Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) on Tawaswswul

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) approved of, and practiced, tawaswswul.  Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) used to make tawaswswul through the Prophet (s.a.w.) a part of every du’a, according to Imam ‘Ala’ ad-Din al-Mardawi (r.a.).  He wrote, in his al-Insaf fi Ma’rifat ar-Rajih min al-Khilaf ‘ala Madzhab al-Imam al-Mubajjal Ahmad ibn Hanbal, “The correct position of the madzhab is that it is permissible in one’s supplication to use as means a pious person, and it is said that it is desirable.  Imam Ahmad said to Abu Bakr al-Marwazi, ‘Let him use the Prophet (s.a.w.) as a means in his supplication to Allah.’”

To corroborate, this same report is found in Imam Ahmad’s (r.a.) Kitab al-Manasik, narrated by his student, Imam Abu Bakr al-Marwazi (r.a.).  The lengthy wording of the tawaswswul according to the Hanbali madzhab, as established by Imam ibn ‘Aqil (r.a.), in his Tadzkirah, was cited fully by Imam al-Kawtsari (r.a.) in his appendix to Imam Taqi’ ad-Din as-Subki’s (r.a.) as-Sayf as-Saqil.

Furthermore, as recorded in Imam al-Bayhaqi’s (r.a.) in Shu’ayb al-Iman, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad (r.a.) said that he heard his father, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) saying, “I performed hajj five times: thrice on foot and twice riding,” or the other way around.  Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) said, “Once, when I was on foot, I lost my way.  I started to say, ‘O slaves of Allah, show me the way.’  I kept on repeating this until I came back on track.”


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