Requesting from an individual after their death

Requesting from the creation requires they possess 3 qualities:

  1. The individual is alive
  2. They can hear you
  3. They have they ability to grant the request.

If one or all of these traits are not found, then this falls under Major Shirk & opposes Tawḥīd, which is to be elaborated ʾIn shāʾ Allāh.

These 3 qualities are now divided into parts:

  1. If one requests from an individual who is alive yet they are unable to hear them, then this constitutes Shirk. The reason this constitutes Shirk is due to them attributing partners to Allāh in His Tawḥīd al-Asmā’ wa aṣ-Ṣifāt, as Allāh says in al-Qurʾān:

    لَيۡسَ كَمِثۡلِهِۦ شَيۡءٞۖ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡبَصِيرُ
    There is nothing like Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.
    – Sūrah ash-Shūrā, ʾĀyah 11


    سُبۡحَٰنَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَسۡرَىٰ بِعَبۡدِهِۦ لَيۡلٗا مِّنَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ إِلَى ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡأَقۡصَا ٱلَّذِي بَٰرَكۡنَا حَوۡلَهُۥ لِنُرِيَهُۥ مِنۡ ءَايَٰتِنَآۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡبَصِيرُ
    Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Ḥarām to al-Masjid al-Aqṣá, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.
    – Sūrah al-Isrāʾ, ʾĀyah 1


    قَدۡ سَمِعَ ٱللَّهُ قَوۡلَ ٱلَّتِي تُجَٰدِلُكَ فِي زَوۡجِهَا وَتَشۡتَكِيٓ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ يَسۡمَعُ تَحَاوُرَكُمَآۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعُۢ بَصِيرٌ
    Certainly has Allāh heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muḥammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allāh. And Allāh hears your dialogue; indeed, Allāh is Hearing and Seeing.
    – Sūrah al-Mujādilah, ʾĀyah 1


    Only Allāh is the All-Hearing, & no believer rejects this.
  2. If the individual is alive and can hear them but does not have the ability to fulfill their requests, this mocks the individual if the request can be fulfilled by creation & constitutes Shirk if the request can only be fulfilled by Allāh. The reason this constitutes Shirk is elementary, as whatever only Allāh is able, no other will ever be able, and this is from making a partner with Allāh in His Tawḥīd ar-Rubūbīyyah.
  3. If the individual is deceased, which undoubtedly means they can neither hear nor are they able to grant requests, this constitutes Shirk. The reason this constitutes Shirk is the individual does not have the ability to fulfill their requests which has been clarified previously, they are deceased, & they have no power over anything nor do they have power for themselves. Allāh refutes this in His Book with His sayings:

    أَيُشۡرِكُونَ مَا لَا يَخۡلُقُ شَيۡـٔٗا وَهُمۡ يُخۡلَقُونَ وَلَا يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ لَهُمۡ نَصۡرٗا وَلَآ أَنفُسَهُمۡ يَنصُرُونَ
    Do they associate with Him those who create nothing and they are [themselves] created? And the false deities are unable to [give] them help, nor can they help themselves.
    – Sūrah al-Aʿraf, ʾĀyāt 191-192


    وَقِيلَ لَهُمۡ أَيۡنَ مَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ هَلۡ يَنصُرُونَكُمۡ أَوۡ يَنتَصِرُونَ فَكُبۡكِبُواْ فِيهَا هُمۡ وَٱلۡغَاوُۥنَ
    And it will be said to them, “Where are those you used to worship Other than Allāh? Can they help you or help themselves?” So they will be overturned into Hellfire, they and the deviators.
    – Sūrah ash-Shuʻarā, ʾĀyāt 92-94


    وَلَا تَدۡعُ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكَ وَلَا يَضُرُّكَۖ فَإِن فَعَلۡتَ فَإِنَّكَ إِذٗا مِّنَ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ
    And do not invoke besides Allāh that which neither benefits you nor harms you, for if you did, then indeed you would be of the wrongdoers.
    – Sūrah Yūnus, ʾĀyah 106


    وَمَا يَسۡتَوِي ٱلۡأَحۡيَآءُ وَلَا ٱلۡأَمۡوَٰتُۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُسۡمِعُ مَن يَشَآءُۖ وَمَآ أَنتَ بِمُسۡمِعٖ مَّن فِي ٱلۡقُبُورِ
    And not equal are the living and the dead. Indeed, Allāh causes to hear whom He wills, but you cannot make hear those in the graves.
    – Sūrah Fāṭir, ʾĀyah 22

If the individual being requested from is alive, can hear the one requesting, and is able to fulfill their requests, then there is no problem in it ʾIn shāʾ Allāh. Anything other than this is Shirk as been explained and one should only call upon Allāh, as Allāh says in al-Qurʾān:

بَلۡ إِيَّاهُ تَدۡعُونَ فَيَكۡشِفُ مَا تَدۡعُونَ إِلَيۡهِ إِن شَآءَ وَتَنسَوۡنَ مَا تُشۡرِكُونَ
No, it is Him [alone] you would invoke, and He would remove that for which you invoked Him if He willed, and you would forget what you associate [with Him].
Sūrah al-Anʿām, ʾĀyah 41

قُلۡ إِنَّمَآ أَدۡعُواْ رَبِّي وَلَآ أُشۡرِكُ بِهِۦٓ أَحَدٗا
Say, [O Muammad], “I only invoke my Rabb and do not associate with Him anyone.”
Sūrah al-Jinn, ʾĀyah 20

فَٱدۡعُواْ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ وَلَوۡ كَرِهَ ٱلۡكَٰفِرُونَ
So invoke Allāh, [being] sincere to Him in religion, although the disbelievers dislike it.
Sūrah Ghāfir, ʾĀyah 14

فَلَا تَدۡعُ مَعَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا ءَاخَرَ فَتَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُعَذَّبِينَ
So do not invoke with Allāh another deity and [thus] be among the punished.
Sūrah ash-Shuʻarā, ʾĀyah 213

وَٱللَّهُ يَقۡضِي بِٱلۡحَقِّۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ يَدۡعُونَ مِن دُونِهِۦ لَا يَقۡضُونَ بِشَيۡءٍۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡبَصِيرُ
And Allāh judges with truth, while those they invoke besides Him judge not with anything. Indeed, Allāh – He is the Hearing, the Seeing.
Sūrah Ghāfir, ʾĀyah 20

وَمَن يَدۡعُ مَعَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا ءَاخَرَ لَا بُرۡهَٰنَ لَهُۥ بِهِۦ فَإِنَّمَا حِسَابُهُۥ عِندَ رَبِّهِۦٓۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُفۡلِحُ ٱلۡكَٰفِرُونَ
And whoever invokes besides Allāh another deity for which he has no proof – then his account is only with his Rabb. Indeed, the disbelievers will not succeed.
Sūrah al-Mu’minūn, ʾĀyah 117

All of these ʾĀyāt indicate that invoking should be done only to Allāh alone & it is from the acts of worship, as stated in the weighty Ḥadīth narrated by an-Nuʾmān ibn Bashīr رضي الله عنه in which The Prophet ﷺ said:

Duʿā is worship.

Sunan Abū Dāwūd #1479, Jāmiʿ at-Tirmidhī #3369, Sunan ibn Mājah #3828, Ṣaḥīḥ ibn Ḥibbān #2396, al-Mustadrak ʿala aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥayn 1/49, al-Adab al-Mufrad #714 | Ṣaḥīḥ to Imām ibn Ḥibbān, Imām al-Hākim an-Nishāpurī, Imām adh-Dhahabī, Shaykh al-Albānī, Shaykh Zubayr ʿAlī Zay, and others — Ḥasan Ṣaḥīḥ to Imām at-Tirmidhī

And what does Allāh ﷻ say about worship? He says:

إِنَّنِيٓ أَنَا ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۠ فَٱعۡبُدۡنِي وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِذِكۡرِيٓ
Indeed, I am Allāh. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.
Sūrah Ṭā Hā, ʾĀyah 14

وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.
Sūrah adh-Dhāriyāt, ʾĀyah 56

وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِيٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۠ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ
And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.”
Sūrah al-’Anbiyā, ʾĀyah 25

إِنَّ هَٰذِهِۦٓ أُمَّتُكُمۡ أُمَّةٗ وَٰحِدَةٗ وَأَنَا۠ رَبُّكُمۡ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ
Indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Rabb, so worship Me.
Sūrah al-’Anbiyā, ʾĀyah 92

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱعۡبُدُواْ رَبَّكُمُ ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَكُمۡ وَٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ
O mankind, worship your Rabb, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous.
Sūrah al-Baqarah, ʾĀyah 21

قُلِ ٱللَّهَ أَعۡبُدُ مُخۡلِصٗا لَّهُۥ دِينِ
Say, “Allāh [alone] do I worship, sincere to Him in my religion.
Sūrah az-Zumar, ʾĀyah 14

Therefore, anyone who has invoked other than Allāh has worshipped other than Allāh, and worship of other than Allāh opposes Tawḥīd al-Ulūhīyyah which emphatically constitutes Major Shirk, & thus removes one from the fold of Islām.

And Allāh knows best.

I ask Allāh to keep us firm upon Tawḥīd & protect us from all acts of Shirk.

All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.

Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
24th of Rabīʿ ath-Thānī 1444