Monday, 18 Muharram 1431
THE FIRST WAHHABI MISSION
37 - 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Muhammad, who ruthlessly massacred Muslims in order to disseminate Wahhabism, sent three Wahhabis to Mecca in 1210 A.H. (1795). The 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat responded to them with ayats and hadiths and the Wahhabite representatives could not make any rejoinder. They could not find any way out but to admit the truth. They wrote and signed a long declaration which stated that Ahl as-Sunnat was right and that they themselves were on a wrong, aberrant path. But 'Abd al-'Aziz did not even lend an ear to the advice of the men of religious authority, for he was running after political ambitions and had set his heart on increasing the taste of his chieftain. He increased his torture of the Muslims day by day behind the curtain of religiousness.
The three Wahhabis put forward twenty points to convince Meccan Muslims. These twenty points are summarized in the three main groups in the above. Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab said that it was Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal's (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) ijtihad that 'ibadat formed a part of iman. However, all of Imam Ahmad's ijtihads were recorded in books and the Meccan 'ulama' knew all of them in detail, so they easily proved and convinced the three Wahhabis that this allegation of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab was false.
The three Wahhabis were extremely sure that they were right in their second belief. They said, "Muslims in Mecca visit the graves of Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam), 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas and Mahjub and say, 'Oh Rasul-Allah!' or 'Oh Ibn 'Abbas!' or 'Oh Mahjub!' [Mahjub Sayyid Abd ar-Rahman. the most profound alim of his time, passed away in 1204 A.H. (1790) and was buried in the Mu'alla Cemetery.] However, according to our imam Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's ijtihad, those who say, 'La ilaha illa'llah Muhammadun Rasulullah,' but pray to a person other than Allah become disbelievers. It is halal to kill them and confiscate their possessions." The 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat said in reply: "Visiting the graves of Allahu ta'ala's beloved servants to make tawassul of them or to ask them to pray does not mean worshiping them. They are visited not with the intention of worshiping them but with the purpose of asking Allahu ta'ala by making them wasila, that is, holding on to them as causes and intermediaries." And they proved with documents that it was permissible and even necessary to hold on to the causes.
There are many documents in proof of the lawfulness of visiting the graves of awliya' to make them wasilas or to beg them to be wasilas while asking something from Allahu ta'ala: the 38th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Ma'ida declares, "Oh believers! Fear Allahu ta'ala and look for a wasila to approach Him!" All books of tafsir write that whatever or whomever Allahu ta'ala loves or approves of is a wasila. The 79th ayat al-karima of Surat an-Nisa' declares, "Whoever obeys the Rasul has obeyed Allah." This is the reason why the 'wasila' in the former ayat is Rasulullah according to the majority of the Muslim 'ulama'. Therefore, it is permissible to make wasilas of prophets and their inheritors -awliya' and pious Muslims- and to try to approach Allahu ta'ala with their help. If it were disbelief or polytheism to address or to beg the Prophet, those who perform salat would all be disbelievers; the Wahhabis, too, would be disbelievers according to the above-quoted fatwa of Muhammad ibn Sulaiman (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih), for every Muslim says salam on Rasulullah and prays for that exalted Prophet in every salat by reciting the prayer, "As-salamu 'alaika ayyuha 'n-Nabiyyu wa rahmat-Allah."
There are benefits in visiting graves and praying to Allahu ta'ala by making wasilas of awliya'. Because, the hadith ash-Sharif related by Ibn 'Asakir and quoted in Kunuz ad-daqaiq declares, "The Muslim is the mirror of his Muslim brother." The hadith ash-Sharif related by ad-Daraqutni declares, "The Muslim is the mirror of [another] Muslim." It is understood from these hadiths that souls are like mirrors for one another. They are seen in one another. Faid emanates from the soul of a wali to the heart of a person who thinks of him and makes a wasila of him while visiting the grave of that wali. The weaker of the two souls gains strength. This is similar to two liquid containers connected with a tube. The soul with a higher degree or level suffers a loss. If the soul of the one in the grave is at a lower degree the soul of the visitor feels distressed. This is the reason why visiting graves was forbidden in the beginning of Islam, since the dead in the graves belonged to the Jahiliyya Ages at that time. It was permitted later when there were dead Muslims who could be visited. One will be thinking about the Prophet (all-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) or the wali when visiting his grave. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, "Allahu ta'ala shows Mercy when pious persons are thought of." It is understood from this hadith ash-Sharif too, that Allahu ta'ala shows Mercy upon him who visits graves, and He accepts the prayer of His servant upon whom He shows Mercy. It is obvious that the saying, "Graves should not be visited. Awliya' cannot be taken as wasilas," is a baseless dissent of opinion. The hadith ash-Sharif, "He who visits my grave after carrying out the hajj will be as if he has visited me when I am alive," refutes this belief at the very foundation and shows that it is necessary to visit graves. This hadith ash-Sharif is quoted along with its documents in the book Kunuz ad-daqaiq.
The Wahhabis put forward the hadith ash-Sharif, "Curse be upon those women who visit graves and those who perform ritual prayers over graves and those who light candles on graves," as a pretext for demolishing shrines. They said that there had been no such things in the Prophet's time and quoted the hadith ash-Sharif, "The things which do not exist in our time but will be introduced later do not stem from us." The Wahhabite representatives agreed with the 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat because the answer to their second claim refuted these statements of theirs, too.