Sultan Selim (III) Letter to the Prophet (Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace)
In the course of some research on the relationship of the scholars of Najd who followed Shaykh Ibn Abd al-Wahab and their shocking takfir of the Ottoman Empire I came across the mention of the contents of a letter authored by the Ottoman Sultan Selim (III) [d. 1223 Hijri] addressed to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The letter was found in the Hujurah Sharifah (which I believe is the area behind the golden gates and between the blessed grave) by the followers of the Scholars of Najd movement and was disturbingly regarded as a proof of the Sultan’s disbelief.
In contrast someone with a rudimentary understanding of the Sunni schools of law cannot fail to see that the letter contains a moving heartfelt plea of tawassul by means of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) which is established as a desirable action in the four madhahib and contains wording which is not too different to that found in Sunni books of law. This is an extract is taken from the Durar al-Saniyyah collection and can be found in the Maktaba al-Shamela version (1/304):
Saud bin Abd al-Aziz said in his letter to the ruler of Baghdad the following:
Your condition and the condition of your Imams and rulers bears witness to your lying and false claim [that you are Muslim]. For we saw that when we opened the blessed chamber (Hujarah al-Sharifah) upon its inhabitant be the best of blessings and peace in the year 22, a letter of your Sultan Selim which he had sent via his cousin to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in which he sought help from him, supplicated to him and asked him for victory against his enemies. The letter contains debasement of the self, humility and reverence which bears witness against your lies. The beginning of the letter is:
“From your lowly slave Sultan Selim, to proceed: O Messenger of Allah, we have been inflicted with harm and hardship has befallen us which we are unable to ward off. The servants of the cross (Christians) have gained dominion over the servants of the All-Merciful. We ask of you for victory over them, help against them and that you break them.”He wrote a significant amount which this is the summary of its meaning. So look at this great shirk and disbelief in Allah the One and All Knowing.