Surah Mai’dah verse 35 Allah says: “O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah and seek the Wasilah to Him (Allah), and strive hard in His cause, so that you may be successful.”
HOW TO UNDERSTAND THIS VERSE
The first thing that must be explained is when Allah says ‘seek the Wasilah to Him’, the ‘him’ Allah is referring to is himself (Allah). This proofed in the Quran (17:52) when Allah says ‘Those whom they call upon seek a wasilah to their Lord (Allah).’ Obviously the word Lord (Rabb) is only used for Allah in the Quran and Sunnah.
As the word wasilah in this verse it means ‘a way to draw near to Allah. Sufyan Ath-Thawri said that Talhah said that Ata said that Ibn Abbas said that Wasilah means ‘the means of approach.’
This verse has nothing to do with making duaa through the prophet when he was alive or after hi death.
Mujahid, Abu Wa’il, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Abdullah bin Kathir, As-Suddi, Ibn Zayd all indicated that the meaning for Wasilah is a ‘means (to) draw near to Allah’.
Most Muslims believe that this verse is directing them to seek a means to draw close to Allah. But what Muslims disagree on is how to draw close to Allah.
Sufis often claim the means of drawing close to Allah in this verse means making duaa to Allah through the prophet Mohammed and others. However their understanding of this verse is incorrect and it opposes the scholars and the sahabas understanding of this verse.
Mujahid, Abu Wa’il, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Abdullah bin Kathir, As-Suddi, Ibn Zayd all said a person ‘draw(s) near to Allah by performing good deeds.’
Qatadah said that the Ayah means, “Seek the means of approach to Him (Allah) by obeying Him and performing the acts that please Him.”
In Tafsir al-Jalalayn it is stated “and seek the means to Him” (through) that obedience which brings you closer to Him (Allah).
In Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafseer Ibn Abbas it was said, ““and seek the way of approach unto Him”…seek with Him (Allah) high degrees through righteous works.”
From what has preceded it is clear that the Sufi understanding of this verse is wrong. Because none of these great scholars or any other scholar of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah have stated that the verse indicates the means of drawing close to Allah in this verse means making duaa to Allah through the prophet Mohammed and others.
If a Sufi was to argue that these scholars have said a person should drawer close to Allah through good deeds and Sufis agree with these scholars. That’s why they do tawassul through the Prophet Mohammed and others as that is a good deed.
The reply is simple tawassul through the prophet Mohammed is not a good deed because it is a bidah.
Imam Mahmud Al-Alusi explains what type of tawassul this verse is referring to is when a person asks a righteous Muslim to supplicate to Allah for him. It is not tawassul through the Prophet Mohammed or ay one else.
Imam Mahmud Al-Alusi said in his ‘Ruh ul-Ma’ani’ in his tafsir of the verse ‘Seek wasilah to Him’,
“Istighatha (seeking help) with (the) creation, and making it a wasilah…there is no doubt in its permissibility if the sought person is alive…
As for when the sought (referring to when a person makes duaa to or through other than Allah) person is dead (like the prophet and others who Sufis do tawassul through) or absent (not present at the time of duaa)”,
it is not hidden form scholars that it is not permissible and it is from innovations ((bidah) act of worship which the prophet did not do or sanction), that none of the salaf (first three generations of Islam) did… (tawassul through the prophet Mohammed or any one else)…”
It is incorrect for Sufis to claim the means of drawing close to Allah in this verse means making duaa to Allah through the prophet Mohammed and others.
The scholars oppose this view (as can be seen form what has already been stated by the scholars).
Also it is equally wrong for them to say tawassul through the Prophet Mohammed and others is a good deed or a good wasilah to Allah.
As tawassul through the Prophet Mohammed and others is a bidah.