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Imam Ahmad and others narrated with a saheeh isnaad from ‘Uthmaan ibn Haneef that a blind man came to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and said: Pray to Allah to heal me. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If you wish, I shall pray for you; and if you wish, I shall delay that for you and that will be better for you.” [According to another report, he said: “… Or if you wish, you can be patient and that will be better for you.”] He said: Pray for me (now). So he instructed him to do wudoo’ and do it well, then to pray two rak‘ahs and say this du‘aa’ (supplication): “O Allah, I ask You and I turn to You by virtue of Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy. O Muhammad, I turn by virtue of you to my Lord concerning this need of mine, that it might be met for me. O Allah, accept his intercession concerning me and accept my intercession concerning him.” So the man did that and he was healed.

What does it mean when the man is ordered to say "O Allah(...) I turn to You by virtue of Your Prophet Muhammad" I turn to you by virtue of Prophet Muhammad?? And also "O Muhammad, I turn by virtue of you to my Lord concerning this need of mine, that it might be met for me" Why should the man call out to Muhammad (pbuh)?

What do these mean and what is the reasoning for the choice in using these words?

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The hadith you mentioned was referenced in several hadiths' books, and it is authentic (sahih). Using Sunnan Ibn Majah 5/1448:

حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مَنْصُورِ بْنِ سَيَّارٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عُثْمَانُ بْنُ عُمَرَ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ أَبِي جَعْفَرٍ الْمَدَنِيِّ، عَنْ عُمَارَةَ بْنِ خُزَيْمَةَ بْنِ ثَابِتٍ، عَنْ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ حُنَيْفٍ، أَنَّ رَجُلاً ضَرِيرَ الْبَصَرِ أَتَى النَّبِيَّ (ﷺ) فَقَالَ ادْعُ اللَّهَ لِي أَنْ يُعَافِيَنِي.‏ فَقَالَ ‏"‏إِنْ شِئْتَ أَخَّرْتُ لَكَ وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ وَإِنْ شِئْتَ دَعَوْتُ"‏‏.‏ فَقَالَ ادْعُهْ.‏ فَأَمَرَهُ أَنْ يَتَوَضَّأَ فَيُحْسِنَ وُضُوءَهُ وَيُصَلِّيَ رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَيَدْعُوَ بِهَذَا الدُّعَاءِ ‏"‏اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ وَأَتَوَجَّهُ إِلَيْكَ بِمُحَمَّدٍ نَبِيِّ الرَّحْمَةِ يَا مُحَمَّدُ إِنِّي قَدْ تَوَجَّهْتُ بِكَ إِلَى رَبِّي فِي حَاجَتِي هَذِهِ لِتُقْضَى اللَّهُمَّ فَشَفِّعْهُ فِيَّ ‏"‏.‏

It was narrated from 'Uthman bin Hunaif that a blind man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said: "Pray to Allah to heal me." He said: "If you wish to store your reward for the Hereafter, that is better, or if you wish, I will supplicate for you." He said: "Supplicate." So he told him to perform ablution and do it well, and to pray two Rak'ah, and to say this supplication: "Allahumma inni as'aluka wa atawajjahu ilaika bimuhammadin nabiyyir-rahmah. Ya Muhammadu inni qad tawajjahtu bika ila rabbi fi hajati hadhihi lituqda. Allahumma fashaffi'hu fiya (O Allah, I ask of You and I turn my face towards You by virtue of the intercession of Muhammad the Prophet of mercy. O Muhammad, I have turned to my Lord by virtue of your intercession concerning this need of mine so that it may be met. O Allah, accept his intercession concerning me)".

The blind man asked the Prophet (ﷺ) to pray for him to be healed, as the supplication of the Prophet (ﷺ) is more likely to be answered due to his stance.

The Prophet (ﷺ) advised the blind man that it is better to have patience, but the Prophet (ﷺ) still offered to supplicate for the blind man at the time. The blind man elected to have the supplication at the time, so the Prophet (ﷺ) supplicated for him, and taught him the words for supplication with intercession:

O Allah, I ask of You and I turn my face towards You by virtue of the intercession of Muhammad the Prophet of mercy.

The Prophet (ﷺ) here shows the blind man that all supplication should be to Allah (see Qur'an 40:60), and he asks Allah to accept the supplication of the Prophet (ﷺ) (by virtue of the intercession of Muhammad), which the blind man had already specified before (Pray to Allah to heal me). The power of intercession is only for Allah to grant (see Qur'an 43:86), hence the supplication was to Allah (O Allah, I ask of You and I turn my face towards You) to accept the intercession.

O Muhammad, I have turned to my Lord by virtue of your intercession concerning this need of mine so that it may be met.

This is a form of politeness: to let the Prophet (ﷺ) know that the blind man was thankful for the intercession (supplication) of the Prophet (ﷺ), and that the blind man had also supplicated likewise. There is no supplication in this statement; merely information.

O Allah, accept his intercession concerning me.

The blind man then turned to Allah one more time asking Him to accept the intercession (supplication) of the Prophet (ﷺ).

In other words, the hadith revolves around supplication:

  1. Directly by the blind man, supplicating for himself to be healed.
  2. As an intercession by the Prophet (ﷺ), supplicating for the blind man to be healed.

To the best of my knowledge, we have no further information of what happened to the blind man afterwards.

The reasoning for the choice of words will be mere speculation, since there is no verse or hadith that inform us otherwise. Most likely, as mentioned earlier, the blind man knew that the stance of the Prophet (ﷺ) was much higher than his, and that the chances of his supplication being accepted were higher if the supplication came directly from the Prophet (ﷺ). The Prophet (ﷺ) taught the blind man the words to use to supplicate that the intercession by the Prophet (ﷺ) be accepted. Since the Prophet (ﷺ) is dead, and we can no longer ask him to supplicate on our behalf, we only have the option of his teachings to follow when performing supplication as per his hadith in Riyad as-Salihin:

إذا صلى أحدكم فليبدأ بتحميد ربه سبحانه، والثناء عليه، ثم يصلي على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ثم يدعو بعد ما شاء

When any one of you have performed Salat (prayer) and wants to supplicate, let him praise Allah first then glorify Him in the beginning and then he should supplicate Allah for me. Then he may supplicate for whatever he likes.

  • Alright I understand the overall meaning and its intention but the wording still confuses me, I understand that the main thing is to understand the message but i would also like to be clear on the meaning of each word, so can you further explain to me what does "I ask of you and turn towards you by virtue of the intercession of your Prophet" what exactly does by virtue of the intercession of your Prophet mean? Does it mean I turn to you because of the strength of the prophets intercession?? I think some kind of allegory or example would be useful to explain this. – Muhammad Al-Muslim Apr 16 '17 at 16:12
  • You also said that in one part of the supplication where the blind man is to say "O Muhammad.." that this is out of politness, I dont understand where is the politness because Muhammad (pbuh) is not expected to hear him as this is a part of the supplication for the man to make alone after prayer, i would understand if it was along the lines of "O Muhammad may you be blessed by Allah" that would actually be politness but its not so where is the politness? And therefore i ask, what is the point of this? – Muhammad Al-Muslim Apr 16 '17 at 16:16
  • Furthermore I would like to add that this question arose after watching a video (m.youtube.com/watch?v=c9cvvzJoTeg) if you have any refutation for this i would also be intrested in that. Please note if you feel this is a waste of time i will understand and leave my enquiry on this specific issue. – Muhammad Al-Muslim Apr 16 '17 at 16:19
  • @MuhammadAl-Muslim - Since the original question asked about the meaning of the words, this is what I provided. If you have other specific questions related to the hadith that are more specific, or related to the video, either edit your question or post a new question to avoid going back and forth in the comments. – III-AK-III Apr 16 '17 at 18:56
  • @MuhammadAl-Muslim - RE: "You also said that in one part of the supplication where the blind man is to say "O Muhammad." I actually said that there was no supplication in this statement, and there is none. You may consider it a form of politeness or otherwise, but it is not a supplication as you mentioned, and there is no linguistic or otherwise form of supplication in this statement. It is as the statement says it is: informing the Prophet that he had turned to Allah with his supplication. I am not sure which part is unclear. – III-AK-III Apr 16 '17 at 19:01

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