Al-Madad = "Help!"
This Madad was asked by Musa (AS) from his countryman with the word istaghaatha “he asked for help” (28:15) and by Dhul-Qarnayan using the term "help me" in Surat al-Kahf (a`eenuni) (18:95) which is the same root as "we turn for help" (nasta`een) in the Fatiha.
Following are proofs from the Sunna for calling out to an invisible helper in a situation of need:
1. Al-Bukhari narrates in his Sahih that our mother Hajar, when she was running in search of water between Safa and Marwa, heard a voice and called out: "O you whose voice you have made me hear! If there is a ghawth (help/helper) with you (then help me)!" and an angel appeared at the spot of the spring of Zamzam.
2. Abu Ya`la, Ibn al-Sunni, and al-Tabarani in al-Mu`jam al-Kabir narrated that the Prophet (saws) said: "If one of you loses something or seeks help or a helper (ghawth), and he is in a land where there is no one to befriend, let him say: "O servants of Allah, help me! (ya `ibad Allah, aghithuni), for verily Allah has servants whom one does not see." Al-Haythami said in Majma` al-Zawa'id (10:132): "The men in its chain of transmission have been declared reliable despite weakness in one of them."
3. Al-Bayhaqi narrates on the authority of Ibn `Abbas in "Kitab al-Aadaab" (p. 436) and with a second chain mawquf from Ibn `Abbas in "Shu`ab al-Iman" (1:445-446=1:183 #167; 6:128 #7697) and a third from Ibn Mas`ud in "Hayat al-Anbiya' ba`da Wafatihim" p. 44: "Allah has angels on the earth - other than the [two] record-keepers - who keep a record [even] of the leaves that fall on the ground. Therefore, if one of you is crippled in a deserted land where no-one is in sight, let him cry out: a'înû 'ibâd Allâh rahimakum Allâh, 'Help, O servants of Allah, may Allah have mercy on you!' Verily he shall be helped, if God wills." Ibn Hajar said its chain is fair (isnaduhu hasan) in "al-amali".
Narrated by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir with a fair chain (according to Ibn Hajar in al-Amali) of sound narrators according to al-Haythami (10:132), al-Bazzar (#3128) - as cited by al-Shawkani in Tuhfa al-Dhakirin (p. 219=p. 155-156) -, and Ibn Abi Shayba (7:103).
4. Ibn Abi Shayba relates in his "Musannaf" (7:103) from Aban ibn Salih that the Prophet (saws) said: "If one of you loses his animal or his camel in a deserted land where there is no-one in sight, let him say: "O servants of Allah, help me! (yâ 'ibâd Allâh a'înûnî), for verily he will be helped."
Al-Zahawi said in al-Fajr al-Sadiq, a book he wrote in refutation of Wahhabism
It is not said that all that is meant by the "servants of Allah" in the hadiths cited above are only angels, or Muslims among the jinn, or men of the realm of the invisible: for all of these are living. Hence, the hadith would not give evidence for asking aid from the dead, but this is not the case. We mention this because there is nothing explicit in the hadith whereby what is meant by "servants of Allah" are the categories we mentioned above and nothing else. Yet even if we were to concede this, the hadith would still be a proof against the Wahhabis from another standpoint, and that is the calling on someone invisible. The Wahhabis no more allow it than the calling on the dead.
Al-Shawkani also allows the calling on someone invisible: "In the hadith (of a`inu) there is evidence that it is permissible to ask help from those one does not see among the servants of God, whether angels or good jinn, and there is nothing wrong in doing it, just as it is permissible for someone to seek the help of human beings if his mount becomes unmanageable or runs loose." Tuhfat al-Dhakirin p. 155-156.
5. Ahmad relates in his Musnad (4:217) that at the time of the greatest fitna of the Dajjal, when the Muslims will be at their weakest point, and just before `Isa ibn Maryam descends at the time of salat al-fajr, people will hear a caller calling out three times: "O people, al-ghawth (the helper) has come to you!"
6. Ibn Kathir in his history, al-Bidaya wal- Nihaya [7:91, Year 18] narrates that `Umar (ra) sought help and relief from drought and famine in Madina by writing to `Amr ibn al-As and Abu Musa al-Ash`ari in Egypt and Basra respectively, each with the words, "Yaa ghawthaah li Ummati Muhammad! = Help! Help! for the Community of Muhammad!" If this is not istighaatha and isti`aana then there is no istighaatha and isti`aana.
Al-Zahawi said in al-Fajr al-Sadiq
Al-Subki, al-Qastallani in al-Mawahib al-laduniyya, al- Samhudi in Tarikh al-Madina, and al-Haythami in al-Jawhar al- munazzam said that seeking help with the Prophet and other prophets and pious persons, is only a means of imploring Allah for the sake of their dignity and honor (bi jahihim). The one doing the asking seeks from the One asked that He assign him aid (ghawth) on behalf of the one higher than him. For the one being asked in reality is Allah. The Prophet is but the intermediary means (wasita) between the one asking for help and the One asked in reality. Hence, the help is strictly from Him in its creation (khalqan) and being (ijadan), while the help from the Prophet is strictly in respect to secondary causation (tasabbuban) and acquisition from Allah (kasban).....
Shaykh Khayr al-Din Ramli in his Fatawa Khayriyya (p. 180-181) was asked about "those who say: O Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir! O Shaykh Ahmad! O Rifa`i! [Give us] something for the sake of Allah (shay'un lillah) O `Abd al-Qadir! and such, at which time they become greatly entranced and experience states that make them jump up and down etc. He answered - Allah have mercy on him: 'Know first of all that among the famous rules that are firmly put to use in the books of the Imams is the rule that matters are judged according to their ends... as taken from the hadith of the Two Shaykhs al-Bukhari and Muslim: Actions are only according to intentions.... and none denies the reality of the Sufis except every ignorant, foolish soul.'"
And Allah knows best.
It is related that:
One night, the Prophet of Allah - may Allah bless him and grant him peace - was in his house and was heard to proclaim 'I am here!' (labayk!) three times and 'You have been granted help' also three times (nusirta!). Umm al- Mu'minin, Maymunah - may Allah be well pleased with her - asked the Prophet - may Allah bless him and grant him peace - whom he had been talking to since there was no one present. He - may Allah bless him and grant him peace - replied, 'I was talking to a person called Rajiz from the tribe of Bani Ka'ab. He asked for help from me against the Quraysh.' Umm al- Mu'minin, Maymunah - may Allah be well pleased with her - said that when she finished Fajr prayer the next morning, she heard Rajiz calling out in the streets of Madina: "Ya Rasul Allah! Help us and call the servants of Allah to help us."
Additional Relevant Narrations
By Raffiq Ahmed
1. Al-Bukhari's narration of the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - from `Abdullâh Ibn `Umar - Allah be well-pleased with him -:
"Truly the sun shall draw so near on the Day of Resurrection that sweat shall reach to the mid-ear, whereupon (ISTIGHÂTHÛ bi âdam thumma bi mûsâ thumma bi muHammadin Sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallama) they shall ASK HELP from Adam - upon him peace -, then from Musa - upon him peace - , then from Muhammad - Allah bless and greet him - who will intercede (fa yashfa`u)... and that day Allah shall raise him to an Exalted Station, so that all those who are standing [including the unbelievers] shall glorify him (yahmaduhu ahlul-jam`i kulluhum)." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (Qadîm Kutub Khâna, Karachi, 1381H), 1:199 (Cf. Prof. Tahir-ul-Qadri, `Aqida-e-tawassul, p. )]
Obviously, they are not going to be forgetting Allah on that day. The people seeking help by these Prophets is the same as using them as a means (wasîla) to Allah and the Hadith continues that the intercession of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam will be accepted. Will those who are against that in this life, be in favour of it in the next? It is for this reason, that Ala Hazrat (ra) states: "âj madad mâng un se, âj panâ le un se, qal na mânenge qayâmat" "Take his madad today, take his pana, it might not be accepted in qayamat."
2. The following quote is from Shaikh `Ali Mahfuz who died in 1361 (1942 A.D.) and was one of the great `ulama' of Jami' al-Azhar (Egypt), who praises Ibn Taymiyya and Muhammad `Abduh very much in his book Al-ibda'. Nevertheless, he says in there: "It is not right to say that the great awliya' (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) dispose worldly affairs after death, such as curing the ill, rescuing those who are about to be drowned, helping those who are against the enemy and having lost things found. It is wrong to say that, because the awliya are very great, Allahu ta'ala has left these tasks to them or they do what they wish or that one who clings to them will not go wrong. But whether they are alive or dead, Allahu ta'ala blesses, among His awliya', the ones whom He wills, and, through their karamat, He cures the ill, rescues those who are about to be drowned, helps those who are fighting an enemy and recovers lost things.
This is logical. Also Qur'an al-karim reveals these facts." [Shaikh 'Ali Mahfuz, Al-ibda', p. 213, Cairo, 1375 (1956 A.D.); `Abdullah ad-Dasuqi and Yusuf ad-Dajwi, professors at Jami` al- Azhar, wrote eulogies praising the book at the end of Al-ibda'. (Cf. The Sunni Path)]
3. Lastly, the Hadith ash-Sharif written in Sahihayn, the two genuine Hadith books, one by al-Bukhari and the other by Muslim states that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) visited the graves of the martyrs of Uhud exactly ONE YEAR after they died. A minbar was BUILT in the graveyard for him to deliver a sermon. 'Uqba ibn Amir (radi-Allahu `anh), the relater of the Hadith ash-Sharif, said, 'Rasulullah (sall-Allahu Ta`ala `alaihi wa sallam), ascended the minbar. It was the last time I saw him on the minbar. He declared: "I do not fear whether you will become polytheists after I die. I fear that you, because of worldly interests, will kill one another and thus be destroyed like ancient tribes." '
The profound scholar Shaykh Sulayman ibn `Abd al-Wahhâb an-Najdî (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), the author of "as-sawâ'iq al-ilâhiyya" comments on this Hadîth as follows in refutation of his younger brother and the rebellious movement started by him in partnership with the British and al-Sa`ûd family: "Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) foretold all that would happen to his Ummah till the Resurrection. This sahih hadith states that his Ummah will never worship idols, that he was assured of it.
This hadith ash-Sharif demolishes Wahhabism by the roots, for the Wahhabite book claims that the Ummat al- Muhammadiyya worship idols, that Muslim countries are full of idols, that tombs are idol-houses. It says that one also becomes a disbeliever by not believing that he who expects help or intercession at shrines is a disbeliever. However, Muslims have visited graves and asked the mediation and intercession of awliya' for centuries. No Islamic scholars have called such Muslims polytheists; they regarded them as Muslims." [Sulaiman ibn `Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi, As-sawa'iq al-ilahiyya fir- raddi `alal-Wahhabiyya (Nukhbat al-Akbar press, Baghdad, 1306 A.H), p. 44 (Cf. Advice for the Muslim, Cp. 5)]
Istighatha by Means of the Prophet During His Life
[Istighatha = Using Intermediaries And Intercessors]
It is related that:
One night, the Prophet of Allah - may Allah bless him and grant him peace - was in his house and was heard to proclaim `I am here!' three times and `You have been granted help' also three times. Umm al- Mu'minin, Maymunah - may Allah be well pleased with her - asked the Prophet - may Allah bless him and grant him peace - whom he had been talking to since there was no one present. He - may Allah bless him and grant him peace - replied, `I was talking to a person called Rajiz from the tribe of Bani Ka'ab. He asked for help from me against the Quraysh.' Umm al- Mu'minin, Maymunah - may Allah be well pleased with her - said that when she finished Fajr prayer the next morning, she heard Rajiz calling out in the streets of Madina: "Ya Rasul Allah! Help us and call the servants of Allah to help us."
Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani, Allah have mercy on him, cites two hadiths in this respect with their full wording in the chapter of the Prophet's `ilm al-ghayb in his encyclopedia of the Prophetic miracles, Hujjat Allah `ala al-Alamin bi-Mu`jizat Sayyid al-Mursalin (p. 493):
"Labbayka labbayka labbayka"
– [like this,] three times – then:
"nus.irta nus.irta nus.irta"
[like this,] three times. When he came out, I asked him, "Messenger of Allâh, I heard you say, during your ablution, 'In your service!' three times, and 'To your defense!' three times, as if you were addressing someone. Was there someone with you?" He replied: "This was the poetry champion (râjiz) of the Banû Ka`b" – one of the sub-tribes of the Khuzâ`a – "invoking my aid (yastas.rikhunî)(1) and asserting that the Quraysh had helped the Banû Bakr against them." The latter had allied themselves with the Quraysh the day of the H.udaybiya truce while the Khuzâ`a had allied themselves with the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, and he became duty-bound to defend them. The support of the Quraysh for the Banû Bakr against the Khuzâ`a was therefore a violation of their truce with the Messenger of Allâh, upon him blessings and peace. This incident was the catalyst for the conquest of Makka and, immediately afterwards, he prepared himself to enter it and conquered it.(2)
Lord! I am appealing to Muh.ammad
by the time-honored pact of both our fathers.(4)
You(5) were a father and we a son;
then we entered Islâm and remained loyal.
Help us, and may Allâh help you always!
Summon His servants, they shall come in arms,
Among them, the Prophet, mobilized--
if he is wronged, his face glowers.
In his legion he marches, a sea, foaming.
Quraysh broke its treaty with you!
They violated the truce they pledged you,
made me as good as dead and buried!(6)
They claimed I could not call on anyone
although they are meaner and less by far!
They snared us at Watîr during our vigils
and slew us as we bowed and prostrated.(7)
(1) Ibn H.ajar in al-Is.âba (4:631) mentions another wording, "invoking my mercy (yastarh.imunî)."
(2) Narrated from Maymûna by al-T.abarânî in the Kabîr (23:433-434 §1052) and S.aghîr (2:167-169 §968) and al-Taymî in his Dalâ'il (p. 73-74 §59), both with a slightly weak chain because of Yah.yâ ibn Sulaymân ibn Nad.la al-Madînî cf. al-Haythamî (6:163-164) although Ibn `Adî in al-Kâmil (7:255 §2156) said "he narrated reports from Mâlik and the Madinans, most of which are valid." Ibn H.ibbân included him in his Thiqât (9:269). Cf. Is.âba (4:631), Fath. (7:520), Sîra H.alabiyya (3:5), and Dah.lân's Sîra (2:76-77).
(3) Cf. Ibn `Umar's narration in Ibn H.ibbân (13:140 §5996) and Ibn H. ajar, Talkhîs. al-H.abîr (4:131 §1929).
(4) Allâhumma innî nâshidu Muh.ammadâ / h.ilfa abînâ wa'abîhi al- atladâ.
(5) I.e. the Banû Hâshim and Banû `Abd al-Mut.t.alib with a rhetorical trope of apostrope (iltifât).
(6) Wa-ja`alû lî fî kadâ'in ras.adâ, misspelt in al-Nabhânî as wa- ja`alû lî fîka dâ'in ras.adâ.
(7) Ibn `Asâkir (43:519) narrated from Ibn al-Musayyab: "There is not one homebound woman of Banû Khuzâ`a except she memorized the verses of `Amr ibn Sâlim al-Khuzâ`î to the Messenger of Allâh, upon him blessings and peace."
(i) through al-Zuhrî from `Urwa ibn al-Zubayr from the Companion al-Miswar ibn Makhrama and the Tâbi`î Marwân ibn al-H.akam by Ibn Ish.âq in the Maghâzî (cf. Ibn Hishâm 5:48, al-T.ah.âwî, Sharh. Ma`ânî al-Athâr 3:315-316, Is.âba 4:630-631, and Bidâya 4:278), al-T. abarî in his Târîkh (2:152-153), Ibn `Asâkir in his Târîkh (43:519- 520), and al-Bayhaqî in the Sunan al-Kubrâ (9:233) and Dalâ'il;
(ii) from Ibn `Abbâs by Ibn Mandah and Abû Nu`aym in Ma`rifat al-S.ah.âba as well as Ibn al-Athîr in Usd al-Ghâba (4:225-226 cf. Is.âba 5:285);
(iii) from Abû Hurayra by al-Bazzâr and al-Bayhaqî (cf. Bidâya 4:281) with a fair chain according to Ibn H.ajar in the Fath. (7:520) and al- Haythamî (6:162);
(iv) from the Tâbi`în Abû Salama and Yah.yâ ibn `Abd al-Rah.mân ibn H.ât.ib by Ibn Abî Shayba (7:398 §36900) and
(v) also mursal from `Ikrima by Ibn Abî Shayba (7:400-401 §36902) and al-T.ah. âwî in Sharh. Ma`ânî al-Athâr (3:291, 3 :312-313). The bracketed segment is narrated only through al-Zuhrî. Cf. Iktifâ' (2:215); al- Fâkihî, Akhbâr Makka (5:103); Istî`âb (3:1175-1176); Ibn al-Qayyim, Zâd (3:348-349); Sîra H.alabiyya (3:5-6); Ibn Taymiyya, al-S.ârim al- Maslûl (2:214); Is.âba (1:122), Fath. (7:519-520), Talkhîs. al-H.abîr (4:131-132 §1929), Ibn al-Athîr, Kâmil (2:162), al-Suhaylî, Rawd. (2: 265), and Kanz (§14422, §30166, §30195, §30204). Al-Watîr or Watîn is a Khuzâ`a watering-point in the lowest area of Makka cf. Yâqût and al- Nihâya. Ibn Ish.âq and al-Wâqidî said that `Amr was accompanied by forty riders of the Banû Khuzâ`a when he arrived in Madîna. Another report by al-Bârûdî with a weak munqat.i` chain attributes those verses to Budayl ibn Kulthûm ibn Sâlim al-Khuzâ`î cf. Is.âba (1:274).
Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions.
Fatwa on Istigātha 1
Imām Shamsuddīn al-Ramlī 2
Released by www.marifah.net 1428 H
The Imām was asked:
Regarding what occurs amongst the awwām who when in distress say “ya shaykh fulān”
and “ya RasūlAllāh” and things like this from seeking aid (istighātha) with the Prophets and the Awliyā, the `Ulemā and the righteous, is this permitted or not? And do the Messengers, Prophets, Awliyā, the righteous, and the Mashayekh possess the ability to assist others after their deaths, and what strengthens that view?
Istighātha (seeking aid) with the Prophets and Messengers, the Awliyā, the `Ulemā and
the righteous is permitted. The messengers, Prophets and the Awliyā have [the ability
to] assist after their death because the miracles of the Prophets and Awliyā are not
severed following their death. As for the Prophets, then they are alive in their graves praying and doing hajj as it has come in the reports. So assistance from them will be a miracle on their behalf; and the martyrs are also alive, and have been seen, openly killing the kuffār.
1 This article has been translated from the author’s book titled Fatāwa al-Ramlī a collection of his father’s fatāwa.
2 “He is Shamsuddīn Muhammad ibn Ahmad. He was born in Ramla, a village near Manūfiyya in Egypt, in 919AH. He was the son of the famous Shāfi`ī faqīh and mufti, Shihābuddīn al-Ramlī. His teachers include his father, Shaykh al-Islām Zakariyya al-Ansārī and al-Khatīb al-Shirbīnī. After his father's death he became the chief Shāfi`ī mufti in Egypt. Such was his eminence that many came to identify him as the mujaddid of his century. His works include ‘nihāyat al-muhtāj’ ,
a commentary on al-Nawawī’s ‘minhāj’, ‘ghayat al-bayān’ , a commentary on Ibn Ruslān's ‘zubād’, a commentary on Shaykh al-Islam's (Zakariyya al-Ansārī) ‘tahrīr’, a commentary on al-Nawawī’s ‘idāh fī manāsik al-hajj’ , a collection of his father's fatwas. He died in the year 1004AH in Cairo.” (Cited from Ibn Hajar al-Haytami and Imām Ramli by Shaykh Taha Karaan.
And as for the Awliyā, then it is a karāma from them. The people of the truth believe
that this occurs from the Awliyā both with intention, and without intention - things
that sever the customary manner of phenomenal reality (khariqa lil ādah), that Allah the Exalted brings forth through them. The proof for these things is that they are matters that are (intellectually) possible and the permissibility of their occurrence does not necessitate anything that is impossible. So everything that is in this realm, then it is possible to occur.
(An example) of its occurrence is the story of Maryam and how the provision came to her from Allah - as stated in the revelation, and the story of Abū Bakr and his guests as appears in the sahīh, and the gushing (flowing forth) of the Nile river due to the letter of `Umar, and him seeing, while on the minbar in Medina, the army (being approached for a sneak attack), till he said to the Amīr of the army: “O
Sariya, the mountain!”, warning him of the enemy behind the mountain. And Sariya
heard his speech even though there was a great distance between them - the distance
of two months journey. Khalīd Ibn Walīd drank poison without it harming him.
Khawāriq (matters that customarily go against the rules of phenomenal reality) have
occurred by the hands of the companions, the followers, and those after them. It is not possible to deny this due to the fact that taken as a whole; they are at the level of tawātur. So, in general, what is possible to be a miracle (mu`jiza) for a Prophet, is possible to be a karama for a Walī. There is no distinction between them except in the
area of provocation. 3
3 This means that there is no difference except that the mu`jiza was in response to a tahaddī, a challenge from the mushrikūn saying that he was a liar.
O Slaves of Allah! Help Me
O Slaves of Allah!
إذا انفلتت دابة أحدكم بأرض فلاة فليناد يا عباد الله احبسوا علي ، فإن لله في الأرض حاضراً سيحبسه عليكم
When one loses his means of transport in a (deserted) land, he should call: “O slaves of Allah! Help me recover (my transport)” for there are many of Allah’s attendants on this earth. They will help you recover it.
At-Tabarani said in Mu’jamul Kabir (10/267):
Ibrahim Ibn Naila Al-Asbahani narrated to us from Al-Hasan Ibn Umar Ibn Shaqiq from Ma’ruf Ibn Hasan As-Samarqandi from Sa’id Ibn Abi Arubah from Qatadah from Abdullah Ibn Buraydah from Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud that he said:
‘The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
‘When one loses his means of transport in a (deserted) land, he should call: “O slaves of Allah! Help me recover (my transport)” for there are many of Allah’s attendants on this earth. They will help you recover it.’ 
Abu Ya’la has narrated it like this in his Musnad (9/177)  as well as Ibn As-Sunni in Amalul Yawmi wal Laylah (page 162).
Al-Haythami said in Al-Majma’uz Zawaid (10/132) after quoting Abu Ya’la and At-Tabrani ‘The chain contains Ma’ruf Ibn Hasan who is da’if’ .
The same was said by Al-Hafiz Al-Busiri in Mukhtasar Ithafus Sadatul Muhrah (notes to Matalib al-Aliyya, 3/239).
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said in Takhrij Al-Adhkar (Sharh Ibn Allan, 5/150) after ascribing it to Ibn As-Sunni and At-Tabrani: There is inqita’ (discontinuation) in the chain between Ibn Buraydah and Ibn Mas’ud.
Nonetheless, the hadith has supporting routes which transform it from a weak hadith to a hasan (fair) one which is acceptable and actable on:
What At-Tabrani transmitted in his Mu’jamul Kabir (17/117) through the route of Abdur Rahman Ibn Sharik whos said his father related from Abu Abdullah Ibn Isa from Yazid Ibn Ali from Utbah Ibn Ghazwan from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم that he said:
‘When one of you loses something or desires assistance while in a land where no person of assistance (is available) he should say “O slaves of Allah! Assist me; help me” for indeed Allah has many slaves who we do not see’ [At-Tabarani added:] and this has been acted upon. 
I say: The chain contains da’f (weakness) and inqita’.
Al-Hafiz Al-Haythami said in Al-Majma’uz Zawaid (10/132): ‘At-Tabrani narrated it and its narrators have been declared reliable although there is weakness in some of them; except that, Zayd Ibn Ali did not meet Utbah’ . 
Al-Hafiz (Ibn Hajar) restricted (his comments) on it defects to (pointing out) the inqita’ (and not mentioning the weakness of the narrators) in Takhrij Al-Adhkar saying ‘At-Tabrani transmitted it with a munqati’ (discontinued) chain from Utbah Ibn Ghazwan, as a marfu’ (traceable i.e. to the Prophetصلى الله عليه وسلم) narration’
When Ibn Abi Shaybah related in al-Musannaf (10/424, 425): Yazid Ibn Harun related to us saying: Muhammad Ibn Ishaq reported to us from Aban Ibn Salih that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
‘When one of your means of transport or camel flees in a (deserted) land, where none can be seen, he should say “Assist me O slaves of Allah” for he shall be assisted’ 
This hadith is mursal (the Tabi’i drops the Sahabi and narrates directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم). If it weren’t for the ananah (i.e. instead of saying “he narrated to me”, it is said “from him” which creates the possibility of an unknown narrator in between) of Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, the chain would have been hasan. Al-Albani claimed it had the defect of being mu’dal (where two consecutive narrators are dropped and not just one as would be the case with a mursal hadith) in his Da’eefah (2/109)  but this is incorrect because Aban Ibn Salih was from the younger Tabi’in. And Allah knows best.
What al-Bazzar transmitted in his Musnad (Kashf al-Astar, 4/33-34): Musa Ibn Ishaq related to us from Manjab Ibn Al-Harith, Hatim Ibn Isma’il related to us from Usamah Ibn Zayd from Aban Ibn Salih from Mujahid from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
‘Indeed Allah possesses Angels besides the Hafazah (the Angels of Protection) who write (of even) the leaf which falls from a tree so when one of you suffers a limp in a deserted land he should call “Assist (me) O slaves of Allah”’
Al-Haythami said in Al-Majma’uz Zawaid (10/132): ‘Al-Bazzar related it and its narrators are reliable’ 
Al-Hafiz said in the Takhrij Al-Adhkar (Sharh ibn Allan, 5/151): “The chain is hasan and gharib jiddan (very rare)”; Al-Hafiz, restricting himself to saying it is hasan, shows he considered Usamah Ibn Zayd reliable for there is difference of opinion over him.
Al-Bayhaqi transmitted it in Shu’bul Iman  on the authority of Ibn Abbas also, but in a mawquf (untraceable) form through Ja’far Ibn Awn from Usamah Ibn Zayd from Aba Ibn Salih from Mujahid from Ibn Abbas.
Al-Albani claimed in his Da'eefa (2/112) the marfu’ route had a defect because of the mawquf route since Ja’far Ibn Awn (who narrated the mawquf route) is more reliable than Hatim Ibn Isma’il (who narrated the marfu’ route) so the hadith becomes defective due to the discrepancy while the preferred view is that it is mawquf . 
This is incorrect from two angles:
1. It is the convention in the science of hadith that when there is a contradiction of whether a hadith is raised back (to al-Nabi, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) or halted, the raised back is given preference in judgement. Al-Imam An-Nawawi said in the muqaddamah (introduction) to Sharh Sahih Muslim (1/32):
‘When some of the accurate and reliable narrators narrate (a hadith as) muttasil (connected) and others (narrate it as) mursal; or some (narrate it as) mawquf and other (narrate it as) marfu’; or it is (narrated) mawsul (continuous) once and then marfu’ another time and as a mursal or mawquf another time, then the correct approach is as the muhaqqiqun (verifiers) from the muhaddithun (scholars of hadith), and it is the saying of the fuqaha (jurists) and scholars of usul (Islamic jurisprudence) have said and Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi regarded it correct: That the ruling (of the status of the hadith) is from the one who narrated it as mawsul or marfu’ whether the opposing narrations are from more reliable narrators or from more numerous narrators or from narrators with better memory because this is an addition from a reliable narrator and it is acceptable (ziyada thiqa wa-hiya maqbula).
Ibn Al-Hadi [translator: I think what is meant here is Ibn Abdal Hadi] has clarified this in Al-Tanqih (1/350) as printed in Egypt.
2. Hatim Ibn Isma’il is not alone in narrating the hadith in marfu’ form; rather Muhammad Ibn Ishaq has also done so as has been previously discussed as in the case of the supporting narration of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud as mentioned first.
What should have been said is that Aban Ibn Salih would narrate it marfu’ some times and at other times he did not feel it necessary to narrate it marfu’ as it is seen similarly very often. And Allah knows best.
Therefore the claim of this hadith being defective by Al-Albani because the mawquf would replace the marfu’ holds no weight; he only did so to repel the meaning of the hadith and to dispose of it with whatever means even if it meant going against the principles of hadith; may Allah forgive.
From what has preceded, it has been acknowledged that the hadith is jayyid (good) and maqbul (acceptable) and that the third supporting narration has a hasan chain itself, and Allah knows best.
When a hadith is mentioned with a da’if chain it becomes acceptable, either sahih or hasan, when the Ummah has accepted it; as for when some of the scholars have practised it like the hadith at hand their action strengthens the report.
Al-Hafiz Al-Bayhaqi said in As-Sunan Al-Kubra (3/52) after narrating the hadith on Salat al-Tasbih: ‘Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak would do it and it has been passed down by the pious and this strengthens the marfu’ hadith.’
A similar statement was made by his shaykh Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak (1/320).
The hadith has been acted upon and practiced by the scholars:
o In Al-Masail and Shu’bul Iman of Al-Bayhaqi, Abdullah Ibn Imam Ahmad said
‘I heard my father say:
‘I did five Hajjs; two on camel and three on foot, or two on foot and three on camel and when I lost my way when walking I would say “O slaves of Allah! Guide us towards the (correct) route” and then I continued a little before I found myself back on the (correct) route’ or as it was said by my father. 
o After Abul Qasim At-Tabarani transmitted it in his Mu'jam al Kabir (17/117) he said “this has been acted upon” 
o Imam An-Nawawi said in Al-Adhkar (p.133) after mentioning this hadith
‘One of our major (kibar) scholars in knowledge related to me that he lost his means of transport, which I presume was a mule, and he was aware of this hadith and said (the du’a) so Allah brought to him his animal immediately.
‘I was once with a group of people and my animal fled and the people failed (to find it) and I said (the du’a) and I found the animal immediately without any means but this statement.’
The upshot is one who is researching can take two paths in strengthening this hadith:
1. Using the supporting evidences, so this hadith becomes hasan and there is no doubt in this
2. It is strengthened due to the practice of the Ummah
One of these paths (the latter) is stronger than the other (the first).
And Allah knows best.
 This can be found in the online meshkat Mu’jamul Kabir, number 10367:
حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بن نَائِلَةَ الأَصْبَهَانِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا الْحَسَنُ بن عُمَرَ بن شَقِيقٍ، حَدَّثَنَا مَعْرُوفُ بن حَسَّانَ السَّمَرْقَنْدِيُّ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بن أَبِي عَرُوبَةَ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بن بُرَيْدَةَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بن مَسْعُودٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ:إِذَا انْفَلَتَتْ دَابَّةُ أَحَدِكُمْ بِأَرْضِ فَلاةٍ فَلْيُنَادِ: يَا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ، احْبِسُوا عَلَيَّ، يَا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ احْبِسُوا عَلَيَّ، فَإِنَّ لِلَّهِ فِي الأَرْضِ حَاضِرًا سَيَحْبِسُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ
 In the online meshkat Musnad, volume 9, number 5269:
حدثنا الحسن بن عمر بن شقيق حدثنا معروف بن حسان عن سعيد عن قتادة عن بن بريدة عن عبد الله بن مسعود أنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا انفلتت دابة أحدكم بأرض فلاة فليناد يا عباد الله احبسوا يا عباد الله احبسوا فإن لله حاضرا في الأرض سيحبسه
 Majma'uz Zawaid (17105)
 In the online meshkat Ithaf, number 5469:
وقال أبو يعلى الموصلي: ثنا الحسن بن عمر، ثنا معروف بن حسان، عن سعيد، عن قتادة، عن ابن بريدة، عن عبد الله قال: قال رسول اللّه - صلى الله عليه وسلم -: "إذا انفلتت دابة أحدكم بأرض فلاة فليناد: يا عباد اللّه احبسوا، يا عباد اللّه احبسوا؟ فإن اللّه- عز وجل- في الأرض حاضراً سيحبسونها".هذا إسناد ضعيف لضعف معروف بن حسان
 In the online meshkat Mu’jamul Kabir, number 13737:
حدثنا الْحُسَيْنُ بن إِسْحَاقَ التُّسْتَرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بن يَحْيَى الصُّوفِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بن سَهْلٍ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بن عِيسَى، عَنْ زَيْدِ بن عَلِيٍّ، عَنْ عُتْبَةَ بن غَزْوَانَ، عَنْ نَبِيِّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ:"إِذَا أَضَلَّ أَحَدُكُمْ شَيْئًا أَوْ أَرَادَ أَحَدُكُمْ عَوْنًا وَهُوَ بِأَرْضٍ لَيْسَ بِهَا أَنِيسٌ، فَلْيَقُلْ:"يَا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ أَغِيثُونِي، يَا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ أَغِيثُونِي، فَإِنَّ لِلَّهِ عِبَادًا لا نَرَاهُمْ"، وَقَدْ جَرَّبَ ذَلِكَ
 Majma'uz Zawaid (17103)
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah
 In the online meshkat Silsilatul Ahadith Ad-Da’eefah, volume 2, page 159:
و للحديث طريق آخر معضل , أخرجه ابن أبي شيبة في "المصنف " ( 12 / 153 / 2 ) عن محمد بن إسحاق عن أبان بن صالح أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : فذكره نحوه . و هذا مع إعضاله , فيه ابن إسحاق و هو مدلس و قد عنعنه , و الأصح عن أبان عن مجاهد عن ابن عباس موقوفا عليه كما يأتي بيانه في آخر الحديث التالي
 Majma'uz Zawaid (17104)
 In the online meshkat Shu’bul Iman, volume 1, page 50, number 167:
أخبرنا علي بن أحمد بن عبدان ثنا أحمد بن عبيد الصفار ثنا عبيد بن شريك ثنا بن أبي مريم ثنا عبد الله بن فروخ أخبرني أسامة بن زيد حدثني أبان بن صالح عن مجاهد عن بن عباس قال إن لله عز وجل ملائكة سوى الحفظة يكتبون ما سقط من ورق الشجر فإذا أصاب أحدكم عرجة بأرض فلاة فليناد أعينوا عباد الله يرحمكم الله تعالى
 In the online meshkat Silsilatul Ahadith Ad-Da’eefah, volume 2, page 161-162:
جعفر بن عون أوثق من حاتم بن إسماعيل , فإنهما و إن كانا من رجال الشيخين , فالأول منهما لم يجرح بشيء , بخلاف الآخر , فقد قال فيه النسائي: ليس بالقوي . و قال غيره : كانت فيه غفلة . و لذلك قال فيه الحافظ : " صحيح الكتاب , صدوق يهم " . و قال في جعفر : " صدوق " . و لذلك فالحديث عندي معلول بالمخالفة , و الأرجح أنه موقوف , و ليس هو من الأحاديث التي يمكن القطع بأنها في حكم المرفوع , لاحتمال أن يكون ابن عباس تلقاها من مسلمة أهل الكتاب . و
 In the online meshkat Shu’bul Iman, volume 6, page 52, number 7697:
مكرر أخبرنا أبو عبد الله الحافظ أنا أحمد بن سلمان الفقيه ببغداد نا عبد الله بن أحمد بن حنبل قال سمعت أبي يقول حججت خمس حجج اثنتين راكب وثلاث ماشي أو ثلاث راكب واثنتين ماشي فضللت الطريق في حجة وكنت ماشيا فجعلت أقول يا عباد الله دلوني على الطريق قال فلم أزل أقول ذلك حتى وقفت على الطريق أو كما قال أبي
 See note 5: َقَدْ جَرَّبَ ذَلِكَ
Seeking assistance from other than Allah Ta`ala
Certain Muslims argue that one can only ask Allah directly for help, and if people were to ask help from other than Allah then he or she would be committing shirk.The scholars of the Ahl al-Sunna have always maintained that all help is ultimately sought from Allah. However, if an individual seeks help from the Prophets or pious people with the intention that they are only a means of achieving help then the person asking is not committing shirk. To illustrate this point, take the example of an ill person being cured by medicine. Metaphorically, the person would say that he was cured by the medicine, but in reality the actual cure is from Allah.
The Ahl as-Sunna wa'l-Jama'a also believe that help offered by the awliya' is only by the will of Allah. No one can be of help to anyone if Allah has not willed it so. Indeed, it is a great blessing from Allah that He has given the anbiya and awliya' the ability to help those seeking help.The reason why Allah has given this ability to the pious is to show their status of purity amongst the people, and it indicates their relationship with their Creator.
The argument of those who oppose tawassul can be summarised as thus:
Help should only be asked from Allah.
The type of help asked from a pious person should be the help that is within the sphere of human influence.
Seeking help from a pious individual who is physically not present or has passed away is kufr.
We shall prove, insha'llah, that the pious can help in ways that are beyond normal human capability and that even if they are not present and have passed away, help can still be sought.
Belief of Ahl as- Sunna wa'l- Jama'a regarding Tawassul through the Awliya'
'Allama Sa'idi and 'Allama 'Abd al-Hakim Sharf Qadri write:
"It is better that help is sought directly from Allah Most High, and through the wasila of the anbiya or awliya'. If an individual seeks help from the anbiya or awliya' by means of achieving help from Allah, Most High, the person is not committing kufr"
[Sharh Muslim, 'Allama Sa'idi; Qadri, S., Nidaa-e-Ya Muhammad, page 30]
Shaykh Muhammad 'Alawi Maliki, the Mufti of Makka writes:
"When we ask help from the anbiya and awliya', as a means, it is through their supplication (du'a') that they help us. Take for example the Day of Judgment when the umma will benefit from our Prophet, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).This is called asking for help through the anbiya and awliya' and likewise to ask them to make du'a' for us can be called help or istishfah or tawassul"
[Maliki, Muhmmad, A, Ziyara of the Grave, page 213]
The Permissibility of Seeking Help from the Pious
Hafiz ibn Taymiyya and Qadi Shawkani quote the following hadith:
"''Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) stated: "If you ever find yourselves stranded alone in a desolate place or jungle, then say, 'O servants of Allah! Help me, Allah have mercy on you' "
[Ibn Taymiyya, al-Kalim al-Tayyib, page 69 and Shawkani, Tufhat ad-Dhakireen, page 130. Ibn Sunni, Imam Bazaar, Hafiz al Hasamim and Imam an-Nawawi all quote this hadith also in their various books]
This hadith demonstrates that one can ask help from those who one cannot see, like the angels, the friends of Allah, the jinn, and that it cannot be said to be a wrong act.
Mullah ''Ali Qari writes that our Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that:
"If you are in the jungle alone say, "O servants of Allah! Help me" The servants of Allah are the angels, Muslims, jinn, or abdal" This hadith is useful for travellers"
[Qari, M, 'A, Al-Hirz al-Thamin, page 378]
The Awliya's Provision of Help Beyond Human Capability
The Prophet Sulayman (peace be upon him) asked his Companions who could bring the throne of the Queen of Sheba to his court.Allah says, descriibng this in the Holy Qur'an:
"An ifrit of the jinn said, 'I will bring it to you before you get up from your seat. I am strong and trustworthy enough to do it.' He who had knowledge of the Book said, 'I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you.' And when he saw it standing firmly in his presence, he said, 'This is part of my Lord's favour to me to test me to see if I will give thanks or show ingratitude'"
[Sura al-Naml, verses 39-40]
Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes concerning this verse that the man who brought the throne was called Asif ibn Barkhiyah.[Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
There was a Companion named Salamah ibn Akwa (may Allah be pleased with him) who was injured so severely on his shin that people began to fear that he would die a martyr. Salamah (may Allah be pleased with him) states:"I went to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and told him about my wound, whereupon he proceeded to blow on it three times and I was cured instantly"
[Mishkat, chapter on 'Virtues of Sayyid al-Mursalin']
Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes:
"During the khilafa of 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) there appeared a fire in the desert. 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) asked Tamim al-Dari (may Allah be pleased with him) to assist him. They approached the area of the fire and Tamim al-Dari (may Allah be pleased with him) began to gather the fire with his hands and started shoving the fire into a hole in the ground. This was a karamah[miracle] of Tamim al-Dari (may Allah be pleased with him)"
[Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, Vol. 6, chapter on miracles, , and Ibn Kathir, Sirat an-Nabi, , chapter on 'Mu'jiza']
Elsewhere, Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes:
"During the khilafa of 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) the Governor of Egypt wrote to 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) asking for help as the River Nile had failed to flood. 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) wrote a letter in return and addressed the river itself. This was then placed in the Nile, and no sooner as this was done, the Nile's water began to flood"
[Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, volumes 1 and 8, chapter on 'Rivers' and chapter on 'Khilafa of 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)']
The above narrations prove that certain categories of humans, even though they are not Prophets, are capable of doing acts that are normally impossible. Secondly, the narrations prove that one can ask for these supernatural acts from humans. If this was not the case, why would Prophet Sulayman (peace be upon him) ask Asif ibn Barkhiyah to bring the throne of Bilqees (Queen of Sheeba)? Why would 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) ask Tamim al-Dari to quench the raging fire? Why would Salamah ibn Akwa (may Allah be pleased with him) ask the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to miraculously cure his wound? And why would the Governor of Egypt ask 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) to make the Nile flood? So, in summary, it is permissible to request a person to do something impossible under 'normal' circumstances.
Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab writes that the people who claim that it is permissible to seek help from the pious cite the following evidence in support of their argument:
"When Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was thrown into the fire, Jibril (peace be upon him) offered his help to free him. If seeking help from other than Allah is shirk, then why did Jibril offer his assistance to Ibrahim? The answer is that the help offered was within his capability given by Allah Most High and therefore not shirk"
[Kitab Kasfh al Shubhat, page 23]
The help that is sought from the anbiya' or awliya' is within their capability. For example, it is permissible for one to request a deceased person to make a du'a', as it has already been proved that the deceased can make du'a'. This means that asking help from another which is out one's own capacity is not shirk.
The Pious can Help from Far Away
Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab writes:
"One night, the Prophet of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was in his house and was heard to proclaim, 'I am here!' three times and 'You have been granted help' also three times. Umm al-Mu'minin, Maymunah (may Allah be pleased with her) asked the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) whom he had been talking to since there was no one present.He (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, 'I was talking to a person called Rajiz from the tribe of Bani Ka'ab. He asked for help from me against the Quraysh.'Umm al-Mu'minin, Maymunah (may Allah be pleased with her) said that when she finished reading the fajr prayer the next morning, she heard Rajiz calling out the following in the streets of Madina: "Ya Rasulu'llah! Help us and call the servants of Allah to help us"
[Mukhtasar Sirat ar- Rasul, chapter on 'The Conquest of Makka']
This narration shows that the Sahaba would seek help from the Messenger of Allah from afar and he, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), would answer their calls for help. When Rajiz asked the Prophet the following morning for help, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not stop him from asking for this help. The Messenger of Allah was at some distance, yet he still assisted.
Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes:
'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), whilst delivering a Friday sermon in Madina, called out and said, 'Ya Sariah! The mountain.' That very moment, Sariah (may Allah be pleased with him) was in a place in Persia called Nahawand, engaged in a battle with the enemy"
[Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on 'The Khilafa of 'Umar']
What 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) meant by his call was: O Sariah! Seek protection behind the mountain.Sariah (may Allah be pleased with him) heard this and was subsequently saved. When the people heard these words during the Friday sermon they were surprised.After winning the battle, Sariah came to Madina. He related how they had been under attack by the enemy. Suddenly they had heard'Umar's voice and hid behind the mountain and were saved.
This narration demonstrates that the pious can help people who are not present with them. Also, this is why proclaiming 'Ya Rasulu'llah', (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), is not an act of shirk, because he, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), is aware of our call. It could be that the salutations are conveyed through the angels or that he listens to them himself. As Hafiz ibn al-Qayyim wrote:
"The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has said that when you send salutations to him from wherever you might be, he can hear your voice"
[Ibn al-Qayyim, Jal ul Afhaam, page 100 ]
The Pious Can Help After Their Death
Another question raised is why, if it is possible to seek help and advice from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) after he had passed away, the Sahaba didn't go to his blessed grave and ask for help when there was any dispute amongst themselves? This is only scepticism. The reality is that there was no need for the Companions to go and seek help and advice from the blessed grave of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as he had already foretold the dispute of his Companions and who would be right or wrong, therefore there was no need for the Sahaba to ask again.
Also, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did help the Companions on various occasions. Here are some examples from Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir:
Bilal ibn Haritha(may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) for help during the famine in Madina during the khilafa of 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him).
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave water to ''Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) from a window when he was being surrounded by his enemies and,furthermore, even comforted him by giving the news that he would be martyred and be breaking his fast with him in paradise the next day.
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave advice to Imam Hussayn (may Allah be pleased with him) regarding the Battle of Karbala on two occasions - when the latter was departing for Kufa and then later, on the night before his death. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave news that they would meet the next day, in Paradise.
[Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on 'Khilafa of 'Umar'; chapter on 'Death of 'Uthman, and the chapter on 'Karbala']
It is not wajib to seek help from the pious; it is merely permissible. However, we do not encourage people to ask help from the pious directly - rather they should ask the awliya' to make du'a to Allah for them, on their behalf.
Those who argue that the pious are unable to help after their death also include the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in this reference. However, it is very strange that this does not apply to scholars whom they hold in high esteem. As Hafiz ibn al-Qayyim states:
"Many people saw Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya after his death in their dreams and asked him many difficult questions on issues of fiqh masaa'il and he replied to all their questions. Only those people can reject this who are ignorant of the status of the spirits (arwah)"
[Ibn al-Qayyim, Kitab ar-Ruh, end of chapter 3 ]
If Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya can answer questions after passing away, and solve complex fiqh issues, then why is it not possible for our Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to assist his Umma?
Some of the narrations we have mentioned describe peoples dreams - and to this, some may argue that this is not a credible proof in Islam.The answer to this is that the narrations we have mentioned are not all from dreams, and even if they were, the Prophet of Allah, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), has said:'A Shaytan cannot form my image.'So all the dreams are true about him, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Also, Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim mentions that:
"When numerous people have the same type of dream and what they have seen in their dreams actually happens - to call these kinds of dreams as only dream - this is said by the people that have no sense"
[Ibn al-Qayyim, Kitab al Ruh, Chapter 3. ]
We are not asserting that dreams are a final proof in this matter, but rather they supplement the proofs already supplied from Qur'an and Sunna.
When the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) went on the Mi'raj, fifty prayers a day were initially ordered. On return, Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) requested the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to return to Allah and ask for a reduction in prayers.He did so and by doing this, the number of times was reduced to five prayers a day.
[Muslim and Bukhari, chapter on 'Mi'raj']
Thus, Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) helped the Umma of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) even after he had passed away.
Some Further Evidence
Hafiz Ibn Khathir writes:
"''Uthman al-Ghani (may Allah be pleased with him) said that when the enemy surrounded his house and stopped the household from receiving water, they were thirsty for many days.'Uthman said: 'One day I saw the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) give me some water from my window. Some days later my roof parted, and the Prophet of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) accompanied by Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) entered and gave me some water to drink, and informed me: You will break your fast with us tomorrow"
[Ta'rikhIbn Kathir, chapter on 'The death of 'Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him)']
Imam al Waqdi writes:
"Abu Ubaidah (may Allah be pleased with him) was the leader of the army of Damascus and was in jihad. In a dream he saw the Prophet of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) inform him that ' Tomorrow Damascus will be defeated,' and he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) departed quickly. I asked the Prophet 'Why are you returning so hastily?' He replied ' Abu Bakr has died and I am going to attend his janaza (funeral)".
[Allama Waqdi, Futuh as sham]
Imam al Waqdi writes:
"In the battle of Damascus a kafir became a Muslim, and began to speak Arabic in an instant. Abu 'Ubaidah asked him ' You do not know Arabic; how is it that you speak so fluently?He replied'Last night I saw the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in my dream. I asked him, if you are the Messenger of Allah, then supplicate for me that I may speak Arabic. When I woke up in the morning I found that I could speak Arabic'"
[Allama Waqdi, Futuh as Sham, chapter on 'Fath ad Dimishk']
Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes:
"In the 18th year of the Hijra, during the Khilafa of 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) there was a famine. 'Umar and Bilal (may Allah be well pleased with them) went to the blessed grave of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and said 'Ya Rasulu'llah! Your umma is dying (from hunger). Pray for us that Allah sends us rain'. Later, Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) had a dream in which the Prophet of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) told Bilal to go to 'Umar and convey his salaam, and to inform him that there will be rain and that he should perform salat Istisqa'. This is a very authentic narration"
[Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on Khilafa of 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)]
Hafiz ibn Taymiyya writes:
"In the time of a drought, a person came to our Prophet's grave and complained about the drought. He then saw our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) who told him to go to 'Umar and tell him to perform the salat of Istisqah.There are numerous true narrations similar to this"
[Iqtisa Sirat al Mustaqim, page 373. Imam Bukhari has also discussed this in his book, Ta'rikh al Kabir, under the 'Biography of Malik ad-Dar']
Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani writes:
"A person who came to the grave said: 'Your Umma is dying; supplicate to Allah to send rain.Sayf says: 'The person who made this supplication to the Messenger of Allah was called Bilal ibn al-Harith (may Allah be pleased with him).This narration is authentic"
[al-'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al Bari, chapter on "al Istisqa" ]
The scholar of Masjid an Nabawi, Shaykh al-Jazari, writes:
"The narration of Bilal ibn Harith concerning going to the grave and asking our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to supplicate for the rain, is also recorded by Imam Bukhari in his book of Ta'rikh. Also, Hafiz al-'Asqalani recorded this in Fath al Bari; Imam al al-Bayhaqi included it in his Dala'il al -Nabuwat, and it also appears in the Musnaf of Ibn Abi Shayba, Ibn Abi Khusayama and in Ibn Abd al Barr - this narration has really surprised me"
[al-Jazari,Abu Bakr, Waja a-Yarkudun, page 32 ]
If Abu Bakr al-Jazari knew that Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya and Hafiz Ibn Kathir wrote this narration, he would not have been so bewildered.
After reading Hafiz Ibn Kathir's, Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya's and Hafiz al-'Asqalani's verifications, there is no need to discuss any further about this narration of Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him). However, some Muslims may still then question the narrator of this hadith - whether he was considered weak or authentic. Let us now look at the narrators of this narration.
The narrators of this narration are:
Abu Salih Abd al Rahman ibn Sa'id
Malik ibn Ayyad al-Dar
The first two narrators are considered as great narrators of hadith - all the great scholars of hadith have taken their narrations, including Imam Muslim and Imam Bukhari, so there is no doubt about their authenticity.The third and fourth narrators will be discussed now.
The third narrator is Abd al Rahman ibn Sa'id al-Makhzumi. Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani writes of him:
"Imam Bukhari took a narration from him in his book Juz Raf-al-yadain. Imam Abu Dawud also took a narration from him. He was a student of 'Uthman ibn 'Affan, the third caliph of Islam and he took narrations from Malik Aldar, and he in turn, learned the knowledge of hadith from his father (i.e. Ayyad). Imam Ibn Abu Sa'id said 'He was an authentic narrator'. Imam Ibn Hibban also listed him in the list of authentic scholars of hadith. Imam Ibn al-Madani, who was the teacher of Imam Muslim and Imam Bukhari, also made the same remarks about him"
[Tahzib-ut-Tahzib, biography of Sa'id ibn Abd al Rahman, Hafiz al-'Asqalani]
The fourth narrator of this Hadith is Malik ibn Ayyaz Aldar. Imam Bukhari writes:
"Malik ibn Ayyaz Aldar narrated that:'Umar said 'O Allah, I am only lacking when I am powerless'. Abu Salih also narrated this from Malik Aldar"
[Imam Bukhari, Ta'rikh al-Kabir, biography of Malik Aldar ]
Imam Ibn Abi Hatim writes:
"Malik ibn Ayyaz Aldar was a slave of 'Umar and he was freed by him. He narrated from Abu Bakr and'Umar. He was a taab'ee and Abu Salih also narrated from him - and he was famous"
[Hatim, Ibn Abi, al-jar-hu-wal-ta'deel., biography of Malik Aldar. ]
Imam Ibn Abi Saad writes:
"Malik Aldar was a freed slave of 'Umar, and he narrated hadith from Abu Bakr and 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with them all) and he was a famous man"
[Saad, Ibn Abi, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, biography of Malik Aldar.]
After reading these references it can be seen that the third and fourth narrators of the hadith under discussion are famous, authentic and not unknown; no one can assume these narrators are weak.
Imam al Qurtabi writes:
"One Arab went to the grave of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and recited the verse from the Holy Qur'an:
'We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed in accordance with the leave of Allah. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.'
[Sura An-Nisa', verse 6]
He then began to cry and say how sinful he was, and requested from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to supplicate for him.A voice then came from our Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) grave, saying that Allah has forgiven your sins"
[Tafsir al Qurtabi, under Sura Nisa', verse 64]
Hafiz Ibn Kathir also recorded this event. He writes:
"When an Arab came to our Prophet's grave and said "I repent from my sins through you and ask for forgiveness; I would give my life for you". Afterwards our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) appeared in the dream of Utba' (may Allah be pleased with him) and informed him to go to the Arab and convey the message that there is good news for him that Allah had forgiven his sins.
[Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Sura Nisa, under verse 64]
Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya writes:
"A person came to the blessed grave of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and requested food from the Prophet and sat down. After a while a Hashimi [a member of the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) family] came to him. He had with him a tray of food, and said, "This food has been sent by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and with it he gave a message: "Eat it and leave from here because whoever loves us does not make this kind of desire""
[Ibn Taymiyya, Iqtida as Sirat al Mustaqim, page 290]
Hafiz Ibn Kathir and Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani both write:
"Imam Bukhari had lost his sight in his days as a youth, and his mother used to pray to Allah vigorously for the return of her son's sight.One night in her dream, she saw the Prophet Ibrahim (upon whom be peace) who told her that Allah had accepted her prayers because of her tears in in front of Allah and her son's sight would be returned'. When Imam Bukhari awoke in the morning, his eyesight had returned"
[Tahrikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on 'Biography of Imam Bukhari, and Muqadimah Fath al Bari, biography of Imam Bukhari]
Imam ad-Darimi writes:
"When Yazid ibn Mu'awiya attacked Madina, there was no adhan or jam'at in Masjid an-Nabawi for three days. Sa'id ibn Musayab states, 'I stayed in Masjid an-Nabawi for the three days and pretended to be majnun (mad), and for every prayer I heard the adhan from the blessed grave of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)'"
[ad-Darimi, chapter on 'Fada'il e-Nabi']
Hafiz Ibn-e-Taymiyya writes:
"Ibn Musayab's listening of the adhan from the Prophet's grave or the returning of salaam from the graves of the awliya, is haqq and we believe in it"
[Iqtida as Sirat al-Mustaqim, page 373]
Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani writes:
"Abd al-Wajid says that I saw the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in a dream with his Companions waiting at this place, like they were waiting for someone. I said, "As Salaam 'alaykum,". After the reply to the salaam I asked "What, or who, are you waiting for?" They replied that they were waiting for Imam Bukhari - and that was the day Imam Bukhari passed away"
[Fath al Bari, chapter on 'The Death of Imam Bukhari, and al-'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Ta'rikh Baghdad, , and Khatib al Baghdadi]
Hafiz al-'Asqalani writes:
"Hafiz Marwazi says that I was in the Ka'ba and I fell asleep. I then had a dream and in that dream I saw the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).Our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to me, 'You have read Imam Shafi's book but why not mine?'I asked 'Which one is yours?' and the reply was 'Imam Bukhari's book is my book'"
[al-'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, 'Biography of Imam Bukhari']
Imam adh-Dhahabi writes that the famous Taab'ee, Simaq ibn Harb, said:
"My sight was gone and I was completely blind. I prayed a lot and one night when I was sleeping, I saw Ibrahim (peace be upon him) in my dream. I said to Ibrahim, 'My sight is gone and what should I do?'Ibrahim said, 'Go to the River Forat and wash your face in it and your sight should return'. When I washed my face in the river, my sight returned and I saw 80 Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) with that sight"
[Mizan al Ta'dil, 'Biography of Simaq adh-Dhahabi']
Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya writes:
"Some people came to the grave of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and requested something, and their needs were fulfilled. In the like manner, the pious people can also fulfill the needs of people - and we do not deny this"
[Ibn Taymiyya, Iqtida as Sirat al-Mustaqim, page 373, ]
On the same issue, Hafiz ibn al-Qayyim writes:
"After dying, the ruh (spirit) can do those things that it cannot do when the person is alive in the dunya (world), just as one or two arwah (spirits) defeated a large army. Many Companions relate that they saw the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), Abu Bakr and 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with them), in their dreams at night fighting with them against the kuffar and winning the battle. Then it became a reality; on the following day a small army of Muslims defeated an army of many, many kafirs.
[Ibn al-Qayyim, Kitab ar-Ruh, chapter 15]
From all the above narrations, it should be sufficient proof that to do istishfah (to make a request) from the pious is permissible. They are able to help us and they are fully aware of matters that occur on the earthly plain, and this includes the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). From the above examples, we have proof of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)
asking for forgiveness on the behalf of others; informing of an impeding victory; consoling 'Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) at the time of great suffering, and many others" Also, the above statements prove that the pious are able to help after their death. Indeed, their spiritual powers increase after their death.
Q: Why do we see some people asking the pious for help, rather than asking them to make dua on their behalf?
A: The meaning of this is that they are metaphorically asking the pious for help but really they are asking the pious to make dua for them. The Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to do this as well. This has been mentioned in hadith:
Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim quote the following hadith:
"The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was on his way to the Battle of Khaybar with his Companions and asked 'Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) to recite a poem. 'Amir then recited the following:
Allah is our Witness.
Without you we would not have had guidance.
Nor would we pray nor give zakah.
You forgive us and we sacrifice ourselves for you.
Send blessings on us and make us stand firm when fighting the enemy'"
[Bukhari & Muslim, chapter on- 'Battle of Khaybar']
Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani and Hafiz al Qastalani have commented upon this hadith as follows:
"The poem's verses are addressed to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) because the word "sacrifice" cannot be used to Allah. This is because scholars have said the word 'sacrifice' (fida) is used in situations when one takes the place of another who is in difficulty, to remove the harm from another and take it upon oneself. This of course cannot apply to Allah Most High. The word 'forgive' means that if we have gone astray obeying you, then bring us back on to the straight path. The objection to this may come from the first line of the poem, 'Oh Allah!' The word 'Allahumma' is used to take Allah's oath to the following verses and the poet used the word 'Allahumma' in the beginning for baraka (blessing) and he wants to start with the word of Allah Most High. The objection to the opinion that the verses are addressed to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) may come from the phrases, "bless us" and "make us stand firm". The answer to this question lies in the fact that the Prophet makes dua to Allah for blessings to be sent to the people"
[See al-'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar & Qastalani, Fath-al-Bari/Irshad-as-sari, chapter on 'Khaybar' ]
Hafiz ibn Kathir and Ibn al-Athir have said that 'Amir has said these verses in the praise of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).
[Ibn Kathir, Sirat an- Nabi, chapter on 'Khaybar', and Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghaba, 'Biography of 'Amir ibn Akwah'.]
Also, if the poetry were addressed to Allah, it would not make sense at all. This is because the words of the poem state, 'Without you we would not have had guidance. Nor would we pray nor give zakah'. If Allah did not exist (which is a stupid thing to say, as what Allah is implies that He exists), nothing else would exist - not only guidance, prayers, and zakah but even 'nothingness' would cease to exist, as Allah has created all. So we cannot assume the poem is addressed to Allah as it contains words which would not be expected of a Muslim, let alone in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The above proves that the one who is being addressed, in this poem is none other than the Prophet of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).
Further, the poem asks for forgiveness and this does not have to be specifically directed to Allah. If 'Amir has used these words of praise for the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) it does not go against the spirit of Islam. To ask the pious for help directly is not shirk as 'Amir asked help from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The real meaning of 'Amir's seeking help was to ask the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to supplicate on his behalf. In the same way, when an ordinary Muslim asks help from the pious, their real motive is also the same as 'Amir's. The help comes through the pious's supplication and so metaphorically we say the pious is helping us, when in fact everything comes from Allah.
Q: Some people argue that once the pious have died, their ability to help anyone ceases. So why do people still go to their graves to seek help?
A: We, the Ahl as-Sunna wa'l-Jama'a, say that when the pious die, their ability to help others does not diminish and end. They are alive in their graves and the power of their souls become stronger than when they were alive. If you cover a living person with a blanket, he would not be able to recognise those who pass by, but it has been proved from narrations that the deseased can recognise and hear the footsteps of those who pass by the grave. A living person cannot understand what the birds are saying, but the deceased can hear and understand exactly what they are saying. Also, a living person cannot travel millions of miles faster than the blink of an eye, but the deceased can travel many millions of miles faster than the blink of the eye. An example of this is that when one sleeps, one can travel many miles and break the physical laws of this world. In the same way the deceased can break the laws of this world, as their spiritual bodies are stronger.
Hafiz ibn al-Qayyim wrote that the deceased is pleased with those people who attend his funeral, or those who stand at his grave. When people pass the grave and convey their salaams, he (the person in the grave) returns the salaams and also recognises the person who has conveyed the salaam. When the birds praise Allah Most High, the person in the grave also understands the birds' praises (i.e. what the birds are saying).
The martyrs' souls are in heaven, and when people convey their salaam to them at their graves', they come back to their graves' and return the salaam.
The ordinary souls at the very highest of the seven skies are at a place called Illiyin, and when someone greets them with salaam, they come back to their graves', answer the salaam and also recognise the person. As in the case with people who are alive, some are strong and some are weak. In the same way, some souls are stronger than others - as in the case of the pious. The more pious the person is, the stronger the soul. There could be some people who do not believe in what has been written, but Allah Most High has created those people who believe this and their hearts verify it. Every Muslim should believe that the deceased soul meets other souls, in the same way that the living people meet each other and this is proved in the Qur`an.
Allah Most High says in the Qur'an, in Sura al Zumr, verse 42:
"Allah takes away the souls at the time of their death and of those who don't die during their sleep. Then He withholds that against which He has decreed death and sends back the other until an appointed time"
Imam Sudayy says that Allah takes souls when people are asleep, and the deceased souls and people who are alive come together and discuss issues in their dreams. The deceased souls can give the living information that other people do not know. Sometimes they can inform people when people are going to die. In different matters, they guide the living. There were two Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) called Salman Farsi and Abd Allah ibn Salam (may Allah be pleased with them both).They both agreed that whoever dies first would inform the other what had happened to him. Abd Allah ibn Salam died first and appeared in Salman Farsi's dream.Abd Allah then informed Salman Farsi that of all of his good deeds, Allah Most High liked one particular deed the most, which was perfect reliance of God. So Salman continued having unshakable tust in Allah. Another example is that of Ibn Sirin (may Allah be pleased with him) who appeared in his friend's dream and said that Allah Most High had given him paradise. The dreamer asked him about Hasan al Basri. He said Allah has given him a higher status than himself. There was another Companion called Mas'ar and he used to appear in peoples' dreams and advise them to attend dhikr gatherings since Allah was pleased with this act. Similarly, many people have seen Hafiz ibn Taymiyya in their dream, and they have asked him very complex fiqh questions, which Hafiz ibn Taymiyya has answered to their satisfaction.
Some people might say that these are only dreams and we don't know whether they are right or wrong so how can we trust them? But they should know that when the deceased gives news about a person who is going to die at a particular time; or says that on a particular day rain will fall; or there will be famine; or the enemy will attack; or there will be trouble; or if he gives that kind of news that nobody knows except him, these will become reality. These types of facts are only ignored by a person who is unaware of the power of the spirits. It is also a fact that if many Muslims see a similar dream, this becomes evidence. This is verified by the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) who said to his Companion: 'All of your dreams show that the Night of Power (Laylat al Qadr) will be on the last ten days of Ramadan.'