al-Waseelah linguistcly means, a method to something. With in the Quraan and Sunnah it means to become closer to Allaah by acting upon what he has obliged and leaving that which he has prohibited.
Tawassul of Du’aa
ولله الأسماء الحسنى فادعوه بها
The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on him by them
The Rasul(sallallaahu `alayhee was-sallam) Said:
“While three persons were traveling, they were overtaken by rain and they took shelter in a cave in a mountain. A big rock fell from the mountain over the mouth of the cave and blocked it. They said to each other. ‘Think of such good (righteous) deeds which, you did for Allaah’s sake only, and invoke Allah by giving reference to those deeds so that Allaah may relieve you from your difficulty. one of them said, ‘O Allah! I had my parents who were very old and I had small children for whose sake I used to work as a shepherd. When I returned to them at night and milked (the sheep), I used to start giving the milk to my parents first before giving to my children. And one day I went far away in search of a grazing place (for my sheep), and didn’t return home till late at night and found that my parents had slept. I milked (my livestock) as usual and brought the milk vessel and stood at their heads, and I disliked to wake them up from their sleep, and I also disliked to give the milk to my children before my parents though my children were crying (from hunger) at my feet.
So this state of mine and theirs continued till the day dawned. (O Allaah!) If you considered that I had done that only for seeking Your pleasure, then please let there be an opening through which we can see the sky.’ So Allah made for them an opening through which they could see the sky. Then the second person said, ‘O Allaah! I had a she-cousin whom I loved as much as a passionate man love a woman. I tried to seduce her but she refused till I paid her one-hundred Dinars So I worked hard till I collected one hundred Dinars and went to her with that But when I sat in between her legs (to have sexual intercourse with her), she said, ‘O Allaah’s slave! Be afraid of Allaah ! Do not deflower me except legally (by marriage contract). So I left her O Allaah! If you considered that I had done that only for seeking Your pleasure then please let the rock move a little to have a (wider) opening.’
So Allah shifted that rock to make the opening wider for them. And the last (third) person said ‘O Allaah ! I employed a laborer for wages equal to a Faraq (a certain measure: of rice, and when he had finished his job he demanded his wages, but when I presented his due to him, he gave it up and refused to take it. Then I kept on sowing that rice for him (several times) till managed to buy with the price of the yield, some cows and their shepherd Later on the laborer came to me an said. ‘(O Allaah’s slave!) Be afraid O Allaah, and do not be unjust to me an give me my due.’ I said (to him). ‘Go and take those cows and their shepherd. So he took them and went away. (So, O Allaah!) If You considered that I had done that for seeking Your pleasure, then please remove the remaining part of the rock.’ And so Allaah released them (from their difficulty).” Saheeh Bukhaari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number5
اللهم إنا كنا نتوسل إليك بنبينا فتسقينا وإنا نتوسل إليك بعم نبيك فاسقنا
“O Allaah we used to ask you by asking the Rasul to call upon you to feed us and now we seek means to you by the Rasul’s uncle(al-`Abbaas)so feed us.”
What `Umar is saying is that the Sahaabah would ask the Rasul(sallallaahu `alayhee was-sallam)to make du’aa for them when there were times of drought, since the Rasul(sallallaahu `alayhee was-sallam)is no longer living, They began to ask al-`Abbaas(the prophets uncle)to supplicate for them, and this is adillaa that the companions would never supplicate to the grave of the Rasul asking him to supplicate for them.
Above are the three forms of permissible Tawassul.
The other forms of Tawassul
ما نعبدهم إلا ليقربونا إلى الله زلفى
“We only worship them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allaah.”
As you can above Allaah is reffering to the pagans of Quraysh, and the pagans of today state that they suplicate to the rightous who have died saying they have a status with Allaah.
In conclusion, one should avoid the 3 types I listed under impermissible Tawassul, although the scholars have stated only 1 out of the three mentioned is Major Shirk, the other 2 are an innovation and every innovation is in the Hell Fire.
wallaahu ta’aalaa ‘alam.
-Umm `Abd al-Mu`izz
Meaning of at-Tawassul