The answer to this question lays in the word Ghous itself. Ghous which literally means “Helper.” refers to one of the loftiest ranks of Wilaayah. Everyone agrees that Shaykh Sayyid Abdul Qaadir Jilani (Allah be pleased with him) was indeed a Ghous, in fact he was Ghous al-A’zam. Calling on the friends of Allah for assistance in times of need is not Shirk (polytheism) Rather it is done with the understanding that the person being called upon is undoubtedly a dedicated servant of Allah Ta’ala and that the help received is from Allah Ta’ala. To call upon Ghairullah (others beside Allah Ta’ala) for help can indeed be established from the Qur’an, Saheeh Ahaadeeth, from the righteously guided companions, Islamic jurists and Muhadditheen.
Hadhrath Isa (peace be upon him) asked,
“Who is my helper in Allah’s Deen? His companions (the Hawaaris) said, “We shall aid the Deen of Allah.”
(Surah Aale-Imraan, V.52)
Nabi Isa (peace be upon him) being a Prophet of Allah Ta’ala called upon others beside Allah Ta’ala to assist the Deen. Every Prophet of Allah Ta’ala was sent specially to eradicate polytheism from society. If asking the assistance of others beside Allah Ta’ala is polytheism then this great Prophet would have never asked such a thing from others besides Allah Ta’ala.
Hadhrath Abdullah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Rasoolullah (peace be upon him) said,
“The following should be said by a person who becomes lost in a jungle or desolate place, “O servants of Allah help me! Allah Ta’ala will show you mercy.”
(Tafseer Kabeer under the commentary of Surah Baqarah, V.30)
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated,
“There are certain servants of Allah Ta’ala that have been set aside to fulfill the necessities of the people. People will call to them in their times of need. They are protected from the punishment of Almighty Allah”.
Hazrat Allama ibn Juzri (Allah be pleased with him) states,
“If one is ever in any need then He should say, ‘O servants of Allah, assist me! O servants of Allah, assist me! O servants of Allah, assist me’.” (Tabraani)
While in Madinah, Hadhrath Omar (Allah be pleased with him) called out to Hadhrath Saariyah (Allah be pleased with him) who was in Nahaawind which was in another country by altogether saying, “Ya Saariyah, take the mountain.” His call was heard by the latter. (Mishkaat, Baabul Karaamaat). Sayyidona Omar (Allah be pleased with him) was not seeking the assistance of Hadhrath Saariyah in this instance as it was, he who rendered assistance to Saariyah by guiding him to the sanctuary of the nearby mountain.
Imaam Ghazzali (Allah be pleased with him) states that help can be asked for from a person who used to be asked for assistance in his lifetime after his demise.
(marginal notes on Mishkaat Sharif, Baabu Ziyaaratil Quboor)
It is mentioned in the Bahjat al-Asrar (Section on his companions and their glad tidings”) of Imam Abu’l Hasan `Ali al-Shattnufi (d. 713 h.) that Sayyidina `Abd ul Qadir Jilani (Allah be pleased with him) said, “He who seeks aid (istigaatha) from me in distress, it (distress) will be removed from him. He who calls out with my name during hardship, it would be dispelled from him. He who makes intercession to Allah through me, his needs would be fulfilled… by the permission of Allah.”
From the above references it is clear from the Qur’an and Ahadeeth that it is not an act of polytheism to call upon a helper. This is done with the knowledge that initial help comes from Allah Ta’ala.
Allah and His Rasool know best.
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