Volume 3, Book 34, Number 418 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “While three persons were walking, rain began to fall and they had to enter a cave in a mountain. A big rock rolled over and blocked the mouth of the cave. They said to each other, ‘Invoke Allah with the best deed you have performed (so Allah might remove the rock)’. One of them said, ‘O Allah! My parents were old and I used to go out for grazing (my animals). On my return I would milk (the animals) and take the milk in a vessel to my parents to drink. After they had drunk from it, I would give it to my children, family and wife. One day I was delayed and on my return I found my parents sleeping, and I disliked to wake them up. The children were crying at my feet (because of hunger). That state of affairs continued till it was dawn. O Allah! If You regard that I did it for Your sake, then please remove this rock so that we may see the sky.’ So, the rock was moved a bit.
The second said, ‘O Allah! You know that I was in love with a cousin of mine, like the deepest love a man may have for a woman, and she told me that I would not get my desire fulfilled unless I paid her one-hundred Dinars (gold pieces). So, I struggled for it till I gathered the desired amount, and when I sat in between her legs, she told me to be afraid of Allah, and asked me not to deflower her except rightfully (by marriage). So, I got up and left her. O Allah! If You regard that I did if for Your sake, kindly remove this rock.’ So, two-thirds of the rock was removed.
Then the third man said, ‘O Allah! No doubt You know that once I employed a worker for one Faraq (three Sa’s) of millet, and when I wanted to pay him, he refused to take it, so I sowed it and from its yield I bought cows and a shepherd. After a time that man came and demanded his money. I said to him: Go to those cows and the shepherd and take them for they are for you. He asked me whether I was joking with him. I told him that I was not joking with him, and all that belonged to him. O Allah! If You regard that I did it sincerely for Your sake, then please remove the rock.’ So, the rock was removed completely from the mouth of the cave.”
This Hadith is an example of tawassul. We learnt previously that the correct Islamic tawassul is of various types. Seeking to draw close to Allaah through righteous deeds is one of them, whereby a person asks Allaah by virtue of the best deeds that he has done, such as salaah, fasting, reading Qur’aan, avoiding haraam things, and so on.
It happened with me and my friends once. We were out stuck in the rain with no umbrellas and no ride. Then we thought to ask Allah by virtue of our good deeds to ease our situation. Alhamdulillah it worked. You should try it some time! :)
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Dinar:
My father said, “I heard Ibn ‘Umar reciting the poetic verses of Abu Talib:
“And a white (person) (i.e. the Prophet) who is requested to pray for rain and who takes care of the orphans and is the guardian of widows.”
Salim’s father (Ibn ‘Umar) said, “The following poetic verse occurred to my mind while I was looking at the face of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) while he was praying for rain. He did not get down till the rain water flowed profusely from every roof-gutter:
“And a white (person) who is requested to pray for rain and who takes care of the orphans and is the guardian of widows”… And these were the words of Abu Talib.”
Whenever drought threatened them, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, used to ask Al-Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib to invoke Allah for rain. He used to say, “O Allah! We used to ask our Prophet to invoke You for rain, and You would bless us with rain, and now we ask his uncle to invoke You for rain. O Allah ! Bless us with rain.”* And so it would rain.
*It is of great importance to notice that it is permissible for one to request a living religious person to invoke Allah on his behalf; but if you ask Allah through a dead or an absent (person etc.) then it is not allowed. But it is absolutely forbidden to ask or request the dead for anything, it is regarded as Shirk (to worship others along with Allah).
Another thing is Tawassul. It means ‘seeking to draw close’. Allah says in the Qur’an (interpretation of the meaning):
…[they] desire means of access to their Lord…” [al-Isra’ 17:57]
i.e. means of drawing close to Him.
There are two types of Tawassul:
- Correct Islamic Tawassul
- through acts of worship which He loves and which please Him
- by means of Allah’s Names and Attributes
- by means of faith and Tawheed
- asking Allah by virtue of the best deeds that one has done
- Forbidden Tawassul or Bid`ah
- by means of things He does not like and that do not please Him (words/deeds/beliefs). Example: calling on dead people, equating them with Allah in attributes.