One of the three principles laid by Ibn Abd al-Wahhaab, the founder of Wahhaabism, in his book “Al-Usool al-Thalaatha wa Adillatuha” (The Three Principles and their Proofs), p. 4 states:
“Allah does not accept to be associated with a partner in His worship. Be it a proximate angel or a sent prophet. The proof is the saying of Allah, the Most High in Surah Jinn (72): Verse 18:
وَ أَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلّٰہِ فَلَا تَدْعُوْا مَعَ اللہِ أَحَداً
‘And that the places of worship are for Allah, therefore call not upon any one with Him’
Based on the above verse, the Wahhaabis believe that if a Muslim calls upon the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) by saying “O Messenger of Allah!” then it is equivalent to “invoking other than Allah or besides Allah”. They consider this as polytheism (Shirk) because according to them this is beseeching Allah through anyone else from among the godly men. All their proofs stem from the last part of the aforementioned verse “therefore call not upon any one with Him” and similar verses which prohibit invoking besides Allah or other than Allah. Hence, according to the Wahhaabis, anyone who calls upon anyone apart from Allah for anything is a polytheist (Mushrik).
This argument of the Wahhaabis is quite similar to that of the Khawaarij who accused those who accepted the arbitration in the Battle of Siffeen as disbelief, by quoting verses like Surah Yusuf (12): Verse 67:
إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلّٰهِ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَ عَلَيْهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُتَوَكِّلُوْنَ
“Judgment is only Allah; I rely only upon Him, and only upon Him must the relying ones rely.”
Or Surah An’aam (6): Verse 114
أَ فَغَيْرَ اللہِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَماً وَ هُوَ الَّذِيْ أَنْزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا
“Shall I then seek someone other than Allah as a judge while He is the One who revealed unto you the Book in detail?”
There is no denying the fact that Allah is definitely the ultimate Judge and anyone who associates partners with Allah is a polytheist (Mushrik). However, based on the aforementioned verses, coming to a conclusion that holy personalities cannot be called upon for help or judgement is absolutely incorrect. Anyone who misuses such verses to pass a verdict (Fatwaa) has certainly not understood the Holy Quran and Prophetic teachings. The Wahhaabis forgot that one part of the Holy Quran interprets the other. Let us look at a few verses from the Holy Quran in this regard.
Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) is a judge
Allah the Almighty addresses His Messenger (peace be upon him and his progeny) in Surah Maaedah (5): Verse 42 thus,
فَإِنْ جَاؤُكَ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ أَوْ أَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ وَ إِنْ تُعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ فَلَنْ يَضُرُّوْكَ شَيْئاً وَ إِنْ حَكَمْتَ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ إِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِيْنَ
“If they come to you, judge between them or turn them away, and if you turn them away, they shall not harm you at all. And if you judge, judge between them with equity. Surely Allah loves the equitable ones.”
In this verse, Allah the High gave His Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) the responsibility of judging among the people of the divine Books.
People can also be judges and arbitrators for other people
In Surah Nisaa (4): Verse 35, Allah the High commands the people to nominate an arbitrator or judge to settle a dispute between a husband and wife.
وَ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوْا حَكَماً مِنْ أَهْلِهِ وَ حَكَماً مِنْ أَهْلِهَا
“And if you fear a breach between the two, then appoint a judge from his people and a judge from her people…”
Reconciling between the verses
Such verses which seem to be apparently contradicting each other need to be reconciled first before coming to any conclusion and to avoid taking extreme views. When the initial verse in the objection raised by Wahhabis confirms that judgment is Allah’s, it still does not speak of a limited judgment like that of the judges in the courts, who have to judge among the people according to the accepted laws. Yet, they have no right to appoint by themselves any judges, since that is up to a higher authority. So, the judges have no right to be absolute arbitrators. Their right is confined to judging among the people only, while Allah can judge among the people according to His own decision, and can give permission to others to judge since He is the Absolute Ruler. Therefore, when the Prophets (peace be upon them) judge, they judge according to Allah’s judgment. Similar is the judgement of the two who judge as arbitrators between a man and his wife. Consequently, their judgment – if they judge according to Allah’s order – is the very judgment of Allah, not without Allah, nor together with Allah. It is a judgment on Allah’s order and a judgment by Allah’s permission.
Referring to only one type of verses without studying their context and other verses on that same topic will only result in flawed verdicts. The Wahhaabi ideology of referring to only one type of verses which are as per their liking has led to the rise of extremism in Islam. They consider only themselves to be true Muslims and everyone else, especially the Shia, as polytheists. As a result, practices such as mass beheading of the innocent ones started because they consider the blood of those who do not to match with their ideology to be lawful. However, little do they understand that if at all there is any faction or group from among the Muslims who is the farthest from the true teachings of Islam and Holy Quran, it is they viz. the Wahhaabis. Such extremist and deviant ideologies are a result of saying ‘the Holy Quran is sufficient for us’ and not referring to the Prophetic teachings and the Ahle Bait (peace be upon them) for the interpretation of the Holy Quran.
May Allah protect us from such fanaticism and hasten the reappearance of our master Imam Mahdi (peace be upon him) so that the world can witness Islam in its true form!