Is it permissible to refer to some great people while praying, especially, referring to prophets and Muhammad (pbuh)?

Details of the Question
Is it permissible to refer to some great people while praying, especially, referring to prophets and Muhammad (pbuh)?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

While praying, it is permissible to refer to some great people. Especially, referring to prophets and Muhammad (pbuh) contributes to the acceptance of this prayer. Likewise, this issue is pointed out in a verse from the Qur’an : “Surely God 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 God on him, and pray to God 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).” (the Qur’an, al-Ahzab, 33:56). Furthermore, in an hadith narrated by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), the importance of  praying to Allah to bestow peace and blessings on the Prophet (pbuh) is pointed out: “Whoever prays to Allah to bestow peace and blessing on me will be bestowed with peace and blessing by God for ten times and ten of their sins will be forgiven and his level will be raised ten times higher.”(2)

For this reason, referring to the prophets, to Honored Companions and to saints in the prayer, anything can be asked from Allah for the sake of these great people. However, it is not permissible to visit the tombs of religiously honorable people in order to light candles or to tie wires, pieces of clothes, ropes  etc to the tombs as people are doing today.

It is reported that due to a draught during the caliphate of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), he took Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) with him to pray to Allah to send down some rain and holding his hands, he prayed : “ O Allah! This is the hand of the uncle of Your Prophet (pbuh). Please send us down some rain for the sake of this hand”. Also, the revered people has always been praying to Allah as follows: “ O Allah! For the sake of those who you love and who love you, please show us mercy and bestow on us your blessing or provide us with what we need…”

(1) The Qur’an, al-Ahzab, 33:56

(2) Nasai, Sahiw, 55 (3:50)

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Is it permissible, while praying, to use great personalities as a wasila (intermediary, means) and to say "for the sake of them" while praying?

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