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 3
Tuesday, April 20 2010 - by Abu.Iyaad
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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 Seeking the Prophets and Righteous as intermediaries for Nearness to Allaah

In the (first part) of this series (see here), it was established that ar-Razi showed rejection against those who venerate the graves, seeking to win the intercession of the righteous dead, and he stated that this is rebutted by the Qur'an. Here is his statement quoted previously, and it is in reference to the saying of Allaah, "And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: "These are our intercessors with Allah"." which is in Surah Yunus (10:18), he wrote:

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.

Please refer to (Part 1) for the full context of the above quotation, because ar-Razi has stated that this action is equivalent to the practice of the idolators. In this article we want to now take a look at his commentary on another verse in the Qur'an which contains a mention or the argument used by the pagans to justify their worship (invocation, supplication) to other than Allaah, be they animate, or inanimate. The verse in question is this one:

أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاء مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَا إِلَى اللَّهِ زُلْفَى إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَهُمْ فِي مَا هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ كَاذِبٌ كَفَّارٌ

Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only. And those who take Awliyaa (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): "We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah." Verily, Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allah guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever. (Az-Zumar 39:3)

Ar-Razi writes (Tafsir ar-Razi 26/241):

Know that the pronoun in His saying, "We do not worship them except that they may bring us near to Allaah" refers back to those things worshipped besides Allaah and they are of two types, intelligent (animate, living) beings and the non-intelligent (inanimate, non-living) things.

As for the intelligent beings then a people worshipped al-Maseeh (Jesus), al-Uzair (Ezra) and the Angels, and many of the people worship the sun, the moon and the stars, believing that they are alive, intelligent and [able] to speak. As for those things which are worshipped whilst not being described with life and intelligence, then they are idols.

When you have come to know this, then we say that the speech which the Kuffaar (disbelievers) have mentioned [in this verse], it is befitting (only) for the intelligent beings (that are worshipped), as for the non-intelligent beings, then (this speech of the Kuffaar) is not befitting (for them). And the explanation of this is from two angles:

The first: That the pronoun in "[we do not] worship them" is a pronoun for intelligent beings [in the Arabic language], and thus it is not befitting (applicable) for idols.

The second: That it is not far off for those Kuffar to believe that al-Maseeh (Jesus), al-Uzair (Ezra) and the Angels will intercede for them with Allaah. Is it not far removed for an intelligent person to believe that [mere] idols and inanimate things will bring them closer to Allaah[?]

So upon this consideration [that is seeking intelligent beings for intercession], then their intent is that their worship of them (the idols, or representations) will bring them closer to Allaah. And it is possible for it to be said that the intelligent being does not worship an idol in the sense that it is mere wood or stone, but they worship it due to their belief that these [things] are representations of the stars, or representations of the heavenly spirits, or representations of the Prophets and righteous (dead) who have passed away. And their intent behind worshipping them (the statues, idols, representations) is to direct those acts of worship to those things [the stars, heavenly spirits, prophets, righteous] for which they have made these representations as [tangible] forms for them.

The essence of the speech of the worshippers of the idols is that they said that the greatest deity is more lofty than that man should worship Him [directly], however it is more befitting for man that he should occupy himself with the worship of the senior ones from the servants of Allaah, such as the stars, and such as the heavenly spirits, and then they in turn will be occupied in worship of the greatest deity. This is what they mean by their saying, "We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah".

Now, if we did not state this was from Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi you might be thinking that this was a passage from Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhab's "Kashf ush-Shubuhaat" (Removal of the Doubts), or "al-Qawaa'id al-Arba'" (The Four Rules) or some of the other treatises of Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah). But no, its from a prominent Ash'arite figurehead who lived just into the beginnings of the seventh century hijrah, in a time when the Major shirk started to spread within the Ummah, and he spoke of it in a manner exactly like it is found in the works of Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah a hundred years later and in the works of Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhab six hundred years later. The only difference is that as it became more widespread, then it was spoken against more formally and books were dedicated to it. Now, remember you have understand these statements of ar-Razi in light of what he pointed out regarding what was taking place 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.

And when you put all of this together, the feeble, weak and brittle house of the 20th century grave and saint-worshipper comes tumbling down.

Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab On This Subject

We can quote from "Kashf ush-Shubuhaat" to compare with the speech of ar-Razi quoted above, now pay real good attention to this, and compare it well with what one of the greatest of Ash'arite figureheads was saying six centuries before Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah), so here is the quote from "Kashf ush-Shubuhaat":

فإن قال: الشرك عبادة الأصنام ونحن لا نعبد الأصنام فقل: ما معنى عبادة الأصنام؟ أتظن أنهم يعتقدون أن تلك الأخشاب والأحجار تخلق وترزق وتدبر أمر من دعاها؟ فهذا يكذبه القرآن، كما في قوله تعالى: قُلْ مَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ [يونس:31] الآية.

وإن قال هو من قصد خشبة أو حجراً أو بنية على قبر أو غيره يدعون ذلك ويذبحون له ويقولون، إنه يقربنا إلى الله زلفى ويدفع عنا ببركته ويعطينا ببركته.

فقل صدقت، وهذا فعلكم عند الأحجار والبنايات التي على القبور وغيرها، فهذا أقر أن فعلهم هذا هو عبادة الأصنام، وهو المطلوب ويقال له أيضاً قولك: "الشرك عبادة الأصنام"، هل مرادك أن الشرك مخصوص بهذا، وأن الاعتماد على الصالحين ودعاءهم لا يدخل في هذا؟ فهذا يرده ما ذكر الله في كتابه من كفر من تعلق على الملائكة أو عيسى أو الصالحين فلا بد أن يقر لك أن من أشرك في عبادة الله أحداً من الصالحين فهو الشرك المذكور في القرآن وهذا هو المطلوب

So if he says, "Shirk is worshipping idols, and we do not worship idols" . Then say to him, What is the meaning of worshipping idols? Do you think that the Pagans (of Makkah) used to believe that those wooden idols and stones had the ability to create, and provide and to regulate the lives of those who called upon them? For this is rejected by the Qurıaan, as occurs in His saying - the Most High, "Say: Who provides for you from the Heavens and the Earth..." (Yunus 10:31), to the end of the verse.

If he then says, "Well it is when a person who actually intends and seeks (qasada) the wooden idols, or stones or tombs or other things, supplicating to them and sacrificing for them (i.e. a ritual sacrifice of an animal) and then say, "they bring us closer to Allaah, and bring about his blessing (barakah) upon us, or they actually give us His blessing directly"."

Then say to him, "You have spoken the truth. And this is your very action that you do near the stone idols and the tombs that are upon the graves and other than them."

So this person has actually affirmed that this action of theirs (i.e. the Pagans) is actually shirk, and this is what is desired from him (i.e. to come with this answer).

It is then also said, "This saying of yours, "Shirk is the worshipping of idols", is your intent behind this that shirk is limited to this only, and that depending and relying upon the dead righteous people and supplicating to them does not enter into this?" [If this is so], then this actually goes against what Allaah has mentioned in His Book about the disbelief of the one who is attached to the Angels, or Eesaa (alaihis-salaam), or the Righteous. Hence, it is necessary for him to agree with you and affirm to you that the one who associates anyone from the righteous people in the worship of Allaah, that this is the very shirk that is mentioned in the Qur'aan.

This is what is desired (from him).

So with this, the truth is now firmly established and the falsehood has been demolished, and the academic and intellectual fraud of today's gnostics and the grave and saint-worshippers donning the gown of piety, has been exposed. What you have just read is the essence of "Kashf ush-Shubuhaat", right there in the writings of a sixth century (hijrah) prominent Ash'arite figurehead.

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