I’m still not convinced about intercession. Why ask dead people – with all due respect to the Prophet and Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) – if we can ask Allah directly? Is not that polytheism? Please clear this doubt.
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
If we follow that logic, then we should not seek doctors and medical professionals for treating illnesses since Allah, the Most Exalted, is the one who cures disease and restores us to full health.
And when I am sick, then He restores me to health.
Respectively, if we are drowning, we should not call out for help since seeking aid from, and calling upon other than Allah, would be considered polytheism! You might respond that Allah, the Most Exalted, is the Actual Healer; He is the one who cures all illnesses and ailments and that doctors and medical professionals are no more than intermediaries for cures. Likewise, calling out for help while drowning is no more than a means of rescue; you can only be rescued with the will of Allah and no one else.
That very same logic applies to the intercession of the Prophet and his purified family (peace be upon them). We turn towards the pure household (peace be upon them) because they are the means through which our prayers can be answered. Otherwise, Allah, the Most Exalted, is the one who answers prayers and fulfils all needs. In fact, we are commanded by Allah, the Most Exalted, to seek the pure Household (peace be upon them) as a means of approach and to ask them to intercede with Allah on our behalf, for He has said:
‘O’ you who believe, be careful of (your duty to) Allah and reach unto Him for a means and strive in His path that you might thrive.
The Prophet (peace be upon him and his purified family) also said:
We are the means to Allah.
al-Bihar, volume 25, page 23
Additionally, in the Qur’an, we find:
And We sent no Messenger save that he be obeyed by Allah’s permission. And if when they wronged themselves, they had come to you and sought Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had sought Allah’s forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah relenting, merciful.
On the other hand, there are even proofs found in the ‘Sunni’ books that support intercession. One of which is what Ibn Kathir – who is one of the ‘Sunni’ scholars – narrates regarding the above verse (An-Nisa 4:64):
Sheikh Abu Mansour al-Sabbagh reported in his book the well-known story of Al-’Utbi who said: ’As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet, a Bedouin Arab came and said: ‘Peace be upon you, O’ Messenger of Allah. I heard Allah saying: ‘And if when they wronged themselves they had come to you and sought Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had sought Allah’s forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah relenting, merciful.’ So, I have come to you, asking forgiveness for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord.’ Then he began to recite a few lines of poetry. Then he left, and I slept and saw the Prophet in my sleep. He said to me: ‘O ‘Utbi, run after the Bedouin and give him glad tidings that Allah has forgiven him.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, volume 1, page 532
Notice here that although the Prophet (peace be upon him and his purified family) was seemingly dead, he did intercede on behalf of the Bedouin and asked Allah, the Most Exalted, to forgive all of his sins.
Moreover, Ibn Hanbal, the Imam of the Hanbali sect, narrates:
A blind person came to the Prophet (peace be upon him and his purified family) and said: ‘Pray to Allah that He bestows me with sight.’ The Prophet replied: ‘If you desire, I will not pray, as being blind may be better for your afterlife, or I will pray.’ The man then chose to be relieved of blindness. The Messenger told him: ‘Perform Wudhu, pray two Rak’at and then supplicate to Allah in this manner: ‘O Allah! Surely my appeal is to You, and I turn towards You through the Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O’ Muhammad, surely I turn towards Allah through you, that He may uncover my sight. O’ Allah, make him my intercessor.’ The man’s sight was restored after doing what the Messengers instructed him to.
Musnad Ahmad, volume 4, page 138
The Prophet (peace be upon him and his purified family) ordered the blind man to turn towards Allah, the Most Exalted, through him, for he asked him to say: ‘O’ Muhammad’. Additionally, although the Prophet (peace be upon him and his purified family) was not with him when he recited the Dua, Allah, the Most Exalted, did cure him and restored his eyesight.
Furthermore, there is no difference in asking the Prophet (peace be upon him and his purified family) to intercede on our behalf during his lifetime, or after his martyrdom, for he is alive and provided sustenance by Allah.
And reckon not those who are killed in Allah’s path as dead; nay, they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord.
Ayah al-Imran 3:169
As proved in the narration of Al-’Utbi.
Needless to say, intercession through the pure Household (peace be upon them) is also permissible, for Imam Ali (peace be upon him) is nothing but an extension of the Prophet’s personality, as stated in the Holy Qur’an:
So whoever disputes you about him after the knowledge that has come to you, say, Come, we shall call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our selves and your selves, thereupon we shall supplicate and place the curse of Allah upon the liars.
Ayah al-Imran 3:61
The same is the case for Imam Hussain (peace be upon him), as the Prophet (peace be upon him and his purified family) said:
Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain.
Numerous narrations state the same about each member of the pure Household (peace be upon them all).
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib