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 4
Tuesday, April 20 2010 - by Abu.Iyaad
Read more articles at TawhidFirst.Com

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 The Prophets and Righteous as intermediaries From Whom intercession is Sought

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 are going to take a look at ar-Razi's explanation of the reasoning of those who worship the Prophets and the righteous in falsehood, soliciting them directly for intercession. Keep in mind the above quote from ar-Razi when reading through what follows and you will understand the true nature of the Tawhid of the Messengers.

Ar-Razi is commenting upon the verses:

أَمِ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ شُفَعَاء قُلْ أَوَلَوْ كَانُوا لَا يَمْلِكُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَعْقِلُونَ. قُل لِّلَّهِ الشَّفَاعَةُ جَمِيعًا لَّهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

Have they taken others as intercessors besides Allah? Say: "Even if they have power over nothing whatever and have no intelligence?" Say: "To Allah belongs all intercession. His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, then to Him you shall be brought back." (Az-Zumar 39:43-44)

Ar-Razi writes (Tafsir ar-Razi 26/285):

And know that the Kuffar posed a question to this speech [i.e. concerning the worship of inanimate things], so they said: We do not worship these idols due to a belief that they are deities that can harm or benefit. We worship them because they are representations of individuals who are near ones to Allaah. So we worship them (the representations) for the reason that those senior ones (al-akaabir) become intercessors for us with Allaah. So Allaah the Most High replied saying: "Have they taken others as intercessors besides Allah? Say: "Even if they have power over nothing whatever and have no intelligence?"

And the corroboration of the answer [to this] is that those Kuffar either they hope for that intercession from (a) these idols, or (b) from those Scholars and pious abstemious [righteous servants] for which these idols were made as representations.

And the first is futile because these inanimate (lifeless) things and these idols do not have power over anything, and nor can they understand anything, so how can intercession arising from them be [something] intelligible[?]

Now pay attention to this next part, and it would be a good idea if you go and read this article first before continuing with the rest of this quote from ar-Razi:

And the second [seeking intercession of the righteous dead] is futile because on the Day of Judgement, no one will have power over anything, and no one will be able to perform intercession except with Allaah's permission. And thus the shafee' (true and real intercessor) is Allaah, the one who will grant permission for that intercession (to take place). And thus, being occupied with His worship is more befitting than being occupied with the worship of others besides Him. And this is the intent behind His, the Most High's saying, "Say: "To Allah belongs all intercession"...", then He explained that there is no dominion (ownership) for anyone besides Allaah, with His saying, "His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, then to Him you shall be brought back.". And amongst them are those who held onto the saying of Allaah, "Say: "To Allah belongs all intercession..." to negate shafaa'ah (intercession) absolutely, and this (saying) is weak, because we already submit that so long as He, the Sublime, does not grant permission for intercession (to take place), no one will be able to perform intercession.

This really is an amazing piece here, and again, if the name of ar-Razi had not been mentioned, you would have thought this is a passage straight out of Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab's "Kashf ush-Shubuhaat". And what we have here is corroboration of the fact that what is done by the grave-worshippers and saint-worshippers of soliciting the intercession of those who are dead, by venerating their graves, calling upon them directly, then all of this is very shirk that Allaah condemned in His Book, and it was this shirk that the Messenger was sent to abolish and fight against. And these idols, it was not believed about them that they have control over benefit or harm, and nor was it believed that they can make intercession, but as is the case with the majority of this type of shirk, these idols simply serve as tangible representations and as focal points for those that are not directly present (the righteous dead, the angels, the heavenly spirits and so on), so that solicitations can be made through these things to those righteous people, with the hope of winning their intercession. And this is what takes place with the graves and tombs where a variety of types of worship and devotion, inward and outward is shown by people who flock there, hoping for intercession and relief.

Shaykh ul-Islam Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhaab on This Subject

Now compare the above statements of ar-Razi which were written around six hundred years before Shaykh ul-Islam Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhaab with what is found in the book "Kashf ush-Shubuhaat" (Removal of the Doubts), of the latter:

اعلم رحمك الله أن التوحيد هو إفراد الله بالعبادة، وهو دين الرسل الذي أرسلهم الله به إلى عباده. فأولهم نوح عليه السلام أرسله الله إلى قومه لما غلوا في الصالحين وداً وسواعاً ويغوث ويعوق ونسراً، وآخر الرسل محمد ، وهو الذي كسر صور هؤلاء الصالحين، 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

Know - may Allaah have mercy upon you - that Tawheed (monotheism) is to single out Allaah, free is He from all imperfections, with [all forms of] worship (ibaadah) and this is the religion of the Messengers sent by Allaah to His servants. The first of them was Nuh (alaihis-salaam), Allaah sent him to his people when they exaggerated the status of the righteous people [such as] Wadd, Suwaa, Yaghuth, Ya'uq and Nasr . And the last of the Messengers was Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and he smashed the statues of these righteous people. Allaah sent him 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.

ثم منهم من يدعو الملائكة لأجل صلاحهم وقربهم من الله ليشفعوا له، أو يدعوا رجلاً صالحاً مثل اللات: أو نبياً مثل عيسى وعرفت أن رسول الله ، قاتلهم على هذا الشرك ودعاهم إلى إخلاص العبادة لله وحده كما قال تعالى: وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَداً [الجن:18] وقال: لَهُ دَعْوَةُ الْحَقِّ وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ لاَ يَسْتَجِيبُونَ لَهُم بِشَيْءٍ [الرعد:14]، وتحققت أن رسول الله قاتلهم ليكون الدعاء كله لله، والنذر كله لله، والذبح كله لله، والاستغاثة كلها لله، وجميع أنواع العبادات كلها لله، 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، وهذا التوحيد هو معنى قولك: لا إله إلا الله فإن الإله هو الذي يقصد لأجل هذه الأمور، سواء ملكاً، أو نبياً، أو ولياً، أو شجرة، أو قبراً، أو جنياً لم يريدوا أن الإله هو الخالق الرازق المدبر، فإنهم يعلمون أن ذلك لله وحده كما قدمت لك

Then amongst them were those who would call upon the Angels for intercession on account of their righteousness and nearness to Allaah (thinking this would be of benefit to them). They also called upon the righteous people, such as al-Laat or to a Prophet such as Isaa, and when you have come to know that the Messenger of Allaah fought them on account of this shirk [that they fell into] and he invited them to make their worship purely and sincerely for Allaah alone, just as He, the Most High, said, "So do not call upon anyone alongside Allaah" (Surah Jinn 72:18). And He also said, "For Him (Alone) is the Word of Truth (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped but He). And those whom they invoke, answer them with nothing..." (Ra'd 13:14). And when you have established that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) fought them so that all of invocation (du'a) would be for Allaah [alone], likewise making oaths for Allaah alone, [ritual] sacrificing (dhabh) for Allaah alone, seeking aid [in times of hardship] from Allaah alone, and all the various forms of worship for Allaah alone.

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. And this Tawheed is the meaning of "Laa ilaaha illallaah" (There is none which has the right to be worshipped except Allaah alone). For a deity (ilaah) - in the view of the Mushriks - is the one who is sought for the sake of these affairs (that is intercession and nearness to Allaah), whether it be an Angel, a Prophet, a tree, a grave or a jinn. They did not intend or mean that a deity (ilaah) is the Creator, Sustainer or Regulator (Mudabbir), for they knew that this is only for Allaah alone - as has preceded...

فإن قال أتنكر شفاعة رسول الله وتبرأ منها فقل: لا أنكرها ولا أتبرأ منها، بل هو الشافع والمشفع وأرجو شفاعته، ولكن الشفاعة كلها لله كما قال تعالى: قُل لِّلَّهِ الشَّفَاعَةُ جَمِيعاً [الزمر:44] ولا تكون إلا من بعد إذن الله كما قال عز وجل: مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ [البقرة:255]، ولا يشفع في أحد إلا من بعد أن يأذن الله فيه كما قال عز وجل: وَلَا يَشْفَعُونَ إِلَّا لِمَنِ ارْتَضَى [الأنبياء:28]، وهو لا يرضى إلا التوحيد كما قال تعالى: وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الإِسْلاَمِ دِيناً فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ [آل عمران:85]، فإذا كانت الشفاعة كلها لله ولا تكون إلا بعد إذنه ولا يشفع النبي ولا غيره في أحدٍ حتى ياذن الله فيه، ولا يأذن إلا لأهل التوحيد بين لك أن الشفاعة كلها لله، وأطلبها منه، وأقول: اللهم لا تحرمني شفاعته، اللهم شفعه في، وأمثال هذا

If he then says: Do you reject the intercession of Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and free yourself from (having any need of) it? Then say: I do not reject it, and nor am I free of having any need of it. Rather he is the one who will intercede and the one whose intercession will be granted. I hope in his intercession.

However, all intercession belongs to Allaah alone, as He the Most High said, "Say: To Allaah belongs all intercession." (Zumar 39:44).

And then it does not take place except after the permission of Allaah, just as He - the Mighty and Majestic - said, "Who can intercede with Him except after His permission?" (Baqarah 2:255).

And no one can actually intercede for anybody else except after Allaah has granted him permission regarding it, just as He - the Mighty and Majestic - said, "And they do not intercede except for the one with whom Allaah is pleased". (Anbiyaa 21:28).

And He, free is He from imperfections, is not pleased except with Tawheed, just as He, the Most High, said, "And whoever follows a religion other than Islaam (i.e. Tawheed), then never will it be accepted from him." (Aali Imraan 3:85).

Hence, when it is the case that all intercession belongs to Allaah alone, and that it cannot take place except after His permission, and that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) or anybody else cannot intercede for anyone unless Allaahıs grants permission for this person, and Allaah - the Most High - does not grant permission except for the people of Tawheed, then it will have become clear to you that all intercession belongs to Allaah alone and I seek it from Him alone. So I say, "O Allaah do not prevent me from being interceded for", and "O Allaah accept his intercession for me" and what is similar to these words.

These are just some samples indicating there is perfect similarity in the meaning being conveyed in the words of Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab and those of Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi, and you really have to read the words of Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi a few times for you to realize that indeed, what Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah brought and what Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab brought was nothing but a revival of the deen of the Messengers pertaining to Allaah's sole right of being worshipped alone. This is alongside our acknowledgement that the likes of ar-Razi had strayed in other areas, such as in Allaah's Names and Attributes and on the subject of His being above the heaven, above His Throne and other issues of creed. And it was in his time that the worship of the righteous dead began to take momentum, which would come to plague the later ones in the time of Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and thereafter. And these later people began to try to justify this type of worship of the righteous dead in ways that will be covered in other articles inshaa'Allaah.

Related Articles: