Permissible Tawassul in Islam
Fatwa No: 84006

Question

I want to ask about Tawassul. Is it permissible in Islam especially according to Shafi'e school of thought?

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Tawassul (seeking approach to Allah) is of two kinds:
1) The permissible Tawassul and (2) The prohibited one.
The permissible Tawassul is of three kinds:
A) Approaching Allah through His most beautiful names and attributes. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {…Seek the means of approach to Him, …} [5:35].
B) Seeking approach of Allah through good deeds. The evidence for this kind of approach is the Hadith narrated by Ibn Umar in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim concerning the three people who were withheld in a cave, then they supplicated Allah through their good deeds till Allah saved them from the cave.
C) Seeking approach of Allah through the Du'a (supplication) of His righteous slaves. The evidence for this kind of Tawassul is the Hadith of Uthman Ibn Abu al-'Aas regarding the blind man who supplicated Allah Saying: 'O Allah! I seek approach of You through your Prophet … so respond me by accepting his intercession'.
The Prophet's (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) intersession means making his Du'a as a mean to approach Allah not his personality itself. The evidence for this viewpoint is that Umar (Radiya Allahu Anhu) when drought threatened them. Said: "O Allah! We used to ask our Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) to invoke You for rain, and You would bless us with rain, and now we ask his uncle to invoke You for rain, then he requested al-Abbas to supplicate Allah for rain and then Allah gave them rain" . [Reported by Imam al-Bukhari ].
If the approaching through the personality of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) were permissible they would supplicate Allah through the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) since his honor is lasting during his life and after his death as well.
The prohibited Tawassul is also of two kinds:
A) Innovative Tawassul: Asking Allah by means of prophets and righteous persons is an innovation. The evidence for that is that Tawassul is a form of worship and all the matters of worship are restricted only to what is proved by the Shari'a. There is no chance for any innovation as far as the matters of worship are concerned. The above Hadith of Umar (Radi Allahu anhu) proves this fact.
However, some scholars are of the opinion that this kind of Tawassul is permissible. They based their opinion on the Hadith of the blind man mentioned above.
But the preponderant opinion is the first one, and we have already mentioned the answer for those who rely on the Hadith of the blind man.
B) Polytheistic Tawassul: Seeking approach to Allah by offering devotions to other things than Allah, such as sacrificing to them, supplicating them and making vows to them. Those who practise so claim that they are doing it only to use them as intercessors between themselves and Allah. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning) about Mushrikeen: {…"We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allâh." …} [39:3]. He also Says: {And they worship besides Allâh things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: "These are our intercessors with Allâh." …} [10:18].
Allah knows best.

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