Tabarruk means blessed. In special terms, it means to obtain blessing from the pious. This is permissible, but there are some people who say to obtain blessing from the pious or their posessions is impermissible and the one who says it is permissible is leading the people into the way of shirk. We, the Ahl as-Sunna, say that tabarruk is proved from the Qur'an and Sunna and thus is permissible; to call it kufr and shirk is not acceptable.
Proof from the Qur'anAllah Most High says in the Qur'an:
"And their Prophet said to them: 'The sign of his kingship is that there would come to you an ark in which there is tranquility of hearts from your Lord, and there is something left of the relics of the respectable Musa and the respectable Harun, the angels raising it would bring. No doubt, in it there is a great sign for you if you believe"
[Sura al-Baqara, verse 248]Hafiz Ibn Kathir and Qadi Shawkani write:
"In the box there was Musa's and Harun's clothes, Musa's stick, and pieces of the Old Testament and some things of the previous Prophets, which had touched their bodies. When Banu Isra'il went to war they took that box with them and they used to win"
[Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir; Qadi Shawkani, Tafsir Fath al-Qadir]
Proof From the Ahadith
Imam Muslim writes:
"The Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to get blessings from him. At one time our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) performed wudu with some water.When he left, Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) came and saw the left over water, took the water from the house and brought it outside. The Companions took the water and began to wipe it all over their bodies. The other people who were behind were not able to get any water began to wipe the water from the Companions hands and wiped it on themselves. In this way everyone got the blessings from the water that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did wudu with"
[Muslim, Chapter of Salat]
" The people of Madina used to take tubs of water to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The Prophet used to dip his hand in the water and the people used to take the tubs back [to get blessings from the water]
[Muslim,chapter on 'Fada'il']Hafiz ibn Kathir writes:
"Once a barber cut the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) hair. The Prophet's Companions were there as well. When the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) hair used to drop, the Companions used to catch the hair to prevent it from dropping onto the ground and later kept the hair fpr tabarruk"
[Muslim, chapter on 'Fada'il'; Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on 'Hajj of the Prophet']
"Once the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) went to Umm Salma's house. While in her house he went to sleep. While he was sleeping he began to sweat. Umm Salma got a small bottle and began to catch and collect the sweat of the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace). When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) awoke he asked her what she was doing. She replied, 'I am collecting your sweat and hope that my children will get blessings from this', whereupon the Prophet said: 'Whatever you have hoped is right'"
[Muslim, chapter on 'Fada'il']Imam Muslim writes:
"Once Suhail (may Allah be pleased with him) gave the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) some water in a goblet. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) drank some water from the goblet. When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had finished drinking, Suhail kept the goblet for tabarruk. When the Khalif 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) asked him to give the goblet to him, Suhail gave it. 'Umar ibn 'abd al-Aziz then kept it [for tabarruk]"
[Muslim, Kitab al-Ashriba]Imam Muslim writes:
"Asma' (may Allah be pleased with her) had a gown of the Prophet(may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Sick people used to come to Asma' and she used to dip the gown in the water. She would then take the gown out and give some of the water for the sick to drink for tabarruk"
[Muslim, Kitab al-Labas
"The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had a large piece of cloth. A person came to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and asked hf he could have the cloth. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave him the cloth. People asked the individual, 'Why did you take the cloth, when the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) liked wearing it?' The individual replied: 'I am not going to wear the cloth but when I die I want to be buried in this cloth as it is blessed.' When the person died he was buried in the cloth"
[Bukhari, Kitab al-Labas and Kitab al-Janais]Imam al-Bukhari writes:
"Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) asked 'A'isha (may Allah be pleased with her) if he could be buried next to where Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) were buried. She allowed him to be buried there. Umar said: 'This is more valuable to me than anything on earth' "
[Bukhari, Kitab al-Janaiz]
Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes:
"Khalid ibn Walid (may Allah be pleased with him) had a hat. In the hat he put two of the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) hairs. Once he was in the battle of Yarmuk. The battle got very tense. Khalid's hat dropped onto the ground. He got off his horse and picked up the hat. After the war a person said to Khalid ibn Walid:'You had a cheap hat and to pick it up during a war is not a wise thing to do.'Khalid replied:'In that hat I had the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) hair; the blessing from that hair gives me victory in every battle"
[Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on 'Death of Khalid ibn Walid'
"Mu'awiya had the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) nails and hair. He said: 'When I die can you bury the nails and hair with me in my grave'"
[Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on 'Death ofMu'awiya']
"'Umar ibn 'abd al-Aziz had the Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) hair. He said: 'When I die bury me with the hair in my grave'
[Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, chapter on 'Death of 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-Aziz']
"Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal was asked,'Is it permitted to do masa [wipe one's hands] over the mimbar of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) or to touch the mimbar for blessing?' He replied, 'Yes it is permitted.''Abdullah ibn 'Umar, Sa'id ibn al-Musayyid, Yahya ibn Sa'id, and other great scholars of Madinah used to do masa of the mimbar"
[Iqtida as-Sirat al-Mustaqim, page 203
"From the grave of Imam al-Bukhari comes a beautiful smell of fragrance, there are pillars built around the grave and when people go there they take a small amount of clay from it [for tabarruk]
[al-'Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, 'Biography of Imam al-Bukhari']Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes:
"When Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya passed away some people came and gathered around him and sat close to his body to obtain blessing from him. Also a group of women came and they drank from the water that was left over after bathing him to get blessing from it as tabarruk.The left over leaves of a tree which were also used in bathing him were distributed among themselves for the purpose of tabarruk.Whatever touched his body, such as his handkerchief or scarf which he wore round his neck, was sold for a large amount of money, to someone to keep as tabarruk. People used to come day and night to his grave, and some people use to even spend the night there'"
[Ta'rikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on 'Death of Ibn Taymiya']If you may obtain blessing from the clothes or from the water which is left over from touching the body of Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya, then how can it be wrong to get blessing from the other pious people of Allah.Or how can that be called bid'a or an act of shirk?
Some people assert that there is no benefit (blessings) in items possessed by our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) i.e. clothes, hair, and nails. Those who doubt narrate ahadith in which our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave a shirt to 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy as tabarurk, which had no effect for his forgiveness.
The answer to this is that an unbeliever or a munafiq(hypocrite) will gain no benefit from our Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) tabarruk.'Abdullah ibn Ubayy was the leader of the munafiqin so how can he gain blessings from the shirt.Yes, a believer - such as the Companions -did benefit, as mentioned previously. They kept items such as shirts, hair, nails and clothes. Some even asked to be buried with these items.
The second answer to this question is provided by Hafiz Ibn Kathir:
"There is a narration from the Salaf that the shirt which our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave was not for tabarruk. This was because the munafiq gave a shirt to our Prophet's (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) uncle, Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and so it was in return only that our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) repaid him"
[Tafsir Ibn Kathir, under Sura at-Tawba, verse 82]A further doubt by those who disbelieve in tabarruk is with regards to the tree where the Companions pledged their allegiance (bay'a) to our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) saw that the people would go to the tree to gain tabarruk so he had the tree cut. From this they claim that tabarruk is not permissible.
Whenever we mention our views on Islamic issues (such as those described in this book) we are confronted by people who say: 'Show us the evidence in Bukhari or Muslim.' We ask the same people to look in either of these books and show us where the above mentioned narration is mentioned regardingUmar's (may Allah be pleased with him) ordering the tree to be cut down.
Consider the following:
1) In Imam al-Bukhari's version he says that Sa'id ibn Musayib said:'My father told me when he went to look for the tree of bay'a, he could not recognize the place where it was and had forgotten the exact place where it was' [i.e. it had disappeared]
[Bukhari, chapter on 'Al-Hudaybiya']2) Tariq ibn 'Abdullah says:'I saw one tribe there, who were performing their prayers.'
3) In the last moments of Jabir ibn 'Abdullah, when he had lost his sight, he used to say: 'If I could see today I would show you the tree where the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) received the bay'a of the Companions"
[Bukhari, chapter on 'al-Magazi']The above mentioned narrations prove:
1) The tree was not cut, but vanished.
2) Companions, such as Jabir ibn 'Abdullah, knew where the tree was.
3) Tabi'un would go there to perform salat.
4) From the narration in Bukhari we can say no one was stopped to go there.Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani says in the commentary: "Some people forgot where this place was, like Sa'id ibn al-Musayib's father, and some knew where it was, like Jabir ibn 'Abdullah."[Fath al-Bari, chapter on 'Bay'aRidwan']
Sayyid Maududi writes that Imam at-Tabari said:
"During the period of 'Umar's (may Allah be pleased with him) Khilafa, he went for pilgrimage. When he passed Al-Hudaybiya he asked: 'Where is the tree under which the bay'a took place?' A person replied:'This one.' Someone else said: '[No, it is] this one.' 'Umar said: 'Forget the inconvenience'"
[Maududi, S., Tafsir Tafhim al-Qur'an,under Sura al-Fath,verse 18]Furthermore the narrator of the hadith of the tree is Muhammad ibn Wadda and Imam al-Bukhari has said that he is not reliable [al-'Asqalani, Tahzib at-Tahzib, Biography of Ibn Wadda]
This must be the reason why Hafiz Ibn Kathir has not mentioned the narration about the cutting of the tree in his Tafsir, Ta'rikh, and not even in Sirat an-Nabi.
The evidence above proves that it is permitted to get tabarruk from the pious people and their things in their life and after death. The Ahl as-Sunna's belief is based upon the above evidence. However, there are many more similar events proving the permissibility of tabarruk.
The people who say that it is shirk/ kufr to believe in taburruk should have proof from either the Qur'an or Sunna. There is no hadith that proves that to get tabarruk from the pious is forbidden.