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Calling upon the dead such as Ya Ali or Ya Muhammad

A scholar seems to have mentioned that it is ok to call upon the dead as in,”Ya Ali give me this and that” or “Ya Muhammed, do this for me and that.” He says that as long as we believe that it is only Allah that will benefit us, then there is nothing wrong with that. He says that it is the same as taking medicine. Mufti Ebrahim desai, this is not the tawassul which you and the Shaykhul Hadith made an article about. You explained at the end of your article the differences between calling to Allah through someone and calling right upon someone. You said that calling on Allah through someone is fine. But this scholar said that you can call upon someone directly who is dead. On your previous fatawa which were a long time ago, you said that saying “Ya Ali , give me a thousand dollars” is shirk. I don’t understand, if that’s not grave worshipping than what is? Can you imagine the Sahaba calling upon other Sahaba directly?

I desperately ask you Mufti Ebrahim to please refute this idea in a very well written article with quotes from big Ulama about this issue. I know it might seem very clear but a very detailed article needs to be written. I don’t mind if it takes a long time.

Jazakallukharian for your time and effort

Salamu Alaikum



Seeking help from anyone other than Allah is not totally prohibited. At times it will be considered Kufr and Shirk and in some cases it will be Haraam with a slight possibility of shirk. In some cases it will be considered totally permissible. These may be divided into a few categories:

1) When help is sought from someone other than Allah with the belief that the person possesses the sole power to fulfil that particular need without any assistance from anyone. This is clear Shirk (polytheism) and the person will be out of the fold of Islam.

2) When such a need that cannot be fulfilled by humans is sought from a person who is believed to be bestowed with certain abilities (which are superhuman) can fulfil those needs without any assistance from Allah. This is also clear Shirk (polytheism) and the person will be out of the fold of Islam.

3) Where Sujood (prostration) is made to someone’s grave or oaths/vows are taken on his name, although he is not taken as the sole fulfiller of needs or one who fulfils needs on his own after being bestowed with the power to do so by Allah (ie.no.1 and 2 above) This will be Haraam and it will be ‘amali (in action) shirk (polytheism) but not I’tiqaadi (in belief), therefore the person will not be out of the fold of Islam.

4) Where help is sought from a person without believing that he is the provider. E.g. seeking help from a dead person without the belief that the dead will answer the supplication, nor will he fulfil any request. Others could have this misconception that help is being sought directly from the dead. This is Haraam, but there remains a doubt as to whether the person is out of the fold of Islam or not.

5) The resources that we generally adopt in our day to day living must be considered as means and not sole doers/providers. E.g. Water does not quench thirst, it is only a means and Allah quenches the thirst. The general practitioner is the one who treats ailments. He is only the means and Allah cures it. This will be within permissible limits.

(Adapted from Ma’aarif al-Quraan of Ml. Muhammad Idris Khandahlawiy Vol.1 Pg.21)

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai


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This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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