Praise be to Allaah.
Yes, this counts as shirk, because it is seeking the help of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and complaining about one’s situation to him. This implies that the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) can hear the call of those who call upon him in any place, and that he helps those who seek his help, and that he can relieve their distress. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was not able to do this when he was alive, so how about after his death? He does not know the unseen, and he does not possess the power to cause harm or bring benefits to himself or to others. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):
“Say (O Muhammad): “I possess no power over benefit or hurt to myself except as Allaah wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghayb (Unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth” (al-A’raaf 7:188)
“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will respond to your (invocation)” (Ghaafir 40:60)
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor)” (al-Baqarah 2:186)
So people should not call on anyone except Allaah; they should not seek the help of anyone except Him; they should not place their hopes in anyone except Him; they should not put their trust in anyone except Him. Allaah alone is the One in Whose hand is sovereignty and goodness, and He is Able to do all things.
Knowing the unseen, relieving distress, hearing the call of those who call upon Him and responding to them, are all things which only the Lord does. Whoever attributes any of these things to anyone else is a mushrik who is guilty of major shirk (shirk akbar). Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):
“Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations? Is there any ilaah (god) with Allaah? Little is that you remember!” (al-Naml 27:62)
“Say: None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghayb (Unseen) except Allaah” (al-Naml 27:65)
Allaah is the One Who forgives sins, relieves distress and knows what is in people’s hearts. People should not seek these things – forgiveness of sins, relief from distress and other things which no one is able to do except Allaah – from anyone other than Him, for He is the Only One Who is able to do that.