we seek refuge with Allah from deaf and blind fanaticism which brings human to what a places). Fortunately, some of them believe the life of his holiness after his departure that should recant their pretext according to this.
1- Naml Sura, verse 80.
2- Muzzammel Sura, verse 20.
3- Aal Imran Sura, verse 169.
2- Exaggerators and Extremists
We are between two exaggerator and extremist groups. From one side people who are faulty in the issue of Tawassul, make trouble and forbid Tawassul that Qur'an and cabbalas have permitted and assume that, this is the extreme of their Tawhid (monotheism), while they are mistaking. Tawassul to Awliya Allah because of their obedience, worships, acts and closeness to Allah, confirms Tawhid and asking anything from Allah.
The second group is also extremist, those who choose the way of exaggeration in Tawassul. Danger of these exaggerators is not less than the first group. They have expressions which are not compatible with unity of action, or other expressions that do not agree the unity of worship, while the main efficient in the world is Allah and anything that anyone has is from him. Therefore as we should oppose correctly to the deniers of Tawassul or guide them and avoid them from mistake, also we should guide extremists and exaggerators and return them to the right path.
In fact, it is possible to say that one of reasons of appearing deniers of Tawassul is some of adherents of Tawassul. When these people chose the way of extremism, it is natural that another extremist group in opposite way appears against them, this is a rule in all religious, social and political matters that these two deviational groups were correlative and will be this way and both of them goes the wrong way.
3- Recourse is not enough Alone
We should teach people that do not suffice to Tawassul to righteous people. Mainly, Tawassul is a lesson for us, why do we recourse to them? Because they are honorable in presence of Allah, why are they honorable? For their good acts, so we should go for good acts. Tawassul teaches us that closeness to Allah is due to good acts and Tawassul to Awliya Allah is because of their good acts. They became close to Allah and we ask them to intercede for us in front of Allah, then we should also try to follow the way that they had gone. Tawassul (recourse) should become a human making and educating academy, lest we stop in Tawassul and forget those excellent purposes of Tawassul. This was also an important matter that everyone should notice.
4- Recourse in Creational Matters
Another point is that Tawassul to the world of Asbaab (pl. of sabab which means cause) is available both in religious lawful matters and creational matters and none of them is obstacle in the way of unity (Tawhid). In our normal daily life, when we want achieve good results we go for means, we plow the land, seed, irrigate and remove diseases, harvest in proper time and use the result for our life.
Does Tawassul to these means make us forget our God? Is believing that earth grows the seeds of plants or sunlight and life giving drops of the rain nurture the seeds of plant, flowers and fruits and totally belief of this world of Asbaab against unity of action?
Surely, it is not against that, because we go for means but we know that cause of causes is Allah. Therefore as Tawassul to natural means has no opposition with principal of unity and “All these songs was from the king” (a poem), also in the world of religion Tawassul to prophets, Awliya and innocents and asking intercession in presence of Allah has no opposition with principal of unity.
Albeit we know that an extremist group has been appeared here that has denied the world of Asbaab; assuming that believing the world of Asbaab is against unity of action of Allah, they say fire dose not burn, God burns the thing which fire gets close to. Water does not extinct fire, God extinct fire when water drops on it, and they totally deny causality which is one of obvious relations in the world of creation.
While holy Qur'an authenticated the world of causes (asbaab) clearly and says: We send clouds, these clouds irrigate dry lands, the land survives by them: “
فيحيي به الأرض بعد موتها ”.1 “يحيي به” means that with these drops of rain survives the land. There are many verses that refer to authentication of world of causes. But these causes (asbaab) have nothing on their own and anything that is available is from him.
Allah had given them these effects, and as deniers of natural causes are unknown faulters, deniers of causes in the wolrd of religion are also faulters.
We hope that according to what that said, they leave extremism and chose the right way and end accusations to infidelity and heresy in this way and Muslims of the world unite and stand against enemies that attach Qur'an, Islam and Allah and introduce lessons of Islam pure of any polytheism, extremism and exaggeration and any kind of failure and decrease to the people of the world.