- ALBANI’S DISSENT AND CONTEMPT FOR THE SCHOLARS
The opponents hold that this hadeeth shows that it is permissible to make tawassul in du’aa by the status of the Prophet (SAW) or other pious people, since the Prophet (SAW) taught the blind man to use him as a means of nearness in his du’aa, and the blind man did that and his sight was restored.
Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 69
Observe how he says “the opponents,” although it is he who has brought opposition to something established in Islam, and he invented that it is not through the Prophet’s sacred status (hurmat) or person (dhaat) but through his du`a that tawassul is permissible, in open contradiction to the understanding of the Salaf such as Mujahid, Imam Malik, Imam al-Shafi`i, Imam Ahmad, Ibrahim al-Harbi, and al-Shawkani as we have already seen, and that of Ibn al-Jawzi, Nawawi, Ibn al-Humam, and Ibn al-Qayyim as we see below.
As for us, than [sic] we hold that the hadeeth has no proof for them concerning this form of tawassul about which there is disagreement, which is seeking nearness by means of his person. Rather it is a further proof for the third type of lawful and prescribed tawassul which we have spoken of previously [i.e. through the du’aa of another person], since the tawassul of the blind man was through means of his (SAW) du’aa, and the proofs for what we say are many being contained in the hadeeth itself, most importantly:
Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 69
Rather, Muslims believe as Ibn al-Jawzi said that it is through the Prophet’s person and status and not only through his du`a that one makes tawassul, as is clear from this excerpt from his chapter concerning the Prophet’s superiority over the other Prophets in his book al-Wafa:
Part of the exposition of his superiority to other Prophets
is the fact that Adam asked his Lord through the sacred status
(hurma) of Muhammad that He relent towards him, as we have
The importance of this remark does not lie in the veracity of the hadith, which is a separate discussion — and Ibn al-Jawzi clearly considers it authentic — but in the wording of Ibn al-Jawzi whereby tawassul is correct as made through the status of the Prophet. This is enough of an indication that Ibn al-Jawzi’s `aqida or doctrine concerning tawassul fully contradicts that of Albani and his followers. It comes down to deciding who is closer to following the Sunna: the Imams, huffaz and historians on the one hand — or the polemicist and scholar of books? al-hamdu lillah, this is no dilemma at all.
Indeed the position of Albani is not founded upon the explicit words of the hadith, but upon their figurative interpretation. The hadith clearly says: bi nabiyyika i.e. with/by means of/through Your Prophet. Even a child of seven years old can see that this does not mean “through the du`a of your Prophet.” Nor does he provide any justification for his recourse to figurative interpretation in a matter where the literal meaning is clear and true.
1) The reason the blind man came to the Prophet (SAW) was for him to make supplication (du’aa) for him, as he said, ‘Supplicate Allaah that He should cure me.’ So he sought to use his (SAW) du’aa as a means of nearness to Allaah, the Most High, since he knew that his (SAW) supplication was more likely to be accepted by Allaah than the du’aa of others, and if the intention of the blind man was to seek nearness to Allaah by means of the Prophet’s (SAW) person or status or his right, then he would have had no need to go to the Prophet (SAW), or to ask him to make du’aa for him, rather he would have sat in his house, and supplicated to his Lord saying, for example, ‘O Allaah I ask You by the status of your Prophet and his station with You, that You cure me and enable me to see.’
But that is not what he did. Why? because he was an Arab and knew very well the meaning of ‘tawassul‘ in the Arabic Language, and knew that it was not a word said by a person with a need, mentioning the name of a person as an intermediary, rather it had to include coming to one whom he believed to be pious and have knowledge of the Book and the Sunnah and ask him to make du’aa for him.
Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 69
This argument is entirely speculative and the Shari`a is not derived from speculation. The facts are clear. The ruling is not derived only from the fact that the blind man came to the Prophet but from the entirety of the hadith. The blind man came asking for the Prophet’s du`a, and the Prophet subsequently taught him a form of du`a that he should make after performing wudu’ and praying two rak`at. In the latter du`a the Prophet further taught him to make tawassul with certain clear and explicit words. These same words were used by the man in need in the time of sayyidina `Uthman ibn `Affan, after the time of the Prophet. Was the man in need not also an Arab who knew very well the meaning of ‘tawassul‘ in the Arabic Language?
About the hadith of the man in need which we have already cited in full earlier, Shaykh Yusuf al-Rifa`i wrote in his rebuttal to a “Salafi” critic entitled “The Evidence of the Sunni Community” (Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a): “This is an explicit, unequivocal text from a prophetic Companion proving the validity of tawassul through the dead”; and Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid (1910-1969) has written in his “Rebuttals of Falsehoods” (Rudud `ala abatil): “As for calling upon the righteous (when they are physically absent, as in the words Ya Muhammad in the hadiths of `Uthman Ibn Hunayf), tawassul to Allah Most High through them is permissible, the supplication (du`a) being to Allah Most Glorious, and there is much evidence for its permissibility. Those who call on them intending tawassul cannot be blamed.” Are Shaykh al-Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i, Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid, and Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Ghumari not also Arabs who know very well the meaning of ‘tawassul‘ in the Arabic Language?
Were Imam Ahmad, Shawkani, and Ibn al-Jawzi not also Arabs who knew very well the meaning of ‘tawassul‘ in the Arabic Language? What about Imam Nawawi and Ibn al-Humam, who are cited below as instructing every visitor to the Prophet in Madina to seek him as a means in tawassul — are they not Arabs who knew very well the meaning of ‘tawassul‘ in the Arabic Language? All these major scholars did not seem to experience the same problem as Albani with the language of tawassul, nor with the fact that tawassul is said by a person in need mentioning the name of another person as intermediary!
2) The Prophet (SAW) promised that he would make du’aa for him, after advising him of what would be better for him, and this was his (SAW) saying, ‘If you wish I will supplicate for you, and if you have patience that is better for you.’ And this second matter is what he (SAW) indicated in the hadeeth which he narrated from His Lord, the blessed and Most High, that He said, ‘when I afflict My servant in his two beloved ones, that is his eyes, and he has patience, then I give him Paradise in place of them.’ [Reported by al-Bukhaaree (transl. 7/377/no.557) from Anas, quoted in as-Saheehah (2010)]
3) The blind man’s insistence that he (SAW) should supplicate for him, as he said, ‘Supplicate to Him.’ Which means that the Messenger (SAW) definitely did make du’aa for him, since he (SAW) was the best at fulfilling a promise and he had already promised to make du’aa for him if he wished as has preceded, and he wanted du’aa from him, and so the point is established. Also the Prophet (SAW), out of his mercy and desire that Allaah, the Most High, should answer his du’aa for him, guided the blind man to using the second type of lawful and prescribed tawassul, which is tawassul by means of righteous actions, in order to combine the different types of good.
So he ordered him to make wudoo, and to pray two rak’ahs, and then to make du’aa for himself…
Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 70
… in the words taught to him by the Prophet, which consist verbatim in asking Allah through the Prophet himself and his status. That is the essence of the du`a taught by the Prophet, and of the entire hadith.
… and these are acts of obedience to Allaah, the One free of all blemish or defect, and the Most High, which he offered along with the du’aa of the Prophet (SAW) on his behalf, and this falls under Allaah, the Most High’s Saying: ‘Seek means of approach (waseelah) to Him’ (5:35) as has preceded.
The Messenger (SAW) did not suffice with making du’aa for the blind man, as he had promised, he also gave him an action to perform which involved obedience to Allaah, the One free of all blemish and defect, the Most High, and drawing near to Him, so that the affair would be complete from all angles, and nearer to acceptance and being pleasing to Allaah, the One free of all blemish and imperfections, and the Most High, therefore the whole event revolved around du’aa, as is clear and contains nothing of what they mention.
Shaikh al-Ghumaaree is ignorant of this or pretends to be, since he says in ‘al-Misbaah’ ([p.] 24), ‘”… If you wish I will make du’aa for you”, means, “if you wish I will teach you a du’aa which you can make and will repeat it to you,” this explanation is binding so that the start of the hadeeth agrees with its end.’
I say: this explanation is futile due to many reasons, from them that the blind man asked him (SAW) to make du’aa for him, not to teach him a du’aa, and since his (SAW) saying to him, ‘And if you wish I will make du’aa’ was an answer to his request, it was then definitely a request for du’aa, and this has to be, and this is the meaning which agrees with the end of the hadeeth, which is why we find that al-Ghumaaree does not try to explain his saying at the end, ‘O Allaah accept him as a supplicant for me, and accept my supplication for him (to be accepted for me),’ since this clearly shows that his tawassul was through the du’aa of the Prophet (SAW) as we have shown in what has preceded.
Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 70-71
Rather, the end does confirm that the essence of this du`a revolves around the Prophet’s intercession, and that is what making tawassul through him means. Shaykh al-Ghumari is right when he says that the Prophet taught the du`a of tawassul as an answer to the blind man’s request for du`a, since the du`a of tawassul is the main lesson of this hadith and the means through which Allah fulfills the Prophet’s own du`a and returned the blind man’s sight to him. Nor does the fact that the blind man asked the Prophet to make du`a for him preclude the Prophet in any way or form from teaching him that du`a — and through him all Muslims — in addition to responding to his specific request, for the Prophet is by essence the Teacher and Purifier of the Community:
Truly Allah was gracious to the believers when He raised up among them a Messenger from themselves, to recite to them His signs and to purify them, and to teach them the Book and the Wisdom, though before they were in manifest error. (3:164)
To insist that the Prophet could not have been acting didactically in a general way but only making the du`a for the blind man alone simply because that is all that the blind man wanted, is to act like the man who kept repeating to the Prophet: “Teach me something (about Islam)!” not realizing that the Prophet’s answer: “Do not get angry” constituted a universal Islamic teaching of the highest order. Yet this is what Albani insists, in order to reduce the hadith to a one-time occurrence that bears no significance to the Umma at large, and in order to annihilate its availability to all Muslims as a universal and enduring du`a of tawassul.
The great characteristic of Islam is that the overwhelming part if not all of the Prophet’s guidance, his teachings, and his miracles are enduring for all time, the greatest being the Glorious Qur’an, and not limited to the time of the Companions or to some individuals among them! To believe otherwise is to rob Islam of its primacy as the Religion that pleases Allah and to place it on a par with Christianity and Judaism as an abrogated religion, and we seek refuge in Allah from such aberrant suggestions.
Then he [Ghumari] says, ‘Even if we admit that the Prophet (SAW) made du’aa for the blind man, then that does not prevent those hadeeth from being generalised to include others.’
I say: This is clear error, since no one prevents the hadeeth from applying to other then [sic] the blind man, from those whom the Prophet (SAW) made du’aa for. However since du’aa from him (SAW) after he left to join the highest company is something that those seeking tawassul for all various needs and desires do not know about, and also they themselves do not seek tawassul by his (SAW) du’aa after his death, therefore the ruling is different, and this admission of al-Ghumaaree is a proof against him.
Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 71-72
Observe the aberration of Albani’s declaration that “du’aa from him (SAW) after he left to join the highest company is something that those seeking tawassul for all various needs and desires do not know about,” when it is established in the authentic hadith that the Prophet continually makes du`a and asks forgiveness for his Umma and makes tahmid (al-hamdu lillah) even in the grave:
My life is a great good for you, you will relate about me and it will be related to you, and my death is a great good for you, your actions will be presented to me (in my grave) and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if see other than that I will ask forgiveness of Him for you.
Observe also how Albani boldly claims: “they themselves do not seek tawassul by his (SAW) du’aa after his death” — this is clear and manifest error, and may Allah save us from such. As we have shown in many places already, the Companions sought tawassul, tabarruk, istisqa, and istishfa` both through his person and through his du`a after his death, in which he stands the same as he stands in his life in the world in relation to Allah, i.e. praying and making du`a for his Community.
This is another clear proof against misguidance, and it is confirmed by Malik al-Dar’s narration of the Companion Bilal Ibn al-Harith’s request to the Prophet that he make istisqa’ (prayer and du`a for rain) on behalf of his Community. We have already cited this hadith which Ibn Hajar said “Ibn Abi Shayba related with a sound chain from the narration of Abu Salih al-Saman from Malik al-Dar who was `Umar’s treasurer”:
The people suffered from drought during the successorship of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished”…
We will note here that in his obstinacy in asserting that the Companions did not seek tawassul by the Prophet’s du`a after his death Albani went far afield trying to disprove the authenticity of this hadith:
We do not accept that this story is authentic since the reliability and precision of Maalik al-Daar is not known, and these are the two principle [sic] conditions necessary for the authenticity of any narration, as is affirmed in the science of hadeeth. Ibn Abee Haatim mentions him in al-Jarh wat-ta’deel (4/1/213) and does not mention anyone who narrates from him except Aboo Saalih. So this indicates that he is unknown, and this is further emphasized by the fact that Ibn Abee Haatim himself, who is well known for his memorisation and wide knowledge, did not quote anyone who declared him reliable, so he remains unknown. Then this does not contradict the saying of al-Haafidh: “… with an authentic chain of narration, from the narration of Aboo Saalih as-Saman…” since we say: It is not declaration that all of the chain of narration is authentic (saheeh), rather only that it is so up to Aboo Saalih. If that were not the case then he would not have started mentioning the chain of narration from Aboo Saalih. Rather he would have begun: “From Malik ad-Daar… and its chain of narration is authentic.” But he said it in the way that he did to draw attention to the fact that there was something requiring investigation in it. The scholars say this for various reasons. From these reasons is that they may not have been able to find a biography for some narrator(s) and therefore they would not permit themselves to pass a ruling on the whole chain of narration…
Albani, Tawassul: Its Types and Rulings p. 120
- The above is disproved by Ibn Sa`d’s (d. 230) biographical notice on Malik al-Dar in his Tabaqat:
Malik al-Dar: `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s freedman. He narrated from Abu Bakr and `Umar. He was known.
- It is further disproved by the hafizal-Khalili’s (d. 445) notice on Malik al-Dar in his Kitab al-irshad fi ma`rifat `ulama’ al-hadith:
Malik al-Dar: muttafaq `alayh athna `alayhi al-tabi`un — He is agreed upon (as trustworthy), the Successors have approved highly of him.
- It is further disproved by Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani’s biographical notice on Malik al-Dar in his al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-sahaba:
Malik ibn `Iyad: `Umar’s freedman. He is the one named Malik al-Dar. He has seen the Prophet and has heard narrations from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq. He has narrated from Abu Bakr and `Umar, Mu`adh, and Abu `Ubayda. From him narrated Abu Salih al-Saman and his (Malik’s) two sons `Awn and `Abd Allah…
Bukhari in his Tarikh narrated through Abu Salih Dhakwan from Malik al-Dar that `Umar said during the period of drought: “O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!” Ibn Abi Khaythama also narrated it in those words but in a longer hadith:
The people suffered a drought during the time of `Umar, whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah for rain for your Community.” The Prophet appeared to him in a dream and told him: “Go, see `Umar and tell him: You will be watered, and: You must put your nose to the grindstone (`alayk al-kaffayn)!” (The man went and told `Umar.) Then `Umar wept and exclaimed: “O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!”
We have also narrated in the Fawa’id of Dawud ibn `Amr and al-Dabbi compiled by al-Baghawi in the narration of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Sa`id ibn Yarbu` al-Makhzumi from Malik al-Dar: he said: “`Umar ibn al-Khattab summoned me one day. He had with him a purse of gold containing four hundred dinars. He said: “Take this to Abu `Ubayda,” and he mentioned the rest of the story.
Ibn Sa`d mentioned him (Malik al-Dar) in the first layer of the Successors among the people of Madina and said: “He narrated from Abu Bakr and `Umar, and he was known.” Abu `Ubayda said of him: “`Umar put him in charge of the dependents in his household. When `Uthman succeeded him, he put him in charge of financial allotments and he was then named Malik of the House.”
Isma`il al-Qadi related from `Ali ibn al-Madini: “Malik al-Dar was `Umar’s treasurer.”
- It is further disproved by Hasan al-Saqqaf’s rebuttal of Albani’s discourse and entire method on this hadith in Saqqaf’s preface to `Abd Allah al-Ghumari’s refutation of Albani entitled Irgham al-mubtadi` al-ghabi bi jawaz al-tawassul bi al-nabi(The compulsion of the ignorant innovator with the permissibility of seeking means with the Prophet):
Albani has declared this sound hadith weak upon pretexts frailer than a cobweb in his Tawassul. He has claimed that Malik al-Dar is unknown (majhul) and has reproduced only his biographical notice from Ibn Abi Hatim’s Kitab al-jarh wa al-ta`dil in order to give his readers the impression that only one man has narrated from Malik al-Dar, and that is Abu Salih al-Saman. And it has been decided by Albani on the basis of what he reproduces from one of the scholars that a man remains “unknown” until two or more narrate from him. In order to help his cause he mentioned that al-Mundhiri and al-Haythami did not know Malik al-Dar, that he is therefore unknown, and that a chain of transmission containing an unknown is unsound. Then he began to brag saying: “This is a critical piece of information which none will know but those who have practiced this science.” As for us we say to him: Rather this is deliberate concealment (tadlis) and deceit and treachery which none commits except one whose heart is filled with spite and enmity against the Sunna and Tawhid and its people…
Now, if al-Mundhiri and al-Haythami declared that they did not know him, we say to the searcher for truth: This means that they did not declare him either trustworthy or unreliable, because they do not know him. However, there are those who do know him, such as Ibn Sa`d, and Bukhari, and `Ali ibn al-Madini, and Ibn Hibban, and al-hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, and others! Which of the two assessments, O Albani, is retained: that of those who know him, or that of those who don’t?!
It is a wonder that Albani approves the statement of those who don’t know Malik al-Dar’s case, selects it, and prefers it to the statements of those who do know it, which he conceals and with which he dislikes that anyone be acquainted.
What I will cite from the sayings of the Imams among the masters of hadith who have recognized Malik al-Dar as reliable is enough to confirm what al-Sayyid `Abd Allah al-Ghumari and other hadith scholars as well as some of those who work with hadith have said: namely, that Albani knows the correct facts in many matters but … is not to be relied upon for (assessing) a single hadith. This is the explicit position of many of the scholars such as the three muhaddiths al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Ghumari, al-Sayyid `Abd Allah al-Ghumari, and al-Sayyid `Abd al-`Aziz; the shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda; the muhaddith of India and Pakistan Habib al-Rahman al-A`zami; Shaykh Isma`il al-Ansari; Shaykh Muhammad `Awwama; Shaykh Mahmud Sa`id; Shaykh Shu`ayb Arna’ut; and tens of others among the experts in this field and those that deal with it. The People of Hadith therefore witness that that man’s word is not relied upon in the authentication and weakening of hadith because he authenticates and weakens according to whim and mood, not scientific rules, and whoever examines his sayings and writings can verify this.