Refuting the Ignorant Who Affirms Innovated at-Tawassul – Answering Tanbih al-Ghafilin

Compiled, Translated & Annotated
Abū Khuzaimah Ansari

ʿAudhu Billāhi min ash-Shayṭān al-Rajīm Bismillāh al-Raḥmān al-Raḥīm
Alḥamdullilāhi Rabbil ʿAlamīn, Waṣalatu Wassalām ʿAla Rasūlillahil Karīm, Wa ʿAla Alihī Wa Aṣḥābīhi Wa Man Tabiāhum Bi-Eḥsan Ilaʾ Yaum al-Dīn; Wa Baʿd
All Praise belongs and is directed to the Rabb of everything that exists, Praise and Salutations be upon His  Final beloved Messenger, his revered family and his noble Companions and upon those who follow them in good until the end of times,
 To proceed,


A Sufi Barelwi attempted to answer a paper I wrote and honestly its charitable to call it a refutation if that, it seemed more like copy and pasting what I wrote and then adding some emotive distortions. Nonetheless, here is a brief reply. The paper the author attempted to refute is this one;

Dismantling the Proofs for Tawassul and Istigatha with Conclusive Evidences [Part 2] – The Ḥadīth of Fātimah bint Asad RadiAllahu Anha and the Tawassul of Messenger of Allāh ﷺ Through Himself and the Prophets

The unnamed author, yes ‘unnamed’ wrote the following reply,


BLACK TEXT = My original paper

RED TEXT = Unnamed Barelwi’s reply

BLUE TEXT = My counter reply



Tanbih al-ghafilin li man yunkir at-tawassul bil Anbiya wal salihin

Some pseudo-Salafis have began to make allegations of weakness on the hadith of Sayyida Fatima bint Asad رضى الله عنه .

For example they say that “Imām Dhahabī in his summary of the al-ʿEllal al-Mutānahiyyah Fīʾl Aḥadīth al-Wahiyyah of Ḥāfiẓ Ibn al-Jawzī again grades Rawhū weak thus showing his consistency. (Talkhīs Kitāb al-ʿEllal al-Mutānahiyyah Li-Ibn al-Jawzī (p.91 no. 218), Riyadh: Maktabah al-Rushd, 1419H/1998)

Shaikh Irshād ul-Ḥaq al-Atharī said in his notes to al-ʿEllal after mention the statements of Imām Ibn ʿAdiyy, Imām al-Dāraquṭnī, Imām Ibn Mākūlā, Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Yūnus, the authentication of Imām al-Ḥākim and the entry of Imām Ibn Ḥibbān in his al-Thiqāt as mentioned in Lisān (2:465),

“I say their leniency (tasāhul ie of al-Ḥākim and Ibn Ḥibbān) is well known and al-Shaikh al-Albānī has mentioned in Silsilah al-Daʿīfaʾ no.23 so refer to it.” (al-ʿEllal al-Mutānahiyyah Fīʾl Aḥadīth al-Wahiyyah (1:269 footnote no.5), Edn, Khalīl Mayyis (1:270 footnote no.8)

They do ta’wil of Imam al-Hakim and Imam Ibn Hibban’s tasHih yet they consider us “deviant and people of innovation” for doing tawasul/istighatha. If the followers of the pseudo-Salafi/Wahabi movement have any intellectual honesty, they will tell me why they have not considered Imam al-Hakim or Imam Ibn Hibban a deviant for doing tasHih of a narration on tawassul.

The Barelwi in order to bulk the size of so called reply reproduced large chunks of my paper, whereas his response is a few paragraphs if that. In his response he the unnamed one] fails to make any recourse to the books related to the science of hadith, rijal and or without reference to any classical books other than emotive polemics, so nothing usual here for typical Barelwis so far.

Unnamed begins with the accusation of ta’wil, meaning explaining the authentication of Imams al-Hakim and Ibn Hibban. The unnamed author hid behind a generality, that this attribution to al-Hakim, that he authenticated it came from al-Haythami in his (Majmaʿa al-Zawāʿid (9:256-257), Cairo: Maktabah al-Quddūsī, 1414H:1994) and Majma’a al-Zawaid, 18:736 under no.15388)

So, the accusation levied against me should be put first and foremost to al-Haythami, who despite citing Ibn Hibban’s and al-Hakim’s authentication continued to class it weak!!! I wonder why the unnamed author forgot this very little but important information? I guess, al-Haythami is also a pseudo Salafi? I reproduce the words of al-Haythami and what I wrote in the paper,

“He, al-Haythamī also said after transmitting it in his Majmaʿa al-Zawāʿid said,

“Transmitted by Ṭabarānī in al-Kabīr and in al-Awsaṭ and Rawhū ibn Ṣalāḥ is in the chain who was declared trustworthy by Ibn Ḥibbān and al-Ḥākim, however he has weakness with him and the remaining narrators are the narrators of the Ṣaḥīḥ.” (Majmaʿa al-Zawāʿid (9:256-257), Cairo: Maktabah al-Quddūsī, 1414H:1994)”

al-Haythami himself organised the Thiqat of Ibn Hibban, so he was fully aware of Ibn Hibban’s entry for Rawhu, yet despite this he still graded him weak. (Tartib Thiqat Ibn Hibban,5:393 no.3979. 1st edn (Mansura: Dar Ibn Abbas, 1440H/2019).

Shaykh Hamdi answered the very point made by this brother and i quoted this, and it is well known amonsgt the circles of hadith, that Ibn Hibba and al-Hakim were mutasahil, if someone does not even know the basic, they should refrain from discussing things way over their head. Shaykh Hamdi said,

Shaykh Ḥamdi ʿAbd al-Majīd al-Salafī answers the authentication of Rawhū bin Ṣalāḥ and says,

“As for Rawhū bin Ṣalāḥ who has been declared to be trustworthy by Ibn Ḥibbān and Hakim, then it is well known about both of them that they are mutasāhil ie lenient. He was declared to be weak by Ibn ʿAdiyy and Ibn Yūnus said he would narrate rejected narrations. Darāquṭnī said he is weak in Ḥadīth and Ibn Mākūlā weakened him and Ibn ʿAdiyy said after transmitting two of this ḥadīth he has many āḥadīth and some of them are abandoned.

Thus, this is detailed criticism from the specialist critical analysts, furthermore, his narrations are rejected and this is the case with this narration and when he is alone in reporting such ḥadīth they are rejected and cannot be used as evidence therefore, the ḥadīth is is weak.” (Muʿajam al-Kabīr (24:351-352), Cairo: Maktabah Ibn Taymiyyah, 1415H/1994)

Furthermore, I also quoted the Sufi Shaykh ʿAbd Allah bin Ṣiddīq al-Ghumārī he also acknowledged the weakness of Rawhū. He said,

“Rawhū, his weakness is light.” (Ittihāf al-Azkiyaʾ Bijawāj al-Tawassul bil-Anbiyāʾ waʾl Awliyāʾ (p.11) (?: ʾAlī Raḥmī, p.11) and (p.20) cited from Mafāhīm Yajib ʿAnn Tuṣaḥaḥ (p.146)

So, this charge should be levied against these personalities too, especially Hafiz al-Haythami. In reality this is nothing but pure desperation and a feeble attempt to answer what I wrote. The unnamed author failed to even cite one reference and he called its a refutation!

The Leniency of Imam al-Hakim

Hafiz Ibn Hajr in this introduction to his Lisan ul-Mizan indicates and alludes to the leniency of Imam Ibn Hibban by discussing some of his principles. (Lisan ul-Mizan 1:208-209, ed Abu Guddah Abdul Fattah (Beirut: Dar al-Basha’ir, 1423H / 2002CE).

And the Imam as-Salah, in his reference work for hadith, Ulum al-Hadith also grades Imam al-Hakim as lenient. (Ulum al-Hadith, 22 (24th edition (Damascus/Beirut: Dar al-Fikr /Dar al-Fikr al-Ma’asir, 1440H / 2019CE) ed. Nur ud-Din al-‘Itr

Imams al-Nawawi and al-Suyuti in his Taqrib and Tadrib al-Rawi Fi Sharh Taqrib al-Nawawi both held the view that Imam al-Hakim was lenient. al-Suyuti even went onto say that Imam al-Dhahabi rendered many of al-Hakims hadith in his al-Mustadrak weak and even compiled a treatise of around 100 fabricated narrations. This all indicates towards th leniency of Imam al-Hakim (Tadrib al-Raw 1:112. (Riyadh: Dar al-Taybah, 1422H) 5th edition ed. Abu Qutaybah Nazar Muhammad al-Faryabi).

Imam al-Dhahabi himsef alludes to the lenenicy of al-Hakim and says himself that he collated the fabricated and weak ahadith in al-Hakims al-Mustadrak (Siyar al-A’lam al-Nubala, 17:175)

Imam al-Dhahabi very clearly declares Imam al-Hakim to be Mutassahil, he says, “Like the the type that is referred to as Mutasaahil like al-Hakim (Ma’rifah ur-Ruwat al-Mutakkalm Fihim Bima Yujad ar-Radd, 15. (Dar al-Ma’rifah)

Imam al-Dhahabi said another time. “The mutasahil (lenient ones) are like at-Tirmidhi, al-Hakim and ad-Daraqutni sometimes” (al-Muqizah Fi Ilm Mustalah al-Hadith, 83. ed. Abdul Fattab abu guddah. (Beirut: Maktabah Matbuat al-Islamiyyah, 1425H) 8th edition.

Shaykh Salim al-Hilali brings a long passage from al-Lucknowi’s al-Rafa’ wa’t-Takmil, 282-308, who in turn quotes Hafiz al-Sakhawi saying the same in his Fath ul-Mughith (Kifayah ul-Hifzah Sharh a-Muqaddimah al-Muqizah, 323. (UAE: Maktabah al-Furqan, 1422H / 2001CE) 2nd edition.

Ibn al-Mulaqqin also attributed Tasahul to Imam al-Hakim (al-Muqn’i Fi Ulum al-Hadith, 67. (KSA: Dar al-Fawaz)

Hafiz Ibn Hajr does the same in his al-Nukt Ala Ibn as-Salah, 314.

The author of this below standard reply wont be able to grasp the finer details and Imam Ibn Hibban’s methodology in his ath-Thiqat, which is the core theme of his contention, namely Rawhu’s inclusion in the Thiqat. The Imam outlines he is likely to include narrators who have also been criticised and Rawhu is one of them (Kitab ath-Thiqat, 1:11. 1st edition. (Beirut: DKI, 1419H/1998CE)

al-Lucknowi outlines Ibn Hibban’s methodology in his Thiqat and concludes, Ibn Hibban was lenient in his Tawthiq. (ar-Rafa’ Wat-Takmil Fi Jarh wa’t-Ta’dil, 332-339. 4th edition (Pakistan: Maktaba Maroofia, 1433/2013), edited Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah.

Abu Ghuddah Abdul Fattah endorses this view and also says the view of the Hanafi Zafar Ahmad Thanwi in his Qawaid Fi Ulum al-Hadith, 180. He further said numerous scholars have attributed Tasahul to Imam Ibn Hibban from the classical and contemporary scholars. He goes onto say that even al-Kawthari, who undoubtedly is probably highly respected by the author of this reply, also indicates tasahul of al-Hibban this in several places in his Maqalat, 69, 185, 303. (ar-Rafa’ Wat-Takmil Fi Jarh wa’t-Ta’dil, 335, footnote 2).

This then makes the argument of the detractor redundant as instead of applying Sunni sciences, he applies the usual emotion and this is not how we scrutinise reports. Therefore, in conclusion the TasHih of Imam al-Hakim and the grading of Imam Ibn Hibban is problematic. The Sufi authors have also acknowledged this as I presented in the paper.

Furthermore they say:
“Shaikh Zubair ʿAlī Zaʾī graded the report to weak on account of the weakness of Rawhū bin Ṣalāḥ according to the scholars of Ḥadīth. He also argued, even if he was authentic the second problem is the tadlīs of Sufyān al-Thawrī. Shaikh Zubair said seven scholars of Ḥadīth classed Rawhū to be weak,

(1) Ibn ʿAdiyy, (2) Ibn Yūnus, (3) al-Dāraquṭnī, (4) Ibn Mākūlā, (5) al-Dhahabī, (6) Ibn al-Jawzī, (7) Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin Zakariyyah al-Baghdādī

While Imāms Ibn Ḥibbān, al-Ḥākim authenticated him and Yaʿqūb bin Sufyān al-Fasawī narrated from him. These three authentications are rejected based on the criticism of the majority of the scholars of ḥadīth. (al-Ḥadīth no.76, Ramaḍḥān 1431H/September 2010, p.9-12).Shaikh Zubair ʿAlī Zaʾī graded the report to weak on account of the weakness of Rawhū bin Ṣalāḥ according to the scholars of Ḥadīth. He also argued, even if he was authentic the second problem is the tadlīs of Sufyān al-Thawrī. Shaikh Zubair said seven scholars of Ḥadīth classed Rawhū to be weak,

(1) Ibn ʿAdiyy, (2) Ibn Yūnus, (3) al-Dāraquṭnī, (4) Ibn Mākūlā, (5) al-Dhahabī, (6) Ibn al-Jawzī, (7) Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin Zakariyyah al-Baghdādī

While Imāms Ibn Ḥibbān, al-Ḥākim authenticated him and Yaʿqūb bin Sufyān al-Fasawī narrated from him. These three authentications are rejected based on the criticism of the majority of the scholars of ḥadīth. (al-Ḥadīth no.76, Ramaḍḥān 1431H/September 2010, p.9-12).

Let’s assume this is true- for sake of argument. There is a big question – what is the similarity between the tad`if of, Imam al-Daraqutni or Ibn al-Jawzi or Ibn Adiyy or Allamah al-Dhahabi and those of today, like Zubair Alizai? One main difference – the former `ulama never had the manhaj of denying tawassul. Check Siyar al-Alam al-Nubala 12:469 for Imam al-Dhahabi narrating about wasilah through Imam al-Bukhari رضى الله عنه and 16:400, ed. Arna`ut for wasilah through the Messenger ﷺ .

This is purely clutching at straws and saving oneself after they have sunk neck deep. The unnamed detractor provides no Hadith based answer except another digressive point which is the usual tactic of Barelwis. What exactly does the narration under discussion and the scrutiny of its chain and narrators have to do with someone allegedly making tawassul through the grave of Imam al-Bukhari? Precisely, nothing. The  unnamed chap seems to forget the Imams of the Salaf who declared Rawhu weak while Shaykh Zubair Ali Za’i relayed this information. Honestly at times there is a serious level of disingenuous by Barelwis, who instead of presenting a direct answer, tend to skirt around digressive points. At this point the detractors is literally making things up to support his view. Nonetheless since he has presented this point lets scrutinise it briefly.

1. The unnamed detractor quotes a report from a book of biographies of Imam al-Dhahabi, claiming then that he believed in Tawassul is an outright lie since the task of a biographer is to quote incidences related to the entry. If this was the case, we have to attribute to Imam al-Dhahabi as a belief system everything he quotes in his 30 volume of the Siyar, and of course this is absurd but for sure a Barelwi would bring such a silly point to fool the readers.

The detractor surprisingly did manage to quote the correct reference for this report, namely Siyar al-A’lam an-Nabula, 12:469 (Beirut: ar-Risalah al-A’lamiah, 1438H/2017CE) and the chain Imam al-Dhahabi quotes it from through Abu Ali al-Ghassani who died in 498H (Siyar 19:150).

Imam al-Dhahabi died 748H and therefore there is a gap of 250 years in the chain. In conclusion this chain is disconnected and hence weak with all scholars of hadith, the early and later ones. It is therefore upon the unnamed Barelwi detractor to first bring the chain, then prove its connected and continuous chain and only then proceed to authenticate and use it as evidence. It is unsurprising to learn this since this is a hallmark of Barelwi Sufis who claim link and chain connections to knowledge but terribly bring chainless report to prove their Aqidah. Barelwism has no hope if this is the best they come with him as a reply as their Tanbih al-Ghafilin, it seems more appropriate for the detractor to apply this to himself due to his dire negligence of hadith and Aqidah sciences.

As for this claim :

“Muḥammad ibn ʿAlawī al-Malikī quotes it in his book and says,

“There is a difference of opinion regarding one of the narrators, Rawhū ibn Ṣalāḥ, however Ibn Ḥibbān mentions him in his al-Thiqāt and al-Ḥākim said he was safe and trustworthy. So both of them, the two Ḥāfiẓs authenticated the ḥadīth. Likewise al-Haythamī followed up on this in (Majmaʿa al-Zawāʿid) and said Rawhū bin Ṣalāḥ is in the chain, Ibn Ḥibbān declared him to be trustworthy as did al-Ḥākim, however, he has some weakness and the remaining narrators are the narrator of the Ṣaḥīḥs.” (Mafāhīm Yajib ʿAnn Tuṣaḥaḥ (p.146), Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 1430H/2009)

Maḥmūd Saʿīd Mamdūḥ does the same and claims the narration is Ḥasan. He also quotes the statements of the scholars as we have mentioned above. He says the scholars have differed over Rawhū, some have said he is weak and others have declared him trustworthy. (Rafʿ ul-Minārah Li-Takhrīj Aḥadīth al-Tawassul wal-Ziyārah (p.147-148), Cairo, Maktabah al-Azhariyyah Lit-Turāth, 2006)

ʿIsā Himyarī jubilantly went on to assert the Ḥadīth is Ṣaḥīḥ ie authentic according to the conditions of Imām Ibn Ḥibbān and Imām al-Ḥākim and Ḥasan according to the conditions of others. (al-Tāʾmul Fī Ḥaqīqah al-Tawassul, p.214-215)

It is a little imaginative of Himyarī to say the ḥadīth is authentic according to the condition of both Imām Imām Ibn Ḥibbān and Imām al-Ḥākim!

G.F. Ḥaddād has also attempted to authenticate this report while relying on the works of Maḥmūd Saʿīd Mamduḥ and Muḥammad bin ʿAlawī al-Malikī. He pushes the line of argument of Maḥmūd Saʿīd Mamduḥ that the criticism is undetailed which is laughable as we have shown in this discourse. The Sūfī Aḥmad Daḥlān has also attempted to authenticate this report as does al-Ḥabīb al-Jifrī.

The central argument of the detractors is that Rawhū is differed over and that the criticism levied against him is not detailed but rather general and therefore we take the general praise and authentication of him.

It is well known and accepted by the detractors themselves that Imām Ibn Ḥibbān and Imām al-Ḥākim are both mutāsahil ie lenient with their gradings and authentication. It does not make sense for them to accept this and leave the criticism. They couple this argument with the fact the criticism and discrediting is undetailed and vague, therefore one retorts to the position of praise.

This has been answered by Shaikh al-Albānī and the scholars before him wherein he mentions the reasons Rawhū is weak. The main reason being he would narrate rejected narrations and that his narrations were rejected themselves. At times he would be a lone reporter of narration without any support.

Shaikh ʿAmr bin ʿAbd al-Munʿim explains that Imāms al-Ṭabarānī, Abū Nuʿaym and Ḥāfiẓ al-Haythamī have all declared this to be a lone report of Rawhū ibn Ṣalāḥ and none of the other students and companions of Sufyān narrates this from except Rawhū ibn Ṣalāḥ and these other students of Sufyān were memorisers and trustworthy narrators.

As for Imām Ibn Ḥibbān citing Rawhū in his al-Thiqat, it is not tantamount to trustworthiness as he is known to be lenient ie Mutasāhil. Whatever he mentions under his entry in his al-Thiqāt does not clarify the affair of Rawhū except that it is information as we have shown under his entry, which has preceded. Rather we find this entry alludes to all of his narrations being of the rejected type.”

It is responded to here:

“Abu Nuaym chains contain Rawh ibn Salàh al-Hàkim asserted was trustworthy and highly dependable (thiqa ma’mun) –as mentioned by Ibn Hajar in Lisàn al-Mïzàn (2:465 #1876), Ibn Hibbàn included him in al-Thiqàt (8:244), and al-Fasawï considered him trustworthy (cf. Mamdoh, Raf‘ [p. 148]).

Al-Haythamï (9:257) said: “Al-Tabarànï narrated it in al-Kabïr and al-Awsat and its chain contains Rawh ibn Salàh whom Ibn Hibbàn and al-Hàkim declared trustworthy although there is some weakness in him, and the rest of its sub-narrators are the men of sound hadïth.”

I was unable to find Abu Hàtim’s declaration of Rawh as trustworthy reported by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Alawï in his Mafàhïm (10th ed. p. 145 n. 1). Nor does Shaykh Mahmod Mamdoh in his discussion of this hadïth in Raf‘ al-Minàra (p. 147-155) mention such a grading on the part of Abu Hàtim although he considers Rawh “truthful” (sadaq) and not “weak” (da‘ïf), according to the rules of hadïth science when no reason is given with regard to a narrator’s purported discreditation (jarhmubham ghayr mufassar).

Mamdoh (p. 149-150) noted that although Albànï in his Silsila Da‘ïfa (1:32-33) claims it is a case of explicated discreditation (jarh mufassar) yet he himself declares identically-formulated discreditation cases as unexplicated and therefore unacceptable in two different contexts! Ibn ‘Alawï adds that the hadïth is also narrated from Ibn ‘Abbàs by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr –without specifying where –and from Jàbir by Ibn Abï Shayba, but without the du‘à.

Imàm al-Kawtharï said of this hadïth in his Maqàlàt (p. 410): “It provides textual evidence whereby there is no difference between the living and the dead in the context of using a means (tawassul), and this is explicit tawassul through the Prophets, while the hadïth of the Prophet from Abu Sa‘ïd al-Khudrï ‘O Allàh, I ask You by the right of [the promise made to] those who ask You (bihaqqi al-sà’ilïna ‘alayk)’* constitutes tawassul through the generality of Muslims, both the living and the dead.”

Furthermore, the hadith of Hadrat Fatima bint Asad رضى الله عنه is proving the istihbab or fadail of tawasul and daif ahadith are accepted in fada`il.

There is no answer from the detractor except that I had already mentioned it on my article. We already know some scholars of hadith praised Rawhu but he was criticised by numerous others and the criticism takes precedence and the author even knows this yet the Barelwi sect will try anything to slip falsehood through. Interesting to Ibn Alawi used Abu Hatim when that does not even exist while our detractors is concerned with Tasahul. It does not matter how many other chains there are if they cannot be substantiated as the detractors acknowledges. al-Kawtharis statement is redundant as it it is another attempt to mix the issues up, in order to seek tawassul from the dead you need clear authentic evidences which you have not provided, and as Shaykh al-Albani has done in his book besides many others proved permissible tawassul from authentic texts.

If the claim was Istihbab then the detractor and his Sufi Barelwi elders would not have had a problem with those who did not make tawassul with the dead, so its not a case of Istihbab with you. The unnamed guy then admits the narration could be weak and then changes his line of argument by saying weak narrations can be used in Fadhail? So, you admit the narration is weak? What the detractor should be more concerned with is, if Tawassul is matter of creed and not a matter of fiqh with them, they need to bring mutawatir ahadith and not Ahad ahadith for them to be taken in Aqidah, since this is the core principle of Sufi Barelwi Ash’arim. What is the point of responding if you don’t follow your own theological principles.

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