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TAWASSUL (MEDIATION) IN SUNNI ISLAM PT. 8

  1. Tabarrukwith the Prophet’s cup.

– Hajjaj ibn Hassan said: “We were at Anas’s house and he brought up the Prophet’s cup from a black pouch. He ordered that it be filled with water and we drank from it and poured some of it on our heads and faces and sent blessings on the Prophet. Ahmad, Ibn Kathir.

– `Asim said: “I saw that cup and I drank from it.”  Bukhari.

  1. Tabarrukwith the Prophet’s minbar.

– Ibn `Umar used to touch the seat of the Prophet’s minbar and then wipe his face for blessing. (al-Mughni 3:559; al-Shifa’ 2:54; Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat 1:13; Mawsu`at Fiqh `Abdullah ibn `Umar p. 52.)

– From Abu Hurayra, Jabir, Abu Imama, and Malik: The Prophet made it a sunna to swear to the truth on top of his minbar. Nisa’i, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and others. Bukhari confirms it. Ibn Hajar says: and in Mecca, one swears between the Yemeni corner and Maqam Ibrahim. (Fath al-bari)

  1. Tabarrukwith money the Prophet gave away.

– Jabir sold a camel to the Prophet and the latter gave instructions to Bilal to add a qirat (1/12 dirham) to the agreed sale price. Jabir said: “The Prophet’s addition shall never leave me,” and he kept it with him after that. Bukhari.

  1. Tabarrukwith the Prophet’ s staffs.

– When `Abdullah ibn Anis came back from one of the battles having killed Khalid ibn Sufyan ibn Nabih, the Prophet gifted him his staff and said to him: “It will be a sign between you and me on the Day of Resurrection.” Thereafter he never parted with it and it was buried with him when he died. Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad (3:496).

– Qadi `Iyad relates in his book al-Shifa’, in the chapter entitled “Esteem for the things and places connected with the Prophet,” that after Jihjah al-Ghifari took the Prophet’s staff from the hands of `Uthman and tried to break it accross his knee, infection seized his knee which led to its amputation, and he died before the end of the year.

  1. Tabarrukwith the Prophet’s shirt.

– Jabir says: “The Prophet came after `Abdullah ibn Ubay had been placed in his grave. He ordered that he be brought out. He placed his hands on `Abdullah’s knees, breathed (nafth) upon him mixing it with saliva, and dressed him with his shirt. Bukhari and Muslim.

  1. Tabarrukwith the Prophet’s musallas or places of prayer.

– Many chains of transmission: `Utban ibn Malik was one of the Companions of the battle of Badr. After he became blind he said to the Prophet: “I would like you to pray in my house so that I can pray where you prayed.” The Prophet went to his house and asked where exactly he would like him to pray. He indicated a spot to him and the Prophet prayed there. Bukhari and Muslim. The version in Muslim has: I (`Utban) sent for the Prophet the message: “Come and lay for me a place for worship (khutt li masjidan).” Imam Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim said: “It means: “Mark for me a spot that I can take as a place for worship by obtaining blessing from your having been there (mutabarrikan bi atharika)… In this hadith is evidence for obtaining blessings through the relics of saints (al-tabarruk bi athar al-salihin).”

– `Umar feared that the taking of the tree of the bay`a to the Prophet as a place of prayer might lead to a return to idol-worship and he had it cut. Bukhari, Ibn Sa`d (1:73). It is known, however,  that Ibn `Umar derived blessings even from walking in the same spots where the Prophet had walked and praying exactly where he had prayed both at the Ka`ba and on his travels,  and that he watered a certain tree under which Prophet had prayed so that it would not die. Bukhari, Bayhaqi (Sunan 5:245).

  1. Tabarrukwith the Prophet’s grave.

– Dawud ibn Salih says: “[The Caliph] Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] one day saw a man placing his face on top of the grave of the Prophet.  He said: “Do you know what you are doing?” When he came near him, he realized it was Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. The latter said: “Yes; I came to the Prophet, not to a stone.” Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Ahmad (5:422), Tabarani in his Mu`jam al-kabir (4:189) and his Awsat according to Haythami in al-Zawa’id (5:245), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:515); both the latter and al-Dhahabi said it was sahih. It is also cited by al-Subki in Shifa’ al-siqam (p. 126), Ibn Taymiyya in al-Muntaqa (2:261f.), and Haythami in al-Zawa’id (4:2).

– Mu`adh ibn Jabal and Bilal also came to the grave of the Prophet and sat weeping, and the latter rubbed his face against it. Ibn Majah 2:1320, Ahmad, Tabarani, Subki, and Ibn `Asakir.

– Hafiz al-Dhahabi writes in the compendium of his shaykhs entitled Mu`jam al-shuyukh (1:73) in the entry devoted to his shaykh Ahmad ibn `Abd al-Mun`im al-Qazwini (#58): “Ahmad ibn al-Mun`im related to us… [with his chain of transmission] from Ibn `Umar that the latter disliked to touch the Prophet’s grave. I say: He disliked it because he considered it disrespect. Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about touching the Prophet’s grave and kissing it and he saw nothing wrong with it. His son `Abd Allah related this from him.

Dhahabi continues: If it is said: “Why did the Companions not do this?” It is replied: “Because they saw him with their very eyes when he was alive, enjoyed his presence directly, kissed his very hand, nearly fought each other over the remnants of his ablution water, shared his purified hair on the day of the greater Pilgrimage, and even if he spat it would virtually not fall except in someone’s hand so that he could pass it over his face. Since we have not had the tremendous fortune of sharing in this, we throw ourselves on his grave as a mark of commitment, reverence, and acceptance, even to kiss it. Don’t you see what Thabit al-Bunani did when he kissed the hand of Anas ibn Malik and placed it on his face saying: “This is the hand that touched the hand of Allah’s Messenger”? Muslims are not moved to these matters except by their excessive love for the Prophet, as they are ordered to love Allah and the Prophet more than they love their own lives, their children, all human beings, their property, and Paradise and its maidens. There are even some believers that love Abu Bakr and `Umar more than themselves…

Don’t you see that the Companions, in the excess of their love for the Prophet, asked him: “Should we not prostrate to you?” and he replied no, and if he had allowed them, they would have prostrated to him as a mark of utter veneration and respect, not as a mark of worship, just as the Prophet Yusuf’s brothers prostrated to Yusuf. Similarly the prostration of the Muslim to the grave of the Prophet is for the intention of magnification and reverence. One is not imputed disbelief because of it whatsoever (la yukaffaru aslan), but he is being disobedient [to the Prophet’s injunction to the Companions]. Let him therefore be informed that this is forbidden. Similarly in the case of one who prays towards the grave.”

– Imam Ahmad’s son `Abd Allah said: I asked my father about the man who touches and kisses the pommel of the Prophet’s minbar to obtain blessing, or touches the grave of the Prophet. He responded by saying: “There is nothing wrong with it.” `Abd Allah also asked Imam Ahmad about the man who touches the Prophet’s minbar and kisses it for blessing, and who does the same with the grave, or something to that effect, intending thereby to draw closer to Allah. He replied: “There is nothing wrong with it.” This was narrated by `Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his book entitled al-`Ilal fi ma`rifat al-rijal (2:492).

– We already mentioned the authentic account whereby in the time of `Umar there was a drought during which Bilal ibn Harith came to the grave and said: “O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah for rain on behalf of your Community.”

– We already mentioned `A’isha’s account whereby she instructed that the roof be opened over the Prophet’s grave in times of drought, and it would rain.

– `Umar sent a message to `A’isha saying: “Will you allow me to be buried with my two companions (the Prophet and Abu Bakr)?” She said, “Yes, by Allah,” though it was her habit that if a man from among the Companions asked her that she would always refuse.  Bukhari.

  1. Tabarrukwith the Prophet’s jubba (robe or cloak).

– Imam Muslim relates that `Abd Allah, the freed slave of Asma’ the daughter of Abu Bakr, the maternal uncle of the son of `Ata’, said: “Asma’ sent me to Abdullah ibn `Umar saying: “The news has reached me that you prohibit the use of three things: the striped robe, saddle cloth made of red silk, and fasting the whole month of Rajab.” Abdullah said to me: “So far as what you say about fasting in the month of Rajab, how about one who observes continuous fasting? And so far as what you say about the striped garment, I heard `Umar ibn al-Khattab say that he had heard from Allah’s Messenger: “He who wears a silk garment, has no share for him (in the Hereafter).” And I am afraid that stripes were part of it. And so far as the red saddle cloth is concerned, here is `Abd Allah’s saddle cloth [= his] and it is red.” I went back to Asma’ and informed her, so she said: “Here is the cloak (jubba) of Allah’s Messenger,” and she brought out to me that cloak made of Persian cloth with a hem of (silk) brocade, and its sleeves bordered with (silk) brocade, and said: “This was Allah’s Messenger’s cloak with `A’isha until she died, then I got possession of it. The Apostle of Allah  used to wear it, and we washed it for the sick so that they could seek cure thereby.” Muslim relates this in the first chapter of the book of clothing. Nawawi comments in Sharh sahih Muslim (Book 37 Chapter 2 #10): “In this hadith is a proof that it is recommended to seek blessings through the relics of the righteous and their clothes (wa fi hadha al-hadith dalil `ala istihbab al-tabarruk bi aathaar al-salihin wa thiyabihim).”

  1. Tabarrukwith spots and people the Prophet had touched.

– Suwayd ibn Ghafalah reported: I saw `Umar kissing the Stone and clinging to it, saying: “I saw Allah’s Messenger bearing great love for you.” This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Sufyan with the same chain of transmitters (and the words are): “He (`Umar) said: “I know that you are a stone, nor would I consider you of any worth, except that I saw Abu al-Qasim bearing great love for you.” And he did not mention about clinging to it. [Muslim: 7: 2916]

– Qadi `Iyad relates in his Shifa’, in the chapter entitled “Esteem for the things and places connected with the Prophet,” that Imam Malik would not ride an animal in Madina and he used to say: “I am too shy before Allah to trample with an animal’s hoof on the earth where Allah’s Messenger is buried.” Imam Malik gave a fatwa that whoever said: “The soil of Madina is bad” be given thirty lashes and jailed. Qadi `Iyad mentions the verses of an anonymous visitor to Madina:

The veil is lifted from us and a moon shines out

                        to those who look on, banishing all illusions.

When our mounts reach Muhammad, it is forbidden

                        for us to be found in our saddles.

            We are drawing near to the best man ever

                        to walk on the earth,

            So we hold this ground in respect and honor.

`Iyad adds: “One must respect the places… whose soil contains the body of the Master of Mankind and from which the din of Allah and the Sunna of the Messenger spread out… and the first earth that the skin of the Prophet touched after death. Its fragrance should be inhaled and its residences and walls should be kissed.” Then he recites:

O Abode of the best of the Messengers…

            For you (Madina) I have intense love, passionate love,

               and yearning which kindles the embers of my heart.

            I have a vow: If I fill my eyes with those walls

               and the places where you (O Prophet) walked,

            There my turbaned gray hair will be covered with dust

               from so much kissing.

            Had it not been from obstacles and foes,

            I would always visit them,

               even if I had to be dragged by my feet.         [85]

– al-Tabarani in al-Awsat and al-Kabir (4:16), and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (5:67-68) with a sound chain as stated by al-Haythami in al-Zawa’id (4:211) narrated through Handhalah Ibn Hudhaym that the latter went with his grandfather, Hudhaym, to the Prophet. Hudhaym said to the Messenger of Allah: “I have sons and grandsons, some of whom are pubescent and others still children.” Motioning to the young child next to him, he said: “This is the youngest.” The Prophet brought this young child whose name was Handhalah next to him, wiped on his head, and told him, “barakallahu fik,” which means: “May Allah bless you.” After that, people started to bring Handhalah a person with a swollen face or a sheep with a swollen udder. Handhalah would place his hand on that part of his head the Prophet wiped, then touch the swollen part and say Bismillah, and the swelling would be cured.

– Ibn Abi Shayba narrated in his Musannaf (4:121), in the chapter entitled: “Touching the grave of the Prophet” with a sahih chain as judged by Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, and Qadi `Iyad in his book al-Shifa’, in the chapter entitled: “Concerning the visit to the Prophet’s grave, the excellence of those who visit it and how he should be greeted”: Yazid ibn `Abd al-Malik ibn Qusayt and al-`Utbi narrated that it was the practice of the Companions in the masjid of the Prophet to place their hands on the pommel of the hand rail (rummana) of the pulpit (minbar) where the Prophet used to place his hand. There they would face the Qibla and supplicate (make du`a) to Allah hoping He would answer their supplication because they were placing their hands where the Prophet placed his while making their supplication. Abu Mawduda said: “And I saw Yazid ibn `Abd al-Malik do the same.” This practice of the Companions clarifies two matters. The first is the permissibility of asking Allah for things by the Prophet (tawassul) after his death since by their act the Companions were truly making tawassul. Likewise it is permissible to ask Allah for things by other pious Muslims. The second is the permissibility of seeking blessings (baraka) from the objects the Prophet touched.

– The Tabi`i Thabit al-Bunani said he used to go to Anas Ibn Malik, kiss his hands, and say: “These are hands that touched the Prophet.” He would kiss his eyes and say: “These are eyes that saw the Prophet.” Abu Ya`la narrated it in his Musnad (6:211) and Ibn Hajar mentions it in his al-Matalib al-`aliya (4:111). al-Haythami declared it sound in Majma` al-zawa’id (9:325).

– According to Bukhari in his Adab al-mufrad, `Abd al-Rahman ibn Razin related that one of the Companions, Salama ibn al-Aku`, raised his hands before a group of people and said: “With these very hands I pledged allegiance (bay`a) to the Messenger of Allah,” upon hearing which, all who were present got up and went to kiss his hand. Another version of this hadith was also related by Ahmad.

– Abu Malik al-Ashja`i said that he once asked another Companion of the Tree, Ibn Abi Awfa, “Give me the hand that swore bay`at to the Messenger of Allah, Peace be upon him, that I may kiss it.”  Ibn al-Muqri related it.

– Bukhari in al-Adab al-mufrad also relates that Suhayb saw Sayyidina `Ali kiss both the hand and feet of the Prophet’s uncle al-`Abbas, and that Thabit kissed the hand of Anas because it had touched the Prophet’s hand.

– al-Shurunbali al-Hanafi in the book of Pilgrimage of his manual of Fiqh entitled Nur al-idah (as translated by Muhammad Abul Quasem under the title Salvation of the soul and Islamic devotions) said (p. 225): “It is praiseworthy to enter into the Holy House [Ka`ba]. The person who enters it should seek the place where the Prophet performed his ritual prayer. This place is in front of him when his back faces the door, so that there is the distance of three cubits between him and the door in front of him. He will perform ritual prayer in it. If he performs it near the wall, he will put his cheek on it, and pray to Allah for forgiveness and praise Him.”

  1. Tabarrukwith the soil and vegetation of Madina.

The merits of Madina, of prayer in Madina, of visiting the Masjid al-Nabawi, of living in Madina, of not cutting its trees, etc. are all based on the fact that the Prophet is there. The fact that it is a

sanctuary (haram) and a preserve (hima) is well documented in numerous ahadith. It is even strongly recommended not to enter Madina except on foot, and many Companions, Tabi`in, and Tabi` al-Tabi`in never entered it except on foot, in respect for the Holy Presence of the Prophet.

– Narrated Ali ibn Abu Talib: The Prophet said: “Madina’s fresh grass is not to be cut, its game is not to be driven away, and things dropped in it are to be picked up only by one who publicly announces it, and it is not permissible for any man to carry weapons in it for fighting, and it is not advisable that its trees are cut except what a man cuts for the fodder of his camel. [Abu Dawud, 10: 2030]

– Narrated Abu Hurayra: When the people saw the first fruit (of the season or of plantation) they brought it to Allah’s Apostle. When he received it he said: “O Allah, bless us in our fruits; and bless us in our city; and bless us in our sa’s and bless us in our mudd (i.e. in every measure). O Allah, Ibrahim was Thy servant, Thy friend, and Thy apostle; and I am Thy servant and Thy apostle. He (Ibrahim) made supplication to Thee for (the showering of blessings upon) Mecca, and I am making supplication to Thee for Madina just as he made supplication to Thee for Mecca, and the like of it in addition.” He would then call to him the youngest child and give him these fruits. [Muslim, 7: 3170]

As the Prophet asked Allah’s Blessings on the city, its fruits, and in their measures, then it must be full of blessing as his supplication is a du`a’ mustajab or answered prayer. Therefore, it is common practice for pilgrims to purchase the dates of Madina for the blessings, and to bring them back home to share among those who could not make the pilgrimage. And it is said that there yet remain living some of the date palms from those planted by the Holy hand of the Most Noble Messenger himself, blessings and peace be upon him. Wallahu a`lam.

  1. Tabarrukwith his Blessed Hand and His Feet.

– The first hadith Imam Ahmad related from Anas ibn Malik in his Musnad Anas is: “The whole Community of the people of Madina used to take the hand of the Prophet and rush to obtain their need with it.”[86]

– Narrated `A’isha the Mother of the Believers: “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he had a complaint, would recite the last three suras of Qur’an, over himself and blow.”  She said, “When his pain was great, I would recite it over him and wipe him with his right hand hoping for its blessing.”[87]

– Usama ibn Sharik narrates: “I came to see the Prophet while his Companions were with him, and they seemed as still as if birds had alighted on top of their heads. I gave him my salam and I sat down. [Then Bedouins came and asked questions which the Prophet answered.] … The Prophet then stood up and the people stood up. They began to kiss his hand, whereupon I took his hand and placed it on my face. I found it more fragrant than musk and cooler than sweet water.” Narrated by Abu Dawud (#3855), Tirmidhi (2038 — hasan sahih), Ibn Majah (3436), al-Hakim (4:399), and Ahmad (4:278). al-hafiz Imam Bayhaqi cites it in Branch 15 of his Shu`ab al-iman entitled: The Fifteenth Branch of Faith, Namely A Chapter On Rendering Honor To The Prophet, Declaring His High Rank, And Revering Him (al-khamis `ashar min shu`ab al-iman wa huwa babun fi ta`zim al-nabi sallallahu `alayhi wa sallama wa ijlalihi wa tawqirih) Vol. 2 p. 200 (#1528).

– Narrated `Abd Allah ibn `Umar: Ibn `Umar was sent with a detachment by the Apostle of Allah. The people wheeled round in flight. He said: I was one of those who wheeled round in flight. When we stopped, we said: What should we do? We have run away from the battlefield and deserve Allah’s wrath. Then we said: Let us enter Medina, stay there, and go there while no one sees us. So we entered the city and thought: If we present ourselves before Allah’s Apostle, and if there is a change of repentance for us, we shall stay; if there is something else, we shall go away. So we sat down (waiting) for the Apostle of Allah before the dawn prayer. When he came out, we stood up to him and said: We are the ones who have fled. He turned to us and said: No, you are the ones who return to fight after wheeling away. We then approached and kissed his hand, and he said: I am the main  body of the Muslims. (Abu Dawud, Book 14 [Jihad], Number 2641.) This hadith is also found in al-Abhari; in the book of al-hafiz Ibn Muqri on standing up and kissing the hand out of respect; in the Adab al-mufrad of Imam Bukhari (Chapter on Kissing the Hand and Chapter on Kissing the Foot), in Ibn Majah (Adab), in Bayhaqi’s Dala’il an-Nubuwwa, and in the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

– Ibn `Umar told a story and said: “We then came near the Prophet and kissed his hand.” It is related in Ibn Maja’s Sunan, Book of Adab, Chapter on kissing by a man of another man’s hand; in Abu Dawud’s Sunan, Book of Adab, Chapter on kissing the hand; and in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shayba through two different chains.

– Umm Aban, daughter of al-Wazi` ibn Zari` narrated that her grandfather Zari` al-`Abdi, who was a member of the deputation of `Abd al-Qays, said: “When we came to Medina, we raced to be first to dismount and kiss the hand and foot of Allah’s Apostle… (to the end of the hadith)” [Abu Dawud, 41: 5206.] Bukhari relates from her a similar hadith in his Adab al-mufrad: We were walking and someone said, “There is the Messenger of Allah,” so we took his hands and feet and kissed them.

– Burayda narrated that one of the Bedouin Arabs who came to the Prophet, Peace be upon him, asked: “O Messenger of Allah, give me permission to kiss your head and your hands,” and he received it.  In another version, he asks permission to kiss the head and the feet.  Narrated in Ghazali’s Ihya’ and the version mentioning the feet is in Hakim’s Mustadrak and in Ibn Muqri. Both al-Hakim and al-`Iraqi declared the latter’s chain authentic.

– From Safwan ibn `Asal al-Muradi: “One of two Jews said to his companion: Take us to this Prophet so we can ask him about Musa’s ten signs… [the Prophet replied in full and then] they kissed his hands and feet and said: we witness that you are a Prophet…” Narrated by Ibn Abi Shayba (Book of Adab, Chapter entitled A Man Kissing Another Man’s Hand When He greets Him), Tirmidhi (Book of Adab) who declared it hasan sahih, al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah (Book of Adab), and al-Hakim who declared it sahih.

– When we were with Allah’s Messenger on an expedition, a Bedouin came and asked for a miracle. The Prophet pointed at a tree and said to the Bedouin: “Tell that tree, Allah’s Messenger summons you.” The tree swayed and brought itself out, and came to the presence of the Prophet saying: “Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah!” The Bedouin said, “Now let it return to its place!” When Allah’s Messenger ordered it, the tree went back. The Bedouin said, “let me prostrate to you!” The Messenger answered: “No one is allowed to do that [ie it is Haraam].” The Bedouin said, “Then I will kiss your hands and feet.” The Prophet permitted him that. Narrated by Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa’ (1:299) and al-Bazzar in his Musnad (3:49).

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