Q1: What is the ruling on a Muslim who testifies that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, but says in their Du`a' (supplication), "O Allah! Grant me such-and-such from the good of this world and the Hereafter by the honor of the Prophet (peace be upon him)," or "By the blessings of the Messenger," or "By the sanctity of Al-Mustafa (the chosen one i.e. the Prophet)," or "By the honor of Shaykh Tijany," or "By the blessings of Shaykh `Abdul-Qadir," or "By sanctity of Shaykh Al-Sanusy"?
A: It is not permissible to perform Tawassul (supplicating to Allah through a means) to Allah by the honor, sanctity, or blessings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) or by the honor, sanctity, or blessings of any pious people.
If someone says, "O Allah! I ask You by the honor, sanctity, or blessings of Your Prophet to give me wealth and children, or admit me to Paradise and to save me from the punishment of the Fire," they are not a Mushrik (one who associates others in worship with Allah) practicing Shirk (associating others in worship with Allah) that puts them beyond the pale of Islam. They are, however, doing something that is forbidden to block the means that can lead to Shirk and to distance Muslims from matters leading to Shirk.
Undoubtedly, performing Tawassul by the honor of the prophets and pious people is one of the means that can lead to Shirk over time, as has been proved by reality and the human experience. There are many evidences in the Qur'an and Sunnah that authoritatively affirm that Sadd-ul-Dhara'i` (blocking the means) leading to Shirk and forbidden acts, is one of the objectives of the Shari`ah, as Allah (may He be Exalted) says: Surah Al-An`am , Verse 108: "And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do."
Allah (may He be Praised), in this Ayah (Qur'anic verse), forbids Muslims from insulting the deities that the Mushriks worship other than Him, as this might lead them to insult the True Deity (may He be Praised) wrongfully, through ignorance, while defending their false gods.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade people from taking graves as places for worship, fearing that people might worship the graves. He (peace be upon him) also forbade Khulwah (being alone with a member of the opposite sex), women from showing their beauty to Ajanib (men lawful for them to marry), and women leaving their homes wearing perfume. Men and women have also been warned to lower their gazes. All this is to block the means that may lead to temptation and immorality. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: Surah Al-Nur , Verse 30: "Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what they do."
Surah Al-Nur , Verse 31: "And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things)..."
It is confirmed in a Hadith that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Allah cursed the Jews and the Christians; they made the graves of their prophets places of worship."
Performing Tawassul by someone's honor, sanctity, and the like in Du`a' is an act of `Ibadah (worship), and `Ibadah is Tawqifiy (bound by a religious text and not amenable to personal opinion). As there is no evidence from the Qur'an, Sunnah, or the reports of the Sahabah (Companions) affirming this type of Tawassul, it is Bid`ah (rejected innovation in religion).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Anyone who does something that we have not ordered (in worship) it will be rejected."
May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and, Companions!
Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta'
The Chairman - `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz
Committee Deputy Chairman - `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify
Member - `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan
Member - `Abdullah ibn Qa`ud