According to the very basic principles of Islam, this is Shirk (associating partners with Allah). What power does Ali have to grant our requests? What power does Prophet Muhammad have to grant our requests? Indeed, nobody save Allah has the power to grant our requests.
It is not permissible to ask Allah by the virtue of anyone, not even by the virtue of the Prophets or Messengers or Awliyaa’ or righteous people. No one can compel Allah to do anything. It is not permissible to ask Him in any way except by His Names and Attributes, as Allah says:
“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him…” (Quran, 7:180)
And yet we see the Shia saying things like “Naad-e-Ali” which means “call on Ali!” We should only call on Allah. Ali will tell these deviant Shia to stop calling him as he has no power, but rather to call Allah for help. In the same manner will Prophet Isa repudiate the Christians for calling on him as opposed to Allah.
With regard to saying to the occupant of a grave, “O So and so, help me,” this is obviously Shirk, because it is a supplication to someone other than Allah. Asking by the virtue of someone is a means to Shirk, and calling upon a created being is Shirk in worship.
How can a Muslim seek assistance from any other than Allah Almighty? Despite the fact that every Muslim must repeat the following words from the Quran in his prayer (salat) at least seventeen times a day:
“You alone do we worship, and Your aid alone we seek.” (Quran, 1:5)
We see the Shia saying things like “Ya Ali” and “Ya Mehdi” when they are distressed and need help. They will say “Ya Ali Madad!” These people cry out these names in times of distress when they wish for help. In true Islam, however, we should only say “Ya Allah!” Calling out anyone else’s name for help is Shirk, because we believe only Allah can help us! This is the Sunnah of the Prophet, as well as the way of Ali.
Allah Almighty says clearly in the Quran:
“And invoke not, besides Allah, [anyone since that] will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers). And if Allah should afflict you with harm, then there is none to remove it but He; and if He intends good to you there is none to repel His grace.” (Quran, 10:106-107)
Humans, no matter their status, cannot help anyone or harm anyone. Only Allah Almighty can cause harm and only He can bring benefit to us. Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
“Say [O Muhammad]: ‘I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah wills’” (Quran, 7:188)
If the Prophet could not even have power of good or harm over himself, then how can we say that he has such powers over others? If the Prophet himself declares that he cannot bring good or harm, then why are we asking him?
Islam is a fiercely monothiestic faith, and rejects all forms of intermediaries with Allah. Intermediaries are none other than idols. The pagans believe that their idols are intermediaries, and they invoke them to ask God for help through them. So too do the Christians believe in Jesus as an intermediary to God. And so have the Imams become an intermediary and idols for the Shia.
How often do we hear the Shia say: “Ya Ali, give us [such and such]” or “Ya Hussain, rescue us!” The Shia even go to the graves of their Imams, crying and rubbing their tombs; it is not unusual to see a Shia kissing the grave of his Imam and invoking the deceased Imam’s name in du’a. The Shia cry to their idols, kiss them, and invoke them.
Then after doing all of this, the same Shia will say unashamedly about the Imam whose tomb they just cried to: “I do not worship him.” This fact is embodied in their dictum: “Call upon Ali, the revealer of wonders.” When these same people are asked if they worship Ali, they categorically deny this, despite the fact that they call upon his name (and their Imams) appealing for aid in obtaining their most demanding needs.
This is exactly what modern day Hindus do. They worship idols, but if we ask them, they will look at us straight in the eye and say that they are monothiests. They claim that they aren’t worshipping the idols, and that the idols are just intermediaries to God.
O Shia, come to the Call of Islam and to Absolute Tawheedullah (Oneness of Allah). “La Illaha Illalah”…There is no God except Allah! None is equal to Him and no partners and no intermediaries does He need.
Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
“The most beautiful names belong to Allah; so call on Him by them…” (Quran, 7:180)
Allah did not say: “So call on Him by the names of the Imams, their shrines, etc.”
Allah Almighty also said in the Quran:
“And your Lord says: ‘Call on Me, I will answer your (prayer).’” (Quran, 40:60)
Allah did not say: “Call on Me by the names of the Imams, I will answer your prayer.”
We should invoke Allah and Allah alone for Help, and asking anyone else is Shirk, the one sin Allah will not forgive.
Allah Almighty says it so clearly in the Quran:
“Verily those whom you call upon besides Allah are servants like you. Therefore, call upon them, and let them listen to your prayers, if you are (indeed) truthful!” (Quran, 7: 194)
This is a challenge from Allah, whereby Allah dares anyone to ask others for help. Nobody can listen to our prayers and grant them except Allah the Almighty.
Allah Almighty mocks those people who go to graves to supplicate invoking their Saints:
“If you invoke (or 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….But you cannot make those hear who are in graves…” (Quran, Chapter 35)
Islam shuns the superstitious (and useless) practise of visiting graves to worship (and in fact considers it Haram).
Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
“Call upon those whom you imagine beside Allah! They have not an atom’s weight of power either in the heavens or in the earth, nor have they any share in either, nor does He need any of them as a helper.” (Quran, 34:22)
Allah Almighty says again in the Quran:
“Yet have they taken, besides Him, gods that can create nothing but are themselves created; that have no control of hurt or good to themselves; nor can they control Death nor Life nor Resurrection.” (Quran, 25:3)
Prophet Muhammad and Ali will say it proudly on the Day of Judgement that they are only slaves of Allah. In fact, the Prophet was asked by Allah if he would rather be a king of men or a slave of Allah. The Prophet chose to be a slave of Allah. There is no shame in this, and it is not belittling the status of either the Prophet nor Ali in the least in admitting that they cannot give benefit nor do harm even to themselves.
The Christians may think that we are insulting Prophet Jesus by saying that he is only a slave, but the Quran says:
“Christ disdains not to serve and worship Allah, nor do the angels, those nearest (to Allah).”(Quran, 4:172)
The Prophet and Ali would be included in “those nearest (to Allah)” who would not disdain to serve and worship Allah. All are powerless except Allah, and this is why we ask only Him for help. This is the essence of Islam. Anything other than this is Shirk and subsequent Kufr.
The Shia teach their children to supplicate by calling out the names of their Imams, thereby inculcating the habits of polythiesm in their children from a young age. This must be rejected, and children must be taught to only ask Allah for help and do so by using His Names, as mentioned in the Quran.
We will even find Shia who recite the names of Ali, Hasan, and Hussain whilst they do Tasbeeh, and claim that this is Dhikr. It is nothing short of Shirk, and Ali would burn such people on the stake if he knew that they were doing such things. In a similar manner did Ali burn the followers of Abdullah ibn Saba to the stake for the very same blasphemy.
The Shia believe that their prayers are accepted because they invoke the names of their Imams. They believe that the names of their Imams are the key-factor for acceptance of their prayers and a major prerequisite for getting invocations answered by Allah. This is similar to the unfounded claim by the polythiests who say that their idols draw them nearer to Allah.
The polythiests would say that the idols are a “Waseelah” to bring them close to Allah. And likewise, the Shia say that their Imams and Saints are the Waseelah to Allah, intermediaries who can bring them closer to Allah. This is the concept of Tawassul, but it is rejected by true Muslims, who believe that the only Waseelah to Allah is to be pious and to invoke Allah and Allah alone for help!
Whoever worships Ali, know that he is dead and that he cannot hear our cries, and even if he could, he could do nothing to help us. But whoever worships Allah, let him know that Allah is Alive and can never die, and that He has promised us help if we just turn to Him and Him alone. We should say only “Ya Allah Madad.”