b – Tawassul – Legislated Types
Tawassul is something that brings you closer to another object. In Islam the general meaning is any good deed because they bring you closer to Allah. The specific meaning is something used to increase the chance of your du’a being accepted.
“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).
Types sanctioned by the Quran and Sunnah,
With Allah’s Names and Attributes.
This is the strongest Tawassul. There is no du’a you can think of, there is a Name of Allah that is appropriate for that du’a. “The most beautiful names belong to Allaah, so call on him by them.” (Al-A’raaf, 7:180)
Tawassul with one’s state, past and present.
“He (Moosaa) watered (their flocks) for them, then turned to the shade, saying, “My Lord, whatever provision you send to me, I am in dire need for it.” (Al-Qasas, 28:24) And, “He said: My Lord! surely my bones are weakened and my hair is aflame with gray. As I implore You, my Lord, I never despair.” (Maryam, 19:4) (du’aa of Zakariyyah). This combines all the states. In the present he is old and feeble (present state), and You have responded to my duas in the past.
With one’s good deeds.
“Once three persons (from the previous nations) were traveling, and suddenly it started raining and they took shelter in a cave. The entrance of the cave got closed while they were inside. They said to each other, O you! Nothing can save you except the truth, so each of you should ask Allah’s help by referring to such a deed as he thinks he did sincerely (i.e. just for gaining Allah’s pleasure). So one of them said, O Allah! You know that I had a laborer who worked for me for one Faraq (i.e. three Saa’s) of rice, but he departed, leaving it (i.e. his wages). I sowed that Faraq of rice and with its yield I bought cows (for him). Later on when he came to me asking for his wages, I said (to him), Go to those cows and drive them away. He said to me, But you have to pay me only a Faraq of rice, I said to him, Go to those cows and take them, for they are the product of that Faraq (of rice). So he drove them. O Allah! If you consider that I did that for fear of You, then please remove the rock. The rock shifted a bit from the mouth of the cave. The second one said, O Allah, You know that I had old parents whom I used to provide with the milk of my sheep every night. One night I was delayed and when I came, they had slept, while my wife and children were crying with hunger. I used not to let them (i.e. my family) drink unless my parents had drunk first. So I disliked to wake them up and also disliked that they should sleep without drinking it, I kept on waiting (for them to wake) till it dawned. O Allah! If You consider that I did that for fear of you, then please remove the rock. So the rock shifted and they could see the sky through it. The (third) one said, O Allah! You know that I had a cousin (i.e. my paternal uncle’s daughter) who was most beloved to me and I sought to seduce her, but she refused, unless I paid her one-hundred Deenars (i.e. gold pieces). So I collected the amount and brought it to her, and she allowed me to sleep with her. But when I was just about to commit the act, she said, Be afraid of Allah, and do not come to me but legally (i.e. in marriage). I got up and left the hundred Deenars (for her). O Allah! If You consider that I did that for fear of you then please remove the rock. So Allah saved them and they came out (of the cave).” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
With the du’a of a living person.
“On a Friday a person entered the main Mosque through the gate facing the pulpit while AllÃ¢hs Messenger was delivering the Khutba. The man stood in front of AllÃ¢hs Messenger and said, O AllÃ¢hs Messenger! The livestock are dying and the roads are cut off; so please pray to Allah for rain. Anas said, Allah’s Messenger raised both his hands and said, “O Allah! Bless us with rain! O Allah! Bless us with rain! O Allah! Bless us with rain! Anas added, By Allah, we could not see any trace of cloud in the sky and there was no building or a house between us and the mountains of Sila. Anas added, A heavy cloud like a shield appeared from behind it (i.e. Sila Mountain). When it came in the middle of the sky, it spread and then rained. And the Prophet went down with his beard wet.” (Reported by An-Nasaa’ee)
These are the 4 types of tawassul sanctioned in the Quran and Sunnah. All other types are innovation and shirk, and therefore not allowed. If you make tawassul to Allah in another way, it is innovation, but if it is to other than Allah, then it is shirk