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From the aggregate of the stated proofs, it is evident that from the perspective of the Book of God, the Sunnah of the Prophet (‘a) and conduct of the believers the legitimacy of swearing by other than God is an indisputable principle, and it has no contradiction with monotheism and the unity of God.

Therefore, if the outward meaning of the traditions opposes that which has been confirmed by decisive proofs, it must be justified and interpreted according to this indisputable principle which is derived from the Qur’an and traditions.

Some people cite an ambiguous tradition which is as follows:

ينهاكم الله إنّ فقال أبي و :يقول هو و عمر سمع الله رسول إنّ

.يسكت أو بالله فليحلف حالفًا كان من و بآبائكم تحلفوا أن

Verily, the Messenger of Allah () heard ‘Umar swearing by his father. Upon hearing this he said: “Verily, God has prohibited you from swearing by your father, and when one wants to swear one should either swear to God or keep silent.”[1]

Although this adīth cannot challenge the Qur’anic verses and explicit traditions that consider swearing by other than God as permissible, it must, for the sake of reconciling it and the mentioned verses and tradition, be said that the Prophet’s prohibition of ‘Umar’s swearing by his father and forbidding similar people from swearing by their fathers is attributed to the fact that their fathers were idolaters and polytheists. And an infidel or idol-worshipping person is too unworthy to be an object of swearing. ?




Question 25









Is to resort to the divine saints [awliyā’] for mediation [tawassul] regarded as polytheism [shirk] and tantamount to innovation in religion [bid‘ah]?




Reply: Tawassul means to resort to a sacred being for mediation with God.

Ibn Manūr thus says in Lisān al-‘Arab:

“.عليه تعطفه آصرةٍ بحرمة إليه تقرّب بكذا إليه توسّل

“If you resort to others for mediation; that is, respect and honor them, they will treat you tenderly.”[2]

The Glorious Qur’an states:

﴿ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَابْتَغُواْ إِلَيهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ وَجَاهِدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ ﴾

“O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah, and seek the means of recourse to Him, and wage jihād in His way, so that you may be felicitous.”[3]

In his iā al-Lughah, Jawharī describes “wasīlah” [means] in this manner:

“.الغير إلى به يتقرّب ما الوسيلة

Wasīlah [means] is something through which one seeks nearness to another.”

Therefore, a valuable being to which we resort for mediation may be meritorious deeds and sincere worship of God which bring us near to the Lord of the worlds, or a prolific person who enjoys a special station and esteem in the sight of God, the Exalted.

[1] Sunan al-Kubrā, vol. 10, p. 29; Sunan an-Nisā’ī, vol. 7, pp. 4-5.

[2] Lisān al-‘Arab, vol. 11, p. 724.

[3] Sūrah al-Mā’idah 5:35.

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