A REFUTATION OF BILAL PHILIPS
AND HIS SLANDERS AGAINST
In the name of Allah, the Merciful to the Muslims in the World and the HereAfter, and Merciful to the unbelievers only in this World.
BILAL PHILIP’S ACCUSES AHL AL-SUNNA SCHOLAR OF SHIRK AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN FUNDRAISING EVENT
In the recent fundraising event at Madison Square Garden, Bilal Philips, a follower of wahhabi (=also called “salafi”) ideologies accused a reputable orthodox Sunni (Shafi’i) Shaykh, Nuh Ha Mim Keller, of shirk. The exact words of Bilal Philips, who spoke over a telephone to the large audience, were:
“We also have a distorted view coming from certain religious innovations, most of which could be attributed back to the principles of mysticism, Sufism which has appeared in the Muslim ummah, which though they attribute it back to Prophet (sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), though the form which we cited [?] in half the countries have nothing to do with the Prophet’s (sall-Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) teachings at all….”
Bial Philips continues to say:
“And perhaps the greatest evil which came out of it is the principle of calling upon others beside Allah, where human beings are set up as intermediaries between man and God. And so we find people today, under the guise of Sufism etc., calling for such things. PEOPLE LIKE NUH HA MIM KELLER, IN HIS BOOK “THE RELIANCE OF THE TRAVELLER”, HE SPENDS A GREAT DEAL OF EFFORT AND TIME IN THE APPENDIX OF THE BOOK JUSTIFYING PRAYING TO PROPHET MUHAMMAD (Caps mine)…”
As you clearly see, Bial Philips accused a Muslim scholar of justifying praying to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and when I checked the book, “The Reliance of the Traveller” thoroughly, there was absolutely no indication that Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller was supporting shirk. Rather, Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s book had a whole section on “TAWASSUL,” which is to ASK ALLAH FOR SOMETHING USING AN INTERMEDIARY. Using someone as an intermediary is not the same as actually “worshipping” the intermediary. This is a slander by Abu Aminah Bilal Philips against Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’a who have supported “Tawassul” for over a thousand years. Tawassul was done by the Prophet (pbuh) himself, and was practiced by great Companions (like Bilal ibn al-Harith; may Allah bless him), and others of the pious salaf us-salih (Imam Shafi’i did tawassul by means of Imam Abu Hanifah).
So in actuality, Bilal Philips is slandering not just Nuh Keller, but the Prophet (pbuh), the Companions, and the others of the salaf us-salih, and the ulema of the khalaf who followed their footsteps.
It is not new that Bilal Philips has called “tawassul,” which is a permissible Islamic practice, to be unIslamic. He says the same in his books.
BILAL PHILIPS’ STATEMENT IN HIS BOOK THAT TAWASSUL IS “UNISLAMIC”, AND HIS REVEALING HIMSELF AS A WAHHABI
Bilal Philips, in his “Evolution of Fiqh,” page 130, says:
“Furthermore, in opposing tawassul…the twentieth century descendants and followers of Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab WERE ATTACKING UNISLAMIC PRACTICES (caps mine).”
The above statement from Bilal Philips tells the readers two things about him. First, he acknowledges to be a supporter of wahhabees and hence becomes an innovator himself. By showing respect to Muhammad ibn ‘Abdl-Wahhab, the biggest innovator of the modern era, he contributes to the efforts of those who wish to destroy Islam. Ibrahim ibn Maisara reported Allah’s Messenger (Salla-Allahu-‘alayhi-wasallam) as saying: “He who showed respect to an innovator he in fact aided in the demolishing of Islam (narrated by Baihaqi).”
Second, Bilal Philips claims that tawassul is an “unIslamic practice” (which is why he accused Nuh Ha Mim Keller of shirk in the Madison Square Garden fundraising dinner). The false claims of Bilal Philips opposes the perspectives of Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah (=scholars and followers of the Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali madhahib, of which 99% of Muslims have been part of). Tawassul is in fact permissible and even recommended by the Sunni ulema and plenty of evidence in the Qur’an and Sunna exists for it. Tawassul (or asking Allah for something by means of an intermediary after the latter’s death — one of the ways of the legal ways of tawassul) is only rejected by the wahhabis today.
WAHHABIS DEVIANCE AND THEIR REFUTATIONS; AL-ALBANI, TAMIMI, AND IBN BAAZ SHARE BILAL PHILIPS’ DEVIANCE AND SPEAK AGAINST TAWASSUL
To read a refutation of the wahhabee movement, one can read plenty of books by Ahl al-Sunna scholars. “Al-Fitnatul-Wahhabiyya,” by the Mufti of Mecca, Ahmad ibn Zayni Dahlan ash-Shafi’i and “The Beacon of Humanity and the Clarification of Ignorance,” by the great Shaykh Ibn Alawi Al-Haddad.
There are hundreds of other books written by other ulema although the aforementioned refutations are sufficient to expose wahhabee deviance. For your reference, here are a few more sources of refutation against the wahhabees: Shaykh Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan Al-Buti’s “Al-salafiyyatu marhalatun zamaniyyatun mubarakatun la madhhabun islami” [“The Salafiyya is a blessed historical period not an Islamic school of law”], Al-muhaddith Muhammad al-Hasan ibn `Alawi Al-Maliki al-Husayni’s “Mafahimu yajibu an tusahhah” [“Notions that should be corrected”], and al-Sayyid Mustafa ibn Ahmad ibn Hasan Al-Shatti al-Athari al-Hanbali’s “al-Nuqul al-shar’iyyah fi al-radd ‘ala al-Wahhabiyya” [“The Legal Proofs in Answering the Wahhabis”]. One will have ample evidence from these sources to prove that Bilal Philips’ defense of wahhabees is tantamount to defending ignorance and reprehensible innovations.
Claims that seeking an intermediary between Allah and man is unIslamic are also made by other wahhabee “scholars.” For example: Muhammad bin Suleiman At-Tamimi, in his article, “What Negates One’s Islam,” states:
“WHOEVER SETS UP AN INERMEDIARY BETWEEN HIMSELF AND ALLAH, whom he prays to, SEEKS INTERCESSION FROM and puts his reliance in, has BLASPHEMED according to the consensus of the scholars.”
Al-Tamimi is lying in behalf of the majority of scholars because you will read below that the majority of scholars have considered setting up an intermediary between oneself and Allah and seeking intercession a permissible and meritorious act (provided that one believes that Allah is granting the wish and not the intermediary, which is clearly stated in Nuh Keller’s “Reliance of the Traveller.”
Furthermore, a similar statement is made by the so-called Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdl-Aziz ibnn Abdullah Ibn Baaz. Ibn Baaz, in his article “Ten Things Which Nullify One’s Islam,” says:
“SETTING UP INTERMEDIARIES BETWEEN ONESELF AND ALLAAH, making supplication to them, ASKING THEIR INTERCESSION WITH ALLAH, and placing ones trust in them IS UNBELIEF (KUFR).”
What Bilal Philips, Ibn Baaz, and al-Tamimi call kufr, i.e. setting up intermediaries when asking Allah, is in fact a practice of the noble Sahaba and their pious followers. This will be explained in more detail below.
THE DEFINITION OF TAWASSUL
According to the “Reliance of the Traveller” (the book which Bilal Philips accuses of shirk), the defintion of Tawassul is: Supplicating Allahu Ta’ala by means of an intermediary, whether it be a living person, dead person, a good deed, or a name or attribute of Allahu Ta’ala. Tawassul is a “means” Muslims seek, using an intermediary, when asking Allahu Ta’ala for something.”
One of the many verses in the noble Qur’an which permit Tawassul is:
“Allah the Blessed and the Exalted said: “O ye who believe, fear Allah and seek ye the means to Him” (Sura al-ma’ida, verse34, juz’ 4)
AHL AL-SUNNA SHAYKH YUSUF RIFA’I APPROVES OF TAWASSUL AND PRESENTS THE EVIDENCE
Shaykh ul-Islam Yusuf ibn al-Sayyid Hashim al-Rifa’i, a Shafi’i scholar, former minister of state, educator, Sufi, and author explains the issue of tawassul very clearly in his “Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’ah.” The following is a translation of part of this book by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, who added this as a section in his translation of “Al-‘Umdat al-salik” (The Reliance of the Traveller) by Shaykh Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, a student of the famous Shafi’i mujtahid Taqi al-Din al-Subki.
Shaykh Yusuf al-Rifa’i says:
“I here want to convey the position, attested to by compelling legal evidence, of the orthodox majority of Sunni Muslims on the subject of supplicating Allah through an intermediary (tawassul), and so I say (and Allah alone gives success) that since there is no disagreement among scholars that supplicating Allah through an intermediary is in principle legally valid, the discussion of its details merely concerns derived rulings that involve interschool differences, unrelated to questions of belief or unbelief, monotheism or associating partners with Allah (shirk);”
“the sphere of the question being limited to permissibility or impermissibility, and its ruling being that it is either lawful or unlawful. There is no difference among groups of Muslims in their consensus on the permissibility of three types of supplicating Allah through an intermediary (tawassul):
(1) TAWASSUL through a living righteous person to Allah Most High, as in the hadith of the blind man with the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as we shall explain;
(2) The TAWASSUL of a living person to Allah Most High through his own good deeds, as in the hadith of the three people trapped in a cave by a great stone, a hadith related by Imam Bukhari in his “Sahih;”
(3) And the TAWASSUL of a person to Allah Most High through His entity (dhat), names, attributes, and so forth.
Since the legality of these types is agreed upon, there is no reason to set forth the evidence for them. The only area of disagreement is supplicating Allah (tawassul) through a righteous dead person. The majority of the orthodox Sunni Community hold that it is lawful, and have supporting hadith evidence…”
Shaykh Yusuf al-Rifa’i goes on to present the dalail (proof) of the hadeeth of the blind man, who asked the Prophet (Salla-Allahu-‘alayhi-wasallam) to ask Allah to restore his eyesight afterwhich the Prophet (‘alayhi salatu wassalam) taught him a du’a and instructed him to say it after completing ablution (wudu) and two rak’as of prayer:
“Oh Allah, I ask You and turn to You through my Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I seek your intercession with my Lord for the return of my eyesight [and in another version: “for my need, that it may be fulfilled. O Allah, grant him intercession for me”].”
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) added, “And if there is some need, do the same.” (Related by Tirmidhi and 15 other ahadeeth masters and classified as rigorously authentic (sahih))
Shaykh Yusuf al-Rifa’i continues: “Scholars of Sacred Law infer from this hadith the recommended character of the “prayer of need,” in which someone in need of something from Allah Most High performs such a prayer and then turns to Allah with this supplication together with other suitable supplications, traditional or otherwise, according to the need and how the person feels.”
“The express content of the hadith proves the legal validity of “tawassul” through a living person (as the Prophet – peace be upon him – was alive at that time). It implicitly proves the validity of tawassul through a deceased one as well, since tawassul through a living or dead person is not through a physical body or through a life or death, but rather through the positive meaning (ma’na tayyib) attached to the person in both life and death. The body is but the vehicle that carries that significance, which requires that the person be respected whether dead or alive; for the words “O Muhammad” are an address to someone physically absent – in which state the living and dead are alike – an address to the meaning, dear to Allah, that is connected with his spirit, a meaning that is the ground of “tawassul,” be it through a living or dead person.”
So now it is known that Bilal Philips has not only accused Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller of shirk, but also Shaykh Yusuf Rif’ai (and the plenty of shuyukh who revised and approved of Shaykh Nuh Keller’s translation of “The Reliance of the Traveller”).
It must be noted that plenty of other ahadeeth exist to prove the validity of Tawassul through an alive or dead person. Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid, a Hanafi scholar says (as quoted in “The Reliance of the Traveller”): “Those who call on them [the intermediaries] cannot be blamed. As for someone who believes that those called upon can cause effects, benefit, or harm, which they create or cause to exist as Allah does, such a person is an idolator who has left Islam — Allah be our refuge!”
By the Shaykh’s words, it is understood that Allah fulfills the du’as whether Allahu Ta’ala is asked directly or asked using an intermediary — dead or alive. The wahhabees claim that it is only permissible to do tawassul while the intermediary is present and alive, but not when the intermediary is in his grave. Ibn Taymiya said that doing tawassul using an intermediary who is living in the life of barzakh is haraam (which is against the understanding of the Muslim majority), while Muhammad ibn Abdl-Wahhab said that it is “Shirk ul-Akbar” — the “major shirk” which makes one a “mushrik” or polytheist. Bilal Philips, Tamimi, Ibn Baaz, and other wahhabees like Nasirudin Al-Albani, are simply following what Muhammad ibn Abdl-Wahhab said about tawassul, and they are ignoring what the other thousands of ulema said regarding its permissibility.
The wahhabees oppose the consensus of the Ahl al-Sunna majority, and Muhammad ibn Abdl-Wahhab accuses the majority of the Sunni ulema to be mushrikeen. That’s why Bilal Philips accused Nuh Keller of shirk. This is one of many examples of how the Wahhabees revive the creed of the Kharijites who lived at the time of the noble Sahaba.
The Kharijites believed they were the only Muslims while everyone else, including Ali and Mu’awiya (Allah bless them), were Kuffar. The Wahhabees believe that for more than a thousand years Muslims were attributing partners to Allah and were kuffar because they did tawassul.
By such satanic thinking, Ibn ‘Abdl-Wahhab made the blood of countless Muslims halal, and commanded his followers to butcher them in the name of Islam.
Imam Muhammad Amin Ibn Abidin, a Hanafi scholar who passed away in 1836 CE, said in his “Hashiyya radd al-Mukhtar,” volume 3, page 309:
“In our time Ibn Abdl-Wahhab (Najdi) appeared, and attacked the two noble sanctuaries (Makkah and Madinah). He claimed to be a Hanbali, but his thinking was such that only he alone was a Muslim, and everyone else was a polytheist! Under this guise, he said that killing the Ahl al-Sunna was permissible…”
Another hadeeth to prove the legitimacy of tawassul, even after the intermediary is dead is the hadeeth of the man in need. Shaykh Yusuf al-Rifa’i states:
“Moreover, Tabarani, in his “al-Mu’jam al saghir,” reports a hadith from ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf that a man repeatedly visited Uthman ibn Affan (Allah be pleased with him) concerning something he needed, but Uthman paid no attention to him or his need. The man met Ibn Hunayf and complained to him about the matter – this being after the death (wisal) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and after the caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar – so Uthman ibn Hunayf, who was one of the Companions who collected hadiths and was learned in the religion of Allah, said: “Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then come to the mosque, perform two rak’as of prayer therein, and say:
‘O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I turn through you to my Lord, that He may fulfill my need,’ and mention your need. Then come so that I can go with you [to the caliph Uthman].”
So the man left and did as he had been told, then went to the door of Uthman ibn Affan (Allah be pleased with him), and the doorman came, took him by the hand, brought him to Uthman ibn Affan, and seated him next to him on a cushion. ‘Uthman asked, “What do you need?” and the man mentioned what he wanted, and Uthman accomplished it for him, then he said, “I hadn’t remembered your need until just now,” adding, “Whenever you need something, just mention it.” Then, the man departed, met Uthman ibn Hunayf, and said to him, “May Allah reward you! He didn’t see to my need or pay any attention to me until you spoke with him.” Uthman ibn Hunayf replied:
“By Allah, I didn’t speak to him, but I have seen a blind man come to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and complain to him of the loss of his eyesight. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace said, “Can you not bear it?’ and the man replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not have anyone to lead me around, and it is a great hardship for me.’ The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) told him, ‘Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then pray two rak’as of prayer and make the supplications.'” Ibn Hunayf went on, “By Allah, we didn’t part company or speak long before the man returned to us as if nothing had ever been wrong with him.”
This is an explicit, unequivocal text from a prophetic Companion proving the legal validity of tawassul through the dead. The account has been classified as rigously authenticated (SAHIH) by the famous Huffaz Baihaqi, Mundhiri, and Haythami.
It is sufficient to accept the hadeeth of the blind man and the hadeeth of the man in need to justify that tawassul by the dead or alive is permissible. This is agreed upon by the majority of the Sunni ulema.
It must be noted that Muhammad Nasirudin Al-Albani, a wahhabi and so-called muhaddith, wrote a book titled “Tawassul” trying to disprove this practice after the intermediary is in his grave. His interpretations are of no significance since he opposes the interpretations of the majority of huffaz of Ahl al Sunna wa’al Jama’ah.
The hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ud, related by Imam Ahmad in his “Musnad,” states: “Whatever the majority of Muslims see as right, then that is good to Allah, and whatever the majority of Muslims see as wrong, it is wrong to Allah.” By this dalil, Al-Albani becomes among the stray and lost sheep because his opinions oppose that of the scholarly Sunni majority.
Al-Albani’s and Bilal Philips’ opinions only represent the wahhabee minority. It is also a fact that Al-Albani is “self-taught” and that he never had a Shaykh to teach him the knowledge of hadeeth. He does not possess a continuous chain of knowledge that goes back to the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) as the other true Sunni huffaz, like Imams Nawawi, Baihaqi, Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi, Nisa’i, and Ibn Hajar do. Hence, Al-Albani’s interpretations and understanding that “tawassul done by an intermediary who is in his grave is Islamically unlawful” is false and meaningless.
BILAL PHILIPS IN ACTUALITY ACCUSES A COMPANION OF SHIRK
In “The Fundamentals of Tawheed,” Bilal Philips says:
“If someone prays to the Prophet (saws), to so-called saints, Jinns or angels asking for help or asking them to request help from Allaah for them, they have also committed Shirk.”
This statement has both truth and falsehood in it. The truth is that whoever prays to other than Allah is undoubtedly a polytheist.
Therefore, praying to the Prophet, saints, jinns, and angels is indeed shirk because such people are mushrikeen who attribute partners to Allahu Ta’ala in worship. Only Allah is to be worshipped. Only Allah Azza Wajal creates the fulfillment of a supplication, as those who do tawassul by the alive or dead are very well aware of.
However, the last part of Bilal Philips’ statement, “OR ASKING THEM TO REQUEST HELP FROM ALLAAH FOR THEM, THEY HAVE ALSO COMMITTED SHIRK” is an ugly accusation against the Sahaba that they committed shirk! May Allah protect us from falling into the abyss of ignorance as Bilal Philips has.
It is well known that a companion of the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam), Bilal ibn al-Harith, went to the grave of the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) when there was a drought, and said:
“O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah to give rain to your Ummah; they are close to perish…”
It is correct to call what he did tawassul and istighathah (seeking or asking for help), because he went to the grave of the Messenger (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) asking him to save them from the calamity that hit them by him asking Allahu Ta’ala to give them rain. The Huffaz Al-Baihaqi, and Ibn Kathir (in his “Tarikh”) said that this hadeeth is SAHIH. In the issue of tawassul, Ibn Kathir adhered to the majority of Sunni ulema and agreed to the permissibility of tawassul. It is now obvious that Bilal Philips and other wahhabees are also then accusing Hafiz Ibn Kathir of shirk. May Allah protect us from wahhabi deviance.
Al-Albani said that the above hadeeth is unreliable, but his words are meaningless because the real and qualified huffaz of Ahl al-Sunna have classified it has SAHIH. Furthermore, Hafiz Ibn Abi Shayba ranks the hadeeth as SAHIH in his “MuSannaf,” and Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in his “Fath al-Barri” said its chain of transmission is sound (isnaaduhu Sahih).
One can clearly see that Bilal Philips has actually accused Bilal ibn al-Harith (may Allah bless him), a companion of the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam), of being a mushrik. We seek refuge with Allah from such innovators and we should shun them as much as possible. These are the people who stab the heart of the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam). They stab the heart of the Ummah repeatedly because they do not refrain from such false accusations even after they are given the dalail (proof) by the pious sunni ulema (like Ibn Kathir) of Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah.
HAFIZ IBN HAJAR AL-`ASQALANI AND HIS SHAKYH ZAYN UD-DIN AL-`IRAQI DO TAWASSUL; UNVEILING THE DECEPTION OF NASIRUDEEN AL-ALBANI
Ahl al-Sunna scholars have been doing tawassul after the death of the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam). For example, Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani performed tawassul by the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) in his poems known as “an-Nayyirat-us-Sab,” as did his shaykh Zayn-ud-Din al-‘Iraqi at the end of his poem in “Tafsiru Mufradat-il-Qur’an.” According to Bilal Philips’ statements, these scholars would be “unIslamic.” There has never been a scholar who has called Hafiz Ibn Hajar or Hafiz al-‘Iraqi “unIslamic.” Bilal Philips should correct his false accusations and make tawba to Allah.
As for Al-Albani, he quotes Hafiz Ibn Hajar as a reliable source of information in his book, “Tawassul.” For instance, on page 5 of this book, Al-Albani says: “Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr, rahimahullaah…” However, Al-Albani’s deception and hypocrisy is now evident because we know that Hafiz Ibn Hajar did tawassul after the death of the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) in his poem, “an-Nayyirat-us-Sab!” This is an explicit example of how wahhabees choose statements from a scholar which suit their views, but fail to acknowledge the statements made by the same scholar against them! Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani would definitely refute and testify against Al-Albani for this deception and mockery against Muslims.
What does Al-Albani have to say about this? Does he want Muslims to accept his claims “blindly?”
Moreover, Al-Albani, in his “Tawassul,” page 16 says:
“…such a call for aid (ISTIGHAATHA) IS NOTHING BUT MAJOR SHIRK.”
By saying that istighaatha is major shirk, he now joins Bilal Philips in accusing the Companion Bilal ibn al-Harith (and Hafiz Ibn Kathir, Shaykh Yusuf Rif’ai, and Shaykh Nuh Keller) of “Shirk ul-Akbar” because it has been proven by sahih dalil that he did istighaatha. In addition, to Al-Albani’s surprise (?), Hafiz Ibn Hajar states the following hadeeth as HASSAN in his “al-‘Amali:”
“Ibn Abbas related that the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam), said:’….IF ANY OF YOU FELL IN A CALAMITY IN A DESERT LET HIM CALL: OH SLAVES OF ALLAH, HELP.”
This is without a doubt “istighaatha” (seeking help) so it is now evident that Al-Albani is also accusing the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) of committing “major shirk” since the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) taught “istighaatha” to the to the Sahaba. Ibn Hajar is in compliance with the Prophet’s (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) words because he accepts “istighaatha” to be valid.
Al-Albani, Bilal Philips, and their deceptive followers can only wish that Ibn Hajar supported their innovative perspectives. Ahl al-Sunna will never be a partner to innovators like Al-Albani. May Allah protect us from the ignorance of Al-Albani and his blind followers. Ameen.
BILAL PHILIPS WRONGLY QUOTES AYAT IN QUR’AN WHICH REFER TO THE MUSHRIKEEN TO REFER TO THE MUSLIMS (AS THE KHAWARIJ DID).
Bilal Philips, in his “Fundamentals of Tawheed,” says:
“According to the Qur’aan, when the Makkans were questioned about directing their prayers to their idols, they answered, “We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to Allaah.”
“The idols were only used as intermediaries yet Allaah called them pagans for their practice. Those among Muslims who insist on praying to other than Allaah would do well to reflect on this fact (end quote).”
This is an explicit example of how the Wahhabees revive a practice of the Kharijites who lived at the time of the noble Sahaba. Imam Bukhari has recorded Ibn ‘Umar as saying in his Sahih [vol.9,page 50; English edition]:
“These people (the Khawarij and heretics) took some verses that had been revealed concerning the disbelievers and interpreted them as describing the believers.”
The Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah have warned Muslims from this Kharijite practice which the Wahhabees uphold today in the name of “Tawheed.” By their lack of adherence and knowledge to the path of Ahl al-Sunna, they misinterpret verses from the noble Qur’an and make idol-worshippers equal in belief to the pious Muslims who are of the Ahl al-Sunna, and commit “takfeer.” The above verse, stated by Bilal Philips in an attempt to invalidate the permissibility of Tawassul, is in fact refering to the idol-worshippers — not Muslims.
The Iraqi scholar, Jamil Effendi al-Zahawi, says in his “al-Fajr al-sadiq fi al-radd `ala munkiri al-tawassul wa al-khawariq” [The True Dawn: A Refutation of Those Who Deny The Validity of Using Means to God and the Miracles of Saints”]:
“The Wahhabis say: the defense of those who practice tawassul is the same apology the idolaters of the Arabs offered as the Qur’an says describing the way the idolaters defended their worship of idols: “We only worship them in order that they may bring us nearer” (39:3).” “Hence, the idolaters do not believe that the idols create anything. Rather, they believe that the Creator is God, the Exalted, by evidence of the following verse:
“If thou ask them, Who created them, they will certainly say, God” (43:87) and: “If indeed thou ask them who is that created the heavens and the earth, they would be sure to say, God” (39:38). God has only judged against them for their disbelief because they say “We only worship them in order that they may bring us nearer.”
“The Wahhabis say: Thus, do people who implore God by prophets and the pious use the phrase of the idolaters: “In order to bring us nearer” in the same sense.”
Shaykh Jamil al-Zahawi, in the section of his book “Refutation of That False Comparison,” continues to say:
“The answer [to the false claims of the wahhabees] contains several points:
(1) The idolaters of the Arabs make idols gods; while the Muslims only believe in one God. In their view, prophets are prophets: awliya are awliya only. They do not adopt them as gods like the idolaters.
(2) The idolaters believe these gods deserve worship contrary to what Muslims believe. Muslims do not believe that anyone by whom they implore God deserves the least amount of worship. The only one entitled to worship in their view is God alone, May He be Exalted.
(3) The idolaters actually worship these gods as God relates: “We only worship them…” Muslims do not worship prophets and pious persons by the act of imploring God by means of them.
(4) The idolaters intend by their worship of their idols to draw near God just as He relates concerning them. As for the Muslims, they do not intend by imploring God by means of prophets and saints to draw close to God, which is only by worship. For that reason, God said in relating about the idolaters: “… in order that they bring us nearer.” However, Muslims only intend blessings (tabarruk) and intercession (shafa`a) by them. Being blessed by a thing is obviously different from drawing near to God by it.
(5) Since the idolaters believe that God is a body in the sky, they mean by “to bring us near” a literal bringing near. What indicates this is its being stressed by their use of the word zulfa — nearness to power — inasmuch as emphasizing something by its own same meaning indicates for the most part that what is intended by it is the literal meaning and not the metaphorical. For when we say: “He slew him murderously” (qatalahu qatlan) a literal killing rushes to the understanding, not that of “a hard blow” in counterdistinction to what we mean when we just say: “He slew him”; for that might mean only a hard blow. The Muslims do not believe that God is a body in the sky remote enough from them to see a literal proximity to Him by imploring God through a prophet. The ruling of Shari`a contained in the verse does not apply to them, whereas since the Wahhabis believe that God is a body who sits on his throne, they do not discover a meaning of blessing which the Muslims intend by their imploring God by prophets and awliya, but only that of drawing near which belongs to bodies. For that reason, these verses are applicable to them, not to Ahl al-Sunna.” (end of quote)
ANOTHER HADEETH WHICH PROVES THE LEGITIMACY OF TAWASSUL
“Whoever says when he goes out to the masjid (mosque): Oh Allah, I ask You by the right of the askers upon You and by the right of this walking of mine, because I did not go out dicontentedly, or to be praised or for fame; I went out to avoid Your anger and seeking Your acceptance. I ask You to save me from Hellfire, and to forgive my sins; no one forgives the sins except You. Allah accepts his du’a and 70,000 angels ask Allah to forgive him.”
The hadeeth is related by Ibn Majah. Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani and Hafiz Abul-Hassan al-Maqdissi said: it is HASSAN. (We do not listen to Al-Albani’s tad’if (ruling that a hadeeth is da’if) of the hadeeth after these Hafizan said it is authentic).
MUJTAHID MUTLAQ AHMAD IBN HANBAL APPROVES OF TAWASSUL
Last but not least, one of the greatest scholars in the history of Islam, the mujtahid mutlaq Ahmad ibn Hanbal, approved the practice of tawassul by the Prophet (Salla-Allahu-‘alayhi-wasallam) — during his lifetime and after his death. This was narrated by one of the greatest students of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Bakr al-Marwazi. This scholar, in copying the saying of Imam Ahmad, said that it is liked during drought to ask Allah for rain by the Prophet (Salla-Allahu-‘alayhi-wasallam).
Imam Ahmad told about one of the great followers of the Companions, Safwan Ibn Sulaym, who was a pious, humble, and very knowledgeable Muslim, that just by mentioning his name, a person would hope the rain would come down as a sign of Allah’s Mercy to the people. The meaning is if the people mention the name of Safwan Ibn Sulaym in their session, it is because of his great status, and as a blessing from Allah, the rain would start falling. This was narrated by al-Hafiz al-Mizzi, al-Hafiz al-‘Ala’i, and Zabidi.
Imam Ahmad was also asked about touching and kissing the minbar of the Prophet (Salla-Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam) for the blessing and about seeking the blessing by visiting the grave of the Prophet (Salla-Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam). He responded by saying: “This matter is not prohibited,” as was narrated by ‘Abdullah, the son of Imam Ahmad, in his book titled “Al-‘Ilal wa Ma’rifat ur-Rijal.
This is far from what the wahhabees believe, who say that it is shirk al-akbar to do tawassul by the Prophet (Salla-Allahu-‘alayhi-wasallam) or the awliya after their death. Muhammad ibn ‘Abdl-Wahhab, and his ignorant followers (Bilal Philips, Albani, Ibn Baaz, etc) are in a completely different direction from the methodology of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, the pious member of the praised Salaf who narrated more ahadeeth than any other Muslim.
Do Ibn ‘Abdl-Wahhab, Al-Albani, Bilal Philips, and Ibn Baaz claim to be more knowledgeable than Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal? None of these innovators have lived in the time period of the praised Salaf us-Salih as Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and his students have. We cling to the practices of the Salaf — not the so-called “salafi” or wahhabee innovators.
By the aforestated evidence from Qur’an, Sunna, and sayings of the noble ulema, it is clear that tawassul is valid, whether the intermediary is in his grave living the life of barzakh, or living the life of the world.
Bilal Philips, Al-Albani, Tamimi, Ibn Baaz — and others who followed Muhammad ibn Abdl-Wahhab’s deviant methodology — oppose the practices of the majority of Sunni Muslims who belong to either the Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali madhahib. It is also clear that the wahhabis, although they claim to follow the madhab of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, are in complete contradiction to it. Also, plenty of ulema like Imam Yusuf Rifa’i, Nuh Keller, Ibn Kathir, and plenty of others like Taqi al-Din Subki, Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Nuh Sulayman Ali, Imam Nawawi, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, and countless other ulema agree to the permissibility of tawassul. The wahhabees are contradicting the statements and interpretations of these noble Sunni ulema. Last but not least, after quoting extensively from Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s “Reliance of the Traveller,” there is absolutely no indication that Nuh Keller is supporting “worshipping Prophet Muhammad” as Bilal Philips falsely alleges.
May Allah protect us from the wahhabi deviance and keep us in the fold of the Muslim majority who follow the footsteps of the pious Salaf us-salih.
Bilal Philips criticized sufism, and called them innovators. However, it is well known that famous ulema have either been sufis or supported sufis.
Some prominent ulema are: Imam Nawawi, Imam Abdl-Qadir Jeelani, Imam Abu Hamid Ghazzali, Imam Izz ibn Abdl Salaam, Ibn Daqiq al-Eid, Badr Din ibn Jama’a, Abdl Ghani Nubulsi, Imam Qurtubi, Imam Ibn Hajar Haythami, Imam Jalal ud-Din Suyooti, Taqi al-Din Subki, Taj al-Din Subki, Ahmad Rifa’i, etc. Can any sane Muslim call any one of these intellectual giants “innovators?”
May Allahu Ta’ala protect us from the Ahl al-bid’a wal Ahwa and their heresy. Ameen.