Is it permissible, while praying, to use great personalities as a wasila (intermediary, means) and to say "for the sake of them" while praying?
It is permissible to use great personalities as a wasila while praying. To use especially prophets and our Prophet will facilitate the acceptance of the prayer. In a verse the following is stated and this issue is pointed out. "Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet (He always treats him with His special mercy, with the angels praying to Him to grant him the highest station of praise with Him and for the decisive victory of his Religion). O you who believe, invoke the blessings of Allah on him, and pray to Allah to bestow His peace on him, greeting him with the best greeting. (Love and follow him with utmost sincerity and faithfulness, and give yourselves to his way with perfect submission.)"(1).
In addition, in a hadith narrated by Hazrat Anas the following is stated by attracting attention to sending blessings: "Allah sends ten blessings to whoever sends me one blessings, and forgives his ten sins and raises his rank ten degrees."(2)
Therefore, it is permissible to ask something from Allah by using prophets, great personalities with virtues, sahabas, walis as wasilas for the sake of them. However, it is not permissible, as some people do today, to light candles, to fasten wires, pieces of cloth and ropes at the tombs.
It is reported that Hazrat Umar went to pray for rain during his caliphate when there was a drought; He took Hazrat Abbas with him and took his hands between his hands and prayed, "O Allah! This is the hand of the uncle of your Prophet. Send us rain for the sake of this hand". Our great personalities prayed as follows, "O Allah! Have mercy on us, forgive us and meet my..need for the sake of the people you love and the people who love you"
(1) al-Ahzab, 33/56.
(2) Nasai, Sahiv 55, (3, 50);