Tawassul through creatures


One Friday, the Imam of a Masjid (mosque) who belongs to a Sufi order delivered the Khutbah (sermon), saying: “We should not say that Allah is above us, below us, to our left, or to our right.” He, further, called people to perform Tawassul (supplicating to Allah through a means) through Allah’s creatures, like the Prophets and Awliya’ (pious people). He learns the Qur’an from people who do not perform the obligations enjoined by Allah, destroying families, and shouting at people walking in the streets and beating them; and yet he calls them Awliya’. Do these claims represent the ideology of the unity of the universe, immanentism and other many Bid’as (rejected innovations in religion)? Is it permissible to offer Salah (Prayer) behind such an Imam or even behind his Mu’adhin (caller to Prayer)? If not, is it permissible to offer the five obligatory daily Salahs (Prayers) at home? Is it permissible to offer the Jumu`ah (Friday) Prayer in another Masjid?


Firstly: According to conclusive evidence, Allah is above all of His Creation. He has risen over the Throne in a way that suits His Eminence. Allah (Exalted be He) says: “The Most Gracious (Allâh) rose over (Istawâ) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty).” [TaHa: 5] This is the ‘Aqidah (creed) of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream) from the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet), Tabi’un (followers, the generation after the companions) and those who followed them in righteousness. We recommend reading the book “Al-‘Uluw lil-‘Aliyy Al-Ghaffar” (The Exaltation of the All-High and Most-Forgiving) by Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Uthman ibn Qaymaz Al-Dhahabi.

Thus, whoever claims that Allah is not above or below us or to our right or left has contradicted the evidence of the Qur’an and Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) as well as the consensus of the people of knowledge and Iman (Faith) at the time of Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them). Consequently, the truth should be clarified to this Imam. If he insists, he is to be deemed a Kafir (disbeliever) who apostatized from Islam. Accordingly, it is impermissible to offer Salah behind him.

Secondly: Calling people to perform Tawassul through Allah’s Creation, like the Prophets and Awliya’, is batil (null and void). The person should be advised in this regard. We have already given a detailed answer concerning the ruling on Tawassul. The answer states: Whoever make Tawassul to Allah in their Du’a (Supplication) through the rank, honor or blessing of a Prophet or a pious person by saying, for example, “O Allah! By the rank of Your Prophet, his honor or blessing, grant me wealth and children or admit me into Jannah (Paradise) and save me from Hell,” are not deemed Mushriks (those who associate others with Allah in worship). However, Tawassul is prohibited in order to block the means leading to Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and to keep Muslims away from committing actions leading to the same result.

Undoubtedly, Tawassul through the rank of the Prophets and pious people is a means that will eventually lead to Shirk as is proven practically in real life. Many proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah conclusively denote that blocking the means leading to Shirk and sin is one of the objectives of the Shari’ah (Islamic law). For example, Allah (Exalted be He) says: “And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allâh, lest they insult Allâh wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do.” [al-An’am: 108]

Thus, Allah (Exalted be He) has prohibited Muslims from insulting the deities of the Mushriks, which they offer ‘Ibadah (worship) to instead of Allah, though they are false deities so that they would not use this as an excuse to insult the True Lord (Glorified be He) wrongfully and without knowledge while defending their false deities. In addition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has prohibited Muslims from taking graves as places of `Ibadah lest their dwellers are worshipped.

Other examples of blocking the means leading to sins are prohibiting Khulwah (being alone with a member of the opposite sex), forbidding women to show their adornment to non Mahrams (spouse or unmarriageable relative), applying perfume outside the house, ordering men not to look at women’s adornment and ordering women to lower their gazes. Such prohibitions and orders aim at blocking the means leading to being seduced by women, which may result in committing Zina (sexual intercourse outside marriage). Allah (Exalted be He) says: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allâh is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things)” [an-Nur: 30-31]

It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah has cursed the Jews and the Christians, for they have taken the graves of their Prophets as places of ‘Ibadah.1 Since Tawassul through the rank, honor, etc.

Of someone in Du’a is an act of ‘Ibadah, which is Tawqifiyyah (bound by religious text and not amenable to personal opinion), and since there is no proof taken from the Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him) or reported from his Sahabah which supports the permissibility of this Tawassul, then it is a Bid`ah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who performs any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, it is to be rejected.2

Thirdly: Those who do not perform the obligations enjoined by Allah, destroy families, shout at people walking in the streets and beat them, are regarded as allies of Satan. Whoever claims that they are Awliya’ of Allah has lied. This matter should be clarified in addition to showing that these actions are contradictory to the Shari`ah, to which they should refer and return. They are deemed Kafirs (disbelievers) for not offering Salah. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “That which differentiates us from them (Kafirs and hypocrites) is our performance of Salah. He who abandons it becomes a Kafir.3

Fourthly: Salah should not be offered behind such an Imam, whether it is the Jumu`ah Prayer or the congregational ones. You should offer Salah in the nearest possible Masjid behind an Imam that you trust and are satisfied with his religion.

Fifthly: Nothing is mentioned about the Mu’adhin regarding his opposition of Islam that we may give you a ruling on offering Salah behind him.

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

  1. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on funerals, no. 1390; Muslim, Sahih, Book on Masjids and places for Salah, no. 531; Al-Nasa*y, Sunan, Book on Masjids, no. 703; Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 274; and Al-Darimy, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 1403. 

  2. Muslim, Sahih, Book on judicial decisions, no. 1718; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 180. 

  3. Imam Ahmad, vol. 5, p. 346; Al-Nasa*y, vol. 1, p. 231; Ibn Majah, vol. 1, p. 342; Al-Hakim, vol. 1, p. 7; Al-Bayhaqy, Sunan, vol. 3, p. 366; and Al-Daraqutny, vol. 2, p. 52. 

  • Date: Dhu al-Hijjah 8, 1441 AH
  • Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Da'imah no. 5441-2
  • Muftis: Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan , Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz , Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq al-Afify , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Qa'ud