Q. We don’t call upon other than Allah (swt), we only believe in “Wasila”, which is not shirk, moreover the Quran in 5:35 orders us to seek “Wasila”. Therefore there is nothing wrong in what we do.
It is an easy way out to term everything we do as “Wasila” without trying to know what “wasila” means in the Quran and narrations of ahlulbayt (as). Taking intermediaries with Allah (swt) is not “wasila” according to the Quran.
When Quran says “seek wasila to Him”, we assume that it means we should call upon other than Him (swt) to reach Him (swt), this is because that is what we have been fed from the mimbar.
The reality is, when the Quran says “wasila” it doesn’t refer to human intermediaries, rather Imam Ali (as) tells us in Nahjul Balagha what wasila is, in Khutbatul wasila.
Imam Ali (as) says:
“Verily, the best means (wasila) by which the seekers of nearness to Allah, the Glorified, the Exalted, seek nearness, is the belief (Al-Imaan) in Him and His Prophet, struggling in His cause, for it is the high pinnacle of Islam, and (to believe in) the Kalimatul Ikhlaas (the expression of Divine Purification) for it represents the Fitra (Sound innate disposition/nature with which human beings are created), and the establishment of prayer for it is (the basis of) community, the payment of Zakat for it is a compulsory obligation, fasting for the month of Ramadhan for it is a shield against the punishment of God, the performance of Hajj of the House of Allah and its Umra for these two acts repel poverty and wash away sins; regard for kinship (Silatu Rahim) for it increases wealth and length of life, giving alms secretly for it protects against bad deaths, and extending benefits (to people) for it saves one from disgrace…………”
Source: Nahjul Balagha, Sermon no. 110 (or 109 in some versions)
As we can see, Imam Ali (as) talks about the best Waseelahs that can bring us close to Allah (swt), and interestingly enough, there is no mention of the Ahlul Bayt (as) in the Khutbah, showing us that when Allah (swt) commands us to seek means of nearness to Him, He is asking us to focus on those actions which bring us close to Him – which the Imam (as) then goes on to list. Allah (swt) is not asking us to seek intercessors as is implied by the contention. The functions of Imams is guidance i.e. “mentioning wasail to us”.. not as intermediaries (that is: waseelah of hidaayah, not waseelah of mediation).
Also as we have already explained, if we call upon the Imams (as) (even though considering it to be wasila) then it would mean that we consider them to be “All hearing” which is an attribute of Allah (swt).