His saying "come to you": coming to the Prophet (ﷺ) when he was present is clear, like calling to him, whereas when he was absent and after his death, "coming to him" means calling to him and referring to him, as Allah, the Most High, said:
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا إِلَى مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسُولِ
And when it is said to them, "Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger." [Surah an-Nisa' 4:61]
And He, the Most High, said:
فَاِنۡ تَنَازَعۡتُمۡ فِیۡ شَیۡءٍ فَرُدُّوۡهُ اِلَی اللّٰهِ وَ الرَّسُوۡلِ
And if you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger. [Surah an-Nisa' 4:59]
Hence it is "referring" and "coming to" what was revealed from the Book and the Sunnah, and likewise, "coming to the Messenger" for those who wrong themselves is by returning to that which he commanded, so if he returns to his commandments and he does so within the Prophet's lifetime, then he does so in obedience to him and he does so returning from disobedience to him, and likewise in his absence and death.
Seeking Allah's forgiveness is possible in every place and time, and the Messenger seeking forgiveness also continues in his absence and after his death, because he was commanded to seek forgiveness for the believing men and women, and he is obedient to Allah in everything He commands him to do. The repenter is within the parameters of iman since disobedience reduces iman and repen- tance increases imän; therefore, he receives the Prophet's (ﷺ) request for forgiveness for him in accordance to his level of iman.
However, in the case of people coming to the Messenger's (ﷺ) after his death saying, "Forgive me," "Ask your Lord for me this and that," "Make du'a' for me," or saying in his absence, "O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), make du'a' for me," "Forgive me," "Ask your Lord this and that for me," there is no basis for this; Allah never commanded this and neither did any of the well-known Salaf of this ummah from the first three generations; nor was it known among them, and even if it was just mustaḥabb (preferred), the Salaf would have done it and it would have been known; in fact, they would be famous for it and it would have been reported from them.
If something like this was a way to achieve forgiveness of sins and to attain one's needs, then the importance and reasons to do it and report it would be abundant, especially for those who were dedicated to doing good. Therefore, if it is not known that they used to do this and it is not reported from any of them, then it is clear that this was not something that was preferred or obligatory. Rather, what is reported from the Prophet (ﷺ), which is affirmed, is that he forbade his grave to be made as a place of celebration, or made an object of worship, or made into a masjid.(11)
As for what some of the fuqaha' mention, such as al-'Utbah's story about a Bedouin who came to the Prophet's (ﷺ) grave and said, "O best of creation, Allah says: And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you (O Muhammad)' [Surah an-Nisa' 4:64], and indeed I have come to you." Then 'Utbah saw the Prophet in a dream and told him to give glad tidings to the Bedouin.(12) This story and others like it about the Prophet's grave and the graves of many of the righteous are just for those who are weak in their iman and are ignorant of the greatness of the Messenger and that which he commanded. But if a person such as this is unable to abstain due to his need for this kind of thing, so that his imän may not become confused or hypocrisy grows within him, then he will be similar to those who were given gifts to soften their hearts during the life of the Prophet, as he said:
أُعْطِي أَقْوَامًا لِمَا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مِنَ الْجَزَعِ وَالْهَلَعِ، وَأَكِلُ أَقْوَامًا إِلَى مَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مِنَ الْغِنَى وَالْخَيْرِ.
I give to some people because of the impatience and discontent present in their hearts, and leave other people because of the content and goodness Allah has bestowed on them.(13)
It was makruh (disliked) for them to take the money. Their need for the money was like the need some people have for the kind of stories mentioned previously.
As for what is legislated which is present in the Sunnah, then it is the du'a' of the Muslim to his Lord, with the intercession of the Prophet (ﷺ), not his du'a' in his absence or after his death, as in the hadith reported by at-Tirmidhi (who declared it authentic), in which the Prophet (ﷺ) taught a man to say:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ وَأَتَوَسَلُ إِلَيْكَ بِنَبِيِّكَ مُحَمَّدٍ، نَبِيِّ الرَّحْمَةِ، يا محمد يا نبي الله، إِنِّي أَتَوَسَّلُ بِكَ إِلَى رَبِّي فِي حَاجَتِي هَذِهِ لِيَقْضِيها، اللَّهُمَّ شَفّعْهُ فِي .
Allah has forgiven him." O Allah, I ask you and seek intercession with You by Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. Indeed, I seek intercession to my Lord through you concerning this need of mine so that it can be resolved; O Allah, accept his intercession for me. (14)
Allah, the Most High, said:
مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ
Who is he that can intercede with Him without His permission? [Surah al-Baqarah 2:255]
And He, the Most High, said:
اَللّٰهُ الَّذِیۡ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ وَ مَا بَیۡنَهُمَا فِیۡ سِتَّۃِ اَیَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسۡتَوٰی عَلَی الۡعَرۡشِ ؕ مَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِهٖ مِنۡ وَّلِیٍّ وَّ لَا شَفِیۡعٍ ؕ اَفَلَا تَتَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۴
You (mankind) have none besides Him as a wali (protector or helper etc.) or an intercessor. [Surah as-Sajdah 32:4]
Then Allah, the Most High, said:
فَلَا وَ رَبِّکَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ حَتّٰی یُحَکِّمُوۡکَ فِیۡمَا شَجَرَ بَیۡنَهُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا یَجِدُوۡا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَیۡتَ وَ یُسَلِّمُوۡا تَسۡلِیۡمًا ﴿۶۵
But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith until they make you (O Muhammad ) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions and accept (them) with full submission. [Surah an-Nisa' 4:65]
Allah swears by Himself that He negates imän for whoever does not possess two things: making Him a judge in all that they differ upon and then not feeling any opposition within themselves regarding the judgment. This requires that there is no difficulty in Allah's commands and prohibitions for those who follow them. Allah's wisdom must contain commands and prohibitions, even if it also includes things that are permissible; and if the obligations and prohibitions were harmful for the slaves without any overriding pleasure, the slave would not be blameworthy for finding something that is harmful and corruptive as difficult.
11. There are many ahadith in which the Prophet (ﷺ) forbade his grave being made a place of celebration, worship, or made into a masjid, such as:
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: "Do not make your houses into graves, and do not make my grave a place of celebration. But send the prayers on me, for your prayers reach me wherever you may be." Reported by Abu Dawud (2/293) and Ahmad (2/367).
'A'ishah and Ibn 'Abbas narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: "May Allah's curse be on the Jews, for they built places of worship at the graves of their prophets." Reported by al- Bukhari (1/91) and Muslim (1/377).
Abu Hurayrah also narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: "O Allah! Do not make my grave an idol that is worshiped. The anger on those who took the graves of their prophets as places of worship was terrible." Reported in Al-Muwatta' (1/172) and Al-Musnad (13/86-89).
12. Ibn Kathir mentions this story in his tafsir (explanation) of verse 64 of Surah an- Nisa'. He said: "A number of scholars, including Shaykh Abu Mansur ad-Dibagh in his book Ash-Shamil mentioned the famous story of al-'Utbah, in which he said: 'I was sitting by the Prophet's (ﷺ) grave and a Bedouin came and said, "As-salamu 'alaykum O Messenger of Allah; I heard Allah say: 'And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you (O Muhammad), and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah accepting of repentance and merciful." And indeed I have come to you seeking forgiveness for my sin and seeking your inter- cession with my Lord." Then he left and I fell asleep and I saw the Prophet (ﷺ) in my dream, and he said: "O 'Utbah, the Bedouin was right, so give him glad tidings that
13. Al-Bukhari reported this hadith on the authority of 'Amr bin Taghlib: "Some property was given to the Prophet (ﷺ) and he gave it to some people and withheld it from some others. Then he came to know that those who were left out were upset, so the Prophet (ﷺ) said, 'I give to one man and do not give to another, and the one to whom I do not give is dearer to me than the one to whom I give. I give to some people because of the impatience and discontent present in their hearts, and leave other people because of the content and goodness Allah has bestowed on them, and one of them is 'Amr bin Taghlib.' 'Amr bin Taghlib said, "The sentence which Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said in my favor is dearer to me than a red camel."
14 This hadith is reported by Ibn Majah (1/144) and at-Tirmidhi (10/32) on the au- thority of 'Uthman bin Hunayf, who said that a man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, "Supplicate to Allah to heal me." He (ﷺ) said, "If you wish, I will supplicate for you, and if you wish, you can be patient, for that is better for you." He said, "Then supplicate to Him." So [the Prophet] ordered him to perform wudu' and to make his wudu' com- plete, and to supplicate with this supplication: "O Allah, I ask You and turn towards You by Your Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), the Prophet of Mercy. Indeed, I have turned to my Lord through you concerning this need of mine so that it can be resolved. O Allah, accept his intercession for me."
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