You wrote: "How clear is the above aayah of the Holy Quran! The people who invoke or call these Maulas, and Auliyaas, and graves of their pious holy men of days gone by, know that these people cannot actually give them anything. They assume that by invoking these names, they will get closer to Allah! This is precisely what Allah terms 'shirk'. " This is what you are misunderstanding. When people go to graves of pious people, they are asking them for shafat, to plead to Allah ta`Ala for them. You have to keep in mind who is being requested and from Whom is the request. These pious people have no power over the commandment of Allah. But because of their iklaas and iman in this life toward Allah, Allah would be more receptive for their pleas for another person for help from Allah. This is by no ways shirk as the Quran eludes to. Your statement that the pious ones cannot help you from the grave is utterly incorrect. If that were the case...then what is the point of saying salams on them? You would be saying "assalamu alaykum" to a dead body that can neither hear you or understand you. This concept of the grave that you promote is wrong. For the term shafat, the word intercessor is not a correct term. Intercessors (mainly because of it`s use by christians) insinuates that the intercessor has some command from or of Allah. In the case of shafat by a pious person, the pious person makes the request...but it is still Allah ta`Ala that gives His rahmat or not. You are incorrect in your reference to the duas of others by the Panjatan Pak. They made it a habit (as Rasullah did) of asking dua for those less fortunate. Imam Zaynul Abidin has over 20 supplications in Sahifa Sajjidiyah asking help from Allah for others (be they parents, the poor, etc). When one invokes someones assistance (such as Maulana Ali), the person is asking them to ask Allah for assistance and the Allah will accept their shafat more readily than the person themselves. You may say "why not just ask Allah". Allah gives rahmat to whom He pleases. This is His hikmah. It is assumed He would not refuse a dua from a person such as Maula Ali, Hasan, Husayn, etc. Now if a person does outside this...then it would be a issue of shirk.
Shafaa does not mean Intercessor.
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.
Did the Messenger of Allah (saws), Hadrat Ali (r.a.), Imam Hasan (r.a.), Imam Hussain (r.a.) or any of the other noble companions pray to Allah directly, or did they pray through some dead people in their graves? Did they ever invoke their forefathers like Hadrat Ismail (a.s.) or the Khalil-ur-Rahmaan Hadrat Ibrahim (a.s.)?
My beloved brother, one is allowed and encouraged in Islam to make a supplication and ‘dua’ for his brothers and sisters in Islam. But there is huge difference between making a supplication to Allah FOR someone, and making a supplication to Allah THROUGH someone!
Making supplications FOR someone, be it your parents, be it your friends, be it your children, be it your family, or be it all your brothers and sisters in Islam; is absolutely allowed in Islam, and in fact, encouraged by the Messenger of Allah (saws); as long as the supplication or ‘dua’ is made directly to Allah.
But making supplications for yourself or anybody else, THROUGH someone to Allah, is precisely what has been termed the abominable sin of ‘shirk’ in the Quran. If you were to call on Allah and ask him for something and use the ‘shafaa’ or intercession of (lets say) Imam Ali ibn Taalib (r.a.), then it would be ‘shirk’. It is ‘shirk’ to call on Allah and say give me this or that in the name of ‘so and so holy and pious man’!
Allah Alone is the One Who can hear everything! Allah Alone is the One Who sees everything! Allah Alone is the One Who can listen to our supplications! And Allah Alone is the One Who has the Power to answer our prayers! He Alone is the All Mighty, All Powerful.
Whenever you invoke the name of a ‘holy or pious person’ and call on Allah to give you something, it is natural that you will affiliate yourself with this holy person, or his grave or his shrine. Then you will do all kinds of ‘niyaaz’, ‘offerings’, ‘urs’, ‘milaads’, ‘matams’, and ‘minnats’ of these holy men, so that whenever you want something from Allah, you can invoke this person’s name! It is Allah who gives us everything that we ask for, but human beings do all these offerings and devote themselves to these holy men, and the graves of their pious ancestors…. Thinking erroneously that it was because of their ‘shufa’a’ that Allah granted them their prayers! THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT THE QURAN TERMS AS THE ABOMINABLE SIN OF ‘SHIRK’!!!!!!!!!!
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 46 Surah Ahqaf verses 4-6: Prophet, say to them, "Have you ever seen them with open eyes those whom you invoke instead of Allah? Show me what they have created in the earth? Or have they any share in the creation and control of the heavens? Bring me a Book revealed before this, or produce some remnant of knowledge in support of your beliefs if you are truthful." And who could be further astray than the one who invokes, instead of Allah, those who cannot answer him till the Day of Resurrection. Nay, they are even UNAWARE THAT THEY ARE BEING INVOKED. And when all mankind shall be gathered together (on the Day of Qiyamah), they (the so called leaders and intercessors) will become enemies of those who invoked them and they will DISOWN THEIR WORSHIP!!!
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 ‘auliyas’ 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.
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 ‘shofa’a’ (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.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6 Surah Anam verse 94: (And Allah will say), “So, you have come before Us all alone, as We created you at first. Now, you have left behind all that We gave you in the world. Now We do not see with you those ‘shufa’a’(intercessors), who, you believed, had a share in moulding your destinies! All the relations between you and them have been cut off, and all those, in whom you trusted, have left you in the lurch.”
The Glorious Quran is literally full of these kinds of aayahs which explain the concept, and each and every manifestation of ‘shirk’ in detail. One only has to read the Quran to understand how heinous and horrendous this sin of Shirk is in the eyes of Allah Subhanah. Allah has made Paradise ‘haraam’ for those who die in the state of ‘shirk’! It is an unforgivable sin in the eyes of Allah.
Brother, do me a favor, and find me one aayah in the Holy Quran which accentuates your belief, that invoking Allah THROUGH someone is not ‘shirk’! Find me just one aayah in the whole of the Holy Quran!!! The Holy Quran is absolutely in context and there is absolutely no discrepancy or contradiction in it. We can literally post you hundreds of aayahs, which will clearly show from the Glorious Quran what is shirk, and what are all the manifestations of shirk. But you just find me one aayah which states that in Islam, we are allowed to invoke Allah THROUGH some person, or some grave, or some idol, or some being, or anything else for that matter…..
May Allah guide you and us all to read and understand the easy and clear guidance of the Holy Quran so that we can understand all the manifestations of this heinous crime of ‘shirk’. All the communities that Allah describes in the Quran which were utterly and absolutely destroyed, were all destroyed for committing this one sin: SHIRK!!!! Unfortunately, many muslims, under banners of different sects and creeds are involved in the same Shirk, with a different coloring! May Allah save us all from this heinous and horrendous crime of ‘shirk’! May Allah guide you and us to the Siraat al Mustaqeem. And the best way to recognize this heinous sin, is to read and understand the Holy Quran! There is no better way, than the words of Allah Subhanah Himself.
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.
May Allah guide you and us all to the Siraat al-Mustaqeem.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s 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,