Waalaykumu salaam Brother Mansoor.
I agree, lately there are a lot of critics pertaining to the topic and I
would like to clarify the doubt with the following:
when we ask our wishes, the only being capable of granting them is Allah
(AJ) and none other. So why do we find ourselves asking Imams?! Well
that’s very simple actually, when we put forward a request to the Imam, we
only mean that he should further pray and intercede for us. Because the
Imams hold this position in the eyes of Allah (AJ), we ask them to make a
special prayer for us so that our wishes are fulfilled. But this again
does not at all mean that we cannot directly ask Allah (AJ). We of course
can! But why not also ask someone very close to the Majesty to pray for
us?! That’s how we find ourselves reciting in dua Tawassul: “O intimate of
Allah, intercede for us...” all this clearly explains that when we ask the
Ahlul bayt they may be able to grant our wish but it is equally important
to understand that it is only because of Allah and the permission of Allah
that they are able to do so (totally dependent on the Almighty).
Unlike Allah himself who grants whosoever, whatever, however, and wherever He
I pray this was useful.