Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hadith 2: More Replies to al-Albani's Objections

The following is a concise refutation of a recent dissertation by the "Salafi" shaykh Albani entitled "Tawassul: Its Types and Its Rulings" currently distributed in translation among English-speaking Muslims by his supporters in order to replace with "Salafi" ideology the understanding of Ahl al-Sunna regarding tawassul.[64] It will be seen with Allah's permission that the commentary of Albani is a proof against "Salafis" and all those who follow new teachings instead of clinging to the sawad al-a`zam or massive majority of scholars. Their pretext that "there is disagreement about tawassul" and that "we follow proof not scholars" is a sham. There is no disagreement about tawassul among Ahl al-Sunna except the dissent of some lone voices in the matter, such as Ibn Taymiyya who declared travel undertaken to visit the Prophet an act of disobedience: this is not disagreement but shudhudh or dissent, as classified by Imam Ahmad in speaking of the disagreement of the lone scholar with the consensus. There seems to be little doubt that Albani has achieved the same dubious distinction of dissenting with one and all, as he proudly admits in the following lines of his book, especially the second sentence which we have emphasized:

"Imaam Ahmad allowed tawassul by means of the Messenger alone, and others such as Imaam ash-Shawkaanee allowed tawassul by means of him and other Prophets and the Pious. [Note that he omits to mention Imam Malik and Imam Shafi`i as permitting tawassul also.] However we [i.e. Albani and his party], as is the case in all matters where there is disagreement, follow whatever is supported by the proof whatever that is, without blindly sticking to the opinions of men."

[al-Albani, At-Tawassul p. 38]

The proofs that Albani alone purports to see -- against what the majority understand -- are characteristic of the "Salafi" method. As the scholars who debate them well know, the "Salafi" method consists in a lack of method in and a non-recognition of any of the established principles of the derivation of rulings from the primary sources other than what fits the purpose of their position at the time. Scholars of Ahl al-Sunna may traditionally familiarize themselves with the fiqh and the usul of other than their own school, but this is impossible to do with the "Salafis," because they completely lack any type of method and shift constantly from one position to another depending on the purpose at hand. Albani has achieved particular notoriety for his contamination of the field of hadith scholarship with this systematic unaccountability and free-lance style.

As we will see in the section on salat in the present work, Albani had previously suggested altering the prayer by changing the words as-salamu `alayka ayyuha al-nabi to as-salamu `ala al-nabi in the tashahhud whereas the Prophet explicitly said, as related in Bukhari and Muslim: "Pray as you see me pray," and: "Who innovates something in this matter of ours (meaning religion), it is radd (rejected)." And here is Albani now trying to alter the tawassul through the Prophet which is valid for all and for all times, and reduce it to a one-time du`a of the Prophet valid only for a single man in the Prophet's time. But, as the Prophet said: "There is no preventing what Allah has given, and there is no avoidance of what He has decreed."[66]


It is reported by Ahmad and others with an authentic chain of narration from Uthmaan bin Haneef [sic] "that a blind man came to the Prophet (SAW) and said, 'supplicate to Allaah that He should cure me.' So he (SAW) said, 'if you wish I will supplicate for you and if you wish I will delay that for that is better (and in a narration: and if you wish have patience and that is better for you).' So he said, 'supplicate to Him.' So he (SAW) ordered him to make wudoo, and to make wudoo well, and to pray two rak'ahs and to supplicate with this du'aa, 'O Allaah I ask you and turn to you by means of your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy, O Muhammad I have turned by means of you (i.e. your du`aa) [sic] to my Lord in this need of mine, so that it may be fulfilled for me, O Allaah accept him as supplicant on my behalf, and accept my supplication for him (to be accepted for me) [sic].' He said, 'So the man did it and he was cured.'"

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 68]

1. Albani or his translator err on the narrator's name. This is the Companion `Uthman ibn Hunayf, not Haneef, and his full name is Abu `Amr `Uthman ibn Hunayf ibn Wahb of Aws, may Allah be well pleased with him.[67]

2. The wording of the hadith is: "O Muhammad I have turned with you (bika) to my Lord." It is not "O Muhammad I have turned by means of your du`a (bi du`a'ika) to my Lord." We shall see that this blatant interpolation of another term in lieu of the explicit wording of the hadith is central to Albani's attempt to reword this hadith of the Prophet (we have already transcribed the complete and correct translation of this hadith above, in the section entitled SEEKING MEANS THROUGH THE PROPHET).

3. The blind man's final words are not "and accept my supplication for him" nor could they be, since he is not praying for the Prophet but for himself. He is imploring Allah to help him by means of the Prophet's intercession, not by means of his own, and he is practicing Islam, not egalitarianism!

The original Arabic is (in one of two versions in Ahmad): wa tashaffa`ni fihi which must be translated: "and join me to him in supplicating You (i.e. join my supplication to his)," as he is well aware that the likelihood of his being heard increases exponentially if it is linked to the Prophet's audience.

One may excuse the false suggestion that the man not only prays for the Prophet's intercession for him but also for his own interceding for the Prophet as stemming from a bad translation. However, the poor translation is just as deliberate as the misrendering of "O Muhammad I have turned by means of your du`a to my Lord," since Albani, as we shall see, tries to adduce the supposed du`a of the blind man on behalf of the Prophet as additional evidence to support his idea that the tawassul in the hadith is by means of du`a and not by means of the person of the Prophet.

Furthermore the words of the blind man's final request "and join me to him in supplicating You" are not in all versions. They are not found in Ahmad's first version out of two, nor in Tirmidhi's version, nor in Ibn Majah's version, nor in Nasa'i's version, nor in the version retained by Imam Nawawi in his Adhkar![68] Why then does Albani cite it as the primary text instead of assigning it parenthetical mention, as he does with the phrase: "(and in a narration: and if you wish have patience and that is better for you)"? Because, as we have said, he wants to make the entire hadith revolve around tawassul through the du`a of the Prophet as opposed to his person, and he wants to adduce the blind man's own supposed tawassul through his own du`a as additional evidence of his claim, as we see below.


The opponents hold that this hadeeth shows that it is permissible to make tawassul in du'aa by the status of the Prophet (SAW) or other pious people, since the Prophet (SAW) taught the blind man to use him as a means of nearness in his du'aa, and the blind man did that and his sight was restored.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 69 ]

Observe how he says "the opponents," although it is he who has brought opposition to something established in Islam, and he invented that it is not through the Prophet's sacred status (hurmat) or person (dhaat) but through his du`a that tawassul is permissible, in open contradiction to the understanding of the Salaf such as Mujahid, Imam Malik,[69] Imam al-Shafi`i,[70] Imam Ahmad,[71] Ibrahim al-Harbi, and al-Shawkani as we have already seen, and that of Ibn al-Jawzi, Nawawi, Ibn al-Humam, and Ibn al-Qayyim as we see below.

As for us, than [sic] we hold that the hadeeth has no proof for them concerning this form of tawassul about which there is disagreement, which is seeking nearness by means of his person. Rather it is a further proof for the third type of lawful and prescribed tawassul which we have spoken of previously [i.e. through the du'aa of another person], since the tawassul of the blind man was through means of his (SAW) du'aa, and the proofs for what we say are many being contained in the hadeeth itself, most importantly:

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 69]

Rather, Muslims believe as Ibn al-Jawzi said that it is through the Prophet's person and status and not only through his du`a that one makes tawassul, as is clear from this excerpt from his chapter concerning the Prophet's superiority over the other Prophets in his book al-Wafa:

Part of the exposition of his superiority to other Prophets

is the fact that Adam asked his Lord through the sacred status

(hurma) of Muhammad that He relent towards him,

as we havealready mentioned.[72]

The importance of this remark does not lie in the veracity of the hadith, which is a separate discussion -- and Ibn al-Jawzi clearly considers it authentic -- but in the wording of Ibn al-Jawzi whereby tawassul is correct as made through the status of the Prophet. This is enough of an indication that Ibn al-Jawzi's `aqida or doctrine concerning tawassul fully contradicts that of Albani and his followers. It comes down to deciding who is closer to following the Sunna: the Imams, huffaz and historians on the one hand -- or the polemicist and scholar of books? al-hamdu lillah, this is no dilemma at all.

Indeed the position of Albani is not founded upon the explicit words of the hadith, but upon their figurative interpretation. The hadith clearly says: bi nabiyyika i.e. with/by means of/through Your Prophet. Even a child of seven years old can see that this does not mean "through the du`a of your Prophet." Nor does he provide any justification for his recourse to figurative interpretation in a matter where the literal meaning is clear and true.

1) The reason the blind man came to the Prophet (SAW) was for him to make supplication (du'aa) for him, as he said, 'Supplicate Allaah that He should cure me.' So he sought to use his (SAW) du'aa as a means of nearness to Allaah, the Most High, since he knew that his (SAW) supplication was more likely to be accepted by Allaah than the du'aa of others, and if the intention of the blind man was to seek nearness to Allaah by means of the Prophet's (SAW) person or status or his right, then he would have had no need to go to the Prophet (SAW), or to ask him to make du'aa for him, rather he would have sat in his house, and supplicated to his Lord saying, for example, 'O Allaah I ask You by the status of your Prophet and his station with You, that You cure me and enable me to see.'But that is not what he did. Why? because he was an Arab and knew very well the meaning of 'tawassul' in the Arabic Language, and knew that it was not a word said by a person with a need, mentioning the name of a person as an intermediary, rather it had to include coming to one whom he believed to be pious and have knowledge of the Book and the Sunnah and ask him to make du'aa for him.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 69]

This argument is entirely speculative and the Shari`a is not derived from speculation. The facts are clear. The ruling is not derived only from the fact that the blind man came to the Prophet but from the entirety of the hadith. The blind man came asking for the Prophet's du`a, and the Prophet subsequently taught him a form of du`a that he should make after performing wudu' and praying two rak`at. In the latter du`a the Prophet further taught him to make tawassul with certain clear and explicit words. These same words were used by the man in need in the time of sayyidina `Uthman ibn `Affan, after the time of the Prophet. Was the man in need not also an Arab who knew very well the meaning of 'tawassul' in the Arabic Language?

About the hadith of the man in need which we have already cited in full earlier, Shaykh Yusuf al-Rifa`i wrote in his rebuttal to a "Salafi" critic entitled "The Evidence of the Sunni Community" (Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a): "This is an explicit, unequivocal text from a prophetic Companion proving the validity of tawassul through the dead"; and Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid (1910-1969) has written in his "Rebuttals of Falsehoods" (Rudud `ala abatil): "As for calling upon the righteous (when they are physically absent, as in the words Ya Muhammad in the hadiths of `Uthman Ibn Hunayf), tawassul to Allah Most High through them is permissible, the supplication (du`a) being to Allah Most Glorious, and there is much evidence for its permissibility. Those who call on them intending tawassul cannot be blamed."[73] Are Shaykh al-Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i, Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid, and Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Ghumari not also Arabs who know very well the meaning of 'tawassul' in the Arabic Language?

Were Imam Ahmad, Shawkani, and Ibn al-Jawzi not also Arabs who knew very well the meaning of 'tawassul' in the Arabic Language? What about Imam Nawawi and Ibn al-Humam, who are cited below as instructing every visitor to the Prophet in Madina to seek him as a means in tawassul -- are they not Arabs who knew very well the meaning of 'tawassul' in the Arabic Language? All these major scholars did not seem to experience the same problem as Albani with the language of tawassul, nor with the fact that tawassul is said by a person in need mentioning the name of another person as intermediary!

2) The Prophet (SAW) promised that he would make du'aa for him, after advising him of what would be better for him, and this was his (SAW) saying, 'If you wish I will supplicate for you, and if you have patience that is better for you.' And this second matter is what he (SAW) indicated in the hadeeth which he narrated from His Lord, the blessed and Most High, that He said, 'when I afflict My servant in his two beloved ones, that is his eyes, and he has patience, then I give him Paradise in place of them.' [Reported by al-Bukhaaree (transl. 7/377/no.557) from Anas, quoted in as-Saheehah (2010)]3) The blind man's insistence that he (SAW) should supplicate for him, as he said, 'Supplicate to Him.' Which means that the Messenger (SAW) definitely did make du'aa for him, since he (SAW) was the best at fulfilling a promise and he had already promised to make du'aa for him if he wished as has preceded, and he wanted du'aa from him, and so the point is established. Also the Prophet (SAW), out of his mercy and desire that Allaah, the Most High, should answer his du'aa for him, guided the blind man to using the second type of lawful and prescribed tawassul, which is tawassul by means of righteous actions, in order to combine the different types of good.So he ordered him to make wudoo, and to pray two rak'ahs, and then to make du'aa for himself...

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 70]

... in the words taught to him by the Prophet, which consist verbatim in asking Allah through the Prophet himself and his status. That is the essence of the du`a taught by the Prophet, and of the entire hadith.

... and these are acts of obedience to Allaah, the One free of all blemish or defect, and the Most High, which he offered along with the du'aa of the Prophet (SAW) on his behalf, and this falls under Allaah, the Most High's Saying: 'Seek means of approach (waseelah) to Him' (5:35) as has preceded.The Messenger (SAW) did not suffice with making du'aa for the blind man, as he had promised, he also gave him an action to perform which involved obedience to Allaah, the One free of all blemish and defect, the Most High, and drawing near to Him, so that the affair would be complete from all angles, and nearer to acceptance and being pleasing to Allaah, the One free of all blemish and imperfections, and the Most High, therefore the whole event revolved around du'aa, as is clear and contains nothing of what they mention.Shaikh al-Ghumaaree[74] is ignorant of this or pretends to be, since he says in 'al-Misbaah' ([p.] 24), '"... If you wish I will make du'aa for you", means, "if you wish I will teach you a du'aa which you can make and will repeat it to you," this explanation is binding so that the start of the hadeeth agrees with its end.'I say: this explanation is futile due to many reasons, from them that the blind man asked him (SAW) to make du'aa for him, not to teach him a du'aa, and since his (SAW) saying to him, 'And if you wish I will make du'aa' was an answer to his request, it was then definitely a request for du'aa, and this has to be, and this is the meaning which agrees with the end of the hadeeth, which is why we find that al-Ghumaaree does not try to explain his saying at the end, 'O Allaah accept him as a supplicant for me, and accept my supplication for him (to be accepted for me),' since this clearly shows that his tawassul was through the du'aa of the Prophet (SAW) as we have shown in what has preceded.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 70-71]

Rather, the end does confirm that the essence of this du`a revolves around the Prophet's intercession, and that is what making tawassul through him means. Shaykh al-Ghumari is right when he says that the Prophet taught the du`a of tawassul as an answer to the blind man's request for du`a, since the du`a of tawassul is the main lesson of this hadith and the means through which Allah fulfills the Prophet's own du`a and returned the blind man's sight to him. Nor does the fact that the blind man asked the Prophet to make du`a for him preclude the Prophet in any way or form from teaching him that du`a -- and through him all Muslims -- in addition to responding to his specific request, for the Prophet is by essence the Teacher and Purifier of the Community:

Truly Allah was gracious to the believers when He raised up among them a Messenger from themselves, to recite to them His signs and to purify them, and to teach them the Book and the Wisdom, though before they were in manifest error. (3:164)

To insist that the Prophet could not have been acting didactically in a general way but only making the du`a for the blind man alone simply because that is all that the blind man wanted, is to act like the man who kept repeating to the Prophet: "Teach me something (about Islam)!" not realizing that the Prophet's answer: "Do not get angry"[75] constituted a universal Islamic teaching of the highest order. Yet this is what Albani insists, in order to reduce the hadith to a one-time occurrence that bears no significance to the Umma at large, and in order to annihilate its availability to all Muslims as a universal and enduring du`a of tawassul.

The great characteristic of Islam is that the overwhelming part if not all of the Prophet's guidance, his teachings, and his miracles are enduring for all time, the greatest being the Glorious Qur'an, and not limited to the time of the Companions or to some individuals among them! To believe otherwise is to rob Islam of its primacy as the Religion that pleases Allah and to place it on a par with Christianity and Judaism as an abrogated religion, and we seek refuge in Allah from such aberrant suggestions.

Then he [Ghumari] says, 'Even if we admit that the Prophet (SAW) made du'aa for the blind man, then that does not prevent those hadeeth from being generalised to include others.'I say: This is clear error, since no one prevents the hadeeth from applying to other then [sic] the blind man, from those whom the Prophet (SAW) made du'aa for. However since du'aa from him (SAW) after he left to join the highest company is something that those seeking tawassul for all various needs and desires do not know about, and also they themselves do not seek tawassul by his (SAW) du'aa after his death, therefore the ruling is different, and this admission of al-Ghumaaree is a proof against him.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 71-72]

Observe the aberration of Albani's declaration that "du'aa from him (SAW) after he left to join the highest company is something that those seeking tawassul for all various needs and desires do not know about," when it is established in the authentic hadith that the Prophet continually makes du`a and asks forgiveness for his Umma and makes tahmid (al-hamdu lillah) even in the grave:

My life is a great good for you, you will relate about me and it will be related to you, and my death is a great good for you, your actions will be presented to me (in my grave) and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if see other than that I will ask forgiveness of Him for you.[76]

Observe also how Albani boldly claims: "they themselves do not seek tawassul by his (SAW) du'aa after his death" -- this is clear and manifest error, and may Allah save us from such. As we have shown in many places already, the Companions sought tawassul, tabarruk, istisqa, and istishfa` both through his person and through his du`a after his death, in which he stands the same as he stands in his life in the world in relation to Allah, i.e. praying and making du`a for his Community.

This is another clear proof against misguidance, and it is confirmed by Malik al-Dar's narration of the Companion Bilal Ibn al-Harith's request to the Prophet that he make istisqa' (prayer and du`a for rain) on behalf of his Community. We have already cited this hadith which Ibn Hajar said "Ibn Abi Shayba related with a sound chain from the narration of Abu Salih al-Saman from Malik al-Dar who was `Umar's treasurer":

The people suffered from drought during the successorship of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished"...We will note here that in his obstinacy in asserting that the Companions did not seek tawassul by the Prophet's du`a after his death Albani went far afield trying to disprove the authenticity of this hadith:

We do not accept that this story is authentic since the reliability and precision of Maalik al-Daar is not known, and these are the two principle [sic] conditions necessary for the authenticity of any narration, as is affirmed in the science of hadeeth. Ibn Abee Haatim mentions him in al-Jarh wat-ta'deel (4/1/213) and does not mention anyone who narrates from him except Aboo Saalih. So this indicates that he is unknown, and this is further emphasized by the fact that Ibn Abee Haatim himself, who is well known for his memorisation and wide knowledge, did not quote anyone who declared him reliable, so he remains unknown. Then this does not contradict the saying of al-Haafidh: "... with an authentic chain of narration, from the narration of Aboo Saalih as-Saman..." since we say: It is not declaration that all of the chain of narration is authentic (saheeh), rather only that it is so up to Aboo Saalih. If that were not the case then he would not have started mentioning the chain of narration from Aboo Saalih. Rather he would have begun: "From Malik ad-Daar... and its chain of narration is authentic." But he said it in the way that he did to draw attention to the fact that there was something requiring investigation in it. The scholars say this for various reasons. From these reasons is that they may not have been able to find a biography for some narrator(s) and therefore they would not permit themselves to pass a ruling on the whole chain of narration...

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 120]

1. The above is disproved by Ibn Sa`d's (d. 230) biographical notice on Malik al-Dar in his Tabaqat:

Malik al-Dar: `Umar ibn al-Khattab's freedman. He narrated from Abu Bakr and `Umar. He was known.[77]

2. It is further disproved by the hafiz al-Khalili's (d. 445) notice on Malik al-Dar in his Kitab al-irshad fi ma`rifat `ulama' al-hadith:

Malik al-Dar: muttafaq `alayh athna `alayhi al-tabi`un -- He is agreed upon (as trustworthy), the Successors have approved highly of him.[78]

3. It is further disproved by Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani's biographical notice on Malik al-Dar in his al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-sahaba:

Malik ibn `Iyad: `Umar's freedman. He is the one named Malik al-Dar. He has seen the Prophet and has heard narrations from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq. He has narrated from Abu Bakr and `Umar, Mu`adh, and Abu `Ubayda. From him narrated Abu Salih al-Saman and his (Malik's) two sons `Awn and `Abd Allah...

Bukhari in his Tarikh narrated through Abu Salih Dhakwan from Malik al-Dar that `Umar said during the period of drought: "O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!" Ibn Abi Khaythama also narrated it in those words but in a longer hadith:

The people suffered a drought during the time of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah for rain for your Community." The Prophet appeared to him in a dream and told him: "Go, see `Umar and tell him: You will be watered, and: You must put your nose to the grindstone (`alayk al-kaffayn)!" (The man went and told `Umar.) Then `Umar wept and exclaimed: "O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!"

We have also narrated in the Fawa'id of Dawud ibn `Amr and al-Dabbi compiled by al-Baghawi in the narration of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Sa`id ibn Yarbu` al-Makhzumi from Malik al-Dar: he said: "`Umar ibn al-Khattab summoned me one day. He had with him a purse of gold containing four hundred dinars. He said: "Take this to Abu `Ubayda," and he mentioned the rest of the story.

Ibn Sa`d mentioned him (Malik al-Dar) in the first layer of the Successors among the people of Madina and said: "He narrated from Abu Bakr and `Umar, and he was known." Abu `Ubayda said of him: "`Umar put him in charge of the dependents in his household. When `Uthman succeeded him, he put him in charge of financial allotments and he was then named Malik of the House."

Isma`il al-Qadi related from `Ali ibn al-Madini: "Malik al-Dar was `Umar's treasurer."[79]

4. It is further disproved by Hasan al-Saqqaf's rebuttal of Albani's discourse and entire method on this hadith in Saqqaf's preface to `Abd Allah al-Ghumari's refutation of Albani entitled Irgham al-mubtadi` al-ghabi bi jawaz al-tawassul bi al-nabi (The compulsion of the ignorant innovator with the permissibility of seeking means with the Prophet):

Albani has declared this sound hadith weak upon pretexts frailer than a cobweb in his Tawassul. He has claimed that Malik al-Dar is unknown (majhul) and has reproduced only his biographical notice from Ibn Abi Hatim's Kitab al-jarh wa al-ta`dil in order to give his readers the impression that only one man has narrated from Malik al-Dar, and that is Abu Salih al-Saman. And it has been decided by Albani on the basis of what he reproduces from one of the scholars that a man remains "unknown" until two or more narrate from him. In order to help his cause he mentioned that al-Mundhiri and al-Haythami did not know Malik al-Dar, that he is therefore unknown, and that a chain of transmission containing an unknown is unsound. Then he began to brag saying: "This is a critical piece of information which none will know but those who have practiced this science." As for us we say to him: Rather this is deliberate concealment (tadlis) and deceit and treachery which none commits except one whose heart is filled with spite and enmity against the Sunna and Tawhid and its people...

Now, if al-Mundhiri and al-Haythami declared that they did not know him, we say to the searcher for truth: This means that they did not declare him either trustworthy or unreliable, because they do not know him. However, there are those who do know him, such as Ibn Sa`d, and Bukhari, and `Ali ibn al-Madini, and Ibn Hibban, and al-hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, and others! Which of the two assessments, O Albani, is retained: that of those who know him, or that of those who don't?!

It is a wonder that Albani approves the statement of those who don't know Malik al-Dar's case, selects it, and prefers it to the statements of those who do know it, which he conceals and with which he dislikes that anyone be acquainted.

What I will cite from the sayings of the Imams among the masters of hadith who have recognized Malik al-Dar as reliable is enough to confirm what al-Sayyid `Abd Allah al-Ghumari and other hadith scholars as well as some of those who work with hadith have said: namely, that Albani knows the correct facts in many matters but ... is not to be relied upon for (assessing) a single hadith. This is the explicit position of many of the scholars such as the three muhaddiths al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Ghumari, al-Sayyid `Abd Allah al-Ghumari, and al-Sayyid `Abd al-`Aziz; the shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda; the muhaddith of India and Pakistan Habib al-Rahman al-A`zami; Shaykh Isma`il al-Ansari; Shaykh Muhammad `Awwama; Shaykh Mahmud Sa`id; Shaykh Shu`ayb Arna'ut; and tens of others among the experts in this field and those that deal with it. The People of Hadith therefore witness that that man's word is not relied upon in the authentication and weakening of hadith because he authenticates and weakens according to whim and mood, not scientific rules, and whoever examines his sayings and writings can verify this.[80]


A further proof that tawassul through the Prophet after his time is universally recognized and encouraged in the Shari`a is Imam Nawawi's description of the etiquette of visiting the grave of the Prophet after the fulfillment of the Pilgrimage in the Book of Hajj in the Adhkar, where he says:

[After giving salam to the Prophet, Abu Bakr, and `Umar] Then he [the visitor] returns to his initial station opposite the Prophet's face, and he uses the Prophet as his means in his innermost (fa yatawassalu bihi fi haqqi nafsihi), and seeks his intercession before his exalted and mighty Lord (wa yatashaffa`u bihi ila rabbihi subhanahu wa ta`ala)... and he avails himself of this noble spot, and glorifies and praises and magnifies Allah and invokes blessings on His Messenger. Let him do all that abundantly.[81]

Nawawi similarly says in the part devoted to visiting the Prophet in his book on Pilgrimage entitled al-Idah fi manasik al-hajj:[The visitor stands and greets the Prophet, then he moves to greet Abu Bakr and `Umar] Then he returns to his original position, directly in front of Allah's Messenger, and he uses the Prophet as his means in his innermost self (fa yatawassalu bihi fi haqqi nafsihi), and seeks his intercession before his exalted and mighty Lord (wa yatashaffa`u bihi ila rabbihi subhanahu wa ta`ala) and one of the best things that he can say is what has been narrated by our colleagues on al-`Utbi's authority, and they admired what he said:

As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet, a Bedouin Arab came and said: "Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! I have heard Allah saying: "If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgive-ness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful" (4:64), so I have come to you asking forgiveness for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord..."[82]

Similarly the Hanafi faqih Kamal al-Din ibn al-Humam said in Fath al-qadir (2:337), book of hajj, chapter on visiting the Prophet:

wa yas'alu allaha hajatahu mutawassilan ilallah bi hadrati nabiyyihi thumma qala yas'alu al-nabiyya sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam al-shafa`ata fa yaqulu ya rasulallah as'aluka al-shafa`ata ya rasulallah atawassalu bika ilallah

Then let him ask Allah for his need, using Allah's Prophet as his means to Allah; (then he said): Let him ask the Prophet for his intercession and say: O Messenger of Allah, I am asking you for your intercession; O Messenger of Allah, I am using you as my means to Allah.

It cannot be clearer that Albani is therefore innovating in:a) claiming that tawassul is no longer made by asking for the Prophet's du`a after he left dunya;b) claiming that tawassul is not made through the Prophet's person or status.

That in the du'aa which Allaahs Messenger (SAW) taught him to say occurs, 'O Allaah accept him as a supplicant [intercessor] for me', and it is impossible to take this to mean tawassul by his (SAW) person, or his status, or his right, since the meaning is, 'O Allaah accept his (SAW) supplication for You to restore my sight.'

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

The complete words of the du`a are as follows: "O Allah I ask you and turn to you by means of your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad I turn by means of you to my Lord in this need of mine, so that it may be fulfilled for me, O Allah make him my intercessor (shaffi`hu fiyya)."

Therefore the du`a contains the following steps:

- Call and request to Allah stating that one uses the Prophet as means;- Call to the Prophet stating that one uses him as means to Allah;

- Call and request to Allah to make the Prophet one's intercessor.

This proves:

- that one may ask for the Prophet's intercession in this life;

- that one takes for granted that the Prophet's intercession is accepted;- that one does not take for granted that his intercession is granted;

- and that such intercession is "by means of him," period.

And shafaa'ah [the arabic word used in the hadeeth] in the language means: du'aa [supplication], and this is what is meant for the Shafaa'ah which is established for him (SAW) and for the other Prophets and the pious on the Day of Ressurrection.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

Neither is the hadith taking place on the Day of Resurrection, nor is this hadith primarily about the Prophet's blessed shafa`a, which is explained in countless other ayats and ahadith, but about tawassul through the Prophet, which is the modality and language of asking for his shafa`a here and now. Albani is trying to make one and the same thing of tawassul and shafa`a, and furthermore he is trying to make the language say other than what it states explicitly.

And this shows that shafaa'ah is more particular then du'aa since it will only occur if there are two people seeking a matter, so that one of them is a supplicant for the other, as opposed to a single person seeking something who does not have anyone else to supplicate for him. In Lisaan ul-Arab it says, 'shafaa'ah [intercession] is the intercessor's speaking to a king about a need which he is requesting for someone else, and the intercessor is the one seeking something for someone else, through whom he intercedes to attain what is desired...' So it is established by this means also that the tawassulof the blind man wa through his (SAW) du'aa and not his person.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

Again: The hadith is about the asking for the intercession, not the intercession itself. Clearly, the one hoping intercession needs to ask, and the reason he is asking is because of the intercessor's status. Is this not obvious?

That from what the Prophet (SAW) taught the blind man was, 'And accept my supplication [shafaa'ah] for him'... This sentence is an authentic part of the hadeeth, it is reported by Ahmad and al-Haakim who authenticated it with adh-Dhahabee agreeing. And it alone is a decisive proof that taking the hadeeth to refer to tawassul by his person is futile, that being the position of some recent writers - and it seems that they realise this point and therefore do not mention this sentence at all - which shows how far they can be trusted in reporting narrations. And close to this is their quoting the previous sentence, 'O Allaah accept his shafaa'ah for me', as a proof for tawassul by his person - but as for explaining how it shows that then they do not explain that to the readers, since one not having something cannot give it to others.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

The proof for tawassul through the Prophet's person does not lie in the particular part of the du`a which says "O Allah accept his shafa`a for me" but in the du`a as a whole, as has been shown above.Albani's contempt and mistrust of the scholars whose view invalidates his typifies his tendency to disrespect persons on the basis of his disagreement and that is the general tendency of his admirers also. What can be meant by his phrase "some recent writers"? Are Nawawi and Ibn al-Jawzi, who respectively state that tawassul is through the Prophet's person and status, "recent writers"? The only "recent writer" here is Albani himself.

'i.e. accept my shafaa'ah for him, i.e. accept my du'aa that you accept his 'shafaa'ah', i.e. his du'aa that You restore my sight.' And it is not possible to understand anything but this from this sentence.[

Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

The above impossibility seems axiomatic to Albani perhaps, but to others it is clear that the statement quoted also refers to the phrase: "I ask you and turn to you by means of your Prophet" and so the full meaning is: "Accept my du`a and accept the request that I may make this du`a to you by means of him." As much as Albani tries to conceal this basic meaning he cannot.

This is why you find the opponents feigning ignorance of it and not making mention of it since it demolishes their building from the foundations and tears down it's walls, and when they hear it you will see them looking at you like one in a swoon. This is because they (think that they) understand the shafaa'ah of the Messenger (SAW) for the blind man, but what can the blind man's shafaa'ah for the Messenger (SAW) mean? They have no answer for that at all. And the fact that they percieve this nullifies their misinterpretation is that you will not find a single one of them using it in practice, i.e. supplicating, 'O Allaah accept Your Prophets' shafaa'ah for me and my shafaa'ah for him.'

Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

The blind man was merely blind in the eyes, but Allah spoke of those who are blind-hearted and this is a graver illness.The shafa`a of the Messenger for the blind man benefits the blind man. The shafa`a of the blind man for the Messenger benefits the blind man also! The former is the Prophet's request on behalf of the blind man. The latter is the blind's man request that he be given permission to have the Prophet request for him. It is very clear, but it seems Albani ekes out his argument only in order to confuse the issue, just as he shuffled the lexical meanings of tawassul and shafa`a.

the saying of the blind man in his du'aa, 'O Allaah I ask You and turn to You by means of your Prophet Muhammad (SAW)' means, 'I seek a means of nearness to You by means of the du'aa of your Prophet', with the governing word [i.e. du'aa] omitted - and this is something well known in the language - as occurs in the saying of Allaah, 'the town and caravan...' (12:82), i.e. 'the PEOPLE of the town, and the COMPANIONS of the caravan..' [with the governing words PEOPLE and CARAVAN omitted]. And we and the opponents agree upon that, i.e. that we have to come up with the governing word which has been omitted.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

The above is a good illustration of Albani's method of narrowing down the outward sense of the du`a, which is: "I am turning to You by means of your Prophet" to a specific sense: "I am turning to You by means of your Prophet's du`a." In order to achieve this he comes up with terms that are not in the hadith -- "by means of the du`a" -- and he dictates that they are the governing terms around which the sole meaning of the hadith revolves -- that is: Albani's meaning.

And in our view it is the same case as with the du'aa of Umar and his tawassul by means of al-Abbaas - either it is taken to be, 'I turn to You by means of the (status) of Your Prophet', and 'O Muhammad I turn by your (person) or your (position) to my Lord' - as they claim - or to be, 'I turn to you by means of the (du'aa) of Your Prophet', and, 'O Muhammad I Turn to you by your (du'aa) to my Lord' - which is our saying. And one of these must be preferred due to a proof which shows it. So as for their saying that the missing governing word is (status/position) then they have no proof for it, neither in this or any other hadeeth, since there is nothing mentioned along with it which suggests or states any mention of (status) or indicates it at all.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

This is perhaps the greatest fallacy in his entire argument, since in making it he completely ignores the countless verses and hadiths which show the Prophet's tremendous status, including his own explicit statements that he is the Master of the children of Adam and the noblest of them in Allah's sight, and the ijma` of Muslims concerning his praiseworthy station.

Just as they have nothing from the Qur'an and Sunnah, or from the practice of the Companions where there is tawassul by anyone's status. So this preferred view of theirs has nothing to support it and so is rendered baseless and not taken into any further consideration. As for our view then it is supported by many proofs which have preceded.

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

The lexical "proof" has been rejected as shafa`a is not the same as tawassul. And the "proof" that the wasila is purely the Prophet's du`a has been rejected, as it was shown that the wasila is the Prophet himself in addition to the du`a which he taught the blind man, and the du`a which he himself made on his behalf.

And I also say: Even if it were correct that the blind man sought to make tawassul by his (SAW) person, then it would be something particular to him, not something shared by the rest of the Prophets and the pious. And joining them in it along with him is something not acceptable, since he (SAW) was the leader and the most noble of them all, so it could have been something which Allaah particularised him like many others reported in authentic narrations, and matters of particularised qualities are not within the scope of analogy. So he who thinks that the blind man's tawassul to Allaah was by means of his (SAW) person - then he should halt at that and not add others to it, as is reported from Imaam Ahmad and Shaikh al-Izz bin abdis-Salaam (RH).

[Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings]

One goes to one's nearest means among the salihin or saintly people, as is established by `Umar's tawassul through al-`Abbas the Prophet's uncle. This is not only permissible but recommended by all Four Schools. As for Imam Ahmad, he made tawassul through the Prophet a part of every du`a as has been reported, nor did he try, unlike Albani, to alter the modality of the tawassul or its meaning.

Note that Albani moved from denying that the tawassul can be made through the Prophet's person to accepting it, then denying that it be made by other than the blind man, then accepting it, and finally denying that it be made through other than the Prophet!

If it were forbidden to seek the Prophet's person as a means for obtaining cure and blessings in this life, then why did the Companions and the Followers seek such blessings through the hair of the Prophet, his minbar, his sweat, his saliva, his grave, and other items which we shall not mention?

If one cannot deny the benefit derived by a mere particle of the Prophet's body long after his time, they surely one cannot deny the benefit derived by his noble person -- except one whom Allah has deprived of true understanding, such as those who insist on denying even when the proofs are brought right under their nose. And Allah knows best.


[The article above was excerpted from www.sunnah.org]

[64]M. Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Its Rulings, trans. Dawud Burbank (Birmingham: al-Hidaayah, 1995).

[65]al-Albani, At-Tawassul p. 38.

[66]Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Ahmad.

[67]Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba 4:220 #5427.

[68]Nawawi, al-Adhkar (Ta'if: Maktabat al-mu'ayyad, 1408/1988) p. 239 #562.

[69]Imam Malik said to al-Mansur inside the Prophet's Mosque in Madina: "Face him [the Prophet] and ask for his intercession (istashfi` bihi)." It is cited by al-Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa (2:92-93) with a sound (sahih) chain, and also cited by al-Samhudi in Khulasat al-Wafa, Subki in Shifa' al-siqam, Qastallani in al-Mawahib al-laduniyya, Ibn Jama`a in Hidayat al-salik, and Haytami in al-Jawhar al-munazzam and Tuhfat al-zuwwar. See also Ibn `Abd al-Hadi in al-Sarim al-munki p. 244. Ibn Jama`a says in Hidayat al-salik (3:1381): "It is related by the two hafiz Ibn Bashkuwal and al-Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa' after him, and no attention is paid to the words of those who claim that it is forged purely on the basis of his idle desires."

[70]Imam Shafi`i in his Diwan declared his reliance on tawassul through the Prophet's family, and he also made tawassul through Imam Abu Hanifa, as related by al-Haytami respectively in al-Sawa`iq al-muhriqa in many places and al-Khayrat al-hisan p. 63.

[71]As reported by `Ala' al-Din al-Mardawi in his book al-insaf fi ma`rifat al-rajih min al-khilaf `ala madhhab al-Imam al-mubajjal Ahmad ibn Hanbal (3:456). [See above]

[72]Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Wafa (Beirut: dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, 1408/1988), p. 365.

[73]Both quoted in The Reliance of the Traveller p. 935-940.

[74]`Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Siddiq al-Ghumari, a muhaddith and Sufi shaykh from Morocco and the shaykh of Hasan `Ali al-Saqqaf.

[75]Related by Bukhari. Cf. Nawawi's Forty hadiths #16.

[76]Haythami says in Majma` al-zawa'id (9:24 #91): "al-Bazzar relates it and its sub-narrators are all sound (rijaluhu rijal al-sahih)." Qadi `Iyad cites it in al-Shifa (1:56 of the Amman edition). Suyuti said in his Manahil al-safa fi takhrij ahadith al-shifa (Beirut 1988/1408) p. 31 (#8): "Ibn Abi Usama cites it in his Musnad from the hadith of Bakr ibn `Abd Allah al-Muzani, and al-Bazzar from the hadith of Ibn Mas`ud with a sound (sahih) chain." Ibn al-Jawzi mentions it through Bakr and then again through Anas ibn Malik in the penultimate chapter of the penultimate section of al-Wafa, and also mentions the version through Aws ibn Aws with a sound chain: "The actions of human beings are shown to me every Thursday on the night of (i.e. preceding) Friday." See also Fath al-bari 10:415, al-Mundhiri's al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib 3:343, and Musnad Ahmad 4:484.

[77]Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat 5:12.

[78]Abu Ya`la al-Khalil ibn `Abd Allah al-Khalili al-Qazwini, Kitab al-irshad fi ma`rifat `ulama' al-hadith, ed. Muhammad Said ibn Umar Idris, 1st ed., 3 vols. (Riyad : Maktabat al-Rushd, 1989), as quoted in `Abd Allah al-Ghumari, Irgham al-mubtadi` al-ghabi bi jawaz al-tawassul bi al-nabi, ed. Hasan `Ali al-Saqqaf, 2nd ed. (`Amman: Dar al-imam al-Nawawi, 1412/1992) p. 9.

[79]Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba (Calcutta 1853 ed.) 6:164 #8350.

[80] Saqqaf then mentions the above references. See his preface to al-Ghumari, Irgham al-mubtadi` p. 7-9.

[81]Nawawi, al-Adhkar (Ta'if ed.) p. 262.

[82]Nawawi, al-Idah fi manasik al-hajj (Damascus: Dar ibn Khaldun, n.d.) p. 144. See also a similar passage in Nawawi's Majmu` (8:212f.).

[83]Narrated by Ibn Hajar in al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-sahaba (Calcutta, 1853) 1:72 under "Anas ibn Malik."