Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim (بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم)
The Incorrect and Futile Tawassul and its Types
Question 58: Having known the Correct Tawassul and its Types, then it is inevitable for us to know the Incorrect Tawassul and its Types.
The Answer: The incorrect and futile Tawassul is to use an unprescribed way, something which is not affirmed as a legal way by Sharee’ah, as a means of nearness to Allaah, The Most High. Since Tawassul in this manner is from nonsense and falsehood that contradicts the intellectual and textual proofs.
And from this is that a person uses the supplication of a deceased man as Tawassul to Allaah (عز و جل). He asks this deceased person to supplicate to Allaah for him. Then this is not a correct and prescribed means. Rather it is foolishness on the part of the one who asks this deceased man to supplicate to Allaah for him. Since once he dies, the actions of the deceased cease to exist, and it is impossible for him to supplicate to Allaah for anyone. Even the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), it is not possible that he supplicates to Allaah for anyone after his (صلى الله عليه و سلم) death. For this reason, the companions (Radi Allahu Anhum) did not use as Tawassul to Allaah by asking the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) to invoke Allaah for them after his death.
In fact, when the people suffered a drought at the time of ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattaab (رضي الله عنه), he said: “O Allaah we used to ask Your Prophet to supplicate on our behalf to You and You would bless us with rain, and now we ask the uncle of our Prophet [i.e. al-‘Abbaas (رضي الله عنه)] to supplicate to You on our behalf, so bless us with rain.” So al-‘Abbaas (رضي الله عنه) stood up and supplicated to Allaah (عز و جل). Had the matter of asking the deceased’s supplication to Allah been a permissible and correct way, then ‘Umar and those with him from the companions would have asked that from Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم). Since the response to his supplication is more likely to take place than that of ‘al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib (رضي الله عنه). What is important, therefore, is that Tawassul to Allaah by means of asking supplication from the deceased is false and impermissible.
And from the incorrect type of Tawassul is to seek nearness to Allaah by means of the status of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), saying: “O Allaah, I ask you by the rank of Your Prophet [to grant me] such and such.” This is since the status of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) is not something of benefit to you. It is only beneficial to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), but as regard to you then it is of no benefit to you that you use as Tawassul to Allaah, The Most High. And as we have mentioned, Tawassul is seeking the correct means that is fruitful. So, what is of benefit to you in that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) has an honourable status with Allaah? And if you want to make correct Tawassul to Allaah, then say: “O Allaah, I ask You by my Eemaan in Your Prophet, or by my love of Your Prophet” or the like, then this is from the correct and beneficial means.
Translated by Dr Saleh as Saleh rahimahullaah
Source : Understanding Worship – Fiqh ul-‘Ibadah – Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen