Wed 23 Jm2 1435 - 23 April 2014
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‘Umar did not seek the help of Allaah by virtue of the status of al-‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him)

Hadeeth: Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that when they suffered drought, ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) would seek rain by virtue of al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, and he would say: “O Allaah, we used to ask You for rain by virtue of our Prophet and You gave us rain. Now we ask You for rain by virtue of the paternal uncle of our Prophet, so give us rain” and they would be given rain. Is this saheeh? Is this evidence that it is permissible to seek the help of Allaah by virtue of the status of the awliya’ (close friends of Allaah)?.

Praise be to Allaah.

The hadeeth referred to by the questioner is a saheeh hadeeth which was narrated by al-Bukhaari, but anyone who studies it will find that it is evidence that one should not seek help from Allaah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or of anyone else, because tawassul (using a means to achieve a goal) and al-waseelah is the thing that helps you to achieve that goal. The waseelah referred to in this hadeeth (“we used to ask You for rain by virtue of our Prophet and You gave us rain. Now we ask You for rain by virtue of the paternal uncle of our Prophet, so give us rain” and they would be given rain) is seeking the help of Allah by virtue of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), as a man said: “O Messenger of Allaah, our wealth has been destroyed and the roads are cut off, so pray to Allaah to help us.” And because ‘Umar said to al-‘Abbaas: “Get up, O ‘Abbaas, and pray to Allaah, so he prayed to Allaah.” If this had come under the heading of seeking Allaah’s help by virtue of a person’s status only, then ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) would have sought the help ofo Allaah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) before doing so by virtue of the status of al-‘Abbaas, because the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is greater before Allaah than that of al-‘Abbaas or anyone else. If this hadeeth came under the heading of seeking the help of Allaah by virtue of status that it would have been more appropriate for the ameer al-mu’mineen ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) to seek the help of Allaah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), not the status of al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. 

To sum up, there is nothing wrong with seeking the help of Allaah by means of the du’aa’ of a person who it is hoped will have his du’aa’s answered because of his righteousness. The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to seek the help of Allaah by means of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for them. Similarly, ‘Umar sought the help of Allaah by means of the du’aa’ of al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (may Allaah be pleased with him). So if you think a man is righteous and likely to have his du’aa’s answered because his food, drink, clothing and housing are halaal, and because he is known to be a man of worship and piety, there is nothing wrong with asking him to pray to Allaah for you and ask for what you like, on condition that this does not stir up self-admiration in this person whom you ask to make du’aa’ for you. If it does stir up self-admiration, then it is not permissible for you to doom him by making this request of him, because that will harm him. 

I also say: This is permissible, but I do not recommend it. I think that each person should ask Allaah by himself, without appointing any intermediary between him and Allaah. That brings a greater hope and is nearer to fear of Allaah. I also encourage anyone who asks his brother whose du’aa’s he hopes will be answered to make du’aa’ for him, to intend thereby to treat him kindly – i.e., the one who will make du’aa’ – and not do it for the sake of meeting his own needs, because if he asks him for the sake of meeting his own needs, then it will become like asking him for money and the like, which is blameworthy. But if he intends thereby to benefit his brother who will make du’aa’ by treating him kindly, then treating a Muslim kindly is something for which a person will be rewarded, as is well known – and that is better. And Allaah is the source of strength. End quote. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (2/277). 

For more information on the hadeeth about ‘Umar seeking the help of Allaah by virtue of al-‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) and the fact that this tawassul was by virtue of his du’aa’ and not of his status, please see the book al-Tawassul by Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him), pp. 50-68.

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