Shaikh Saalih Aalush Shaikh on Asking the Dead for Dua

The following question was answered by Shaikh Saalih Aaalush Shaikh.  Translated from:

http://www.albaidha.net/vb/archive/index.php/t-22130.html

Q: Whoever asks the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) after his death that he prays (makes dua) for him (the asker) and seeks forgiveness for him  from Allah (God, The Creator), is this polytheism?

A: “Yes, it is major polytheism because the Prophet (alayhes-salatu was-salaam) is not called upon after his death.  So seeking dua (calling upon/invocation) from the dead, seeking dua for deliverance or rain, meaning, that he calls upon God to rescue him or he calls upon God to forgive him, or to give him something, etc, all of these things enter into the meaning of dua (calling upon/invocation).  And God, Lofty and Exalted is He, said (translated):

And the masjids are only for God, so don’t call upon anyone else along with God”1 (Quran 72:18)

And the one who says that this form – seeking dua – is not the seeking which is shirk (polytheism), then he has indeed nullified completely the foundation of monotheism in this respect.  For all types are seeking.  Seeking dua, meaning, seeking dua from the dead, seeking forgiveness from the dead, or seeking dua from the dead – that the dead person prays to God that He forgives, or seeking deliverance from the dead or help, etc., all of this is from the same angle, the angle of ‘seeking’. And ‘seeking’ is dua and this enters into (what is mentioned) in The Most High’s (God’s) statement (translated):

Whoever worships another god along with God has no proof for that2. Verily, his reckoning is with his Lord.  Indeed, He will never cause the disbelievers3 to be successful.” (23:117)

And in His statement (translated):

And the masjids are only for God, so don’t call upon anyone else along with God” (72:18)

  And in His statement (translated):

And those you call upon other than God do not own even a qitmeer (thin membrane over the date seed).” (35:13)

And verses similar to those.  So this differentiation (between praying to the dead and seeking the dead to pray for you) is contrary to the proof.  And whoever understood from the speech of some of our leading scholars a differentiation or that seeking dua from the dead is an innovation, then this doesn’t mean that it is not polytheism. Rather, it is the innovation which is (also) polytheism. 

Meaning, what the people of Pre-Islamic ignorance used to do. They would only seek to become closer to them by calling upon them (and this is disbelief and polytheism).  But seeking from the dead that they pray for you, this is an innovation which has no basis, not from the people of Pre-Islamic ignorance, nor from the Muslims.  So this was something newly invented which is without a doubt an innovation.  But it is an innovation that is polytheism and disbelief.

And its meaning is intercession.  What is the meaning of intercession  which is sought from other than Allah that is polytheism? Intercession is seeking dua.  Seeking dua from the dead is considered intercession (the impermissible intercession which is polytheism since the dead do not have the ability to intercede for the one asking).”

Reference – The 8th tape of the Explanation of al Aqeedatut Tahaawiyah

1 The Scholar at-Tabari said in explanation of this verse:

ا(وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلا تَدْعُوا) أيها الناس ( مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا ) ولا تشركوا به فيها شيئا، ولكن أفردوا له التوحيد، وأخلصوا له العبادة.

 “’And the masjids are only for God, so don’t call upon’ O mankind ‘anyone else along with God’ and don’t worship anyone or anything with Him, rather single Him out with monotheism, and make all worship only for Him”

2   i.e. there is no command from God, The Creator, instructing people to worship others along with Him.  Rather, God instructs His creation (mankind and jinn) to be true monotheists.  He said in the Qur’an (translated): “And worship God (only) and don’t worship anyone or anything with Him” (4:36)

3 Who disbelieve in the existence of God or who worship others along with Him

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