Stated Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab in Kashfush-Shubuhaat (Removal of Doubts):
“So that only His salvation (istighaathah) would be sought, and such that all acts of worship would be directed to Allaah alone.”
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen’s (d.1420H) explanation of this statement is as follows:
The word istighaathah means to seek relief and salvation at times of hardship and when on the verge of destruction. It can be divided into four categories:
- The First Category: Seeking relief and salvation (istigaathah) from Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) which is from the best and most perfect of actions. It was the practice of the Messengers (alaihimus-salaam) and their followers. And the proof of this can be found in the statement of Allaah (tabaaraka wa ta’aala),
“Remember when you sought the help of your Lord, and He answered you: Indeed, I will reinforce you with a thousand angels, following one another in succession.” [Sooratul-Anfaal 8:9]
- The Second Category: Seeking salvation (istighaathah) from the dead or from individuals who are living but absent and unable to provide any assistance; this type of (istighaathah) is polytheism (Shirk). This is because this type of action is not done except by someone who believes that those who he is calling upon possess some type of control and influence over creation. So they have attributed a share of Lordship (ar-ruboobiyyah) to the creation. Allaah (tabaaraka wa ta’aala) says,
Isn’t the One who responds to the desperate whenever they call upon Him; who removes the harm; and who makes you inheritors of the earth? Can there be another besides Allaah? Little do you reflect?” [Sooratun-Naml 27:62]
- The Third Category: Seeking relief and salvation from those who are living and able to provide assistance. This is permissible and it is just like seeking their aid. Allaah said concerning the story of Moosaa (alaihis-salaam),
“And the one from his faction who called for help against one of his enemies, so Moosaa struck him and [unintentionally] killed him.” [Sooratul-Qasas 28:15]
- The Fourth Category: Seeking relief and salvation from a living person who is unable to provide the necessary assistance without believing that he possesses any special influence over the creation. An example of this is if help was sought from someone who is paralyzed to repel an advancing army of the enemy. This is considered useless and mockery of the one whose aid was sought. So this action is prohibited for this reason and because it might be interpreted by others to suggest that the one whose aid was sought despite his handicap possessed a hidden power that allows him to save people in times of adversity.
Source: Explanation of Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab’s Removal of Doubts, Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (d.1420H), Translation by Qasim Mutiva, Sunnah Publishing, pp.103-105.