Tawassul is one of the beliefs of Shia and most Muslims which means to resort to someone or something with a high position as an intermediary before God in order to become closer to Him so that He may fulfill one’s requests. The concept of Tawassul is closely related to the concept of Shafa’a (intercession) and they are often mentioned together.
The concept of Tawassul and resorting to a means is adopted from the Quran. The clearest reference to Tawassul is mentioned in Sura al-Ma’ida where God clearly orders the faithful to benefit from the means in order to become close to God.
“O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah, and seek the means of recourse to Him, and wage jihad in His way, so that you may be felicitous.”
— The Quran, 5:35
Also, in verse 64 of the Sura al-Nisa’, sinners are advised that they come to the Prophet (s) and ask him to ask God for their forgiveness so that God forgive them.
“And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful.”
— The Quran, 4:64
Also, when Prophet Joseph’s (a) brothers became regretful, instead of asking God for forgiveness, asked their father’s intercession and asked him to ask God for their forgiveness.
“They said, ‘O our father, ask for us forgiveness of our sins; indeed, we have been sinners.’”
— The Quran, 12:97
Also, in another verse, servants are required to hold fast, all together, to Allah’s cord. In this verse, according to Shia narrations, by “Allah’s cord”, the Ahl al-Bayt (a) of the Prophet (s) are meant.
“Hold fast, all together, to Allah’s cord, and do not be divided [into sects].”
— The Quran, 3:103