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Waseela (Intermediaries)

Waseela in the Koran What does the Koran say about our current topic of discussion, Waseela, that is, intermediaries? Allah says in Surah Mai'dah, ayah 35, (Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem) Yaa ayyuhal-ladhiina aamanut-taqullaaha wabtaghuu ilaiyhil waseelah, meaning "O believers! Fear Allah and seek the means of approach to Him". (Translated from Imam Ahmad Reza Khan's commentary 'Kanzul Eemaan', English version) In the above ayah, Allah has commanded the 'Mu'minuun', that is, the believers of the Islamic faith, to attain 'Taqwaa', meaning the status of fearing Allah. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, in his commentary, has termed the word as 'doing one's duty to Allah'. The Arabic word Taqwaa means fear of Allah. In Islamic lexicon, it signifies performing act/deeds of piety and refraining from Haram i.e. acts that are prohibited in the religion. In other words, to live in accordance with the Islamic code of life. The person who attains such a status is called a Muttaqiyy. In the latter part of the above ayah, Allah has commanded us to seek for 'the means to approaching Him'. It is a station of closeness to Him. The Arabic word Waseela, according to Imam Ahmad Reza Khan's Tafseer-i Kanzul Eemaan, means intermediaries. The word does not signify any pious deed or act, or living a life of Islamic piety, since these have been covered by the word Taqwaa quoted in the earlier part of the ayah. Therefore, the word means something other than deeds or acts of piety. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is a Waseela Allah says in the Koran, Surah Al-i Imraan, ayah 31, Qul in-kuntum tuhib-bunallaaha fattabi'uunii yuhbib-kumullaahu, meaning "Say (O Prophet): If ye do love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you." The ayah explicitly tells us that our Prophet (peace be upon him) is the Waseela or intermediary that has been referred to in the ayah of Surah Mai'dah. Ulamaa-i Haqqaaniyy (Sufi/dervishes) are also Waseela Our Prophet (peace be upon him) has said, Al-Ulamaau warasatul anbiyaa, meaning "(Islamic) men of knowledge are inheritors of the Prophet." This inheritance relates to Islamic knowledge, and not to any of our Prophet's personal assets or properties, portable or non-portable. The Apostle of Allah has said that Islamic knowledge is made up of two parts; the ones that are explicitly revealed, and those which are hidden i.e. known only to the Sufi Gnostic (Awliya alKiraam). Henceforth, the pious ones (Sufi/dervishes) who have acquired Islamic knowledge in whole are the inheritors of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Interpretation of the term Waseela There are some sects like the Wahhabi, Salafist, Mawdoodi, Tableeghi etc who try to deceive Muslims by misinterpreting the ayah. They say that Waseela does not mean recourse to the pious ones of Allah. However, Hadrat 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), the second caliph of Islam, has elucidated the matter for us, as related in the authentic book of (Saheeh) al-Bukhari. Once there was a drought during his caliphate when he along with all the Ashaab-i Kiraam (exalted companions of the Prophet) went outside to pray to Allah for rain. He is quoted in alBukhari as praying, (A'n Anasin radiyallaahu a'nhu) anna U'marabnal Khattabi radiyallaahu a'nhu kaana idhaa quhituu istasqaa bil-A'bbaasibni a'bdil-Muttalibi fa qaala Allaahumma innaa kunnaa natawassalu ilaiyka bi-Nabiyyinaa swallallaahu a'laiyhi wa sallama fatasqiyanaa wa

innaa natawassalu ilaiyka bi-a'mmi Nabiyyinaa faasqinaa, meaning "O Allah! We would use our Prophet (peace be upon him) as a Waseela (means) to You and You then sent us rain; now we are using his uncle (Hadrat Abbas) as a Waseela to You, therefore, send us rain!" Since the caliph used the term Waseela for both the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the pious Hadrat Abbas from among his Ummah i.e. people, hence we can interpret the ayah in question according to the caliph's terminology, wherein not only the Prophet himself but also the pious ones among his Ummah have been referred to as a Waseela. Verily, our Prophet has declared, "O my people! the Sunnah (beliefs and traditions) of the righteous caliphs (of Islam) are ordained upon you" (Mishkat). Hadrat 'Umar was the second caliph. The above-mentioned heretical sects also say that the Hadeeth of al-Bukhari negates recourse to the pious ones who are now wisaal, that is, re-united with Allah in the hereafter. Our reply to this point is that Hadrat 'Umar's words do not imply anything of the sort. He didn't say that recourse to the pious ones who are now wisaal is prohibited in Islam. Rather, he made it clear that recourse to votaries other than the Prophet is permissible (Ja'iz). Besides, a widely known Hadeeth of the Prophet declares, Hayaatiyy khayrullakum wa mamaatiyy khayrullakum, meaning "My worldly life is a blessing to you all, so is my wisaal" (Fatwa-i Bazzazziyya). This Hadeeth was uttered during the last illness of our Prophet (peace be upon him). All of his companions knew about it. Furthermore, there is another narration where we come to know of the Sahabi (companion) Bilal ibn al-Harith Muzaniyy, who at the time of drought, during the caliphate of Hadrat 'Umar yet again, went to the Rawdah Shareef (blessed shrine) of our Prophet and implored him to pray to Allah for rain: Fa-qaala yaa rasuulallaahi istasqi li-ummatika fa-innahum qad halakuu; fa-ataahu (sallallaahu alaiyhi wa sallama) fin-nawmi wa akhbarahu annahum yasqawuna; fa-kaana kadhaalika; meaning He said, "O Apostle of Allah! Pray to Allah for rain so that your Ummah can survive; they are indeed on the brink of extinction!" The Prophet (peace be upon him) appeared in his dream and gave him the good news of forthcoming rain; and it rained as was foretold. The above narration is recorded in Imam Bukhari's Tarikh and al-Bayhaqi's Dalaiyl. Imam Ibn Hajar Haytami Makki also relates the event in his book Jawharul Munazzam, from where Allama Yusuf Nabhaniy compiled it in his book Shawaahidul Haqq, page 138. Readers may refer to the Bengali edition of Shaykh Yusuf Hashim al-Rifa'i's book Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaater Daleel, page 92, for the narration of the event. The writer is an ex-minister of Kuwait. (The Bengali translator is Mawlana Abdullah al-Ma'ruf, a high official of the Islamic Foundation, Bangladesh) In conclusion, Allah Almighty has commanded us to seek a Waseela to approach Him; that is to say, we must look for intermediaries in order to reach the desired station of closeness to Him. It is proved by the ayah in question that the said station is attained by intermediaries (Waseela) alone, and not by any A'mal (deed/acts of piety). The evidence we have produced in favor of Waseela being the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the pious ones among his Ummah is irrefutable. May Allah enable all Muslims to recognize the truth, Ameen!