Al Tabarruk

Al-Tabarruk is seeking divine grace (an increase) in something by touching it or being close to it. For example touching the grave of the Prophet ﷺ, one of his preserved hairs or even seeking blessings through drinking the Zam Zam water. One may wish to attain good health, increase in wealth, strength or offspring, etc.

The Ahl us-Sunnah believe all power belongs to Allah ﷻ, he is the originator and he causes certain people or objects to carry blessings. These blessings are a means, they do not have power within themselves. Allah ﷻ says “And Your Lord would never destroy a township wrongfully, whilst its inhabitants are righteous” 11:117. For the sake of the righteous people and their virtue, Allah ﷻ does not destroy a town and He says, “And We sent down blessed rain from the sky and produced from it gardens and grain that are reaped” 50:9. Is it the rain that caused tillage, plants and crops to grow or Allah? Allah ﷻ confirms the rain is a means in which blessings are realised. Many scholars attest to the permissibility of Tabarruk but some only limit it to that of the Prophets ﷺ.

Tabarruk relating to the Prophets

One evidence from the Quran is the incident of Yaqoub who lost his eyesight due to the sorrow caused by being away from his son, Yusuf. When Yusuf came to know of this news from his brothers, he said, Go with this my shirt and cast it over the face of my father, he will come to see (clearly). The Qur’an continues the narration, “Then when the bearer of the good news came, He cast (the shirt) over his face, and he forthwith regained clear sight.”

What is it in the shirt of Yusuf that caused Yaqoub to be cured? By the means of Yusuf’s rank and virtue with Allah ﷻ, his shirt was blessed and was a means to cure Yaqoub. Yaqoub another prophet ﷺ could have been directly cured by Allah ﷻ but Allah ﷻ deemed it for Yusuf to cure his father (with Allah’s permission).

Anas ibn Malik narrates that, “I saw the Messenger of Allah ﷺ while the barber was shaving his head [after the Farewell Hajj], and his Companions were circling around him, ensuring that a single hair would not fall except into the hands of one of them.” [Sahih Muslim]

Umm Sulaym used to collect the sweat from the Prophet ﷺ. He asked her “Why she was collecting it?” Umm Sulaym said, “we hope for its baraka [blessings] for our children.” The Prophet replied, “You are correct in what you have hoped for.” [Sahih Muslim]

The Companions of the Prophet ﷺ used to get blessings from him. At one time our Prophet ﷺ performed wudu with some water. When he left, Bilal 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 ﷺ did wudu with” [Sahih Muslim]

The people of Madina used to take tubs of water to the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ used to dip his hand in the water and the people used to take the tubs back [to get blessings from the water] [Sahih Muslim]

Once Suhail ibn Amr gave the Prophet ﷺ some water in a goblet. The Prophet ﷺ drank some water from the goblet. When the Prophet ﷺ had finished drinking, Suhail kept the goblet for Tabarruk. When the Khalif ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz asked him to give the goblet to him, Suhail gave it. ‘Umar ibn ‘abd al-Aziz then kept it [for tabarruk]” [Sahih Muslim]

Asma’ had a gown of the Prophet ﷺ. 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 ﷺ had a large piece of cloth. A person came to the Prophet ﷺ and asked if he could have the cloth. The Prophet ﷺ gave him the cloth. People asked the individual, ‘Why did you take the cloth, when the Prophet ﷺ 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]

It was narrated that Khalid ibn Al-Waleed’s helmet once fell off (his head) during the Battle of Yarmouk, so he urged the people to help him find it, and he was later blamed for this, so he said: ‘It has some of the hair from the front part of the head of the Prophet ﷺ and every time I went to battle with it, Allah ﷻ gave me victory.’” [Ta’rikh Ibn Kathir, chapter on ‘Death of Khalid ibn Walid’]

Dawud ibn Salih says: “[The Caliph] Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] one day saw a man placing his face on top of the grave of the Prophet ﷺ. He said: “Do you know what you are doing?” When he came near him, he realised it was Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. The latter said: “Yes; I came to the Prophet ﷺ, not to a stone.” Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Ahmad (5:422).

‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad said: “I saw my father take a strand of hair of the Prophet ﷺ, peace be upon him, and put it to his lips and kiss it. I believe I saw him place it over his eyes too. He also dipped it into some water and drank the water, seeking a cure thereby. I saw him take the Prophet’s bowl, peace be upon him, rinse it in water and then drink from it. I saw him drinking Zamzam water seeking a cure thereby, wiping his hands and his face with it.”

“‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad said: “I asked my father about the man who touches and kisses the pommel of the Prophet’s mimbar ﷺ to obtain blessing, or touches the grave of the Prophet ﷺ. He responded by saying: “There is nothing wrong with it.” This was narrated by `Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his book entitled al-‘Ilal fi ma`rifat al- rijal (2:492).

Muadh ibn Jabal and Bilal also came to the grave of the Prophet ﷺ and sat weeping, and the latter rubbed his face against it. Ibn Maja 2:1320 and Ahmad.

And there are many other reports of Tabarruk. There is clear precedence for the use of Tabarruk.

Tabarruk relating to the Righteous

Like the Prophets, ordinary men can also be of virtue.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “No people gather to remember Allah Almighty but that the angels surround them, cover them with mercy, send tranquility upon them, and mention them to Allah among those near to Him.” [Sahih Muslim 2700].

And there are many duas in which a person asks Allah for mercy, barakah, peace, etc, as this descends constantly upon a person, it also descends on his belongings and when people are in his company, he takes a share of it.

The Tabi’i, Thabit al-Bunani, said he used to go to Anas Ibn Malik, kiss his hands, and say: “These are hands that touched the Prophet ﷺ.” He would kiss his eyes and say: “These are eyes that saw the Prophet ﷺ.” Abu Yala narrated it in his Musnad (6:211) and Ibn Hajar mentions it in hisal-Matalib al-aliya (4:111).

There are many examples from our pious predecessors where they sought blessings from their teachers, like sitting in their spot, drinking from their vessel or kissing their chest.

The righteous will never ask people to seek blessings from their belongings so there arent many direct statements from scholars stating it is permissible, in fear, people will indirectly believe they are requesting blessing from them.

Imam Shaafi’ said: “I seek blessings from Abu Hanifa and go near his grave. When I am need of something I perform two raka’ahs of salāh and then I go near his grave and pray to Allah. Thus, my need is fulfilled quickly” (Raddul Muhtār, vol.1 p.38)

Also, Shaykh Abdul Haq Dehlwi writes: “Imam Shafi’ said that the grave of Hazrat Mūsa Kāzim is a place where supplications are accepted readily” (Ashi’atul Lum’aat, vol.1 p.715)

Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti says that on the basis of kissing the Hajar-e-Aswad, some spiritual Scholars have deduced the permissibity of kissing the graves of the Awliya Allah and other saintly personages.

Ibne Abi Sanaf Tamanione of the Ulama of the Shafi’ees, says that kissing the Holy Quran, Ahadith pages and the graves of Awliya Allah is permissible.

We can see here, whether the individual is alive or dead, the blessings upon them remains and one may seek it. This is all with knowing that all power comes from Allah. The indivudual things is a means and not a source.

Some scholars state in places where there is a lack of knowledge of the basics of deen, then it should be avoided to prevent fitna. One may seek blessings in private instead.

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