Sunday, 5 September 2010
Intercession by Different Means
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following are examples of intercession, tawaswswul, by the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and others, from the Qur’an and ahadits, to clearly show that it is a valid doctrine and practiced by the pious. As such, there is no basis within the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah to reject tawaswswul.
Maryam’s (a.s.) place of worship was used as a means of approach, a wasilah, by Zakariya (a.s.). Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Right graciously did her Lord Accept her: He Made her grow in purity and beauty; to the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said, “O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?” She said, “From Allah: for Allah Provides sustenance to whom He Pleases, without measure.” (Surah Ali ‘Imran:37)
In the very next verse, Allah (s.w.t.) Mentions Zakariya’s (a.s.) prayer at this very spot:
There did Zakariya pray to his Lord saying, “O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure; for Thou art He that Heareth prayer!” (Surah Ali ‘Imran:38)
The Qur’an Itself eliminated uncertainty by using the word, “hunalika”, “there”. We know, from the Qur’an, that Zakariya (a.s.) routinely woke up in the later part of the night to pray. And once he heard of the miracle of the fruits from Maryam (a.s.), by inspiration, he chose specifically the chamber in which Maryam (a.s.) lived. If he had offered his prayer there by accident and not by intent, the insertion of “hunalika” would have been superfluous. The Qur’an is never superfluous. This is confirmation that a sacred spot can also serve as a source of intermediation.
In another story of the Qur’an, a blessed shirt which had touched a blessed body was used as a means to cure. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
“Go with this my shirt, and cast it over the face of my father: he will come to see (clearly) ...” (Surah Yusuf:93)
The Qur’an Affirmed its correctness:
Then when the bearer of the good news came he cast (the shirt) over his face, and he forthwith regained clear sight … (Surah Yusuf:96)
This verse clearly proves that intermediation through any object associated with the prophets and the saints does not negate Divine Unity. In this case, the sender of the shirt is a prophet, the one benefiting is also a prophet and the one who is describing the act, are all parts of a sacred phenomenon Authenticated by the Qur’an Itself. Therefore, to express any doubts and reservations about its authenticity is to deny the Qur’an Itself.
It is recorded in Swahih Muslim that ‘Abdullah (r.a.), the freed slave of Asma’ (r.a.), reported that Asma’ (r.a.) sent him to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) asking, “The news has reached me that you prohibit the use of three things: the striped robe, saddle cloth made of red silk, and the fasting in the holy month of Rajab.”
ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) replied, “So far as what you say about fasting in the month of Rajab, it is about one who observes continuous fasting. And so far as what you say about the striped garment, I heard ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab say that he had heard from Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.), ‘He who wears silk garment has no share for him,’” meaning a share in the Hereafter, “and I am afraid it may not be that striped garment; and so far as the red saddle cloth is concerned, that is the saddle cloth of ‘Abdullah and it is red.”
‘Abdullah (r.a.) went back to Asma’ (r.a.) and informed her, whereupon she said, “Here is the cloak of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.).” And she brought out to him a cloak made of Persian cloth with a hem of brocade, its sleeves bordered with brocade and said, “This was Allah’s Messenger’s cloak with ‘Aishah until she died, and when she died. I got possession of it. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) used to wear that, and we washed it for the sick and sought a cure thereby.”
There is a direct and explicit order of the Prophet (s.a.w.) recorded in Sunan ibn Majah to make tawaswswul upon the Prophet (s.a.w.). It was narrated from ‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) that a blind man came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and said, “Pray to Allah to Heal me.”
The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “If you wish to store your reward for the Hereafter, that is better, or if you wish, I will supplicate for you.”
He said, “Supplicate.” So he told him to perform ablution and do it well, to pray two raka'at and to say this supplication:
“Allahumma innii as’aluka wa atawajjahu ilayka bi nabiyyika Muhammad, nabiyyi rahmati. Ya Muhammad inni atawajjahu bika ilaa rabbii fii haajati hadzihi li tuqdhaa lii Allahumma fashaffi’hu fiyya.”
“O Allah, I ask of You and I turn my face towards You by virtue of the intercession of Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad, I have turned to my Lord by virtue of your intercession concerning this need of mine so that it may be met. O Allah, Accept his intercession concerning me.”
Imam Abu Ishaq (r.a.) said this hadits is swahih. Imam at-Tirmidzi in al-Jami asw-Swahih, declared it hasan swahih gharib. It is also found in Imam an-Nasa’i’s (r.a.) ‘Amal al-Yawm wa al-Laylah; Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s (r.a.) Musnad; Imam Hakim’s (r.a.) al-Mustadrak asw-Swahihayn, where he declared it swahih; Imam an-Nawawi’s (r.a.) al-Adzkar; Hafizh ibn Katsir’s (r.a.) al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah; and Imam ibn Hajr al-Haytsami’s (r.a.) al-Jawhar al-Munazhzham. Besides, Imam ibn Majah (r.a.), Imam Hakim (r.a.) and Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) declared it a swahih while Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) graded it hasan swahih gharib.
Similarly, another hadits narrated by Imam Hakim (r.a.) is present in different words. ‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) said he was present in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) company when a blind man called on the Prophet (s.a.w.) and complained about the loss of his eyesight. He added, “O Messenger of Allah, there is no one to guide me and I am in great trouble.”
On hearing his complaint, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Bring an earthen pot for ablution, then perform the ablution and offer two cycles of optional prayer. Then say, ‘O Allah, I appeal to You, and submit to You through the mediation of Your merciful prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w.). O Muhammad, through your mediation, I submit myself to your Lord that He should Give light to my eyes. O Allah, Acknowledge his intercession in my favour and Accept my supplication also in my favour.”
‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) said, “I swear by Allah that we had neither left the company nor had we carried on a long conversation that the man entered and it seemed as if he had never been blind.” This hadits is found in Imam an-Nasa’i’s (r.a.) ‘Amal al-Yawm wa al-Laylah; Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s (r.a.) Musnad; Hafizh ibn Katsir’s (r.a.) al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah; Imam as-Suyuthi’s (r.a.) al-Khaswa’isw al-Kubra’; Imam al-Qasthalani’s (r.a.) al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah; and Imam al-Bayhaqi’s (r.a.) Dala’il an-Nubuwwah.
Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.), while authenticating tawaswswul, explained the saying of Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) that one should ask Allah (s.w.t.) through the intermediary of the prophets and the pious servants of Allah (s.w.t.). He said, “I say that to seek intercession with Allah through the prophets and righteous is proven as is narrated by at-Tirmidzi who called it hasan swahih gharib, and also narrated by an-Nasa’i, ibn Majah and ibn Khuzaymah in his Swahih. al-Hakim said, ‘It is swahih on the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim, the hadits of ‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) that a blind man came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and said, ‘I've been afflicted in my eyesight, so pray to Allah for me.’
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Go perform ablution, perform two raka'at of swalah and then say, ‘O Allah! I ask You and turn to you through my prophet, Muhammad.’’
This hadits is mentioned in the book of swalat al-hajat. And regarding tawaswswul through righteous people, it is proven from Swahih (al-Bukhari) that the swahabah used to seek rain through ‘Abbas (r.a.), the uncle of the Prophet (s.a.w.). ‘Umar (r.a.) said, ‘O Allah we turn to you through the means of the Prophet's uncle.’’” This is written in Tuhfat adz-Dzakirin.
Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.) also said, “And in this hadits is the proof on permissibility of seeking intercession to Allah through the Prophet (s.a.w.) but with the belief that Allah (s.w.t.) is the One Who Grants or Takes; whatever He Wills Happens and whatever He does not Will cannot happen.”
Some people say that the above ahadits only proves tawaswswul through the Prophet (s.a.w.) during his life. Here is another swahih hadits to establish that the swahabah took the wasilah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) even after his passing. Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) narrated an incident where a person repeatedly visited ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.) when he was the caliph concerning something he needed but ‘Utsman (r.a.) had paid no attention to him. The man went to ‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) and complained to him about the matter. ‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) said, “Go to the place of wudhu, then come to the masjid. Perform two raka’at and then say, ‘O Allah! I ask you and turn to you through our prophet, Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad! I turn through you to my Lord, that He Fulfill my need,’ and mention your need. Then come so that I can go with you [to the caliph, Utsman (r.a.)].”
So the man did as he had been told, and then went to the door of ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.). The doorman came, took him by the hand, and brought him to ‘Utsman (r.a.) and seated him next to him on a cushion. ‘Utsman (r.a.) asked him, “What do you need?” and the man mentioned what he wanted, and Utsman (r.a.) accomplished it for him.
Imam al-Mundziri (r.a.) said that Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.), after narrating it said, “This hadits is swahih.” This is recorded in at-Targhib wa Tarhib. Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) also accepted the authentication of Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) in his Majma’ az-Zawa’id. Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) declared it swahih in his Qa'idah al-Jalilah fi at-Tawaswswul wa al-Wasilah.
Imam Muhammad ibn Yusuf asw-Swalihi (r.a.) wrote an entire chapter on this issue in Sabl al-Hadi. Regarding tawaswswul through the Prophet (s.a.w.) after his passing, it is narrated by Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) and Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) with a continuous chain and tsiqah narrators, the hadits of ‘Utsman ibn Hunayf (r.a.) that a man came to ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.) regarding his hajat until the end of same hadits.
Malik ad-Dar (r.a.), the treasurer of ‘Umar (r.a.) related, “The people were gripped by famine during the tenure of ‘Umar. Then a man walked up to the grave of Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Ask for rain from Allah for your ummah is in dire straits.’
Then he saw the Prophet (s.a.w.) in dream. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said to him, ‘Go over to ‘Umar, give him my regards and tell him that the rain will come to you. And tell ‘Umar that he should be on his toes, he should be on his toes.’
He went over to see ‘Umar and passed on to him the tidings. On hearing this, ‘Umar (r.a.) broke down crying. He said, ‘O Allah, I exert myself to the full until I am completely exhausted.’”
This hadits is found in al-Muswannaf ibn Abi Shaybah. It is authenticated as swahih by Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, Imam al-Qasthalani (r.a.) in al-Mawahib-al-Laduniyyah and Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) in Fi Iqtidha asw-Swirath al-Mustaqim. Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) wrote in Fath al-Bari that Imam ibn Abu Shaybah (r.a.) transmitted it with a swahih chain the narration from Abi Swalih as-Sam’an (r.a.) from Malik ad-Dar (r.a.), the treasurer of ‘Umar (r.a.).
The Wahhabi heretic, Naswir ad-Din al-Albani, tried to disparage the chain by claiming that Malik ad-Dar (r.a.) and Abu Swalih as-Sam’an (r.a.) being present in the chain of this hadits are unknown narrators who did not exist. The reality is otherwise. Imam ibn Sa’ad (r.a.) said in ath-Thabaqat al-Kubra, “Malik ad-Dar was a slave freed by ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab. He reported traditions from Abu Bakr asw-Swiddiq and ‘Umar, and Abu Swalih Sam’an reported traditions from him. He was ma’ruf.” In ahadits terminology, this means he was a widely recognised transmitter.
Imam ibn Hibban (r.a.) attested to the trustworthiness and credibility of Malik ad-Dar (r.a.) in Kitab ats-Tsiqat. He said, “Malik ibn ‘Iyadh ad-Dar has taken traditions from ‘Umar Faruq and Abu Swalih as-Sam’an and he was a slave freed by ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab.”
Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) said about Malik ad-Dar (r.a.) in Tajrid Asma' asw-Swahabah, “He was a slave freed by ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab. He has taken traditions from Abu Bakr asw-Swiddiq.”
Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) said, “Malik ibn ‘Iyadh, a slave freed by ‘Umar, was known as Malik ad-Dar. He had seen the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and heard traditions from Abu Bakr. He has taken traditions from Abu Bakr asw-Swiddiq ‘Umar Faruq, Mu‘adz, Abu ‘Ubaydah and Abu as-Sam’an and his two sons, ‘Awn and ‘Abdullah, have taken traditions from him. And Imam al-Bukhari in at-Tarikh al-Kabir, through reference to Abu Swalih, has acknowledged a tradition from him that ‘Umar is reported to have said during the period of famine, ‘I do not shirk responsibility but may I be made more humble.’”
Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) in Kitab al-Adab al-Mufrad wrote that Imam Abu Nu’aym (r.a.) related that Shaykh Sufyan (r.a.) related from Shaykh Abu Ishaq (r.a.) from Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Sa’d (r.a.), who said ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) had numbness in his leg, whereupon a man said to him, “Remember the most beloved of people to you.”
So he said “Ya Muhammad,” and it was cured. Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari (r.a.) wrote in Sharh ash-Shifa’ that ibn Umar (r.a.) expressed his love in the form of istighatsa’, seeking help.
Imam Dawud ibn Abu Swalih (r.a.) said, “One day, Marwan came and he saw that a man was lying down with his mouth turned close to the Prophet’s grave. Then he said to him, ‘Do you know what you are doing?’ When he moved towards him, he saw that it was Abu Ayyub al-Answari.
He said, ‘Yes. I have come to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and not to a stone. I have heard it from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) not to cry over religion when its guardian is competent. But, shed tears over religion when its guardian is incompetent.’” In al-Mustadrak asw-Swahihayn, Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) declared it swahih. Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) agreed with him. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) recorded it with a swahih chain of transmission in his Musnad.
Adam (a.s.) requested intermediation through the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). ‘Umar (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “When Adam committed his mistake, he said, ‘O my Lord, I ask you to Forgive me for the sake of Muhammad.’
Allah Said, ‘O Adam, and how do you know about Muhammad whom I have not yet Created?’
Adam replied, ‘O my Lord, after You Created me with Your Hand and Breathed into me of Your Spirit, I raised my head and saw written on the heights of the Throne, ‘Laa Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadar Rasulullah.’ I understood that You would not Place next to Your Name but the Most Beloved of Your Creation.’
Allah Said, ‘O Adam, I have Forgiven you, and were it not for Muhammad I would not have Created you.’” Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) narrated it in al-Mustadrak asw-Swahihayn. It was transmitted through many chains and was cited by Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) and Imam Abu Nu`aym (r.a.) in Dala'il an-Nubuwwah. Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) cited it in his Swaghir with another chain containing sub-narrators unknown to Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) as he stated in Majma’ az-Zawa’id. Imam ibn ‘Asakir (r.a.) narrated it on the authority of ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.), and most of these narrations were copied in Imam al-Qasthalani's (r.a.) al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah.
This hadits was declared swahih by Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) in al-Mustadrak asw-Swahihayn, although he acknowledged ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam (r.a.), one of its sub-narrators, as weak. However, when he mentioned this hadits, he said, “Its chain is sound, and it is the first hadits of ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam which I mention in this book.’” Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) also declared swahih another version through ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.).
Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) recorded that ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) narrated that Allah (s.w.t.) Inspired ‘Isa (a.s.) Saying, “O ‘Isa, believe in Muhammad, and whosoever form your ummah finds him, should believe in him. If I had not Created Muhammad, then I would not have Created Adam. If not for him, I would not have Created Paradise and Hell. When I Made the Throne on water, it started to shake. I Wrote ‘Laa Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammadar Rasulullah.’ Due to which, it became still.”
Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) in al-Mustadrak asw-Swahihayn, said, “This hadits has a swahih chain.”
Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.), in his Mu'jam al-Awsath, recorded that ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) said, “When Adam committed the error, he submitted, ‘O Lord, I beg You to Forgive me through the mediation of Muhammad.’
Then Allah Said, ‘O Adam! How did you recognise Muhammad as I have not Created him yet?’
He replied, ‘O Lord, when You Created me with Your Divine Hand and Breathed Your Soul into me, I raised my head and saw, ‘Laa Ilaha Il Allah Muhammadar Rasulullah’ inscribed on each pillar of the Throne. I discovered that with Your Name, the name of only Your Most Beloved of all the creatures can be associated with you.’
At this, Allah Said, ‘O Adam, you have said it correctly. Of all the creatures, I Love him the most. When you offered your prayer through his mediation, I Forgave you. And if Muhammad were not there, I would not have Created even you.’”
Imam al-Bulqini (r.a.) declared this hadits of Adam’s (a.s.) tawaswswul to be sound in his Fatawa. Imam as-Subki (r.a.) confirmed Imam al-Hakim's (r.a.) authentication in Shifa’ as-Siqam fi Ziyarat Khayr al-Anam. Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) rejection and criticism of this hadits was known to Imam as-Subki (r.a.) but he rejected it, as saying that his extreme weakening of Shaykh ibn Zayd (r.a.) was exaggerated.
Qadhi ‘Iyadh (r.a.) considered it swahih and famous because he recorded it in his ash-Shifa’ under the chapter, ‘Swahih and Famous Narrations,’ and he says that Imam Abu Muhammad al-Makki (r.a.) and Imam Abu al-Layts as-Samarqandi (r.a.) mentioned it. Qadhi ‘Iyadh (r.a.) wrote, “It is said that this hadits explains the verse: “And Adam Received words from his Lord and He Relented towards him.’”
Then learnt Adam from his Lord words of inspiration and his Lord turned toward him ... (Surah al-Baqarah:37)
Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) also considered it swahih as he cited it in the first chapter of al-Wafa’ bi Ahwal al-Muswthafa, in the introduction of which he wrote, “I do not mix the sound ahadits with the false.”
Although he knew of Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd’s (r.a.) weakness as a narrator; he also mentioned the version of Maysarah al-Fajr (r.a.) whereby the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “When Satan deceived Adam and Eve, they repented and sought intercession to Allah with my name.”
Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) also wrote in the chapter concerning the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) superiority over the other prophets in the same book, “Part of the exposition of his superiority to other prophets is the fact that Adam asked his Lord through the sanctity of Muhammad that He Relent towards him, as we have already mentioned.”
Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) cited it in his Qur’anic commentary, ad-Durr al-Mantsur, in al-Khaswa’isw al-Kubra’ and in ar-Riyadh al-Aniqa fi Sharh Asma’ Khayr al-Khaliqah, where he said that Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) considered it sound. This is due to the fact that Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) said in the introduction to the Dala’il that he only included sound narrations in his book, although he also knew of and explicitly mentioned Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd’s (r.a.) weakness. Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) mentioned it after Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, where he also pointed the weakness of Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam (r.a.). Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) in Majma’ az-Zawa’id, Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) himself and Mulla ‘Ali Qari (r.a.) in Sharh ash-Shifa’ show that its chains have a weakness in them. The weakness of Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd (r.a.) was known by all of them including Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.), Imam as-Subki (r.a.), Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) and Imam Abu Nu’aym (r.a.), and yet all these scholars retained this hadits for consideration in their books.
Three scholars did reject it outright. They are Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) in Qa’idah Jalilah fi at-Tawaswswul, and his two students, Shaykh ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi (r.a.) and Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.). Imam al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) reported Imam ibn Hibban's (r.a.) saying that Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd (r.a.) was a forger in Lisan al-Mizan. At the same time, Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) elsewhere quoted it and the version through Maysarah (r.a.) and said, “These two are like the tafsir of the authentic ahadits.”
The contemporary Makkan hadits scholar, Shaykh ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki (r.a.) said, “This indicates that ibn Taymiyyah found the hadits sound enough to be considered a witness for other narrations, because the forged and the false are not taken as witness by the people of hadits.” Shaykh al-Maliki (r.a.) also quoted Imam adz-Dzahabi’s (r.a.) unrestrained endorsement of the ahadits in Imam al-Bayhaqi's (r.a.) Dala'il an-Nubuwwah, “You must take what is in it, for it consists entirely of guidance and light.”
The hadits of Maysarah (r.a.) is as follows. Maysarah (r.a.) narrated, “I asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, when were you [first] a prophet?’
He replied, ‘When Allah Created the earth ‘Then Turned He to the heaven, and Fashioned it as seven heavens, and Created the Throne. He Wrote on the leg of the Throne, ‘Muhammad the Messenger of Allah is the Seal of Prophets.’ Then Allah Created the Garden in which He made Adam and Hawa dwell, and He Wrote my name on the gates, its leaves, its domes and tents, at a time when Adam was still between the spirit and the body. When Allah Most High Instilled life into him, he looked at the Throne and saw my name, whereupon Allah Informed him that, ‘He is the liege-lord of all your descendants.’ When Satan deceived them both, they repented and sought intercession to Allah with my name.’”
Imam Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Swalihi (r.a.), a student of Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) said in Subul al-Hadi wa ar-Rashad, “This hadits is narrated by ibn Jawzi (r.a.) and the chain is strong and there is nothing wrong in it.”
It is evident that Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) considered the meaning that the Creation of everything is for the sake of the Prophet (s.a.w.) as true and correct. He declared in his Majmu’at al-Fatawa in the volume on taswawwuf, “Muhammad is the Chief of the Children of Adam, the Best of Creation, the noblest of them in the Sight of Allah. This is why some have said that ‘Allah Created the Universe due to him,’ or that, ‘Were it not for him, He would have neither Created a Throne, nor a Footstool, nor a Heaven, earth, sun or moon.’ However, this is not a hadits on the authority of the Prophet, neither is it swahih nor is it weak and it has not been narrated by any person of knowledge in hadits either from the Prophet or swahabah but it may be explained from a correct aspect.”
Since the best of the righteous of the children of Adam is Muhammad, Creating him was a desirable end of Deep-Seated Purposeful Wisdom, more than for anyone else, and hence the completion of Creation and the fulfillment of perfection was attained with Muhammad (s.a.w.). The Chief of the Children of Adam is Muhammad (s.a.w.), Adam and his children being under his banner. He said, ‘Truly, I was Written as the Seal of the Prophets with Allah, when Adam was going to-and-fro in his clay," that is that his prophethood was Decreed and Manifested when Adam was Created but before the breathing of the Spirit into him, just as Allah Decrees the livelihood, lifespan, deeds and misery or happiness of the slave when He Creates the embryo but before the Breathing of the spirit into it.
Since man is the seal and last of all Creation, and its microcosm, and since the best of man is thus the best of all Creation absolutely, then Muhammad, being the Pupil of the Eye, the Axis of the Mill, and the Distributor to the Collective, is as it were the Ultimate Purpose from amongst all the purposes of creation. Thus it cannot be denied to say that, ‘Due to him, all of this was Created,’ or that, ‘Were it not for him, all this would not have been created,’ so if statements like this are thus explained according to what the Book and the sunnah indicate, it is acceptable.”
Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.), Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.), Imam ibn al-Mundzir (r.a.) and Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) narrated this tradition through ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.) and ‘Ali (k.w.) that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Adam was just about to repent for his act of disobedience that he suddenly recalled in his state of anxiety that he had seen Laa ilaha illa Allah Muhammadar Rasulullah Inscribed on the Throne at the time of his birth.” It obviously meant that the distinction the Prophet (s.a.w.) possesses is denied to others. That is the reason his name was Inscribed along with Allah’s Own name. At this, he added these words of intermediation to his prayer for Divine Forgiveness: “O Allah, I beg Your Forgiveness through the mediation of Muhammad (s.a.w.).”
The tradition related by Imam ibn al-Mundzir (r.a.) has the following words: “O Allah, I beg Your Forgiveness through Your beloved and most honoured servant, Muhammad and through his distinction You have Blessed him with.”
Imam ad-Darimi (r.a.) related in his Sunan from Abu al-Jawza’ Aws ibn ‘Abdullah (r.a.), the people of Madina were in the grip of a severe famine. They complained to ‘Aishah (r.a.). She told them to go towards the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) grave and open a window in the direction of the sky so that there is no curtain between the sky and the grave. The narrator says they did so. Then it started raining heavily; even the lush green grass sprang up and the camels had grown so fat it seemed they would burst out due to the over piling of blubber. So the year was named the year of greenery and plenty.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki (r.a.) wrote in Shifa’ al-Fu’ad bi Ziyarat Khayr al-‘Ibad, “This tradition has a good chain of transmission; rather, in my opinion, it is sound. The scholars have also acknowledged its soundness and have established its genuineness on the basis of almost equally credible evidence.”
This hadits has also been cited in Imam ibn al-Jawzi’s (r.a.) in al-Wafa’ bi Ahwal al-Muswthafa, Imam as-Subki’s (r.a.) Shifa’ as-Siqam fi Ziyarat Khayr al-Anam, Imam al-Qasthalani (r.a.) in al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah and Imam az-Zurqani (r.a.) in his Commentary.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) was also a source of intermediation for the Jews:
And when there comes to them a Book from Allah, confirming what is with them. ― although from of old they had prayed for victory against those without faith ― when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognised, they refuse to believe in it; but the Curse of Allah is on those without faith. (Surah al-Baqarah:89)
Imam al-Qurthubi (r.a.) related from his al-Jami‘ li Ahkam al-Qur’an, the tradition through ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.): “The Jews of Khaybar were often at war with the Ghathfan. When they confronted each other, the Jews were defeated. They attacked again, offering this prayer, ‘O Lord, we beg You through the mediation of the Unlettered Prophet about whom You have Promised us that You will Send to us at the end of time. Please help us against them.’” ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) added, “Whenever they faced the enemy, they offered this prayer and defeated the Ghathfan. But when the Prophet (s.a.w.) was Sent, they denied him. So Allah the Exalted Revealed the verse, ‘From of old they had prayed for victory against those without faith,’ that is, through your mediation, O Muhammad.’”
Imam Mahmud al-‘Aluwsi (r.a.) wrote in Ruh al-Ma‘ani, about this verse, “This was Revealed about Banu Qurayzah and Banu Nadhir who used to pray for victory over Aws and Khazraj before Allah’s Messenger’s prophethood. ibn ‘Abbas and Qatadah have given expression to the same reality. It means that they prayed to Allah through his mediation for victory over the polytheists as also stated by as-Suddiy: when the war raged between them and the polytheists, they opened the Torah and placed their hand on the spot where the Prophet (s.a.w.) was mentioned and prayed, ‘O Allah, we pray to You through the mediation of Your Prophet You have Promised to us to Send him at the end of time; today grant us victory over our enemies.’ So they were Made victorious.”
Imam Jalal ad-Din Mahalli (r.a.) and Imam Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuthi (r.a.) wrote in Tafsir al-Jalalayn, “The Jews used to pray in these words: ‘O Allah, Grant us victory through the mediation of the Prophet who is to appear at the end of time.’"
Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) wrote in his Tafsir, “The Jews used to pray for victory over the Arab polytheists through the mediation of Muhammad (s.a.w.).”
Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) narrated two traditions in ad-Durr al-Mantsur on the authority of ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) in this context as follows: “The Jews of Banu Qurayzah and Banu Nadhir used to pray for victory over the disbelievers and the infidels before the Prophethood of Muhammad. They said, ‘O Allah, Bless us with victory through the mediation of the Unlettered Prophet, and they were Blessed with victory.’
The Jews of Madina, before the arrival of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), in their war against the Arab disbelievers – Asad, Ghathfan, Juhaynah and ‘Udzrah – prayed for victory over them and sought help by invoking the name of Allah’s Messenger. They said, ‘O Allah, our Lord, Grant us victory over them through the name of Your Prophet and through Your Book to be Revealed to him whose Prophethood You have Promised us at the end of time.’”
Similar ahadits had been narrated by Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah (r.a.) in Tafsir Gharib al-Qur'an, Imam ibn Jarir ath-Thabari (r.a.) in Jami‘ al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, Imam al-Baghawi in Ma‘alim at-Tanzil (r.a.), Imam Abu al-Fadhl al-Mibadi (r.a.) in Kashf al-Asrar wa ‘Uddat al-Abrar, Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) in Zad al-Maswir fi ‘Ilm at-Tafsir, Imam Mujahid ibn Jubayr in his Tafsir, Imam al-Baydawi (r.a.) in his Tafsir, Imam an-Nasafi (r.a.) in al-Madarik and many, many others.
It is narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar that Allah's Messenger (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever visits my grave after my death it is same he has visited me in my life.”
Imam ibn Qudamah (r.a.) wrote in al-Mughni, “It is recommended to do ziyarah of Prophet’s (s.a.w.) grave as it is narrated by ad-Daraqutni with his Isnad from ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Whosoever performs the hajj after my death, then he should visit my grave because it is as if he has visited me during my life.’ And he also narrated that, ‘Whosoever visits my grave then my intercession becomes wajib for him.’” Imam al-Bahuti al-Hanbali (r.a.) also said this in his al-Kashf al-Qannah.
Qadhi ‘Iyadh (r.a.) said in his ash-Shifa’, in the chapter, ‘The Order of Visiting the Grave of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Virtue of the One Visiting & Sending Salam, “It should be known that visiting the grave of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is well known for all Muslims and they have ijma’ over it, It has such a virtue that it has been prescribed to us as it comes in the hadits of ‘ibn Umar (r.a.).”
It is also known that there is intermediation through the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) request for Forgiveness after his death. It is attributed to ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud (r.a.) that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) is reported to have said, “My life is blissful for you because you hear traditions from people and relate them to others and my death is also blissful for you because your deeds will be presented to me. If I see the virtues prevail, I will be grateful to Allah, and if I see the vices prevail, I will pray for your Forgiveness from Allah.”
Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) transmitted it in Majma‘ az-Zawa’id and said that this hadits had been reported by Imam al-Bazzar (r.a.) in his Musnad and its sub-narrators are all of swahih hadits. Imam al-‘Iraqi (r.a.) has confirmed the soundness of its transmission in his book, Tarh at-Tatsrib fi Sharh at-Taqrib. Imam ibn Sa‘d (r.a.) recorded it in ath-Thabaqat al-Kubra. Qadhi ‘Iyadh (r.a.) inscribed this tradition in ash-Shifa’, Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.), recording it in al-Khaswa’isw al-Kubra and Manahil asw-Swifa fi Takhrij Ahadits ash-Shifa’, commented that Imam ibn Abu Usamah (r.a.) in his Musnad reproduced it through Bakr ibn ‘Abdullah al-Muzani (r.a.). Imam ibn Bazzar (r.a.) in his Musnad, relied on its narration by ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud (r.a.) with a sound chain of transmission. It has been endorsed by Imam Khafaji (r.a.) and Mulla ‘Ali Qari in their commentaries on ash-Shifa’, Nasim ar-Riyadh and Sharh ash-Shifa’ respectively.
Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) reproduced it in al-Wafa’ bi Ahwal al-Muswthafa from Bakr ibn ‘Abdullah (r.a.) and Anas ibn Malik (r.a.). Imam as-Subki (r.a.) copied this tradition in Shifa’ as-Siqam fi Ziyarat Khayr al-Anam from Bakr ibn ‘Abdullah al-Muzani (r.a.) and Imam ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi (r.a.) in as-Sarim al-Munki authenticated its veracity. Imam ibn al-Bazzar’s (r.a.) hadits has also been recorded by Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah. Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) also narrated it through Bakr ibn ‘Abdullah al-Muzani (r.a.) in al-Mathalib al-‘Aliyah. Imam an-Nabhani (r.a.) related it in Hujjatullah ‘ala al-‘Alamin fi Mu‘jazat Sayyid al-Mursalin.
As it is reported by ‘Amr ibn Shu‘ayb (r.a.) that his grandfather said, “We were present in the company of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) when messengers from Hawazin came and said, ‘O Muhammad! We belong to the same origin and tribe, and the trouble we are facing is not hidden from you, therefore, have mercy on us.’
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, ‘Opt one of the two choices; either take away your property and wealth or have your women freed.’ They opted for their women and children. Then the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) added, ‘As far as my share and the share of ‘Abd al-Muththalib and his children (in the spoils) are concerned, I have already given it to you. But when I perform the noon prayer, you should all stand up and say, ‘Through the means of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), we seek help for our women and children from believers.’” The narrator says that when people had finished their prayer, they repeated the same words as the Prophet (s.a.w.) had advised them. This is recorded by Imam an-Nasa’i (r.a.) in his Sunan.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) also supplicated through the mediation of his own and other prophets’ maqam. It is narrated by Anas ibn Malik (r.a.), “When the mother of ‘Ali ibn Abu Thalib, Fathimah bint Asad ibn Hashim, died, Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) called on her and sat down by the head of the bed and said, ‘O dear mother, may Allah have Mercy on you. After my mother, you were the one I regarded as my mother. When I was hungry you fed me to the point of saturation while you yourself remained hungry. Then you helped me put on clothes and instead of eating yourself, you gave me nice things to eat. You did all this for Allah’s Pleasure and for a good Reward in the Hereafter.’ Then he commanded for her to be bathed three times. When camphor water was brought, Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) poured some water into his hands. Then Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) took off his shirt and clothed her with it and used his own sheet of cloth as her kaffan. Then Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) sent for Usamah ibn Zayd, Abu Ayyub al-Answari and ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab and the African slave to dig up the grave. So they dug her grave. When they reached near the lahd, Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) dug it up and drew the soil out with his own hands. When he finished, Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) entered and lay down in (the grave), and said, ‘It is Allah Who Controls life and death, and He is Ever-Living and will never die. O Allah, Forgive my mother, Fathimah bint Asad, and Help her answer properly at the time of questioning and through the mediation of Your Prophet and the former prophets, make her grave capacious. Surely You are Infinitely Merciful.’ Then he repeated, ‘Allah is Great,’ four times. Then he, ‘Abbas and Abu Bakr asw-Swiddiq lowered her into the grave.” This is recorded by Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) in Mu'jam al-Awsath. Imam ibn Hibban (r.a.) and Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) declared him tsiqah, trustworthy. Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) also cited it in Majma‘ az-Zawa’id. Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) recorded it in al-‘Ilal al-Mutanahiyyah, Imam Abu Nu‘aym (r.a.) in Hilyat al-Awliya’ wa Thabaqat al-Aswfiya’. Imam Mahmud Sa‘id Mamduh (r.a.) graded it hasan in his Raf‘ al-Minarah.
Imam ibn Hajr al-Haytsami (r.a.) wrote an entire book, Jawhar al-Munazhzham fi Ziyarat al-Qabr al-Mukkaram, on the virtues of visiting the grave of the Prophet (s.a.w.). In it, he refuted Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), saying, “Amongst the evil deeds of ibn Taymiyyah, something which nobody before him in this world proclaimed, is his rejection of istighatsa’ and tawaswswul through Prophet (s.a.w.). This tawaswswul through Prophet (s.a.w.) is hasan in all conditions whether before his creation, after it, also in this world and on Day of Judgment.”
There are innumerable more ahadits and commentaries of the pious predecessors proving that the intercession of the Prophet (s.a.w.), the prophets, the awliya’ and the pious is a valid practice of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa ‘al-Jama’ah. If this sample is not enough to convince someone, then surely such a person has a heart closed to the love of the pious predecessors and the affection of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). May Allah (s.w.t.) Guide such a one.