Seeking the help of and supplicating to the deceased besides Allah

Q: The Imam of a Masjid (mosque) in one of the villages in Egypt where we live is a Sufi who follows Al-Shadhuliyyah Tariqah (Sufi order). This man teaches people to seek to draw close to Allah (Tawassul) by means of the creatures of Allah, such as the prophets and the Awliya’ (pious people), and he urges them to visit shrines. He tells them it is lawful to swear by the Prophet and the Awliya’, and to make Kaffarah (expiation) if they break an oath made in their name. Our group, which is one of the Islamic groups, debated with him over the errors he is committing and teaching to the people, but he remained adamant, citing Da‘if (weak) and Mawdu‘ (fabricated) Hadiths to defend his opinion. Is it permissible to pray behind such a man (when he leads congregational prayers) given we have not yet finished building a Masjid? We have only collected some donations for it, so we still have not built it. We would like to know your Fatwa concerning this issue. May Allah grant us all success. In addition, he declared the great scholars of Islam, such as the Shaykh of Islam Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah and Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhab (may Allah be pleased and merciful to them) as disbelievers.

A: Seeking the help of the dead and calling upon them instead of or along with Allah are considered acts of major Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) which takes one out of the fold of Islam, whether the one whose help is sought is a prophet or otherwise. Seeking the help of people who are absent is major Shirk as well, which also takes one out of the fold of Islam; we seek refuge in Allah from that. Salah (prayer) behind such people is not valid as they are Mushrikun (those who associate others with Allah in worship). (Part No. 1; Page No. 106) As for one who seeks the help of Allah alone and only asks of Him, yet begs in the name of their status and virtue, or circumambulates their graves without believing that they have the ability to do anything, but only hoping that their lofty status in the sight of Allah be a cause for answering prayers, such a person has committed a Bid‘ah (rejected innovation in religion), a sin, and one of the means leading to Shirk. I am afraid this might lead to major Shirk. May Allah help you spread Tawhid (monotheism), support the truth, and struggle against the innovators in religion.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.