I saw someone recently narrate from a scholar the view that Imam Izz al-Din Abd al-Salam regarded Tawassul as being unlawful. The attribution of this to him is incorrect as was explained by Shaykh Mahmud Saeed Mamduh in his landmark work on the documentation for the hadiths on the issue of tawassul and ziyarah called ‘Raf al-Minarah‘.
He quotes on pg 44 onwards the following from his teacher Shaykh Abdullah al-Ghumari from his ‘Rad al-Muhkam al-Matin’ (pg.55) regarding the attribution of this view to Imam Izz al-Din Abd al-Salam:
This is a mistake in relating from Ibn Abd al-Salam because his legal verdict (fatwa) was regarding swearing (taking an oath) upon Allah by one of his creation, not regarding asking Him by the rank of such and such a person. We copy his words regarding this so as to make clear what is meant. It is mentioned in the ‘Fatawa al-Mawsuliyyah’: As for the issue of supplication (dua) it is mentioned in some narrations that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught some people a supplication which has at its beginning: “Say O Allah I swear upon you by your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy”. If this hadith is authentic it should be limited to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) because he is the Master of the children of Adam…and that this is unique to our Prophet due to his high rank and station.
Then Shaykh Abdullah al-Ghumari was quoted as saying:
These are the exact words of Izz al-Din which we have copied from his ‘Fatawa al-Mawsuliyyah’, and like this it was copied by the authors of the works of Khasais (special Prophetic qualities) such as Hafidh al-Suyuti, al-Qastallani and other than them both, deducing from this that swearing upon Allah by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is from his unique qualities. And this is other than what we are discussing, which is asking Allah by the rank of such and such person without swearing by them. Between these two issues is a vast difference as is not hidden, but it was unclear to Ibn Taymiyyah who intermixed between the issues, and perfection is for Allah (Most High).
Note: rough draft under revision