7c) Can we call upon or supplicate to other than Allah (swt)? (Quranic Analysis)
(please not that this is a chapter from the book “Ghuluw” which can be downloaded from the “PDF Download Files” section.)
(For a better understanding, start from the first blog (Definition and condemnation….))
Verse 10: Surah Ra’ad, 13:14
لَهُ دَعْوَةُ الْحَقِّ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ لَا يَسْتَجِيبُونَ لَهُمْ بِشَيْءٍ إِلَّا كَبَاسِطِ كَفَّيْهِ إِلَى الْمَاءِ لِيَبْلُغَ فَاهُ وَمَا هُوَ بِبَالِغِهِ ۚ وَمَا دُعَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ
To Him [alone] is the true supplication. And those they call upon other than Him do not respond to them with a thing, except as one who stretches his hands toward water [from afar, calling it] to reach his mouth, but it will not reach it [thus]. And the supplication of the disbelievers is not but in error [i.e. futility].
Allah (swt) says “Those they call besides Him…”, now surely the Prophet (saww) and Imams (as) come under “other than Allah” since we know that they are not Allah. Therefore this verse prohibits us from calling upon them.
Verse 11: Surah Nahl, 16:85-86
وَإِذَا رَأَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا الْعَذَابَ فَلَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمْ وَلَا هُمْ يُنْظَرُونَ
وَإِذَا رَأَى الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا شُرَكَاءَهُمْ قَالُوا رَبَّنَا هَٰؤُلَاءِ شُرَكَاؤُنَا الَّذِينَ كُنَّا نَدْعُو مِنْ دُونِكَ ۖ فَأَلْقَوْا إِلَيْهِمُ الْقَوْلَ إِنَّكُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ
And when those who wronged see the punishment, it will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved
And when the ones who associated (others with Him) see their associates, they will say, “Our Lord, these are our associates whom we used to call upon apart from You.” They will then reply them the saying, “Surely you are liars indeed.”
- In this verse, those who were being called upon other than Allah (swt) have been called “Shuraka” of Allah (swt), i.e partners of Allah (swt). This indicated that calling upon anyone other than Allah (swt) is Shirk.
- It also seems from this verse that those we call upon other than Allah (swt) have no idea that we call upon them, since they cannot hear us, and that is why they reply by saying ““Surely you are liars indeed.”
Verse 12: Surah Isra, 17:56-57
قُلِ ادْعُوا الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُمْ مِنْ دُونِهِ فَلَا يَمْلِكُونَ كَشْفَ الضُّرِّ عَنْكُمْ وَلَا تَحْوِيلًا
أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ يَبْتَغُونَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمُ الْوَسِيلَةَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ وَيَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَهُ وَيَخَافُونَ عَذَابَهُ ۚ إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ كَانَ مَحْذُورًا
Say, “Call upon those you have claimed besides Him, for they do not possess the [ability for] removal of adversity from you or [for its] transfer [to someone else].”
Those whom they call upon [themselves] seek means of access to their Lord, [striving as to] which of them would be nearest, and they hope for His mercy and fear His punishment. Indeed, the punishment of your Lord is ever feared.
This verse is clearly not about the idols of the mushrikeen. Since the verse says “Those whom they call upon [themselves] seek means of access to their Lord, [striving as to] which of them would be nearest, and they hope for His mercy and fear His punishment.”
Again Allah (swt) is giving us a general principle, that if you call upon those who themselves seek means of nearness to Allah (swt) then, and hope for his mercy and fear his punishment, then “Indeed, the punishment of your Lord is ever feared.”
Don’t the Prophet (saww) and Imams (as) fall into this category? Don’t they themselves seek means of nearness to Allah (swt) by excessive salat, zakat, taqwa etc? And don’t they hope for Allah (swt)’s mercy and fear his punishment? Surely, anyone who has read the lives of the Imams (as) and anyone who has read their supplications will know that they were indeed like that, rather they were at the peak of these traits.
Therefore they come under the category of entities this verse is implicitly forbidding us from calling upon.
Verse 13: Surah Naml, 27:59-64
قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَسَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ عِبَادِهِ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَىٰ ۗ آللَّهُ خَيْرٌ أَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
Say, [O Muhammad], “Praise be to Allah, and peace upon His servants whom He has chosen. Is Allah better or what they associate with Him?”
أَمَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَأَنْزَلَ لَكُمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنْبَتْنَا بِهِ حَدَائِقَ ذَاتَ بَهْجَةٍ مَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تُنْبِتُوا شَجَرَهَا ۗ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ ۚ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ يَعْدِلُونَ
Who is it that created the heavens and the earth and sent down for you rain from the sky, causing to grow thereby gardens of joyful beauty which you could not [otherwise] have grown the trees thereof? Is there a deity with Allah? [No], but they are a people who ascribe equals [to Him].
أَمَّنْ جَعَلَ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَجَعَلَ خِلَالَهَا أَنْهَارًا وَجَعَلَ لَهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ حَاجِزًا ۗ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Who is it that made the earth a stable ground and placed within it rivers and made for it firmly set mountains and placed between the two seas a barrier? Is there a deity with Allah? [No], but most of them do not know.
أَمَّنْ يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ الْأَرْضِ ۗ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
أَمَّنْ يَهْدِيكُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَنْ يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ رَحْمَتِهِ ۗ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ ۚ تَعَالَى اللَّهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
Who is it that responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember.
In these verses, Allah (swt) mentions some characteristics which are specific to Allah (swt), like creation of heavens and earth, sending down rain from sky, causing the trees to grow, causing the rivers to flow, placing the mountains etc, and in the same list Allah (swt) mentions that characteristic of “responding to the desperate one when he calls for help and removing the evil…”, it clearly points to the fact that like the all other characteristics mentioned in this verse, “responding to the call of the distressed” is also a characteristic specific to Allah (swt).
Verse 14: Surah Ahzab, 33:17
قُلْ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَعْصِمُكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ سُوءًا أَوْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ رَحْمَةً ۚ وَلَا يَجِدُونَ لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا
Say, “Who is it that can protect you from Allah if He intends for you an ill or intends for you a mercy?” And they will not find for themselves besides Allah any protector or any helper.
This is a very clear verse, since Allah (swt) is the ultimate cause of everything, and since he is the decision maker, then “Who is it that can protect you from Allah if He intends for you an ill or intends for you a mercy”.
This verse again makes it clear, like many other verses, that we have no protector or helper other than Allah (swt), therefore we should call upon him for help.
Verse 15: Surah Saba, 34:22
قُلِ ادْعُوا الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ ۖ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا لَهُمْ فِيهِمَا مِنْ شِرْكٍ وَمَا لَهُ مِنْهُمْ مِنْ ظَهِيرٍ
Say, [O Muhammad], “Call upon those you claim besides Allah.” They do not possess an atom’s weight [of ability] in the heavens or on the earth, and they do not have therein any partnership [with Him], nor is there for Him from among them any assistant.
Verse 16: Surah Fatir, 35:13-14
يُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي لِأَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ مَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِنْ قِطْمِيرٍ
إِنْ تَدْعُوهُمْ لَا يَسْمَعُوا دُعَاءَكُمْ وَلَوْ سَمِعُوا مَا اسْتَجَابُوا لَكُمْ ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكْفُرُونَ بِشِرْكِكُمْ ۚ وَلَا يُنَبِّئُكَ مِثْلُ خَبِيرٍ
He causes the night to enter the day, and He causes the day to enter the night and has subjected the sun and the moon – each running [its course] for a specified term. That is Allah, your Lord; to Him belongs sovereignty. And those whom you call upon other than Him do not possess [as much as] the membrane of a date seed.
If you call upon them, they do not hear your supplication; and if they heard, they would not respond to you. And on the Day of Resurrection they will deny your association. And none can inform you like [one] Acquainted [with all matters].
Allah (swt) mentions three points about those who are called upon other than Him (swt).
- They don’t hear our supplication
- If they could hear, they wouldn’t respond
- On the day of resurrection they will deny our association
Do we have any authentic proof that the Imams (as) hear our supplications? No
If they heard, do we have proof that they can respond to our supplication? No
Then this verse has a message for us, that the Imams (as) will deny our association on the day of resurrection like they have warned us in many of their narrations, that they will dissociate from the “ghulat” (exaggerators) like the dissociation of Jesus from the Christians (refer to the narrations in the beginning of this book).
Verse 17: Surah Fatir, 35:40
قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ شُرَكَاءَكُمُ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقُوا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ أَمْ آتَيْنَاهُمْ كِتَابًا فَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَتٍ مِنْهُ ۚ بَلْ إِنْ يَعِدُ الظَّالِمُونَ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا إِلَّا غُرُورًا
Say, “Have you considered your ‘partners’ whom you call upon besides Allah? Show me what they have created from the earth, or have they partnership [with Him] in the heavens? Or have We given them a book so they are [standing] on evidence therefrom? [No], rather, the wrongdoers do not promise each other except delusion.”
Subhanallah! Allah (swt) again gives us some general principles. Those we call upon other than Allah (swt), i.e the Prophet (saww) and Imams (as).
- Have they created anything in the universe? No
- Do they have partnership with Allah (swt)? No
- Has Allah (swt) sent any book which allows us to call upon them? No
Then, “the wrongdoers do not promise each other except delusion.”
So anyone who teaches us to call upon the Imams (as) and promises us that they will respond because they have been empowered to do so by Allah (swt) – anyone who says something like this is only promising us a delusion according to this verse.
Verse 18: Surah Zumar, 39:38
وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ ۚ قُلْ أَفَرَأَيْتُمْ مَا تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَادَنِيَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ هَلْ هُنَّ كَاشِفَاتُ ضُرِّهِ أَوْ أَرَادَنِي بِرَحْمَةٍ هَلْ هُنَّ مُمْسِكَاتُ رَحْمَتِهِ ۚ قُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللَّهُ ۖ عَلَيْهِ يَتَوَكَّلُ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ
And should you ask them, Who created the heavens and the earth? They would most certainly say: Allah. Say: “Have you then considered that what you call upon besides Allah, would they, if Allah desire to afflict me with harm, be the removers of His harm, or (would they), if Allah desire to show me mercy, be the withholders of His mercy?” Say: “Allah is sufficient for me; on Him do the reliant rely.”
Verse 19: Surah Ahqaf, 46:4-5
قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ مَا تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقُوا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ ۖ ائْتُونِي بِكِتَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ هَٰذَا أَوْ أَثَارَةٍ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنْ يَدْعُو مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَنْ لَا يَسْتَجِيبُ لَهُ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَهُمْ عَنْ دُعَائِهِمْ غَافِلُونَ
Say, [O Muhammad], “Have you considered that which you call upon besides Allah? Show me what they have created of the earth; or did they have partnership in [creation of] the heavens? Bring me a scripture [revealed] before this or a [remaining] trace of knowledge, if you should be truthful.”
And who is more astray than he who calls upon besides Allah those who will not respond to him until the Day of Resurrection, and they, of their invocation, are unaware.
Again Allah (swt) gives some characteristics, which if not fulfilled for an entity, then it’s not permissible to call upon them.
- Have they created anything?
- Did they have partnership with Allah (swt)
- Another valid reason to call upon someone other than Allah (swt) is would be if Allah (swt) himself asked us to call upon them in his scripture, since Allah (swt) says “Bring me a scripture [revealed] before this or a [remaining] trace of knowledge, if you should be truthful.”
If none of the above conditions are fulfilled, then Allah (swt) says “who is more astray than he who calls upon besides Allah those who will not respond to him until the Day of Resurrection, and they, of their invocation, are unaware.”
Verse 20: Surah Jinn, 72:18
وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا
And that the masjids are for Allah, so do not invoke with Allah anyone.
Verse 21: Surah Jinn, 72:20
قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَدْعُو رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِهِ أَحَدًا
Say, [O Muhammad], “I only call upon my Lord and do not associate with Him anyone.”
In this verse again, “calling upon” and “shirk (association)” have been linked, which indicated that, calling upon anyone other than Allah (swt) is Shirk.
With this, we conclude the discussion of the verses of the Quran which prove that calling upon anyone other than Allah (swt) is Shirk. Even though this should be more than enough, but since the words and actions of the pure Ahlulbayt (as) further explain the Quran, therefore we will give some examples from the supplications and narrations of Ahlulbayt (as).