Some People to justify seeking intercession from graves quote the narration of Ibn Abi Shaybah from Malik Ad-Dar saying that the people suffered from drought at the time of ‘Umar, and a man came to the grave of the Prophet (saw) and requested: “O Messenger of Allah (saw), invoke (Allah) for rain for your community, because they are being destroyed.” Then he was told in a dream to go to ‘Umar and request him to perform the Salah Al-Istisqa (prayer for seeking rain). When ‘Umar was informed of this, he wept thinking it was his mistake and he should have prayed for rain before. And Sayf reports in his “Al-Futuh” that the unknown man who came to the grave and saw the dream was the Sahabi Bilal ibn Al-Harith Al-Muzani.
People tried to declare this narration authentic, yet it is not a prove for Istishfa at the grave of the Prophet (saw) because this is the action of an unknown man who is not the Sahabi Bilal, and this narration is opposing the consensus of the Sahabah, and also the dream shows that one should go to alive people for Istishfa and seeking rain and not to dead else why would someone be told to go to ‘Umar instead of the Prophet (saw)? And if the action of this unknown man was from the Sunnah, then it would come from the Sahabah in a Mutawatir way, yet we do not have one authentic narration from any Sahabi doing Istishfa at the grave of the Prophet (saw).
Challenge to bring narration of any of the companions
There is a famous dispute between Mamati Deobandis and Hayatis, and Mamatis deny the dead can hear and deny any kind of Istishfa on graves, while Hayatis tell the dead can hear and it is legislated to seek his intercession. In this dispute, Muhammad Husayn An-Neylwi Ad-Deobandi Am-Mamati challenged Sarfraz Khan Safdar Ad-Deobandi Al-Hayati in his book “Nida e Haqq” to give the name of any Sahabi who sought intercession from the Prophet (saw) after his death beside his grave, and Sarfraz Khan answered in “Taskin As-Sudur” that Bilal ibn Al-Harith did that.
Sarfraz Khan quoted As-Samhudi in his “Taskin As-Sudur” p 337 that the man who saw Prophet saw in dream in Hadith of Malik Dar was Bilal ibn Al-Harith Al-Muzani, from the narration of Sayf ibn ‘Umar in his “Futuh”.
Sher Muhammad Ad-Deobandi Am-Mamati answered in his “Ainah Taskin As-Sudur” p 147:
“Look at the state of this in light of the sayings of the Imams of Jarh wa Ta’dil
’Abbas said from Yahya (ibn Ma’in): “weak.” Mutin narrated from Yahya: “There is no good from him.” Abu Dawud said: “He is nothing (Laysa bi shayin).” Abu Hatim said: “Matruk (abandoned).” Ibn Hibban said: “Accused of being a Zindiq (heretic).” Ibn ‘Adi: “And Sayf would fabricate hadith and he was accused of being a Zindiq (heretic).” (“Mizan Al-I’tidal” v 2 p 256)
“Sayf is the author of the book “Al-Futuh” and he is weak by agreement” (“Faydh Al-Bari”, chapter time of Fajr v 2 p 136)
“Sayf ibn Umar accused of being a Zindiq and fabricating Hadith.” (“Tanzih Ash-Shari’ah Al-Marfu’ah” of Abul Hasan ‘ali ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Araq Al-Kattani v 1 p 66, first edition Beirut Lebanon)
“Sayf is Matruk, he was accused of fabricating and being a Zindiq. Ibn ‘Adi said: The majority of his Hadith are Munkar” (“Al-Alali Al-Masnu’ah” of As-Suyuti v 1 p 157)
Az-Zahabi said: “Sayf ibn ‘Umar, he was like Al-Waqidi, he narrated from Hisham ibn ‘urawah and ‘Ubdaydillah ibn ‘Amr, Jabir Al-Ju’fi and from a lot of unknown narrators.” (“Mizan Ul-I’tidal v 2 p 255)
”Sayf ibn Umar was reporting fabrications from trustworthy people and he was fabricating Hadith.” (“Kitabul Al-Majruhin” of ibn Hibban v 1 p 345 and p 346)
“Sayf ibn ‘Umar Matruk by agreement and ibn Hibban said: he was reporting fabrications” (“Al-Mughni” of Az-Zahabi v1 p 292, “Tahzib At-Tahzib” v 4 p 295)…
Comment: what strangeness and thousands of regrets that people of knowledge like Maulana Muhammad Sarfaz Khan Sahib Safdar take from this kind of Zindiq without any religion, a fabricator of Hadith, a liar like Waqidi, that this man was Bilal ibn Al-Harith Al-Muzani.” End of Sher Muhammad’s words.
Then Sher Muhammad concluded that the answer to Ustaz An-Neylwi was not correct, there is no authentic Isnad in the world saying any Sahabi ever did that, and the challenge of An-Neylwi remains.
Then on p 190, Sher Muhammad quoted from the teacher of Sarfraz Khan, Maulana Husayn ‘Ali Al-Hanafi from his “Tafsir Be Nadhir” p 52-54
“Polytheist people say: scholars sought help from the grave of the Prophet (saw) and were helped.
The answer is : This is from lies, and what is in this story, nobody does it except polytheist people, Al-Bayhaqi and ibn Abi Shaybah narrated that drought reached them at time at time of Umar…then the answer is that this man is not among the Sahabah of the Prophet (saw), rather he is Majhul Al-Hal and Majhul of name, and its Sanad is not known to be authentic, and in the narration naming this man going to the grave as Bilal ibn Al-Harith Al-Muzani, then the answer is that there is in the Sanad Sayf ibn Umar Adh-Dhabi, and he is agreed upon to be weak, and accused of being Zindiq.”
Al-Alusi affirming companions were not seeking intercession from the Prophet (saw) after his death
Secondly, the narration of this unknown man is opposing the silent consensus (Ijma As-Sukuti) of the Sahabah as for seeking rain they did not do Istishfa on the grave rather turned to ‘Abbas, and ‘Umar told the difference in Tawassul between before when the Prophet (saw) is alive and after his death.
Imam Mahmood Alusi, Mufti of the Ahnaf of his time, said in Tafsir of the Ayat: “Seek Wasilah to Him” (Maidah : 35) in his ‘Ruh Al-Ma’ani” and also quoted by his son Nu’man Al-Alusi in “Jala Al-‘Aynayn fi Muhakamah bayn Al-Ahmadayn”:
“And the verification in this place is that Istighathah (seeking help) with creation, and making it Wasilah (an intermediary) in meaning of asking him to invoke (Allah), there is no doubt about its permissibility if the sought person is alive, and we do not restrict this to the case of requesting the superior (to invoke Allah for someone), rather one can ask the superior and the inferior, and it has been authenticated that he saw asked Umar when he asked for…as for the case in which the sought person is dead or absent, it is not hidden for scholar that it is not permissible and it is from innovations that none of the Salaf did…
And it did not come from any Sahabah, and they are from most desiring from creation for every good, that they asked the dead anything, rather it is authentically reported from Ibn ‘Umar that he used to say when he entered the Prophetic chamber when visiting: “Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah, peace be upon you O Abu Bakr, peace be upon you of my father” then he left and he did not add to that and he did not seek anything from the leader of the universe (saw) or from his two nobles lying next, and they are most virtuous from what surface gathered and highest value from all what containing places can contain…”
Imam Alusi answering those who use the narration of ‘Umar with ‘Abbas to justify Tawassul with the Prophet’s essence:
“And if we suppose it there is not but Iqsam (swearing) with alive and Tawassul (intermediation) with him, and making his (saw) state of life as his state of death in this topic needs a clear text and probably the text is opposed to that, as there is in “Sahih Al-Bukhari” from Anas that “Umar ibn Al-Khattab when they faced drought sought rain with Abbas and said: “O Allah we used to do Tawassul with Your Prophet (saw) and You gave us rain, and now we do Tawassul to You with the uncle of our Prophet, give us rain” and they were given rain. And if there was Tawassul with him (saw) after his departure from this world, why did they turn to other than him? Rather they would have said: “O Allah we do Tawassul with Your Prophet, give us rain.”
And they are far away from turning away from the Tawassul of the Prophet (saw) to the Tawassul with his uncle ‘Abbas…while they were first forerunners (As-Sabiqun Al-Awalun), and they were more knowledgeable than us about Allah and His Prophet (saw), and the rights of Allah and His Prophet saw, what is legislated in invocation and what is not legislated, and they were in time of huge need, they were seeking relief from difficulties and easiness of difficult, and descent of rain with all ways, this is clear proof that the legislated is what they did without others…
As for the first information, the saying of Umar : “We used to do Tawassul with Your Prophet (saw)” and as for second his saying : “and now we do Tawassul with uncle of Your Prophet (saw)” because it is said : This Tawassul is not from chapter of Iqsam rather it is from categories of seeking intercession, and this is to seek invocation from an individual and his intercession, and seeking from Allah that he accepts his invocation and intercession. And this is supported by the fact that Abbas was invoking and they were trusting his invocation until rain came.”
Imam Alusi said further: “Secondly, people have increased in invoking other than Allah from loved Awliya from dead and other, like saying “Ya Sayidi Fulan Aghithni” (O so and so saint, save me) and this is not from permitted kinds of Tawassul in anything…a great number of scholars have considered this to be polytheism…and I do not see anybody who says this except that he believes that the invoked alive absent or hidden dead knows the invisible or hears his saying and is capable by himself or with other to bring good and remove problems, and if not he would not call him nor open his mouth, and in this there is a great test from Allah…
There is no doubt that Istighathah (seeking help) from people of graves… is a matter that is obligatory to be avoided, and it is not suitable for people of intelligence to do that, and it should not deceive you that seeker of help can have his need fulfilled and his asking being granted, because this is a test and trial from Him (‘Azza wa Jalla), and Shaytan can take appearance of the one whose help was sought, and people can think that it is a Karamat from the invoked, far away far away, it is only Shaytan who misguides him and deceive him, and he makes beautiful his desire, this is like Shaytan speaking in idols to misguide their worshipers. And the misguided people think that it is from the evolution of the soul of the invoked for help, or an angel in the form of the invoked as a Karamat for him, and this is very bad how they judge…” End of Al-Alusi’s words
So it is clear in Mahmud Al-Alusi’s words that there only comes from the Sahabah the saying of ibn ‘Umar and nothing from any Sahabah seeking intercession from the Prophet (saw), while they were the best of people. And ‘Umar turned to ‘Abbas for Tawassul, meaning requesting him to invoke Allah and he did not go to the Prophet’s grave nor did invoke Allah with the Prophet’s status. And none of the Sahabah objected to this, and if Istishfa at the grave was legislated, then would ever the best people after the Prophets prefer to ask ‘Abbas instead of the Prophet (saw)? So their absence of objection to ‘Umar shows that they all agreed with him on the fact that there is no intercession at the Prophet’s grave, and the action of an unknown man opposing this silent consensus has no weight.
The action of this unknown man is a proof against intercession
Thirdly, the action of this unknown man is in fact a proof against people advocating Istishfa on grave. ‘Allamah ‘Abdullah Ar-Ropuri said in his “Sima’ Mawta” p 101-102:
“It is known that this is not a prove for you but against you, because he was told in the dream to go to ‘Umar, and ‘Umar was alive at that time, so it is known that intercession of people alive should be sought not from dead…what you mentioned to support you is in fact refuting you, and despite this you do not understand, may Allah help you to pay attention: “he who struggles to seek will find and he who knocks with determination at the door will enter. ” End of Allamah Ar-Ropuri’s words.
Why would someone be ordered to go to ‘Umar who was alive instead of the Prophet (saw) except if the second is not legislated and not possible? If this intercession was possible, then why did the Prophet (saw) did not invoke for rain and Allah answered his invocation? So the fact that the Prophet (saw) did not invoke for this unknown man shows that this matter was not possible. So this narration shows the impossibility of this action and the mistake of this person has been explained in his dream, and this narration does not show that the Prophet (saw) intercedes for the people at his grave. Else this unknown person would have been told in the dream that your intercession has been answered, or you reached the Sunnah, your actions is correct, the Prophet (saw) heard your voice and asked Allah…rather this man was told to go to ‘Umar and request him to invoke Allah for rain and not the Prophet (saw) in his grave, so is innovation was not endorsed in the dream, rather he was told the right way and the legislated way that is to ask people to seek rain and perform Salat Al-Istisqa.
Some people with little intelligence and following their desire and trying to spread their disease argue that ‘Umar and Malik a-Dar did not object to the action of this unknown man, so it shows their approval of such an action. First there is no prove that ‘Umar was told about the incident of the Istishfa at the grave, rather the context shows he was informed about the dream, and whoever claims that he was also informed about the Istishfa at the grave, then let him prove this, else it is an empty claim having no validity.
Secondly if we accept for the sake of argumentation that ‘Umar was informed about this incident , then the silence does not systematically mean approval of such an action, specially when this incident proves that seeking intercession from the Prophet’s grave is not possible rather one should go and seek intercession from a living person. So it means ‘Umar approved that seeking intercession at the Prophet’s grave is falsehood and one should go to living person, else he would have refused to ask for rain and would have told the person to go and request this from the Prophet (saw).
As for the silence of Malik Ad-Dar, it is not a religious prove for anybody, the action of a Tabi’i is not a Hujjah, Scholars and Fuqahah only considered the action of the Sahabah to be a prove as they might do this because of a Hadith.
Yet his silence also shows he agreed that going to a living person is the Sunnah and the action of this unknown man is not legislated, and this unknown man’s request from the Prophet (saw) was not answered by the Prophet (saw), else Malik Ad-Dar would have objected and said not to ask ‘Umar but the Prophet (saw) for rain. So this story is against Istishfa on graves and not for Istishfa on graves.
People who call to Istishfa on grave have no authentic narration from any Sahabi doing Istishfa on the Prophet’s grave, only this narration of Malik Ad-Dar quoting an unknown man, a narration which does not prove that the Prophet (saw) intercedes in his grave, rather that tells to seek such requests from living people.
And it is not hidden for people of intelligence that the Prophet (saw) would have encouraged his community to seek intercession beside his grave if this was permissible, and there would have been clear and Mutawatir narrations about this matter. Yet the Prophet (saw) forbade taking his grave as a place of worship, as a place of ‘Id and an idol that is worshiped, and if intercession there was legislated, then the Prophet (saw) would have told to make his grave a place of ‘Id and gathering and remaining there a lot would have been recommended.
How people of intelligence can believe this action to be Sunnah and yet there is no one authentic narration about any Sahabi, Tabi’i, followers of Tabi’is or great Imam doing this, neither any of the jurists like Malik, Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad mentioned this in their books nor any student of Abu Hanifah, Malik, Ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad in their books, while the students of Imam Abu Hanifah have many books recording the verdicts of their Imam like “Kitab Al-Athar” of Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Ash-Shaybani and other of him, Ibn Al-Qasim has his “Mudawannah” recording the saying of Imam Malik and there are other students of Imam Malik, Al-Muzani gathered many books of Imam Ash-Shafi’i, and many students of Imam Ahmad gathered his sayings like Abu Dawud, Al-Khallal, Al-Athram and others, yet there is nothing about Istishfa on the Prophet’s grave.
Rather we find words of Imam Malik saying not to stand for a long time beside the chamber of the Prophet (saw), to send Salam and to walk away. In his “Muwatta” in which Imam Malik gathered the actions of the scholars and jurists of Madinah and great Tabi’is there, he did not mention from any of them any kind of intercession, neither Sa’id ibn Al-Musayab, nor any other of great Tabi’is of Madinah, and these Tabi’is saw how the Sahabah would behave beside the grave. Contrary to this ‘AburRazzaq quoted after the narration of ibn ‘Umar that is also in “Muwatta” about his manner of sending Salam beside the chamber, the great Tabi’i ‘Ubaydillah ibn ‘Umar saying: “We do not know of any among Sahabah who would do this except ibn ‘Umar.”
And none of the Muhadith like Al-Bukhari, the authors of Sunnan and lowest books has a chapter about seeking intercession from the Prophet (saw) beside his grave.
And even Mutaakhir scholars like An-Nawawi and others who quote the narration of ‘Utbi and others do not claim this from any of the Salaf, neither from Imam Ash-Shafi’i nor Ahmad, rather they relied on the fabricated Hadith of Al-‘Utbi.
So this shows the consensus of the Sahabah, Tabi’is, their followers and of all Imams, Jurists and Muhadith of the Salaf about not doing this, and this is the way of the believers, the Jama’ah that one should not oppose, and they constitute the majority of the scholars of this community.
The Tahqiq of Hafiz Zubair Ali Zai
The facts and quotes below are taken from an article of Shaykh Zubayr Ali Zai, in his “Maqalat” v 3 p 300 and after.
A Mudalis narrator is the one who hides the narrator above him from whom he heard and narrates directly from the one above from whom he did not hear, and he says: from so and so. So when he narrates specifying Simaa’, meaning specifying that he heard from the one above him, such narrations are accepted, but when he narrates with ‘Ananah, meaning by saying: from so and so, then because of the suspicion of Tadlis, that he might have omitted the narrator above him, such narrations are not accepted.
For instance, if Zayd is a Mudalis, and he narrated from Bakr with ‘Ananah by saying: “from Bakr”, then it is rejected, and if he says: “Bakr narrated to me” then he makes it clear that he heard such from Bakr and such a narration is accepted.
Al-Amash is a known Mudallis. Hafiz Muhammad ibn Tahir Al-Maqdisi wrote in “Masalah At-Tasmiyah” p 47:
“Ahmad ibn ‘Ali Al-Adeeb narrated to us, Al-Hakim Abu ‘Abdillah told us by Ijazah, Muhammad ibn Salih ibn Hani narrated to us, Ibrahim ibn Abi Talib narrated to us, Hafiz Raja Al-Marwazi narrated to us, Nadhr ibn Shameen narrated to us, I heard Shu’bah saying: The Tadlis of three is sufficient: Al-‘Amash, Abu Ishaq and Qatadah.”
All the narrators above are all famous Thiqah Hufaz.
Hafiz Az-Zahabi said in “Mizan Al-I’tidal” v 2 p 224 about Al-A’mash:
“He would do Tadlis and sometimes from a weak narrator and this would not be known”
Hafiz Az-Zahabi mentioned the general rule about Mudalis narrators in “Al-Mawquzah” p 199:
“If he does Tadlis from his Shaykh with a Tadlis from trustworthy narrators, there is no problem in it, and if he does Tadlis from weak narrators, then it is rejected.”
So the narration of someone who does Tadlis from weak narrators is not accepted.
Yet, Az-Zahabi said about the Tadlis of Al-A’mash in “Mizan Al-I’tidal” v 2 p 224:
“Except from his Shuyukh from whom he narrates a lot such as Ibrahim, ibn Abi Wa’il, Abu Salih As-Saman, and the narration from this category is considered as continuous.”
Yet this view of Az-Zahabi has been rejected by many scholars who weakened narrations of Al-A’mash from Abu Salih As-Saman and others when he mentions with ‘Ananah. Here are some of them:
1) Sufyan Ath-Thawri, he said: “The Hadith of Al-A’mash from Abu Salih: “the Imam is a guarantor”, I do not consider that he (Al-A’mash) heard this from Abu Salih” (“Muqaddamah Al-Jarh wa Ta’dil” with an authentic Isnad).
Sufyan Ath-Thawri said about another narration: “Sulayman narrated to us, and he Al-A’mash from Abu Salih, I do not consider that he heard it from him…” (“Sunnan Al-Kubra” of Al-Bayhaqi 3/127 with a Hassan Isnad)
2) Al-Hakim An-Nisapori, he said about a Hadith: “Al-A’mash did not hear this Hadith from Abu Salih” (“Ma’rifah Ulum Al-Hadith” p 35)
3) Al-Bayhaqi, he said: “This Hadith, Al-A’mash did not hear it from Abu Salih with certitude…” (“As-Sunnan Al-Kubra” 1/430)
4) Hafiz ibn Al-Qattan Al-Fasi said about a narration of Al-A’mash from Abu Salih: “The narration in ‘ananah form from Al-A’mash is presented to show the disconnection because he is a Mudalis.” (“Bayan Al-Wahm wal Iham” v 2 p 435)
5) At-Tahawi in a narration of Al-A’mash from Abu Salih quoted some objections on the Tadlis, and then he mentioned a weak Isnad that mentions Simaa’ (that A’mash heard from Abu Salih) and relied on it. (“Mushkil Al-Athar” v 5 p 434, Hadith n 2192)
6) Ad-Daraqutni said about a narration of Al-A’mash from Abu Salih: “Maybe Al-A’mash did Tadlis from Habeeb (meaning that he omitted Habeeb between in him and Abu Salih) and mentioned his name in another place.” (“Al-‘Ilal Al-Waridah” v 10 p 95, Hadith n 1888)
7) An-Nawawi said about a narration of Al-A’mash from Abu Salih: “Al-A’mash is a Mudalis, and when the Mudalis says: “from”, it is not accepted and it is only accepted when Simaa’ is proven from another way…” (“Sharh Sahih Muslim” v 1 p 72, Hadith n 109)
8) Al-Bazar said about a narration of Al-A’mash from Abu Salih: “This Hadith has rejected words, maybe Al-A’mash took this from someone who is not Thiqah and he did Tadlis, and so apparently its Sanad seemed to be authentic. For me this Hadith has no basis” (“Fath Al-Bari” v 8 p 462, Hadith 4750)
9) Hafiz ibn Al-Jawzi said about a narration of Al-A’mash from Abu Salih: “This Hadith is not authentic” (“Al-‘Ilal Al-Mutanahiyah” v 1 p 437, Hadith n 736)
And likewise some scholars weakened the narrations of Al-A’mash with Tadlis from Ibrahim An-Nakh’i and Ibn Abi Wa’il.
Sufyan Ath-Thawri said about a narration of Al-A’mash from Ibrahim An-Nakh’i: “Al-A’mash did not hear the Hadith of Ibrahim about the one who laughs in the prayer” (“Kitab Al-‘Ilal” of Imam Ahmad 2/67 and “Muqaddimah Jarh wa Ta’dil” p 72)
Ahmad ibn Hambal said about a Hadith of Al-A’mash from Ibn Abi Wa’il: “Neither did Al-Haytham hear this from Al-A’mash nor did Al-A’mash hear this from ibn Abi Wa’il”
So this saying of Az-Zahabi is contradicted by the majority of the scholars.
Furthermore, some people claim that Al-Bukhari has in his “Sahih” some narrations with the Tadlis of Al-‘Amash from Abu Salih, so such narrations are accepted, but it is completely false, because all narrations of Mudalis in the two Sahih are considered as continuous, and this is specific to the two “Sahih” and not for other books, as there are supporting narrations in which there is mention of Simaa’. Below are some quotes from brother Abu Khuzaimah :
Al-Karmani Al-Hanafi said in his explanation of “Sahih Al-Bukhari” (4/67): “Verily all ‘Anana reports in the two Sahih (of Al-Bukhari and Muslim) are upon Simaa’ and Itisaal (continuity) from other sources that are used as supports”.
Mulla Ali Al-Qari said: “All reports in the two “Sahih” are upon Simaa, even though they are mentioned with ‘Anana”.
Hafiz Ibn Hajar said in his “Fath”: “The Hufaz of the Muhadiths say that they only take ‘Anana upon Simaa’ and I have investigated the Ahadith in “Al-Bukhari” and found them like this”
An-Nawawi said in” Muqaddimah Sahih Muslim” (pg.18): “Verily when the Mudallis makes ‘Anana, this is not a proof unless there is Simaa’ and those reports in the two “Sahih” are considered as upon Simaa’”
So one can see that the narrations in the two Sahih have supporting narrations, and only in them the narrations of Mudallis are considered as continuous.
Compiled by Ali Hassan Khan
May Allah send Salah and Salam on the Prophet (saw), his household, his companions and on those who followed them.