Tawassul in the light of the Islamic Tenet of sole authority of God | CIMS
17th Mar 2018
Tawassul, the act of seeking an intermediary to God is a belief not bereft of controversy, as it may be perceived as contravening the belief in oneness of God (tawḥīd ). This issue was discussed by the Centre for Intra-Muslim Studies (CIMS) on the 17th of March 2018 with a Sunni perspective presented by Dr Khurram Bashir – Spokesperson of Greenlane Mosque & member of Islamic Sharia council, and a Shia perspective presented by Shaykh Arif Abdulhussain – Director and Senior lecturer Al-Mahdi Institute.
Therefore, any act therefore not practiced by the Prophet should be rejected, which would mean according to him rejecting the practice of tawassul. Referencing Ibn Taymiyya’s view on tawassul, Dr Khurram also pointed out that certain practices, including tawassul, carried out by some Shia and Sunnis contradicted his understanding of tawhid, and deemed their actions as misguided.
Shaykh Arif divided tawassul into two types: a permissible form and an impermissible one. The permitted tawassul is asking God directly but petitioning Him via means of his creation, whilst the unacceptable one is asking other than God as it contravenes unity in worship (tawḥīd fil ʿibāda)
From the points raised in the discussion was on the verse “and seek the means of recourse to Him” The ‘means of recourse’ or wasīla mentioned in the verse was not referring to any means independent of God and hence stood up the test of being consistent with the Quran and Prophetic practice. It was concluded that tawḥīd is theologically accepted across the board by all Muslims, and whilst there differing opinions regarding petitioning God via means, it is accepted by all that directly asking someone independent of God is prohibited.