Islamic Concept of Intermediation (Tawassul)

Intermediation through persons other than prophets

Some people, in spite of their awareness of the injunctions of Qur’ān and Sunnah and the practice of the Companions, believe that it is possible to seek means in the earthly world and therefore, it is valid to seek means and extend help, but after death the creature has no control over his body, so how can he be relied upon as intermediary? Since it is beyond his control to serve as means and help others, so it is a form of disbelief.

This pig-headedness needs a twofold elaboration. First of all, it is an established fact that the creature, whether he is alive or resting in his grave, has absolutely no control over his body in both cases. These powers are only conferred on him by Allah, which we exercise during our worldly existence to handle a variety of matters. It, in fact, is Allah’s blessing on the creature and, if Allah decides to withdraw it from him during his earthly life, he will be deprived even of the capacity to pull a straw. So, just as in this world of cause-and-effect, Allah has absolute control over all the powers of the creature, and yet it is not a kind of disbelief to rely on his means and seek help from him, similarly Allah does not condemn it as disbelief if someone seeks help from another creature after death or relies on his mediation. Just as in life it is disbelief to regard the creature as the real helper but he can be depended upon as means and his help can be derivatively invoked, similarly it is quite valid to regard the saints, as derivative helpers after death and to trust as means and beseech them for help. Disbelief whether it is associated with a living person or a dead person remains disbelief. But to seek help from someone in his derivative capacity whether he is dead or alive is quite valid and does not amount to disbelief. Islam does not believe in double standards that an act is a form of belief if you perform it in a mosque and it turns into disbelief if you perform it in a temple. Islamic injunctions and the consequences that follow from them display a consistent pattern. Thus, if we treat a medical expert as the true helper and seek his assistance, it will be considered a form of disbelief. On the other hand, if we regard Allah as the true helper and seek the help of a virtuous person as a form of treatment, it is quite valid and is in no way inconsistent with Islamic Shariah.

The real purpose of a man’s life is to be included among the favourites of God and to acquire as much knowledge of the divine springs of Power as is consistent with human limitations. Therefore, to realize this purpose, human beings rely on the saints and the virtuous people because they not only themselves have cultivated divine consciousness but also develop it in those who are closely associated with them. This is the reason we find Ibrāhīm (عليه السلام) praying to God to include him among His favourites so that he could persuade his followers to pursue a similar goal:

O my Lord! Make me perfect in knowledge and conduct and include me among those whom You have rewarded with Your nearness.[1]

Here, the word hukman means the acme of human capacity for knowledge and conduct. Qādī Thanā’ullāh Pānī Patī says:

That is, to bring knowledge and conduct to such a climactic point that one develops the complete ability to represent the sublime office of divinity and to provide unflawed guidance and political leadership to humanity.[2]

Imam Rāzī writes:

“When acquisition of knowledge as the meaning of hukman has been established, it is equally established at the same time that he (the Prophet Ibrāhīm) prayed to Allah for the kind of knowledge that guaranteed his total absorption in the divine qualities and attributes, a knowledge whose purity serves as a self-adjusting filter to drive out all impurities.” He further comments:

And this knowledge proves that the divine knowledge or consciousness develops in the heart of a creature by Allah’s will and Ibrāhīm’s supplication – and include me among those whom You have rewarded with Your nearness – is a pointer to the fact that for a creature to be saintly or virtuous is exclusively the outcome of Allah’s will.[3]

Therefore, the acquisition of divine knowledge is made possible only by means of the virtuous and pious people. To be associated with them and to acquire divine knowledge through their mediation has been the practice of the prophets. And any creature who desires the favour of Allah through the means of the pious and the saintly people, never feels frustrated and his prayer is invariably granted, and he is included among the virtuous people. Then he attains divine consciousness as is declared by Allah:

And surely (even) in the Hereafter, they will be in the ranks of the righteous.[4]

There is irrefutable evidence of reliance on these righteous people for the fulfilment of their needs and the relief of their pains and troubles. In its support, the Qur’ānic verse in which Allah is commanding the believers to associate themselves with the righteous, is quite sufficient and conclusive. Allah says:

O believers! Fear Allah, and remain in (the company) of the truthful.[5]

In this verse, Allah, on the one hand, is instructing the believers in the uniqueness and immutability of His Power; on the other hand, He is enjoining upon them to adopt the company of the truthful in order to elevate themselves to a position which the truthful have already attained. At another place, Allah says:

And follow the path of the (person) who turned towards Us.[6]

Similarly, the prophet Yūsuf’s prayer is also recorded in the holy Qur’ān:

Take my soul at death as a Muslim and unite me with the righteous.[7]

The holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself prayed to Allah using similar words.[8]

Some people might object to the authenticity of the tradition, picking out flaws in its chain of transmission or coming out with some other frivolous remarks, but no believer can deny the credibility of the prayer by Yūsuf (عليه السلام) as it is recorded in the holy Qur’ān which is nothing but absolute truth. Thus it is established that it has been the practice of the prophets to mediate their supplications through the virtuous and the righteous. The recording of these forms of supplication in the Qur’ān is most probably intended to persuade the believers to follow the practice of the prophets.

Ibn-ul-Firāsī narrates that Fīrāsī said to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم): O Messenger of Allah! Shall I beg you for something? He replied:

No, and if you can’t help begging, then you should beseech the pious and the righteous (for help).[9]

Some people believe that the supplication of the pious and the virtuous is granted during their lifetime, but after death they cannot help anyone, as they themselves are helpless. They believe that the righteous are a source of help but only during their earthly existence, and it is disbelief to rely on them for help after their death.

The supporters of this view are victims of a grave misunderstanding because the reality is just the reverse. It is true as the green of the grass and the blue of the sky that Allah is the only source of blessing and no creature can arrogate this exclusively divine prerogative to himself. If he does so, he is committing unabashed disbelief. Therefore, to think that the prayer is mediated through one of His favourites in his life and He turns a cold shoulder to his prayer when he is dead smacks of a self-contradiction, as it tends to identify the saint with Allah as the source of help. The fact is that God Alone has the power to fulfil the needs of the creatures through the mediation of the saints whether they are dead or alive.

Those who object to making saints and the pious as means of help and assistance after death are obviously in the wrong groove. They are only fumbling in the dark and smashing their cluttered heads against the slippery walls of an unlighted tunnel which leads into an even darker dungeon. Their objections are grounded in the misconception that reliance on the saints and the pious for the acquisition of Allah’s blessing is contingent on their manifest life while Allah’s dispensing of His blessings to His creatures through the saints and the pious is absolutely unrelated to the fact of their being dead and alive. The traditions and the quotes of the Companions that follow are purported to eliminate the doubts raised by these objectors. A wide spectrum of evidence is marshalled to prove the fact that it is not only valid to rely on the saints and the pious for help after their death but it has also been the practice of the prophets and Allah’s favourites. These are the people who can truly guide us and lead us to our salvation. Ibn Taymiyyah sums up the controversy at the end of his book al-‘Aqīdat-ul-wāsitiyyah:

Ahl-us-Sunnah wa al-Jamā‘ah are aligned to (cling to) the faith of Islam, guarding themselves gingerly against all forms of doctoring. This includes the truthful, the martyrs and the pious (according to their grades). It also includes the people who are the source of guidance and the minaret of light. These are the people who have achieved distinction on the basis of a consistently virtuous mode of living. The Substitutes and the Imams of dīn also belong in this category who rallied the Muslims to (the path of) guidance. This is the group who received divine patronage to remain (truthful) and it was about this group that the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) had said: “A group of my Community, who have been divinely guided to stick to the path of truth, will not cease to exist till the Day of Judgement, and those who oppose them or degrade them will never be able to do them any harm.”[10]

The second point revolves around the objection that the dead cannot be relied upon as means and they lack the capacity for help. This conclusion is also based on perverse reasoning. Allah Himself has referred to the purgatorial life of His favourites at various places in the Qur’ān. There is no difference of opinion among the followers of any ideology or religion about the life of the martyrs. What luxuries must grace the purgatorial life of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) whose most lowly follower is guaranteed not only life till the Day of Judgement if he dies a martyr but who also receives all the requisite divine blessings! Therefore, by regarding the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as a derivative helper, it is quite valid to seek his help and assistance after his death as it was valid during his earthly existence. Rather, his purgatorial life is as active and dynamic as his other life because his followers are sending salutations on him in a spirit of matchless devotion and angels have been appointed to convey these messages of sincerity and deep attachment to the Prophet. This symphony of sound and voice which his followers play every second and every minute is a living proof of the blessings Allah has conferred on him even in his purgatorial life.

If the acts of intercession, beseeching the Prophet’s help and his mediation were acts of disbelief, then they should be indiscriminately pronounced as forms of disbelief everywhere; they should apply equally to his earthly existence, purgatorial life and his life in the Hereafter, because disbelief is condemned by Allah in every colour and hue. But the facts point in the opposite direction: Islamic teachings unambiguously reveal that the Companions relied on the Prophet’s mediation at various occasions in their life and besought him for help and they will also seek his help and intercession even on the Day of Judgement and they will seek his means, and as a result of this reliance on his means and appeal for help, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) will reward his followers by interceding before Allah for their salvation. Thus, when it is valid during the earthly life and after-life of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) how can it be declared invalid and a form of disbelief during his purgatorial life?

Proof of purgatorial life

The teachings of Qur’ān and Sunnah prove the reality of life after death or life in the grave as clearly as they depict the reality of resurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgement. Allah says in the holy Qur’ān:

How can you reject the faith in Allah? Seeing that you were without life, (and) He gave you life; then He will cause you to die and will again bring you to life. Then again to Him will you return.[11]

The Qur’ānic verse makes an explicit reference to two kinds of death, two kinds of life and finally the return of all mankind to Allah on the Day of Judgement. In the light of the holy verse, the first kind of death was our state of non-existence when we had not stepped into the world of existence. The life that followed this state is our life on earth. Then death will overreach us and people will accordingly perform our funeral rites and bury us. The life that will follow is called the purgatorial life which is given to man in the grave or in his capacity as a dead person. The angels interrogate him and open a window in the grave leading either to Paradise or Hell. After the second life, we will be returned. Thus the purgatorial life spans the arrival of the angels in the grave for interrogation and the divine breath blown into the dead bodies for their resurrection.

This relates to the purgatorial life of an ordinary human being whether he is a believer or a non-believer. Now let us examine another verse about the life of the martyrs:

And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah that they are dead, (they are not dead) but they are living though you are not conscious (of their life).[12]

The same theme is expressed in different words:

And those who are slain in the way of Allah, do not (even) think of them as dead. But they live in the presence of their Lord, they find their sustenance (in the blessings of Paradise).[13]

The followers of all religions believe in the life of the martyrs. However, besides the Qur’ānic verses, a number of traditions draw our attention to the fact that there is life after death even for the non-believers and infidels and they are endowed with the capacity to respond to the words of the living. For example, after the battle of Badr, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself called the slain infidels by their names and asked them:

Surely, we found the promise of our Lord absolutely true. (O infidels and non-believers!) Did you also find the promise of your lord true?

At this juncture ‘Umar bin al-Khattāb said to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم): “O Prophet! You are addressing bodies which have no soul in them.” To make it clear, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) addressed the Companions:

I swear by the Power Who has in His control the life of Muhammad! The words I am speaking to these (infidels and non-believers), they far excel you in their power to listen to them.[14]

This agreed-upon tradition attests not only to the purgatorial life after death of the infidels and non-believers, but it also attests to their power of listening which excels even that of the Companions.

Similarly, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) taught every person passing by a graveyard of the Muslims to address the residents of the grave by the particle “Yā (O)” and send salutations on them. This is the reason that Muslims teach their children to say as-salāmu ‘alaykum yā ahl-al-qubūr (O residents of graves, peace be on you) whenever they pass by a graveyard.

When the life of the infidels and non-believers, the life of the ordinary believers, and the life of the martyrs and the saints have been confirmed by the Qur’ān and the Sunnah, how is it possible to deny the life of the prophets, particularly the life of the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)? Especially, when he himself has repeatedly and explicitly declared:

Allah has declared it forbidden for the earth to eat the bodies of the prophets. So the prophets are living and they regularly receive their sustenance.[15]

This sahīh (sound) tradition conclusively proves that the absolute and incomparable power of Allah keeps the prophets alive in their graves. Another tradition records that the affairs of the Ummah are regularly presented to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) who expresses his gratitude to Allah for their good deeds and prays for His forgiveness for their misdeeds. The words of the tradition are as follows:

Your deeds are presented to me. If they are good, I express my gratitude to Allah, and if the deeds are not good, then I pray to Allah for your forgiveness.[16]

The Lord, who has the power to give life and sustenance to the whole mankind both in this world and the Hereafter, also has the power to keep the prophets alive in the graves and give them sustenance. The unnatural and unscientific Greek philosophical discussions, which have percolated into Islamic literature, are no match to the natural and immutable principles of Islam. The injunctions of Islam clearly explain different kinds of life and the modes of addressing people in their purgatorial life and declare categorically that the prophets, martyrs, saints and ordinary Muslims, even infidels and non-believers, are alive in their graves. As far as the martyrs are concerned, the Qur’ān itself is a witness that they regularly receive their sustenance. Therefore, those who acknowledge intermediation and appeal for help in the earthly existence as valid but treat it as invalid, even as a form of disbelief after death should remember that death is the taste of a moment, which passes away. According to Iqbāl, death is “a message of awakening behind the smokescreen of dream.”

Purgatorial life is a midway house between the earthly life and the life after death, which will be conferred on people on the Day of Judgement. Just as it is valid to beseech the help of a person during his earthly life and during his life after death and to rely on his means, it is also an equally valid act to beseech his help and to rely on his means in his purgatorial life. This does not border on disbelief, because in all the three kinds of life, earthly, eternal and purgatorial, Allah is the real Helper and the creature whose help is being sought or is relied upon as means is the derivative helper. This is in consonance with the Islamic teaching and does not even remotely smack of disbelief. To treat the creature as the real helper in all the three categories of life is tantamount to disbelief. It should be noted that the cause of disbelief is not located in the categories of life but in the division of real and derivative.

The life and capacity of the soul

After a logical and categorical proof of the reality of the purgatorial life of human soul, it is sheer irrational stubbornness to deny the reality of intermediation and seeking help from others after their death. To beseech help and assistance from the souls of the prophets and the saints or to rely upon their means is as justified as to seek help from living persons or the angels or to rely upon their means. When we seek help from a living being we are, in fact, seeking help from his soul. The human body is the dressing of the real man – soul. After death, when the soul is liberated from the material constraints of the body and, on account of its freedom from impurities of the flesh, then, like the angels, even more than them, it has the power to perform non-material acts. The soul is independent of the rules and regulations of the phenomenal world because her world – the world of command – is different from the cause-and-effect world of the body. Allah highlights this reality in the holy Qur’ān:

And these (infidels) ask you questions about the soul. Tell them that the soul is by the command of my Lord.[17]

The souls are blessed with a greater capacity of action and performance in their purgatorial life than they had enjoyed in conjunction with their bodies. They live in the world of command and can come more easily to the assistance of those who implore them for help. It may be noted that the prophets and the saints pray to Allah for the petitioners, and in response to their supplication, Allah fulfils the need of the concerned person. It is just like an adult person praying for a child or a brother praying for his brother. The problem is that those who deny life to the residents of the graves believe that the dead are not in a position to pray. But the true Islamic belief is that they are alive and recognize their visitors in proportion to their consciousness and understanding. The soul’s awareness grows even more acute after it has been separated from the body, and by jettisoning its physical inhibitions, it is made even more powerful.

Another way to understand the meaning of intermediation and seeking help from others is that the power for Whom mediation is sought or whose help is being sought is Allah Himself. But the petitioner says that he covets Allah’s help through the mediation of the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) for the fulfilment of his need. He implores Allah through His favourites. He says to Allah: I am from among the favourites of these saints, therefore, show special mercy to me as I am very close to them and love them immensely. Thus Allah condones his sins for the sake of the holy prophets and also on account of his close association with the saints and fulfils his need.

The people who gather to offer the funeral prayer of a person pray for his forgiveness by Allah on a similar basis. They, in fact, serve as a means of forgiveness for the dead person and also act as his helpers.

The dead as a source of benefit for the living

The final shot fired by these deniers of intermediation through the saints and the pious is that the dead cannot benefit the living because they lack the power even to shoo away a fly sitting on their body. How is it possible that a dead person, shorn of physical power, can help the living and that the living turn to him for help?

This hypothetical objection is actually based on their unawareness of the Prophet’s traditions and teachings of the religious leaders. As we have already explained, the people who die and leave this worldly life, do not in fact die, but enter another life (purgatorial life). Though they are dead in our eyes, they are not actually dead, only their mode of life has changed as they have been transferred from one kind of existence to another kind of existence.

This can be explained by another example. Suppose there are two tubelights in a room. One of them is white and the other is blue. The light of the white tube is spreading all around while the blue tube is off. Now what will happen if the off-button of the white tube is pressed and precisely at that moment the on-button of the blue tube is also pressed? The room is the same, all the things in it are in their proper place, its doors, windows and curtains, etc., are also intact, but there is a change in the inner ambience of the room, that is, in the earlier state, everything appeared in the white light in its original colour, and now everything in the room appears to wear a different complexion on account of the colour radiated by the blue tube. Now the question is: Has the colour of everything in the room really changed? Has the material composition of the objects changed? The answer is in the negative. Every object is present in its original state. The difference lies only in our perception. The same applies to the dead people. When the light of their worldly life is put out, we think they are dead, while, in reality, the tubelight of their purgatorial life is put on. Just as the saints and the pious are relied upon during their earthly life – while the real source of help is Allah – similarly, they can be relied upon as a means of help to fulfil our needs and to seek the nearness of Allah even when they have left this material world.

Suyūtī has copied in his book Sharh-us-sudūr bi-sharh hāl-il-mawtā wal-qubūr (pp.257-9) fifteen traditions bearing on this theme, and furnishing a proof of the reality of purgatorial life, he has affirmed that the dead can benefit the living.

Ibn-ul-Qayyim has written an exhaustive book on “the soul” which is the most authentic book on this subject. At one place he has reported from ‘Abdullāh bin Mubārak that Abū Ayyūb al-Ansārī said:

The deeds of the living are presented to the dead. If they see virtuous (deeds), they are pleased and rejoiced, and if they see (evil) deeds, they say: O Allah! Return them.[18]

Narrating another tradition, Ibn-ul-Qayyim writes:

“‘Ibād bin ‘Ibād called on Ibrāhīm bin Sālih and at that time Ibrāhīm bin Sālih was the ruler of Palestine. ‘Ibād bin ‘Ibād said to him: give me some advice. Ibrāhīm bin Sālih said:

What should I advise you? May God make you a pious man! I have received the news that the deeds of the living are presented to their dead relatives. Now you just reflect on your deeds which are presented to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).

After relating this, Ibrāhīm bin Sālih cried so bitterly that his beard became wet.[19]

In addition, there are many other traditions which prove that the deeds of the living are presented to the dead. Therefore, people, who are the victims of doubt, should study them to correct their faith which, according to Ibn Taymiyyah, is the faith of Ahl-us-Sunnah wa al-Jamā‘ah as has already been explained, which leads one to the straight path and brings one increasingly closer to the pleasure of the Lord. Exclusive reliance on reason can prove disastrous as reason is a deceptive chameleon and puts on a variety of guises to deceive its own followers; it is totally undependable and those who rely on it for true enlightenment, can never be blessed with guidance as misguidance is their destiny. According to Iqbāl:

Move beyond reason because this light (wisdom)
Is only the candle on the way; it is not the destination.

Section One :

Intermediation through the pious

1. Mediation of pious parents

Allah says:

And their father was a pious (person).[20]

The backdrop of the episode narrated in this verse is that Mūsā (عليه السلام) and Khadir (عليه السلام) stayed at a village. The natives played host to them. When they left there, they saw the wall of two orphan brothers caving in which harboured their treasure under it. Khadir (عليه السلام) reconstructed the wall without any recompense. Mahmūd Ālūsī relates that Khadir (عليه السلام) performed this act because their father was a pious person. The obvious conclusion is that Allah saved them on account of the mediation of their parents and some interpreters say that the pious father belonged in the fifth generation while others place him in the seventh generation.

We come to learn from this verse that honouring the children of the pious persons, regardless of the worth of their personal deeds, and only on the basis of their lineage, was the practice of the saints and the prophets. The question arises here that in the present-day world why should we respect the children of the pious when they themselves are more inclined towards evil than good? It is true that, according to the Qur’ān, the criterion of human excellence is piety, but if sense of personal achievement or individual worth has value, one’s genealogy or family links should also be considered valuable. Therefore, they are being rewarded for the piety of their father. This was also the practice of the saints and the prophets. Now suppose the children are expelled from the fold of Islam on account of some evil act (may God forbid), then they, according to the reservation expressed in Qur’ān: “Surely, he is not included among your family members,”[21] do not fall within the area of this qualification, like the son of Nūh (عليه السلام) as well as Yazīd. Since the reservation applies to Yazīd, he does not deserve any respect or regard.

2. ‘Abbās as a means of help

This is about famine and drought, which had taken a heavy toll of cattle. The people, led by ‘Abbās, offered the prayer for rain.

The meaning of ‘Umar’s intermediation through ‘Abbās

It is reported from Anas that when ‘Umar prayed for help through the mediation of ‘Abbās bin ‘Abd-ul-Muttalib during the time of famine, he said:

O Allah, we used to offer to You the mediation of the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and You saturated us with rain, and now we rely on the mediation of the Prophet’s uncle, so saturate us with rain (through his mediation).[22]

Anas relates that they were saturated, that is, it rained which put an end to drought.

Similarly, ‘Abdullāh bin ‘Umar narrates that, during the year of famine, ‘Umar bin al-Khattāb prayed to Allah for rain through the mediation of ‘Abbās bin ‘Abd-ul-Muttalib. Then he addressed the people:

O people, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) treated ‘Abbās in the same way as a child treats his father (that is, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) treated ‘Abbās as his father). He deeply respected him and fulfilled the promises made by him. O people, you should also follow the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) in the case of ‘Abbās and offer him to Allah as a means of help and support so that He sends rain on you.[23]

Then ‘Abbās prayed in these words:

O Allah, calamity (and trouble) comes as a result of sin and only penitence lifts this calamity, and the people, on account of my relation with Your Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), have offered me to You as a means of seeking Your help, and these hands of ours, besmeared in sins, are before You and our foreheads are bowed down with penitence. So give us rain.[24]

We learn from the narrations that when ‘Abbās offered the prayer, soon after it, the clouds rolled up from behind the hills and spread over the sky and the land was filled with rain. The people rejoiced, and touching the body of ‘Abbās as a mark of respect, they said: O beloved of the two sacred places of Makkah and Medina, we congratulate you. And ‘Umar bin al-Khattāb added on this occasion:

By God! This is what mediation is in the court of Allah and this is what the ‘exalted status’ means.[25]

Subkī comments:

And, similarly, this (episode) justifies the act of intermediation through the pious creatures of Allah, and this is an act which the Muslims have never denied. But only one of the Muslim sects (inventors of the new faith) has (denied intermediation).[26]

Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī writes in the context of this tradition:

The episode involving ‘Abbās makes it clear that to seek intercession from the virtuous, the pious and members of the Prophet’s family is a desirable act. In addition, this event proves the high status of ‘Abbās as well as reveals ‘Umar’s respect for him and the acknowledgement of his status.[27]

Those who exploit this tradition as a negation of intermediation through the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) after his death suffer from a misapprehension because when intermediation was sought through ‘Abbās, it was the time of prayer. That is, ‘Umar, being the caliph, pushed ‘Abbās forward, instead of himself leading the prayer. During his earthly existence, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself led the prayers, and the master leading the prayer served as an act of mediation for the Companions. Now, when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself was not physically present among them, ‘Umar requested his uncle to stand in his place and through his mediation prayed for rain. Therefore, their objections is automatically cancelled out. It might have sounded credible if there were some other prayer instead of the prayer for rain as at this occasion the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was not supposed to lead the prayer himself.

The blessing of the Prophet’s family

Being the caliph, ‘Umar was supposed to lead the people in the prayer for rain. This was what the protocol demanded and this was what the people expected. But he deliberately, as a token of respect for the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and his family, sacrificed the worldly protocol for spiritual protocol and this should be the hallmark of all true believers who prefer collective gain to personal benefit so he gave precedence to ‘Abbās over himself so that through his means he could come even closer to the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). He also prompted the people to persuade ‘Abbās to lead the prayer. The motive behind the move was twofold; first, to further add to the dignity of the Prophet’s family and, second, to expedite the acceptance of the prayer. He himself had led the prayers at this spot because, during his lifetime, this had been the practice of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself and what could be more precious for ‘Umar than to continue the practice of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Besides, the episode transparently revealed the respect and honour these people extended to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)and his family. Each step ‘Umar took and each measure he adopted, was expressly designed to promote the honour of the family of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).

‘Umar also expressed this attitude in his own prayer: ‘O Allah, we in our prayer to You used to rely on the mediation of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), and You blessed us with the rain. Now we rely on the mediation of his uncle, therefore, bless us with rain.’ That is, during the life of the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), we relied on his mediation. Like this, he took the people out, led them in prayer and then prayed to You. Now all this is not possible on account of his death, and we give precedence to the members of his family so that our prayer is accepted by You without delay.

The prayer for rain is offered at the juncture of famine and drought. If we reflect on the tradition deeply, we will discover that ‘Umar is laying greater stress on the act of mediation than on the act of supplication. He is not saying: O people, cry your hearts out, shower Allah with your implorings and He will bless you with rain. Not once did he say that. All his hope is focused on the act of mediation and the act of supplication is pushed into the background. After ‘Abbās had led the prayer, ‘Umar also asked him to supplicate before Allah and he prayed: O Allah! This nation, on account of my blood link with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), has asked me to lead them in prayer. That is, he presented to Allah the mediation of the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Therefore, his act of leading the prayer actually established the act of intermediation through the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).

It will be incorrect to infer from the words of ‘Umar that he relied on the mediation of ‘Abbās and not on that of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) because ‘Abbās was alive while the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was dead. The point to be noted is that he relied on ‘Abbās’s mediation on account of his close link with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as is clearly reflected in his own supplication. Therefore, it is clear that he is actually depending on the Prophet’s mediation.

Those who believe in intermediation through the living and deny it after death and accuse Muslims of disbelief on account of their reliance on intermediation after death are, in fact, themselves misdirected. If intermediation is disbelief, then it applies equally to the dead and the living as no one believes that it is valid to acknowledge not-God as God during his life and invalid after his death. This discriminatory attitude is a reflection of their perverse mentality and is in conflict with the spirit of true faith.

3. Command for supplication through the mediation of Uways Qaranī

The holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), being the greatest well-wisher of his Ummah, has opened many avenues for its betterment and devised a number of means to facilitate this process. One of the means prescribed by him is the act of supplication through the saints and the righteous. The statements made by him in different contexts imply that he himself had commanded his followers to supplicate through the righteous as he persuaded a person of ‘Umar’s stature to have his supplication mediated through Uways Qaranī who was one of the Prophet’s closest proxy associates. He belonged to Yemen and could not attain the stature of the Prophet’s Companion as he could not spare any time from tending his old mother and call personally on the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) also loved his devotee deeply. He gave the glad tidings of his Ummah’s salvation through his supplication and said to ‘Umar that, if possible, he should persuade him to supplicate for his redemption. His statement has been narrated by Usayr bin Jābir:

The residents of Kufa called on ‘Umar in the form of a delegation. One of the delegates was a person who used to have fun with Uways. ‘Umar asked: Is there anyone of you who comes from Qaran? That person came forward. ‘Umar said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) had said: “A person from Yemen will come to you. His name will be Uways. In Yemen, there will be no one else besides his mother. He was suffering from leprosy. He supplicated to Allah and Allah removed all the spots except a white spot of the size of a dinar or a dirham. If anyone of you comes across him, you should ask him to pray for your redemption.”[28]

Again, another tradition makes reference to Uways Qaranī. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said to ‘Umar:

If he swears by God and says something, Allah will keep his word. If you can persuade him to supplicate for your salvation, you must get it done.[29]

Then, according to the Prophet’s prediction, a number of Muslims came from Yemen to take part in the jihad. One of them was Uways Qaranī and ‘Umar asked him to pray for him.[30]

The conclusion to be drawn from the Prophet’s statement is that he himself commanded his followers to depend on the mediation of the righteous and the pious. The master for whom the whole universe was created, who was ordained as the Prophet to introduce us to the religion of truth, who is Allah’s most beloved creature, whose office is the recitation of the Qur’ānic verses, he himself is saying: ask my servant Uways to pray for your redemption. We know that Allah is even closer to us than our main artery, He listens to our supplications but in spite of all this, he is saying: ask Uways Qaranī to pray for you. Therefore, it is now quite transparent that to pray through the mediation of the pious and the righteous is compatible with the will of the Lord and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and this is what constitutes the essence of faith and religion.

4. Victory through the Companions and the Successors

Abū Sa‘īd Khudrī has reported a tradition that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:

A time will come that groups of people will come and fight a battle. It will be said: Is anyone among you a Companion of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)? It will be said yes and then victory will be achieved. Then a time will come that it will be said: Is there anyone among you who was in the company of the Prophet’s Companions? It will be said yes and victory will be achieved. Then a time will come and it will be said: Is there anyone among you who was in the company of the Successors of the Prophet’s Companions, it will be said yes and then victory will be achieved.[31]

This tradition is authenticated by a sound chain of transmission, and besides Bukhārī, it has also been reported by Abū Ya‘lā with proper certification through Jābir in his Musnad (4:132#2182). Haythamī has narrated it in Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (10:18) and has confirmed its authenticity.

This sound tradition establishes the validity of intermediation through the pious and the righteous.

5. Stalling of punishment through the mediation of the Substitutes

Shurayh bin ‘Ubayd narrates:

A reference was made to the natives of Syria in the presence of ‘Alī. At that time he was in Iraq. People said: O leader of the faithful, send your curse on Syrians. He said: No, I heard the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) say that there will be forty Substitutes in Syria. Whenever one of them dies Allah replaces him by another Substitute: on account of them, the natives of Syria are saturated with rain and they have victory over their enemies through the mediation of these Substitutes and the curse is lifted from the natives of Syria through their mediation.[32]

Haythamī says that the narrators of this tradition are sahīh (sound) except Shurayh bin ‘Ubayd who is thiqah (trustworthy).

6. Fulfilment of people’s needs through the mediation of the righteous

It is narrated by ‘Abdullāh bin ‘Umar that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:

There is no doubt that there are some of Allah’s creatures that He has especially designated them for the fulfilment of the people’s needs. People, in a state of nervousness, take their needs to them and these are the special creatures of Allah who are immune to His punishment.[33]

7. Intermediation through Allah’s favourites in the jungle

‘Abdullāh bin Mas‘ūd has narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:

When you lose your means of transport in a jungle, you should call: O creatures of Allah! Help me, recover my transport! O creatures of Allah! Help me, recover my transport! There are many of Allah’s creatures on this earth. They will help you recover it.[34]

Mahmūd Sa‘īd Mamdūh writes in Raf‘-ul-minārah (p.225):

“The tradition, being narrated from different quarters, transformed itself from a weak tradition into a sound one which the Muslims have invariably followed.”

8. Subsistence through the blessing of the weak and the decrepit

Mus‘ab bin Sa‘d has narrated that the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said to Sa‘d:

It is on account of the weak that you are blessed with victory and provided subsistence.[35]


We have relied on a few narrations from a vast treasury of traditions to find out that intermediation through the pious and the saints is an established fact, which has continued uninterrupted from the early days to the present. No argument can disprove the reality of this sound practice.

Section Two :

Intermediation through the relics of the pious

1. Intermediation through Ibrāhīm’s site

Just as intermediation is permitted through Allah’s favourites, similarly it is allowed through the articles and objects associated with them. For instance, intermediation through Ibrāhīm’s footprints is recorded in the holy Qur’ān in these words:

And (it was commanded that) you should make the site on which Ibrāhīm stood into a place of worship.[36]

Prayer is offered to Allah no matter where it is offered. In this Qur’ānic verse the believers are exhorted to turn the footprints of Ibrāhīm (عليه السلام) into ‘a place of worship’ because this site is more suitable for prayer which clearly establishes the proof of intermediation through the footprints of Ibrāhīm (عليه السلام).

Ibrāhīm’s site

The stone on which Ibrāhīm (عليه السلام) stood during the construction of Ka‘bah is called Ibrāhīm’s site (maqām Ibrāhīm). This is the sacred stone which etched on itself his footprints and is still preserved in a bronze gauze in front of the door of Ka‘bah. Ibrāhīm (عليه السلام) had completed the construction of Ka‘bah walls while standing on it. The stone moved around the Ka‘bah in any direction Ibrāhīm needed it. So, on account of its association with His Prophet (عليه السلام), Allah has especially impressed upon the believers to turn this spot into a place of worship.

It proves that the places and sites associated with any favoured creature of Allah are elevated to a stature of respect and dignity. On account of this association, people receive blessings from it and it becomes a source of mediation for the acceptance of their prayers by Allah.

2. Relics of the saints as a means of life

Sāmirī made a calf of gold and put into its mouth the dust from the feet of Jibrīl’s horse. Mūsā (عليه السلام) felt outraged by this sight and asked Sāmirī:

O Sāmirī! (Tell me) what is the matter with you.[37]

Sāmirī said:

I saw something which those people had not seen. So I took a fistful (of dust) from the footprints (of the angel who had come to you).[38]

It is explained in books of exegesis that Jibrīl (عليه السلام) had come to Mūsā (عليه السلام) in the desert of Sinai on a horseback. Wherever the horse stamped its feet, grass sprouted from the sandy and dry earth. When Sāmirī saw Jibrīl (عليه السلام), he at once understood that he was one of Allah’s favourites. His feet were so exceptional that wherever they touched the dry earth, greenery sprang up from that spot. That is why he preserved some of this earth and when after making the calf he put it into its mouth, it started speaking.

It proves that the relics of Allah’s favourites are a means of life. That earth served as a means of the calf’s power of speech which made him articulate.

3. Consensus of exegetes on acquisition of blessing and on intermediation through the relics of the saints

Allah says:

And their prophet said to them: The sign of his kingdom (being from Allah) is that you will receive a chest. In it there will be things for your peace of mind, and relics (tabarrukāt) left over by the children of Mūsā and Hārūn. The angels will be carrying it and if you are believers, then surely there is a big sign for you.[39]

It may be made clear that we have taken over the word tabarrukāt (relics) from Shāh Walī Allah Muhaddith Dihlawī and its details are found almost in all books of exegesis. For instance, Ma‘ālim-ut-tanzīl, Tafsīr-ul-Jalālayn, at-Tafsīr-ul-kabīr, al-Jāmi‘ li-ahkām-il-Qur’ān, Rūh-ul-bayān, Rūh-ul-ma‘ānī, Lubāb-ut-ta’wīl fī ma‘ānī at-tanzīl, al-Madārik, at-Tafsīr-ul-mazharī etc., may be looked through for further information. Here, we will focus on three famous books of exegesis to drive home the relevant point:

1. Khazā’in-ul-‘irfān fī tafsīr-il-Qur’ān

Mawlānā Na‘īm-ud-Dīn Murādābādī has given a very comprehensive description of the coffin. We have reproduced it from Khazā’in-ul-‘irfān fī tafsīr-il-Qur’ān:

“This chest was made of the boxwood and carved in gold. It was three hands in length and two hands in width and Allah had descended it on Adam (عليه السلام). It contained the pictures of all the prophets and at the end it contained a picture of the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) inside a red ruby. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is in a state of prayer and he is surrounded by his Companions. Adam (عليه السلام) had a look at all the pictures. By inheritance, this chest passed down to Mūsā (عليه السلام). He kept the Old Testament in it. So it also contained fragments of the Old Testament tablets as well as Mūsā’s staff and his clothes and sandals, Harūn’s turban and his staff and a little bit of manna which soothed the hearts of Banī Israel. After him, this coffin was inherited by Banī Israel. Whenever they were in trouble, they placed the coffin in front of them and offered supplications for success which was invariably granted. Owing to its blessing, they achieved victory over their enemies. But when Banī Israel grew morally corrupt, Allah thrust ‘Amāliqah upon them. He snatched away the coffin from them and put it at a dirty and dungy place. On account of defiling it and other acts of sacrilege, he suffered from a variety of diseases. Five of his settlements were razed to the ground and they were convinced the destruction was caused because they had dishonoured the coffin. Thus they placed it in an ox-driven cart, and released the oxen. The angels brought it to Tālūt in the sight of Banī Israel. The coffin proved to be a symbol to the Bani Israel for Tālūt’s kingship. On seeing this, Banī Israel acquiesced in his kingship.”

This shows that it is obligatory on us to honour and esteem the relics of our elders. Supplications are granted and needs are fulfilled on account of their blessing and their desecration causes the destruction of the misdirected people. The pictures in the coffin had not been made by any man but had come from Allah.

2. Tafsīr Mājidī

An extract taken by Mawlānā ‘Abd-ul-Mājid Daryābādī from Tafsīr Mājidī is given below:

“The technical name of this special chest is tābūt sakīnah. This was the most important cultural and national heritage of Banī Israel. It contained the original manuscript of the Old Testament as well as the relics of the prophets intact. Israelis considered it as the source of immense blessing and sanctity and treated it with great reverance. They kept it with them through war or peace, travel or rest and guarded it jealously. It was not very huge. According to the research of present-day Jewish religious scholars, its measurement was as follows:

length : 2½ feet
width : 1½ feet
height : 1½ feet

Banī Israel linked their entire fortune with it. A long time ago, the Palestinians had wrested it away from them. They considered it highly ominous and were impatient and jittery for its return. Since the time of its return to Tālūt, according to history, to the reign of Sulaymān (عليه السلام) it remained in the possession of Banī Israel and he placed it in the Sulaymānī Temple after its construction had been completed. After that, it is untraceable. The Jews generally believe that it is still buried in the foundations of the Sulaymānī Temple.

Some followers of the straight path believe that the respect accorded to the manuscript of the Old Testament, the relics of Mūsā (عليه السلام) and Hārūn (عليه السلام) and those of their children as well as the saints is ultimately proved and vindicated by the story of the coffin as it was the way of the prophets and the righteous.”

3. Bayān-ul-Qur’ān

Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānwī writes in his exegesis Bayān-ul-Qur’ān:

“And these people requested the Prophet (عليه السلام) that they would be content if they could observe any visible sign that he had been sent to them as king from Allah. At that time, their Prophet (عليه السلام) said to them: the sign of his appointment as king by Allah is the chest that will come to you without your effort which contains an object of contentment and blessing from your Lord, that is, the Old Testament which is surely from Allah, and some left-over things which belong to Mūsā (عليه السلام) and Hārūn (عليه السلام), that is, some of their clothes etc. In short, the angels will bring the chest, and thus the arrival of the chest is a complete sign for you if you are believers. The chest contained the relics. And according to the verse it contained an original prescription for drawing blessing from the righteous.”

The purpose of this elaborate description is that when Allah had conferred on Banī Israel, through the means of the relics of their prophets, temporary and eternal, visible and invisible benefits, and the Qur’ān is a witness to it and this is not self-deception or mere superstition as some people readily and uncritically seem to suggest – then why won’t Allah confer these visible and invisible blessings on the followers of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) on account of their deep love and devotion for him? Surely, their blessings will be countless and far more superior to the ones conferred on the earlier communities. But it is unfortunate that we have developed only a speculative and intellectual relation with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), thus weakening our emotional and spiritual link with him.

But people who have developed an emotional and spiritual nexus with him are enjoying his blessings even today. It is a fact that some people cured their eye diseases by touching them with the sheets of paper on which his praise had been inscribed – and these were written during the time of the writer Sharf-ud-Dīn Būsīrī. Similarly, our elders have mentioned countless blessings flowing from the sample of the Prophet’s sandals. Mawlānā Aswhraf ‘Alī Thānwī has described with particular detail the blessings of the sample in his journal Nayl-ush-shifā bi-ni‘āl-il-Mustafā as we have already explained.[40]

4. Evidence from tradition about receiving blessing from the relics of the saints and the prophets

It is narrated by ‘Abdullāh bin ‘Umar:

People in the company of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) got down at Hajar in Thamūd territory. They drank water from its wells and (also) kneaded the flour with it. Then the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) commanded them to spill the water and feed the kneaded flour to the camels and said to them: Take the drinking water from the well visited by Sālih’s she-camel.[41]

5. Construction of mosques beside the tombs of the saints

Allah says:

They (the believers) said, those who had control over their affairs that we will build a mosque (at their door so that the Muslims should pray in it and draw a special blessing from their close association).[42]

When the Companions of the Cave (ashāb-ul-kahf) woke up after 309 years, and then died naturally later, a difference of opinion developed among the people. Some of them expressed the opinion that the entrance of the cave should be closed down by building a wall around it and those, who were more influential, said that a mosque should be built near it so that Muslims could pray there and draw blessing from their close association. In this way, the memory of the Companions of Kahf will also remain fresh. Qādī Thanā’ullāh Pānī Patī has interpreted the verse in these words:

This Qur’ānic verse favourably argues that building a mosque near the tombs of the saints for drawing blessings from them so that Muslims could pray there, is quite valid.[43]

Some people, discarding the misinterpretation of others whose sole purpose is to cast doubts in the minds of people, say:

And the meaning of this tradition – that they converted the graves of their prophets into mosques – is that they had started worshipping these graves as the same meaning is established through another tradition in which Abū Marthad al-Ghanawī quotes the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as saying: Don’t sit on the graves nor turn toward them while praying[44].[45]

The tombs of the saints – where Qur’ānic verses are recited round the clock and from where the faith-boosting voices remembering Allah issue in high-pitched accents – when a person, immersed in prayer and the concentration of effort it entails, submits his need to Allah, through the mediation of His Own saints, the Lord accepts the prayer processed through His favourites.

Who deserves the benefit through mediation?

In the earlier pages we have proved from the Qur’ān and the traditions with reference to the prophets, relics of the prophets as well as relics of the saints and the pious that intermediation through them is not only valid but is also compatible with the will and desire of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). This is our religious belief and any deflection from it for a believer is simply inconceivable. Now, winding up the debate we will prove with the help of the Qur’ān who deserves the benefit of the act of intermediation? In this context it may be kept in mind that both a believer and a non-believer benefit from mediation in proportion to their grades. It is said that not only human beings but the animals also benefit from the mediation of the saints. This is the reason that the dog of the Companions of the Cave benefited from them. Allah has mentioned it in the Qur’ān:

And their dog is (sitting) at (their) threshold, stretching forth his two forelegs.[46]

The divine wisdom in keeping the Companions of the Cave alive for 309 years was to make them a symbol of Allah’s might for the coming human generations. But even more amazing is the fact that, during the same period, the dog sat alive at their door through their blessing without eating or drinking anything. On account of being their dog, it remained alive for 309 years. If the dog had belonged to someone else, it would not have survived for even a short period and died without food and drink. Another point to note is that the dog did not even belong to them, it belonged to their baker. When they set out on their journey, it also set out with them and the Qur’ān has particularly stressed its steadfastness in keeping the company of these men. The question is that it is a natural canine posture, then what is so special about it that the Qur’ān has laid unusual emphasis on it. It is because the dog did not give up the company of the saints and the righteous and demonstrated its loyalty by remaining seated at the door. The company of these pious persons not only kept it alive for 309 years but also distinguished it from other dogs. It is on account of these saints that Allah has mentioned it in the Qur’ān along with them:

(Now) some people will say: (Companions of the Cave) were three, the fourth being their dog, and some will say they were five, the sixth being their dog, doubtfully guessing at the unknown, and some will say they were seven, the eighth being their dog.[47]

In this verse, the dog is being mentioned along with the Companions of the Cave. The dog proved its loyalty and did not desert them. The dog’s behaviour pleased Allah so much that He has bracketed it with the Companions of the Cave, that is, wherever He has mentioned them, He has also mentioned the dog.

In the Qur’ānic verse, the posture of the dog is also being stressed. We learn from this that if the dog cannot die before a specific time by adopting the company of the pious people of Allah and its reference is made in the Qur’ān, then how can a Muslim with correct faith be deprived of Allah’s favour if he mediates his prayer for its immediate acceptance through one of Allah’s prophets or saints or offers the mediation of some object associated with them or supplicates to Allah at a sacred spot or lives in the company of the saints and the pious, because Allah’s favourite creatures are the divinely certified means to lead people to the path of His pleasure and to interject in them the divine consciousness. It is, therefore, established as an incontrovertible fact that only a Muslim with correct faith is the real beneficiary of the rewards that accrue to him through the mediation of the saints and the pious people of Allah.

[1] .Qur’ān (ash-Shu‘arā’) 26:83.

[2].Qādī Thanā’ullāh Pānī Patī, at-Tafsīr-ul-mazharī (7:72).

[3].Rāzī, at-Tafsīr-ul-kabīr (24:148).

[4].Qur’ān (al-Baqarah) 2:130.

[5].Qur’ān (at-Tawbah) 9:119.

[6].Qur’ān (Luqmān) 31:15.

[7].Qur’ān (Yūsuf) 12:101.

[8].Ahmad bin Hambal transmitted it in his Musnad (5:191); Hākim, al-Mustadrak (1:516); Tabarānī, al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabīr (5:119,157 #4803,4932); and Haythamī in Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (10:113).

[9].Abū Dāwūd narrated it in his Sunan, b. of zakat (2:122#1646); Nasā’ī, Sunan, b. of zakat (5:95); Ahmad bin Hambal, Musnad (4:334); Bukhārī, at-Tārīkh-ul-kabīr (7:138); Bayhaqī, as-Sunan-ul-kubrā (4:197); Ibn ‘Abd-ul-Barr, at-Tamhīd (4:107); and ‘Alā’-ud-Dīn ‘Alī in Kanz-ul-‘ummāl (6:502#16721).

[10].Muhammad Khalīl Harās, Sharh al-‘Aqīdat-ul-wāsitiyyah (p.153).

[11].Qur’ān (al-Baqarah) 2:28.

[12].Qur’ān (al-Baqarah) 2:154.

[13].Qur’ān (Āl-i-‘Imrān) 3:169.

[14].Bukhārī narrated it in his as-Sahīh, b. of maghāzī (military expeditions led by the Prophet) ch.7 (4:1461#3757); Muslim, as-Sahīh, b. of jannah wa sifat na‘īmihā wa ahlihā (Paradise, attributes of its and natives) ch.17 (4:2203#2874); Ahmad bin Hambal, Musnad (3:145; 4:29); Tabarānī, al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabīr (5:96#4701); Baghawī, Sharh-us-sunnah (13:384#3779); Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāyah wan-nihāyah (1:210); Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, Fath-ul-bārī (7:301); & Haythamī in Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (6:90-1).

[15].Ibn Mājah narrated this sahīh (sound) hadith in his Sunan, b. of janā’iz (funerals) ch.65 (1:524#1636-7), b. of iqāmat-us-salāt was-sunnah fīhā (establishing prayer and its sunnahs) ch.79 (1:345#1085); Abū Dāwūd, Sunan, b. of salāt (prayer) 1:275#1047); Nasā’ī, Sunan, b. of jumu‘ah (Friday prayer) 3:92; Ahmad bin Hambal, Musnad (4:8); Ibn Hibbān, as-Sahīh (3:191#910); Dārimī, Sunan (1:307#1580); Ibn Khuzaymah, as-Sahīh (3:118#1733); Ibn Abū Shaybah, al-Musannaf (2:516); Hākim, al-Mustadrak (1:278); Tabarānī, al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabīr (1:217#589); and Bayhaqī in as-Sunan-ul-kubrā (3:249).

[16].Haythamī transmitted it in Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (9:24) and said that that tradition had been reported by Bazzār (in his Musnad) and its sub-narrators are all of sahīh (sound) hadith. ‘Irāqī has confirmed the soundness of its transmission in his book Tarh-ut-tathrīb fī sharh-it-taqrīb (3:297). Ibn Sa‘d has recorded it in at-Tabaqāt-ul-kubrā (2:194). Qādī ‘Iyād has inscribed this tradition in ash-Shifā (1:19); and Suyūtī, recording it in al-Khasā’is-ul-kubrā (2:281) and Manāhil-us-sifā fī takhrīj ahādīth ash-Shifā (p.3), has commented that Ibn Abū Usāmah in his Musnad has reproduced it through Bakr bin ‘Abdullāh Muzanī and Bazzār in his Musnad who have relied on its narration by ‘Abdullāh bin Mas‘ūd with a sound chain of transmission. It has been endorsed by Khafājī and Mullā ‘Alī Qārī in their commentaries on ash-Shifā, i.e. Nasīm-ur-riyād (1:102) and Sharh ash-Shifā (1:36) respectively. Hadith-scholar Ibn-ul-Jawzī has reproduced it in al-Wafā bi-ahwāl-il-mustafā (2:809-10) from Bakr bin ‘Abdullāh and Anas bin Mālik. Subkī has copied this tradition in Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.34) from Bakr bin ‘Abdullāh Muzanī, and Ibn ‘Abd-ul-Hādī in as-Sārim-ul-munkī (p.266-7) has authenticated its veracity. Bazzār’s tradition has also been recorded by Ibn Kathīr in al-Bidāyah wan-nihāyah (4:257). Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī narrated it through Bakr bin ‘Abdullāh Muzanī in al-Matālib-ul-‘āliyah (4:22-3#3853). ‘Alā’-ud-Dīn ‘Alī copied Ibn Sa‘d’s tradition in Kanz-ul-‘ummāl (11:407#31903) and from Hārith (#31904). Nabhānī related it in Hujjatullāh ‘alal-‘ālamīn fī mu‘jazāt sayyid-il-mursalīn (p.713).

[17].Qur’ān (al-Isrā’) 17:85.

[18].Ibn-ul-Qayyim, Kitāb-ur-rūh (p.13).

[19].Ibn-ul-Qayyim, Kitāb-ur-rūh (p.13).

[20].Qur’ān (al-Kahf) 18:82.

[21].Qur’ān (Hūd) 11:46.

[22].Bukhārī narrated it in his as-Sahīh, b. of istisqā’ (to invoke Allah for rain at the time of drought) ch.3 (1:342-3#964), b. of fadā’il-us-sahābah (virtues of the Companions) ch.11 (3:1360#3507); Ibn Hibbān, as-Sahīh (7:110-1#2861); Ibn Khuzaymah, as-Sahīh (2:337-8#1421); Ibn ‘Abd-ul-Barr, al-Istī‘āb fī ma‘rifat-il-ashāb (3:97); Bayhaqī, as-Sunan-ul-kubrā (3:352), Dalā’il-un-nubuwwah (6:147); Baghawī, Sharh-us-sunnah (4:409#1165); Subkī, Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.128); Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, Fath-ul-bārī (2:494); and Zurqānī in his Commentary (11:152).

[23].Hākim transmitted it in his al-Mustadrak (3:334); Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, Fath-ul-bārī (2:497); Qastallānī, al-Mawāhib-ul-laduniyyah (4:277); and Zurqānī in his Commentary (11:152).

[24].Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī narrated it in Fath-ul-bārī (2:497); Subkī, Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.128); Qastallānī, al-Mawāhib-ul-laduniyyah (4:277); and Zurqānī in his Commentary (11:152).

[25].Related by Ibn ‘Abd-ul-Barr in al-Istī‘āb fī ma‘rifat-il-ashāb (3:98).

[26].Subkī, Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.128).

[27].Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, Fath-ul-bārī (2:497); and Zurqānī also copied in his Commentary (11:152).

[28].Muslim narrated it in his as-Sahīh, b. of fadā’il-us-sahābah (virtues of the Companions) ch.55 (4:1968#2542); Hākim, al-Mustadrak (3:403); Abū Nu‘aym, Hilyat-ul-awliyā’ wa tabaqāt-ul-asfiyā’ (2:79-80); and Ibn ‘Asākir in his Tahdhīb tārīkh Dimashq al-kabīr generally known as Tārīkh/Tahdhīb Ibn ‘Asākir (3:163).

[29].Related by Muslim in his as-Sahīh, b. of fadā’il-sahābah (virtues of the Companions) ch.55 (4:1969#2542).

[30].Muslim narrated it in his as-Sahīh, b. of fadā’il-us-sahābah (virtues of the Companions) ch.55 (4:1968#2542); Hākim, al-Mustadrak (3:403-4); Abū Nu‘aym, Hilyat-ul-awliyā’ wa tabaqāt-ul-asfiyā’ (2:80); and Ibn ‘Asākir in his Tahdhīb tārīkh Dimashq al-kabīr generally known as Tārīkh/Tahdhīb Ibn ‘Asākir (3:163).

[31].Related by Bukhārī in his as-Sahīh, b. of jihad, ch.75 (3:1061#2740), b. of manāqib (merits) ch.22 (3:1316#3399), b. of fadā’il-us-sahābah (virtues of the Companions) ch.1 (3:1335#3449).

[32].Ahmad bin Hambal, Musnad (1:112); Haythamī, Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (10:62).

[33].Haythamī narrated it in Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (8:92).

[34].Tabarānī narrated it in al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabīr (10:217#10518); Abū Ya‘lā, Musnad (9:177); Ibn-us-Sunnī, ‘Amal-ul-yawm wal-laylah (p.162#502); Haythamī, Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (10:132); and Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī in al-Matālib-ul-‘āliyah (3:239#3375).

[35].Related by Bukhārī in his as-Sahīh, b. of jihad, ch.75 (3:1061#2739).

[36].Qur’ān (al-Baqarah) 2:125.

[37].Qur’ān (Tā-Hā) 20:95.

[38].Qur’ān (Tā-Hā) 20:96.

[39].Qur’ān (al-Baqarah) 2:248.

[40].see ch.5, section 4.

[41].Related by Muslim in his as-Sahīh, b. of zuhd war-raqā’iq (piety and softening of hearts) ch.1 (4:2286#2981).

[42].Qur’ān (al-Kahf) 18:21.

[43].Qādī Thanā’ullāh Pānī Patī, at-Tafsīr-ul-mazharī (6:23).

[44].Related by Muslim in his as-Sahīh, b. of janā’iz (funerals) ch.33 (2:668#972).

[45].Qādī Thanā’ullāh Pānī Patī, at-Tafsīr-ul-mazharī (6:24).

[46].Qur’ān (al-Kahf) 18:18.

[47].Qur’ān (al-Kahf) 18:22.

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