Seeking the help of the prophets and Awliya'

Q 1: Two groups holding opposing views: the first group maintains that seeking help from prophets and Awliya' (pious people) constitutes Kufr (disbelief) and Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship); they give evidence from Qur'an and Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) in support of their view. The second group maintains that seeking help from prophets and Awliya' is permissible because they are the chosen, sincere Servants of Allah (Exalted be He). Which of the two is correct?

A: Asking anyone other than Allah for help, to bring healing, to make it rain, to prolong one's life, or similar requests that lie in the Power of Allah Alone is a form of major Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship that takes a Muslim out of Islam). Likewise, seeking help from the dead or absent beings at the time of Du`a' (supplication), such as angels, Jinn or humans to bring about benefit or ward off harm, is an act of major Shirk. Allah (Exalted be He) does not forgive these acts unless sincere Tawbah (repentance to Allah) follows. Such forms of seeking help are in themselves acts of `Ibadah (worship) and means of approach; thus, they are not permissible to be offered to anyone other than Allah. Evidence in support of this ruling is the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) in which Allah (Exalted be He) teaches His Servants to say: You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). It means: "We worship and ask only You (Allah)." Allah (Exalted be He) also says: And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And: And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him) (Part No. 1; Page No. 173) And: And the mosques are for Allâh (Alone): so invoke not anyone along with Allâh. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to `Abdullah ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father): If you ask, ask Allah; and if you seek help, seek it from Allah. Also, he (peace be upon him) said in the Hadith reported by Mu`adh: The Right of Allah due from His Servants is that they should worship Him Alone, not associating anything with Him. And: Anyone who dies while still invoking a rival (in worship or divinity) to Allah will enter Hellfire. Seeking help from anyone other than Allah is Shirk unless the help needed is within the scope of ordinary human ability which Allah (Exalted be He) has provided mankind with and enabled them to use, such as seeking help from a doctor to treat a sick person, or from people to feed the hungry, provide water to the thirsty, or give money to the poor, etc. These and similar acts are not Shirk; rather, cooperation among people in life and livelihood. Likewise, it is permissible to seek help from living people who are not present at the same place via material methods like posting, wiring, phone calls and so on.As for the life of prophets, martyrs and Awliya', they have a special life in the Barzakh (period between death and the Resurrection) (Part No. 1; Page No. 174) whose reality is known to none but Allah. It differs from worldly life. This shows that the view held by the first group is the correct one, namely, those who say that seeking help from anyone other than Allah is Shirk.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.