Appeal for help is a form of disbelief in supernatural matters
This objection is based on a particular division. Mattes are generally divided into two categories on the basis of causes:
- Ordinary matters
- Extraordinary matters
According to this division, it is valid to seek the help of others in ordinary matters because they fall under natural causes but it is invalid in extraordinary matters because they fall under supernatural causes and therefore is a form of disbelief. Matters of cause-and-effect are generally handled on this level, but if this pattern is discarded and appeal is made through other causes, it is called appeal for help through supernatural causes, and if reliance is made only on cause-and-effect, it is called appeal for help through nat ural causes. The means for help adopted in this case are generally compatible with the matters for whom help is being implored. It should be kept in mind that in their opinion it is appeal for help through nat ural causes to cooperate with one another in worldly matters, and therefore it is a valid act as Allāh says: And help one another in (acts of) righteousness and piety.(Qur’ān (al-Mā’idah, the Feast) 5:2.) Though they treat appeal for help through natural causes in ordinary matters as a valid act, they deny its validity in extraordinary matters.
Intellectual settlement of the objection
First point: The division into appeal for help through natural and supernatural causes (relating to ordinary and extraordinary matters) declares the latter as an invalid act, while the holy Qur’ān makes no reference to this distinction tending to justify one and condemn the other. This is a self-fabricated division and is the result of specious logic and flawed reasoning. No Qur’ānic verse can be cited to support this division.
We should also keep in mind that extraordinary matters are engineered by factors which can be explained by some level of reasoning. But , with the except ion of kun fayakūn (be! and it is) no event is motivated by supernatural causes. Since the causes of some phenomena are not apparently known to us, we tend to explain them through supernatural causes.
Second point: The verse in sūrah al-Fātihah, which is regarded as the fundamental link in their reasoning, makes no mention of the causes under which this division has been forged, while the words iyyāka nasta’īnu (we seek help only from You) are being used in the absolute sense. The rule is that the absolute has a continuous sway in its area of application, that is, the absolute cannot tolerate any fluctuation in its range of reference. This is what fundamentally differentiates the absolute from the relative, the real from the contingent, the categorical from the conditional. Therefore we cannot clamp on it selfinvented meanings. We cannot say: ‘O Allāh! We seek Your help only in extraordinary or supernatural matters because no one else except You can help us in these matters. As far as ordinary or worldly matters are concerned, we have no need to seek Your help because there are countless other sources which could be tapped for the acquisition of help.’ A division on these lines is nothing but a reflection of their lack of knowledge and stupidity and is a one-way ticket to disbelief. Thus their own perverse reasoning boomerangs on them; they themselves are guilty of the disbelief of which they have accused others.
Third point: All division and classification presuppose differentiation. But the question is that in the case of iyyāka nasta‘īnu there is no need for such differentiation as the absolute is categorical and indivisible. Any effort to divide it is self-frustrating. They have divided it despite the glaringly obvious fact that it is both unjustified and unwarranted. Besides, it clearly reveals that their own thesis is marked by an inherent contradiction as they justify appeal for help through natural causes while denying it through supernatural causes. It is, in fact, nothing but a highly distorted reflection of their own squint-eyed vision. The division can be vindicated only if we think of the dichotomy in terms of real help and derivative help, which in reality, amounts to no division. If all help derives from the absolute, then the power of the derivative source of help is only contingent, and it acquires substance only through the willingness of the real helper. Thus the only sensible way is in terms of real and derivative and not whether one kind of appeal for help is justified and the other is unjustified.
In the words of iyyākanastaīnu the creature is imploring Allāh. He is, in fact, saying: ‘O Allāh! No matter which external source we tap for the relief of our immediate need, we do not regard this source of relief and help as the real helper. We treat only You as the true and real Helper because, if Your support and willingness is lacking and if Your consent is missing, no one else has the power to help us out of our trouble.’ This is the unwavering core of our faith whether we are recovering through the medicine of a doctor or through the supplication of a saint; we do not consider them the real helpers. Therefore in any case and under all circumstances, Allāh alone is our real Helper because the assistance of all others is predicat ive, that is, it is predicated only on Allāh’s pleasure and willingness. For us both the medicine and the supplication, the doctor and the saint, are only means and this is their only significance because Allāh alone is the real Helper.