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Calling upon deceased sheikh

Published: 25/08/2011 12:44:00 PM GMT
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I once asked a scholar from a certain Sufi order about asking help from the deceased saints by saying something like: "Oh sheikh, please help me." He said that this is correct and claimed that asking help from saints is according to the Qur’ân and Sunnah. He cited the verse: “Indeed, your protecting friend is only Allah and His Prophet and the believers.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 55] He concluded that based on this verse, Saint `Abd al-Qâdir al-Jîlânî is my protecting friend who can help me by the help of Allah. What is the truth in this?

Answered by

Sheikh `Abd Allah al-Dumayjî

It is permissible to ask a living person to help you. Allah says: “Help ye one another in righteousness and piety.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 2] and says: “Now the man of his own people appealed to him against his foe, and Moses struck him with his fist and killed him.” [Sûrah al-Qasas: 15]

However, it is not allowed to ask a deceased person for help of any kind. This is a pure polytheism. This is what Allah severely warned us against and sent prophets and messages so that people would avoid it.

It does not make a difference who the deceased was, not even the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Companions, who are our example to follow, used to ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) to pray for them during his life time. However, after his death, none of them would come to his grave and ask him for help regardless how severe their conditions might have been and regardless of whether the problem was general or personal.

When a famine occurred during the reign of `Umar B. al-Khattâb, he told the Prophet’s uncle: “O, `Abbas, ask Allah for us” and said: “O, Lord, we were soliciting you by our Prophet and you would answer us and let us have rain, now we are soliciting you by the uncle of our Prophet so we ask you to answer us.” Neither `Umar nor another Companion went to the Prophet’s grave and asked him for rain. No one used to go the Prophet’s grave to seek forgiveness. The Companions clearly made a distinction between the living and the dead in this matter. Since it is not permitted to be done with the Prophet (peace be upon him), it is clearly equally prohibited to be done with someone else.

The essence of polytheism is to make a devotional appeal to other than Allah.

Wadd, Suwâ`, Yagûth, Ya`ûq and Nasrâ - the idols of pagan Arabia - were originally names of pious people, the same as Sheikh `Abd al-Qâdir al-Jîlânî. People made statues at their graves to remind each other of their pious conduct. However, after some time, they requested things from these people, though they were dead, and sought their help in fulfilling their needs.

This is an act of polytheism. The same applies to al-Lât. He was a good man. Sheikh `Abd al-Qadr al-Jîlânî, al-Husayn and Zaynab were doubtless pious people, but unfortunately, people began visiting their graves and asking them to fulfill their needs.

Allah says: “Is it not to Allah that sincere devotion is due? But those who take for protectors others than Allah (say): ‘We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allah'." [Sûrah al-Zumar: 3]

Those who worshipped statues thought that they represented pious people and their intention in worshipping those statues was only to be granted intercession through them to Allah. This is always the reason used by those who try to justify calling on the deceased for help.

Some who join Gods besides Allah in the Islamic era have gone further than the polytheists of pre-Islamic times by describing their Gods of being able to maniputate the universe. Some of them have gone so far as to say: “O `Abd al-Qâdir al- Jîlânî O you who have dispensation of the universe.”

Then what is there left for Allah? If such a statement is not deemed pure polytheism, what then would be pure polytheism?

The person who told you that you were doing the right thing by asking `Abd al-Qâdir in his grave, and considered that as being from the Qur’ân and Sunnah is indeed a liar. You will never see in Allah’s book and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) anything that condones such conduct.

In fact, the Qur’ân, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and all other books and Prophets were sent to spread monotheism and the loneliness of Allah in worship. Allah says: “Not a messenger did We send before thee without this inspiration sent by Us to him that there is no god but I: therefore worship and serve Me” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 25].

Allah warns us in many verses not to call upon the deceased. He says: “Verily those whom ye call upon besides Allah are servants like unto you: call upon them, and let them listen to your prayer, if ye are (indeed) truthful” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 194] and says: “If ye invoke them, they will not listen to your call, and if they were to listen, the cannot answer your (prayer) On the Day of Judgment they will reject your ‘partnership’, and none (O men) can inform you like Him who is All-Aware” [Sûrah Fâtir: 14].

Let us now look at the context of the verse “Indeed, your protecting friend is only Allah and His Prophet and the believers - those who establish regular prayers and pay Zakat and bow down humbly (in worship).” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 55]

His claim that requesting the dead to help is permitted is absolutely untrue. This verse comes shortly after the verse that reads: "O ye who believe, take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other, and he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them, verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 51]

Allah orders us not to take Jews and Christians as friends and protectors as they will be losers. Then He tells us the attributes of those who should be our friends and protectors.

It was said by Ibn `Abbas that this verse was revealed after `Ubâdah b. al-Sâmit and `Abd Allah b. Salâm left Judaism and embraced Islam. They were abandoned by the Jews. That verse was sent down and the Prophet (peace be upon him) read it to `Abd Allah b. Salâm. Then `Abd Allah b. Salâm said: “We are pleased with Allah, His Messenger and the believers as our friends and protectors.”

Ibn Kathîr writes in his commentary on this verse: “That means the Jews are not your friends and protectors, but Allah, His messenger and the believers are.” This is similar to Allah’s saying: “Behold! Verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear nor shall they grieve” [Sûrah Yûnus: 62]. Such verses do not talk about some persons in particular, but talk about pious people in general, whom Allah describes as: “Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil.” [Sûrah Yûnus: 63]

Where in this verse is there any indication that we are to request help from the deceased? This is a total falsehood. “Glory to thee (our Lord), this is a most serious slander.” [Sûrah al-Nûr: 16]

May Allah guide us all.

Source: Islam Today

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