Answering the Challenges of a Muslim Dawagandist
Sami Zaatari has produced an article where he seeks to prove from the Quran that Muslims are forbidden to, and therefore do not, worship Muhammad.
He cites specific verses and hadiths which he erroneously thinks support his position, while ignoring all the scores of passages and narrations which show that Muhammad was worshiped by his followers.
In fact, all Zaatari has done by quoting these citations is to prove that Islam contradicts itself since it expressly forbids worshiping any creature, and claims that Muhammad was nothing more than an imperfect mortal, and yet places Muhammad on the same level with his god by turning him into another object of religious worship and devotion.
Zaatari issues a series of challenges to anyone who would argue that Muslims do in fact worship Muhammad. We have, therefore, decided to respond to those challenges.
-Show a single Quranic passage that commands Muslims to worship Muhammad
-Show a single hadith that commands Muslims to worship Muhammad
-Show any companion that worshiped the Prophet Muhammad with the consensus of the other companions
It is our pleasure to provide answers to Zaatari’s challenges. So here they are.
Making Du’a (Invoking) and Praying to Muhammad
Muhammad instructed his followers to pray to him directly during their daily acts of worship:
Narrated Shaqiq bin Salama:
'Abdullah said, "Whenever we prayed behind the Prophet we used to recite (in sitting) 'Peace be on Gabriel, Michael, peace be on so and so. Once Allah's Apostle looked back at us and said, 'Allah Himself is As-Salam (Peace), and if anyone of you prays then he should say, At-Tahiyatu lil-lahi wassalawatu wat-taiyibatu. As-Salamu 'ALAIKA aiyuha-n-Nabiyu wa rahmatu-l-lahi wa barakatuhu. As-Salam alaina wa ala ibadil-lah is-salihin. (All the compliments, prayers and good things are due to Allah: peace be on YOU, O Prophet and Allah's mercy and blessings be on YOU. Peace be on us and on the true pious slaves of Allah). (If you say that, it will be for all the slaves in the heaven and the earth). Ash-hadu an la-ilaha illa-l-lahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa Rasuluhu. (I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and I also testify that Muhammad is His slave and His Apostle)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 12, Number 794)
This isn’t the only time that Muslims were instructed to pray and/or make invocations to their prophet.
There is a specific narration which says that Muhammad actually taught a blind man to pray to Allah as well as to himself, an invocation which Muslims continued to use long after Muhammad’s death:
Tirmidhi relates, through his chain of narrators from 'Uthman ibn Hunayf, that a blind man came to the Prophet and said, "I've been afflicted in my eyesight, so please pray to Allah for me." The Prophet said: "Go make ablution (wudu), perform two rak'as of prayer, and then say:
"Oh Allah, I ask You and turn to You through my Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O MUHAMMAD (YA MUHAMMAD), I SEEK YOUR INTERCESSION with my Lord for the return of my eyesight [and in another version: "for my need, that it may be fulfilled. O Allah, grant him intercession for me"]."
The Prophet added, "And if there is some need, do the same." (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Umdat Al-Salik) in Arabic with facing English text, Commentary and Appendices, edited and translated by Nuh Hah Mim Keller [Amana Corporation; Revised edition, July 1, 1997], w40.3, p. 935; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Muhammad expressly instructed the blind man to address him directly in his prayer in the same way that he addresses Allah!
The blind man wasn’t told to simply ask Allah to heal him on behalf or for the sake of Muhammad. Rather, he was specifically directed to address Muhammad directly by asking for his intercession.
Now just in case Zaatari attempts to explain this away by saying that this took place when Muhammad was still alive, the following is a report of a man who offered up this same exact invocation during the caliphate of Uthman bin Affan:
Moreover, Tabarani, in his "al-Mu'jam al saghir," reports a hadith from ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf that a man repeatedly visited Uthman ibn Affan concerning something he needed, but Uthman paid no attention to him or his need. The man met Ibn Hunayf and complained to him about the matter - this being after the death (wisal) of the Prophet and after the caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar - so Uthman ibn Hunayf, who was one of the Companions who collected hadiths and was learned in the religion of Allah, said: "Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then come to the mosque, perform two rak'as of prayer therein, and say:
'O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O MUHAMMAD (YA MUHAMMAD), I TURN THROUGH YOU to my Lord, that He may fulfill my need,' and mention your need. Then come so that I can go with you [to the caliph Uthman]." So the man left and did as he had been told, then went to the door of Uthman ibn Affan, and the doorman came, took him by the hand, brought him to Uthman ibn Affan, and seated him next to him on a cushion. 'Uthman asked, "What do you need?" and the man mentioned what he wanted, and Uthman accomplished it for him, then he said, "I hadn't remembered your need until just now," adding, "Whenever you need something, just mention it." Then, the man departed, met Uthman ibn Hunayf, and said to him, "May Allah reward you! He didn't see to my need or pay any attention to me until you spoke with him." Uthman ibn Hunayf replied, "By Allah, I didn't speak to him, but I have seen a blind man come to the Messenger of Allah and complain to him of the loss of his eyesight. The Prophet said, "Can you not bear it?' and the man replied, 'O Messenger of Allah, I do not have anyone to lead me around, and it is a great hardship for me.' The Prophet told him, 'Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then pray two rak'as of prayer and make the supplications.’” Ibn Hunayf went on, "By Allah, we didn't part company or speak long before the man returned to us as if nothing had ever been wrong with him.” (Ibid., w40.4, pp. 936-937; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Here was an individual at the time of the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan who offers up the same prayer that the blind man did, praying and asking Muhammad in the same way that he asks Allah!(1)
Nor was this an isolated instance. We find situations where Muslims would cry out to Muhammad for their specific needs:
437. What a man says when his foot goes to sleep
964. 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Sa'd said, "Ibn 'Umar's foot went to sleep and a man said to him, 'Mention the person YOU LOVE MOST.' He said, 'Muhammad.'" (Aisha Bewley, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari, XD. Gestures; *; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Notice the irony here. Ibn Umar didn’t cry out to Allah, as we would expect him to do seeing that Muslims are supposed to love their lord more than anything. Rather, Ibn Umar calls out to Muhammad instead!
All of these narrations establish the fact that Muhammad commanded his followers to worship him since he himself is supposed to have said that supplication and prayer are the very essence of worship, and that Allah loves nothing more than supplication:
3828. It was narrated from Nu‘man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah said: “Indeed the supplication is the worship.” Then he recited: “And your Lord said: Invoke Me, I will respond to you.” (Sahih) (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah - Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 3657 to 4341, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA) [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 5, 34. The Chapter On Supplication, Chapter 1. The Virtue of Supplication, p. 95; underline emphasis ours)
 Ghafir 40:60. (Ibid.)
296. The excellence of supplication
712. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, "Nothing is dearer to Allah than supplication."
713. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, "The noblest act of worship is supplication."
714. An-Nu'man ibn Bashir reported that the Prophet said, "Supplication is worship." Then he recited, "Call on Me and I will answer you." (Bewley, Al-Adab al-Mufrad al-Bukhari, XXX. Supplication; *; underline emphasis ours)
These are just some of the many ahadith which have been used by Muslim scholars to prove that making du’a or supplication to anyone other than Allah is nothing more than creature worship, and therefore shirk:
Asking anything that is subjected to Allah alone from any creature IS WORSHIPING THAT CREATURE, so it is considered polytheism, (i.e., associating partners with Allah). The creature might be a non-living thing like a stone, sun, straw, tree, etc., or a living thing like an animal, jinni, angel or even a pious person or a Prophet; asking them for anything which is beyond the ability of creatures is polytheism. (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah, Volume 5, 34. The Chapter On Supplication, Chapter 1. The Virtue of Supplication, pp. 95-96; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Renowned Salafi scholar Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi quotes other notable scholars concerning the definition of shirk:
Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab (d. 1206 A.H.) defined it as: ‘… directing an act of worship to other than Allah, (such as) calling out to others as well as Allah, or intending an act of worship that Allah has commanded to other than Allah.’ …
Thus, shirk involves believing in a partner along with Allah. Such a ‘partner’ could be a partner in lordship (rububiyyah), or in worship (uluhiyyah), or in attributes (asma wa l-sifat). In other words, the essence of shirk involves giving Allah’s rights to other than He. Therefore, to claim that a certain object or deity has power to bless one with one’s needs is shirk. Likewise, to prostrate or MAKE DU‘A to other than Allah is also shirk. And the claim that any created object knows everything, or can hear any plea directed to it, is shirk. Whenever any specific right of Allah’s is given to any other object, whether that object be a living being or an inanimate object, real or imagined, shirk has occurred. (An Explanation of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab’s Kashf al-Shubuhat - Critical Study of Shirk, translation and commentary by Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi [Al-Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution, Birmingham, UK], pp. 14-15; bold and capital emphasis ours)
2. Shirk in Uluhiyyah. The concept of Tauhid al-Uluhiyyah necessitates that one direct each and every act of worship to Allah and only to Allah. Thus, to direct any act of worship to other than Allah is an example of shirk in Uluhiyyah. Examples of acts of worship that are due only to Allah are DU‘A, PRAYER, prostration, vows and oaths. Shirk in Uluhiyyah is the most common type of shirk amongst mankind. This is because most of mankind affirms the existence of One Creator, yet directs acts of worship to other than Him. Thus, Christians, while believing in God ‘the Father’, direct most of their worship to Jesus Christ. (Ibid., p. 37; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Qadhi also explains why there is absolutely no justification in Islam for praying to a prophet that has died, especially prayers that are offered at or near his gravesite:
4- Comparing dead prophets with living ones. The belief that prophets are alive in their graves continuing a life similar to the life of this world drives many people to ask dead prophets for favors and du‘as. The type of life that a prophet enjoys after his death is completely different to the one that we experience in this world, and the presumption that they are the same leads to shirk. Thus, there is no evidence that the prophets can hear the conversations that take places. The only matter that the Prophet stated reaches him after death is the sending of salutations upon him, for Allah has assigned special angels to bring him the salams. Other than that, there is no evidence that requests reach him as well. Hence, none of the Companions ever requested any matter from him after his death [sic]. (Ibid., p. 50)
2. Even on the supposition that this right existed, the Qur’an explicitly mentions that calling out to other than Allah is shirk. Therefore, even if we hypothetically accepted the adversary’s premise that these prophets and saints have a right over Allah that their requests be answered, we can respond by stating that Allah labeled asking these dead prophets and saints as a sin THAT HE WILL NOT FORGIVE. (Ibid., p. 120; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Qadhi further argues that calling on someone other than Allah in one’s heart during times of distress is an act of hidden shirk:
Hidden shirk is that which occurs in a person’s heart, and which other people cannot see or ascertain. For example, if one’s heart calls out to other than Allah at times of distress, this is an example of hidden shirk. Likewise, if a sick person puts his complete trust in a doctor to cure his disease (neglecting the fact that Allah is the One Who cures), this too is a type of hidden shirk. (Ibid., p. 42)
This means that Muhammad taught his companions to commit both manifest and hidden shirk!
Allah takes Muhammad as his partner
That’s not all. Muhammad made himself Allah’s partner in respect to salvation, love, and devotion.
For instance, Muhammad ordered his followers not to love anything as much as, or more than, Allah AND himself:
Say: 'If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your clan, your possessions that you have gained, commerce you fear may slacken, dwellings you love -- if these are dearer to you than God AND His Messenger, and to struggle in His way, then wait till God brings His command; God guides not the people of the ungodly.' S. 9:24 Arberry
The Prophet said, "Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith:
1. The one to whom Allah AND His Apostle becomes dearer than anything else.
2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah's sake.
3. Who hates to revert to Atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 15)
Muhammad further demanded that all true believers fully submit themselves to him and his desires:
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 S. 4:65 Hilali-Khan
Muhammad went so far as to connect obedience to his orders with the forgiveness of sins and Allah’s love, e.g., if a person wants Allah to love him/her and to be forgiven of his/her sins then s/he must perfectly obey Muhammad:
Say (O Muhammad to mankind): "If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur'an and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." Say (O Muhammad): "Obey Allah AND the Messenger (Muhammad)." But if they turn away, then Allah does not like the disbelievers. S. 3:31-32 Hilali-Khan
After hearing Muhammad recite these verses, some of his contemporaries accused him of trying to make himself comparable to Jesus in Christian devotion:
(Say) O Muhammad!: (If ye love Allah) and His religion, (follow me) follow my Religion; (Allah will love you) He will increase your love (and forgive you your sins) which were committed when you followed Judaism. (Allah is Forgiving) of whoever repents, (Merciful) towards whoever dies in a state of repentance. This verse was revealed about the Jews who claimed they were the children of Allah and His beloved ones. When this verse was revealed 'Abdullah Ibn Ubayy said: “Muhammad is commanding us to love him as the Christians loved Jesus”, and the Jews said: “Muhammad wants us to take him as a compassionate Lord, just as the Christians took Jesus as a compassionate Lord”. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs, Q. 3:31; bold emphasis ours)
These folks could clearly see that Muhammad was commanding his followers to view him as an object of religious worship in the same way that Christians did (still do) with Christ. However, Christians admit that Jesus is God in the flesh, and is therefore worthy of all worship, glory, and honor. Muhammad, on the other hand, is supposed to be an imperfect, fallible human being. To, therefore, fully submit to and perfectly obey him is to give a creature the honor and reverence which belongs only God.
But it gets even better (or should we say worse?). According to another tradition, Q. 3:31 was composed to encourage the pagans to abandon their idols for Muhammad!
(Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah…) [3:31]. Said al-Hasan ibn Jurayj: “Some people had claimed at the time of the Messenger of Allah that they loved Allah. They said: 'O Muhammad! Verily, we love our Lord', and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Juwaybir also reported that al-Dahhak related that Ibn 'Abbas said: “The Prophet saw the Quraysh in the Sacred Mosque prostrating to their idols which they erected therein, with eggs of ostriches hanging from them and earrings dangling from their ears. And so he said to them: 'O Quraysh! You have contravened the religion of your fathers Abraham and Ishmael, both of whom were Muslims'. They responded: 'O Muhammad! We worship them out of love for Allah and so that they bring us closer to Him'. Upon which Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah) and you worship your idols to bring you closer to Him, as you claim, then (follow me; Allah will love you…) for I am His Messenger to you, His proof against you, AND I AM MORE WORTHY OF REVERENCE THAN YOUR IDOLS”. Al-Kalbi also related from Abu Salih that Ibn 'Abbas said: “When the Jews said: 'We are the children of Allah and His beloved', Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse. Then the Messenger of Allahread it to the Jews but they refused to accept it”. Muhammad ibn Ishaq reported that Muhammad ibn Ja'far ibn al-Zubayr said: “This was revealed about the Christians of Najran, for they had said: 'We venerate and worship Christ out of love and veneration for Allah'. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse as a response”. ('Alī ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Muhammad not only wanted the pagans to get rid of their idols, he also wanted them to take the very love and reverence which they had for their gods and give it to him instead.
In other words, Muhammad basically wanted everyone to make him their personal idol!
This leads us to our next section.
Muslims are to Revere and Glorify Muhammad Day and Night
The Quran claims that it is written in clear Arabic so that people can understand:
Thus doth God MAKE CLEAR His Signs to you: In order that ye may understand. S. 2:242 Y. Ali
A. L. R. These are the Ayats of Revelation, - of a Qur'an that makes things clear. S. 15:1 Y. Ali Hilali-Khan
We verily, have made it a Qur'an in Arabic, that you may be able to understand (its meanings and its admonitions). S. 43:3 Hilali-Khan – cf. Q. 2:187, 219, 242, 266; 3:103, 118; 4:26, 176; 5:89; 11:1; 16:103 24:18, 58-59, 61; 44:3; 57:17
The Islamic scripture also says that it fully explains all of its verses:
And thus do We explain the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) IN DETAIL, that the way of the Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners), may become manifest. S. 6:55 Hilali-Khan
Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than God? - when He it is Who hath sent unto you the Book, EXPLAINED IN DETAIL." They know full well, to whom We have given the Book, that it hath been sent down from thy Lord in truth. Never be then of those who doubt. S. 6:114
Alif Lam Ra. A Book whose verses ARE SET CLEAR, and then distinguished, from One All-wise, All-aware: S. 11:1 Arberry
And the day We shall raise up from every nation a witness against them from amongst them, and We shall bring thee as a witness against those. And We have sent down on thee the Book making clear EVERYTHING, and as a guidance and a mercy, and as good tidings to those who surrender. S. 16:89 Arberry
He sets forth for you a parable from your ownselves, - Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess (i.e. your slaves) to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you? Whom you fear as you fear each other? Thus do We explain the signs IN DETAIL to a people who have sense. S. 30:28 Hilali-Khan
A Book, whereof the verses are EXPLAINED IN DETAIL; - a Qur'an in Arabic, for people who understand; - S. 41:3 Y. Ali
Muhammad even claimed to be gifted with the most eloquent speech and expressions:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory with awe (cast into the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping last night, the keys of the treasures of the earth were brought to me till they were put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle left (this world) and now you people are carrying those treasures from place to place. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 127)
Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father: Allah's Messenger sent me and Mu'adh to Yemen saying: Call people (to the path of righteousness) and give good tidings to the (people), and do not repel them, make things easy for them and do not make things difficult. I (Burda) said: Allah's Messenger, give us a religious verdict about two kinds of drinks which we prepare in Yemen. One is Bit' which is prepared from honey; it is a fermented Nabidh and is strong and turns into wine, and (the second is) Mizr which is prepared from millet and barley. Thereupon, Allah's Messenger, who had been gifted with the most eloquent and pithy expressions, said: I forbid you from every intoxicant that keeps you away from prayer. (Sahih Muslim, Book 023, Number 4961)
In light of such assertions, this means that we are to assume that the following verse,
Surely We have sent you as a witness and as a bearer of good news and as a warner, That you may believe in Allah and His Apostle and may HELP HIM and REVERE HIM, and GLORIFY HIM, day and night. S. 48:8-9
Was deliberately written in such a way where the one being helped is the same one that is being revered and glorified. In the immediate context this can only be Muhammad, i.e. he is the one whom Muslims are not only ordered to help, but also commanded to worship and praise!
After all, if this is referring to Allah then this implies that he is an impotent deity who requires and needs the help of his creatures. Yet to say that this is refers to Muhammad basically means that Muslims are commanded to glorify their prophet in the same way that they glorify their god!
The following Christian author explains the major problems and dilemma which the grammatical structure of this passage causes for Muslims like Zaatari:
“This sentence is disrupted because of a sudden shift from addressing Muhammad to addressing other people. Apart from this, the accusative pronoun in ‘succour Him, and reverence Him’ refers, beyond doubt, to Muhammad, who was mentioned earlier, not to God as the English translator understood it. But ‘give Him glory’ refers to God. The entire verse is chaotic. The reader cannot be expected to understand its true meaning from the arrangement of words. It is kufr (‘unbelief’) to say ‘succour Him, and reverence Him, and that you may give Him glory at the dawn and in the evening’ about Muhammad, since glory should be given to God alone. It is also kufr to make such a statement with reference to God, since God almighty is not in need for succour or help!” ('Abdallah 'Abd al-Fadi, Is the Qur'an Infallible? [Light of Life, PO Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria], pp. 182-183; bold emphasis ours)
There is a lot more evidence which we could have easily produced but, for the sake of brevity, this will have to suffice for now.
Zaatari concludes his challenges by saying:
It shouldn’t be so hard right? After all, if your making a claim, you should be able to back it up.
Nope, not hard at all. It was quite easy actually.
(1) Zaatari may wish to argue that this is not an authentic narration, and if so, then he would be grossly mistaken. The greatest hadith scholars have all classified this report as absolutely sound:
This is an explicit, unequivocal text from a prophetic Companion proving the legal validity of tawassul through the dead. The account has been classified as rigorously authenticated (sahih) by Baihaqi, Mundhiri, and Haythami.
AUTHENTICITY OF THE HADITH OF THE BLIND MAN
Tirmidhi has stated that the hadith of the blind man is "a hadith that is well or rigorously authenticated but singular, being unknown except through his chain of narrators, from the hadith of Abu Ja'far, who is not Abu Ja'far Khatmi," which means that the narrators of this hadith, despite Abu Ja'far being unknown to Tirmidhi, were acceptable to the degree of being well or rigorously authenticated in either case.
But scholars before Tirmidhi established that Abu Ja'far, this person unknown to Tirmidhi, was Abu Ja'far Khatmi himself. Ibn Abi Khaythama said: "The name of this Abu Ja'far, whom Hammad ibn Salama relates from, is 'Umayr ibn Yazid, and is the Abu Ja'far that Shu'ba relates from," and then he related the hadith by the channel of transmission of 'Uthman from Shu'ba from Abu Ja'far.
Ibn Taymiya, after relating the hadith of Tirmidhi, said: "All scholars say that he is Abu Ja'far Khatmi, and this is correct."
Reflect on this.
The hadith master, Ibn Hajar, notes in Taqrib al-tahdhib that he is Khatmi, and that he is reliable (saduq).
Ibn 'Abd al-Barr likewise says that he is Khatmi, in al-Istii'ab fi ma'rifa al-ashab. Moreover, Baihaqi related the hadith by way of Hakim and confirmed that it was rigorously authenticated (SAHIH), Hakim having related it by a chain of transmission meeting the standards of Bukhari and Muslim, which the hadith master Dhahabi confirmed, and Shawkani cited as evidence. Dhahabi and Shawkani, who are they? The meaning of this is that all the men of the hadith's chain of transmission are known to top Imams of hadith such as Dhahabi (and who is severer than he?), Ibn Hajar (and who is more precise, learned, or painstaking than he?), Hakim, Baihaqi, Tabarani, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, Shawkani, and even Ibn Taymiya.
This hadith was recorded by Bukhari in his al-Tarikh al-kabir, by Ibn Majah in his Sunan, where he said it was rigorously authenticated (SAHIH), by Nasa'i in Amal al-yawm wa al-layla, by Abu Nu'aym in Ma'rifa al-Sahaba, by Baihaqi in Dala'il al-nubuwwa, by Mundhiri in al-Targhib wa al-tahrib, by Haythami in Majma' al zawa'id wa manba' al-fawa'id, by Tabarani in al-Mu'jam al-kabir, by Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih, and by others. Nearly 15 hadith masters (huffaz, hadith authorities with more than 100,000 hadiths and their chains of transmission by memory) have explicitly stated that this hadith is rigorously authenticated (SAHIH). As mentioned above, it has come with a chain of transmission meeting the standards of Bukhari and Muslim, so there is nothing left for a critic to attack or slanderer to disparage concerning the authenticity of the hadith. Consequently, as for the permissibility of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through either a living or dead person, it follows by human reason, scholarship, and sentiment, that there is flexibility in the matter. Whoever wants to can either take tawassul or leave it, without causing trouble or making accusations, since it has been this thoroughly checked (Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a, 79-83). (Keller, Reliance of the Traveller, pp. 937-938; bold emphasis ours)
The author continues:
It is well to review some salient features of the proof that was given, such as:
(1) that there are 2 hadiths, Tirmidhi's hadith of the blind man and Tabarani's hadith of the man in need to whom Uthman ibn Hunayf related the story of the blind man, teaching him the tawassul that the Prophet had taught the blind man.
(2) Tirmidhi's hadith is rigorously authenticated (sahih), being the subject of the above investigation of its chain of narrators, the authenticity of which is established beyond a reasonable doubt and attested to by nearly 15 of the foremost hadith specialists of Islam. The hadith explicitly proves the validity of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through a living intermediary, as the Prophet was alive at the time. The author of the article holds that the hadith implicitly shows the validity of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through a deceased intermediary as well, since:
The Prophet told the blind man to go perform ablution (wudu) pray two rak'as, and then make the supplication containing the words, "O Muhammad, I seek your intercession with my Lord for the return of my eyesight," which is a call upon somebody physically absent, a state of which the living and the dead are alike.
Supplicating Allah (tawassul) through a living or deceased intermediary is, in the author's words, "not tawassul through a physical body, or through a life or death, but rather through the positive meaning attached to the person in both life and death, for the body is but the vehicle that carries that significance.
And perhaps the most telling reason, though the author does not mention it, is that everything the Prophet ordered to be done during his lifetime was legislation valid for all generations until the end of time unless proven otherwise by a subsequent indication from the Prophet himself, the tawassul he taught during his lifetime not requiring anything else to be generalized to any time thereafter.
(3) The authenticity of Tabarani's hadith of the man in need during the caliphate of Uthman is not discussed by the article in detail, but deserves consideration, since the hadith explicitly proves the legal validity of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through the deceased, for 'Uthman ibn Hunayf and indeed all the prophetic Companions, by scholarly consensus (ijma'), were legally upright ('udul), and are above being impugned with teaching someone an act of disobedience, much less idolatry (shirk). The hadith is rigorously authenticated (sahih), as Tabarani explicitly states in his al-Mu'jam al-saghir. The translator, wishing to verify the matter further, to the hadith with its chain of narrators to hadith specialist Sheikh Shu'ayb Arna'ut, who after examining it, agreed that it was rigorously authenticated (sahih) as Tabarani indicated, a judgement which was also confirmed to the translator by the Moroccan hadith specialist Sheikh 'Abdullah Muhammad Ghimari, who characterized the hadith as "very rigorously authenticated," and noted that hadith masters Haythami and Mundhiri had explicitly concurred with Tabarani on its being rigorously authenticated (sahih). The upshot is that the recommendedness of tawassul to Allah Most High - through the living or the dead - is the position of the Shafi'i school, which is why both our author Ibn Naqib Al-Misri, and Imam Nawawi in his Al-Adhkar (281-282), and al-Majmu explicitly record that tawassul through the Prophet and asking his intercession are recommended. A final article below by a Hanafi scholar concludes the discussion. (Ibid., pp. 938-939; bold emphasis ours)
Hence, Zaatari must contend with the fact that it was his own false prophet who actually permitted his followers to worship him as a god since, as Muhammad himself is reported to have taught, invocation or supplication (du’a) is the very essence of Islamic worship.