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.
It seems that this statement of Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah is rather general and in need of explication. The phrase “necessitate shirk” may mean “lead to shirk” and not that this action constitutes shirk in itself. It is also possible that he meant that it is an act of shirk to ask the dead to fulfill one's needs, and he made mention of asking the dead to ask Allaah on behalf of the living afterwards because it leads to shirk and not because it is an act of shirk in and of itself. His statement was clear in his book Qaaʻidah Jaleelah fi At-Tawassul wa Al-Waseelah that asking a dead person to ask Allaah may lead to shirk. He wrote, “The same applies to the Prophets and the righteous people, even if they are still alive in their graves and able to supplicate Allaah in favor of the living, and even if reports were narrated to this effect, it is impermissible to ask the dead to supplicate on behalf of the living. None of the righteous predecessors had done so because it leads to shirk by associating the dead with Allaah in worship or worshiping them instead of Allaah...”
Some scholars made a distinction between asking the dead to fulfill the needs of the living and asking them to supplicate Allaah on their behalf. They held that the first act constitutes shirk while the second does not. Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen wrote:
“There is a difference between the case in which a person uses the supplication of a deceased man as tawassul (seeking nearness) to Allaah, asking this deceased person to supplicate to Allaah for him and that in which he asks him to fulfill his need. If he asks the dead person to fulfill his need, this is an act of major shirk. But if he asks the dead person to supplicate Allaah on his behalf, then this is a religious innovation because when the person dies, he can no longer do any deeds, and supplicating is a deed. How can someone ask a dead person to do what he cannot do; the actions of the deceased cease to exist, and it is impossible for him to supplicate Allaah for anyone. When someone asks a dead person to supplicate Allaah on his behalf, he would not do so. The same applies to passing by the grave of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, and asking him to intercede with Allaah for him; it is impermissible and a religious innovation. If one passes by the grave of the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, and said, 'O Messenger of Allaah! Save me from Hellfire,' then that is a major act of shirk.”
Allaah knows best.