Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Prophet of Chaos and Idolatry Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue from where we left off.

The same exact hadith corpus claim that Muhammad informed his followers that supplications/invocations are the very essence of worship:

296. The excellence of supplication

712. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, "Nothing is dearer to Allah than supplication."

713. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, "The noblest act of worship IS SUPPLICATION."

714. An-Nu'man ibn Bashir reported that the Prophet said, "Supplication IS WORSHIP." Then he recited, "Call on Me and I will answer you." (Al-Adab al-Mufrad al-Bukhari, translated by Aisha Bewley, XXX. Supplication; capital emphasis ours)


3828. It was narrated from Nu‘man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah said: “Indeed the supplication IS THE WORSHIP.” Then he recited: “And your Lord said: Invoke Me, I will respond to you.”[1] (SAHIH) (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah, From Hadith No. 3657 to 4341, Volume 5, 34. The Chapter On Supplication, Chapter 1. The Virtue of Supplication, p. 95; capital and underline emphasis ours)

[1] Ghafir 40:60. (Ibid.)

The Quran basically concurs since it expressly teaches that all forms of worship, including supplications for help, are to be directed to Allah alone:

You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). S. 1:5 Hilali-Khan

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way. S. 2:186 Y. Ali

And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!" S. 40:60 Y. Ali

And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah… Say (O Muhammad): "I invoke only my Lord (Allah Alone), and I associate none as partners along with Him.” S. 72:18, 20 Hilali-Khan

The Quran even warns and/or condemns those who call upon others besides or alongside Allah:

And do not call besides Allah on that which can neither benefit you nor harm you, for if you do then surely you will in that case be of the unjust. And if Allah should afflict you with harm, then there is none to remove it but He; and if He intends good to you there is none to repel His grace; He brings it to whom He pleases of His servants; and He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. S. 10:106-107 Shakir

Say (O Muhammad to these pagans): "Think! All that you invoke besides Allah show me! What have they created of the earth? Or have they a share in (the creation of) the heavens? Bring me a Book (revealed before this), or some trace of knowledge (in support of your claims), if you are truthful!" And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them? S. 46:5 Hilali-Khan

These happen to be some of the various texts that certain Muslims, such as the so-called Salafis, employ to prove that calling upon Muhammad (or anyone else for that matter) is a blatant act of shirk, which is an unforgiveable sin (cf. Q. 2:22; 4:48, 116; 39:53).

Note, for instance, what the following Islamic website states concerning this issue:

“Praise be to Allaah. 

Yes, this counts as shirk, because it is seeking the help of the Messenger and complaining about one’s situation to him. This implies that the Messenger can hear the call of those who call upon him in any place, and that he helps those who seek his help, and that he can relieve their distress. The Messenger was not able to do this when he was alive, so how about after his death? He does not know the unseen, and he does not possess the power to cause harm or bring benefits to himself or to others. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings)…

“So people should not call on anyone except Allaah; they should not seek the help of anyone except Him; they should not place their hopes in anyone except Him; they should not put their trust in anyone except Him. Allaah alone is the One in Whose hand is sovereignty and goodness, and He is Able to do all things.

“Knowing the unseen, relieving distress, hearing the call of those who call upon Him and responding to them, are all things which only the Lord does. Whoever attributes any of these things to anyone else is a mushrik who is guilty of major shirk (shirk akbar)…” (Islam Question and Answer, General Supervisor: Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, 10289: Is this durood shirk?; bold emphasis ours)

Elsewhere it writes:

Calling upon anyone other than Allaah to meet one’s needs, relieve distress or heal disease is insanity caused by lack of understanding…

If a person calls upon one who cannot bring benefit or cause harm, who cannot command or prohibit, who cannot hear or respond, whether that is a Prophet, a Messenger, a jinn or an angel, or a star or planet or rock or tree, or one of the dead – all of that is serious wrong-doing, and a going astray from the Straight Path. It is shirk, the association of others with Allaah the Almighty…  

Calling upon anyone or anything other than Allaah is shirk, and shirk is a great sin, indeed it is the greatest sin. Allaah will forgive any sin for whomever He wills, except for shirk… (Ibid., 11402: Du’aa’ is to be made to Allaah alone; bold emphasis ours)


It is not permissible to ask Allaah by the virtue of anyone, not even by the virtue of the Prophets or Messengers or awliyaa’ or righteous people. No one can compel Allaah to do anything. It is not permissible to ask Him in any way except by His Names and Attributes…

With regard to saying to the occupant of a grave, “O So and so, help me,” this is obviously shirk, because it is a supplication to someone other than Allaah. Asking by the virtue of someone is a means to shirk, and calling upon a created being is shirk in worship. (Ibid., 1439: Asking Allaah by the virtue of So and so; bold emphasis ours)

Muhammad himself is purported to have said that a person should not seek help from him, but must only seek the help of Allah:

Al-Tabarani reports a chain of narration that; “During the time of the Prophet there was a hypocrite troubling the believers. Someone said; ‘Come with us to seek help from Allah’s Messenger against this hypocrite.’ So the Prophet said; ‘There is no seeking help from me, only seeking help from Allah.’”33

33 Similar is recorded by Ahmad. It is a weak narration due to the presence of Ibn Lahiy’ah; (An Explanation of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdl-Wahhab’s Kitab Al-Tawhid, by ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di, translated by Abu Khaliyl [Al-Hidaayah Publishers & Distribution LTD, 2003], Chapter 14: Seeking refuge in other than Allah, or calling other than Allah is a type of shirk., p. 87; bold emphasis ours)


Bulugh al-Maram

The Comprehensive Book

Ibn 'Abbas narrated, ‘One day I was riding behind the Prophet when he said, “O lad, be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you shall find Him with you. When you ask (for anything), ask it from Allah, and if you seek help, seek help from Allah.” Related by At-Tirmidhi who verified it as Hasan and Sahih.

English reference: Book 16, Hadith 1515

Arabic reference: Book 16, Hadith 1472 (; bold emphasis ours)

This happens to be another text that these same Muslims cite in order to establish that a person must never call upon anyone other than Allah in their supplications, not even Muhammad, since to do so would be a blatant act of shirk:


1. The relationship between “calling upon” (du’a) and “seeking help” (istighathah) is as simple as the relationship between a general thing and a specific one.14

3. That this is major shirk.

4. That in the case of the most righteous person, if he intentionally does this with other than Allah, then he becomes one of the great wrongdoers…

10. That none is more deviant than the one who calls upon other than Allah.

11. That the one being called upon is heedless of the caller’s call, he is not aware of it at all…

13. That call to the one being called upon is named, “worship.”

14. The disbelief of the one who calls because of that worship…  

Similarly, Allah commanded seeking protection against all evil from Him alone, and He commanded seeking assistance for every kind of trouble and mishap from Him alone. So sincerity for Allah in these acts is a form of faith and tawhid, and rendering them to other than Allah is a form of shirk and making equals to Him.

The difference between du’a [calling or supplicating] and istighathah [seeking aid or succor], is that the du’a is more general, applying to all circumstances. So in both cases it is necessary to render it sincerely to Allah alone. He is the answerer of the du’a of the supplicant, He is the reliever of the distress of those in dismay. Whoever calls upon other than Him, be it a prophet, an angel, a wali etc., or whoever seeks the aid of other than Allah in a matter that none has the power over but Allah – then he is a disbelieving mushrik. Just as he has left the religion, so too has he defiled his own reason. For not one of the creatures is solely capable of the slightest speck of benefit or defence for himself or anyone else, but all are in the need of Allah in every troubling circumstance that effects them. (An Explanation of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdl-Wahhab’s Kitab Al-Tawhid, pp. 89-91; bold emphasis ours)

14 That is, seeking help is a type of du’a. This point was mentioned because many defend asking the dead for help with the claim that doing so is not the same as the “calling upon” forbidden by the ayat that the author mentioned. (Ibid., p. 89; bold emphasis ours)

They will also quote Quranic passages that, not only say that Muhammad shall die (and eventually did die),

Muhammad is naught but a Messenger; Messengers have passed away before him. Why, if he should die or is slain, will you turn about on your heels? If any man should turn about on his heels, he will not harm God in any way; and God will recompense the thankful. S. 3:144 Pickthall

Verily, you (O Muhammad) will die and verily, they (too) will die. Then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be disputing before your Lord. S. 39:30-31 Hilali-Khan

But which also emphasize the fact that the dead who are in their graves cannot hear the living:

Nor are alike those that are living and those that are dead. God can make any that He wills to hear; but thou canst not make those to hear who are (buried) in graves. S. 35:22 Y. Ali

They will then extrapolate from all of these verses that, since Muhammad lies dead in his grave, he is therefore incapable of answering the supplications of anyone:

The Prophet is alive in his grave in the sense of the life of al-barzakh, so he enjoys the blessings that Allaah has prepared for him as a reward for his great good actions that he did in this world. But the life in the grave is not like the life of this world, or the life in the Hereafter. Rather it is the life of al-barzakh which comes in between his life in this world and his life in the Hereafter. Hence we know that he died as other Prophets and other people before him died…

The life of al-barzakh is a special life. The Prophets and the shuhada’ (martyrs) are alive in al-barzakh as the Prophet said: “The Prophets are alive and they pray in their graves.” (Narrated by al-Mundhiri and al-Bayhaqi who classed it as saheeh because of corroborating reports in al-Saheehayn.)… 

This is a special life, the nature of which is known to Allaah. It is not like the life of this world in which the soul remains with the body.  

The basic principle concerning the dead is that they do not hear the words of the living sons of Adam

Allaah confirmed that those whom he (the Prophet) was calling to Islam could not hear, by likening them to the dead. There is nothing in the Qur’aan or in the saheeh Sunnah to indicate that the Prophet can hear every du’aa’ or call from human beings. Rather it is proven that the only thing that reaches him is the blessings and salaams of those who send blessings and salaams upon him. This was narrated by Abu Dawood, 2041, with a hasan isnaad from Abu Hurayrah who said that the Prophet said: “There is no one who sends salaams upon me but Allaah will restore to me my soul so that I may return his salaams.” This does not mean that he hears the words of the one who sends salaams. Rather it is possible that he comes to know of those salaams when the angels convey that to him. If we assume that he hears the words of the one who sends salaams, this is an exception from the general rule, as in the case of the dead hearing the footsteps of those who carry his bier, and as in the case of the slain kuffaar in the well at Badr who heard the call of the Messenger of Allaah when he said to them: “Have you found your Lord’s promise to be true? For we have found our Lord’s promise to be true.” (See Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 1/313, 318, 321). 

With regard to calling upon the Prophet and asking him directly, this is the essence of shirk which the Prophet was sent to forbid and to fight against its people… (Islam Question and Answer, 21524: Can the Prophet hear those who call upon him when he is in his grave?; bold emphasis ours)

This makes perfect sense since the Quran and ahadith emphatically testify that while he was alive, Muhammad did not know the unseen and had absolutely no power to benefit anyone:

Say (O Muhammad): "I possess no power of benefit or hurt to myself except as Allah wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghaib (unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe." S. 7:188 Hilali-Khan

Say: "I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the apostles, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear." S. 46:9 Y. Ali

Say: I only call upon my Lord, and I do not associate any one with Him. Say: I do not control for you evil or good. Say: Surely no one can protect me against Allah, nor can I find besides Him any place of refuge: (It is) only a delivering (of communications) from Allah and His messages; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Apostle surely he shall have the fire of hell to abide therein for a long time. Until when they see what they are threatened with, then shall they know who is weaker in helpers and fewer in number. Say: I do not know whether that with which you are threatened be nigh or whether my Lord will appoint for it a term: S. 72:20-25 Shakir

Narrated 'Um al-'Ala:
An Ansari woman who gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet that the Ansar drew lots concerning the dwelling of the Emigrants. 'Uthman bin Maz'un was decided to dwell with them (i.e. Um al-'Ala's family), 'Uthman fell ill and I nursed him till he died, and we covered him with his clothes. Then the Prophet came to us and I (addressing the dead body) said, "O Abu As-Sa'ib, may Allah's Mercy be on you! I bear witness that Allah has honored you." On that the Prophet said, "How do you know that Allah has honored him?" I replied, "I do not know. May my father and my mother be sacrificed for you, O Allah's Apostle! But who else is worthy of it (if not 'Uthman)?" He said, "As to him, by Allah, death has overtaken him, and I hope the best for him. By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me," By Allah, I will never assert the piety of anyone after him. That made me sad, and when I slept I saw in a dream a flowing stream for 'Uthman bin Maz'un. I went to Allah's Apostle and told him of it. He remarked, "That symbolizes his (good) deeds." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 266)

Narrated Abu Huraira:
When Allah revealed the Verse: "Warn your nearest kinsmen," Allah's Apostle got up and said, "O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 51, Number 16

Now if this were the case when he was alive then how much more so now that he is dead?

We are now ready to conclude our discussion.