Is it permissible seeking help from ghairullah? Seeking help from anyone other than Allaah shirk? … budu wa iyyaka nastaeen what indicate isti’anah?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Darulifta Deoband Waqf
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Is it permissible seeking help from ghairullah? Seeking help from anyone other than Allaah shirk?  in the ayah of iyyaka na’budu wa iyyaka nastaeen what indicate isti’anah?


Ref. No. 1329/42-704

There is nothing wrong seeking help from one another in worldly things, as the world system cannot function without it. However, the things which are specific to Allah Almighty are not in the power of anyone other than Him. So, seeking help in such matters from a man be it alive or dead considering him all-powerful and absolute granter is polytheism and haram (prohibited).  

Elaborating on the explanation of the above-mentioned verse in Tafsir Ma’arif-ul-Quran (Kandhalvi) the commentator wrote: the rule about such a matter is that if a person seeks help from a human considering him all-powerful and all-granter, it is undoubtedly polytheism. If he does not consider a thing all-powerful but treats him as all-powerful, then too it is unlawful and haraam. And in some cases there is a fear of polytheism. So, if he does not treat him as all-powerful but does something that possibly leads people to thinking its absoluteness, it is unlawful, too.

The author further writes that the consumable things which fall under the power of humanity and connected with worldly life and nobody thinks them all-powerful such as – in order to remove hunger, seeking help from bread and to remove thirst, seeking help from water –, this help-seeking from other than Allah is permissible provided that the faith should be in Allah alone and the other should be considered merely a means and medium and manifestation of Divine help. As a tap is just a way for water to come out, the means are the ways of Divine favours, the actual giver is only He and a polytheist thinks that this tap itself is giving me water. Hence, he asks tap itself for water and flatters tap itself. To take an example, if a person considers medicine just a means and a doctor just a treatment provider, there is no problem, but if he considers medicine a real performer and a doctor a real healer, it is shirk (polytheism).

It should be noted that the Shari’ah things are the same as the consumable things. The only difference is that the consumable things being means were learned from consumption and the Shariah things being means were learned from Shari’ah. Therefore, as seeking help from consumable things is allowed, seeking help from Shari’ah things such as supplication and dua, patience and prayer is also allowed. For further detail, refer to Tafseer e Maariful Quran.

(Tafseer Maariful Quran (Kandhlavi): 1/5)

And Allah knows best


Darul Ifta

Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband

This answer was collected from the official website of Darul Uloom Deoband Waqf. The institution is based in India and the answers are provided in accordance to the Hanafi Fiqh.