Contents > Chapter 7: Waseelah > Tawassul According to the Deobandis


Tawassul According to the Deobandis

In the words of Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, the Deobandi concept of Tawassul is, “to supplicate directly to Allah Ta’ala, asking Him to accept one’s Du’aa by virtue of the barkat (auspiciousness) of a pious created being (a Prophet or a Wali)”[1]


Fazaail-e-Aamaal mentions a number of stories in support of this erroneous means of Tawassul.


In ‘Fazaail-e-Hajj’ is the story of Hazrat Allama Qastalani, who says, “Once I became severely ill that doctors despaired for my health. For many years, I remained thus. Then, one day on 28th of Jumadil ‘Ula 893 AH, while in Mecca I prayed to Allah through the Waseelah of Rasoolullah (Allah’s Messenger) that Allah may heal me of my affliction. While I was asleep, I saw a vision in which I saw a man with a piece of paper in his hand in which it was written: ‘Rasoolullah has commanded that this medicine be given to Ahmad Ibn Qastalani.’ When I awoke, I discovered that no sign of my illness remained.”[2]


Waseelah of Sufi Shaikhs

The Deobandis believe in the Waseelah by honor of their Sufi Shaikhs and elders. Moulana Zakariyah, the author of Fazaail-e-Aamaal, mentions the entire Shajarah of his Shaikh, Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi in his book, ‘Mashaikh-e-Chist.”[3] [A Shajarah is similar to a family tree, except that a Shajarah has a chronological order of Sufi Shaikhs related by the pledge (Bai’ah)]

Moulana Zakariyah says, “The aim of reciting the Shajarah is Tawassul (to supplicate to Allah for mercy through the medium of their name). Hence, it is appropriate to begin from the lowest one in the Shajarah progressing to the highest.”[4] [5]


Waseelah of Dogs: Moulana Zakariyah further brings a statement in Mashaikh-e-Chist, “O Allah! Accept me through the medium (Waseelah) of this dog.”[6]


This type of Waseelah ‘by virtue or honor of a pious person’ that the Deobandis encourage has no proof from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.


The Qur’aan mentions supplications of the Prophets, the Messengers, pious slaves and believers[7] but none of them contain ‘seeking closeness to Allah by means of the status of Prophets or righteous men.’

[1] Quoted from Kitabul Janaiz (Hanafee), p.21 - 24 published by Majlisul Ulema.

[2] Faazail-e-Aamal, (Eng. Trans.), Virtues of Hajj, Chapter.9, p.170, story no.11 (New Edition 1982, Published by Dini Book Depot - Delhi).

[3] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.), p.9.

[4] This Shajarah has 39 names of Soofi Shaikh in all. It starts with Khalil Ahmad, then Rasheed Ahmad Gungohi, all the way up till the Tabi’e Hasan Basree, then Ali (radhi allahu anhu) and then the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). In fact, Ali (radhi allahu anhu) has been mentioned as the head of the Chisti Tareeqah. One wonders, how a Tareeqah, which starts with Alee should be named a Chisti Tareeqah, when the first reference to a Chisti, comes after 14 links.

[5] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.), p.9.

[6] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.), p.97.

[7] The Qur’aan mentions numerous supplications of the Prophets and Messengers, some of them are:

“Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good and save us from the torment of the Fire.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 201]

“In Allah we put our trust. Our lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are dhalimeen (polytheist and wrong-doers). And save us by Your Mercy from the disbelieving folk.” [Soorah Yunus (10): 85-86]

“And (remember) when Ibraheem said: “O my Lord! Make this city (Mecca) one of peace and security and keep me and my sons away from worshiping idols. O my Lord! Make me one who offers prayers perfectly, and (also) from my offspring, our Lord! And accept my invocation. ‘Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established.” [Soorah Ibraheem (14): 35 and 40-41]

“Moses said: “O My Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment and boldness). And ease my task for me; and make loose the knot (the defect) from my tongue (i.e. remove the incorrectness from my speech).” [Soorah Ta-Ha (20): 25-27]

“Our Lord! Avert from us the torment of Hell. Verily, its torment is ever an inseparable, permanent punishment.” [Soorah al-Furqan (25): 65]