Some one asked regarding Durood Tunjina. They narrated a story: Once there was a pious man of the name of Shaykh Moosa Zurair travelling on a ship when it started to sink due to a heavy storm. In his sleep he saw the Most Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah Almighty be upon him). The Beloved Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah Almighty be upon him) instructed Moosa Zurair to recite Durood Tunjina 1000 times. Moosa Zurair awoke from his sleep and proceeded to recite Durood Tunjina. As soon as he had finished reading 300 times the storm subsided and the ship was saved. This Durood is recommended during days of calamity, turmoil and distress. Seventy times a day is essential for relief from our problems and difficulties.
The question really is if a person is in serious trouble where the ship is sinking, what should he be doing to get help?. And the answer is as simple as “ask Allah swt for help” and if radio is working, call 911. If the trouble is so severe that death is evident, then proclaim shahada until dead takes over.
In the sufi world, they elevate the Prophet’s status and ask him for his help even when he no longer lives with us. And this where their strange habits of calling on to dead people comes in to play. They call onto dead people in either of two ways:
- They call them directly for help. Like “o so and so, help us…”
- Or they make “tawassul” (تـَّوسل) or “waseela” (وسيله) to ask for help.
Calling on Dead
Lets deal with easy one first. Calling on dead people is absolutely haram and is a major shirk. Allah swt said: 16:20 And those they invoke other than Allah create nothing, and they [themselves] are created 16:21 They are, [in fact], dead, not alive, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected.
Meaning that these dead people who are dead and lifeless and they do not know when will they be resurrected, how can they help you?. They are not god that you ask them for help (or you pray to them). And he followed this verse immediately with “16:22 Your god is one God. But those who do not believe in the Hereafter – their hearts are disapproving, and they are arrogant.”. That if you need to pray and ask for help, pray to Allah alone.
And for most people, its illogical and stupid to call on dead people to help us here.. they simply can’t. However, Allah is alive and He can.
Waseela is where they make the Prophet (pbuh) or other pious people as intermediary. In Islam, there is no intermediary between an “abd” and “allah”. This is the basic of our religion that there is no intermediary between the creation (مخلوق) and their creator (خالق). We make supplication directly to Allah swt without any one in between. This uniqueness of Islam distinguishes it from any other religion that uses intermediaries (human or other wise) to reach the God. Christians today says there is no savior except through Jesus, and Buddhist on the other hand uses idol for same purpose. To justify their claims, they give various evidences that were put together, for instance, hadith of Adam AS, the hadith of blind man, and that the reading of Durood (درود) before and after every supplication (دعا).
Let us begin with saying that using any intermediary to reach Allah swt in considered Shirk (شرك) in Islam, and it is one of the most serious crime one can commit against Allah swt. Allah swt said: “And your Lord said: “Invoke Me [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will respond to your (invocation)” (Ghaafir 40:60)
And Also said: “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor)” (al-Baqarah 2:186)
So people should not call on anyone except Allah; they should not seek the help of anyone except Allah; they should not place their hopes in anyone except Allah; they should not put their trust in anyone except Allah. Allah alone is the One in whose hand is sovereignty and goodness, and He is Able to do all things.
Tawassul (تـَّوسل) means to draw close. Al-Waasil (الواسل) is one who desires for something, and al-Waseelah (الوسيله) is nearness and a means, and that by which one is able to approach and draw near to something. Its plural is Wasaail (وسا ئل). In Quran, Allah swt said:
أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ يَبْتَغُونَ إِلَى رَبِّهِمُ الْوَسِيلَةَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ وَيَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَهُ وَيَخَافُونَ عَذَابَهُ إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ كَانَ مَحْذُورًا
Those whom they call upon (like Jesus son of Mary, Ezra etc.) do desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord (Allah), - even those who are nearest: they (Jesus, Ezra, angels, etc.) hope for His Mercy and fear His Wrath: for the Wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of.” Al-Isra (The Journey by Night) - (17:57)
Meaning they make waeela with dead prophets to get access to Allah, while those prophets themselves are fearful of Allah’s wrath and seeking mercy from Allah. Hence, they should be calling directly to Allah for help and mercy. It is clearly implied in this that no prophet, no saint and no angel, whom the people invoke for help, has the power to hear prayers and help anyone.
This is very simple and easy to understand. However, sit with a sufi and he will twist your mind 360 ways. I won’t go into those details, as mostly they are brain teasers and any smart person can rubbish them, provided they understand Tawheed the rightway.
But since they made it trivial, I will explain important part. The Quranic meaning of Tawassul is to draw close to Allah swt with acts of worship that pleases Allah swt and using the means that He allowed us to use and His Messenger pbuh spoke about them. Some of these means are obligatory (واجب) and others are encouraged (مستحب) and they may take form of action, words or believes. They mainly are:
- Seeking to draw close to Allah swt using His Names and Attributes (الاسمأ و ألأصفات).
- Seeking to draw close to Allah swt by means of own righteous deeds and actions, and by means of faith and Tawheed.
- Seeking to draw close to Allah swt by means of the supplication made by a righteous living man
The example of #1 is that we call on Allah by his attributes. Eg. Oh Allah Oh Ar-Rahman, Oh Ar-Raheem.. As allah swt said:
وَلِلّهِ الأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُواْ الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَآئِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ
“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His names. They will be requited for what they used to do.” Al-A’raaf (The Heights) - (7:180)
The example of #2 is that we did some good deed and use that. E.g. Oh Allah I fasted the whole month of Ramadan, please accept my deed and help me with such and such.. evidence for Seeking to draw close to Allah swt by means of own righteous deeds, and by means of faith and Tawheed:
رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا بِمَا أَنزَلَتْ وَاتَّبَعْنَا الرَّسُولَ فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ
“Our Lord! We believe in what You have sent down, and we follow the Messenger, so write us down among those who bear witness (to the truth).” Aal ‘Imran (Family of Imran) - (3:53)
The example of #3 is that we go to a righteous person and ask him to pray for us. Like, we use to ask grand-mother to pray for us that we pass the exam. This request to make dua is made to a living righteous person.
Secondly, with things that are attributed to the Prophet pbuh with respect to ibadah, they should come directly from Prophet pbuh. i.e if it is part of our deen, the Prophet should have commission it in his life through an authentic hadith.
- firstly, it is impossible for us to authenticate some one’s dream
- second, why would the prophet give instruction of ibadah in a dream of some one long after His (pbuh) death
- thirdly, Deen was completed with the verse “and we have completed your deen”. No new addition can be inserted into this deen after the Death of the Prophet (pbuh). No sahabi, imam, scholar, hakim can add to ibadah any more. Ibadah is limited to what Prophet said when he was alive. We don’t follow people’s dreams.
- fourthly, some time pious people have their own dua that their student memorized and copied. If there is no word of shirk and bidda in these dua then it is ok to read them, but they are neither compulsory or optional, nor there is a number counter we need to run on them 10,50, or 100. They have no rating in Shariah. They are just a dua of some one, if we like we say same dua or we say our own dua. Such dua has no Shariah significance. Except if this dua has shirk and bidda in it, we don’t say these words. Example is that people copy dua of imam kabaha from taraveeh.. its ok to read same dua in our taraveeh, but it is not compulsory to do same dua . We can make our own dua.
- Lastly, Prophet pbuh taught us many dua in authentic hadith. Some time Prophet pbuh asked us to repeat certain number of times. These are direct commands of Prophet pbuh, and we follow them exactly as He says without any “addition” or “subtraction” or “multiplications”. It not maths.