Clarification on Shafaa
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
The following is to help you further understand what exactly the Quran and hadith (with references) say about shafat of the Prophet and the Imams:
Surah Maidah, ayat 35
"O you who believe! Do your duty to Allh and fear Him. Seek the means of approach (a wasilat or intermediary) to Him, and strive hard in His Cause as much as you can. So that you may be successful."
Quran tells us that there exists a means of approaching "al-Wasilah" for us in each era, which is different than Allah and we should seek him if we want to approach toward Allah. In fact, both Tawassul and Wasilah are from the same root. When we make Tawassul, it means that we seek the Mercy of Allah by resorting to a connection who was more obedient toward Allah and, as a result, Allah answers his/her prayers faster than us. Allah may forgive us for the credit and the honor of that man/woman. It is true every where that doing a job (specially if it is asking for a big courtesy) without any connection is difficult or might be impossible. Approving such a courtesy needs credit, and the one without it should resort to the one who has the credit and the connection. This credit has been acquired by absolute obedience of Allah. Nonetheless, approving any intercession still depends on Allah:
Clarification on Shafaa
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Seek the means of approach Yes! Seek an intermediary NO! I will explain in detail below.
Your comment: Surah Baqara, ayat 255 "Who can intercedes with Him except the cases that He permits?"
Absolutely! Allah is asking, Who is it, or Who has the power to dare intercede with Him, unless He Himself permits it? Precisely what we have been saying all along which is absolutely in context of the Holy Quran. That Shafaa is in the Power and Control of Allah Alone. Allah Alone will decide who will intercede and for whom!
We cannot determine the names of our intercessors, nor can we say that the intercession should be done for us! That is the true concept of the Shafaa that the Quran is guiding towards, and that is exactly what we have been writing about .
Your comment: Surah Al-Anbiya, ayats 27-28 "They (i.e., prophets and Imams) do not say anything until He orders, and they act (in all things) by His command. He knows what is before them and what is behind them and they (i.e., those saints) offer no intercession except for anyone whom Allah accepts, and they are in awe and reverence of His (glory)."
Brother, Fear Allah, before you insert your beliefs in brackets to give a different meaning to the clear aayahs of the Quran. If you read the preceding aayah 26, Allah states that the dis-believers say that Allah has begotten offspring! The Christians believed in Prophet Jesus as the son of Allah, and the pagan Arabs used to believe that the angels were the daughters of Allah! Here Allah refutes both these beliefs, and the they which you have conveniently substituted for imaams and saints, could only mean either the Prophets or the angels. There is absolutely no mention or room for any imaam or saints in these aayahs! Fear Allah, before you try to implant your beliefs in the clear aayahs of the Holy Quran in parenthesis.
Your comment: Fada'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p662, Tradition #1129 "When the death time of Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA) approached, he said: `O Allah! I seek to approach toward you by means of Wilayah (accepting the mastery) of Ali Ibn Abi Talib.'"
Please note that Ibn Abbas died in 68/687 which was 28 years after the martyrdom of Imam Ali (AS). If resorting (Tawassul) to a dead was considered association (shirk), then Ibn Abbas would not dare to say so, and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal would not have recorded it.
In matters pertaining to shirk, there is no need to refer to any hadith because the Quran is extremely clear! There are literally hundreds of thousands of hadiths which have been manufactured after the death of these scholars and people have attributed all kinds of things to these pious slaves of Allah. It is absolutely inconceivable that a scholar of the status of Abdullah ibn Abbas (r.a.) would have said the above words of blatant shirk which are absolutely against the clear teachings and guidance of the Holy Quran. Hadrat Abdulla ibn Abbas (r.a.) is considered amongst the best scholars of Quran and Sunnah, and you are absolutely right in stating that he dared not say these words of shirk. Please bear in mind, that there are plenty of ahaadiths which are manufactured and added long after the death of the Prophet and his companions by unscrupulous people. The first condition of accepting a hadith or narration as true or sahih, is that is should be in conformity with the Holy Quran if it is not, then it will be immediately rejected!
Your comment: Najh ul'Balagah, Sermon 175 About the believers and their good deeds; and the hypocrites and their bad deeds Action! action! Then (look at) the end; the end, and (remain) steadfast; steadfast. Thereafter (exercise) endurance, endurance, and piety, piety. You have an objective. Proceed towards your objective. You have a sign. Take guidance from your sign. Islam has an objective. Proceed towards its objective. Proceed towards Allah's by fulfilling His rights which He has enjoined upon you. He has clearly stated His demands for you. I am a witness for you and shall plead excuses on your behalf on the Day of Judgement.
If Hadrat Ali (r.a.) indeed said these words, then he has spoken the truth. He was a witness as long as he was alive with the believers, and what he witnessed in his life, he will plead when called to witness on the Day of Judgement as the Ameer ul Mumineen. Where does he say that he will be witness and plead their excuses after his death?
There is no doubt from the Quran that Prophet Isa did not die on the cross, but was rather taken alive to the heavens. Read verses 116-118 from Surah Maidah and see what Prophet Jesus has to say! He clearly states that as long as he was alive, he was a witness over his people but when Allah recalled him, he had ABSOLUTELY no knowledge what the people did behind him!
The Quran is absolutely in context it cannot be that Allah does not give the right to Prophet Isa (a.s.) who is alive in the heavens, and give the right to Imam Ali (r.a.) who died on this earth and was buried. To have all knowledge, and be witness and plead for his followers, even after they have left this world! Allah Alone has all knowledge and is a witness over everything!
Your comment: Sunan Abu Dawood Book 14, Number 2516: Narrated Abu Darda': The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The intercession of a martyr will be accepted for seventy members of family.
This is an accepted true hadith, and the Messenger of Allah (saws) spoke nothing but the truth! This is the honor Allah will bestow on the ones who were martyred in His Way. How and on which members of the family the intercession will be accepted by Allah, depends on Allah Alone! Neither the martyr can intercede for anyone of his own will, nor will the family members talk to the martyr to intercede for them! Allah Alone will decide! And do bear in mind that this intercession is on the Day of Judgement and not for intercession in this worldly life!
This hadith cannot be taken to mean that we make tombs and shrines on every martyrs grave, and start invoking and worshipping him! That would be against the Quran and Sunnah.
Your comment: Muwatta of Malik Book 15, Number 15.8.26: Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu'z-Zinad from al-Araj from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Every prophet is given a supplication (dua), and I wish to preserve my dua as intercession for my community in the next world.
This is also an accepted hadith! Yes, the Prophet of Allah (saws) has been granted the honor of intercession by Allah. Again bear in mind, this intercession is for the next world, and not for this worldly life!
Your comment: Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 0747: 'Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: When you hear the Mu'adhdhin, repeat what he says, then invoke a blessing on me, for everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah; then beg from Allah al-Wasila for me, which is a rank in Paradise fitting for only one of Allah's servants, and I hope that I may be that one. If anyone who asks that I be given the Wasila, he will be assured of my intercession.
Just imagine the humility of the Prophet Mohamed (saws). He says that there is ONLY ONE position for this high rank of Al-Wasilah in Paradise, and it was his hope that he be that one! And look at the state of the muslims today. They have made everyone they think is pious (dead and alive) a means of wasilah to Allah! The Prophet (saws) himself declared that there is ONLY ONE such position, and subsequently he (saws) was told that it was indeed him!
So what about all the others whom the people invoke with Allah as their wasilah? Do you agree that this is wrong and against this clear hadith? That refutes your basic belief in the imams and saints as being a wasilah or intermediary with Allah, because there is only one position and its been taken! And besides, again do keep in mind that this position is only for intercession on the Day of Judgement not in this worldly life! Allah Alone can hear and answer all our prayers and does not stand in need of anyone to take our messages to Him.
And this wrong belief of must have intermediary with Allah is the main reason for the shirk being committed by the people In their belief of making every pious slave, alive or dead, a wasilah they start invoking this saint for everything and start every kind of ritual to please their wasilahs instead of doing deeds to please Allah They start making their graves into tombs and shrines they start celebrating their urs, their milaads, and commit minnat in their names, and commit rites like chaadar, niyaaz, jaman, etc all in the false and unsubstantiated hope and belief that these are their wasilahs with Allah! They start invoking these saints with Allah, and this is precisely what Allah terms shirk in the Holy Quran time and time again. !!!
Only if these people could realize that there is ONLY ONE such position of wasilah on the Day of Judgement, and that position has already been assigned to Prophet Mohamed (saws)!!!!
Your comment: Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 2071: 'A'isha reported Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) saying: If a company of Muslims numbering one hundred pray over a dead person, all of them interceding for him, their
intercession for him will be accepted.
This hadith is accepted as a sound hadith and was meant to encourage the believers to attend the funerals of their believing brothers and sisters!
But if taken out of context with the Quran and other authentic hadiths, that no matter who the dead person is, and what kind of deeds he did all his life if one hundred people pray over his dead body, all their intercession of mercy and forgiveness will be accepted by Allah This would be absolutely wrong and against the Quran. In one of the aayahs, Allah says that even if Prophet Mohamed (saws) himself prayed at the funeral of the hypocrites seventy times, Allah will never forgive them because of the deeds that they had done!
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 9 Surah Taubah verse 80: Whether thou (O Prophet) ask for their forgiveness or not (their sin is unforgivable): if thou ask seventy times for their forgiveness, Allah will not forgive them: because they have rejected Allah and His Apostle; and Allah guideth not those who are perversely rebellious.
Thus every hadith must be taken in context with the Quran and in the right perspective! One cannot take this hadith and live his whole life in the dis-obedience of Allah and His Messenger (saws), and then his children and family collect a 100 people over his grave and beg Allah for forgiveness! Everyone will be rewarded or punished according to his deeds that is the Message of the Quran and the Sunnah.
Now to the main topic of the correct concept of wasilah and shafaa, in light of the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
Your comment: Your Quoted: Surah Maidah, ayat 35 "O you who believe! Do your duty to Allh and fear Him. Seek the means of approach (a wasilat or intermediary) to Him, and strive hard in His Cause as much as you can. So that you may be successful."
This is the aayah almost always quoted in isolation, as evidence by the people who propagate intermediaries between themselves and Allah, and the only reason is because this aayah has the term Wasilaah in it! But in the context of the whole Holy Quran, there is absolutely no room for these intermediaries, and their invocation and service. And the Quran is perfectly in context and there are absolutely no contradictions in it as stated by Allah Himself.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verse 82: Do they not ponder over the Quran? Had it been from any other than Allah, surely there would have been many contradictions in it.
The Arabic word Wasilaah translates to means of approach. In the context of the Holy Quran, this aayah would mean that Allah exhorts the believers to perform their various duties and rights due to Allah, fear Him in everything they do, and seek the means of approach to please Allah; so that they may prosper or be successful.
Allah and His Messenger (saws) continuously guided mankind to worship Allah, and to do good righteous deeds to please Allah. Everywhere in the Quran, Allah guides the believers to pray to Him, to give charity in His Name, to fast for Him, to visit His Sacred House for Hajj and Umrah, to fear Him in everything they do, and to strive hard in His Cause These are the deeds that pleases Allah and these the means to approach or get closer to Allah. And that is the means of approach or wasilaah to get closer to Allah! Obey Allah and His Messenger (saws) if indeed you want to get closer to Allah.
Never in the Quran does Allah exhort the believers to seek other beings as their means of approach to Allah! Never does He say to seek out the good pious slaves and make them intermediaries! Never does He say to ask or invoke somebody else to take your prayers to Him! Never does He say to do deeds and rituals at the presence of graves! Never does He say to serve others instead of Him as a means of approach! This is not wasilaah or means of approach according to the Quran This is shirk! And there are literally hundreds of aayahs in the Quran that can be given as evidence.
Lets just think about it logically and use common sense for a moment.
There is boss or owner of a company, who is a good honest person. He does not differentiate between his employees because of race, color, lineage, language, nationality, age, or anything else! He is absolutely fair and just and judges and promotes everyone on merit. And being honest, he is known never to accept any bribes, or sifaarish or any other short-cut way to approach him. So what does the employee need to do to get closer to his boss and gain his pleasure? He needs to follow company policy, come on time, do his assigned duties sincerely, work hard, and be righteous and honorable in everything he does. Only then will this boss be pleased with him, and the employee who works sincerely, will be duly rewarded and promoted on his merit, and will thus be successful.
Then there is a boss, who is not a honest person. He differentiates between his employees by race, color, language, nationality, family connections, etc. He does not care if you break company policy, and do not come on time and do not perform the duties given; as long as you give him gifts as bribes, and are able to produce a sifaarish or intercessor to get your promotions, or when in trouble! He will only help you if you come through an intermediary and never else!
Even in this world, we would say that the honest boss is a better person, who judges everybody on merit and hard work. What kind of Boss do you think Allah is like? The One Who is pleased with your deeds and efforts, or the One who is pleased only if you come through some intermediary? Glorified and Far Exalted is Allah above all the things they associate with Him.
Take another example of a father-to-son relationship. There is a son who is grateful and obedient to his father, does deeds that will please his father, and stays away from doing deeds that upset him. This son is ever ready to obey every command of his father.
Then there is a son who is disobedient to his father, and does not care to do deeds which please him. And everytime he lands in trouble, he is confident he can get an intermediary to speak on his behalf to the father!
Which son do you think the father loves more, and which son do you think has taken the better means of approach to get closer to his father?
My beloved brother in Islam, in light of the Quran and Sunnah, there is a concept of Shafaa but it is not what some unscrupulous leaders have made it out to be! The only person who claimed to have been given this power of shafaa by Allah, is the Last Messenger of Allah (saws); and the Prophet (saws) spoke nothing but the truth. And it is specifically stated in several ahaadiths that the Prophet (saws) will intercede for the believers on the Day of Judgment. Nowhere in any of the ahaadiths is it mentioned that the Prophet (saws) told the believers to call on him when he was dead and in the grave!
All the other wasilaahs and shaafeis are either self-nominated, or been given these titles by their followers None of them have any authority from Allah Subhanah. All those leaders and self-nominated saints who claim to have the power of shafaa, and promise their followers that they will take them to Paradise, are nothing but confirmed liars! Allah never made it our duty or our responsibility to find and decipher these wasilaahs! Our responsibility is to do deeds for the pleasure of Allah Alone, and those deeds are clearly laid out in the Holy Quran and in the Sunnah of the Messenger (saws).
Brother, it is imperative that one forms a belief after reading and understanding the Quran, rather than using one aayah as a justification of his belief, even if it is against the context of this Glorious Book of guidance!
Please read and try to understand the below aayahs which are in perfect context with the whole Quran, and see how Allah Subhanah quashes the concept of invoking and serving intermediaries to get us closer to Allah.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 39 Surah Zumur verse 2-3: So worship Allah Alone, making your religion His exclusively. Beware! Religion is the exclusive Right of Allah. As for those who have taken other auliyaas (guardians) with Allah (and justify their this conduct by saying): We serve them only that they may bring us closer to Allah. Allah will surely judge between them concerning all that in which they differ. Allah does not show guidance to any liar and denier of the Truth.
The only reason any mushrik invoked any other being or deity with Allah, was because he wanted to get a little closer to Allah! The Christians did the same with Prophet Jesus (a.s.), the Hindus do the same with their various idols, the Arab pagans did the same with the images they stored in the Sacred Kaabah, and today unfortunately some muslims do the same with the graves of their auliyaas! Not one of these mushriks denied that Allah was their Creator and Sustainer. They just hoped that by invoking these deities, they would get a little closer to Allah! Just see how severely Allah rebukes them in the above aayah! And this invocation of intermediaries is precisely what Allah calls shirk all over the Quran.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 10 Surah Yunus verse 18: These people serve beside Allah those which can neither harm nor benefit them, and say, These are our shofaa (intercessors) with Allah! (O Mohammed), tell them, Do you wish to inform Allah of that thing which He knows not in the heavens, or in the earth? He is absolutely free from, and exalted above the SHIRK that they commit.
Subhan Allah! How much clearer can one get! Allah Himself says that the deities these mushriks invoke can neither harm them, nor benefit them in any way. And then these mushriks themselves nominate these deities as their shofaas with Allah, whereas Allah has sent down no authority for them. Then Allah absolutely smothers their this belief by telling Prophet Mohamed (saws) to ask them a knock-out question: Do you wish to inform Allah of that thing which He knows not in the heavens, or in the earth? The question is so conclusive, that Allah does not even give an answer to that question to the mushriks! No one has any doubt and believes that it is Allah Alone Who has the Complete Knowledge of everything in the heavens and the earth. He knows absolutely everything that goes on in the heavens and the earth so much so that He knows even the most hidden secrets of our hearts! Just imagine the mistakes that Allah is exhorting the mushriks to comprehend:
They invoke others besides Allah, who are absolutely helpless themselves.
Then they themselves nominate them as their shofaa or intercessors to take their supplications to Allah.
Then they assume that these self-nominated shofaas have the Power to actually hear them, understand their needs, and respond to their prayers.
Then they assume that these self-nominated shofaas have the Power to present these cases before Allah.
Then they assume that these self-nominated shofaas can help in fast-tracking their prayers in the presence of Allah.
And above all these mushriks assume that these self-nominated shofaas actually inform Allah of something that Allah does not already know the connotation of which is that in reality these mushriks do not really believe that Allah knows everything in the heavens and the earth and have thus used these shofaas to present their cases to their forgetful Lord Who, they think, is actually unaware of the plight of His creation!
Then Allah concludes the aayah, with the declaration that: ALLAH IS ABSOLUTELY FREE FROM, AND EXALTED ABOVE THE SHIRK THAT THEY COMMIT!
My beloved brother, this is what the Quran calls shirk! And the only reason, people from all ages, committed this heinous crime of shirk, is, because, they could not see Allah, they took the hollow support of the pious slaves of Allah, whom they could see and feel and touch! And when these pious slaves of Allah died, they either made idols in their names, or made images in their names, or made graves over them! And over time, they started invoking them for all their needs in this world and in the hereafter!
Then they added assumption over assumption, conjecture over conjecture, whims over whims and made these deities and saints very powerful in their own eyes, without realizing that Allah had sent absolutely no authority for them! And thus they started serving these deities, invoking them, and bowing down to them. They assumed and conjectured, that if these deities were pleased with them, Allah would be pleased with them. They assumed that if these deities asked Allah for something, and because Allah loved them so much, Allah would never refuse their duas!, but did not realize that the first link in the chain was broken. These deities simply could not even hear their prayers, nor could they understand them, thus nor could they present the case in Allahs Court, and nor could they get the prayers answered! But by now, the followers were so far astray in their stories of miracles, conjectures, and whims and assumptions, that they just could not believe that these deities or saints were as helpless as Allah states them to be in the Quran! And they insisted on invoking them as their intermediaries with Allah no matter what the Quran or the Messenger of Allah (saws) says.
This is exactly what Allah calls shirk in the Quran.
And whenever a person commits shirk, he starts distancing himself from Allah. He assumes that Allah does not hear him nor answers his prayers. He assumes that it is in fact these deities and these saints who are responsible for everything that Allah has given him, and thus turns to them in gratefulness and thanks. And to make sure the deities are happy and pleased with him, he starts doing rites and rituals to please the deities assuming in the back of his mind, that by doing that, Allah will be pleased with him. He makes beautiful tombs and shrines over the graves of his deities and saints! He visits them regularly and makes various offerings in the saints name! He celebrates the milaad and urs of his saints with great passion and fervor! He commits various minnats on the saints name! He does ziyaarat, he does niyaaz, he does jaman, and he covers the grave with expensive chaadar! And the irony is, that he does not trust any one of the deities .so he names several of them and starts the rites and rituals at each of them hoping that if one does not work, the other will surely work! And thus he spends all his life and his wealth in the service of these deities and saints. His deen becomes the invocation of his saints! Little does he realize that all he does is absolutely in vain, because none of them can even hear him, or get his prayers answered in the least!
Tawheed on the other hand is the belief that Allah is Alive! He Alone is the All Hearing and hears all our duas and supplications without any intermediary! He Alone is All Generous and gives to whomever He wills without measure! He Alone is All Knowing and knows everything about us.. our condition, our state, our needs, our good and our bad! He Alone Created us! He Alone will ordain our deaths! He Alone will raise us all back to life again on the Day of Judgement! He Alone will Decide with Justice according to our deeds! And He Alone will forgive us our sins! THUS HE ALONE DESERVES OUR ATTENTIONOUR SERVICE.OUR INVOCATION . OUR WORSHIP . OUR RITES OF WORSHIP. OUR REVERANCE OUR FEAR . OUR OBEDIENCE . OUR SAJDAHAND OUR SUBMISSION!
Once a person understands that, then he submits his will to Allah, and does whatever Allah commands him to do and stays away from whatever Allah commands him to stay away from. All his deeds are done so seek the pleasure of Allah Alone and no one else! And thus this believers life revolves around the obedience of his Creator and His Will. That is Islam the deen of Tawheed!!!!!!
There is a distinct line between tawheed and shirk! Tawheed leads to the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah, and shirk leads straight to the everlasting Fire of Hell! Thus, every believer who indeed fears Allah and the Last Day, must make sure he understands these concepts very very well. Take nobodys word for it, except Allahs! Read the Glorious Quran with understanding, and see for yourself how clearly Allah differentiates these two concepts.
May Allah give us the courage and the wisdom to read His Message, which He has revealed for our guidance. May Allah guide us to the deen of tawheed, and make us comprehend the manifestations of shirk so that we can stay far away from it. May Allah have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and guide us to the Siraat al Mustaqeem.
May Allah guide you and us to read and understand the simple and plain words of the Glorious Quran. May Allah increase our knowledge from the Holy Quran. May Allah guide us to the Siraat al Mustaqeem.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,