Chapter Eleven: Seeking Waseela from the Saints (Awliya)

Here we shall show some proofs. A comprehensive analysis of the legitimacy of Tawassul is available in our article “Ya Ali Madad!”.
Ya Ali Madad! (Tawassul)

“O believers fear God and seek a means of approach towards Him”.

We have already proven in our article ‘Ya Ali Madad’ that such actions are permissible according to the Salaf.

Umar sought the Waseela of Abbas

We read in Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al Salat Volume 2, Book 17, Number 123:

Narrated Anas:
Whenever drought threatened them, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, used to ask Al-Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib to invoke Allah for rain. He used to say,”O Allah! We used to ask our Prophet to invoke You for rain and You would bless us with rain. And now we ask his uncle to invoke You for rain. O Allah! Bless us with rain.” And so it would rain.


The Deobandi and Salafi are opposed to seeking the Wasila of pious men when supplicating before Allah (swt). What they say is that you can only pray to Allah directly. The Qur’an does not support their assertion; on the contrary Allah (swt) tells the faithful to approach him via a Wasila. The Sunnis do not question Umar’s praying to Allah in the name of Abbas. By the same token the Shi’a perform Azadari to express their love and sincerity towards Hadrath Imam Husayn (as) and deem him a means of approach towards Allah to ask Allah for his blessings.

On page 106 of Sawaiqh al Muhriqa, an esteemed Sunni work of Ibn Hajr, he whilst discussing the history of Damascus narrated the above-mentioned incident with some variation:

“When an intense drought occurred in 17th Hijra, Umar knocked on the door of Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib. Abbas asked who it was and he replied Umar. Abbas asked what brings you here? Umar said ‘We want to pray for rain via your intercession’. Abbas asked him to sit then he gathered Banu Hashim and asked them to wear nice clothes and perfume. They came out in grandeur with Ali walking before him, Imam Hassan on his right side and Imam Husayn on left, the other bani Hashim followed him. Hadrath Abbas said to Hadrath Umar that no outsider should mix with them”.

We appeal to justice.

Umar could not reach Allah without the mediation of Abbas and Abbas could also not reach Allah without Ali bin Abi Talib (as) and his pure progeny. It is therefore concluded that no one, whether he is the uncle of the Holy Prophet (s) or his father in law or some other relative, a companion or an ordinary Muslim can reach Allah without the help and intercession of the Ahl’ul bayt (as).

Imam Hanbal’s shirt

On page 101 of Ahl’ul Sunnah’s esteemed work, Hayat ul Haywaan, we read the following:

“Imam Shafiyee sent a man named rabbi with a letter and he came to Ahmad bin Hanbal in Baghdad. Imam Ahmad Hanbal gave his shirt to him. When he came back to imam Shafi the latter ordered him to wash the shirt and bring its water to him. When the water was brought to him imam Shafi poured it over his body.”


Imam Shafiyee pours the water containing the perspirations of the shirt of Imam Ahmad Hanbal and it is a source of blessing for him. But if someone kisses the soil where Imam Husayn (as) was martyred there is a hue and cry about Biddah.

Visting the Graves of Saints

Renowned Sunni scholar Allamah Nooruddin Samhodi who authored a detailed history of Madina known as Wafa al Wafa, quotes Holy Prophet (s) to have said:

“A person who visits the graves of his parents on every Friday will have his name listed with the saints and pious people.”
Wafa al Wafa, Volume 2 page 413

He has also reported this tradition from Ayesha:

“A person who visits the grave of his brother will have the dead get attached to him.”
Wafa al Wafa Page 404

When a person attains rewards for visiting the graves of ordinary Muslims and his kin, then one can not even imagine the rewards for visiting the grave of Allah’s beloved and the Holy Prophet ‘s (s) dearest Imam Husayn (a.s).

Another commentin Wafa al Wafa page, 446 is as follows:

“To visit the graves excessively and to stay at the graves of the bearers of virtue and safety is desirable.”

If it is desirable to visit and stay at the graves of ordinary pious and virtuous men, then there is no doubt that Imam Husayn (as) is the source and fountain of virtues and bounties, what would be the reward for performing pilgrimage to his shrine?

We also read in Wafa al Wafa, page 413:

“Performing pilgrimage to the graves of the Prophets, the righteous’, the Tabi’een, the Scholars and other saints has always been a famous method of earning blessings. Imam Ghazali has said that someone who visits a Saint to earn blessings should (upon the death of the Saint) visit his grave in order to earn blessings, and it is permissible to travel for this cause.”

Allamah Shaykh Shiblanji in Noor ul Absaar, page 178, published in Egypt stated:

Allama She’rani has stated in the tenth chapter of the book Sunan: “Out of those things in which Allah has bestowed favours on me, to the extent I can, I perform pilgrimage to the graves of those from the progeny of Holy Prophet (s) who are buried in Egypt. Whether one attends the graves of the Progeny of the Holy Prophet (s) I perform this pilgrimage thrice a year with the intention of repaying and fulfilling the rights of the blessings of the Prophet (s). [Because the Ahl'ul Bayt are the progeny of the Holy Prophet (s) the act of going to their graves shall repay my debts to the Holy Prophet (s) on me]. And I see none of companions to care for this remuneration, either because they all are unaware of the places where the Ahl ‘ul Bayt (as) are buried or they think that they were not at all buried in Egypt, but this is due to the ignorance because in these cases it is enough to follow the intuition.”

… “Sayyed Aa’la al-Khawaas used to end the process of performing pilgrimages to the shrines of the Ahl’ul Bayt with the pilgrimage to Imam Shaf’i's grave. Hence it is obligatory for every Muslim to visit the graves of the relatives of the Holy Prophet (s) and give priority during pilgrimage by attending the shrines of Ahl’ul Bayt over the pilgrimage to the shrines of the Saints buried in Egypt. Some people visit the graves of Sufi’s who were lost in meditation and also sleep in the places they were born, but you refrain for it so that you may be guided.”

Imam Ghazali in Ihya-ul-Uloom, volume 4, page 272, (published in Lucknow) writes:

“The pilgrimage to the graves is desirable by all means, because it makes one remember the hereafter and it recalls the admonitions. And visiting the graves of pious people is desirable and it brings blessings and auspiciousness. Initially the Holy Prophet (s) prohibited the pilgrimages to graves but permitted it later.

…The Holy Prophet (s) performed the pilgrimage to his Mother’s grave along with a thousand armed horse-men. He was never seen to cry as much as he cried that day.”

… “Once Ayesha was seen by the narrator returning from the graveyard, he asked her that where had she been to. Ayesha replied that she had visited her brother Abdul-Rehman’s grave. The narrator asked if it was not prohibited by the Holy Prophet (s). She replied that initially he had asked to abstain from it but allowed it later on.”

… “After burying the corpse, it is desirable to recite the funeral instructions (Thalqeen) and also to pray for him.”

Weeping and performing Prayers over the graves of martyrs

Imam Hakim records:

Salman ibn Dawud – Ja’far ibn Muhammad – his father (Muhammad ibn Ali) – Ali Ibn Husayn – his father (Ali ibn Abi Talib): ‘Fatima daughter of the Holy Prophet used to visit the grave of her uncle Hamza every Friday and used to pray and weep there’.
Mustadrak al-Hakim, Volume 3 page 424 Hadith 1345

Hakim stated about this Hadith: ‘All the narrators of this hadith are Thiqah’. Moreover Shaykh Sirajuddin Umar bin Ali al-Shafiyee (d. 804 H) popularly known as Ibn al-Mulaqan said: ‘Sahih or Hasan’ (Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, Volume 2 page 33)

Allamah Noor al Din Samhodi states:

“Fatima (r) visited the grave of the Holy Prophet (s) and stayed there, then picked a handful of sand from her father’s grave , smelled it and wept and recited a couplet which is translated as a person who smells the sand of Holy Prophet’s (s) grave and then does not smell any other fragrance throughout his life, what would be the loss to him [because the fragrance of the sand of Holy Prophet's (s) grave would be enough for him and no other fragrance can match it.] She further said that she had been given so much trouble and hardships that the days would have converted to nights had such hardships been burdened on anyone else.”
Wafa al-Wafa, volume 2, page 244

Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, in his famous book, Ghanyatul Talibeen, page 64 writes:

“It is reported from Hasan Basri that the Caliph Sulayman bin Abdul-Malik dreamt that the Holy Prophet (s) congratulated him and treated him with affection. Hasan Basri interpreted his dream to suggest that he may have carried out a noble deed to the Holy Prophet’( s) Progeny. The Caliph Sulayman affirmed this and said that he had found Imam Husayn’s holy head in Yazeed’s treasury; he covered it with 5 pieces of expensive cloth and offered his funeral prayers along with a group of his companions. Imam Hasan Basri told the Caliph that it was due to this that the Holy Prophet (s) was pleased with him. The Caliph was delighted and rewarded Imam Hasan Basri accordingly. It is also reported by Hamza ibn e Dhiyaat that he had seen the Holy Prophet (s) and Ibrahim (a.s) in his dream both of them were offering prayers next to the shrine of Imam Husayn”

Allamah Samhodi writes:

“The Caller of prayer (Muezin) Bilal was also amongst those who travelled from Syria in order to perform the Ziyarah of the Holy Prophet (s).

… Bilal was in Syria, when he dreamt the Holy Prophet (s) asked why he was being so discourteous by failing to visit Madina to offer pilgrimage. On this Bilal got scared and depressed and immediately made his way to Madina. When he got there, he offered pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine of the Prophet (s) and kept crying and rubbing his face. In the meantime Hasan and Husayn reached there. Bilal started kissed and hugged them both. These two princes wished to hear the Adhan he used to recite during the times of the Holy Prophet (s) in his Mosque. Bilal fulfilled their wish and started reciting Adhan.”
Wafa al-Wafa, volume 2, page 408


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