Asking the Prophet to intercede after his death
Fatwa No: 42215

  • Fatwa Date:8-3-2012 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 15, 1433
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Question

Was the ruling contained in the following verse cancelled with the death of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam? If so, what is the evidence? Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {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]

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  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

This verse was among a number of other verses that were revealed to denounce the stance of the hypocrites who rejected the arbitration of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). They gave preference to others over him. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Have you not seen those who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you? They wish to refer legislation to Taghoot, while they were commanded to reject it; and Satan wishes to lead them far astray. And when it is said to them, "Come to what Allaah has revealed and to the Messenger," you see the hypocrites turning away from you in aversion. So how [will it be] when disaster strikes them because of what their hands have put forth and then they come to you swearing by Allaah, "We intended nothing but good conduct and accommodation." Those are the ones of whom Allaah knows what is in their hearts, so turn away from them but admonish them and speak to them a far-reaching word. 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 4:60-64] 

Allaah The Almighty instructed all those who disobeyed the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and sinned against him, to go to him, so that he would ask Allaah The Almighty to forgive them. On doing so, Allaah The Almighty would accept their repentance, forgive them and have mercy on them.

It is inconceivable that this verse applies to every Muslim at every time.  Also, it is incorrect that the ruling of this verse ceased to be  valid after the death of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).

The meaning of this verse is not general because it was revealed concerning a specific group of people. Hence, we could not apply the rule that states that the text of religious authority is construed in accordance with its general indication without restricting it to any relevant surrounding circumstances or causes. 

Ar-Raazi may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him interpreted the verse as  meaning that, after they wronged themselves by referring to other than the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) for arbitration and  by evading his judgment,  had they come to him and shown  regret  for what they did, repented and asked for his pardon, and then had he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked Allaah The Almighty to forgive them and accept their repentance, they would have found   Him accepting of repentance and Ever-Merciful.

Ar-Raazi may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him posed a question: he wondered if it would have been sufficient for them to repent and ask Allaah The Almighty for forgiveness. Why did they have to ask the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) to ask Allaah The Almighty to forgive them? Ar-Raazi may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him answered this by saying, "When they referred   to other than the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) for arbitration, they contradicted the decree of Allaah The Almighty and offended the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). That saddened him  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )..." Ar-Raazi elaborated saying that they sinned against the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ); hence, they had to apologize to him, and that was why they had to go to him and ask him to ask Allaah The Almighty to forgive them.

Had acceptance of the sinners' repentance been contingent on being present with the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) during his life or after his death, it would have caused difficulty for the Muslim nation. It would have been obligatory that they reside in Madeenah, and the Companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them would not have traveled anywhere. In fact, no scholar has ever upheld this opinion. Permitting Muslims, or encouraging them, to request the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) to ask Allaah The Almighty to forgive them after his death, is a call to falsehood, misguidance and an extreme belief. This is because supplicating anyone other than Allaah The Almighty is polytheism.

Many fabricated traditions were narrated in relation to this subject. One of them is the story of Al-‘Utbi. It is said that Al-‘Utbi was sitting next to the grave of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) when a Bedouin came. The man greeted the grave of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). The Bedouin requested the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) to intercede with Allaah The Almighty for him and ask Him to forgive him. He supported his supplication with the previously mentioned verse. At that time, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had already passed away and was buried in his grave. After the Bedouin left, Al-‘Utbi slept and saw the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in his dream. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) told him to try to catch up with the Bedouin and give him glad tidings that Allaah The Almighty had forgiven him.

According to Shaykh As-Sahsawaani  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him this story is fabricated, even though it is widely mentioned in the books of Tafseer (exegesis).   

Allaah Knows best.

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