Shaikh of Islam Ibn Taimiyyah on the Use of Mediums

The following quotes are excerpts from Shaikh of Islam Ibn Taimiyyah’s Qâ’idah Jalîlah fit-Tawassul wal-Wasîlah. I had originally translated them for an email replying to some assertions made by an Ash’arî brother trying to use a statement from this book as evidence to support his beliefs regarding the use of mediums in petitioning Allah (i.e., at-tawassul).

Ibn Taimiyyah states on pgs. 45-46:

Swearing by the created things is forbidden according to the general body (jumhūr), it is the opinion of Abî Hanîfah, one of the two statements for the opinion of ash-Shâfi’î and Ahmad, and the concensus of the Companions has been mentioned for that. It is said it is detested with a disdained hatred; and the first is more correct such that ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ūd, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbâs, and ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said, “Surely that I swear by Allah, dishonestly is more beloved to me than I swear by other than Allah truthfully.” That is because swearing by other than Allah is polytheism and polytheism is greater than dishonesty; and certainly the dispute regarding swearing by the Prophets is known. For from Ahmad are two narrations concerning swearing by the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him. One of them, the oath by [means of] him is not contracted, like the statement of the general body: Mâlik, Abî Hanîfah, and ash-Shâfi’î. The second is that the oath by [means of] him is contracted and a group from his companions such as al-Qâdî and his followers chose that; Ibn al-Mundhir agreed with these. Most of these limited the dispute in that to the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, specifically, while Ibn ‘Aqîl extended this ruling to the rest of the Prophets. The obligation of expiation for swearing by a created thing even if it were a Prophet, is a weak statement in the utmost that opposes the foundations and the texts, for swearing by him upon Allah—and asking by him with the intent of taking an oath—is from this type.

On pg. 55-56 he states:

That which Abū Hanîfah, his companions and others from the scholars said is that it is not permissible that Allah, exalted is He, is asked by [means] of a created thing: not by [means of] the right of the Prophets, nor other than that—it includes two things as preceded: One of the two is making an oath upon Allah, glorified and exalted is He, by him; and this is prohibited according to the general bodies of the scholars as preceded, just as it is prohibited to make an oath upon Allah by the Ka’bah and the religious sites by agreement of the scholars. The second is asking by him. So this, a faction from the people permits it. Reports concerning that were transmitted from some of the predecessors, and it is found in the supplication of many of the people. However, what is narrated concerning that from the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, all of it is weak, rather, [they are] fabricated. There is not an established hadîth from him that might be thought to contain a proof for them, except the hadîth of the blind man who he taught to say, “I ask You [i.e., Allah] and I turn to You by [means of] Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy,” but the hadîth of the blind man does not contain a proof for them because it is explicit in that it is certainly a petition by [means of] the supplication and the intercession of the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him; he sought the supplication from the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, and the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, commanded him to say, “O Allah! Let him intercede for me.” Due to this Allah returned his sight to him when the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, supplicated for him and that is from what is counted from the signs of the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him. And if other than him from the blind people who the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, did not supplicate for them petitioned by [means of] asking by him, their condition is not like his condition.

After citing a number of reports, on pg. 58-59 he says:

All of this was transmitted by al-Qâdî ‘Iyâd from the well-known books of the companions of Mâlik. Then he mentioned the tale with a severed rare chain narrated from several with consent (ijâzah). They said: Abul-‘Abbâs Ahmad bin ‘Umar bin Dalhât narrated to us, he said: Abul-Hasan ‘Alî bin Fahar narrated to us: Abū Bakr Muhammad bin Ahmad bin al-Farah narrated to us: Abul-Hasan ‘Abdullah bin al-Muntâb narrated: Ya’qūb bin Is·hâq bin Abî Isrâ’îl narrated to us: Ibn Humaid narrated to us, he said: Abū Ja’far, Chief of the Believers, confronted Mâlik in the mosque of Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, so Mâlik said to him, “O Chief of the Believers, do not raise your voice in this mosque. For surely Allah disciplined a people and said, «Do not raise your voices over the Prophet’s voice» [until the end of] the verse (49:2), He praised a people and said, «Surely those who lower their voices near Allah’s messenger» [until the end of] the verse (49:3), and He dispraised a people and said, «Surely those who call out to you from behind the chambers» [until the end of] the verse (49:4). Surely his sanctity in death is like his sanctity in life.” So Abū Ja’far yeilded to them and said, “O Abâ ‘Abdillah, [do] I face the qiblah and supplicate or face Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him?” So he said, “Why turn your face away from him when he is your means (wasîlah) and the means of your father, Âdam, upon him be peace, to Allah on the Day of Standing? Rather, face him and seek intercession by him and Allah will grant you intercession. Allah, exalted is He, said, «If they, when they oppressed themselves, came to you and asked Allah for forgiveness and the Messenger asked for forgiveness for them they would certainly find Allah Forgiving, Compassionate» (4:64).”

I [Ibn Taimiyyah] say, this tale is severed because Muhammad bin Humaid ar-Râzî did not meet Mâlik, particularly during the time of Abū Ja’far al-Mansūr. For surely Abū Ja’far died in Makkah in the year 158 and Mâlik died in the year 178 while Muhammad bin Humaid ar-Râzî died in the year 248 and did not exit from his land at the time he set out for seeking knowledge except when he was old, with his father. And he, with this, is weak according to most of the People of Hadîth. Abū Zur’ah and Ibn Wârah accused him of lying and Sâlih bin Muhammad al-Asadî said, “I have not seen anyone more insolent with Allah than him and more skilled in lying than him.” Ya’qūb bin Shabîbah said, “Abundant abominations.” an-Nasâ’î said, “He is not reliable.” Ibn Hibbân said, “He is alone [in narrating] from the reliable ones in the inverted [narrations] (maqlūbât: narrations where information mentioned in it has been switched around e.g., the narration regarding going into prostration knees before hands and vice versa. It has been narrated authentically both ways which indicates one of the narrators made a mistake and mentioned one before the other when it should have been the other way around). The last one who narrated al-Muwatta’ from Mâlik was Abū Mus’ab and he died in the year 242 and the last one who narrated from Mâlik absolutely was Abū Hudhaifah Ahmad bin Ismâ’îl as-Sahmî [who] died in the year 259. And in the chain [of transmission] is also whose condition is not known. This tale has not been mentioned by anyone of Mâlik’s well-known companions by acquiring [it] from him and Muhammad bin Humaid is weak according to the People of Hadîth when he is corroborated, so how about when he forwarded [i.e., committed irsâl: forwarding a narration without actually hearing it from who it’s being related from] a tale that is not known except from his direction! This is if it were established from him. And the companions of Mâlik are agreed that no statement by Mâlik regarding an issue in jurisprudence has been established from him with the likes of this transmission. Rather, if the Shâmîs such as al-Walîd bin Muslim and Marwân bin Muhammad atTâtarî narrated from him they declared the narration of these ones weak, however, they rely on the narration of the Madînîs and the Egyptians. So how about with a narration that contradicts his well-known opinion from him from [many] directions is narrated by one of the Khurasânîs who did not meet him and is weak according to the People of Hadîth?!

After explaining some of the things mentioned in this baseless tale, he continues (pg. 59):

Surely what is well-known from Mâlik, others from the imams, and the rest of the predecessors from the Companions and the Tâbi’îs is that if the supplicator greeted the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, with peace, then desired to supplicate for himself, then he is to face the qiblah and supplicate in his mosque and not face the grave and supplicate for himself. Rather, certainly he faces the grave with greeting the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, with peace and supplicating for him. This is the statement of most of the scholars like Mâlik in one of the two narrations, ash-Shâfi’î, Ahmad and other than them; and according to the companions of Abî Hanîfah he also does not face the grave at the time of the greeting him with peace. Then from them is who said he places the chamber to his left side—it had been narrated by Ibn Wahb from Mâlik—and he greets him with peace, and from them is who said he rather, turns his back to the chamber and he greets him with peace, and this is well-known according to them, and along with this Mâlik detested that he lengthens the standing at the grave. Due to that, al-Qâdî ‘Iyâd said in al-Mabsūt from Mâlik that he said, “I am not of the opinion that he stands at the grave of the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, and supplicates, but he should greet with peace and depart.” He said, “Nâfi’ said Ibn ‘Umar used to greet the grave with peace. I saw him a hundred times or more coming to the grave and saying, ‘Peace be upon the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him. Peace be upon Abî Bakr. Peace be upon my father,’ then go away. He was seen placing his hand upon the seat of the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, from the pulpit, then place it upon his face.”

On pgs. 78-79 he states:

I [Ibn Taimiyyah] say, this supplication [i.e., the supplication the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, taught to the blind man] and similar to have been narrated that the predecessors supplicated with them. Petition by [means of] the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, during supplication was transmitted from Ahmad bin Hanbal in al-Marwadhîs Mansik, while others prohibited it. Thus, if the intended [goal] of the petitioners was petition by [means of] faith in him, by [means of] his love, by [means of] his alliances, and by [means of] his obedience, then there is no dispute between the two factions. Although if their intended [goal] is petition by [means of] his being, then it is the place of the dispute—and whatever you dispute in, it returns to Allah and the Messenger. The mere occurance of the supplication by which the intended [goal] resulted does not indicate that it is allowed in the Legislation. For surely many of the people supplicate to other than Allah, from the stars and the created beings, and whatever results of their objectives results. Some of the people aim the supplication upon the idols, the temples and other than that, and they supplicate to the dipictions which are in the temples and whatever results of their objectives results. Some of the people supplicate with supplications forbidden by agreement of the Muslims and whatever results from their objectives results. Thus, occurrence of the objective with some of the affairs does not necessitate its allowance, even if the objective was allowed because that action might contain an evil that outweighs its benefit, and the Legislation came with the attainment and perfection of the benefits and the hindering and diminishing of the evils. Otherwise, all of the forbidden [things], from polytheism, intoxicants, drawing lots, obscenities, and oppression might result in benefits and goals. However, when its evils outweighed its benefits, Allah and His messenger prohibited them, just like many of the affairs, like the [acts of] worship, jihad, spending of wealth, harm may exist. However, when its benefit outweighs its evil, the Legislator commanded it. So this is the basis whose consideration is obligated and it is not permissible that something is obligatory or recommended except by a legislative evidence that necessitates its permissibility or its recommendation. And the [acts of] worship are not except obligatory or recommended, thus whatever is not obligatory, nor recommended, then it is not an [act of] worship; and supplication to Allah, exalted is He, is an [act of] worship if what is sought by it was a permissible affair.

In short, asking through him [i.e., the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him] has been transmitted from some of the predecessors and the scholars, contrary to supplicating to the dead or those not present from the Prophets, the angels, and the righteous people, and [contrary to] seeking aid through them and complaining to them. For this is from what no one [ever] did from the predecessors, from the companions and those who followed them in excellence, and no one from the imams of the Muslims permitted it.

From pg. 79 immediately after the above quote:

The hadîth of the blind man that at-Tirmidhî and an-Nasâ’î narrated is from the second type of petition by [means of] his supplication. For surely the blind man had sought from the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, that he supplicate for him that Allah returns his sight to him. So he said to him, «If you wish, be patient, otherwise if you wish, I will supplicate for you.» So he said, “Nay, supplicate to Him.” So he commanded him to perform ablution and pray two rak’ahs and say, “O Allah! Surely I ask You by [means of] Your Prophet, the Prophet of mercy. O Muhammad, O Messenger of Allah! I turn to my Lord by [means of] you for this need of mine in order that He answers it. O Allah! Let him intercede for me.” So this is petition by [means of] the supplication and intercession of the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, and the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, supplicated for him, and due to this he said, “and let him interceded for me.” So he asked Allah to accept the intercession of His messenger for him; and it is supplication.

About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

One Response to Shaikh of Islam Ibn Taimiyyah on the Use of Mediums

  1. philomantis says:

    Jazâkullâhû khayr(an) for presenting all of this. However, I really hope that people will read it very intently in spite of how voluminous it may seem. There are those who say that the mere address directed to the Prophet (sallallâhû `alayhî wa sallam) in supplication casts one outside of Islam, and they cite Ibn Taymîyyah for this. Yet, this is not what he believed, nor stated. If anyone believes that the Prophet (sallallâhû `alayhî wa sallam) in his very essence is the source of succor and aid, then even the opponents of Ibn Taymîyyah agreed with him that this undermines Islamic monotheism.

    Rasheed: Edited a small typo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: