|The purpose of Mankind, the sole reason behind our creation, is to worship Allah Alone: "And I created not the Jinns and men except that they should worship Me (Alone)." [51: 56]
Worship has been defined by Ibn Taymiyyah as being: "a term which comprises everything that Allah (s.w.t) loves and approves of from the apparent and hidden sayings and deeds."
The main condition for such worship to be accepted however, is that they must be solely made for the Sake of Allah, and no one else. This is the essence of Tawheed, and the Kalima itself, which declares boldly that there is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah.
And Du'a (supplication) is undoubtedly a part of worship, as Ibn Abbas said, "the best forms of worship is the du'a" [Munthir and Ibn Haakim].
To Allah belongs certain rights, among these including to slaughter in His Name, to prostrate before no one but Him, and to direct Du'a to no one but Him. In this regard, the scholar Ibn Rajab said: "Know that it is an obligation to invoke Allah Alone in Du`a, and not His creation... Admitting (and showing) humility and meekness can only be revealed to Allah, Alone, for this is the essence of worship."
Ibnul Qayyim said: "And from the types of Shirk, requesting needs from the dead, and Istighaathah from them and direction (of the call) to them, and this is the original of the Shirk of Mankind. Since the dead has his deeds cut off from him, and he cannot cause upon himself any good nor bad, let alone whoever seeks help from him, or asked him to seek intercession from Allah on his behalf. "
Calling upon the dead represents a hollow attempt to seek help from a creature who can benefit the caller nothing. Allah Says: "If you call upon them, they hear not your call, and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them" [35: 14]
The argument of the Quraish was similar to that of today's people: they only invoked their idols as a means or intermediary towards reaching Allah "We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to Allah." [39: 3]. Similarly, the Walis (saints) and Sheikhs and prophets are still called upon by those seeking need, in the hope that they could fulfil their needs. Yet This practice was never done by the Companions nor their predecessors, but rather was done by Hindus and other pagans who Muslims came in contact with during later conquests.
And if the dead could indeed help anyone, they would help themselves. Take for example Saad Bin Muath, the Sayyid (Leader) of the Ansar, upon whose death the Throne of Allah shook, this exemplary model himself faced the closing in of the grave, yet he had no power to stop this.
So the one who does this faces the torment of death, and the punishment f the grave, and dwells in Hell, for Allah says: "When our Messengers (the angels) come to them to take their souls, they will say: 'Where are those whom you used to invoke and worship besides Allah,'they will reply, 'They have vanished and deserted us. 'And they will bear witness against themselves, that they were disbelievers." [7: 37].
Yet many will swear that upon asking the dead or those far away for assistance, their du'a is answered. This is no proof for their statements however, and in reality, this is true also of other religions, who worship idols and animals and planets, for they too find their supplications an. Rather, and as the Scholars have explained, any such occurrence is merely a coincidence or an act of the Jinns who seek to deviate Muslims. They rush to fulfil their desires, thus making this act fair-seeming and correct in the eyes of the Muslim.
During the time of the Prophet, there was a hypocrite who was causing harm upon the Believers. So some of them said "Let us go to the Prophet (s.a.w) and ask him to Istagheeth (seek for the removal of harm) for us from this hypocrite." So the Prophet (s.a.w) replied "Verily, Istighaathah cannot be requested from me, rather, from Allah." Although it was within the Prophet's (s.a.w) ability and power to prevent the harm from the hypocrite, and although their request was Islamically valid, he stressed on the importance of using such terms for Allah only, because of the consequent damage it could cause to the Tawheed of his Ummah, had it been used to other than Allah.
Nonetheless, a myriad of Muslims still persist in this vice, even though the Scholars of Ahlus Sunnah have agreed upon its impermissibility. Ibn Taymiyyah commented in this regard: "But whoever takes them (Sheikhs, Awliyaa', Pirs etc..) as intermediaries between Allah and His creation... So that they are the ones to pass on to Allah the needs of His creations, since (they believe that) Allah gives the guidance and the sustenance because of their intercession, so that the people would ask them (the intermediaries), who will then ask Allah, just as the kings' intermediaries present people's needs to the kings because they are closer to them from the need-seeker.. Whoever takes them as intermediaries in this manner, then such person is Kaffir and Mushrik, and should be asked to repent, and should be killed if he refuses; such people are Mushabbiha (resemblers), who have resembled the Creator to His creation, and have adopted partners with Him".
The ways of the Prophets was to call Mankind to the worship of Allah, to seek His Help in every way, for He is the All-Hearer and All-Seer: "And when My slaves ask you concerning Me, then (say) I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright." [2: 186].