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Tawassul - its types and rulings

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Tawassul - its types and rulings
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Liittynyt: 16 Syy 2004
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Lähetä Tawassul - its types and rulings Vastaa lainaamalla viestiä
Lawful and Prescribed Tawassul and Its Types
AUTHOR:Shaykh Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen al-Albaanee
SOURCE: at-Tawassul: Anwaa'uhu wa AhkaamuhuWe know that Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, ordered us to supplicate to Him and to call upon Him for aid. He says:

"And your Lord said: ?Invoke Me (and ask Me for anything) I will respond to your (invocation) . Verily! Those who scorn My worship they will surely enter Hell in humiliation! "[32]

He, the Mighty, has prescribed for us a number of types of prescribed means (tawassul) which are beneficial and reach the desired goal. Allaah has granted that He will certainly respond to those who call upon Him by these means, as long as the other conditions for acceptability of the supplication are fulfilled.

So now let us look, without clinging blindly to one opinion or prejudice, at what is apparent after careful research, of what is reported in the Noble Book and the pure Sunnah, and that is that there are three types of Tawassul which Allaah, the Most High, has prescribed and encouraged. Some of them are reported in the Qur?aan and were used by the Messenger (sallallaahu ?alayhi wasallam) and he encouraged their use. Amongst them there is not to be found any tawassul by other means of any person, nor their status, nor their rights, nor their station. So this shows that this is not prescribed.

As for the types of prescribed tawassul which are indicated then they are:


The proof for the prescription of this form of tawassul is the Saying of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic:

"And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them."[33]

The meaning of this is: Call upon Allaah, the Most High, by means of (performing tawassul with) His perfect Names, and there is no doubt that His exalted Attributes fit into this since His Names are Attributes of His. From this is what Allaah, the Most High, mentions about the supplication of Sulaymaan, ('alayhis-salaam) when he said:

"He said: "My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves." [34]

Also from the proofs of this is the saying of the Prophet(sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) in an established supplication which he would say before giving the Salaam in his Prayer: "0 Allaah by Your Knowledge of the Hidden and Unseen, and Your Power over the creation, grant me life for as long as You know that life is good for me, and grant me death when death is good for me..." [35]

The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) also heard another man saying in his tashahhud: "0 Allaah I ask You by virtue of the fact that all praise belongs to You, none has the right to be worshipped but You, alone, having no partner. The Great Bestower of all blessings, 0 Originator of the heavens and the earth, 0 Possessor of Majesty and Honour, 0 Ever-Living, 0 Sustainer and Protector of all that exists. Indeed I ask You for Paradise and I seek Your refuge from the Fire." So the Prophet(sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) said to his Companions: " Do you know what he has supplicated with?" They said: "Allaah and His Messenger know best." He(sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) said: "By Him in Whose Hand is my soul he has supplicated to Allaah by His Great name (and in a narration: by His greatest name) if He is called upon by it then He responds and if He is asked by it He gives." [36]

From this is his (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) saying: "Whoever is greatly troubled and says: '0 Allaah I am Your slave, son of Your male slave and female slave. My forelock is in Your Hand. Your judgement is continually operative upon me. Your sentence concerning me is just. I ask You by every name which is Yours, with which You named Yourself, taught to anyone from Your creation, or sent down in Your Book, or which You kept to Yourself in the knowledge of the Hidden with You, that You make the Qur?aan the spring of my heart, the light of my chest, the removal of my sadness and of my anxiety', then Allaah will remove his anxiety and sorrow and replace it with joy" [37]

So these ahaadeeth and their like show the prescription of tawassul to Allaah, the Most High, with one of His Names or His Attributes, and that this is something which Allaah loves and is pleased with. Therefore it was done by Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) and Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, says:

"And whatsoever the Messenger [Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam)] gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)."[42]

So it is prescribed for us to call upon Allaah, the one free of all imperfections, in the manner which His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) called upon Him. That is a thousand times better than calling upon Him with supplications which we originate and in forms which we ourselves invent.


From it is that the person supplicated and mentions an important pious act which he has done, and in which he feared Allaah, the One free of all imperfections, and did in obedience to Him, hoping for His reward and fearing His punishment, and giving precedence to pleasing Him and obeying Him over everything else, and then using that as a means of tawassul in his supplication, so that it is more liable to be accepted and responded to. This form of tawassul is good and beautiful and has been prescribed by Allaah, the Most High, and it is pleasing to Him. Its prescription is shown by the Saying of Allaah, the Most High:

"Those who say: 'Our Lord! We have indeed believed, so forgive us our sins and save us from the punishment of the Fire."[43]

"Our Lord! Verily, we have heard the call of one [Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam)] calling to Faith: 'Believe in your Lord', and we have believed. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and remit from us our evil deeds, and make us die in the state of righteousness along with Al-Abraar (those who are obedient to Allaah and strictly follow His Orders)." [44]

Also from this is what occurs in the story of the companions of the cave, as is reported by 'Abdullaah ibn 'Umar (radhiyallaahu 'anhumaa) who said: I heard Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) say: "Three men, amongst those who came before you set out until night came and they reached a cave, so they entered it. But a boulder rolled down from the mountain and blocked the entrance of the cave. So they said: Nothing can rescue you from this rock except that you supplicate to Allaah by mentioning righteous deeds you have done, (and in the narration of Muslim: So one of them said to the others-. Think of righteous deeds which you have done purely for Allaah by, making mention of them, that He might release you). So one of them said: "0 Allaah I had two elderly parents and I had not used to give precedence over them to my family and slaves in giving them milk to drink. But one day I was delayed in seeking after something (in the narration of Muslim: for fodder) and I did not return with the flock until they (my parents) had slept. So I milked the animals for them but found that they were both asleep. However I hated to give milk to my family and slaves before them, so I waited with the bowl in my band for them to awake. Then with the break of dawn they awoke and drank their milk. 0 Allaah if I did that seeking Your Face, then relieve us from this situation caused by the rock." So it moved slightly, but they were unable to escape. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) said: The next said: "0 Allaah my uncle had a daughter and she was the most beloved of the people to me and I tried to persuade her to have sexual relations with me, but she refused me until she suffered from a year of famine. Then she came to me and I gave her a hundred and twenty deenars on the condition that she would comply with my desire for her, so she agreed. But when I was about to fulfil my desire she said: "It is unlawful for you to break (in a narration of Muslim: 0 servant of Allaah, fear Allaah and do not break) the seal except by lawful means. So I felt ashamed to commit the crime against her so I left her alone, and she was the most dear of all the people to me, and I (also) left the gold which I had given her. 0 Allaah if 1 did that seeking Your Face then release us from the situation we are in." So the rock opened further but they were still unable to escape. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) said: And the third said: "0 Allaah I employed some labourers and paid them their wages except a single man who did not take his wages and went away. I invested his wages and it grew into a great deal of property. Then after some time he came to me and said: "0 servant of Allaah, give me my wages." So I said to him: "All the camels, cows, sheep and slaves that you see are your wages." So he said: "0 servant of Allaah, do not mock me." So I said: "I am not mocking you." So he took all of that and led them away and did not leave any of it. 0 Allaah if I did that seeking Your Face, then release us from our situation." So the rock moved and they walked out of the cave." [48]

So it is clear from this hadeeth that when these three Believers were in distress and in such difficulty, and when they despaired of any means of escape except that Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, alone should save them, then they turned to Him and supplicated purely and sincerely to Him. They also mentioned righteous actions which they had done being aware of Allaah in times of ease, hoping that their Lord would in return now rescue them in their time of hardship. Just as is reported in the hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) in which there occurs: "... Remember Allaah in times of ease and He will remember you in times of difficulty."[49]

So they sought a means of nearness (tawassul) to Him, the One free of all imperfections, through those actions. So the first used his kindness to his parents as tawassul and his merciful and compassionate treatment of them to the point that it lead him to that singular and beautiful action, and I do not think any other person, except for the Prophets, would reach this level of kindness and goodness to their parents.

Then the second used as tawassul his abstention from fornicating with his uncle's daughter, and he had the strongest desire for her and she was at his disposal and had submitted to Him unwillingly due to hunger and need. But she reminded him of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and his heart accepted the admonition and his limbs trembled and he left her and the money which he had given to her.

Then the third used as tawassul his preserving the right of his employee, who left his wages which amounted to a measure of rice, as occurs in an authentic narration of the hadeeth, and went off. So the employer invested this until it grew to amount to sheep, cows, camels and slaves. Then when the employee was later in need of his wages, he requested his meagre earnings from the man who employed him. He in turn handed over all the wealth which astonished the worker and caused him to think that he was being mocked. However when it was clear that the man was serious and that this was all the product of his wages he led them off with joy and wonder, not leaving anything behind.

Indeed, by Allaah, the action of the employer here reached an astonishing level of beneficent treatment of the worker and was an exemplary example of fine and honourable treatment of those whom one is in charge of. It was of such a level that the position of all those who claim to support the workers and the common man does not even reach a hundredth of it, those who make a profitable business out of their claims to protect the rights of the poor and needy, and to treat them fairly and give them their rights. So the supplication of thesethree to their Lord, the One free of all imperfections, using as a means of nearness to Him these extremely righteous and noble actions, declaring that they had done them purely and solely to seek the pleasure of Allaah, the Most High, not intending by them any worldly or personal benefit or any wealth.

So they hoped that Allaah, the Majestic would release them from their difficulty and free them from their trial, so He, the One free of all imperfections responded to their supplication, relieved their distress and did as they had hoped of Him by granting them a clear miracle, causing the rock to move away in three stages each time one of them supplicated so that it opened totally when the third man finished his supplication, after their having been in a state where death was imminent.

Then our noble Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) narrated this fine story to us after it was something unknown and hidden, known only to Allaah, the One free of all imperfections and the Most High. He informed us of this to remind us of excellent and exemplary actions performed by excellent and exemplary followers of the previous prophets in order that we should follow their example, act as they acted, and draw valuable lessons and admonition from their story.

The revealed laws agree in their teaching's and guidance and this is not surprising since they come from a single source and emanate from a single light, particularly with regard the condition of people and their relation to their Lord, the One free of all imperfections, so they only differ very slightly and very rarely as required by the wisdom of Allaah, the One free of all imperfections.


If a Muslim falls into great difficulty or a great misfortune befalls him, and he knows that he has been very negligent with regard to Allaah, the Blessed and Most High's, rights upon him, so he wishes to use a strong means of drawing nearer to Allaah. So he goes to man whom he believes to be righteous and to be one who fears Allaah, or a person possessing excellence and knowledge of the Book and the Sunnah, and he asks him to supplicate to his Lord for him that He ( i.e. Allaah) should relieve his distress and remove what had befallen him.

This is a further type of prescribed tawassul which is proven and guided to in the pure Sharia'h. Examples of it are found in the noble Sunnah and examples of it are found in the practice of the noble Companions (radhiyallaahu 'anhum)

Anas ibn Maalik (radhiyallaahu 'anhu) reports, saying: "The people were afflicted with drought in the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam), so whilst the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) was giving the khutbah [upon the minbar], standing, on the day of jumu'ah a bedouin stood [and in a narration: entered] [from the people of the desert] [through a door which faced the minbar] [near to the house sold for the repayment of a debt50, and Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) was standing. So he stood facing Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam)] and said: "0 Messenger of Allaah, the livestock are dying and the children are hungry [and in a narration: destroyed] [and in another narration: the horses are dying and the sheep are dying] so supplicate to Allaah for us [that he should give us rain] [and in another: that he should give us a downpour]."

So he (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) raised up his hands [until I saw the whiteness of his armpits] and supplicated: [0 Allaah bless us with rain, 0 Allaah bless us with rain] [and the people raised up their hands along with him supplicating] [and he did not mention that he turned his cloak inside out, nor that he faced the Qiblah], and [By Allaah] we could not see [any clouds nor] any trace of clouds [and in a narration:Anas said: And the sky was clear as glass] [He said: So I then saw a large cloud like a shield and when it came to the middle of the sky it spread and it rained]. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, as soon as he had lowered his hands clouds like mountains had gathered, and he did not descend from the minbar until I saw the rain dripping from his beard, [and in a narration: suddenly the wind blew gathering clouds which came together and then rain poured down from the sky] [and he came down from the minbar and prayed the Prayer] [so we went out and waded through the water until we reached our homes] [and in a narration: and it was such that a person could hardly reach his home]. So it continued to rain that day, and the next, and the next, and that which followed, until the following Jumu'ah and it had not ceased [so the waterways of al-Madeenaah were filled] [and in a narration: so, by Allaah we did not see the sun for a week]. Then that bedouin or someone else stood up [and in a narration: Then a man entered from that door in the next jumu'ah and Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) was standing giving khutbah, so he stood facing him] and he said: 0 Messenger of Allaah, buildings are being destroyed, [and in a narration: houses are collapsing, roads are cut off and the cattle are dying] [and in a narration: the traveller cannot proceed and the roads are blocked] and livestock are being drowned. So supplicate to Allaah [to withhold it] for us [so the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam ) smiled] and he raised his hands and said: 0 Allaah, around us and not upon us, [0 Allaah upon the tops of mountains, hillocks [and hills] and river beds and places where trees grow}. So he did not point with his hand in any direction except that the clouds cleared away producing a clear circular hole [and in a narration: so I looked and saw the clouds separating around al-Madeenah [to the right and the left] forming [a sort of crown] [and in another: so the clouds cleared away from al-Madeenah just as clothes are removed] and it was now raining all around us, but not raining upon us at all [in a narration: not a drop] [and we went out walking in the sunshine]. So Allaah showed them a miracle for His Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) and His response to his supplication. The valley of Qanaat was flooded for a month, and no one came from outside except that he told of abundant rain." [52 ]

Proof from the sahaaba :

Anas ibn Maalik,(radiyallaah u 'anhu) narrates from 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radhiyallaahu 'anhu) that when the people suffered from drought he used to ask al-'Abbaas ibn al-Mutallib to pray for rain for them. He used to say: "0 Allaah we used to request our Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam ) to supplicate to You for rain (natawassalu ilayka) and You would bless us with rain. Now we ask the uncle of our Prophet to supplicate to You (natawassalu ilayka), so grant us rain." [53]

What the saying of 'Umar(radhiyallaahu 'anhu) "Innaa kunnaa natawassalu ilayka binabiyyinaa wa innaa natawassalu ilayka bi'ammi nabiyyina" means is: We used to go to our Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) and ask him to supplicate for us, and draw nearer to Allaah by means of his supplicating for us, and now that he (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) has passed on to the company of the highest Angels and it is not now possible for him to supplicate for us, then now we go to the uncle of our Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam), al-'Abbaas(radhiyal laahu 'anhu) and ask him to supplicate for us.

It certainly does not mean that they used to supplicate saying: "0 Allaah, by the status of Your Prophet grant us rain" and then after his (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) death; that they say: "0 Allaah by the status of al-'Abbaas grant us rain", since this supplication is an innovation having no proof or basis in the Book or the Sunnah, and it was not done by a single one of the Pious Predecessors, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with them all.


So from what has preceded you know that prescribed tawassul, that which is proven by the texts of the Book and the Sunnah, and which is proven by the practice of the Pious Predecessors, and upon which there is consensus (ijmaa) of the Muslims is:

1. Tawassul by means of the Names of Allaah, the Blessed and the Most High, and His Attributes.
2. Tawassul by means of a righteous action which the person who is supplicating has done.
3. Tawassul by means of the supplication made by a righteous man.

As for anything besides these types of tawassul, then there is disagreement about it, and what we believe firmly and hold as our religion before Allaah, the Most High, is that other ways are not permissible, and not prescribed. This is because there is no acceptable proof for them, and these things have been spoken against by the verifying scholars in successive centuries of Islamic history. We do not align ourselves except with the truth.

[32] Soorah Ghaafir (40:60)
[33] Soorah al-Baqarah (2:186)
[34] Soorah an-Naml (27:19)
[35] Reported by an-Nasaa'ee, al-Haakim and he declared it saheeh and adh-Dhahabee agreed with him and it is as they said.
[36] Reported by Aboo Daawood, an-Nasaa'ee and Ahmad and others with saheeh isnaad (authentic chain).
[37] Reported by Ahmad (no. 3712) and the wording is his, and al-Haakim (1/509) and others and its isnaad is saheeh as I have explained in as-Saheehah (no. 199).
[42] Soorah al-Hashr (59:7)
[43] Soorah Aali-'Imraan (3:6)
[44] Soorah Aali-'Imraan (3:53)
[48] Reported by al-Bukhaaree (3/260/no. 472) and the wording is his and Muslim (4/1432/no. 6607) and an-Nasaa'ee and others.
[49] Reported by Ahmad from Ibn 'Abbaas, and its chain of narration is saheeh due to supports, as I have explained in Zilaalil-Jannah fee Takhreejis-Sunnah (no. 138).
[52] Reported by al-Bukhaaree (transl:Vol. 2 [p.26, no.55] [p.67-72,nos. 126-132], [p.73,no.134] [p.77,ch.20] , [p.79,no.143; vol.4, [p.504,no.782] ; vol.8 [p.74,no.115] . I bring this in my abridgement of Saheehul-Bukhaaree (1/224-226,no. 497) gathering its various narrations together, and this abridgement is being published in stages...I hope that Allaah, the Most High, will facilitate the publication of the rest, and hasten that since it contains many valuable points of benefit which a student of knowledge or one desiring knowledge of Fiqh cannot dispense with.
[53] Reported by al-Bukhaaree (trans. 2/66/no.123 and 5/48/no.59) and Ibn Sa'd in at-Tabaqat (4/28-29) and it is found in Mukhtasarul- Bukhaaree (no.536)

Excerpted from the Book by Shaykh al-Albaanee: Tawassul - Its Types & Rulings

"The one who is (truly) imprisoned is the one whose heart is imprisoned from Allah, and the captivated one is the one whose desires have enslaved him." Ibn Taymiyah
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