c – Tawassul – By the Status of the Prophet (saw)
By following his Sunnah
By loving him
By defending his honor
All of these fall under the previous categories of legislated types of tawassul.
Innovation occurs when asking Allah through his status, body, or honor. Many ‘ulemma have differed about this issue. Therefore, it is important to preserve proper adab when discussing this issue. No scholar has called this type of tawassul to be shirk.
Since there is no authentic or explicit evidence regarding this, it is an innovation. For someone to claim it is legitimate, they must bring proof from the Sunnah. In analyzing the evidences the following points must be kept in mind:
Is this evidence something that carries legislative weight, i.e. is it from the Quran, Sunnah, or Ijma?
Is the evidence legitimate? If someone quotes a hadith for example, then the authenticity must be verified.
Is the evidence specific and relevant to what is trying to be proved?
Are there other evidences that clarify, abrogate, generalize, or specify the previous evidence? This is the category requiring the highest level of knowledge.
The evidences used to support tawassul through the status of the Prophet (saw) can be put into 6 categories.
1. Ayah in al-Maa’idah
“O you who believe! Do your duty to Allah and fear Him. Seek the means of approach to Him, and strive hard in His Cause as much as you can. So that you may be successful.” (5:35)
Allah has commanded us to do tawassul. This verse is general though, and not specific to the issue.
2. Hadith of the ‘blind man’ and is found in Tirmidhi and Ahmed.
Once a blind person came to Rasulullah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) and said, ‘Oh Rasulullah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam)! Ask Allah to cure me.’ Rasulullah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) replied, ‘If you wish I will make Du’aa or else you may be patient and this is better for you.’ The man said, ‘Make Du’aa instead’, Rasulullah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) then commanded him to make Wudhu properly and that he recites the following Du’aa, ‘Oh Allah, verily, I ask of you and I turn to you through your prophet, the prophet of mercy, O Muhammad (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam), verily, I have turned to my Lord through you so that my need be fulfilled. Oh Allah, accept his intercession on my behalf.’ (Reported by Ahmad)
It is authentic. One group interprets “by your Prophet” to mean by his status. Other ulemma say this meant I ask you by the dua of your Prophet (saw).
He came to the Prophet (saw) to make dua. The Prophet (saw) clearly made dua. The last phrase makes it clear that he is referring to the dua. His (saw) dua for him was for him to be cured, and the blind man’s dua for him (saw) was for his (saw) dua to be accepted. The context before and after shows its referring to the dua. The dua made does not mention rank, or status.
He was cured from his blindness afterwards. Throughout the history of Islam no one has been cured of their blindness by this dua except this blind man. If the dua was by the status of the Prophet (saw) then all blind people should make this dua and be cured. It was actually the dua of the Prophet(saw) that was answered, it was not by asking from his status.
None of the other companions did this after this blind man.
3. The incident of Umar and Abbas.
When the rain was withheld at the time of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattaab, he went to call Allâh for blessing of rain. In fact, he said, “O Allâh, we used to let the Prophet intercede (make tawassul through your Prophet) for us to bless us with rain, but now, (because of the Prophet’s death), we ask (make tawassul through) your Prophet’s uncle Al-Abbaas bin Abdul-Muttalib to do that. Then Al-Abbaas rose up and began to call Allâh for rain. (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
This is the strongest evidence against them. If the Sahabah knew of tawassul through the rank of the Prophet (saw) would Umar have given it up in such a situation when people were dying and starving? He tried to do the tawassul that he knows. None of the Sahabah suggested doing dua by the rank of the Prophet (saw).
The 2 hadith quoted above are the only ones found in the 6 books relating to this subject.
4. Various weak or fabricated hadith.
The authentic ahadeeth used in this discussion are the ones that have already been quoted here.
5. On the day of judgment people will ask the prophets to help them, so why can’t we now?
We will have a state of life similar to them at that time. We will be in the same stage of life.
5 relationships of the body and soul.
Child in the womb of the mother when spirit is first blown in
When the child is born in a state of wakefulness.
When we sleep, and the soul leaves the body but there is still a connection.
From the day of judgment
On the Day of Judgment we will be in the same stage of life. Just as when the Prophet (saw) was alive, the Sahabah would ask him to make dua for them.
Also, this has nothing to do with asking by the status of the Prophet (saw).
6. Many famous scholars of the past and present allowed it. This was unknown in the first 2 centuries of Islam. It was not allowed. Just like there are many scholars allowed it, there are many who opposed it.
Tawassul in and of itself may be ok, but it could lead to shirk.
Another way of looking at tawassul is to ask ourselves: What have we done to ask by the rank of the Prophet (saw)? Take a beggar who says, if you love your son, give me money. How does this affect the beggar asking you for something? The rank of the Prophet (saw) is high, but what have I done to ask by that rank? It is better to say O Allah because I love the Prophet (saw), or because I study the sunnah, etc.