Tawassul through a dead person
Fatwa No: 89352

Question

I read your Fatwa Tawassul, you wrote that the Hadeeth narrated by 'Uthmaan bin Hunaif which is recorded in Muj'am At-Tabraani as a weak Hadeeth. You wrote that the Hadeeth was declared weak by Al-Albaani. But I read that the Hadeeth was authenticated as Saheeh by Bayhaqi, Mundhiri, Haythami and many other scholars. My question is, why did the top early scholars of Hadeeth declared that Hadeeth, which clearly approves Tawassul through dead person, as Saheeh? It is confusing me and I can't believe that the top scholars of Hadeeth did not know that Tawassul through dead persons is prohibited. Please reply answer to me.

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.

 

For the types of Tawassul, please refer to Fatwa: 84006.

As regards the narration of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) reported by 'Uthmaan Ibn Hunaif  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him it has been narrated by different sources some of which are authentic and some are classified as weak. The narration that is mentioned in the above Fatwa and which has been classified as weak by Shaykh Al-Albaani may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him is reported by At-Tabaraani and Al-Bayhaqi,   may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them and its narrators were considered weak in memorization. Besides the narration included a story that differed from that which is narrated by the trustworthy narrators who reported the same narration but a different story. In addition to this the story included some indications that proved to be objectionable and weak, as the story related that the caliphate 'Uthmaan Ibn Affaan  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was not considering and taking care of the need of that man and was not looking at him; so the man prayed and made this supplication. But how could this be possible while the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) stated that the angels are ashamed of him ('Uthmaan), and he is known to be kind, merciful and lenient with people? Prior to Shaykh Al-Albaani may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him also considered this narration to be weak in his book At-Tawassul wal-Waseelah (pages 110-112). Nu'maan Ibn Mahmood, who was well-known by the name of Ibn Al-Aloossi may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book Jalaa' Al-'Aynayn Fi Muhaakamat Al-Ahmadayn commented on this narration: 'There is something wrong about the chain of narrators of this narration reported by 'Uthmaan Ibn Hunaif, at the time of the reign of the caliphate 'Uthmaan Ibn 'Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him. Some scholars even say that the signs of fabrication are apparent in it, so how can this narration be acted upon while it contradicts the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and the actions of the companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them? Did you hear that anyone of them came to the grave of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and asked him about that which only Allaah is capable of, while they were very keen to have their needs fulfilled and to attain the highest rewards?'

As regards the opinion of Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Mundhiri and Al-Haythami may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them that this is an authentic story, it is the result of their research and this does not necessarily mean that they are of the view that it is permissible to seek Tawassul through the dead despite them ruling the narration to be authentic. Even though the narration might be authentic according to them, it does not mean that it is accepted to make conclusions from it that it is permissible to ask Allaah by virtue of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) or anyone else.

Moreover, even if we suppose that this narration by 'Uthmaan Ibn Hunaif  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him is confirmed, he was the only one among other companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them who had narrated it. Therefore, such a narration cannot be considered a Sunnah, and thus making it permissible for us to act according to it.

Furthermore, Shaykh Al-Islam may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: (page 104) 'It is known that if it is proven authentic that 'Uthmaan Ibn Hunaif  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him or anyone else considered that it is permissible and desirable to make Tawassul by virtue of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) after his death, the Prophet himself did not call to this or consider it correct to seek intercession by him this way. We know that 'Umar and other great companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them did not consider this permissible after his death  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) although it was permissible while he was alive.'

Had this type of Tawassul been 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 supplicate by the virtue of his supplication in his lifetime. In fact, they resorted to the supplications of Al-'Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him (i.e. through 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 through our Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and You gave us rain, and now we are supplicating You through 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 Abi Sufyan  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, and he was the best of mankind, the companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them would not have abandoned it and made a supplication by Al-'Abbaas, and Yazeed Ibn Al-Aswad  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them or others in their lifetime.

To conclude, since none of the companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them said that invoking Allaah by virtue of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was permissible after his death as they sought his Tawassul and intercession while he was alive, and did not resort to it after his death, but instead sought invocation and intercession by the supplications of others, this implies therefore that what was permissible for them was to seek the invocation of Allaah through the supplication of a person and not by his virtue.

Allaah knows best.

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