Question: Assalam Alaikum Mufti Sahab, I need your help again.
I want to ask can we directly ask help from awliyah..?? ( as i think we Should not )
I told my friend that we cannot ask anyone except Allah as stated in quraan, then he said when we can ask a doctor to give shifa, to a teacher to give Ilm, to an interviewer to give rozgaar, can ask our mothers for rizq (khana).. then why cant we ask these great friends of Allah…!! And even most of the time these people who we beg, ask or request to provide us these things like Ilm, shifa or Rozgaar.. are not even muslims.. so if we can ask these Non-Muslims low graded people then why not auliyah Allah..??
Reply soon Mufti Sahab
Answer: Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
We cannot ask for help from the Awliya. It is haram to do so. This brings about shirk since it is seeking help from other than Allah believing that help comes from that person. The Quran has clearly stated that help comes only from Allah, and it be sought only from Allah. In this regard, verse 126 of Surah Ale Imran states: “And there is no help except from Allah, the All Mighty, the All Wise.”
The Quran also speaks about Allah as being the only being who can remove harm from a person. About this, verse 17 of surah Al An’am says: “And if Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if he touches you with good, then he is able to do all things.”
Allah Has also ordered the believers to call only on Him, for He Alone can answer their calls and fulfill their needs. In this regard, the Quran says: “And your lord said, call on me, I will respond to your (invocation) call.” (Sura Ghafir verse 60). In another verse, it states, “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” (Surah Al Baqarah verse 186).
Allah has also warned about calling and seeking help from beings other than Him. In fact, Allah Has condemned the followers of other Prophets for calling (and seeking help) from Uzair (A.S) and Isa (A.S), and clearly stated that those whom they call on, from among the Prophets cannot help them in anything, nor can they remove their difficulties. About this, the Quran says: “Say, “Invoke those you have claimed besides Him, for they do not possess the [ability for] removal of adversity from you or [for its] transfer [to someone else].” (Surah Al Isra verse 56). While commenting on this verse, the great companion, Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) said that these people used to call on the angels, Isa (A.S) and Uzair (A.S), and even they were great servants of Allah, the people were condemned for doing this, and were clearly informed by Allah that the beings they call on, could not remove the adversity from people nor could they shift it to others. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer Vol. 3 Pg. 46 Amjad Academy Lahore Pakistan 1982).
The above verse shows that those who were called upon for help, were not idols/stones/images, instead, they were great servants of Allah like Prophet Isa (A.S), Prophet Uzair (A.S) and the angels. Yet, notwithstanding the great status and closeness these servants had in the sight of Allah, the people were condemned for seeking help from them and for calling on them to remove their difficulties. When this is the case with calling on Prophets, how much more severe it will be, when those far lower than the Prophets and angels are called upon.
The other verse of Sura Al Isra (i.e. verse 57) sheds more light upon the fact that those who were called upon were indeed Prophets and pious servants of Allah, and not idols/images. The verse states: “Those whom they invoke seek means of access to their Lord, [striving as to] which of them would be nearest, and they hope for His mercy and fear His punishment. Indeed, the punishment of your Lord is ever feared.” The verse explains that those who were being called upon were righteous people. Ibn Abbas says: ‘They were Isa (A.S), his mother Maryam (A.S) and Uzair (A.S). The verse explains that those who were being called upon were themselves between fear and hope. They feared the punishment of Allah and they hoped for His mercy. This goes to show that the beings who were called upon were worried about their own selves. They were afraid of the punishment of Allah and they hoped that Allah will show mercy to them. The verse therefore, condemned the act of seeking help and calling upon others besides Allah, even if they were Prophets.
So it is totally Haram to ask help from the Awliya.
With respect to what your friend said, then he is totally wrong in these statements. Shifa (cure) comes from Allah Alone, and this is the Iman of every Muslim. It is for this reason, whenever the prophet (s.a.w) visited a sick person, he would say, ‘O Lord of men! Remove the pain and grant shifa (cure) to this person. O the Healer! There is no Shifa (cure) except your Shifa (cure) – a cure which will root out any disease.’ (Bukhari, Muslim).
From this dua, the Prophet (s.a.w) explained clearly that there is no curer except Allah (s.w.t), and there is no cure except from Allah. The Holy Quran has also explained this part of the belief of a Muslim by narrating the statements of Prophet Ibraheem (A.S) which he said to his people. In that address he said, “Indeed, they are enemies to me, except the Lord of the worlds, Who created me, and He [it is who] guides me. And it is He who feeds me and gives me drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me.” (Sura Ash Shu’ara verse 77-80). From this, a Muslim learns that when he becomes sick, it is Allah alone who cures him.
As for a doctor, he is the physical means through which the Shifa (cure) of Allah may come. So, a Muslim does not believe that cure comes from a doctor. A doctor would do what he is trained to do, and the cure will come from Allah.
With respect to going to a teacher for Ilm (knowledge), then he cannot give knowledge. He can only transmit it. Knowledge comes from Allah alone and He gives it to whomsoever He wishes. It is for this reason, the Prophet (s.a.w) said, ‘Certainly, I am only a distributor and disseminator of knowledge, Allah is the giver,’ (Bukhari – Chapter on Knowledge). Going to a teacher, is the physical means which Allah uses to bestow knowledge to a person. He alone gives it. A teacher is only a disseminator.
In a similar manner, Allah Alone is the sustainer and giver of Rizq (sustenance). Our mothers cannot give rizq. The cooking and preparation of the food by mothers is only a physical means through which the rizq (sustenance) of Allah reaches a person. No one besides Allah provides this sustenance. While speaking about this, the Holy Quran says, “Do they not know that it is Allah who provides for whomsoever he wishes”. (Surah Az Zumar verse 52). In another verse, it states, “And how many a creature carries not its [own] provision. Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing.” (Surah al A’nkabut Verse 60). The verses explain clearly that it is Allah Alone who provides rizq (sustenance) for all His creatures. It is to acknowledge this fact, we find that the Prophet (s.a.w) recited the dua after meals, showing that it is Allah Alone who is the provider of rizq (sustenance). About this, it is narrated that after having meals, he would recite, ‘Praise and gratitude to Allah who gave us to eat and drink and who made us Muslims.’
The above mentioned dua of the prophet (s.a.w) showed that regardless of who prepared the food, the Prophet (s.a.w) fully acknowledged that it was Allah who fed him and gave him to drink. It is therefore, a grave misunderstanding for a person to believe that one goes to a doctor for Shifa, that a teacher gives Ilm or a mother gives rizq.
The prevalent customary practice among some ignorant people to go to the graves of the righteous slaves of Allah (Awliya Allah) and seek help from them, and ask them to fulfill their request is totally haram and brings about shirk.
Regarding the heinous nature of this act, the great scholar Shah Waliyullah (A.R) writes, ‘These people who go to Ajmeer Shareef and the Mazar of other great servants for the fulfilment of their needs and seeking assistance from them, are commiting a very great crime. Such a crime which is worst than murder and Zina (fornication). The only example to give of these people is that of a Mushrik (polytheist) who worships his idols, and who calls on Laat and Uzza to fulfill his needs. (Tafheemaat Al Ilahiya Vol. 2 pg. 45 – Fatawa Raheemiya Vl. 3 Pg. 3 Maktaba Raheemiya Surat Gujerat India).
In Majalisul Abrar, it is written, ‘To call on the people of the grave, to seek help from them, to ask for sustenance and the removal of difficulties, and to ask them to fulfill ones’ needs as the idolaters call on their idols, are all impermissible and not accepted.’ (Majalisul Abrar, Majlis # 17 Pg. 119 – Fatawa Raheemiya vol. 3 Pg. 4 Maktaba Raheemiya Gujurat India).
Similarly, the great Muhaddith Allama Muhammad Tahir (A.R) writes, ‘some People visit the graves and Mazar and then perform Salat there and seek the fulfillment of their needs from those in the grave. There is absolutely no one from among the scholars of Islam who consider this as being permissible. Worship, and seeking the fulfillments of ones’ needs, are all acts of worship and this is sought from Allah Alone. (Fatawa Raheemiya vol. 3 pg. 4 Maktaba Raheemiya Gujurat India.)
The Prophet (s.a.w) also explained to the believers and said, ‘And when you ask, ask only from Allah. And when you seek help, seek help only from Allah.’ (Mishkaat).
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Waseem Khan.
In conjunction to this is the continuation below
When one is alive, then it is permissible to seek help from that person in what he can help. For example, one seeks help from others in daily works, asking for help to fulfil financial needs, seeking medication from the doctor etc. Even in the construction of a Masjid, Muslims are requested to help by donations etc. All these are permissible, and they are part of one’s daily life. Even in the case of the prophets of Allah and the awliya Allah all the above are allowed as long as they are alive. People can also go to them to ask them to supplicate to Allah for them, beg Allah to forgive them, give help and support to their works and benefit from their teachings and advice.
However, it is not permissible for anyone to believe that harms, benefits, rizq (sustenance), shifa (cure), removal of hardships/difficulties come from the prophets and Awliya. These come only from Allah and He Alone shall be called upon for these matters. This was the case even when the prophets and Awliya were alive. There is absolutely no statement of a single Prophet or a wali of Allah who told the people to supplicate to them, make dua to them, call upon them for assistance or pray to them for the removal of difficulties. In a similar manner, after Prophets and Awliya have passed away, it is not permissible to do any of the above. Hence, to call on the Awliya believing that they will answer one’s supplication and remove difficulties from a person, is not permissible in Islam. This is the well-established creed of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah (Sunni Muslims). The only Muslims who have gone against this creed are the innovators and deviants, who in order to deceive the common Muslim, falsely claim that they are from the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.
With respect to what your friend has said that when one goes to a doctor, he says, ‘Treat it doctor quickly or I will die’, then this is the statement of a non-Muslim or a weak Muslim. A Muslim who has firm belief in Allah, does not utter such statements, since he knows that a doctor cannot save his life. Life and death are in the hands of Allah Alone. One goes to the doctor to seek medication in getting relief, and he goes to him because he (the doctor) is alive. If the same doctor is dead, no one will go to his grave or call on him to give him cure.
If the Aqeeda is in the heart that Allah Alone is the giver and Mabood (the one to be worshipped) then our tongues must express this true belief and our limbs must display the same. Hence, if a person truly believes that Allah Alone is the giver, then he will call on Allah Alone. He will supplicate to Allah Alone, and seek assistance from Allah Alone and not from the Awliya whom have passed away. The Quran tells us that the idolaters believed that the creator was Allah Alone. They knew that it was Him who placed the sun and the moon in the sky. They also believed that it was Allah who sent down water from the sky and gave life to that which is on the earth. However, with such beliefs, they were still considered to be Mushrikeen (polytheist). In this regard, the Quran says, “If you asked them, “Who created the heavens and earth and subjected the sun and the moon?” they would surely say, “Allah.” Then how are they deluded?” “And if you asked them, “Who sends down rain from the sky and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness?” they would surely say “Allah.” Say, “Praise to Allah “; but most of them do not reason.” (Surah Al Ankabut verses 61 and 63).
As to what caused them to be called ‘people of shirk’ (Mushrikeen/polytheist), it was because of the fact that they called on others and worshipped others besides Allah. They believed that while Allah was the creator, yet, they still needed to call on others who were intermediaries between them (the idolaters) and Allah. It was on account of this, Allah condemned them as Mushrikeen. About this act of theirs, Allah says, “Unquestionably, for Allah is the pure religion. And those who take protectors besides Him [say], “We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah in position.” Indeed, Allah will judge between them concerning that over which they differ. Indeed, Allah does not guide he who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever.” (Surah Az Zumar Verse 3).
These verses show that although these people knew in their hearts that Allah was the creator, sender of rain, giver of life etc. yet, they were condemned as Mushrikeen (polytheist) because of their actions. Therefore, when one has the aqeedah in his heart that the ‘giver and Mabood ‘ is Allah, then he must show this with his external actions, and must not do or say anything that contradicts/opposes this belief.
If your friend believes firmly that cure, help, rizq comes from Allah Alone, then why doesn’t he seek these from Allah Alone? What need is there for him to call on the Awliya of Allah?
Your friend must know very well that no companion, Tabi’ee or tab’ut Tabi’ee ever called on the Prophet (s.a.w) for help, rizq or the removal of difficulties. He (the Rassol (s.a.w)) was the greatest Prophet and the most beloved to Allah. He has the highest rank in the sight of Allah. All the great Awliya put together cannot reach anywhere close to the status of the Prophet (s.a.w). Notwithstanding this great and elevated rank of the Rasool (s.a.w), no one ever called upon him after his death, from among his closest companions who sacrificed their lives for his cause. Instead, they called directly on Allah, since this was what the Prophet (s.a.w) taught them. It was to implant this belief in the hearts of the believers that the Prophet (s.a.w) said, ‘When you ask, then ask Allah, and when you seek help then seek help from Allah’ (Tirmidhi).
The Prophet (s.a.w) established this teaching in the hearts of the Sahabah that they must turn to Allah and call upon Him Alone for the fulfillment of their needs. It is for this reason; we see that none of the companions (Sahabah) and the other pious early generations of the Muslims ever called upon the Prophet (s.a.w) for the fulfillment of their needs. Instead, they asked only from Allah. If the act of calling on the awliya for assistance was allowed, then the most deserving of all persons to call upon besides Allah, is the Prophet (s.a.w), but this was never the teaching of the Quran or the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w), and so, we see that it is not permissible to do something like this.
With respect to the Awliya Allah, they are indeed great servants of Allah who occupy a great status in the sight of Allah. They were honored by Allah and many miracles occurred from their hands. As Muslims, we love all of them, and we believe that they were true friends of Allah. However, we also believe that they never taught people to call upon them after their death to seek assistance from them. In fact, they had so much fear for Allah that they never went against the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. They called upon Allah for the fulfillment of their needs and instructed others to do the same.
In this regard the great saint, who has been recognized by all as a great Wali of Allah and a man of miracles, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (A.R) writes in his Fath Ar Rabbanee, ‘Ask Allah and do not ask other than Him, seek help from Allah, and do not seek help from other than Him. Woe to you, with which face will you meet Him tomorrow? You contend with Him in the world, turning away from Him and approaching His creation thus associating partners with Him. You submit your needs to them and you rely upon them in your important matters. Increase the ways and means between yourself and Allah, for verily if you stop that, then it is foolishness. There is no king or authority, no self-sufficiency and no might except with Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic. Turn towards Allah, without the creation’. (Fath Ar Rabbanee – by Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani)
In these words, the great Shaikh emphasized upon the Muslims to seek help and ask only from Allah. He criticized those who sought help from other than Allah. In another place, the great Shaikh and founder of the Qadariya Sufi order, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (A.R) writes, ‘Keep your eyes fixed on Allah who is looking at you; keep yourself before One who keeps Himself before you; love Him who loves you; listen to Him who calls you; seek help from Him who can save you, take you out of the darkness of ignorance, cleanse you of the impurity of your soul and redeem you from the baser-self and misleading temptations, despair and timidity’. (Futuh Al Ghaib (lecture No.17) pg. 49 – Saviours of Islamic spirit vol.1 pg. 188, Darul Ishaat Karachi Pakistan)
The Shaikh further states, ‘The entire creation is helpless. Nothing can do good or harm to you’. He also criticized others for putting their trust on other beings besides Allah. In this regard, he said, ‘You put your trust in yourself, in others, in your wealth, in your rites and customs, in your trade and business, or in your rulers; but, in whatever object you place your reliance, it becomes, to say the truth, your object of worship. If you fear someone, or expect harm or favour from him or else deem him as an intercessor with Allah, then he is the object of worship for you’. (Futuh Al Ghaib (lecture No.13) pg. 89 – Saviours of Islamic spirit pg. 189, Darul Ishaat Karachi Pakistan)
These are from among the statements of one who is recognized as a great Wali, and one whom many Muslims hold as their spiritual leader, and one upon whom ignorant and misguided Muslims call for help and assistance. Even in his last moments before death, the great Shaikh gave guidelines to hold strictly to the path of Tawheed. While giving an account of the last moments of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (A.R), his son Sharaf ud-din Isa, writes, ‘During his last illness, Abdul Wahab (brother of Sharaf ud-din) requested Shaikh Abdul Qadir to give him some advice which he could follow after his death. The Shaikh replied, ‘Inculcate a deep consciousness of the sublimity and grandeur of Allah. Fear not anyone nor cherish a desire for benefit from anybody except Allah. Entrust all of your needs to Him, and then have confidence in Him. Whatever you need, place it before Allah with a conviction in the prospect of its fulfilment. Keep yourself constantly occupied with Tawheed, the Oneness of Allah, on which there is consensus, for, when the heart is filled with awe, love and respect for Him, nothing can escape it or get out of it’. (Futuh Al Ghaib pg. 189-192 – Saviours of Islamic spirit pg. 200, Darul Ishaat Karachi Pakistan)
These are the words of a great saint who is unanimously agreed upon by all Muslims to be from the Awliya Allah, and here, he instructs his family members and all Muslims to entrust all their needs to Allah alone, and have firm confidence that Allah alone will fulfil it. He made it clear and said, ‘Whatever you need, place it before Allah’. It is extremely sad and disappointing to know that after such advice, which is based on the teachings of Islam, some of the followers of this Shaikh call upon him for assistance, instead of calling upon Allah Alone.
With respect to what your friend thinks, he must know that statements and practices in Islam must be supported by evidences that are well established in the Shariah. These must be based on the teachings of the Holy Quran and that of the Prophet (S.A). One cannot use his thoughts, opinions and analogous deductions to say what is permissible and what is not. Hence, if he still holds on to what he says, it is upon him to provide sound evidences given in the Shariah, and not his own logics, thoughts and personal understanding on this matter. As for what we have given, these are based on concrete evidences from the Holy Quran and the Ahadith of the Prophet (S.A), and are the well-established creed of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah. Anything besides this is deviation and error.
As a reminder, I will give the full text of the beautiful tradition of the Prophet (S.A) from which I have quoted before.
Regarding this, the great companion, Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) has narrated, ‘One day I was behind the Prophet (s.a.w) (i.e. riding behind him on the same mount) and he said to me, ‘Young man, I shall teach you some words (of advice); Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek help of Allah. Know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.’ (Recorded by Tirmidhi who said it is good and sound).
Another beautiful Hadith Qudsi which sheds light on this topic is that which has been narrated by Abu Dhar (R.A). He says that the Prophet (S.A), while relating from his Lord, says that Allah said, ‘O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you. O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you. O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and you will not attain benefitting Me so as to benefit Me. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My Kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease my kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more than a needle decreases the sea if put into it. (This refers to the minute amount of water adhering to a needle if dipped into the sea and withdrawn). O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him who finds good (i.e. in the Hereafter) praise Allah and let him who finds other than that blame no one but himself. (Recorded by Muslim).
Both these narrations give a great amount of teachings regarding the fact that a man is totally dependent upon Allah, and must seek the fulfilment of his needs only from Him. We are told that:
Allah Alone is the guide; hence, we must seek guidance only from Him.
He Alone gives us food/sustenance; hence, we must seek sustenance (Rizq) only from Him.
He Alone gives us clothing; hence, we must seek clothing only from Him.
The traditions tell us that:
We must seek protection only from Him and we must seek help only from Him. Other beautiful teachings have also been given in these traditions.
And Allah Knows Best
Mufti Waseem Khan.