بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Three persons, when closed in a cave, on the basis of their good deeds

Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrates that he heard the Prophet (PBUH) as saying: “Three persons set out on a journey. They were overtaken by arainstorm and they had to find a shelter in a mountain cave. While they were inside the cave, there fell a rock from the top of the mountain and blocked the entrance completely and there was no way of going out. One of them said to the others: recallthe good deeds that you performed for the sake of Allah and then prayto Allah, the Exalted, that He might rescue you (from this trouble). One of them said: O Allah, I had my parents who were old and my wife and my small children also. I tended the flock of sheep and when I came back to them in the evening, I milked them (the sheep, goats, cows, etc.) and first served that milk to my parents. One day I was obliged to go out to a distant place in search of fodder and I could not come back before evening and found them (the parents) asleep. I milked the animals as I used to milk and brought milk to them and stood by their heads avoiding to disturb them from sleep and I did not deem it advisable to serve milk to my children before serving to them. My children wept and cried. I remained there in that very state and my parents too (remain asleep) until it was morning. And (O Allah) if You are aware that I did this in order to seek Your pleasure, grant us riddance from this trouble. (The rock slipped a bit) that they could see the sky. The second one said: O Allah, I had a female cousin whom I loved more than any man could love the women. I wanted to have sexual intercourse with her but she always refused. Once there was famine in all the area and she needed help. At that time, she agreed to have sex on the condition of getting one hundred dinars. It was with very great difficulty that I could collect one hundred dinars and then paid to her and when I was going to have a sexual intercourse with her, she said: Servant of Allah, fear Allah and do not break the seal (of chastity) but by lawful means. I got up. O Allah, if You are aware that I did this in order to seek Your pleasure, rid us from this trouble. The situation was somewhat eased for them and the rock slipped away a little more. The third one said: Allah, I employed workmen. After they had finished their work I gave themtheir dues (in the form of) a measure of rice, but one of them did not accept them. I used this rice as seeds, and that gave a bumper crop and I became rich enough to have cows and flocks (in my possession). After long came, the same workman to me and said: Fear Allah, and commit no cruelty upon me regarding my dues. I said to him: Takeaway this flock of cows and sheep. He said: Fear Allah and do not make fun of me. I said: I am not making a fun of you. You take the cows and the flocks as they are a product of the amount that was due on me. So he took them. O Allah, if You are aware that I did it for Your pleasure, ease the situation for us. The rocked slipped down from the opening of the cave and Allah relieved them from the trouble.” (Sahih Muslim)

Wasilah: In this hadith, supplication has been made through the means of good deeds. Wasilah means to prayto Allah with reference to certain good deeds or close slaves of Allah like the Prophet (PBUH). While doing so, the person in supplication firmly believes that the actual doer is Allah alone. No one else, even the Prophet (PBUH) has any power to affect anything. But the man expresses his humbleness and supplicates to Allah, after offering praise to Him and salawatto the Prophet (PBUH), with reference to some of his good deeds or the Prophet (PBUH). This is called Wasilah.

Wasilah is of three kinds: (1) Supplicating to Allah through the means of His Names and Attributes, as Allah says in the Holy Quran “And for Allah, there are beautiful names. So, call Him with them.” (Surah al-A’raaf: v. 180) (2) Supplicating to Allah through the means of one’s good deeds like salah, fasting, hajj, zakat, chanting the names of Allah or reciting the Holy Quran, as it has passed in the above quoted hadith in details. (3) Supplicating to Him through the means of some close and pious slaves of Allah, like the Prophet (PBUH).

The entire Muslim community unanimously agrees on thepermissibility of the first two forms of Wasilah. However, there are different opinions of the scholars regarding the third form. A group of scholars even classifies it as an act of shirk and therefore impermissible. But the majority of scholars establish its permissibility through the evidence from the Holy Quran and ahadith. The correct view is that supplicating to Allah through the means of the Prophet (PBUH) should not be classified as an act ofshirk because supplication through the means of the Prophet (PBUH) actually implies supplicating to Allah alone. The person who supplicates through the means of the Prophet (PBUH) does believe that the possibility for acceptance of his supplication to Allah gets increased with the blessing of the Prophet’s name. Itshould, however, be remembered that it is not a condition for acceptance of any supplication to be made through the means of anything. But it is of course useful. The group of scholars permitting the Wasilah with the name of the Prophet (PBUH) presents numerous pieces of evidence from the Holy Quran and ahadith. Two of them are being quoted below:

Anas ibn Malik (RA) narrates that whenever there was drought, Umar bin Al-Khattab used to ask Allah for rain through Al-Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, saying, "O Allah! We used to make Wasilah of our Prophet (PBUH) to ask You for rain, and You would give us. Now we make the Wasilah of the uncle of our Prophet (PBUH)to ask You for rain, so give us rain." And they would be given heavy rain." (Sahih Bukhari)

Another hadith goes thus: Anas ibn Malik (RA) says: Once during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (PBUH), the people of Medinah suffered from drought. So, while the Prophet was delivering a sermon on a Friday a man got up saying, "O Allah's Messenger (PBUH)! the horses and sheep have perished. Will you invoke Allah to bless us with rain?" The Prophet (PBUH) lifted both his hands and invoked. The sky at that time was as clear. Suddenly a wind blew, raising clouds that gathered together, and it started raining heavily. We came out (of the Mosque) wading through the flowing water till we reached our homes. It went on raining till the next Friday when the same man or some other man stood up and said, "O Allah's Messenger (PBUH)! The houses have collapsed; please invoke Allah to withhold the rain." On that, the Prophet (PBUH) smiled and said, "O Allah, (let it rain) around us and not on us." I then looked at the clouds to see them separating forming a sort of a crown aroundMedinah. (Sahih Bukhari)

It is learnt from these two ahadith that the blessed Companions would make the Wasilah of the Prophet(PBUH) for supplication while in trouble.

The first group of the scholars has responded these ahadith by saying that they indicate to the Wasilah made through a living person. On that, the second group of scholars protested that nowhere in the Holy Quran and ahadith it has been said that the Wasilah could be made only through a living person, and not through the dead people. For such specification, we need evidence from the Holy Quran and ahadith which are not available. In short, the opinions of the scholars are different in regards with thepermissibility of making Wasilah through the name of the Prophet (PBUH). But this difference of opinion must not be made a source of discord. All can act according to what they consider as correct. This way, we can maintain unity among the Muslim Ummah which is direly needed today.

In the long hadith quoted at the outset of the article, supplication has been made through the means of three good deeds: (1) service to the parents, (2) avoiding adultery out of fear of Allah, and (3) fulfilling the due rights of humans and maintaining transparency in social dealing.

Service to the parents: The Holy Quran and ahadith have laid down greater emphasis on kind treatment to the parents. In numerous places, Allah Almighty has given the commandment to exert kind treatment to the parents followed by the injunction of monotheism and worship. It clearly reveals the importance of obeying, serving and respecting the parents. The ahadith also gives special emphasis on obeying the parents. May Allah Almighty make us all able to show kind treatment to our parent, obey them and fulfil their due rights!

Safeguarding the private parts: Allah Almighty has introduced a pure way for fulfilling the carnal desire of man, that is marriage. One of the conditions of success of aman, as explained in the early verses of surah al-Muminun is that he should guard his private part from unlawful means of satisfaction. At the end of these verses, Allah Almighty said: it is not a bad thing for the spouses to fulfil their carnal desire with each other. Instead, it is the need of human being. But no other way of satisfying the desire except the permissible way is allowed. As Allah says: those who fulfil their desire in a way other than the lawful way, they are actually transgressors. He also says: “Do not even go close to fornication.” (Surah al-Isra: v. 32)

The Prophet (PBUH) said: Eyes also commit adultery and the adultery of the eyes is evil look. In today’s condition of free intimation of male and female, co-education, uncovering of the body parts and pornographic items and nudity on television and internet, we need to be more vigilant to avoid all these. We need to personally avoid adultery and its means and also keep watch on our children and family. Allah has taught us to keep away even from the ways that lead to fornication. Instead of making hue and cry and protests after theoccurrence of fornication, one needs to keep oneself away from its means.

Maintaining transparency in social dealing: We must not be negligent in fulfilling the due rights of fellow human beings. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Do you know who is poor? They (the Companions of the Holy Prophet) said: A poor man amongst us is one who has neither dirham with him nor wealth. He (the Holy Prophet) said: The poor of my Ummah would be the one who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and Zakat but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire.” (Sahih Muslim)

In the story of all the three persons in the above hadith, the common factors that play akey role are: the fear of Allah, hope for His mercy and fondness to seek His pleasure. To keep on standing with the glass of milk for the whole night at the feet of the parents and not to give it to his children before giving it to the parents even in the case of hunger, to avoid fornication despite of having full control over the beloved girl and to give away all the camels and goats without any wages even in the case of need; that was all done only out of fear of Allah, hope for His mercy and yearning to seek His desire. We should also keep in mind that we would be held accountable to Allah Almighty for every moment of our lives. He is aware of everything we do. We should seek only His desire.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (