Permissibility of Tawassul
Fatwa No: 89076

  • Fatwa Date:26-12-2004 - Thul-Qi'dah 15, 1425
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Question

Is it true that Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allaah have mercy upon him) was the first to refute the permissibility of Tawassul? Please see the following quote:
Allamah Taqee-ud-Deen Al-Subki (may Allaah have mercy upon him) and other Muhadditheen have stated that Haafiz Ibn-Taymiyyah (may Allaah have mercy upon him) – who passed away in the year 728 Hijri - was the first to refute the permissibility of this form of Tawassul (Shifaa-us-Siqaam pg. 293).

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 is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

 

Know, may Allaah have mercy on you, that Tawaassul (i.e. seeking nearness to Allaah by virtue of someone or something) is of two kinds: permissible and impermissible.

Permissible Tawassul: Is to invoke Allaah by virtue of His Names and Attributes and by virtue of one's good righteous actions, or by requesting a righteous person to supplicate Allaah in your favour. There is no difference of opinion among the scholars that this kind is permissible.

Impermissible Tawassul: It is to invoke Allaah by virtue of Prophets and righteous people, and this is what Ibn Taymiyyah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him forbade. Whoever claims that Ibn Taymiyyah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was the first person to forbid invoking Allaah by virtue of someone or something is wrong. Indeed the companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them and the righteous predecessors and their followers may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them forbade the impermissible Tawassul (second type) and absolutely no one is reported to have permitted it, though they were earnest in endeavouring in righteous actions and used to supplicate Allaah much and humble themselves to Him. If this type was permissible they would have invoked Allaah by virtue of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) after his death as they used to supplication by his virtue in his lifetime. In fact, they supplicated by virtue of Al-'Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him when they were severely affected by drought in the presence of Al-Muhaajireen and Al-Ansaar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them. (This was after the Prophet's death). 'Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: 'O Allaah, we used to supplicate You for rain by virtue of our Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and You gave us rain, and now we are supplicating You by virtue of the uncle of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) (i.e. by him supplicating for us to receive rain) so accept our supplication.' [Al-Bukhari] All the companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them approved of this type of supplication and none of them refuted it. Mu'aawiyah Ibn Abu Sufian  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him supplicated for rain in the same manner when he was a caliphate. Were the invocation by virtue of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) after his death permissible, the companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them would not have abandoned it and made a supplication by Al-'Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him or others in their lifetime. What has been reported, though, regarding the permissibility of supplicating by virtue of pious people or by virtue of the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, after their death is either weak or fabricated. Among those who forbade this type of Tawassul is Imaam Abu Haneefah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him and the scholars of his School and they said: 'One should not invoke Allaah by virtue of any human being and no one should say: 'O Allaah, I am asking You by virtue of Your Prophets.' Many scholars of Abu Haneefah's School may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them stated this opinion. Abu Yoosuf may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'Abu Haneefah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'No one should ask Allaah except by virtue of His Names and Attributes, and I dislike (i.e. deem it prohibited) for people to say 'by virtue of Your creature.' This is also the opinion of Abu Yoosuf may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him as he said: 'I dislike anyone to say 'by virtue of so and so, or 'by virtue of Your Prophets and Messengers', or 'by virtue of Al-Haram mosque or Al-Mash'ar Al-Haram (i.e. Al-Muzdalifah, a well-known place near Makkah where pilgrims have to stop and stay for the whole night of the 10th of Thul-Hijjah)'.

Al-Qaddoori may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'It is not permissible to ask Allaah by virtue of a creature because creatures have no right on the Creator.' This is the view of Al-Kaasaani, Az-Zayla'i, Ibn Al-Hammam and the noble scholar Ibn 'Abdul-Wahaab may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them. Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'Abu Haneefah and the scholars of his School may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them said that supplicating by virtue of Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention is forbidden. Imaam Maalik may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him has not stated anything contradicting this meaning so whoever reports about him, that he has permitted this type of Tawassul has no evidence, or that the scholars of his School may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them had said so, or indeed, any other Muslim Imaam other than Maalik, like Ash-Shaafi'ee, Ahmad, and others may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them.' Whoever, said they permitted this type of Tawassul has indeed lied about them. Even if some scholars may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them said that it is lawful (to supplicate by virtue of others), it is confirmed that many amongst them forbade it, so it is a matter upon which they differed, and it has to be balanced against the Word of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) like in any other question on which there are differences. Allaah says (which means): {And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allaah (He is the ruling Judge).}[42:10]. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Those of you who will live after me will see a great disagreement. Thus you must adhere to my Sunnah and the way of the rightly-guided Caliphs. Hold to it and stick tight to it." [Ahmad and Abu Daawood]

Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him stated evidences from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) about the prohibition of the second type of Tawassul, so whoever wants to refer to them should consult Majmoo' Al-Fataawi.   

Allaah knows best.

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