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What is the correct way to do Tawassul? Is addressing Prophet Muhammad (s) and Imam Ali (a) directly allowed as is the case in Dua Faraj? Or should we only address God and ask Him by the right - Bi Haqqi - of the Ahl al-Bayt (a)?
Tawassul is a matter which has been misunderstood by many Muslims now a days under the Wahabi propaganda which wrongly claimed it as a type of worship to other than Allah. Wahabi sect claims following Tawheed but their books prove that they do not understand the real meaning of Tawheed in Quran and authentic Hadeeth. That is why they accuse other Muslims to be Mushrik just because they don't follow the Wahabi misunderstanding of Tawheed.
'Tawassul is seeking the help of the most humble servants of Allah to get our needs. We believe that they (The Prophet and Ahlul Bayt (AS) are Servants of Allah and only do what Allah wants. There is no question at all of Shirk because Shirk means to believe that there is a partner or helper etc to Allah.
'The blind did what the Prophet taught him and got back his eye sight. The Hadeeth is narrated in al-Tareekh al-Kabeer by al-Bukhari, and Tirmithi and Ibn Maajah and Nasaa'ee and al-Bayhaqi and Abu Na'eem in Ma'rufat al- Sahabah, and al-Tabaraani and Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani and al-Soyooti and many other well known Sunni scholars.
'We can address the Prophet (SAWA) and Ahlul Bayt (AS) directly knowing that they only do what Allah wants, as well as addressing Allah directly with the Waseela Bihaqqi of Ahlul Bayt (AS). Both are good.
If it is correct to say Ya Ali Madad because God gave him authority to help others then why don't we also call out to specific angels for help who have been given different roles and authority for different tasks?
It is ok to address a secondary cause (whether it be Imam 'Ali, an employer, a relative, etc) to request specific assistance as long as one agrees that Allah is the primary cause and these are just secondary means.
There is theoretically no problem with addressing the angels as well. However the Qur'an says that the angels fulfil God's command as God gives it to them and therefore this suggests they do not usually act according to the wishes or preferences of human beings. For instance, if an angel assigned to deliver sustenance, it will deliver what it was told to and not what the person wants. So for instance if I just casually say "Ya Jibra'il", it might not have the same effect. Of course God knows best.
Has Allah (SWT) conferred authority on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to forgive sins of all and sundry or is forgiving sins the exclusive prerogative of Allah?
Forgiveness of sins is in the hands of Allah (SWT) who gave the Prophet (SAWA) the greatest status of intercession ( Shafa'ah) and made it very clear in Quran that those who commit sinful acts should come to the Prophet so that he seeks forgiveness for them ( Had those who did wrong to themselves, come to you and begged for Allah's forgiveness, and the messenger had prayed for their forgiveness, they would have found Allah accepting their repentance and Merciful) Sura 4, Verse 64.
The Infallible Imams are our intercessors to Allah, The Glorious.
No one is allowed to claim that he is a definite intercessor to Allah except the Infallible.