‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab did not seek the help of Allah by virtue of the status of al-‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him)

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab did not seek the help of Allah by virtue of the status of al-‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him)


Mohamad Mostafa Nassar

Twitter:@NassarMohamadMR

Question

Hadeeth: Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that when they suffered drought, ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would seek rain by virtue of al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, and he would say:

“O Allah, we used to ask You for rain by virtue of our Prophet and You gave us rain. Now we ask You for rain by virtue of the paternal uncle of our Prophet, so give us rain” and they would be given rain. Is this saheeh? Is this evidence that it is permissible to seek the help of Allah by virtue of the status of the awliya’ (close friends of Allah)?

Answer

Praise be to Allah.

The hadeeth referred to by the questioner is a saheeh hadeeth which was narrated by al-Bukhaari, but anyone who studies it will find that it is evidence that one should not seek help from Allah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or of anyone else, because tawassul= supplication (using a means to achieve a goal) and al-waseelah is the thing that helps you to achieve that goal. The waseelah referred to in this hadeeth (“we used to ask You for rain by virtue of our Prophet and You gave us rain.

Now we ask You for rain by virtue of the paternal uncle of our Prophet, so give us rain” and they would be given rain) is seeking the help of Allah by virtue of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), as a man said: “O Messenger of Allah, our wealth has been destroyed and the roads are cut off, so pray to Allah to help us.”

And because ‘Umar said to al-‘Abbaas: “Get up, O ‘Abbaas, and pray to Allah, so he prayed to Allah.”

If this had come under the heading of seeking Allah’s help by virtue of a person’s status only, then ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would have sought the help of Allah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) before doing so by virtue of the status of al-‘Abbaas, because the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is greater before Allah than that of al-‘Abbaas or anyone else.

If this hadeeth came under the heading of seeking the help of Allah by virtue of status that it would have been more appropriate for the ameer al-mu’mineen=Leader of Muslims ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) to seek the help of Allah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), not the status of al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. 

To sum up, there is nothing wrong with seeking the help of Allah by means of the du’aa’ of a person who it is hoped will have his du’aa’s answered because of his righteousness. The Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) used to seek the help of Allah by means of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for them.

Similarly, ‘Umar sought the help of Allah by means of the du’aa’ of al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (may Allah be pleased with him).

So if you think a man is righteous and likely to have his du’aa’s answered because his food, drink, clothing and housing are halaal, and because he is known to be a man of worship and piety, there is nothing wrong with asking him to pray to Allah for you and ask for what you like, on condition that this does not stir up self-admiration in this person whom you ask to make du’aa’ for you. If it does stir up self-admiration, then it is not permissible for you to doom him by making this request of him, because that will harm him. 

I also say: This is permissible, but I do not recommend it. I think that each person should ask Allah by himself, without appointing any intermediary between him and Allah. That brings a greater hope and is nearer to fear of Allah.

I also encourage anyone who asks his brother whose du’aa’s he hopes will be answered to make du’aa’ for him, to intend thereby to treat him kindly – i.e., the one who will make du’aa’ – and not do it for the sake of meeting his own needs, because if he asks him for the sake of meeting his own needs, then it will become like asking him for money and the like, which is blameworthy.

But if he intends thereby to benefit his brother who will make du’aa’ by treating him kindly, then treating a Muslim kindly is something for which a person will be rewarded, as is well known – and that is better. And Allah is the source of strength. End quote. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (2/277). 

For more information on the hadeeth about ‘Umar seeking the help of Allah by virtue of al-‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with them both) and the fact that this tawassul= supplication was by virtue of his du’aa’ and not of his status, please see the book al-Tawassul= supplication by Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him), pp. 50-68.


Permissible and prohibited Tawassul=Supplication in Islam

Question:

I want to ask about Tawassul=Supplication (invoking Allah, by means of an intermediary), is it permissible in Islam?

Fatwa:

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammed peace be upon him is His Slave and Messenger.

There are two categories of Tawassul=Supplication. One is permissible and the other is prohibited. 

The permissible category has three types:

1- Tawassul=Supplication by means of the Names and Attributes of Allah; Allah Says (what means):

· {And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.} [Quran 7:180]

· {O you who have believed, fear Allah and seek the means [of nearness] to Him and strive in His cause that you may succeed.} [Quran 5:35]

2- Tawassul=Supplication to Allah by virtue of a person’s righteous deeds. Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated on authority of the Prophet peace be upon him the story of the three persons who were blocked inside a cave by a huge stone and each of them supplicated Allah to get them out of the cave by virtue of a good deed he had done.  [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

3- Tawassul=Supplication by a righteous living man supplicating for others.  It was narrated on the authority of ‘Uthman Ibn Abi Al-‘Aas may Allah be pleased with him that a blind man made Tawassul=Supplication to Allah The Almighty by means of the Prophet peace be upon him saying, “I invoke  You by means of Your Prophet peace be upon him  … so make him intercede for me with You”. [Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah]

This man’s saying “make him intercede for me with You” proves that the meaning of seeking the Tawassul=Supplication of the Prophet peace be upon him, is seeking Tawassul=Supplication by his peace be upon him supplication and not with the person of the Prophet peace be upon him.

This is also supported by what ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab may Allah be pleased with him did when they suffered draught: he sought the Tawassul=Supplication of Al-‘Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet peace be upon him to supplicate Allah and it rained with the permission of Allah. [Al-Bukhari].  

The Prohibition of Tawassul=Supplication to Allah Exalted He by means of the person of the Prophet peace be upon him after he passed away:

Had pleading to Allah by means of the person of the Prophet peace be upon him been permissible, then they would have made Tawassul=Supplication by means of the person of the Prophet peace be upon him, after his death as well, as his status and honor during his life remained the same after his death.

The prohibited category contains two types:

1. Tawassul=Supplication that is considered a religious innovation, such as making Tawassul=Supplication by means of the person of the prophets or righteous persons.

The evidence for this is that Tawassul=Supplication is an act of worship, and all acts of worship are only done if they are proven by an authentic text, as indicated by the previous narration of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab may Allah be pleased with him.

Tawassul=Supplication which is considered an act of Shirk [associating partners with Allah], such as making Tawassul=Supplication by means of acts of worship (supplicating, vowing, sacrificing) for the sake of other than Allah, then alleging that this is for the purpose of making them (to whom the act was done) intercede for them with Allah.

Allah Says about polytheists (what means):

{We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position} [Quran 39:3] 

{And they worship other than Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with Allah} [Quran10:18]

Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at Islamweb

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