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Between Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi (d. 606H), Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) and Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (d. 1175H) on Seeking Shafaa'ah From Intermediaries - Part 6
Filed under: Shafaa'ah
Wednesday, November 10 2010 - by Abu.Iyaad
Key topics: Intermediaries Ar-Razi Shafaa'ah Fakhr Ud-Din Ar-Razi

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Background and Introduction

To the right is a cover page for the book "Tafsir ar-Razi", also known as "Mafaateeh al-Ghayb" belonging to Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi who is a prominent Imaam for the Ash'aris of today and he died in 606H. We will be quoting from it further below to prove that "Tawhid al-Ibadah" is not an invention of Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah), nor Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah). Ar-Razi was present in a time when worship of other than Allaah within the Muslim Ummah had spread and thus, even amongst the As'hari scholars prior to this era, there exist clear indications in their books and writings that they (unlike the later Ash'aris) understood Tawhid al-Ibaadah, and explained it, and spoke against its violation, even if they erred in other aspects of creed.

Historically, the innovations of the first century were light innovations (Khawarij, Shi'ah, Qadariyyah, Murji'ah), in that they did not directly relate to Allaah Himself. Those that came in the second century hijrah were more severe in that they related directly to the belief in Allaah Himself (His Names, Attributes, His Uluww, His Speech), and then from this period the introduction of philosophy and gnosticism (mystical esoteric knowledge) led to further deviations. However, it took around six centuries for shirk (associationism) to spread amongst the Muslims on a wide scale. The seeds of this shirk were spread initially by the Ismaa'eelee Baatiniyyah known as Ikhwan al-Safaa (Brethren of Purity) in the third and fourth centuries, and they were given support by the Ubaidiyyah (Shii'ite rulers of Egypt) when they took power. Prior to this time (before the fifth century, i.e. 400H), whilst the variuos sects had deviations in issues of aqidah, the understanding of Tawhid al-Ibaadah was still relatively firm.

This shows that the greater deviations occurred when the people were further away from the era of revelation, and this is simply a cycle of history. This has always occurred after the sending of Prophets and Messengers, and it is indicated in the Prophetic texts for this ummah, such as those texts that mention that this (Muslim) nation will follow the footsteps of those (nations) that came before them (such as the Jews and Christians). For this reason, the greatest deviation, shirk with Allaah, was the last of the affairs to enter into the Ummah - long after the era of Prophethood.

Coming to the subject of this series of articles now, we present in this some quotations from the Tafseer of ar-Razi pertaining to the core arguments for the justification of supplicating to those besides Allaah and seeking their intercession, and through this we illustrate that this type of refutation against the grave and saint worshippers precedes Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) by a century and Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) by six centuries, and it also uncovers the academic and intellectual fraud of today's grave and saint-worshippers against the Scholars of Tawheed.

The Intent of Those Who worship Idols is Not to worship the Idols But The Saints Whom They Represent

We have established previously that al-Razi, the Ash'ari scholar of the 6th and early 7th centuries, affirmed: a) That shafaa'ah (intercession) belongs to none but Allaah alone, and intercession can never take place except with Allah's permission - (see this article), b) That du'a (supplication) is the loftiest of the stations of al-ubudiyyah (servitude, worship), is the most excellent of the types of worship, and the reality of du'a is such that incorporates other forms of worship such as humility (dhull), servitude (uboodiyyah), incapacity (inkisaar), poverty, need (maskanah) - (see this article), c) That none of the pagans ever intended to worship the statues or idols, rather the acts of worship they performed were directed to those in the graves, and their reason was that they were intending to solicit their intercession - (see this article and this article), d) That many were found in the time of al-Razi who flocked to the graves and venerated them with the desire of soliciting the intercession of the righteous dead - (see here).

Clarification From al-Razi in This Regard

In his tafsir (Dar Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1st edition, 2000), al-Razi explains (2/103 onwards) in relation to the saying of Allaah "Therefore do not set up rivals for Allaah whilst you know" (2:22):

المسألة الأولى اعلم أنه ليس في العالم أحد يثبت لله شريكاً يساويه في الوجود والقدرة والعلم والحكمة وهذا مما لم يوجد إلى الآن لكن الثنوية يثبتون إلهين أحدهما حليم يفعل الخير والثاني سفيه يفعل الشر وأما اتخاذ معبود سوى الله تعالى ففي الذاهبين إلى ذلك كثرة الفريق الأول عبدة الكواكب وهم الصابئة فإنهم يقولون إن الله تعالى خلق هذه الكواكب وهذه الكواكب هي المدبرات لهذا العالم قالوا فيجب علينا أن نعبد الكواكب والكواكب تعبد الله تعالى والفريق الثاني النصارى الذين يعبدون المسيح عليه السلام والفريق الثالث عبدة الأوثان واعلم أنه لا دين أقدم من دين عبدة الأوثان وذلك لأن أقدم الأنبياء الذين نقل إلينا تاريخهم هو نوح عليه السلام وهو إنما جاء بالرد عليهم على ما أخبر الله تعالى عن قومه في قوله وَقَالُواْ لاَ تَذَرُنَّ ءالِهَتَكُمْ وَلاَ تَذَرُنَّ وَدّاً وَلاَ سُوَاعاً وَلاَ يَغُوثَ وَيَعُوقَ وَنَسْراً ( نوح 23 ) فعلمنا أن هذه المقالة كانت موجودة قبل نوح عليه السلام وهي باقية إلى الآن بل أكثر أهل العالم مستمرون على هذه المقالة والدين والمذهب الذي هذا شأنه يستحيل أن يكون بحيث يعرف فساده بالضرورة لكن العلم بأن هذا الحجر المنحوت في هذه الساعة ليس هو الذي خلقني وخلق السموات والأرض علم ضروري فيستحيل إطباق الجمع العظيم عليه فوجب أن يكون لعبدة الأوثان غرض آخر سوى ذلك والعلماء ذكروا فيه وجوهاً

A summary of the above is that there is not in existence any person who affirms that Allah has any partner in knowledge, power, wisdom and the likes, and that this has never been found to date, except for the Dualists who believe in a god of good and a god of evil. [Note here that al-Razi is saying that no one in history has every claimed that others share with Allaah in aspects of His Ruboobiyyah]. But as for taking a deity for worship besides Allaah, then there are many factions who have fallen into this [Note here al-Razi is speaking about shirk in Uloohiyyah]. Then he mentions three categories. The first are the Sabeans who worship the stars [believing they are inhabited by the spirits, angels], and that by worshipping the stars, the stars in turn worship Allaah. The second are those who worship Eesaa (alayhis salaam). The third are those who worshipped idols, who he says which is the oldest of the religions of the pagans, and he makes reference to the people of Nuh (alayhis salaam). Then a little later he says that most of the people of the earth remain upon this way of the people of Nuh. He then says:

The knowledge (of a person) that this sculptured stone (idol) at this hour is not the one that created me and created the heavens and the earth is necessary knowledge. Thus it is impossible for a large multitude to come to agreement over [such a false religion]. Hence, it is necessary that the worshippers of idols have some other objective besides that. And the Scholars have mentioned a number of angles in this regard...

What he means that it is impossible for such a large number of misguided people to have come together to worship something about which they know for sure that it did not create them or the heavens and the earth. This means that there is definitely another objective or goal that these people have in mind. Then he explains the views of the Scholars in this regard with respect to types he mentioned earlier (Sabeans, Christians, Pagans).

أحدها ما ذكره أبو معشر جعفر بن محمد المنجم البلخي في بعض مصنفاته أن كثيراً من أهل الصين والهند كانوا يقولون بالله وملائكته ويعتقدون أن الله تعالى جسم وذو صورة كأحسن ما يكون من الصور وهكذا حال الملائكة أيضاً في صورهم الحسنة وأنهم كلهم قد احتجبوا عنا بالسماء وأن الواجب عليهم أن يصوغوا تماثيل أنيقة المنظر حسنة الرواء على الهيئة التي كانوا يعتقدونها من صور الإله والملائكة فيعكفون على عبادتها قاصدين طلب الزلفى إلى الله تعالى وملائكته فإن صح ما ذكره أبو معشر فالسبب في عبادة الأوثان اعتقاد الشبه وثانيها ما ذكره أكثر العلماء وهو أن الناس رأوا تغيرات أحوال هذا العالم مربوطة بتغيرات أحوال الكواكب فإن بحسب قرب الشمس وبعدها عن سمت الرأس تحدث الفصول المختلفة والأحوال المتباينة ثم إنهم رصدوا أحوال سائر الكواكب فاعتقدوا ارتباط السعادة والنحوسة في الدنيا بكيفية وقوعها في طوالع الناس فلما اعتقدوا ذلك بالغوا في تعظيمها فمنهم من اعتقد أنها أشياء واجبة الوجود لذواتها وهي التي خلقت هذه العوالم ومنهم من اعتقد أنها مخلوقة للإله الأكبر لكنها خالقة لهذا العالم فالأولون اعتقدوا أنها هي الإله في الحقيقة والفريق الثاني أنها هي الوسائط بين الله تعالى وبين البشر فلا جرم اشتغلوا بعبادتها والخضوع لها ثم لما رأوا الكواكب مستترة في أكثر الأوقات عن الأبصار اتخذوا لها أصناماً وأقبلوا على عبادتها قاصدين بتلك العبادات تلك الأجرام العالية ومتقربين إلى أشباحها الغائبة ثم لما طالت المدة ألغوا ذكر الكواكب وتجردوا لعبادة تلك التماثيل فهؤلاء في الحقيقة عبدة الكواكب وثالثها أن أصحاب الأحكام كانوا يعينون أوقاتاً في السنين المتطاولة نحو الألف والألفين ويزعمون أن من اتخذ طلسماً في ذلك الوقت على وجه خاص فإنه ينتفع به في أحوال مخصوصة نحو السعادة والخصب ودفع الآفات وكانوا إذا اتخذوا ذلك الطلسم عظموه لاعتقادهم أنهم ينتفعون به فلما بالغوا في ذلك التعظيم صار ذلك كالعبادة ولما طالت مدة ذلك الفعل نسوا مبدأ الأمر واشتغلوا بعبادتها على الجهالة بأصل الأمر ورابعها أنه متى مات منهم رجل كبير يعتقدون فيه أنه مجاب الدعوة ومقبول الشفاعة عند الله تعالى اتخذوا صنماً على صورته يعبدونه على اعتقاد أن ذلك الإنسان يكون شفيعاً لهم يوم القيامة عند الله تعالى على ما أخبر الله تعالى عنهم بهذه المقالة في قوله هَؤُلاء شُفَعَاؤُنَا عِندَ اللَّهِ ( يونس 18 ) وخامسها لعلهم اتخذوها محاريب لصلواتهم وطاعاتهم ويسجدون إليها لا لها كما أنا نسجد إلى القبلة لا للقبلة ولما استمرت هذه الحالة ظن الجهال من القوم أنه يجب عبادتها وسادسها لعلهم كانوا من المجسمة فاعتقدوا جواز حلول الرب فيها فعبدوها على هذا التأويل فهذه هي الوجوه التي يمكن حمل هذه المقالة عليها حت ى ليصير بحيث يعلم بطلانه بضرورة العقل

Al-Razi has provided six explanations as to what the objective of these people might be:

  • The first, regarding a people who believe in Allah and the Angels, and believe that Allah and the Angels have beautiful forms, and that the Angels are veiled behind the heaven and inaccessible, so they make statues of them in the form and shape they believed those Angels to be, and then they give worship to them, seeking nearness to Allaah and those Angels, so their reason here was that they believed in resemblance between the statues they created and the Angels.

  • The second, that many people saw the changes and events taking place in the world connected to changes in the positions of the stars, and the nearness and distance to the sun to the polar axis determines the variation in the seasons and the likes. Then they observed the positions of all of the stars and believed that good fortune and bad fortune in the world is tied to how they appear in relation to the people (their births and the likes). So when they believed this, they exaggerated in venerating these stars, and some of them believed that these entities are obligatory in their existence, and they created the universe, and others believed they are created by the greatest deity, but that they in turn created this universe. So the first group treated them as creators and deities and the second group treated them as intermediaries (wasaa'it) between Allaah and mankind, and thus there is no harm in worshipping them and humbling to them. Then when they saw that the stars are not visible to them for most of the time (except at night), they set up idols for them, and directed worship to them, but in reality intending worship of those planetary bodies. Then when time passed over them, after the passing of generations, they abolished the mention of the stars, and worshipped just those idols, and they in reality are worshippers of the stars.

  • The third, a people who used to specify certain times, through a period of lengthy years, such as a thousand, or two-thousand, and claimed that whoever took up a talisman in a particular form in that particular time would benefit in specific ways, such as in being happy and being fertile and the likes. Thus, they venerated these talismans and exaggerated until it became worship, and then when a lengthy time passed by, their descendants forgot the initial reason, and they became occupied with worshipping them, ignorant of the original matter.

  • The fifth, perhaps they took their niches (mihrabs) as their places of worship and their acts of obedience, and prostration towards them, but not for them, just like we prostrate towards the qiblah, not for the qiblah. And then the situation continued like this, perhaps the ignorants from the people thought that it was obligatory to worship them.

  • The sixth, perhaps they used to be Mujassimah who beleived that Allaah indwells in their statues and so they worshipped them upon this ta'wil (interpretation).

As for the fourth, he said regarding it:

ورابعها أنه متى مات منهم رجل كبير يعتقدون فيه أنه مجاب الدعوة ومقبول الشفاعة عند الله تعالى اتخذوا صنماً على صورته يعبدونه على اعتقاد أن ذلك الإنسان يكون شفيعاً لهم يوم القيامة عند الله تعالى على ما أخبر الله تعالى عنهم بهذه المقالة في قوله هَؤُلاء شُفَعَاؤُنَا عِندَ اللَّهِ ( يونس 18 )

And the fourth of them, that when a senior man died amongst them, and they believed that his supplication is answered and his intercession is accepted with Allaah, the Exalted, they took an idol in his form, and worshipped it upon the belief that that man will be an intercessor for them with Allaah on the Day of Judgement, upon what Allaah, the Exalted, has informed abuot them in this statement in His saying, "[They say], these are our intercessors with Allaah" (10:18).

As has preceded, and as is clear from this entire section, these people do not actually intend worship of the idols in and of themselves, and their worship is not actually directed to the idols, they are in fact worshipping the righteous dead man from whom they are hoping to solicit intercession. However, there may be people who forgot the original intent and ended up being devoted to idols, as al-Razi has indicated with some of those people, but certainly most of those who worship other than Allaah simply use representations, be they idols, statues, pictures, photos and graves and tombs as mere focal points for worship which they are really directing to the angels, prophets or righteous. And this worship includes du'a (supplication) and the types of fear, hope, aspiration, humility and the likes which are due only for Allaah, which often accompany du'a (supplication) - and al-Razi clearly holds that du'a is from the greatest of worship, is from its essence and is inextricably tied to those states and feelings of the heart which are in themselves worship (see this article).

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Between Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi (d. 606H), Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) and Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (d. 1175H) on Seeking Shafaa'ah From Intermediaries (7)
Resource Books
The Book of Monotheism
The Three Principles
The Four Rules
Removing the Doubts
Types of Worship
Du'a (Supplication)
Mahabbah (Love)
Khawf (Fear)
Rajaa' (Hope)
Tawakkul (Reliance)
Raghbah (Aspiration)
Rahbah (Apprehensive Fear)
Khushoo' (Submissive Humility)
Khashyah (Awe)
Inaabah (Penitence)
Isti'aanah (Seeking Aid)
Isti'aadhah (Seeking Refuge)
Istighaathah (Seeking Rescue)
Dhabh (Sacrifice)
Nadhr (Making Oath)
Tabarruk (Seeking Blessing)
Talismans and Amulets
Saint and Grave Worship
Omens and Superstition
Ruqyah (Incantations)
Riyaa (Showing Off)
Minor Shirk
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