What are the rulings on the following: Using the Awliya' (pious people) as a means of healing from illnesses, visiting graves, vowing to make sacrifices to the dead, and holding annual Mawlids (celebrations of the birth days) for the Awliya'?
It is forbidden to regard a Waliy (pious person) as a means of healing from illnesses by saying, for example, "O Allah! Cure my patient by the honor of so-and-so the Waliy." This is because it is (Part No. 1; Page No. 509) a means that can lead to Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and an innovated form of Tawassul (supplicating to Allah through a means) that has no origin in the Shari`ah (Islamic law). In fact, it is major Shirk to say, for example, "O Imam Shafi`y, cure my patient."It is a Sunnah (commendable act) to visit graves to be reminded of death, take warnings and lessons, and to supplicate to Allah to forgive the dead and be merciful to them. However, visiting graves to be blessed by their occupants, seeking their help to meet needs or relieve distresses is major Shirk, and takes the one who does it out of the fold of Islam - may Allah save us from this. Likewise, vowing to make sacrifices for the dead or offering sacrifices to them without vows is major Shirk. Allah (Exalted be He) says:
And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him.
Allah (Exalted be He) also says:
And whoever invokes (or worships), besides Allâh, any other ilâh (god), of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely! Al-Kâfirûn (the disbelievers in Allâh and in the Oneness of Allâh, polytheists, pagans, idolaters) will not be successful.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.