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Monday, June 28, 2010


Istighatha is another form of Tawassul in which the help is sought from the Anbiya (prophets) or Auliya (those who are near Allah in rank) of Allahu subhanahu wa ta ‘ala by the virtue of their Mu’ajizath ( the miracles of the prophets) or Karamath(The miracles of the Auliyas). According to all of the Imams and scholars of Ahlussunna, Istighatha from the pious before or after their demise is permissible and is recommended. No one asserted against it till Ibnu Taimiyya came in the 6th century of Islamic calendar. Quran and Sunna never protested or disapproved this activity which is agreed by the Ijma’a of the Ummat, which is considered to be one of the proofs of Islam as The Messenger told that his Ummat will not agree on the wrong deeds. Moreover the tradition of The messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and the history of the Sahaba ( the followers of Muhammed صلى الله عليه وسلم at his time) and our predecessors described many instances of seeking help from the living and the dead. Firstly let us take the opinions of the great former scholars of this Ummat.

Opinions of the Scholars

Imam Subki who lived before 700 ago says:
اعلم أنه يجوز ويحسن التوسل والاستغاثة والتشفع بالنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم الى ربه سبحانه وتعالى وجواز ذالك وحسنه من الأمو
 المعلومة لكل ذي دين المعروفة من فعل الأنبياء والمرسلين وسير السلف الصالحين والعلماء والعوام من المسلمين ولم ينكر ذالك من أهل الأديان ولا سمع في زمن من الازمان حتى جاء ابن تيمية فتكلم في ذالك بكلام يلبس فيه على الضعفاء (شفاء السقام 133 )

“ Know! Tawassul and Istighatha are permissible and good. And seeking the intercession to Allah by The Messenger also is permissible and good. Its goodness and permissibility are among the known things to everyone who is religious and known from the activities of prophets and messengers and the life of the pious and scholars and the public of the Muslim society. No one of the religious refused it and in no time the refusal was heard till the advent of Ibnu Taimiyya. Then he talked about it and created confusion over the weak. (Shifa’u ssaqam 133)

Imam Ramli (r) lived before 500 years ago says:

(فأجاب بأن الاستغاثة بالأنبياء والمرسلين والأولياء والعلماء والصالحين جائزة وللرسل والأنبياء والأولياء والصالحين اغاثة بعد موتهم لأن معجزة الأنبياء وكرامات الأولياء لا تنقطع بموتهم أما الأنبياء فلأنهم أحياء في قبورهم يصلون ويحجون كما وردت به الأخبار (فتاوى الرملي 3-382)

"To seek help with the prophets, messengers, Auliyas and the scholars and the pious is permissible. And the, messengers, prophets, Auliyas and the pious can help after their death because the Mu’ajizath ( The miracles of the prophets) and the Karamath (extraordinary things of Auliyas) will not cut off with death. And the prophets are alive in their graves. They are performing Salat and Pilgrimage. Such Traditions have come to us.” (Fatawa Ramli)

Qur’aan &Hadeeth

If we search the history of the Sahaba we can see that they sought help from The Messenger(صلى الله عليه وسلم ) before and after his demise.

حدثني ربيعة بن كعب الاسلمي قال كنت أبيت مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فأتيه بوضوئه وحاجته فقال لي سل فقلت أسألك مرافقتك في الجنة.قال أوغير ذالك؟ قلت هو ذاك فقال فأعني على نفسك بكثرة السجود. (مسلم1-206)

Rabee’a bin Ka’ab al Aslami ® reports. He said : One night I was with The Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم ). I brought him water for his Wudu and his needs. Then he told “Ask”. I told. “ I request you your friendship in Paradise.” Then he asked. “Anything else?”. I told. “That is enough”.Then he replied “ Then help me yourself by increasing Sujood (Salat)”.[Muslim 1-206]

This Hadeeth clearly teaches the permissibility of asking help from a person though it is beyond the reach of common man.

Now see another Hadeeth

عن عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله عنه قال قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أن الشمس تدنو يوم القيامةحتى يبلغ العرق نصف الأذن فبينماهم كذالك استغاثوا بأدم ثم بموسى ثم بمحمد صلى الله عليه

وسلم (بخاري4-544)

Abdullahi bin umar® reports. The Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم told “The Sun will come nearer in the Last Day. The sweat will reach into the half of the ear. During the time the people will seek help from Adam (A) then Moosa (A) then Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم

Take another Hadeeth reported by Malik Radhiyallahu anhu

عن مالك قال أصاب الناس قحط في زمن عمر فجاء رجل الى قبرالنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال يا رسول الله استسق لأمتك فانهم قد هلكوا فأتاه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في المنام فقال ائت عمر فاقرأه مني السلام وأخبرهم أنهم مسقون وقل عليك بالكيس الكيس فأتى الرجل فأخبر عمر فقال يا رب ما ألو الا ما عجزت عنه وهذا اسناد صحيح ( البداية والنهاية7-111)

Malik reports: During the reign of Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) the people suffered from drought. Then a person came to the grave of The Propher صلى الله عليه وسلم and said: “ Oh! The Messenger of Allah! Seek water for your community, because they have perished. Then The Messenger came to him in his dream and said: “You go to Umar and say to him my salam and tell him they will be given rain.” Then he reached Umar ® and told him what happened. Ibnu Katheer says this Hadeeth is authentic with the accepted chain. (Al Hidaya wa Nnihaya 7/111)

When Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) was told about the incident he did not utter a word of distaste on his part. If the invoking the help was Shirk, can we believe that Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) would keep mum?. Remember what The Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم told about him “ The Satan will not enter the way Umar enters.

Let us take Ibnu Katheer once more. He describes the 63rd verse of the Sura Al Nnisa’a:

(ولو أنهم اذظلموا أنفسهم) الأية يرشد تعالى العصاة والمذنبين اذا وقع منهم الخطأ والعصيان أن يأتوا الى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فيستغفروا الله عنده ويسألون أن يستغفر لهم فانهم اذا فعلوا ذالك تاب الله عليهم ورحمهم وغفر لهم ولهذا قال (لوجدوا الله توابا رحيما ) وقد ذكر جماعة منهم الشيخ أبو منصور الصباغ في كتابه الشامل الحكاية المشهورة عن العتبى قال كنت جالسا عند قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فجاء أعرابي فقال السلام عليك يا رسول الله سمعت الله يقول (ولو أنهم اذ ظلموا أنفسهم جاءوك فاستغفروا الله واستغفر لهم الرسول لوجدواالله توابا رحيما ) وقد جئتك مستغفرا لذنبي مستشفعا بك الى ربي. (ابن كثير 1-532)

By this Verse Allah guides those who commit sins. If there occurs a sin or mistake they should come to The Messenger of Allah and they should ask Allah near The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam for His forgiveness to them. And also they should invoke The Prophet Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam to ask Him to forgive them. If they do so Allah will accept their repentance and give them mercy and forgiveness. That is why Allah said ( They will find Him as forgiving and merciful). And a group of scholars quoted ( Sheikh Abu Mansoor is one among them, in his Kitab Ashamil) a famous statement from Utba. He said “ I was sitting near the grave of The Prophet Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam. Then an A’arabi came and said. “Assalamu Alaika Ya Rasoolallah-May The Peace of Allah be upon You. I have heard Allah told (And if, when they had wronged themselves, they had but come unto thee and asked forgiveness of Allah, and asked forgiveness of the messenger, they would have found Allah Forgiving, Merciful ) So I came to you seeking forgiveness asking intercession by you to Allah”. ( Ibnu Katheer 1/532)

If this Invocation to The Messenger Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam was Shirk would Ibnu Kathir report this incident in his Tafseer?

Ibnu Kathir himself reports another incident.

قال الامام أحمد حججت خمس حجج منها ثلاث راجلا أنفقت في احدى هذه الحجج ثلاثين درهما قال وقد ضللت في بعضها عن الطريق وأنا ماش فجعلت أقول يا عباد الله دلوني على الطريق فلم أزل أقول ذالك حتى وقفت على الطريق( البداية والنهاية 10-418)

Imam Ahmad told: I have performed hajj (pilgrimage) five times of which three were on foot. I have spent 30 Dirhams in one Hajj. In one of my pilgrimages I lost my way. And I was walking. Then I began to tell “ O the servants of Allah, help me on my way. And I continued this till reach the way.

No one will say that Imam Ahmad sought the help from the people seen. But he invoked the help from the unseen servants of Allah – dead or alive, because if it were a commonplace request he would not describe it in such manner.

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