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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 1
Filed under: Shafaa'ah
Monday, April 19 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.

Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi on Grave worship and intercession

Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi (d. 606H) has some commentary upon the saying of Allaah, the Most High, in Surah Yunus, which is a description of the reason used by the pagans to justify their worship of other deities besides Allaah:

وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ مَا لاَ يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلاَ يَنفَعُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ هَـؤُلاء شُفَعَاؤُنَا عِندَ اللّهِ قُلْ أَتُنَبِّئُونَ اللّهَ بِمَا لاَ يَعْلَمُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلاَ فِي الأَرْضِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: "These are our intercessors with Allah." Say: "Do you inform Allah of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?" Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him! Yunus (10):18

He says the following (Tafsir ar-Razi 17/63):

In the above passage ar-Razi is speaking about the part of the verse in which Allaah is quoting from those who worship others besides Him, which in reality do not benefit them nor harm them, and they say, "These are our intercessors with Allaah..." So ar-Razi explains that these people argued that they should not be occupied with worshipping Allaah, but that they should be occupied with worshipping these idols because they will intercede for them with Allaah. Then ar-Razi says that these people differed from this point onwards as to particularly how they understood these idols to be intercessors for them, and he says that they mentioned many sayings in this regard.

Then he explains six of such explanations and from them:

The first of them: That they believed that the a specific spirit from the spirits of the world of celestial bodies is in control of a particular region from the regions of the world, and thus they designated a specific idol for that spirit, and they occupied themselves with worshipping that idol. And their intent (behind worshipping the idol) was to woship that spirit. Then they also believed that the spirit was a slave of the greatest deity, and was occupied in worshipping it (the greatest deity).

The second of them: That they used to worship the stars, and claimed that the stars are deserving of servitude to Allaah, the Most High. Then when they saw that the stars rise and set, they made specific idols for them and were occupied with worshipping them. And their intent (behind worshipping the idols) was to direct worship towards the stars.

And the third of them: That they placed specific talismans upon those idols and statues, and then sought nearnes to them, as is done by the makers of talismans.

After mentioning these three, he then says:

And the fourth of them: That they made these idols and statues upon the form and shape of their Prophets and senior [righteous] ones (al-akaabir), and they claimed that when they occupied themselves with the worship of these statues, then those senior [righteous] ones (al-akaabir) will be intercessors for them with Allaah. And the equivalent of this in our time is the occupation of many of the creation with the veneration of the graves of the senior [righteous] ones, upon the belief that when they venerate their graves, then they (the deceased) will become intercessors for them with Allaah.

And he means by "the senior ones (al-akaabir)" the righteous people. After mentioning another two manifestations, he then finishes by saying:

Know that all of these angles are futile by way of the evidence that Allaah the Most High has mentioned, which is His saying, "And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them..." and its corroboration is upon what we have mentioned (previously) from three angles.

Between ar-Razi and Today's Saint and Grave-Worshippers

Those spoken of by ar-Razi in his time:

ونظيره في هذا الزمان اشتغال كثير من الخلق بتعظيم قبور الأكابر على اعتقاد أنهم إذا عظموا قبورهم فانهم يكونون شفعاء لهم عند الله

And the equivalent of this in our time is the occupation of many of the creation with the veneration of the graves of the senior [righteous] ones, upon the belief that when they venerate their graves, then they (the deceased) will become intercessors for them with Allaah.

They are the same ones present in the time of Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and likewise Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab, and likewise, those of our time who are attached to the graves, calling upon the deceased, venerating them and the likes, all with the reason that they are hoping to win favor with them and win their intercession. Ar-Razi included this amongst the various manifestations he listed, and then stated that all of these are futile and false on account of the evidence of the verse under discussion.

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah on the tawassul of the Mushriks

Compare the above saying of ar-Razi:

ونظيره في هذا الزمان اشتغال كثير من الخلق بتعظيم قبور الأكابر على اعتقاد أنهم إذا عظموا قبورهم فانهم يكونون شفعاء لهم عند الله

And the equivalent of this in our time is the occupation of many of the creation with the veneration of the graves of the senior [righteous] ones, upon the belief that when they venerate their graves, then they (the deceased) will become intercessors for them with Allaah.

With what has been said by Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, he has many statements, but this is just a short paragraph from the book "Qaa'idah Jaleelah Fit-Tawassul wal-Waseelah", (tahqeeq Shaykh Rabee' bin Hadee, p. 13):

فالمشركون كانوا يتخذون من دون الله شفعاء من الملائكة والأنبياء والصالحين، ويصورون تماثيلهم فيستشفعون بها ويقولون: هؤلاء خواص الله، فنحن نتوسل إلى الله بدعائهم وعبادتهم ليشفعوا لنا

For the Mushriks (associationists) used to take as intercessors besides Allaah from the Angels, the Prophets and the righteous, and they would create their statues and then seek the intercession of (those angels, prophets, righteous) through them (the statues), and they would say, "These are the special (close) ones to Allaah, and we seek a means of nearness to Allaah through supplicating them and worshipping them so that they intercede for us (with Allaah).

And he also said (pp. 14-15):

وكذلك قصدوا قبورهم وقالوا: نحن نستشفع بهم بعد مماتهم ليشفعوا لنا إلى الله، وصوروا تماثيلهم فعبدوهم كذلك، وهذه الشفاعة أبطلها الله ورسوله وذم المشركين عليها وكفرهم بها

And likewise, they sought out their graves, and said: "We seek their intercession after their death so that they may intercede with Allaah for us". And they created their statues and worshipped them in that manner. And Allaah and His Messenger invalidated this [type of] shafaa'ah, and rebuked the mushriks for it, and declared them disbelievers on account of it.

Whilst noting that ar-Razi is not even talking about statues, he simply mentioned the veneration of the graves as a means of soliciting intercession as one of the six manifestations of the worship of others besides Allaah in the verse he was commenting upon.

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab on the tawassul of the Mushriks

Also compare the above saying of ar-Razi:

ونظيره في هذا الزمان اشتغال كثير من الخلق بتعظيم قبور الأكابر على اعتقاد أنهم إذا عظموا قبورهم فانهم يكونون شفعاء لهم عند الله

And the equivalent of this in our time is the occupation of many of the creation with the veneration of the graves of the senior [righteous] ones, upon the belief that when they venerate their graves, then they (the deceased) will become intercessors for them with Allaah.

With what is found in the books of Shaykh ul-Islaam Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhaab (d. 1175H), and we can just take "Kashf ush-Shubuhaat" as an example, here are some excerpts from it:

أرسله إلى قوم يتعبدون ويحجون ويتصدقون ويذكرون الله كثيراً ولكنهم يجعلون بعض المخلوقات وسائط بينهم وبين الله. يقولون: نريد منهم التقرب إلى الله ، ونريد شفاعتهم عنده؛ مثل الملائكة، وعيسى، ومريم، وأناس غيرهم من الصالحين

Allaah sent him (Muhammad) to a people who were given to devotion and worship, would make the pilgrimage, give charity and remember Allaah often. However, they made some of the creatures into intermediaries between themselves and Allaah, and they would say "we seek nearness (taqarrub) to Allaah from them" and "we seek their intercession from them with Allaah". Such (creatures) included the Angels, Eesaa, Maryam and others from among the righteous people.

وعرفت أن إقرارهم بتوحيد الربوبية لم يدخلهم في الإسلام، وأن قصدهم الملائكة أو الأنبياء، أو الأولياء، يريدون شفاعتهم، والتقرب إلى الله بذلك هو الذي أحل دماءهم وأموالهم، عرفت حينئذٍ التوحيد الذي دعت إليه الرسل، وأبى عن الإقرار به المشركون

And when you have come to know that their [mere] affirmation of Tawheed ur-Ruboobiyyah did not enter them into Islaam, and that their seeking the Angels, or the Prophets, or the Righteous, seeking their intercession and seeking nearness to Allaah through all of that was the reason that made their blood and wealth lawful. [When you have come to know all of these affairs], then you will have come to know [the true nature] of the Tawheed which the Messengers invited to and which the Mushriks refused to affirm and accept...

فإذا عرفت أن هذا الذي يسميه المشركون في زماننا هذا "الاعتقاد"، هو الشرك الذي أنزل الله في القرآن

So when you have come to know that that which the Mushriks of our time have called "I'tiqaad" in our times, then it is actually the shirk about which the Qur'aan was revealed...

All of what Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab has mentioned here is the same as what ar-Razi pointed out about many people in his time who turned to veneration of and attachment to the graves, in order to solicit the intercession of those dead people. And what Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab referred to as "I'tiqaad" is the precise thing that ar-Razi was alluding to, and it is also given other names by the contemporaries, such as "Walaayah" and more popularly nowadays as "tawassul" (a means of nearness) - and they do not mean the legitimate tawassul but rather they mean veneration of the saints and the graves, just as ar-Razi pointed out over 800 years ago.

Closing Note

The spurious allegation which often comes from the direction of the Sufis and contemporary Jahmiyyah parading under the name of "Ash'ariyyah" against the people of Tawhid and Sunnah, has been exposed here, with ar-Razi (d. 606H), preceding both Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (by a hundred years) and Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (by six hundred years) in showing rejection against the grave-worshippers who seek intercession from the dead.



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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)
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