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['Aalim Network QR] Tawassul and Tabaruk


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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
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Salaamun alaykum,

	The following question on Tawassul and Tabaruk was kindly answered 
by Mohammed Soleiman-Peneh.  May Allah (swt) reward him for his effort.  
Amen.

Wasalaam,

Mustafa Rawji
ACting Moderator, ABDG-A

QUESTION:

	Would you explain to me what tawassul and tabaruk are and why they
are not considered as acts of shirk. Please base your explanation on Qur'an
and Hadith. 


ANSWER:

				Besmehi Ta'ala
   
 Let me first make a comment which is out of my character. The criticism 
waged against the Islamic idea of Tawssul by the Misguided Wahabis and 
their cousin, followers of Rashad Khalifa, stem from a deep ignorance of 
the conception of Tawhid (monotheism) in Islam and Quranic teaching in 
general. These misguided opponent of Tawssul accuse our Imams (AS) and 
our great scholars of  shirk for believing and encouraging this idea, 
while they cannot even spell Tawhid.  My next point is related to the 
limit put to the answer, namely being based on Qur'an and Hadith. It is 
reasonable but let us not forget that every understanding of these two is 
based on a process of rational reasoning and we should be prepared to use 
this gift of God too.

	Having made the above point clear, let start with Tawhid for one
cannot accuse others of shirk unless he offer his conception of Tawhid. 
This I say with a great certainty and confidence that in my encounter with
the so called enlightened critiques of Tawssul And Shafa I found almost
all of them suffering from a childish conception of God as an OLD MAN with
white hair sitting on a throne beyond the clouds. Nothing is more strange
to the teaching of the Qur'an and Islam in general, than this.  Let me
briefly refer to some attribution of Allah (SWT) as discussed in the holy
Qur'an, illustrating Qur'anic conception of Allah (SWT). I trust the readers
will develop the consequences of these ideas for the discussion at hand by
themselves even though I will mention some of these implication: 

1- Allah is Ahad ( note, not Wahed in numerical sense) (112:1).

2- Allah is the First (Awwal) and the Last (Aakher) (57:3).

3- Whichever way you turn there is the face of Allah (2:115).

4- Allah is closer to man than his jugular vein (50:16).

5- Allah stands between man and his heart (8:24).

6- Men, it is you who stand in need of God. He is all sufficient and 
glorious (35:17).

(But at the same time he asks):

7- Who will give a generous loan to God? (57:11).

(or says)

8- If you help God,.... (47:7).

9- Make War on them: God will chastise them at your hands..,(9:14).

10- It was not you, but God, who slew them. It was not you who smote them 
when you smote: God smote them ... (8:17)

	These are only a few example illustrating Tawhid in Zat (essence),
in Sefat (attributions) and in Afa'l (actions). It suffice to only
consider the fact that Allah (SWT) is Ahad (in Persian Yakta, not Yak) to
understand that a true believer of Tawhid cannot consider any real and
independent existence for any other entity. Indeed those who see other
than Allah in the universe of existence are Mushrik. 

	Having laid down our theoretical conception of Tawhid according to
the Qur'an, let us go back to the issue of Tawssul. In the true
understanding of the world Junud (legions) of the heavens and the earth
are God's (48:8). In many cases in the Qur'an, God refers to his action in
the first person plural (WE) and in some cases first person singular (I).
If he governs the universe with his Junud and takes them into account, we
should try to understand how to put this in the context of our conception
of Tawhid.  Here I attempt to do so in a very brief manner. 
	
Consider the following:  

1- Our universe and existence in its totality is an intertwined web of 
relationship among entities. 

2- In its unity this existence manifest itself in pluralities which are not
independent from the unity. 

3- Each manifested entity stand in a certain relationship with other 
entities and to the totality in its unity. 

4- These relationships are multi-layers. Since this point is crucial for the
understanding of the idea of Tawssul let me explain in more details.  God
is the only Being who has independent or true effect in the world. There
is a saying that " La Mu'assera fi -Alwujud Illa Allah"  (There is no
cause in the universe of Being except Allah). In Islamic Irfan this is
referred to as "Tawhid Afa'li" (Monotheism of Action). In the language of
Qur'an this is expressed with the phrase "bi Izn-e Allah"  (with the
permission of God), for examples see 3:49 where it is said how birds and
dead are given life - bi izn Allah. Also see 56:69-70 which says "
consider the water which you drink. Was it you that poured it from the
cloud, or We? If We pleased , We could turn it bitter?" This shows that
the only TRUE cause is Allah the rest are his Junud, to use the Qur'anic
language. To use philosophical language Allah (SWT) is 'Illa't Haghighi
(The true cause), and others are 'Illa'l Mu'ade (auxiliary causes). 
Auxiliary causes are not a substitute for Allah, they rather facilitate
the ability of the effects to become qualified for the grace of Allah. In
other words they are not a condition of causality of Allah, but rather
they are conditions for readiness of the effects to receive the Faiz
(grace). Water is to alleviate thirst but God can make it the cause of
more thirst. If in normal conditions it reduces thirst it is because God
let it do so. He can introduce other auxiliary causes to do the same, his
hand are not tied. Thus putting entities in a certain condition is to make
them ready to receive the grace of Allah. There are normal conditions and
there are some other conditions with which we are not very familiar. 

5- Auxiliary causes have certain real relationships with the effects.  Some
are more effective than others. The real issue in an Islamic perspective
is not to eliminate these auxiliary causes, for Allah (SWT) himself tell
us "Believers, have fear of God and seek for mediator (Wassillah) towards
him) (5:35).  For us to be prepared for his grace, Allah wants us to be in
certain relationships and out of certain other relationships. The issue is
selection of the true mediators, not rejection of all mediators.
Practically everyone, believers and non-believers seek some means of
satisfying their needs. But believers see those means as mediators which
they need (not Allah) while non-believers see them as a substitute for
Allah. We know that Allah (SWT) is the real teacher who has taught man
what he did not know (96:5), but this does not mean we should not go to
school or read books, these are necessary conditions of receiving
knowledge from Allah. This of course does not mean that there are no other
conditions for learning, as a matter of fact Taqwa is a more effective
condition and most of the prophets and Massumein became Mussta'ed (ready)
of God teaching through Taqwa. But there are some conditions which are in
opposition to this readiness, i,e. sin, and not being educated through
normal teaching process. 

	Let me clarify this point by a Quranic verse , "But God would not
punish them while YOU WERE PRESENT in their midst. Nor would He punish
them if they SOUGHT FORGIVENESS" (8:33). In this verse the physical
presence of the holy prophet is equated with Isteghfar (seeking
forgiveness) as far as protection from God's punishment is concerned. 
Thus It is clear that physical proximity with the holy prophet make
potential for us to receive God's grace. To give you another example we
read in the holy Qur'an that Hz. Yousuf (AS) tells his brothers "Take this
shirt of mine and throw it over my father's face: he will recover his
sight. Then return to me with all your people" (12:93).  Think about this,
Ya'ghub (AS) himself is a prophet and Yousuf's father, why doesn't his own
shirt do the same thing? First because the act of recovery is not a
function of the shirt, it is God's action, second God's wants to educate
us and tell us that He puts Rahmah (grace) in the physical belongings of
his true servants and encourages us to have close and respectful
relationships with them for those relationships make us ready for more
Taghva. To encourage this He bestows some special Rahmah in his true
servants. Like the one in the physical presence of the holy prophet and
the one in Yousuf's shirt.

6- Therefore the issue of Tawssul is a necessity of the faith, he who does
not believe in it is misguided and the real Mushrik for he must take
things as having real effects and substitute for God. At the same time
every caution  must be taken to choose appropriates means (Wassilleh). 

7- Let me finish up this with a historical event. Both Ibn Hajar Makki 
and Ibn Abi Alhadid narrate that in the year 17th of Hijrra there was not 
enough rain, people repeatedly conducted Salata-l- Istesgha for rain, it 
did not rain. Omar told people "tomorrow will seek water through a mean 
which God will surely honor and because of which will give us water." The 
next day Omar went to Abbas the holy prophet's uncle and said " come with 
us so that with you we seek rain from God." Abbas told him to wait and  
asked Bani Hashim to put clean clothes on and use Itr (perfume). Then 
they went toward the praying place while Ali (AS) was walking in front 
and Imam Hassan and Imam Husain were at his right and left sides and Bani 
Hashim at his Back. Abbas told Omar "O, Omar do not mix anyone with us!" 
At the Mussalla (praying place) Abbas raised his hands in prayer and ask 
for the grace of God. Ibn Abi Alhadid says "Omar's  prayer was the 
following; O Lord, we approach you with our prophet's uncle and the rest 
of his ancestors and his elderly relatives, thus protect the status  and 
honor of your prophet through his uncle because he has guided us towards 

	Let us once again say that "O Lord, We seek your proximity through
our love for you holy prophet (SA) and his Ahlul Bayat (AS)!" 

With Regards 

Mohammad



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