Hadeeth of the Blind man
It is reported by Ahmad and others with an authentic chain of narration from Uthmaan ibn Haneef: “That a blind man came to the Prophet and said, “Supplicate to Allah that He should cure me.” So he said, If you wish I will supplicate for you and if you wish I will delay that, for that is better (and in a narration: and if you wish have patience and that is better for you). So he said, “Supplicate to Him.” So he ordered him to make wudoo, and to make wudoo well, and to pray two rak’ahs, and to supplicate with this duaa, 0 Allah I ask You and turn to You by means of Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy, 0 Muhammad I have turned by means of you (i. e. your duaa) to my Lord in this need of mine, so that it may be fulfilled for me, 0 Allah accept him as a supplicant on my behalf, and accept my supplication for him (to be accepted for me).” He said, “So the man did it and he was cured.”
It is reported by Ahmad and others with an authentic chain of narration from ‘Uthmaan ibn Haneef:
Introduction To The Explanation Of The Hadeeth
This is hadeeth in which there is much confusion regarding its explanation. Sufis explain the hadeeth to mean that the blind man did tawassul to Allah through the prophet Mohammed. This explanation is simple and understandable because the hadeeth does seem to indicate this.
However it no way is about the blind making tawassul through the prophet. In fact it is about the blind man doing tawassul through his own good deeds (wudoo, prayer and duaa), which the prophet instructed him to do. Plus the blind man also did tawassul through the prophet’s duaa for him, as the prophet made promised to make supplication for him and he did. So the blind man did not do tawassul through the Prophet Mohammed’s status or right.
Therefore the hadeeth should never be explained in a way in which, the explainer of the hadeeth implies that this hadeeth proves the permissibility of tawassul through the status or right of the prophet when he was alive and after his death.
Explanation Of The Hadeeth
The writing in bold is the hadeeth the other writing is the explanation.
P: stands for the Prophet Mohammed and is used to indicate his blessed words.
B: stands for the Blind Man and is used to indicate his words.
“That a blind man came to the Prophet and said,
(B) “Supplicate to Allaah that He should cure me.”
“Supplicate to Allah” This is a request from the blind man to the prophet Mohammed to make duaa for him. This proves a person can ask a righteous person to make duaa for them. However the condition for this request is firstly the one asking for the person to make duaa him should make it clear he wants the person to supplicate to Allah and not anything or anyone else like a prophet or the awliyah. Also the person who is asked should be a righteous person who is alive he must not be a dead righteous person.
The blind man knew a person could not make duaa through the prophet’s status. His coming to the prophet Mohammed and asking him to supplicate for him indicates that he knew it was forbidden to make a duaa through the prophets stats by saying something like “O Allah I ask you by the status of your beloved prophet Mohammed to cure my eye sight”. If he thought it was halal to make duaa through the prophet’s status the blind man would have stayed at home and made duaa to Allah through the prophet. However he knew this was haraam so instead he made the effort to go to the prophet in person and ask him to make a duaa for him. He did this is because he knew that if the prophet made a duaa on his behalf it is much more likely to be accepted by Allah.
(P) So he said, If you wish I will supplicate for you and if you wish I will delay that, for that is better (and in a narration: and if you wish have patience and that is better for you).
In these few lines of the hadeeth the prophet promises the man he will supplicate to Allah for him if the blind man would like him to do that and the prophet never brakes a promise. But the prophet due to his love for the Muslims and this blind man he directs to that which is even better for him. He tells the man his delaying making supplication is better for him and in another authentic narration the reason why it is better for the blind man is given. The reason is to increase him patience.
So in these few lines many things are made clear to the Muslims.
The most important is that the prophet approved of the blind mans actions. Also in these lines it becomes clear that a person is not allowed to make a duaa to Allah through the prophet or anyone else status by mentioning there name or status or anything similar. If that was permissible the prophet would have told the man he could stayed at home and just made a supplication through his status by mentioning his name and status. The man was blind and the prophet would have known that for a blind person to travel to meet him is very difficult. So if the prophet knew the man could have stayed at home and made duaa to Allah through his status he would have told him that. This is because the prophet would always direct the Muslims to do that which is easiest for them as he hated the Muslims to have any hardships. In these lines it becomes apparent that the prophet always directs the Muslims to what is best, as he told the blind man patience is better for him.
Making duaa to Allah through the prophet if it was better than coming to him in person or just as good he would have told the man to do this instead of directing him to have patience. He did not direct him to that action as this type of duaa is not accepted by Allah because it is not permissible. If it is not permissible to make duaa to Allah through the prophets status it is defiantly not permissible to make duaa to Allah through the status of any one else.
(B) So he said “Supplicate to Him”
This means the blind man choose to have the prophet supplicate for him immediately instead of delaying it. The hadeeth it self does not indicated the prophet actually made this duaa for the man. However the prophet did make this duaa immediately for the blind man. This is known because the prophet promised to make this duaa for the blind man if he wanted him to and the blind man did want him to make duaa for him. Its known that from the good characteristics of the prophet was that he would never break a promise as breaking promise is a sign of a hypocrite. He did it straight away as he already gave the man choice to have him delay the duaa for him but the man did not want him to do so. Therefore the prophet would have had to make the duaa immediately as the blind man wanted him to do so and the prophet never goes back on his word.
(P) So he ordered him to make wudoo, and to make wudoo well, and to pray two rak’ahs, and to supplicate with this duaa,
If we examine the prophets orders it is clear that they came from one blessed with wisdom. His wisdom was vast, because he understood that when a person makes duaa if this duaa is accompanied with actions that Allah loves then Allah is more likely to accept a person’s duaa. This is why even after he agreed to make duaa for the man, he told the man to make wudoo and pray two rak’ahs. After these two righteous actions he told the man to make duaa as well. The prophet commanded these actions be done in that order, because he knew if the blind man made wudoo and prayed two rak’ahs his duaa would have more of a chance of getting accept. This indicates that a person can do tawassul (seek a means to get close to Allah) through their own righteous actions, if this was not the case the prophet would have not told the man to make wudoo and pray two rak’ahs before making duaa.
(P) 0 Allah I ask you and
turn to you by means of Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy,
The prophet instructed the blind man to make a supplication which starts of with the man ask Allah
(P) 0 Muhammad
I have turned by means of you (the prophet’s duaa) to my Lord in this need of mine,
so that it may be fulfilled for me.
The line in the hadeeth ‘O Mohammed I have turned by means’ means that he is making a duaa but at the time addressing the prophet who was with him. This is why he the blind man addressed the prophet when he said ‘O Mohammed’. This wording was also used as it helped the blind man to show the prophet that this line in the duaa is to Allah but addressed to him. ‘I have turned’ means the blind man has turned to Allah because he is seeking nearness to him (Allah). ‘By means of you’ proves the blind man was seeking nearness to Allah due to the prophet’s duaa he made for him previously. This is the reason why the blind man said ‘by means of you’ because the duaa the prophet did for him was the best means (way) of him gaining nearness to Allah, as the prophets duaa was obviously going to be favored by Allah over his own duaa for his self.
(B) 0 Allah accept him (the prophet Mohammed) as a supplicant on my behalf,
What was mentioned above concerning the blind man seeking nearness to Allah due to the prophet’s duaa for him is proved here. Due to him seeking nearness to Allah through
the prophets duaa for him, this was the reason he asks Allah to accept the prophet as a supplicant on his behalf.
(B) and accept my supplication for him (to be accepted by u).” Here the blind man asks Allah to accept his duaa which he makes for the prophet.
(P) He said, “So the man did it and he was cured.” The blind man was cured because of the blessing of the prophet’s duaa for him. This was a sign of his prophet hood.
This hadeeth is about doing tawassul through ones good deeds (such as wudoo, prayer and duaa), and tawassul through the duaa of pious Muslim (in the hadeeth this Muslim is the prophet).
There is no proof in this hadeeth for tawassul through the Prophet Mohammed’s status or right when he was alive or now he is dead