Wednesday 15 May 2019

Understanding Quran: Do we need saints as intermediaries to reach Allah?

The post today to me is very important for I have been in quest of an answer to one of my quires for there are many believers around us who seem to have got carried away with some notions mostly arising from not reading and understanding the Holy Qur'an. My query: Do we need saints as intermediaries to reach Allah?

In the part of the world where I live, I see many believers shirking to approach Allah and finding intermediaries to take their case to Allah for they feel they are too small or are sinners and thus are not worthy of praying directly to the Master of the Universe. While I do not blame them entirely for they have been told by their imams that they must find someone close to Allah and "request" them to plead their case to Allah for they do not know the etiquettes to approach Allah.

This has been the reason that there are graves of saints which are flocked with the believers with weak faith due to lack of understanding the Qur'an and understanding the clear message that Allah gives out to them and in fact to the entire humanity.

So while trying to understand the Holy Qur'an and sharing the exegesis / tafseer of the surahs / chapters of the Holy Qur'an I found the answer to my query; answered by none but Allah Himself in Surah Az Zumar:
Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only. And those who take Auliya' (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): "We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah." Verily, Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allah guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever. [Surah Az Zumar 39:3]
This verse carried a clear message for the disbelievers of Makkah and the polytheists the world over who generally say the same: We do not worship other beings regarding them as our creators: the Creator is only Allah, and He alone is the real Deity; but He is too high for us to have access to Him. Therefore, we make these saintly beings a means to convey our prayers and our petitions to Allah.

Although this verse was meant for the disbelievers of the time, how true it is even today when many Muslims still seek help from Allah by asking a saint or a pious man to pray for them. In fact a section of religious men have drilled this notion in the minds of their subjects that Allah is NOT for the ordinaries to be requested directly and that they need an intermediary to approach Allah on their behalf to forward their requests. 

The verse and its explanation clearly states that this line of thinking is against the spirit of Islam and one should understand Islam by reading Qur'an and its exegesis / tafseer so that one is not mislead.

Then again later in Surah Zumar, Allah once again comes back to the same subject to make it clearer so that believers do not go astray like disbelievers:
And when Allah Alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter are filled with disgust (from the Oneness of Allah) and when those (whom they obey or worship) besides Him [like all false deities other than Allah, it may be a Messenger like 'Eesa (Jesus) - son of Maryam (Mary), 'Uzair (Ezra), an angel, a pious man, a jinn, or any other creature even idols, graves of religious people, saints, priests, monks, etc.] are mentioned, behold, they rejoice!  [39:45]
Now once again  there is a caution - EVEN for some Muslims: This evil is common to almost all polytheistic people of the world, and even some unfortunate Muslims also suffer from it, They profess with the tongue that they believe in Allah, but when One Allah alone is mentioned before them, their faces are distorted, and they say: This man certainly does not believe in the saints and holy men, that is why he talks of Allah and Allah alone. And if others besides Allah are mentioned, they are delighted, and their faces brighten up with joy. Their this attitude shows as to who is the actual object of their love and esteem. 

Allama Alusi, in his commentary Ruh al-Maani, has related his own experience here. He says: One day I saw that a man was invoking the help of a dead saint in his affliction. I said: O bondsman of Allah, invoke Allah, for He Himself says: If My servants ask you, O Prophet, concerning Me, tell them I am quite near to them. I hear and answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls to Me, (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 186), Hearing this, the man became angry. The people told me afterwards that he said: This man is a denier of the saints. And some others heard him also say: The saints answer the prayers more promptly than does Allah.

So please read and understand the Holy Qur'an by reading exegesis / tafseer written by prominent scholars and spread the right explanation to those who are at loss to understand the message contained in the Divine Book for it is our moral obligation and religious duty. Remember we need to understand Qur'an to understand Islam better and be a better Muslim.

Author's Note: The explanation of the verses above is from "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. Those not believing his work would not agree with him - but those who have a rationale mind and have read Qur'an deliberately would know what truth is.

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