Does God accept middle-men?

By A. Muhammad

O you who believe, you shall reverence God and seek the means to Him,
and strive in His cause so that you may succeed.
5:35

It has been claimed by some scholars that the words in
5:35 allow us to call on dead prophets and saints. They base their claim on the words "seek the means to Him" and that the prophets and saints are "the means" that we can call on to approach God.
The words in 5:35 very clearly do not mention prophets or saints or any middle-men. Nor do the words in the verse suggest that "the means" are humans in the first place. Any interpretation that is based on adding words that are not found in the Quranic text is a manipulation of God's words.
The reason people tend to add words to Quranic verses is usually because they do not find in the Quran authorisation for what they preach and follow, therefore they add their own words to the words of God in the Quran to justify what they do.
In contrast, genuine believers never add even one word to the words of God. They are aware that:
1- The words of God in the Quran are complete (6:115) and fully detailed (6:114), thus they need no additions. This impels us to find the meaning of Quranic verses from the Quran as it is, and not through the Quran with added words.

2- The moment anyone adds words to any Quranic verse, they automatically become easy prey for the devil. The devil will always seize the opportunity to exploit the tendency of those who add words to God's words. Due to the fact that they accept words which are not found in the Quran, and they are not satisfied that God's words are fully detailed as they are; the devil will lure them with all kinds of additional words, not found in the Quran, which will ultimately lead them astray and far from what God's words actually say.
Since the words in 5:35 do not mention prophets or any middle-men, but only speak of "the means" to God, we need to investigate in the light of the Quran what is meant by "the means". We have the assurance that the answer to any Quranic inquiry and the exaplanations of all things are given in the Quran:
We brought the Book (Quran) down to you providing explanations for all things, guidance, mercy, and good news for the Submitters. 16:89

Our investigation will therefore be concerned with the following points:
1- The Quranic guidelines for the correct way to seek "the means" to God.
2- The Quranic verdict on whether calling on middle-men (whoever they may be) is allowed by God or not.
First: How can believers seek the means to God
The Quran provides detailed guidelines for the believers who wish to seek "the means" to God. Before listing the relevant verses, it is important to remind of a very important Quranic rule which states that the human will not benefit from anything other than his own work:

The human being has
nothing to benefit him except his own work. 53:39

The direct outcome of this important Quranic rule is that the human being will not benefit from the services of any middle-men, whoever they are, but only from his own work.
Seeking the means, the route, and the way to God is to be achieved by the believers themselves and not by employing the services of others!

The believers can indeed seek the means to God by seeking His consent, His approval and His love. The Quran contains a large number of verses that direct the believers towards achieving these aims.
The verses are too many to list them all, so the following verses are only some examples:

Seeking God's approval

The following verses list specific acts and that these acts will reward the believers with God's approval:

1- Observing the Salat:

and those who were
patient, seeking the Face of their Lord, and observed the Salat, and gave from what We have provided them, secretly and openly. 13:22

2-
Being charitable and paying the Zakat:

Therefore, you shall
give the relatives their due as well as the needy and the homeless. This is better for those who seek the Face of God, and those are the successful ones.

What you
give as Zakat, seeking the Face of God; it is those for whom is given a manifold increase. 30:38-39

Indeed
that which you give should be for the sole aim of seeking the Face of God. The good that you give will be fully repaid back to you, and you will not be treated unjustly. 2:272

Seeking God's consent

The following verses speak of some of the acts which earn God's consent:

1-
Striving in the cause of God:

Those who believed, emigrated and strove in the cause of God with their money and themselves hold the greatest rank with God; those are the winners. Their Lord gives them news of mercy and consent from Him as well as Gardens wherein they are granted everlasting bliss. 9:20-21

O you who believe, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies, extending love to them, when they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth, and when they have driven out the messenger and you just because you believe in God, your Lord. If you have come out to strive in My cause and to seek My consent, why do you show them love secretly? I know best what you conceal and what you declare. Those among you who do this have indeed strayed from the right path. 60:1

2- Devoting one's life totally to God:

And among the people is
he who sells himself in pursuit of God's consent. God is Benevolent towards the servants. 2:207

Seeking God's love

The following verses are some examples of whom God loves:

- Trust in God
You shall trust in God. God loves the trusting ones. 3:159
- Repent to God
God loves the repenters. 2:222
- Revere God
God loves the reverent. 9:4
- Be thankful to God
We shall reward those who are thankful. 3:145
- Do good deeds
You shall do good; God loves the good-doers. 2:195
- Do not corrupt but be of the reformers
We do not let the reward of the reformers go to waste. 7:170
- Exercise patience
God loves the patient ones. 3:146
- Act with humility and do not be arrogant or boastful
God does not like the ones who are arrogant and boastful. 4:36
- Do not use bad language
God does not like foul language. 4:148
- Be equitable
God loves the equitable. 5:42
- Do not be excessive
Do not be excessive, He does not like the excessive ones. 6:141
- Purify yourself
God loves those who purify themselves. 9:108

The above verses list numerous ways by which believers can attain God's consent, approval and love. Not one of the above verses, nor any other Quranic verses state that God's consent, approval and love can be attained through the services of any middle-men (whoever they may be).

Second
: Can the people they call on bring them near to God?
As mentioned, there is not one Quranic verse that states that God's consent, approval or love can be attained through calling on others. On the contrary, calling on others besides God angers God greatly and is described as an act of shirk:

1-
Those whom you call on besides Him do not possess as much as a seed's shell.
If you call upon them, they cannot hear your calls, and even if they were to hear, they would not respond to you, and on the Day of Resurrection they will disown your shirk. None can inform you like One who is All-Aware. 35:13-14

First: What is the benefit of calling on any dead person when God has told us that they cannot even hear us?
Second: Those whom people call on besides God will in fact disown those who called on them on Judgement Day. They will also denounce their shirk, which tells us that calling on anyone other than God, whoever they may be, is a clear act of shirk.

2-
Unquestionably, it is to God that the pure religion is due. Those who take up allies besides Him: "We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to God." God will judge among them regarding that over which they differ. God does not guide the one who is a liar, a disbeliever. 39:3

Besides confirming the message in 35:13-14, the words in 39:3 also state that to call on anyone other than God is to actually worship them.
This statement may not be understood by those guilty of calling on others besides God simply because they do not understand the correct Quranic meaning of the act of "worship". In defiance, they will say:
"We do not worship them, we only call on them!"
They say that because they consider the act of worship to be connected only to the one they prostrate to and the one they call God. However, the Quran tells us that the act of worship is far more complex than prostration and labels.
By giving anyone rights and authorities that belong to God alone, they are immediately made partners with God, hence they are given worship status.

3-
Say, "Call upon those whom you have made claims for besides Him." They do not have the power to remove any harm from you, nor can they divert it. Those whom they call upon are themselves seeking the means to their Lord with regards to which of them can be nearer. They hope for His mercy and fear His punishment. The punishment of your Lord is certainly to be feared. 17:56-57

These are glorious words indeed and they confirm that those whom people call on cannot benefit them in any way since they cannot benefit themselves. Those whom they call on are themselves too busy seeking the means to God, hoping for His mercy and dreading His punishment.

4- Your Lord said, "Implore Me and I will respond to you. " 40:60

Numerous Quranic verses invite the believers to implore God for what they need. The above verse is one example. As we can see, God advocated imploring Him directly. God never stated in any Quranic verse that we need to call on others in order for God to respond to what we are imploring Him for.

Conclusion

The Quranic evidence that condemns calling on any other than God, for any reason, and whoever they may be, is quite conclusive. The claim that the words
5:35 suggest that prophets or saints can be a means or connection with God is totally unfounded and is based on adding words not found in God's Quran. Those who utter lies and attribute them to God, or who deny clear verses such as the ones shown in this article, they should know that a great punishment awaits them:

So who is more transgressing than one who fabricates lies about God, or denies His revelations? For certain, the criminals will not succeed.
10:17