Ibn Kathir on Tawassul
Translation: We sent not an apostle, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful.(4:64)
Ibn Kathir (rah) endorsing Tawassul in tafsir of above verse:
وقد ذكر جماعة منهم الشيخ أبو منصور الصباغ في كتابه الشامل الحكاية المشهورة عن العتبي قال : كنت جالسا عند قبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فجاء أعرابي فقال : السلام عليك يا رسول الله سمعت الله يقول " ولو أنهم إذ ظلموا أنفسهم جاءوك فاستغفروا الله واستغفر لهم الرسول لوجدوا الله توابا رحيما " وقد جئتك مستغفرا لذنبي مستشفعا بك إلى ربي ثم أنشأ يقول : يا خير من دفنت بالقاع أعظمه فطاب من طيبهن القاع والأكم نفسي الفداء لقبر أنت ساكنه فيه العفاف وفيه الجود والكرم ثم انصرف الأعرابي فغلبتني عيني فرأيت النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم في النوم فقال : يا عتبي الحق الأعرابي فبشره أن الله قد غفر له "
Translation: Many have stated this tradition. One of them is Abu Mansur al-Sabbagh (some manuscripts say Abu Nasr) who writes in his book Al-Shamil Al-Hikayat-ul-mashhurah that, according to ‘Utbi, once he was sitting beside the Prophet’s grave when a bedouin came and he said,
“Peace be on you, O Allah’s Messenger. I have heard that Allah says:
‘(O beloved!) And if they had come to you, when they had wronged their souls, and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger also had asked forgiveness for them, they (on the basis of this means and intercession) would have surely found Allah the Granter of repentance, extremely Merciful.’ I have come to you, asking forgiveness for my sins and I make you as my intermediary before my Lord and I have come to you for this purpose.”
Then he recited these verses: “O, the most exalted among the buried people who improved the worth of the plains and the hillocks! May I sacrifice my life for this grave which is made radiant by you, (the Prophet,) the one who is (an embodiment) of mercy and forgiveness.”
Then the bedouin went away and I fell asleep. In my dream I saw the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). He said to me: O ‘Utbi, the bedouin is right, go and give him the good news that Allah has forgiven his sins.
[Ibn Kathir, Tafsir-ul-Qur'an al-azim Volume 004, Page No. 140, Under the Verse 4:64]
Important Note: This report is only shown to reveal the beautiful Aqida of Ibn Kathir (rah) and he has declared it to be narrated by "JAMAAH" and considered it Hikayat al "MASHUR"
Please note that Ibn Kathir (rah) nowhere calls it shirk rather uses it as proof in his magnificent Tafsir.
Another reason why this report is shown is to reveal the deceit of Salafis who have deliberately removed this report from the English version of Tafsir Ibn Kathir.
Also note that Many scholars have cited the above report in "Manasik of Hajj and visiting the grave of Prophet (Peace be upon him) and they have done Istadlal from it and none of the classical Imams called this incident as Shirk or Bidah, which proves beyond any shadow of doubt that great Imams of Ahlus Sunnah cited it as Proof and believed in Tawassul, had there been a hint of shirk in such practice then they would have never ignored to refute it let alone citing it in category of recommended deeds.
(Edited by ADHM)