The Fifth Spurious Argument: Beseeching the Prophets, Imams and Saints

Some people criticize the Shias of beseeching the Prophets, Imams and virtuous Saints, and of adjuring Allah through them believing that it has an effect upon their supplications being answered.

The Answer

The prohibition of beseeching the Prophet Muhammad (s), the other prophets, the Imams, and the Saints is another Wahhabi innovation. Allah says,

O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and seek means of nearness to Him. (Qur’an 5:35)

As-Samhudi said, in his book Wafa’ul-Wafa’,chapter Akhbar ul-Mustafa,

Beseeching the Prophet (s) for something may mean that he (s) can intercede with Allah to achieve what has been asked for. It is just as when someone asks him to be his Companion in Paradise. It means that the Prophet is a cause and an intercessor

In Kashf ul-Irtiyab p.252, it is recorded that an-Nassa’i, at-Tirmidhi and others mentioned that Prophet Muhammad (s) had taught some of his Companions to pray by saying: O’ My Lord. I ask You and beseech You by the honor of Your Apostle, the Apostle of Mercy. O’ Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, I beseech you to intercede with Allah to grant me what I ask for. O’ Allah, accept his intercession.

As-Samhudi quoted in his book Wafa’ul-Wafa’ vol. 2 p.422, from the judge Ayyadh’s book ash-Shafa’ that Abu Hamid said,

Abu Ja’far, the Caliph, debated with Malik bin Anas in the mosque of the Prophet Muhammad (s). Malik said: O’ Amir ul-Mu’minin -Commander of the Believers-, do not talk aloud in this mosque, because Allah had educated the people by saying:

O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and do not speak loud to him as you speak loud to one another, lest your deeds became nullified while you do not perceive. (Qur’an 49:2)

He has praised some people by saying:

Surely, they who lower their voices before Allah's Apostle are they whose hearts Allah has proved for guarding against evil, they shall have forgiveness and a great reward. (Qur’an 49:3)

He has dispraised some people by saying:

As for those who call out to you from behind the private chambers, surely most of them do not understand. (Qur’an 49:4)

The Prophet (s) enjoys the same sanctity whether he is alive or dead.

Abu Ja’far submitted and said: O’ Abu Abdullah, may I face the Qiblah to pray or should I face the (shrine of the) Prophet? Malik answered, Why do you turn your face away from him when he is your intermediary and your father Adam’s intermediary to Allah on the Day of Judgment? Turn your face towards him and ask him to be your intercessor with Allah. Allah (Exalted is He) says,

And had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Apostle had also asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning to mercy, Merciful.’ (Qur’an 4:64)

The author of Khulasat ul-Kalam says that this tradition was mentioned by as-Sabki in his book Shifa’us-Siqam fi Ziyarat Khayr ul-Anam, as-Samhudi in his book Khulasat ul-Wafa, al-Qastalani in his book al-Mawahib al- Laduniyya, Ibn Hajar in his books Tuhfatuz-Zuwwar and al-Jawhar ul-Munazzam and many others who wrote about the etiquette of visiting the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (s).

Ibn Hajar said in his book al-Jawharul-Munazzam: This tradition, narrated by Imam Malik, came with a true source that could not be suspected.

Az-Zarqani said in Sharh ul-Mawahib: The relation was narrated by Ibn Fahad from an affirmed source and by the Judge Ayyadh in his book ash-Shafa from a true source. All the narrators of this relation were reliable and no one was an inventor or liar. He added: He wanted to refute those who charged Malik that he disliked facing the Prophet’s tomb.

Ibn Hajar in his book as-Sawa’iq ul-Muhriqa said that Imam ash-Shafi’i beseeched the Prophet’s family when he composed the lines:

The Prophet’s family is my excuse

And my means to gain Allah’s content

I hope that tomorrow (Day of Judgment)

I will be given my book with my right hand

By means of their honor near Allah

The author of Kashf ul-Irtiyab on page 260 of the book has added;

However, the supplications transmitted from the Imams of the pure Household of the Prophet which have the status of being uninterrupted transmissions (tawatur) are replete with them beseeching their grandfather (s), his pure family, through his right and theirs, and through this adjuring the Most High.

They knew more about their grandfather’s traditions and the laws of their Lord than Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Abdul-Wahhab and their followers from among the Arabs of Najd. This is because they were the gate of the city of knowledge of Muhammad (s) and the inheritors of his knowledge from whom he ordered us to learn.

On page 260, he recorded:

A kind of beseeching the Prophet (s) is to turn towards his honored tomb while praying. This was common in the tradition of the Muslims for centuries, and for generations. Imam Malik had issued his fatwa about this matter and recommended it in his saying to al-Mansur, “Why do you turn your face away from him when he is your means and your father Adam’s means to Allah? You should turn your face towards him and ask him to be your intercessor.’

The author of Khulasat ul-Kalam said:

The scholars of the Islamic rites said that turning the face towards the Prophet’s honored tomb while visiting and praying is better than to turn it towards the Qiblah.

Ibn Hajar said in al-Jawharul-Munazzam:

What leads us to turn towards the Prophet’s tomb is that we all agree that the Prophet Muhammad (s) is alive in his tomb and he knows his visitors. If he (s) is alive, one cannot but turn the face towards him and turn his back to the Qiblah, therefore, it is the same to visit him in his tomb.

He then quoted Malik’s saying to al-Mansur, which is mentioned above.

He then said:

Az-Zarqani said in his book Sharh ul-Mawahib that the books of the Malikis are full of traditions recommending praying near the tomb (of the Prophet) facing it and turning the back to the Qiblah. He quoted from the doctrine of Abu Hanifa and that of ash-Shafi’i’s and from the generality of the schools of thought in Islam something similar. Then he said: Imam Ahmad is different from the others, but the scholars think that he turned towards the holy tomb like anybody else.

On page 258, he said:

As-Samhudi said: Many scholars within the four schools have mentioned in their books of Islamic rites concerning visiting the Prophet (s). It was recommended for visitors to turn their faces towards the honored tomb beseeching Allah to forgive them and to grant them what they ask for and to make the Prophet their intercessor.

On page 263 he said:

Abu Hanifa mentioned in his Musnad that Ibn Umar said, “It is recommended that when you visit the Prophet’s tomb, you turn your back to the Qiblah facing the tomb and you greet him.’ Ibn Jama’a mentions in his book al- Mansak ul-Kabir, “The sect of Abu Hanifa’ until he saidÖ “he turns until he stands towards the holy face with his back to the Qiblah and gives his greeting