Tawassul Through the Awliyah in the Hanafi School
Please find above an extract from the hanafi fiqh primer ‘Nur al-Idah/Maraqi al-Falah’ along with its supercommentary called ‘Hashiyah al-Tahtawi’. The text underlined clearly mentions that when we visit Madinah the Illuminated, and visit Masjid al-Nabawi one should ask our Masters Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and Umar (Allah be pleased with them) to not just make dua to Allah for us, but rather ask the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) to make dua for us. Which can be described as a ‘double tawassul’. It should be noted that our Masters Abu Bakr and Umar are from companions and are not Prophets. [Take note those who may seek to explain away this clear example from an established hanafi text for making tawassul via the awliyah].
Competing Groups and Confusion
When growing up and being confronted by the numerous groups at university I would often hear of the concept of ‘grave worship’ from many quarters, including those who said they were hanafi and that the position of the madhab was that it was shirk to ask a deceased person to pray to Allah for one. This period of time was characterised by much confusion as back in the mid-late 90’s there was little material in english on the matter, and few people around who I was able to trust to clarify convincingly regarding the issue.
I agree there are strange and unlawful acts which take place at tombs. However the correct way to deal with them is through the proper transmission of the fiqh of our ulema, not the rather confusing positions of : No its haram/shirk/bida, and when confronted with the position of the akabir of the akabir the stance suddenly changes to: No actually it is ok, but we are saying that for the masses.
Hmm right, so something changes from being shirk/bida to an act of good based on a person being from the awam? This position is somewhat better than those who deny outright and seek to construct long winded interpretations of texts which affirm the permissibility of seeking help from the deceased( in the form of asking them to pray for one).
Transgressions and a Balanced View
As with many issues there are balances, I am no expert on mazars, and have only visited Pakistan once. I visited a mazar on a urs or celebration of sorts (from what I remember) and its was no religious gathering, all I recall is noise and being dragged through crowds where there seemed to be no segregation. Judging by the numerous video’s posted on the internet of abuses of the sacred law which occur at such places it would be difficult to deny there is a problem.
How is this to be dealt with? I leave it up to the ulema, however an approach which has not helped matters is having the confusing double edged policy which only exacerbates tensions between people and does not solve the problem. Instead we currently have the reactionary attitude of both camps, the ones who seek to deny and excommunicate from the religion, and those who seek to affirm and try to claim there is no problem in the indo pak subcontinent on this issue. What is more unfortunate is that we often have both of the above groups claiming to be hanafi.
Imam Ahmad Rida and the Baseless Blame
For the record, as mentioned (even in Nuzhat al-Khawatir) Imam Ahmad Rida has a treatise in which he labels a number of the practises of the ignorant masses as unlawful, such as prostrating to a grave, and a womans visiting a mazar. [Someone please correct me if I am wrong]. Yes there maybe fiqhi discussion’s on some points such as tomb structures, cloths on graves, flowers on graves etc…
Therefore those who seek to attribute positions to those who are free of such views take note, and seal your lips from continuously labelling as shirk something which has not been declared as such by the akabir of the akabir. And yes this principle should be applied in our transaction with all muslims no matter which group they belong to. Inshallah may Allah (the exalted) give us tawfiq to traverse the balanced path of the akabir of the akabir.
-We have already posted material from Sh Abd al-Haq al-Dehlawi on the permissibility of tawassul through the awliyah, and Inshallah If we can find the quote from Shah Abd al-Aziz al-Dehlawi affirming it also we will try to post it. Something which will make clearer the maslak of the Akabir of the Akabir on this contentious issue, and help many of those who may have been confused over this.
-The above quotes of the akabir clarify what can sometimes be understood as the opposite of such positions from some ulema, ie. the mashaikh have declared unlawful as asking from the deceased directly thinking they are the ones that benefit/harm etc, when this is understood then the confusion regarding the nuanced fatawa of the ulema becomes understood.
-Finally a brief extract from ‘al-Muhannad’ which is of interest and relates to this point:
السؤال الحادي عشرو هل يجوز عندكم الاشتغال بأشغال الصوفية و بيعتهم ؟و هل تقولون بصحة وصول الفيوض الباطنية عن صدور الأكابر و قبورهم ؟و هل يستفيد أهل السلوك من روحانية المشايخ الأجلة أم لا ؟
الجواب يستحب عندنا إذا فرغ الإنسان من تصحيح العقائد و تحصيل المسائل الضرورية من الشرع : أن يبايع شيخاً راسخَ القدم في الشريعة زاهداً في الدنيا راغباً في الآخرة قد قطع عقبات النفس و تمرن في المنجيات و تبتل عن المهلكات كاملاً مكملاً و يضع يده في يده و يحبس نظره في نظره و يشتغل بأشغال الصوفية من الذكر و الفكر و الفناء الكلي فيه و يكتسب النسبة التي هي النعمة العظمى و الغنيمة الكبرى و هي المعبَّر عنها بلسان الشرع بِ’الإحسان’ ، و أما من لم يتيسر له ذلك و لم يقدر له ما هنالك فيكفيه الانس
لاك بسلكهم و الانخراط في حزبهم ، فقد قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : ” المرء مع من أحب أولئك قوم لا يشقى جليسُهم “و بحمد الله تعالى و حسن إنعامه ، نحن و مشايخنا قد دخلوا في بيعتهم و اشتغلوا بأشغالهم و تصدوا للإرشاد و التلقين ، و الحمد لله على ذلكو أما الاستفادة من روحانية المشايخ الأجلة و وصول الفيوض الباطنية من صدورهم أو قبورهم فيصحّ على الطريقة المعروفة في أهلها و خواصِها لا بما هو شائع في العوام