Appealing to Allah through the Prophet's companions

Q39 :In my home country, a small community appeals to the Prophet's companions for blessings and bounty. Although they recite the Qur'an and offer their prayers and fulfill other duties, they feel that a direct approach to Allah is not appropriate. Therefore, they appeal to the Prophet's companions for blessings and bounty. This community is in utter disarray at the moment. Could you please explain the Islamic view of their attitude.

A39 : What this community does is certainly very serious. To start with, their practice is contrary to the one the Prophet has taught us of addressing our supplication to Allah directly and seeking His bounty and grace. As you realize, there is only one source for learning what pleases Allah. That source is His messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Every Muslim is deemed to be fully aware of this, because it represents the practical implementation of the second part of the declaration which brings a person into the fold of Islam. To be a Muslim, one must declare one's firm belief in the Oneness of Allah and in the fact that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was Allah's messenger. A messenger is required to convey a message, and the message is the one chosen by Allah. Therefore, any deviation from it represents disobedience to Allah. In this particular case, the message is very clear; Allah instructs us to address our supplication to Him alone and He promises to answer us: "Your Lord says: Pray me and I will answer you." (40;60) Secondly, this community, as you say, addresses its supplication through the Prophet's companions. It is well known that the Prophet's companions have all been dead for more than thirteen hundred years. The Prophet says: "When a human being dies, all his actions come to an absolute end, except in one of three ways: A continuing act of charity, a useful contribution to knowledge and a dutiful child who prays Allah to have mercy on his parent." All the companions of the Prophet were human beings. This Hadith applies to them as indeed it applies to all other people. When a human being addresses his supplication to Allah through one of the Prophet's companions, that person does not hear his supplication, because he is dead and can do nothing either for himself or for others. Thirdly, by appealing to the Prophet's companions, this community actually raises those companions to a superhuman status. That constitutes, in Islamic terminology a sort of worship. While members of the community you have mentioned may not be aware that they are actually worshipping those companions of the Prophet, the fact remains that by elevating them in this way, they confer on them a status of Godhood. This is indeed very serious. It takes those people out of the fold of Islam altogether. Islam is based on the principle of the Oneness of Allah, and these people are creating other gods from among human beings who were dedicated to the cause of Islam. Were those companions of the Prophet to be resurrected now, they would have certainly fought hard to bring that community back to Islam by convincing them that their practice is not merely wrong, but it contradicts the very basis of the Islamic faith. Next, why should these people think that addressing Allah directly and appealing to Him is not appropriate, when He Himself likes to be prayed to directly and promises a direct answer? Do not these people realize that supplication is a mark of submission to Allah? When you humbly request Allah to help you in a particular way, you are actually acknowledging that you are in need of help and that He is able to help you accomplish whatever purpose you may have. That acknowledgment is a mark of submission to Allah and recognition of His attributes. An important attribute in this connection is Allah's ability to accomplish any purpose and the fact that He has power over all things. When a human being earnestly and sincerely prays Allah, his prayer will certainly be answered. I have explained in the past that Allah answers all our supplication, but He may choose to defer answering some of our supplication to the Day of Judgment. When we realize what He has in store for us by way of answering our supplication, we would wish that He had deferred answering all our supplications to the Day of Judgment. If He answers some of our prayers now, He does that because He knows that it would make us happy. I have often quoted the Qur'anic verse in which Allah addresses the Prophet in this way: "When My servants ask you about Me, I am near, I answer the supplication of My servant when he prays Me. Let them, then, respond to Me and believe in Me so that they may be rightly guided." (2;186) May I draw your attention to the way this Qur'anic verse is phrased. It begins with an address to the Prophet pointing out the situation when people ask him about Allah. It does not follow that with an instruction to the Prophet on how to answer that question. Allah gives the answer Himself directly to those questioners by saying: "I am near, etc." If Allah Himself answers our question directly, without even the need of asking the Prophet to give us that answer, then why should we be hesitant to appeal to Him, hoping for His bounty, and praying for His grace. That is indeed the appropriate method. Any other method is wrong and unacceptable.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )