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asking other than Allah

Q:

Salam I understand Waasilah is a Concept in Islam where a muslim can Use a prophet or imam as an intermediary to reach God, but Sometimes rather than using the prophets or imams to reach God the Shia Ask THEM for the help they need or tell them their hajat or for example go to ziyarat of an imam and Ask the imam to give them a Child. This is isnt exactly waasilah. How is this allowed? Can we for example Ask an imam to give us a child or grant us our other hajat?

A:
 
Bismillah ArRahman ArRaheem 
Wa-Alaykum As Salaam  
 
Using the Imams or Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household, as “waasilah” can mean one of two things whether we are asking them directly or as an intermediary:
 
1. Pure Tawheed/monotheism
2. Shirk/polytheism.
 
The difference is in our intention in one simple word: Dependence.  
 
If you ask them and expect them to independently help us – that is shirk.  However, if we ask them with the knowledge that they have been empowered, through their knowledge and status, by Allahﷻ, and that nothing they do is independent of Allahﷻ, but rather, everything they do is dependent on Allahﷻ – then that is Tawheed.
 
So in the material, worldly sense, it is hard to understand this as a waasilah but in the realm of the Creator, it can be and is.  
 
Some consider the “death of the Imams or prophet” as an end of their ability to help, but they are in fact “alive” and can hear and respond to us – only we can not fathom their responses.   Nonetheless, to ask them for help while they are alive should also be considered shirk if that was to be the case.  
 
Another argument is that how can they do something outside of their ability in any ways? Such as in your example – how can they ask for a child from the Imam – for he is not a waasilah to the ends desired?  And again, the answer is to do with dependence!  They are not able to do anything independently, just as Prophet Eassa PBUH is not able to create a bird from soil and blow in to it to come to life with out the permission of the Creator, nor heal the blind or sick etc.

(See the issue of Tawheed in Nafahat Al-Quran – Sheikh Makarim Shirazi Volume 3 and Mafaheem Al-Quran Sheikh Jaafar Subhani Volume 1, where such issues are discussed.)

 
On a similar topic, you can see arguments used for intercession, see Lesson 59 and 60 of “Theological Instructions” – http://practicalislam.online/download/1663/
And Lesson 22 of Sheikh Gharaati’s Ramadhan with the Holy Quran – http://practicalislam.online/download/1587/
 
Regards
S.L. Al-Hakim