Tawassul (using intermediaries in
supplication to Allah Most High) through the Messenger of Allah
(Allah bless him & give him peace), Awliya and righteous
believers is permitted, rather recommended according to the four
schools of Sunni Islamic law.
This has been the mainstream belief held by scholars of this Ummah
throughout the eras. The Salaf (predecessors) from the earliest
generations had this understanding and this has been the way of
the four Sunni Madhhabs in Fiqh.
The meaning of Tawassul is: To ask Allah Almighty through the
medium and intercession of another person. For example, one says:
“O Allah! I ask forgiveness for my sins through the Wasila
(intercession) of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him &
give him peace)”.
Tawassul can be carried out through one’s own righteous deeds,
the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), righteous people
who have passed away and those who are still alive. All these
types of Tawassul are permitted and acceptable.
The permissibility of Tawassul is proven from the Qur’an, Sunnah,
continued practice of the Ummah and reason.
Some of the proofs on the validity of Tawassul:
1) Allah Most High says:
“O you who believe! Fear Allah and seek a means (wasila) to
him” (Surah al-Ma'ida, V: 35)
The word “Wasila” (a means of approach) in its general
indication includes Tawassul (intercession) by persons, and
2) Allah Almighty says:
“If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come to
you (O Muhammad, Allah bless him & give him peace) and asked
Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger of Allah had asked
forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed forgiving
and Most Merciful”. (Surah al-Nisa, V: 64)
These two verses are clear on the permissibility and
recommendation of Tawassul. The distinction made by some, between
the living and the dead in this matter only comes from one who
believes in the perishing of souls upon death, which would lead to
Also, when one uses Tawassul in supplication, one does not ask and
seek from other than Allah Almighty. Only the high position,
status and rank of the person through whom Wasila is carried out
is used as intercession. In other words, the servant is saying:
“O Allah! This certain Prophet or servant of yours is very close
to you. I do not possess any good deeds, but I have love for the
pious. O Allah! Pardon me and forgive my sins due to this love and
connection I have with this pious servant of yours”.
Now, every person with a sound mind will determine that there is
no reason to distinguish and differentiate between the living and
the dead. This is the reason why scholars such as Imam Subki,
Hafidh Ibn Kathir, Imam an-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on them all)
and many others have declared the permissibility of Tawassul
through the righteous, whether alive or passed away to the Mercy
3) Imam al-Tirmidhi (Allah have Mercy on him) and others relate
from Uthman ibn Hunaif (Allah be pleased with him):
“A blind man came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him
& give him peace) and said: “I've been afflicted in my
eyesight, so pray to Allah for me”. The Prophet (Allah bless him
& give him peace) said: “Go perform ablution (Wudu), perform
two Rak’at Salat and then say: “O Allah! I ask you and turn to
you through my Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad!
I seek your intercession with my lord for the return of my
eyesight, that it may be fulfilled. O Allah! Grant him
intercession for me”. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him
& give him peace) then said: “and if there is some other
need, do the same”. (Recorded by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa'i,
Tabrani and others, with a sound chain of narrators).
The express content of this Hadith proves the legal validity of
Tawassul through a living person. It implicitly proves the
validity of Tawassul through a deceased person, as Tawassul
through a living or dead person is not through a physical body or
through life or death, rather, through the positive meaning
attached to the person in both life and death.
4) Moreover, Imam Tabrani relates in his al-Mu’jam al-Kabir
reporting from the same Uthman ibn Hunaif (Allah be pleased with
him) that a person repeatedly visited him concerning something he
needed, but Uthman paid no attention to him. The man met his son
and complained to him about the matter- this was after the death
of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace)
and after the eras of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar (Allah
be pleased with them)- so Uthman (who collected Hadith and was
from the learned) said : “Go to the place of Wudu, then come to
the Masjid, perform two Rak’ats and then say : “O Allah!, I
ask you and turn to you through our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet
of Mercy. O Muhammad! I turn through you to my lord, that He
fulfil my need”....... until the end of the Hadith.
This is an explicit and clear text from a Companion (sahabi)
proving the legal validity of Tawassul through the dead. The
Hadith has been classed as authentic (Sahih) by al-Bayhaqi,
Mundhiri, al-Haythami and many others.
5) In the Hadith recorded by Imam al-Bukhari and others, the
Companion Umar (Allah be pleased with him) made Tawassul through
the uncle of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give
him peace), Sayyiduna Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), in asking
Allah Almighty for rain at the time of drought.
These and many other Ahadith are clear on the permissibility and
validity of Tawassul. This is the reason why the great traditional
Sunni scholars have held this belief throughout the ages. Even in
the present era, most of the Muslims who belong to the Ahl al-Sunnah
Wa al-Jama’ah in most parts of the world have this belief.
Many books in Arabic and other languages have been written in
refutation of those who regard Tawassul to be Shirk. Scholars from
Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Emirates, India, Pakistan and
Saudi Arabia itself have rejected the position held by the
minority -so called- Salafi sect.
As far as some of the scholars of the Haramayn are concerned,
there views in matters of Aqida are generally from the blind
following of Imam Ibn Taymiyya... The Imam, despite having great
knowledge, in many issues chose a path which was different from
the path of the majority of the Ummah, and the Scholars by and
large did not accept his views.
At the same time, one should be precautious in not having any
wrong belief in Aqidah. There should be the conviction that Allah
Almighty alone has influence over everything, outwardly and
inwardly. Also, one should not have the belief that the
supplication (Dua) is not accepted without Tawassul. This is the
And Allah knows best