Asking the dead to intercede with Allaah for the living is impermissible
Fatwa No: 292096

Question

I believe that going to the Prophet's grave or the grave of a righteous man and asking them to make dua to Allah for you is in innovation in the religion, However, on a forum I frequent, one person claimed that it is mentioned in Fath Al-Bari that the majority of the scholars say that the dead can hear the living, and that person also claims that the majority of the scholars, such as Abul-Haamid Al-Ghazaali, Ibn Qudaama, Al-Mawsili Al-Hanafi, Zahirud-Din Abu Shuja', An-Nawawi, Shihabud-Din Al-Qarafi, Ibnul-Hajj, Ibn Farhun Al-Maaliki, Ibn Jamaa'ah, Ibn Zamlikaani, and As-Samhudi, wrote in their books that the dead can supplicate for the living based on verse 4:64 of the Quran being 'mutlaq' and not 'munayyad' with any time. Based on this, the person claims that asking the righteous dead to intercede with Allah on one's behalf is acceptable.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Scholars held different opinions on whether the dead can hear the talk of living people or not. Some maintained that they can hear what the living person says, while others believed otherwise, i.e. that the dead do not hear the living at all. Perhaps, the most likely view is that the dead hear the talk of the living in general, and this does not necessarily mean that they hear them all the time; the dead may hear the living in a given situation and not in another.

In any case, it is impermissible for the Muslim to call upon the dead, supplicate them, or ask for their intercession; verily, such practices have not been reported on the authority of the early Muslim generations: the Companions, the Taabiʻoon (generation following the Companions), and their followers. Had there been any good in it, they would have hastened to do it. Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

It is known according to the indisputably established rulings of Islam, collectively contiguous reports, and the consensus of Muslims that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, did not prescribe such practices for his followers. None of the past Prophets prescribed such acts for his people as well; the People of the Book reported nothing to that effect on the authority of their Prophets, and the Muslims as well have no reports narrated on the authority of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, to that effect. None of the Companions, Taabiʻoon, and their followers who followed in their footsteps did so, and none of the four Imaams or other scholars deemed it allowable; none of the scholars mentioned in the context of Hajj rituals or otherwise that it is recommended for the Muslim to stand by the grave of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, and ask him to intercede with Allaah for him, supplicate Allaah for his people, or complain about the afflictions that befell the Muslim nation. The Companions were afflicted with many tribulations during their lives, and none of them was reported to have gone to the grave of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, or the grave of the Khaleel, Prophet Ibraaheem (Abraham)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention or the grave of any of the Prophets, complaining about the drought, strength of their enemies, or the abundance of sin. Rather, the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, did not prescribe such an act, and thus it is neither obligatory nor recommended. Rather, he, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, deemed it prohibited and forbade everything that leads to it. He, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, also forbade taking the graves of the Prophets and the pious as places of worship...” [End of quote]

However, some late jurists from the different schools of Fiqh held that it is recommended to seek the intercession of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, when visiting his grave. It is well-known that the criterion in deeming a certain act lawful or unlawful is the Quran and the authentic Sunnah (being the primary sources of legislation). Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means):

·        {And in anything over which you disagree - its ruling is [to be referred] to Allaah. [Say], "That is Allaah, my Lord; upon Him I have relied, and to Him I turn back."} [Quran 42:10]

·        {O you who have believed, obey Allaah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allaah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allaah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.} [Quran 4:59]

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 85732.

Indeed, the understanding of the early Muslim generations is the primary source of knowing the true meanings of the religious texts.

Those jurists relied on the story of Al-ʻUtbi, which is a false and fabricated story, as As-Sahsawaani said in his book Siyaanat Al-Insaan ʻan Waswasat Ash-Shaykh Dahlaan wa ‘Ibaaratih, “This is a false and fabricated report; it cannot be relied on as evidence...

The verse in chapter 4 has nothing to do with seeking intercession of the dead; the verse reads (what means): {And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allaah. And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you [O Muhammad] and asked forgiveness of Allaah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allaah Accepting of repentance and Merciful.} [Quran 4:64]

The verse was revealed particularly in relation to asking the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, to seek forgiveness for the sinner during his lifetime, and not after his death. Ibn 'Abd Al-Haadi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

The two matters became clear upon comprehending the proper interpretation of the verse, its intended meaning, the context in which it was revealed, and the understanding of the early Muslim generations, who were the most knowledgeable of the Quran, and those who follow in their footsteps. The late and early scholars suggested that the verse advised the sinners to go to the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, asking him to implore Allaah to forgive them (during his lifetime and not after his death). This was their understanding of the verse...” [As-Saarim Al-Munki]

Those who draw an analogy between this case and going to the grave of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, after his death to seek his intercession are necessarily suggesting that whenever a sinner on the planet wants to repent to Allaah, he should go to the grave of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, and ask him to seek forgiveness for him. As-Sahsawaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him remarked:

“If we claimed that the repentance of the sinners is conditioned on going to the Prophet, sallAllaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, in his lifetime or to his grave after his death, then this would constitute great hardship for Muslims. This would entail obliging the Muslims to live in Madeenah near him or his grave; the Companions would not have traveled to any part of the world. Indeed, none has suggested that. Those who prescribed or called for seeking forgiveness from the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, after his death are actually calling to deviation and immoderation; calling upon other than Allaah is plain shirk (polytheism).” [End of quote]

Allaah Knows best.

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