Saturday, 7 May 2011

Ibn Kathir on Tawassul

Ibn Kathir on Tawassul
Tafsir-ul-Qur'an al-Azim
Ibn Kathir

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إلاَّ لِيُطَاعَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآءُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُواْ اللَّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ اللَّهَ تَوَّاباً رَّحِيماً
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.

Salafis Deny Istighatha and Waseela

It is a common trait of neo-Khawarij i.e. Salafis (wahhabiyyah)  that they apply verses revealed for Idols/Mushrikeen upon Prophets and Awliya in order to deny Istighatha and Waseela.

The biggest proof against Istighatha that they use is verse 7:194.

They ignore the context of this verse and also major Tafasir including their highly revered Tafsir Ibn Kathir.

The verse states:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ عِبَادٌ أَمْثَالُكُمْ ۖ فَادْعُوهُمْ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ - 7:194
Indeed, those you [polytheists] call upon besides Allah are servants like you. So call upon them and let them respond to you, if you should be truthful.

7:194 in context starts from 7:191 and ends at 7:198.

The passage clearly proves that it also refers to idols who do not have comprehension skills whereas according to Islam especially the Prophet in his grave prays and hears us as attested from many authentic hadiths. It is utter ignorance rather Kufr itself to compare Prophets and Awliya with idols or apply verses revealed for disbelievers upon them, this is actually a trait of Khawarij as attested in Sahih Bukhari.

Above all Islam prescribes no ruling to say Salam to idols but does so to graves.
Islam does not allow visiting idols but prescribes visiting graves.
Islam does not say that Idols hear whereas Sahih hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim prove that inhabitants of graves hear even our footsteps.

Ibn Kathir starts the interpretation of this passage (from 7:191-198) as:

Allah admonishes the idolators who worshipped idols, rivals and images besides Him, although these objects were created by Allah, and neither own anything nor can they bring harm or benefit. These objects do not see or give aid to those who worship them. They are inanimate objects that neither move, hear, or see. Those who worship these objects are better than they are, for they hear see and have strength of their own [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Salafi Dar us Salam version. Read from 7:191-198]

Salafis also use 16:20-21 which state:

 And those they invoke other than Allah create nothing, and they [themselves] are created. They are, [in fact], dead, not alive, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected. [Sahih International translation]

Ibn Kathir says about these verses: Then Allah tells us that the idols which people call on instead of Him cannot create anything, they are themselves created, as Al-Khalil (Ibrahim) said: ("Do you worship that which you (yourselves) carve While Allah has created you and what you make!'') (37:95-96).

(They are) dead, not alive) means, they are inanimate and lifeless, they do not hear, see, or think.…. Then he says: So how can anyone hope for any benefit or reward from these idols [Tafsir Ibn Kathir under 16:20-21]

Regarding 46:4-6 then the context itself proves that it is referring to idols.

Ibn Kathir explains: (Bring me a scripture prior to this) meaning, `bring a book from among the Books of Allah that have been revealed to the Prophets, that commands you to worship these idols.'… Then Ibn Kathir says: (And who is more astray than those who invokes besides Allah others who will not answer them until the Day of Resurrection, and who are unaware of their invocations to them) meaning, no one is more misguided than those who invoke idols instead of Allah, asking them for things that they cannot give -- until the Day of Judgment. They (the idols) are unaware of what he asks, they can neither hear, see, or act. This is because they are inanimate, senseless stones. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir under 46:4-6]

Regarding 35:14 Ibn Kathir says: The gods upon whom you call instead of Allah, do not hear your supplication, because they are inanimate and have no soul in them.' [Tafsir Ibn Kathir under 35:14]

Due to brevity issue I have not used other verses which Salafis misuse but these are their biggest proofs.

(Edited by ADHM)