Darul Uloom Abu Bakr

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Darul Uloom Abu Bakr is an Islamic institute of education established by Mufti Siraj Desai. The Darul Uloom serves as a base for coordinating various Islamic activities in Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Intercession through the Prophet PDF Print E-mail
Intercession through the Medium of the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa slallam
This topic is a cause of much confusion among people, for on the one side we have people condemning waseelah outrightly, while on the other there are those that take this act way beyond limits acceptable to Islam.
The hadith clearly states: “When you ask, then ask from Allah. When you seek help, seek it from Allah.” (Ahmed and Tirmizhi) Likewise, numerous verses of the Holy Quran make it clear that one is allowed to supplicate only to Almighty Allah, and not to his creation. We are commanded to ask from Him and Him alone. The verse in Surah Fatiha goes as follows: “You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help” In the light of these verses, it is haraam to make dua directly to the Messenger of Allah after his demise and to seek his assistance or ask him for favours. Such dua should be directed to Allah alone, for it is only He who can fulfil requests and accept duas. When standing in front of the Blessed Grave, we will only recite salaat and salaam, and will not ask from him anything.

However, it will be permissible to use the Messenger of Allah as a medium of intercession. This can be done in two ways. We can ask the Messenger of Allah to make dua for us, and we can ask our needs from Allah through his medium. This is called waseelah in Islamic terminology.

The reality of waseelah is to make dua to Allah through the medium of a good act, whether that good act belongs to a living person or to one who has expired. It is actually seeking the medium of Allah’s Mercy in making dua. One asks from Allah through the medium of another who has earned Allah’s Mercy.

In Surah Aala-Imraan it is mentioned that when Hazrat Zakariyya (RA) saw how miraculously Hazrat Maryam (alayhis-salaam) received out-of-season fruit and the amazing way in which Allah Ta’ala granted her sustenance, he was driven to instant dua, asking Allah for a baby during his old age. The Commentators say he made this dua using Hazrat Maryam as a waseelah or medium. (Quran: 3:38)

In Surah Baqarah it is mentioned how the Jews used Hazrat Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), who was not yet born, as a waseelah in dua when seeking Allah’s help against their enemies. (Quran: 2:89) They would place their hands on the name ‘Muhammad’ that appeared in the Taurat and made dua using the Prophet to come as a medium. (Tafseer Roohul-Ma’ani and Durre-e-Manthoor). Since this practice was not condemned anywhere in the Quran – in fact Allah Ta’ala cited it as a favour upon the Jews – it forms part of our Shariah and may be practiced upon.

The story of three people who were trapped in a cave is mentioned in Bukhari Shareef. Each one made dua through the medium of a good act that they had done in the past.

In a hadith narrated by Ibni Majah and declared saheeh of authentic by Abu Ishaaq and other Scholars, it is stated that a blind man was ordered by Allah’s Messenger to make dua asking Allah to restore his sight through the medium of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Tabarani narrates from Uthman bin Haneef (radhiyallahu anhu), who is the narrator of the above hadith, too, that he (Uthman) instructed a man to make dua through the medium of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and this was after the demise of Allah’s Messenger. (Tabarani in Kabeer)

During the time of Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) there was a drought, so a man came to the grave of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Make dua for rain for your ummat, for indeed they have almost perished.’ That same night the man saw a dream in which he was instructed to go to Hazrat Umar and inform him that relief from Allah was on its way.’ (Musannaf Ibni Abi Shaybah)  Note: Readers should not think that we are using a dream as a means of evidence; instead it is the act of asking Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam for intercession, that was allowed by Hazrat Umar and Sahaaba in his time.

A hadith of Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam states: “You do not receive help and sustenance except through the poor and weak among you.” (Nasaa’ee)

Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam used to seek victory against his enemies through the medium of senior Muhaajir sahaaba. (Mishkatul-Maseebih)

The Sahaaba used to make dua for rain through the medium of Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu), the uncle of Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.

At this point some might argue that the Sahaaba used the medium of Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) during his lifetime, so this proves that one cannot use the waseelah of the dead, only the living. The answer to this is that if one may use the waseelah of the living then to a greater extent will it be permissible to use the intercession of the dead, because the basis of waseelah is the blessing and proximity of the medium in relation to Allah. A living person is not always sure that he will maintain the same blessings and the same closeness to Allah, whereas the pious one how has passed on and gone to Allah is sure to maintain the same level of proximity to Allah and the same degree of blessing, if not more. No change is possible in a dead person, but change is possible in the living, hence it is more logical to trust the dead for realization of blessing than the living. Ibni Mas’ud used to say: “If you intend following someone, then follow one has passed on, because the living is not safe from corruption.” (Mishkatul-Masaabih) Note: This answer will apply to those who hold the view that The Messenger of Allah is dead in his Grave. For us who believe he is alive, this dilemma does not surface.

Furthermore, it was the demand of respect that in the presence of a family member of Allah’s Rasool, dua should be made through him, whilst at the same time the Sahaaba intended to get the dua of Hazrat Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) himself.

Ibni Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “My death is good for you (because) your deeds are presented to me. So when I see good deeds I praise Allah and if I see evil I ask Allah for forgiveness on your behalf. ” (Narrated by Imam Bazzar and declared saheeh by Hathami)

If The Holy Messenger of Allah makes dua for his ummat whilst in his grave, then this is a clear sign of his intercession for the ummat and that the ummat can actually ask him to make dua on their behalf.


The following incidents have been extracted from the book of Shaikh Hasan bin Ali Saqqaf (May Allah protect him) on Waseelah:
Imam Nawawi states that our (Shaafi’) Scholars narrate from Al-Utbi, who says that one day he was sitting at the Holy Grave of Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam when a Bedouin came in front of the grave and said: “Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah! I heard that Allah says in The Quran: “And if they, after having wronged their souls, came to you and sought Allah’s forgiveness and the Rasool (also) sought forgiveness on their behalf, then they would find Allah Most Forgiving, Most Merciful”; [Note: According to some commentators, this verse applies even after the demise of Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam] So I have come seeking forgiveness for my sins and seeking your intercession by Allah on the Day of Judgment.’ Al-Utbi says that the Bedouin then turn and walked away. A while later I fell asleep and saw the Messenger of Allah (alayhis-salaam) in a dream; he said to me: O Utbi! Go after that Bedouin and give him the good news that Allah has forgiven him. (Ibni Katheer RA says this is a well known incident).

Imam Shaafi’ (rahmatullahi alayhi) composed a poem in Arabic, the translation of which is: The Family of The Prophet is my medium (by Allah); and they are my means to reach The Prophet; I have hope that tomorrow, through them, I shall be given my Book of Deeds in my right hand. (Ibni Hajar Haitami in As-Sawaa’iq)

It is written in the books of the Hambali math-hab that Imam Ahmad (rahmatullahi alayhi), who is known as the Imam of the Ahlus-sunnah, said that it is meritorious to seek intercession through Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) at the time of a drought. (This statement can be found under the Chapter of Istisqaa in Hambali Fiqh)
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