To worship means to obey the All-Mighty and the Prophet (s.a.w) by carrying out what Allah and His Prophet have ordered us to do and by abstaining from what they have forbidden us to do. We carry out these actions with faith, humility and sincere devotion to Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w). The Noble Qur'an states:
In other words, he has ordained that He Alone be worshipped. Allah says in the Noble Qur'an:
These verses make it amply clear that Allah Alone is to be worshipped and His Help alone is to be sought. Allah also says:
There are several verses in the Noble Qur'an in this context pointing out the necessity and the duty to worship Allah Alone. Invocation, as you all know, is, in all its forms, a manner of worship; it is therefore not permissible for anybody to invoke anyone and to seek the help of anyone nor plead for assistance from anyone except Allah, as stated in the above verses. However, in matters pertaining to the daily routine of life and in connection with material things on which every human being has control, a person may seek the help of another person; this is not worship; a person may for example, seek the help of another in order to ward off some evil that may occur to his son or servant etc.; one may for example ask for help from his colleague either directly or by correspondence to attend to the building of his house or repairing of his motor car. In this context, Allah the All-Mighty says while narrating the story of the Prophet Moses (Musa pbuh):
The help and aid which a man seeks from his fellow human beings at times of conflict is like the above said help. But seeking help and aid from the dead, the jinns, the angels, the trees and the stones is an act of major polytheism; it is similar to the practices of the polytheists of the early ages with their gods such as Al-Uzza and Al-Laat, etc. Similarly, it is an act of polytheism to believe that certain human beings enjoy or possess certain supernatural powers which belong only to Allah the All-Mighty. It is believed that such people can help in curing the sick, showing the path of right guidance to those who go astray, attaining the Paradise and salvation from the Hell. The verses quoted above and the sayings of the Prophet referred to, emphasize the need to guide all people to the path of Allah in all matters and to be sincere in worshipping Allah and Allah Only because all human beings have been created for that purpose and have been thus ordained as mentioned in the verses quoted above. Allah the All-Mighty also says:
And the Prophet (s.a.w) has said as narrated by Mu'adh:
In another tradition narrated by Mas'ud the Prophet said:
When the Prophet (s.a.w) sent the Companion Mu'adh to Yemen, he said to him:
It is narrated in the Collection of Ahadith compiled by Imam Muslim that according to a saying narrated by Tariq bin Ashyam Al-Ashja 'i that the Prophet (s.a.w) said:
There are numerous Ahadith (traditions) on this subject.
The Faith in the Oneness of Allah is the sum and substance of the religion of Islam; It is the basic principle and the most important of all the duties. And it is for this purpose that the human beings and the jinns were created. It was for the same object that the Messengers of Allah were sent. We had earlier quoted several verses from the Noble Qur'an affirming this fact. Among such verses are:
Referring to the Prophets Noa, Hud, Saleh and Sho'aid (a), Allah the All-Mighty says that these Prophets advised their people:
This was the Message of all the Prophets. All those who oppose the Prophets have themselves confessed that the Prophets had commanded them to worship Allah Only and to give up the worship of all other gods. The Noble Qur'an says in this context, referring to the story of 'Ad that they told the Prophet Hud (a)
And Allah the All-Mighty says about the people of the tribe of Quraish when they were called upon by our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), to worship Allah Only and to give up worshipping the angels, the friends and guides, idols and trees, etc.
And in the Surah (Chapter) As-Saffat, Allah says:
There are many more verses in the Noble Qur'an and saying of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) which expound this concept. May Allah grant success to us all in understanding our religion and in educating ourselves regarding the true path of Allah.
All the invocations and different expressions seeking help and succour are various forms of polytheism because they are addressed as worship to other than Allah; and they seek to achieve things through the dead and the departed whereas Allah Alone can grant those things.
Such invocations are more worse forms of polytheism when compared to the polytheism of the early ages because the people of the early ages indulged in polytheism only when they enjoyed material comfort, peace and luxury. But at times of crisis and hardships they worshipped Allah Alone because they know that Allah Alone can bring salvation to them from their hardships. The Noble Qur'an refers to those polytheists and says:
If the latter-day polytheists were to say, "We do not mean that those whose help we seek can by themselves benefit us and cure the sick among us or be of use to us or hurt us; we only mean to seek their intercession with Allah for us, the answer to such an observation should be as follows:
Verily, the disbelievers of the early period also had the same purpose and desire; they too did not believe that their gods create or give livelihood or do good or harm.
Such a statement will negate what Allah as mentioned about them in the Noble Qur'an. Those disbelievers also claimed that they only sought, through such worship, the intercession and good offices of those whom they worshipped so that they may take them nearer to Allah. Allah says in the Noble Qur'an in the context of the story of the Prophet Younus (a)
Thus Allah states in unmistakable words that He has no knowledge of any intercessor from the heavens or from the earth as claimed by the disbelievers. So, the existence of anything not known to Allah does not in fact exist because nothing is hidden from His Knowledge. Allah says in the Noble Qur'an:
It is evident from these verses that Allah Alone is to be worshipped and such worship should be in all sincerity because Allah has commanded the Prophet (s.a.w) to be sincere in worship. This command applies to all the believers. In the above quoted verse, the word Ad-Deen meaning religion in Arabic has been interpreted as worship; worship means obedience to Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w) as stated earlier; it includes invocation, seeking help, fear, hope, vows and sacrifices besides prayers and fasting and other duties as ordained by Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w). Later on, Allah says in the Noble Qur'an:
In other words, they sought to say that their only purpose was to achieve nearness to Allah. In answer to this, Allah says:
Thus the falsehood of their claim that their gods take them nearer to Allah has been exposed and the worship they perform has been described as blasphemy. It should therefore be clear to any person who has even a minimum of intelligence that the source of blasphemy and polytheism in the earlier ages was because Prophets, friends and advisors besides trees and stones and other creations were considered intercessors between the worshippers and Allah, and they believed that such intercessors achieve for them their hopes and aspirations, needs and ambitions without the Permission nor the Consent of Allah the All-Mighty. It was considered to be like the recommendation of the ministers to the kings and they (such worshipers) presumed Allah, the All-Mighty to be equal to kings and leaders and therefore, they uttered words with one may utter when making a petition to a king or a leader. This is the worst form of falsehood because Allah the All-Mighty has none similar to Him and He cannot be compared with His Own creations; no one intercedes with Him without His Permission; intercession is granted only to the believers in the Oneness of Allah; Allah is Omnipotent and Omniscient and He is Most Merciful; He does not fear anyone and neither can anyone frighten Him since He has power over all His servants and He Alone disposes their affairs as He wills.
On the contrary, kings and leaders cannot have power over anything and they do not have knowledge about everything. So they need to have people to assist them in matters which they are unable to achieve or implement. Hence, they are always surrounded by an entourage of ministers, advisers and bodyguards, etc. They also need to be informed about those who are in want; this is yet another reason for their being surrounded by ministers and advisers. But Allah the All-Mighty is above all such needs and all such assistance. He is more merciful to them than their mothers; and He is the Just Ruler, Who as per His Supreme Knowledge, Wisdom and Ability assigns everything to its proper place; it is therefore not permissible to compare Him with His Own creations. It is for this reason that Allah the All-Mighty has stated in the Noble Qur'an that He is the Creator and the Sustainer; it is He Who responds to the call of one who is in distress and exposes the evil, gives life and takes it away; and does so many other actions. The dispute between the polytheists and the Messengers of Allah is in fact about the sincerity in worshipping Allah Alone. The Noble Qur'an says:
There are several verses in this context in the Noble Qur'an. We had earlier referred to the verses that point out that the dispute, between the Messengers of Allah and the nations, was regarding sincerity in worshipping alone. We may quote another verse:
Regarding intercession, Allah the All-Mighty has mentioned in several places in the Noble Qur'an, the real meaning of intercession. We may for example quote:
Allah will not accept from His worshippers blasphemy heathenism; He wil accept only gratitude expressed by the belief in the Oneness of Allah and obedience to Him. It is stated in the Noble Qur'an:
It is narrated in the Collections of Traditions (Ahadith) compiled by Imam Bukhari that Abu Huraira said that when he asked the Prophet (s.a.w): "Who shall be the most happy people with your intercession, O Prophet of Allah?" The Prophet said:
It is narrated on the authority of Anas that the Prophet (s.a.w) said:
There are several verses in the Noble Qur'an and several Ahadith (traditions) of the Prophet which emphasize the fact that worship is a right preserved for Allah Alone and it is not permissible to perform any worship to anyone other than Allah, whether they be the Prophets or any other person. They also emphasize the fact that intercession is with Allah the All-Mighty Alone as said in the Noble Qur'an:
No one shall deserve the intercession except by His Permission. And He, the All-Mighty, will permit for intercession to persons who only believe in the Oneness of Allah as stated earlier. Therefore, the polytheists will not be granted intercession. The Noble Qur'an says:
"...There will be no friend, nor an intercessor for the Zalimun
The expression Zalimum (wrong-doers) in the above verse is interpreted as the polytheists; this is stated in another verse:
With regard to your question concerning some of the Sufis (mystics) who utter in the masajid and in some other places phrases such as 'O Lord, grant peace and blessings on the one whom you have ordained to be instrumental in the unfolding of Your Mighty Secrets and in opening the doors to the sublime lights of Your Mercy and who has thus become Your vicegerent and who has inherited Your Hidden Secrets... etc.' The answer to this would be:
All such utterances are nothing but pedantry and empty talk against which our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) has warned us. It is narrated in the Collection of Traditions (Ahadith) by Imam Muslim on the authority of 'Abdullah bin Masud that the Prophet (s.a.w) said:
The Prophet (s.a.w) repeated this remark three times.
Imam Al-Khattabi has defined a pedant as one who delves into problems and issues, which are beyond his intellectual abilities, as was indulged by the scholastic theologians.
Abu-Sa'adat Ibn-al-Athir has said that the pedants are those who show extravagance in their speech and try to speak too loudly. The Arabic word for this expression Mutanatti' is derived from Nat' meaning forepart of the palate. Later, the word was used for every extravagant either in speech or action.
Any person, even with a minimum of intelligence, will understand from the above that such utterances referred to, in praise of our Prophet (s.a.w), is a form of affectation and pedantry forbidden in our religion. The correct approach for a Muslim in this context should be to learn the Traditional method of sending Salat (blessing) on the Prophet (s.a.w) Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim have narrated in their Collections on the authority of Ka'b bin Ujrah that the Companions of the Prophet (s.a.w) said to the Prophet (s.a.w): O Prophet of Allah, we have been ordered to send Salat (blessings) on you; how shall we send Salat (blessing) on you?" the Prophet said:
It is also narrated in the Collections of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim on the authority of Abi Humaid As-Sa'idi that some people asked the Prophet (s.a.w): " How shall we send Salat (blessing) on you, O Prophet of Allah?" the Prophet (s.a.w) said,
It is narrated in the Collection of Imam Muslim on the authority of Abi Mas'ud Al-Ansari that Basheer bin Sa'd said:
All such utterances that are authentically attributed to the Prophet (s.a.w) should be the only utterances used by the Muslim whenever he seeks to pray for the Prophet and ask for Allah's benediction for him. A Muslim should abide only by these authentic words because the Prophet (s.a.w) knows best regarding the words that are to be used for him and he also knows best regarding the words that are to be used for his Lord. As regards, all the innovated and affected words and phrases besides the words which are loaded with the possibility of incorrect connotations such as the words mentioned in your query; such words should not be used because they are affected forms of speech and because they can be interpreted with false meanings and also for the reason they are different from the words selected by the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w). He has instructed his Ummah (nation) and he is the best informed among all human beings and the most righteous; he is the least inclined to affectations. May the best of peace and blessings from our Lord be on him. I hope that the discussion I have presented in these pages, supported by adequate proofs, shall suffice in explaining the truth of the doctrine of the Oneness of Allah and in exposing polytheism besides explaining the differences between the polytheists of the early ages and those of the later ages in this regard.
A person who seeks to know the truth should be convinced by the explanation given regarding the permissible form of Salat (blessing) on the Prophet (s.a.w). But if a person has no desire to know the truth, he can indulge in his own fanciful thoughts. Allah has referred to them in the Noble Qur'an and said:
In the above verse Allah the All-Mighty has classified the people in two groups with regard to their attitude to our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and his mission; One group responds to Allah and to His Messenger whereas the other group follows its own lusts and Allah says that those who follow their lusts are deprived of all guidance from Him.
We pray to Allah the All-Mighty, that we may be safe from becoming the followers of lusts and may Allah make you and all of us among those who always abide by the path of Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w) and by those who enlighten us about his Divine Law (Shari'a) and caution us against whatever is in violation of it, such as innovations and fanciful opinions. Verily, Allah is Magnanimous and Generous. Peace and blessings be on His slave and Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and on his Family, his Companions and his followers until the Day of Judgement.