It is the belief of the Ahl-as-Sunnah that it is permissible to supplicate to Allah with the Tawasul of good deeds. It is permitted to supplicate with the Tawasul of a living pious person and it is also permitted to supplicate with the Tawasul of the deceased pious person. It is this belief that we shall prove in this chapter. (Insha’allah)
The following is evidence that proves that it is permitted to seek the Waseela of the living and the deceased;
Proof from the Qur’an
Allah most High says in the Holy Qur'an:
O you who Believe! Do your duties to Allah and fear Him seek the means of approach unto him, and strive (with might and main) in His cause so that you may prosper. (Surah Mai’dah verse 35, Surah 5)
In this verse, Allah has informed us to seek ways of obtaining Waseela, a means to approach Him. Our Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), is our Waseela in this world and hereafter.
Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Qur'an:
Before that, they were asking for victory over the infidels by means of the same Prophet. Surah Baqarah verse 89
Imam Tabari, Hafidhh Ibn ul Qayyum al Jawzi, Hafidhh Ibn Kathir and Qadi Shawkani write that before the birth of the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), the Jews would make the Prophet, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, a Waseela in their supplications, when asking Allah to defeat their enemies in battle. (Tafsir Ibn Jareer, Tafsir Ibn Kathir & Tafsir Fath ul Qadeer Shawkaani. Ibn Qayyum. Under, verse Baqarah 89 and Hadaya-tul-Hayara page 95 by Hafidhh Ibn Qayyum al Jawzi.
Someone may object to this by saying that this was an act of the Jews, hence it cannot be used as evidence for Muslims. However, Allah has mentioned this event in the Qur'an and did not condemn this, therefore this demonstrates that if it were impermissable the Holy Qur'an would not have mentioned it, nor left it unremanded
Proof from Hadith
Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah writes: When Adam (Alay hissalaam) made a mistake, he made Du'a like this: ' O Allah forgive my mistake with the Waseela of Muhammad, (May Allah bless him and grant him peace).Allah asked the Prophet Adam peace be upon him, (rhetorically) how he knew about Muhammad, (May Allah bless him and grant him peace)
Adam, peace be upon him, answered “when you created me, I lifted my head and saw: (LA ILA HA ILLALLAHU MUHAMMDUR RASU LULLAH) written on the throne. Therefore I knew that this person must be of a very high status. Other wise you would not have written his name with yours. Allah Ta'ala then said I have forgiven you. He will be the last Messenger in your children and I have created you because of him. The second narration is when Allah Ta'ala created the Sky, and the Earth. He wrote our Prophet Muhammad's, (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) name on the pillars of the throne and on the doors of paradise, and on the leafs of the trees in Paradise. It was written that Muhammad (My Allah bless him and grant him peace) would be the last Prophet. In addition to both of these narrations, are counter proofs for one another. They have the status as authentic narrations.
["Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya vol. 2 page 150" also Tareekh Ibn Kathir in Story of Adam]
Apart from Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyya, other Scholars have also written these narrations. Like Hafidhh Suyuti, Bayhaqi and Tabrani.
Qadi Ayad writes; Imam Malik was present at the blessed grave of the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) where-upon the Caliph Haroon approached and asked him 'Which direction shall I face when I supplicate?' Imam Malik replied 'Why turn your face away from RasoolAllah [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] when the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]is a Waseela for you as he was for your Father Adam 'Alayhissalam. Turn your face towards the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]and make Istishfaa (request for Du'a).
[“Kitab As-Shifa, Chapter Ziyarat un-Nabi by Qadi Iyad” ]
Du'a was even made with the Waseela of our Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] when he was a child.
Ibn Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahab Najdi states, when our Prophet Muhammad, (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), was a child, rain had not fallen upon Makkah for a long period of time. His Uncle Abu Talib, prayed for rain through the Waseela of our Prophet (Sallallahu’alihi wa sallam.)
“Mukhtasar Seeratur Rasul, By Ibn Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab al Najdi”
Imam Bukhari writes that there was a famine during the Khilafah of Umar, (Allah be pleased with him), who supplicated to Allah by presenting the Waseela of the uncle of the Messenger of Allah, Abbas, May Allah be well pleased with him. He prayed to Allah by saying: 'O Allah, we used to supplicate to you with the Waseela of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) and you would bestow us with rain. Now we present You the Waseela of (Abbas Allah be well pleased with him), the uncle of the Prophet So please grant us rain.'
[“Bukhari in Baab-ul-Istisqaa”]
Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah and Imam Ibn Sa’ad have both written that during the Khilafah of Ameer Mu'awiya RadhiAllahu 'anhu there was a famine. The people came out of their houses and Ameer Mu'awiya asked them "Where is Yazeed bin Aswad Jurshi?," where upon Yazeed bin Aswad RadhiAllahu 'anhu came to Ameer Mu'awiya who then supplicated in this way ‘Ya Allah we supplicate to you with the Waseela of one of the best of the people from this age'. Then he asked Yazeed bin Aswad to supplicate to Allah, for rain, and when he supplicated, it began to rain.
[“Tabqa'at Ibn Sa'ad biography of Yazeed bin Aswad & Ibn Tayymiah Al-Tawasul” page 276]
Both the above narrations prove that to supplicate with the Waseela of a pious person is permitted and is from the Ijma of the Sahaba.
The Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]himself said that make Du’a through my Waseela.
Hafidhh Ibn Tayymiah writes that Uthman bin Haneef RadhiAllahu 'anhu narrates that a blind person came to RasoolAllah [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]and said: 'Pray to Allah that He bestows me with sight'. RasoolAllah [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] replied: 'Perform ablution, pray two rak'at Salaah and then supplicate to Allah in this way: 'Ya Allah, I ask You through the Waseela of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]; Allah Subhana wa ta'ala returned his sight.
[“Al-Tawasul by Hafidhh Ibn Tayymiah page 80 he obtained information from these books Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Haakim, Imam Bukhari in Tareekh, Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and Tibraani”]
This Hadith proves that RasoolAllah [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] gave the permission to supplicate to Allah by presenting the Waseela of his blessed self.
Imam Bukhari writes that Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]said, “Help the poor, because the help and food that Allah has given to you is with their waseela.”
[Bukhari chap on Jihad]
Ibn Hajar Asqalani writes that Allah helps the Ummah and provides them with food because of the sincere du’as of the poor people.
[Fathul Bari chap on Jihad]
Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim writes that the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said, “A time will come when the non-believers will fight the Muslims. It will be asked, Is there anyone in the army who has seen the Prophet?
They will reply yes and will win the war. Another time will come when there will be another war with the kafirs and the Muslims and a question will be asked, have you anyone in the army who has seen the companions of the Prophet? They will reply yes and will win the war. Another time will come and a question will be asked, Is there anyone in the army who has seen the person who has seen the companions’ companions? They will reply yes, and will win the war. [Bukhari chapter on Jihad and Muslim chapter on Fada’il Sahaba]
Ibn Hajar Asqalani writes that these three wars will be won by the Muslims with the waseela of the Sahabah, tabi’ee and taba tabi’ee. This hadith is also verified by another hadith, where Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said: “My time is the best, then the companions time is the best, then the people who have seen the companions’ companions time is the best.”
[Fathul Bari chap on Jihad]
Hafidhh Ibn Kathir writes, that the Prophet said that seven people will always remain in my Ummah, and with their waseela, Allah will provide rain, help, and food for the Ummah. Another hadith states that the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said that thirty abdaal (saints) will always stay in my Ummah, and with their waseela, Allah Almighty will provide rain, help and food. Qattadah says, Hasan al Basri was one of them.
(Tafsir ibn Kathir Surah Al-Baqarah under Verse 252).
Hafidhh Ibn Kathir and Qadi Shawkani write, Uthman bin Haneef reported that a blind person came to the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace]. The blind person said, do du’a for me so Allah Almighty restores my sight. Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said if you really want to, I can do du’a for you or I can leave it. (This means that if the blind man leaves his sight as it is, he will be rewarded more on the Day of Judgement). But the blind man said insisted that the Prophet should do Du’a for him. The Prophet asked him to perform ablution and pray two rakah nafl and make following supplication: “O Allah! I ask You with the waseela of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace]. Ya Muhammad! I am making du’a to Allah Almighty with your waseela, so that Allah Almighty may accept my du’a. O Allah! Make Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] as my interceder.”
This hadith is written by ibn Majah, Nasai, Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Haaqim, ibn Sunni, Tibrani and ibn Huzaima. Tibrani and ibn Huzaima said this hadith is authentic. This hadith proves that it is permissible to make supplication with the waseela of Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace].
(Tareekh ibn Kathir chapter on Mowjizaat and Tuhfah Al Dhakireen chapter Salaah ul Haajah).
Imam Bayhaqi has also wrote this narration but also included an additional element of the hadith that states Uthman bin Haneef reported that the blind man followed what the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said and when he returned, his sight was restored.
(chapter on Al-Mowjizaat).
It is proved from the above hadith that it is permissible to say “Ya Muhammad” and it is also permissible to make supplication to Allah with the waseela of the Prophet.
Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal writes that Sayyidna ‘Ali narrated that, the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said, “there will remain Forty Abdaal (Saints) in Syria. Through their Waseela, Allah will provide food, shelter, rain and victory over the Kaffirs. Whenever one dies, he is replaced by another.”
(Musnad Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, Musnad of Hadrat ‘Ali [Radi Allahu ‘anhu]
Hafidhh Ibn Kathir, Ibn abdul-Barr and Ibn Sa’aad, Ibn Athir writes: 'Whenever there was a famine in Rome, then the Romans would supplicate by presenting the Waseela of Abu Ayyub Ansari RadhiAllahu 'anhu'.
(Tareekh Ibn Kathir). Tabakat Ibn Sa’d, Usdool-Gabah, Isteyab by Ibn Sa’d, Ibn Atheer and Abdul-Barr)
Hafidhh Ibn Kathir made no critical comments with regards to this. When supplication was made through Abu Ayyub Ansaari Radi Allaho making him the waseela, it did rain.
Our Prophet is our Waseela even after his Death.
Hafidhh Ibn Taymyya writes: A person came to Uthman Ghani RadhiAllahu 'anhu with regards to seeking some assistance, but he was unable to attract the attention of the Khalifah on every attempt. The same person met Uthman bin Haneef, RadhiAllahu 'anhu, and told him his problem. Uthman bin Haneef gave him some advice which was: 'Perform Wudhu, pray two rak'at Nawaafil and then supplicate in this way: " Ya Allah, I ask You through the Waseela of Your Messenger Muhammad [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]The person again went to Uthman bin Affan RadhiAllahu 'anhu who helped him with his work and also said 'If you ever need my help in future, I will help you (with regards to work).
[Qay’da jaleelah Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyah page 96 Tabraani, Bayhaqi, Hakim]
Hafidhh Ibn Taymyya After writing this narration writes that, 'Maqdasi states that this narration is Sahih and Hakim declares that it fulfils the conditions of Bukhari, then Hafidhh Ibn Tayymiah goes on to say: 'The opinion of Uthman bin Haneef is that it is permitted to supplicate in this way even after our Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]passed away. But since this is not evident from any other companion it does not prove that it is Wajib.
[“Al-waseela Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyah page 98” ]
It is the belief of the Ahl-al-Sunnah that it is permitted, and has never been claimed that it is Wajib. Ibn Taymyyah further adds: 'It is evident from a group of the Salaf that they held the practice of supplicating with the Waseela of the Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa sallam)' He then includes the following report: 'According to Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal it is permitted to supplicate with the Waseela of the Prophet (Sallallahu’ alaihi wa sallam.’) After writing all this Hafidhh Ibn Tayymiah makes the statement: 'If a person makes the obedience of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] the Waseela, then this is fine. But if he makes the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] himself the Waseela then this is something with which we do not agree with'.
[“Al-waseela Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyah page 100”]
Even in Hafidhh Ibn Taimiyyah's books, there are dozens of narrations, which show that the Salaf would present the Waseela of RasoolAllah [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] when supplicating to Allah. So it is a very strange phenomenon to deny the Waseela of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] after having full knowledge of these narrations, and the practice of the Salaf.
Muhammad bin Abdul Wahaab Al Najdi writes that scholars have different opinion about making supplication du’a with the Waseela of the pious people. Some permit it, while the others, do not. So it is not right to say some one is Kafir who goes to the grave of a pious person and make Waseela.
(Majmooah ul Mu’allifat Al Qism ul Salith pg 68 by Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahaab ul Najdi)
Qadi Shawkani writes that to supplicate with the waseela of the Prophet is permissible and evidence for that hadith is narrated by Uthman bin Hanif that states that the Prophet asked a blind man to pray with his Waseela. Tirmizi, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzamah and Hakim narrate this hadith. To pray with a pious person’s Waseela is also permitted and Imam Bukhari gives evidence of that hadith as he writes that companions of the Prophet made du’a with the Waseela of Abbas during the time of famine in Madina.
(Tuhfa ul Dakireen chapter Adab ul Du’a by Qadi Shawkani)
These are all the proofs, that demonstrate that it is permitted to supplicate to Allah by presenting the Waseela of the pious, whether they are alive or have passed away. And success is from Allah.