[Its Evidence in the Qur’an]
“Madad ya Rasool Allah.” Its evidence is His saying, Most High: “If only they would be content with what Allah and His Messenger have given them, and say: ‘Allah is enough for us- He will give us some of His bounty and so will His Messenger- to Allah we turn in hope.’” (9:59)
[The Necessity of Understanding Its Meaning]
What is the meaning of “madad”? When you go to the scholar and say: “madad,” it means: teach me. And when you say to the wali: “madad,” it means: make a good du’a for me. And you also say: “Madad ya Rasool Allah,” meaning: Ask Allah to forgive me, oh Rasool Allah.
[The shaykh is referring to His saying Most High: “If only they had come to you [oh Prophet] when they wronged themselves, and asked Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah to be accepting of repentance, most merciful.” (4:64)]
So he who utters the word “madad” must know its meaning. When you say to the wali: “madad”, you are not asking him to give you two loaves of bread, for example. So understand, my brother, the meaning of “madad.” It is a word that does not contain shirk, and is permissible, with the condition that you understand its meaning. We say: “madad ya Rasool Allah,” meaning: give us your intercession and your istighfar, and that is permissible. So understand, my brother, the meaning of “madad” for it is not shirk, and understand that the meaning of “madad ya Rasool Allah” is a request for his intercession and istighfar.
The meaning of “madad” is according to the state of the person to whom it is said. So if a man is reading some ‘ilm and people say to him: “madad ya sayyidi al-shaykh,” the meaning is: “let us hear some of your ‘ilm.” If a man is sitting, supplicating Allah, and you say to him: “madad” then the meaning is: “Give me a du’a.” And if a man is eating a fruit and you say to him: “madad,” then the meaning is: “give me some fruit.” And perhaps in this is an answer to those who ask about the meaning of the word “madad,” and it removes the claims of shirk and sin about he who says it. Why?
Because the scholars say: the giving of a ruling on something is based on having a clear picture of it. It means: don’t judge something until you know its reality perfectly, then you can judge it. So if you see for example a man and a woman in a room, do not jump to bad thoughts about them and judge them until you verify the type of relationship between them. For perhaps the woman is his mother, his wife, his daughter, his aunt, or his nephew, and in that case their being alone in a room is not forbidden. The questions of ‘ilm need careful thought and inspection.
So the word “madad” means: to ask to be given something. And it is to be interpreted according to the state of the person to whom it is said. So if the one from whom something is requested is in a good state, then the word “madad” is halal. As for example, if it is said to a scholar who is teaching, or a wali supplicating his Lord, or a person who has food, or a generous man with money.
But if the word “madad” is said to someone holding a bottle of wine and drinking from it, or said to a group of people smoking marijuana, or committing zina, or the like, then the word would be haram.
In short: the word “madad,” if used to request something halal, is halal, and if used to request something haram, is haram.
[Saying “Madad” to the Awliya who are in the Life of the Barzakh]
He who has an intellect has to know the meaning of a word when he speaks it.
So I am asking you: If you are hungry, and you say to your mother: “madad,” what does it mean? The meaning is: give me food.
Therefore: “madad” means: give me some of what you are doing, or what you possess.
A man is eating dates. If you say to him: “madad” it means: give me a date.
A man is drinking water. If you say to him: “madad” it means: give me a cup.
Did you understand, oh questioner?
And a wali of Allah is always in dhikr of Allah and du’a. So if you say to him: “madad” it means: give me a du’a.
[And a wali of Allah in the barzakh] is in dhikr of Allah in his garden of Paradise, day and night. So if you say to him: “madad ya sayyidi (so-and-so)” it means: give me a du’a.
[This wali] does not have food or drink- he only has du’as that are answered. Did you understand, oh questioner?
(The shaykh is referring to the hadith that the grave is either a garden from among the gardens of Paradise, or a pit from among the pits of Hell.)
Question: What is the meaning of the saying of the Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam): “If you ask then ask from Allah” ? Does it not mean that a human must not ask from other humans, but only ask Allah?
The Answer: If the time for your meal comes, do you ask your mother or your wife for the food, or do you go to your room and ask Allah for the food? Do you say, “Oh Allah, bring me the lunch,” or do you say: “Oh so-and-so, bring the lunch!”
Question: But the Messenger (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) said: “If you ask then ask from Allah”!
The Answer: I had spoken to you in the language of the the commoners. But in the most eloquent of speech, Allah (most high and majestic) said: “Do not chide the one who asks for help” (93: 10), and in that is permission for a created being to ask another created being like him. And He (most high) said: “So ask the people of the dhikr if you do not know” (21:7). So He has allowed a created being who is seeking knowledge to ask a knowledgeable created being. And our Lord said about Dhul Qarnayn that he said: “So assist me with your strength, and I will put up a fortification between you and them” (18: 95). And here, the righteous king has asked for assistance from his subjects, who are created beings.
And He (most high) said: “Help one another to do what is right and good” (5:2). So He allowed us to help each other, such as for a Muslim to ask his brother to help him or lend him money. Is this permissible or not? The answer: It is permissible.
Thus this saying and those like it can only be understood with ‘ilm. As it was said in the hadith: “Oh Fatima bint Muhammad, save yourself from the Fire, for I have nothing for you to save you from Allah.” This is understood to mean: “Believe, for the disbeliever cannot benefit from the intercession of the Prophets.” He (most high) said: “Of no avail to them is the intercession of the intercessors!” (74: 48). And this saying of his (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) to his daughter Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her) is according to the way in the famous saying: “You I mean, and hear me oh neighbor!” It is thus for the women of Quraysh who were still upon their disbelief. It is as if her state was saying: “I am a believing Muslima!” And as if he (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) said: “I am speaking to you for the sake of others: Understand Islam, oh Fatima, a proper understanding… I can benefit you if you believe and become a Muslim, but if you reject the faith then I cannot benefit you in a thing.”
Allah (most high) said about the Angels: “They do not intercede except for him who is accepted by Allah” (21:28). Thus the angels have intercession, but they only intercede for the believers.
And He (most high) said: “They ask His forgiveness for the believers” (40:7). Thus the Carriers of the Throne and the other Angels around it, who do they ask forgiveness for? The believers.
He (most high) said: “Who shall intercede with Him except by His leave?” (2:255). It means: there is intercession with Him, but only by His permission, Most High.
As for the hadith: “If you ask then ask from Allah, and if you seek assistance then seek the assistance of Allah,” the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) said it in the age of Jahiliyya. And it is as if he was telling Ibn Abbas not to do like the disbelievers and go to al-Laat and al-‘Uzza and the other idols that they worshiped beside Allah.
It means: If you ask, then ask Allah, and do not ask Al-Laat and al-‘Uzza….
And by the coming of the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) the idols were destroyed, and nothing remained except the Qur’an and the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) who warned from idol worship.
He (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) said: “I, by Allah, do not fear for you that you will commit shirk after me, but I fear for you to compete over the dunya.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim).
Shirk, as the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) explained it, is to take beside Allah another god. He (most high) said: “They took other gods beside Allah” (36:74). A god is what humans think is the creator, and the giver of sustenance, and therefore must be worshiped. The Muslim ummah now worships Allah alone. It didn’t happen to them that which happened to Bani Isra’il who worshiped the (golden) calf when it mooed. And the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) reassured us, and said:
“I, by Allah, do not fear for you that you will commit shirk after me, but I fear for you to compete over the dunya.”
Meaning: I do not fear that you will commit shirk and worship the idols because the minds have been illuminated, but I fear for you from the dunya, that your money increases in it, and that it preoccupies you from the Salaat, and that you do not give the Zakaat.
If you ask one of the common Muslims about Tawhid he will tell you that he believes that Allah is one, without partner. He will say to you: Sayyidna al-Husayn’s mother is sayyida Fatima al-Zahraa (may Allah be pleased with them) and that the Prophet ‘s mother (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) is sayyida Amina bint Wahb. There is none among the commoners of the Muslims who will say: Sayyidna Muhammad is the son of Allah!
The Muslims until today say: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And they say about Allah: the Lord of the Qur’an, and the Lord of Majesty, and the Lord of the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam).
As for the hadith: “If you ask then ask from Allah, and if you seek assistance then seek the assistance of Allah,” the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) said it to deny the lordship of any other than Allah. Meaning: if you need assistance, seek it from Allah, not from al-Laat and al-‘Uzza.
If you seek assistance from anyone, as a god, then do not ask anyone but Allah for assistance. The evidence is that Dhul Qarnayn said: “So assist me with your strength” (18:95) He was a believer speaking to other believers, and there is no problem in that.
And Allah (most high and majestic) said: “Help one another to do what is right and good” (5:2). Meaning: help one another as slaves of Allah, but do not help one another as if you were gods.
If someone said to another: Help me oh so-and-so! Does that mean he thought he is a god or lord? No, he said: oh-so-and-so!
And our Lord permitted helping each other and said: “So ask the people of the dhikr” (21:7). Meaning: the scholars and others who have knowledge.
If someone asked you: Where is the road? Or someone asked you: Help me learn such and such a craft, there is no problem in that.
But if you ask for a lordly request, with submission, then do not ask except Allah. You ask Him for forgiveness and mercy…
The ummah, who owns it? Allah. And the soul, who owns it? Allah. In whose hands are the affairs of the creations on the Day of Rising? Allah. Who will resurrect me from my grave? Allah. But if you ask your mother for your lunch, is that haram because you asked someone other than Allah?
The Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) cannot benefit the disbeliever even if he were his relative. And he said to the most beloved of people to him: “Oh Fatima, save yourself from the Fire, for I have nothing for you to save you from Allah!”
It is as if he (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam) is saying to her: “Buy your soul’s salvation from Allah, oh Fatima: ‘Allah has purchased from the believers their souls and their wealth and, in exchange, the Garden shall be theirs’ (9:111).’”
Meaning: be a believing Muslimah, for he who does not believe, I can not save him in any way from Allah. But if you believe, then I can benefit you: In the dunya I benefit you, for I give you what you ask for of food and clothing, and on the Day of Rising I benefit you by interceding for you.
All of the scholars have agreed that the intercessor on the Day of Rising is the Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam). But he intercedes for the believers, the muwahhideen. As for those who reject the faith- and we seek refuge in Allah from that- there is no intercession for them.
He (salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam): “My request from Allah was my intercession. I have saved it for the people of the great sins from my ummah.” (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)