Ruling Regarding Tawassul (Mediation-Wasilah) and its few forms, By Maulana Yusuf Ludhianvi Shaheed


A delicate point and issue arises as to the validity of making tawassul (mediation – wasilah) by using the name of Prophet (S.A.W) and or pious predecessors.


My opinion on this matter is that it is permissible to use Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Ambiyaa (PBUH), the Companions (R.A) or any other pious predecessor as a means of mediation in dua. The manner of doing this will be to say: O Allah! Through the mediation of so and so pious accepted servant of yours, accept my dua, or fulfil my certain need.

Some Ulama have refuted such mediation. They aver that one should offer some good deed that one may have done and use this as a mediation in dua. Just as was done in the incident of the “People of the cave”, which is an incident regarding three persons who were trapped in a cave and each made a dua using a good deed of his in order for their release. This is reported in a Hadith which appears in Bukhari on page 493, vol.1. To use the name of any person is not permissible as a mediation (according to these Ulama). Some personalities aver that it is permissible to use the name of a living person as a means of mediation as was done by Hadhrat Umar (R.A) who used the name of Hadhrat Abbaas (R.A) as a mediation in a dua, as is reported in Bukhari on page 137, vol.1. these Ulama say that it is impermissible to use the names of those who have already passed away.

However, I am in disagreement with these views, because dua is in actual fact not made to these personalities rather it is made directly to Allah. So if one uses any accepted personality as a means of mediation then it would be permissible regardless of whether he is alive or not.

Also, if it is permissible to use one’s good actions a mediation, then so too would it be permissible to use the name of a pious personality who is accepted in the Eyes of Allah. Because in reality one would make the following dua: “O Allah! I do not have any deed that it worthy of presenting in Your Court, wherewith I may use as a mediation. However a certain personality is accepted by uou. I have an affinity and inclination towards him. Therefore, O Allah! Please consider this relation that I have for this pious servant of yours and accept this request of mine”. Therefore in reality, you are using the connection you have with this accepted servant of Allah as a mediation. In fact, in my opinion there is more humility and servitude in such a dua, since the supplicater makes dua without pinning any hope on his own actions and not having reliance on his own deeds. He does not regard any action of his as being worthy for presenting in the Court of Allah. Nevertheless, such a mediation is acceptable and is reported from the pious predecessors and was amongst their habits.

However, one should not hold this belief — that the dua which is made without making Tawassul is not accepted by Allah. One should also not hold this belief that it is imperative for Allah to accept the dua which is made through the mediation of the Ambiyaa and Saints (Auliya). No! One should have this belief that there is a better hope of acceptance for a dua is it is made through the mediation of some accepted servant of Allah. The issue which is reported in the Hanafi Kitabs is as follows:

ویکرہ أن یقول فی دعائہ بحق فلان ، أو بحق أنبیائک ورسلک ، لأنہ لا حق للمخلوق علی الخالق

“It is Makrooh to say in a dua: Owing to the rights of so and so, or Because of the right of Your Ambiyaa and Rusul. This is so because no creation has a right which is binding upon the Creator”. [Hidaya, page 475, part 4]

The object of this statement is as I had outlined above. If someone makes a dua through the wasilah of some pious personality, believing its acceptance to be binding upon Allah is not permissible, because no servant has any right which is binding upon Allah. Whatever has been granted to the creation by this Most Merciful Creator, is purely owing to His Beneficence, otherwise no creation has any rights over Him.


Some people understand wasilah to be such that since they feel that their dua are ineffective and does not reach Allah, so they make dua to the pious personalities and present their requests to these accepted servants of Allah. So such people make dua to the pious and they harbor this belief that these personalities will fulfill their needs. I have seen many people make such duas at the gravesites of many pious Akabiren. I deem such actions to be the result of pure ignorance. Such acts are in reality the combination of two errors:

1) Firstly, these people are equating and regarding the Court of Allah as they do that of worldly rulers. Just as a person feels that he cannot approach or place a request directly to worldly king and has to rely on the ministers and other intermediaries in order to get across to the king, so too do they seek intermediaries in order to make requests from Allah.

However, to equate and make an analogy of Allah to the worldly kings is completely and totally incorrect. The need for intermediaries between a worldly king and his subjects becomes necessary because a worldly king cannot listen to all his subjects and the complaints and request of all his subjects do not reach his attention all the time. On the other hand, the condition of Allah is such that He Hears and pays attention to every sound of every human, jinn and animal, such that when He listens to each of them it is as though everyone else is silent, and it is only this one person who is talking to Him. It is reported in a Hadith that Allah Hears the sound of even the tiniest, blackest ant, which walks under the largest and heaviest rock on the darkest night.

Hence, it is not possible for a worldly king to listen to each of his subjects. But Allah is even more closer to each of His servants than their jugular veins. Once the Sahabah (R.A) asked Nabi (PBUH):

أ قریب ربنا فنناجیہ أم بعید فننادیہ؟

“Is our Rabb close by that we need to whisper to Him or is He far away such we need to call out to Him (loudly)?” (Qurtubi, 308/2)

Upon this the Quranic Aayat was revealed:

و إذا سألک عبادی عنی فإنی قریب أجیب دعوۃ الداع اذا دعان

“And when my servants ask you regarding me, indeed I am close by, I reply to the dua of the supplicator when he supplicates to Me”. [Surah Baqarah, 186]

Reflect! That Court (of Allah), where every sound is heard at every second, and one may present one’s requests. Where ones supplications are immediately entertained, by one who has the Full Power to fulfill every request of every person, and who is actually waiting in expectation for His servants to make requests. Now, is it not pure idiocy and plain insanity for anyone to leave and abandon this Court of the Most Merciful and generous and run from door to door begging and asking others? The condition of Allah’s Court is such:

ہر کہ خواہد گو بیا و ہر کہ خواہد گو برو

داروگیر و حاجت دربان دریں درگاہ نیست

“Whoever desires may come, and whoever desires may leave. In His Court there are no formalities, nor the need for a doorkeeper.”

2) Another misconception of these people is that they regard the system of the Allah to be like that of worldly kings and rulers, where they have officers and governors who have been vested with powers and can execute rules and govern without (necessarily) referring back to the king. These people assume that Allah had vested choice and some power to His prophets, saints, Imams and martyrs. And that these personalities have a free choice in some matters and distribution. Whoever they desire to give they give and whoever they do not desire to give they do not.

However, this misconception is even more grave than the previous one. The reason why the worldly kings and rulers grant their governors, etc. a certain degree of power and choice is due to their (rulers‟) weakness, limits and incapabilities. They are in need of the assistance of others in order to fulfill the needs and duties of the entire domain. It would be impossible for them to rule efficiently over the entire land without the assistance of the governors, etc. Contrary to this, Allaah Ta`ala has Knowledge and Power over every atom (to the smallest degree) of the entire universe. Not even the smallest particle in this universe is beyond His knowledge, or free from His Decree. Every single thing in this entire universe is dependent on His power and Control so much so that not even a leaf rustles in a tree without His Command. It is for this reason that He requires no deputy or mites to assist in any sphere. He has never given nor will give anyone the choice to control or administer the universe.

Hadhrat Qadi Thanaaullah Pani Pati Hanafi (rahmatullahi alaih) states:

“Masalah: If any person says that Allah and His Prophet are witness in a certain act, then that person becomes a kafir (because such a person has regarded prophet (SAW) as Aalim-e-Ghaib). The saints of Allah do not have the ability or power to bring a non-existent thing into existence nor to make an existing thing non-existent. Hence to relate to them the power of bringing into existence and taking out of existence, sustenance, granting of children, removing and averting illness and hardships, etc. is an act of kufr. Allah says: „Say (O Muhammad – SAW)! I do not have the power to benefit or harm my own self, except what Allah Wills.‟ [Irshadut Taliben, page 18]

Hence, this misconception that the creation also has the ability and is able to grant things side by side with the creator, is completely incorrect, right from its inception.

In summary, to believe that wasilah means that one presents one’s needs and requests directly to the accepted servants of Allah and ask of them is completely wrong and unacceptable. The Quran Majeed has clearly stated that the worst of deviation is to call upon the creation and make dua unto them for one’s needs. Allaah states:

ومن اضل ممن یدعوا من دون اللہ من لا یستجیب لہ إلی یوم القیامۃ وھم عن دعائھم غافلون

“And who is more astray than the one who makes dua to any other besides Allah, to one who cannot answer to it (your calls) until the day of Qiyamah. These people are completely unwary of their duas.” [Al-Ahqaaf, 46]

Another reason for the total impermissibility of making dua to saints for one’s needs, is that dua is one of the highest forms of Ibadat. Prophet (SAW) has stated:

الدعاء مخ العبادۃ

“Dua is the core of all Ibadat.” [Tirmidhi]

It is reported in another Hadith:

الدعاءھو العبادۃ ، ثم قرأ : وقال ربکم ادعونی استجب لکم

“Dua is a Ibadat. (Saying this) prophet (SAW) recited: “And your Rabb Says: “Make dua unto Me, I answer you.‟ [Mishkaat, page 194]

It is stated in another Hadith:

لیس شیئ أکرم علی اللہ من الدعاء

“Nothing is more honorable in the Sight of Allah than dua.” [Ibid.]

Sheikh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlwi (R.A) states in commentary of these Ahadith that dua is amongst the highest form of Ibadaat and it is the core of Ibadat because, the summary of Ibadat is: “To display utmost respect, humility and humbleness in front of The Creator.” This definition is found almost in totality in dua. Based upon this, dua is amongst the most appreciated acts of worship in the Court of Allah. [Footnote of Mishkaat]

Nevertheless, since this much is now clear that dua is not merely an act of Ibadat, in fact, it is the core and basis of Ibadat, hence, to make Ibadat to any other besides Allah is completely not permissible. In the same way to make dua to any pious personality is also impermissible. The reason being that this (dua) is an Ibadat and Ibadat is exclusively for Allah.

Hadhrat Qaadhi Thanaaullaah Hanafi (R.A) states:

“Masalah: It is not permissible to make dua to saints who have passed away or living or to Ambiyaa (prophets). Rasulullaah (SAW) said that dua is the core of Ibadat, and then Nabi (SAW) recited this Aayat: “And your Rabb Says: “Make dua unto Me, I answer you. Indeed those people who are proud (refrain) from My Ibadat soon they will enter Jahannum disgraced. ‟And the statement of the ignorant ones is: “Yaa sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani shay’an lillah‟ and “Yaa Khwajah Shamsuddin Pani Pati shay’an lillah‟ is not permissible. In fact, it is shirk (polytheism) and kufr. But if someone says: “Yaa Ilahi, through the mediation of Khwajah Shamsuddin Pani Pati, fulfill the following need of mine‟, then it will be correct.” Allah states: “Those whom you call upon besides Allah are also servants (of Allah) just like you. What power and ability do they have to fulfill any need?” [Irshadut Taaliben, page 18]


A third type of benefiting from wasilah is to request the saints to make dua to Allah on one’s behalf. This type is more or less in between the previous two types. The first type is to make dua directly to Allah using the name of an accepted servant of Allah. The second type is to make one’s dua and request to the saints. The third type is when one is aware that Allah be asked directly, but one asks a pious person to make the dua unto Allah on one’s behalf.

The ruling of this is, that to ask another to make dua for one is in reality the essence of Sunnah. All the Muslims from the time of prophet (SAW) until the present, ask one another for duas. What remains is the question as to whether it is permissible or not for a person to go the grave of a pious person and ask him to make dua for one. Before understanding this, one has to firstly consider the following points:

1) Firstly, the logical reasoning behind addressing any person is that the person must be able to listen to what we are saying. Now the Masalah arises as to whether the inmates of the grave can hear or not? There is a famous chapter which appears in our Kitabs, captioned “Simaa Mautaa” (The listening of the dead). There has always been a difference of opinion amongst the Companions regarding this topic. Some rule in the affirmative and others in the negative. Both sides comprise of great, great luminaries. We cannot give a clear ruling on this matter, since any matter wherein the Companions differed, is considered such that one cannot say that one of the two sides are on the Haqq and the other on Batil. Hence, those who aver that the dead can hear, they say that one can speak to the dead (at the graveside) and those who have the differing view hold the opinion that one cannot address the dead.

2) Secondly, this question arises as to whether the pious predecessors used to ask and make requests of the dead or not? The answer to this is quite clear that those who held the view that the dead cannot hear, most certainly did not carry out such actions. As for those who held the view that the dead could hear, I have never heard of any one of them carrying out such an action (i.e. asking and making requests of the dead at their gravesides). It has been reported that prophet (SAW) requested of Hadhrat Umar (R.A), when the latter was off for Umrah:

یا أخی لا تنسانا من دعائک

“O my brother! Do not forget us in your duas.” [Masnad-e-Ahmad, page 39, vol. 1 / page 59, vol.2]

However it has never been reported from prophet (SAW) that he ever went to the grave of any prophet or truthful person and asked any of them to make dua for him. Similarly, the Companions and the Taabieen, also used to request for duas amongst each other. However, it has never been reported from any of them that they went to the grave of a Shaheed and requested him for duas. It is reported in the Fataawa of Shah Abdul Azeez Dehlwi (R.A):

“Seeking the assistance of the dead, whether it is done at their gravesides or in their absence, is undoubtedly Bid’ah. This was never the habit during the eras of prophet (SAW) and the Companions (R.A). However, there is a difference of opinion as to whether this is a Bidah Sayyi-a (evil innovation) or Bidah Hasanah (virtuous innovation, so depending on the type of assistance sought, the ruling regarding each one will differ.” [Fataawa Azeezi, page 89, vol.1]

3) Thirdly, can permissibility be granted for it, considering that there is doubt as to its validity or permissibility and also that it was never the practice of any of the pious predecessors? The answer to this is that such practices are termed as “Bid`ah”. Based on this, Hadhrat Shah Saheb (R.A) has termed it as “undoubtedly Bidah.” Insha-Allaah, I will elaborate further on “Sunnah and Bidah” a little later on in this book. However, I wish to clarify here that whatever our pious predecessors have not regarded as a virtuous act, there can be no scope for it in the Shariah. Regarding such matters, Imaam Rabbaani Mujaddid Alfe Thaani (R.A) has stated:

“This humble servant does not differentiate between Bidahs and regard any as being virtuous or luminary. Besides, darkness and deviation, I see nothing else in Bid`ahs.” [Maktobat Imam Rabbani, page 186]

Thereafter, after quoting the Hadith of prophet (SAW) that every new innovation in the Deen is a Bidah and every Bidah is astray, he states:

“Hence, since every innovation in the Deen is a Bidah and every Bidah is astray, what is the meaning of virtuousness or goodness in a Bidah?” [Ibid.]

It is the opinion of this useless servant that these words of Hadhrat Mujaddid (R.A) be written in gold, and that it be regarded as the “Final Word” in this matter.

Nevertheless, to go to the grave of the deceased personalities and ask them to make dua for one, is a doubtful and dubious act. Hence, I deem it as clearly ridiculous and insane to make dua at the gravesides and unnecessarily abandon the easy and simple method or asking directly from Allah, when He has given the assurance that He will accept the duas of the one who makes it and that He is actually waiting expectantly for us to make dua unto Him. Also, considering the fact that Hadhrat Mujaddid (R.A) has branded such acts as dark and deviating Bidahs, and also, whereupon there is doubt as to its permissibility or not.

At this juncture, I would like to clarify a certain point — this entire discussion is regarding the non-prophets. Regarding the Ambiyaa (A.S), especially, our prophet (SAW) my belief is that he is alive (in his grave). It (permissibility) has been recorded in our Kitabs regarding going to the blessed grave of prophet (SAW) and making Durood and Salaam there and also to request for intercession. So, whoever that has the excellent fortune of presenting himself at the graveside of our prophet (SAW) and making dua and seeking his intercession, I regard this not merely as being permissible, in fact, it is commendable and most virtuous. And Allah Knows best.


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