A lot of people say that these ulema, peers or anyone capable of guiding us spiritually, are 'waseelas, God's resources. We can seek Allah's help through them. For instance, a lot of people pray, "O Allah grant us this and that favour through the waseelah of Bibi Fatima." Do u think that is right? I mean, there is no doubt as to the stature of Hazrat Fatima in Islam. But is it not wrong to involve a third party, no matter how religiously sound it is, in between oneself and God? Isn't the interaction with Allah a one-to-one business?
Secondly, there is a prevalent trend of reverence to saints and sufis in our country. Like us, they were mortals, praising and worshiping the same Divine Being. Do you not think it as shirk to worship them, instead of Allah? Isn't the current trend of 'mannat' and all, it not synonymous with idolising someone other than Allah? The respect can be restricted to praising them and their efforts for upholding Islam through difficult times, but aren't they nothing but perishable human beings like us? Please shed some light.
We believe that literally any source or means is a waseelah. For example when we turn to doctors for medical help they become our waseelah. When we use the net to communicate it becomes waseelah for distance communication. However, the problem arises when we take someone who is unable to help as a means to access Allah Almighty who has most mercifully declared that none has the right and power to intercede before him for another. We take the valis and awliyas as able to understand our problems and then communicate them to the Almighty Allah who it seems to us is obliged to pay heed to these personalities. This according to our view a polytheistic activity. However, we do not declare any such person a polytheist because these people when asked would not accept that they commit polytheism. The Qur'an did not call the Christians as polytheist in spite of the fact that it declares their act of ascribing divinity to Jesus as polytheistic. This is because they would believe in monotheism. Following this principle we should not declare these people as polytheist. However, we should avoid this act ourselves and consider it polytheism. The Caliph Umar once asked the uncle of the Prophet to pray for rain. He asked Allah that he brought the uncle of the Prophet with him. He could do this because the uncle was there to pray for rain. The caliph did not ask Allah to send rain as he (caliph) invoked the Prophet as waseelah. This shows that we can only ask someone for help and ask an elder to pray for us. This elder or any other person can be a waseelah but not a dead man however pious and God-fearing.
Worshipping saints or considering them having a say before the Almighty while they are dead and do not know what is happening in the world would be polytheistic. Again I would not declare such people polytheists as explained above.