And Picturing One’s shaykh
|Sūrat Al-Zumar 39:3|
1. We have an imam of the masjid who says that on Laylat al-Qadr, Muḥammad, may blessings and peace be upon him, came to the masjid and gave the greeting of peace (salām) to the people, and that Jibrīl, peace be upon him, also came to the masjid and gave the greeting of peace to the people. What is your opinion regarding these statements?
2. Is it permissible to pray behind someone who says that whoever does not picture the shaykh during his wird will be cut off from divine illuminations?
Answer (from Sheikh Wahbah Al-Zuḥaylī):
1. These claims and allegations are false. It is not lawful to make them, repeat them or believe in them. Lies like these are akin to lying against the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, against the Revelation and against Jibrīl, and the matter therein is spiritual; no one has knowledge of it besides Allah, Mighty and Majestic.
2. This statement is false and is also not lawful in the Revealed Law. It is not permissible to picture a shaykh or anyone else whenever one is in prayer, because a condition of the prayer is to be sincerely devoted to Allah, Mighty and Majestic, and the texts of the Qurʾān show the opposite of this, such as the Exalted One’s statement regarding idol-worshippers: “And those who take protectors besides Him – ‘We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to Allah’…” [Sūrat Al-Zumar 39:3] This kind of picturing is closer to idolatry, and we seek refuge in Allah the Exalted.
[Translated from Fatāwā Muʿāṣirah (Damascus: Dār Al-Fikr, 1427/2006), p.67-68]
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 (tn): Ar. takhayyul, i.e. to picture him in one’s mind
 (tn): i.e. the leader of a Ṣūfī ṭarīqah
 (tn): Ar. waḥī, which includes the Qurʾān and the Sunnah
 (tn): Ar. rūḥānī, i.e. immaterial and thus not something that can be witnessed and verified
 (tn): and the same applies to supplicating to Allah and invoking Him
 (tn): Ar. shirk