The excerpts from ‘Allamah Sun’ Allah bin Sun’ Allah al-Halabi al-Makki al-Hanafi (d.1120 AH) are very good, and describes, amongst many other things, the fact that the fuqaha used the term 'istagaathah' interchangeably with the correct form of tawassul. Just in case any pseudo-scholar attempts to slander him by accusing him of having been corrupted and influenced (in the manner Shah Ismail Shaheed was slandered), he passed away when Shaykh Ibn Abdul Wahhab was only a toddler.
“Nowadays, multitudes amongst the Muslims have emerged claiming that the saints (awliya’) have discretion (tasarrufat) in their life and after death, and through them help is sought (yustaghathu bihim) in difficulties and calamities, and by their aspirations, matters of concern are resolved, so they come to their graves, call to them to fulfil their needs, adducing as evidence for [this practice] that these are miracles (karamat) from them. [Some of those] who claim knowledge of [juristic] issues reinforce this for them, and support them with fatwas and treatises…This, as you see, is speech containing negligence and excess, and extremism in the religion due to abandoning precaution (tark al-ihtiyat). Rather, therein is eternal damnation and infinite punishment, due to what it contains of the odors of actual shirk, and of contending with the authoritative Mighty Book and opposition to the beliefs of the Imams, and that which this ummah has agreed upon...”
" “Whoever attributes lies to His friends (awliya’), it is as if he attributes lies to Allah and takes his desires as his god.
‘They [shall] have shackles around their necks,’ (13:5).
‘They are like cattle. Rather, they are more astray.’ (7:179).
As far as what they say regarding the saints (awliya’) having discretion (tasarruf) in their lives and after death, it is rejected by His (Exalted is His Mention) saying:
‘Is there any god along with Allah?’ (27:60).
‘Know that to Him belongs the creation and the command,’ (7:54).
‘To Him belongs what is in the heavens and the earth,’ (31:26).
‘To him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth,’ (25:2).
And there are many other similar verses which state that Allah alone has the attributes of creation, discretion (tasarruf) and predestination without any kind of partnership with anyone. So, everything is under His dominion and control, in discretion and ownership, in giving life and death, and in creation. This was accepted by the predecessors and their successors, and it was agreed upon by all Muslims and they believed it as they believed in ‘la ilaha illallah’. Many verses of the Qur’an praise Allah Most High for His singularity in His dominion and power [in the universe], like His saying:
‘Is there any creator except Allah?’ (35:3).
‘Only He created everything,’ (25:3).
‘We created everything with measure,’ (54:49).
‘That is Allah, your Lord, the Creator of everything,’ (40:62).
‘Is then the One who creates [everything] equal to one who does not create?’ (16:18).
‘Show me what they have created from the earth; Or have they a share in [the creation of] the heavens?’ (35:40).
‘And those whom you invoke besides Him do not own even the membrane on a date-stone,’ (35:13).
‘Say: call upon those whom you claim besides Allah. They do not possess [anything] even to the measure of a particle, neither in the heavens nor in the earth. They have no share at all in them,’ (34:22).
‘Surely, those whom you invoke beside Allah are slaves [of Allah] like you,’ (7:194).
‘Those whom you call beside Him cannot help you, nor can they help themselves,’ (7:197).
‘That is because Allah is the truth and that whatever they invoke besides Him is false and that Allah is the High, the Great,’ (22:62).
There are uncountable verses containing the same meaning. In all these verses His saying ‘min dun Allah’ (other than/besides Allah) means [all] other than Him Most High, as it is general including within it those you believe to be a satan and a saint from whom you seek help. One who has no power to help himself [i.e. ghayrullah], how can he render help to others?...”
As far as the belief that after death they have discretion (tasarruf) in matters, it is more heinous than saying they have discretion in their lifetime....”
As for their support that these powers are from their karamat [and at their discretion], it is fallacious, because karamah is something that originates from Allah by which He honors (yukrim) His friends and prophets, without their intention, challenge, power and knowledge, as in the matter of Maryam bint ‘Imran, Usayd ibn Hudayr, Abu Musa al-Khawlani, and those that are like them as you will soon learn. Thus it can’t be said that they are from their powers and [nor can it] be unqualifiedly said of them what they say of tasarruf (discretion).
‘Undoubtedly they utter an evil word and a lie’ (58:2)
and the sincere Muslims are free from such things...
As for as their statement: ‘through them help is sought in difficulties and calamities, and by their aspirations, matters of concern are resolved’, this is worse and strange, and more abominable and repulsive, because this contradicts the Qur’an:
‘Or the One who responds to a helpless person when He prays to Him and removes distress, and who makes you vicegerents of the earth? Is there any god along with Allah? (27:62).
‘Say, Who is the One who delivers you from the darkness of the land and the sea? Say, Allah delivers you from it and from every pain,’ (6:64).
‘Whatever blessing you have is from Allah. Then, once you are touched by distress, to Him alone you cry for help,’ (16:53).
‘Say, call those whom you assume [to be gods], besides Him, while they have no power to remove distress from you, nor to change it,’ (17:56).
‘Then, tell me about those whom you invoke other than Allah, if Allah intends to cause some harm to me, are they [able] to remove the harm caused by Him? Or if He intends to bless me with mercy, are they [able] to hold back His mercy [from me)]’ (39:38).
‘If Allah causes you harm, there is no one to remove it except He Himself; and if He causes you good, then He is powerful over everything,’ (6:17).
And there are other similar verses in which Allah Most High declared that no one is the remover of harm but He and only He can remove distress and pain and He alone grants the supplications of the distressed ones and no one but He is called for help. He is all Powerful to do good and He alone can do so. Since He [Allah] was indeed meant [in these verses], the ghayr (others) – like the angels, prophets, saints and so on – were automatically negated, as was explained in the Holy Qur’an:
‘Say, call those whom you assume, besides Him, while they have no power to remove distress from you, nor to change it,’ (17:56)
with further argument from the following verse:
‘Those whom they invoke, do themselves seek the means of access to their Lord as to which of them becomes the closest, and they hope for His Mercy and fear His punishment. The punishment of your Lord is really something to be feared,’ (17:57).
The verse declares clearly that the prophets do not have power to remove harm from anyone, so how can the others who are even lower in rank than them do so? But, ‘whomsoever Allah lets to go astray, for him you will find no one to help, [and] no one to lead,’ (18:17)...."
What has been said [by some scholars] of istighathah through the prophets and saints being permissible, the meaning of it is only attaining blessing (tabarruk) through their mention, and tawassul through them, and not seeking assistance (imdad) from them.
So, beware, and then again, beware, with respect to your condition of the fallacy of your brethren!
O Allah! Cleanse us from this ignominy and protect us from suspicion of that in which is destruction [i.e. shirk]...”
Seeking aid (istighathah) is permissible in the ordinary outward means (al-asbab al-zahirat al-‘adiyyah), of fighting or catching an enemy or a predator and the like of this like their statement: ‘O Zayd!’ ‘O my people!’, or ‘O Muslims!’ as they mentioned them in the books of Nahw in accordance with actual (bi l-fi’il) outward means. However, seeking aid by potential [means] (bi l-quwwah) or in intangible matters of difficulties, of sickness, fear of drowning, distress, poverty; and seeking provision and its like; these are from the exclusive qualities of Allah and no one besides Him can be invoked with regards to them.
Allah, Glorious is His Mention, states:
‘And when you face a hardship at sea, vanished are those whom you used to invoke, except Him ,’ (17:67).
Thus He negated the invocation of other than Him, so His uniqueness in this is stipulated. Thus, hold to such belief, and do not be of those who deviated due to his reason,
‘when shackles will be round their necks, and chains they will be dragged into the hot water after which they will be thrown into the Fire as fuel,’ (40:71-72).
As for their condition of coming to their [i.e. saints] graves and calling them to fulfill their needs, deducing as evidence that this is from their karamat; then, if their arrival is with the intention to supplicate near their grave and tawassul through them, there is no harm, just as ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) performed tawassul through Sayyiduna Al-‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), because there is success in supplication in the places of the righteous.
As for their condition of believing in effectuation (ta’thir) from them, and that they have discretion in fulfilling their needs, as the pre-Islamic Arabs and ignorant Sufis do, while calling them and seeking aid from them, this is from the abominable acts because when discretion is negated from the living – as has preceded – how can it be established for the dead?!”