Difference between Tawassul leading to Shirk and to Bid`ah

Q: What is the difference between al-Tawassul al-Shirky (seeking to draw close to Allah through polytheistic means) and al-Tawassul al-Bid`y (seeking to draw close to Allah through heretic means)? May Allah reward you with the best.

A: Al-Tawassul Al-Shirky refers to the case when a supplicant draws near to whom he is supplicating by performing acts of worship such as sacrificing, vowing, seeking help, and supplicating just as they used to do in the Pre-Islamic era. Allah states, And they worship besides Allâh things that harm them not, nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with Allâh.” (Part No. 1; Page No. 180) Another example is that of the acts of disbelief practiced by grave worshippers around shrines such as invoking the dead, offering sacrifices, and making vows to them.As for Al-Tawassul Al-Bid`y, it refers to the case when a supplicant supplicates Allah through the status or the right of a prophet, a Waliy (pious person), or a righteous person without offering them any act of worship.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.