Tawassul: Intermediation Between Allaah and the Creation

The subject of intermediation between Allaah and the creation is an extremely important one. Unfortunately, many of the Muslims are ignorant of it. A result of this is that we have forbidden ourselves the help of Allaah and being strengthened by Him, something which He promised us, should we seek refuge in Him (alone) and follow his command.

Allaah the Exalted said:

And it is a duty upon Us to help the Believers [Rum 30:47]

If you aid Allaah He will aid you and establish your feet firmly (upon the earth) [Muhammad 47:7]

And to Allaah, His Messenger and the Believers belongs the Honour [Munaafiqoon 63:8]

Mankind can be divided into three groups in terms of their understanding of how intermediation exists between Allaah and His creation.

THE FIRST: Those who reject that Allaah sent the Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) as an intermediary to teach the Sharee'ah (Allaah's right to be worshipped alone, His commands and prohibitions and all the ways and means Allaah has legislated to help mankind achieve their purpose on this earth) and claim that this Sharee'ah is for the common people, naming it the External Knowledge. They depend upon opinions and dotings for their form of worship and have given it the name Internal Knowledge. They also call it Kashf (sudden enlightenment). In reality however, these are nothing but whisperings of Shaytaan and the satanic means and ways which are in opposition to the simplest pillar of Islaam! Their well known saying in this regard is: My heart informed me about my Lord.[1]

They ridicule the scholars of the Sharee'ah and criticise them because they claim theytake their knowledge 'from the dead'. As for themselves, they claim to take their knowledge (directly) with good tidings (i.e. they receive revelation) from the Ever-Living and Self-Sustaining. As a result of this they have put many to trial and have led them astray. They commit such actions which are in complete opposition to the Sharee'ah and which are can be found in their books, that the scholars have declared them to be disbelievers and also declared their blood to be lawful due to their apostacy; being ignorant or feigning ignorance of the first pillar principle of the Sharee'ah which is that whoever worships Allaah by something other than what was revealed to Muhammad is a Kaafir without a doubt, due to the saying of Allaah the Exalted:

But no by your Lord! They do not believe until they make you judge in all their disputes and then find no resistance in their souls to what you decide and offer their fullest submission [Nisaa 4:65]

As such, Shaytaan has made their actions alluring to them by corrupting their knowledge and extinguishing its light. As a result they travel in darkness upon darkness and resort to their desires and imaginations worshipping Allaah by them. They are those whom Allaah has described in the Qur'aan:

Say: Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds?-Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works? They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): Vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight. [Kahf 18:103-105]

This group has also been divided into a number of factions each of them disagreeing and fighting with another due to their being far from the Straight Path, the Path of those whom Allaah has favoured, not of those upon whom is His anger nor of those who go astray. All of these groups are in the Fire like the Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) mentioned: Ummah will split into 73 groups. Seventy two will be in the Fire and one in Paradise: (the one) which is upon what I and my companions are upon.orted by Abu Daawood, Tirmidhee and Nasaa'ee with an authentic chain of narration from Abu Hurairah]

THE SECOND:Then there are others who exaggerate in this intermediation. This particular understanding is one of error.They have made it carry a meaning which, in reality, it does not. They have taken the physical essence of the Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) and others from among the prophets and righteous as intermediaries believing that Allaah the Exalted will not accept any action from His servants unless they approach Him through these intermediaries. Exalted is Allaah from what they say. They have described Allaah - and refuge is sought from Allaah - with something He refuses to be described with. It is the oppressive kings of this world who place barriers at their own doors so that none can enter (and converse with them or request from them) except he who has some sort of intermediary between himself and the king.

Where is this belief in the speech of Allaah:

When My servants ask You concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way [Baqarah 2:186]

This noble verse indicates that the one and only intermediary for coming closer to Allaah the Exalted is correct and true Eemaan in Him, then worshipping Him by what He has commanded. This verse has placed the righteous action as being above Eemaan so as to make mankind aware of the significance of correct and righteous action and that it is a necessary condition for attaining success with Allaah's happiness and entering into His Paradise.

Allaah the Exalted has mentioned Waseelah (the means of getting closer to Him) in the Quran intending by it acts of obedience. This is the one intermediary which will bring you closer to Him, open up for you the doors of His Mercy and enter you into His Paradise.

O you who believe! Fear Allaah and seek the means of approach to Him and strive in His path in order that you may succeed [Maa'ida 5:35]

Allaah has mocked the unmindful ignorants who have taken the righteous servants of Allaah as intermediaries while these servants themselves are in need of the means of approach to Allaah. This the obedience which will bring them closer to Allaah. Their is no other path for attaining closeness to Him besides it just like Allaah the Exalted has mentioned:

Those whom they call upon do desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord, - even those who are nearest: they hope for His Mercy and fear His Wrath: for the Wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of. [Israa 17:57]

It is sad that out of neglecting the correct and righteous actions and committing sins, these unmindful people have been enticed into depending upon such intermediaries. This is what has caused the failure of those Muslims who have forgotten or affected ignorance of the speech of Allaah to His Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) who is the leader of all the sons of Aadam:

Say: I have no control of benefit or harm over myself [A'raaf 7:188]

and also the saying of the Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) to his daughter, the myrtle of his heart: "O Faatimah!... I can avail you nothing from Allaah." and his ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) saying: "When a man dies his actions cease except for three: recurring charity, knowledge which he imparted and a son which supplicates for him."

If there had not been in the Qur'aan and the Sunnah proof of the impermissibility of seeking nearness to Allaah through the prophets and the righteous except that of Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab when he requested his uncle, Al-'Abbaas, to supplicate for the Muslims and abandoned Tawassul through the Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)), it would be enough as a refutation against this group. How excellent is what Imaam Abu Haneefah said (rh): And I detest that Allaah should be asked (for something) except by Allaah (i.e. directly)ias occurs in Durr ul-Mukhtaar and other books of the Hanafees. If seeking nearness to Allaah by means of the bodies of those whom we have mention were permissible then we would have found supplications in the Qur'aan and the Hadeeth - and how great is their number - linked to making tawassul through them!

THE THIRD: Amongst the Muslims are those who understand intermediation between Allaah and His creation to be the Messengership, which consists of knowledge, education and training. They have comprehended its great importance and the extent of mankind's need for it. So they hurry towards the Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) taking him as the greatest intermediary and means of approach for obtaining the Sharee'ah and seeking light (i.e. guidance) with the light of revelation. They study, together, the Messenger' Seerah and his Sunnah just as they study the Qur'aan, their motto being the call of Allaah the Exalted:

There hath come to you from Allaah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book,- by which Allaah guides all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leadeth them out of darkness, by His will, unto the light,- guideth them to a path that is straight. [Maaidah 5:17-18]

This group is the saved one which has been mentioned in the previous hadeeth and which has been given the glad tidings of Paradise.

It is unfortunate that the way of this group is full of harm. This is because the correct form of Islaam has become strange and the majority of Muslims have become distant from it and have turned to innovations and opinions.

The Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) has informed us that the correct Deen is like a stranger to the people when he said: Indeed Islaam began as a stranger and shall return as a stranger just as it began, so Toobaa (a tree in Paradise) for the strangers. [Reported by Muslim from Abu Hurairah]. And in the narration of Imaam Ahmad and Ibn Maajah: It was then said: O Messenger of Allaah, who are the strangers? He replied: Those looked down upon in every tribe. And in the narration of Tirmidhee: So Toobaa for the strangers, those who rectify what the people have corrupted of my Sunnah. And also in the authentic narration of Imaam Ahmad the Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) after being questioned as to who the strangers were, said: Righteous people amidst a majority of evil people. Those who disobey them are greater than those who obey them.

This group strives for the ways of correction and reform and carries the torch of revival so that the Muslims awaken and return to the correct form of Islaam. Let us say to those who turn away, to their own ruin, what Allaah has said to their equals:

"No reason have we why we should not put our trust on Allaah. Indeed He Has guided us to the Ways we (follow). We shall certainly bear with patience all the hurt you may cause us. For those who put their trust should put their trust on Allaah" [Ibraaheem 14:12]


1. Ibn al-Qayyim said: He (Shaikhul Islam) said: And as for what many of the people of imaginations and foolishness say: Haddathanee qalbi an Rabbi (My heart informed me of my Lord) then it is correct that his heart informed him. However from whom? His Shaytaan or from His Lord? When he says: My heart informed me about my Lord he is ascribing this informing to someone about whom he does not know whether he actually informed him or not. And this is a lie. He said (Shaikhul- Islam): And the muhaddath of this Ummah (i.e. Umar ibn Al-Khattab) [referring to the hadeeth in Bukhaaree: Indeed in the nations before you there were muhaddathoon (people who were spoken to) and if there was one in this Ummah it would be Umar Ibn al-Khattab] never used to say this and this saying [my heart informed me of my Lord] was never uttered by him on a single day. Allaah protected him from saying that. In fact his scribe wrote one day: This is what Allaah showed to the Ameer ul-Mumineen, Umar ibn al-Khattab. So he (Umar said: No. Erase it and write: This is what Umar ibn al-Khattab saw. If it is correct it is from Allaah and if it is wrong then it is from Umar and Allaah and His Messenger are free from it. And he said: I speak about it with my opinion. If it is correct it is from Allaah and if it is wrong it is from me and Shaytaan. So this the saying of al-Muhaddath (i.e. Umar) who has the testification of the Messenger ((may Peace Be Upon Him)) and you will see the Ittihaadi (believing in the Divine Union) and the Hulooli (believing in the inclusion of Allaah in His creation or parts of His creation) and the licentious unrestrained strayer giving rise to forgery saying: My heart has informed me about My Lord.

So look at these two sayings (that of Umar and that of those claiming to receive knowledge of Allaah direct, from their hearts) and these two grades, those who say both these sayings (i.e. Umar and those making this claim) and these two states (that of Umar and of those besides him) and give every owner of a right his due right and do not make the counterfeit/imposter and the sincere the one and the same thing.

Madaarij us-Saalikeen (1/64)