The Prophet (saw) said, “Du’aa is ibaadah (worship).” [Aboo daawood]. And as every Muslim knows, ‘none has the right to be worshipped besides Allaah’.
This narration shows that doing du’aa to other than Allaah is unlawful and nothing short of shirk, as you are directing an act of worship (du’aa) to other than Allaah. And Allaah clearly mentions this prohibition in the verse, “Invoke not anyone along with Allaah.” [72:18] So he who directs an act of worship to other than Allaah has committed shirk (an act of associating partners with Allaah).
Allaah says: “To You alone we worship, and to You alone we ask for help.” [1:4] This verse has many fascinating points which stress that only Allaah should be called upon for help. (1) Firstly, Allah repeats the word “iyyaaka (to You alone)” twice, and did not mention it only once by saying, “To You alone we worship and ask for help.” This is in order to emphasise that worship and seeking aid is solely for Allaah alone. (2) Secondly, we look at the structure of the sentence. A normal sentence would be phrased as “We worship You and we ask help from you.” where the doer of the action comes before the object. However the structure of the aayah has been phrased such that the object “You” is mentioned first then the doer and verb “we worship”. This is called “Al-hasr” (restriction/limitation) in the Arabic language, which in this case means to negate the performance of acts of worship to other than Allaah (swt). (3) Thirdly, we see that Allaah not only says “To You alone we worship” but also brings out specific type of worship and stresses it again, by adding, “and to You alone we ask for help.” In this way, Allaah shows us the importance of this specific type of worship, as even though seeking aid is worship, and we have already stated we worship Him alone, Allaah brings it out again to emphasise its importance. (4) This statement is repeated at least 17 times a day. We say it again and again to as to drill it in ourselves that we only ask Allaah for help.
Nay, the inhabitants of the graves cannot even hear the one doing du’aa to them. Allaah says: “The living and the dead are not alike. Allaah makes hear whoever He wishes hear, but you cannot make those in their graves hear.” [35:22]
Here, Allaah explains to the Prophet (saw) that he cannot make the rejecters of faith hear the message (as they are dead in heart and in spirit) any more than he can make those in their graves hear what is spoken to them. (See Tafseer At-Tabaree 21/36)
Allaah says: “Verily, you cannot make the dead to hear, nor can you make the deaf to hear the call, when they flee, turning their backs.” [27:80]
Here, Allaah addresses the Prophet (saw) reminding him that he cannot make the disbelievers hear his invitation to Islaam, for they are like the dead who do not hear either.
We also have the ahaadeeth which show that the dead cannot hear. The Prophet (saw) said: “Allaah has angels who travel about the earth; they convey to me the peace greetings from my Ummah.” [Aboo Daawood, from Ibn Mas’ood]
If he (saw) could hear it directly there would be no need for the angels to convey it to him. So since the best of creation cannot hear our pleads and our conversation, it hold even more true that those of lesser status than the Prophet (saw) cannot even have this feature of hearing us.
Allaah says: “And those, whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a Qitmir (the thin membrane over the date-stone). If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call, and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them.” [35:13-14]
So this verse proves the following four points: (a) The dead cannot hear, as it was the dead pious people whom the Mushriks used to call upon for help. (b) Even if they could hear you, they cannot even grant your request. (c) They will disown your worship of them. (d) And furthermore, this verse proves that du’aa is a form of worship, as the verse is talking about ‘calling upon’ others for help, and how those called upon will disown your worshipping them.
So since it is established that not even the prophet can hear us, we realise the foolishness of calling out to him (saw) or other than him (saw). And this is even shown in the aayah where Allaah says: “And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them?” [46:5]
Indeed we worship none but Allaah, and we have our complete trust in Him, as he says: “… if Allah touches you with hurt, there is none who can remove it but He; and if He intends any good for you, there is none who can repel His Favour which He causes it to reach whomsoever of His slaves He will…” [10:107]
And there are numerous other verses that prove doing du’aa to other than Allaah is futile including 35:13-4