In the first place, it should be noted that the true belief of a Muslim is that Almighty Allah is the Only One Who can harm or benefit him. This is clear from the words of the Qur’an: “If Allah touch thee with affliction, there is none that can relieve therefrom save Him, and if He touch thee with good fortune (there is none that can impair it); for He is Able to do all things.” (Al-An`am: 17). In the same context, we find so many Hadiths from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), such as his saying to Ibn `Abbas: “And behold! If the whole ummah is to gather together to harm you, they will not be able to harm you unless Allah wants the harm for you. And if they are to gather together to benefit you, they will not be able to give you any benefit unless Allah wants that for you.”

It is not shirk to ask another human being for help or advice. Indeed, Allah commands us to seek advice from those more knowledgeable than us, and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded us to give advice when he said, “Religion is sincere advice.”. It is shirk to seek help from anyone in the Unseen, that is, from the dead, Angels, or Jinn.

Stressing this point, Dr. Rif`at Fawzi, Professor of Shari`ah and former Head of the Department of Shari`ah at the Faculty of Dar Al-`Ulum, Cairo University, states the following: “A Muslim should bear in mind that every thing happens in this life, happens with the Will of Allah. When a person asks for advice or counsel and he gets it, he gets it because Allah wants him to get it. The firm belief of a Muslim should be that Almighty Allah uses people the way He wants and that we are just tools at the Hands of His Power. It is He Who can really harm or benefit us. However, the apparent thing may be that a person harms or benefits us, but the reality is that it is Allah Who uses that person. That is why when a person seeks the help of a physician, he should bear in mind that the physician does his best and it is Almighty Allah Who makes these efforts effective or otherwise. It is Allah Who guides the counselor to give him good advice and, once he decides to accept the advice, it is Allah Who guides him to accept it and, again if he carries it out, it is He Who makes it successful or otherwise.

Thus, it is not an act of shirk to seek the help of people. But we should never give up the firm belief that it is Allah Who helps us and that those people are just tools who cannot even help themselves.”