Taken from “An Explanation of Aspects of the days of Ignorance” of the Imaam and Mujaddid Muhammad Bin ‘Abdil-Wahaab[d.1206H] Explained by Shaikh Saalih bin Fawzaan al-Fawzaan
The First Aspect: Supplicating to Righteous Individuals
 They performed worship by mixing righteous people into their supplication and worship of Allaah. They only did this desiring that these (righteous people) act as intercessors for them before Allaah, based on their notiont hat Allaah loved this and that these righteous people loved Him. Allaah says: “And they worship besides Allaah things that harm them not nor profit them, and they say: ‘These are our intercessors with Allaah.” [Surah Yoonus:18]
And He says: “And those who take associates apart from Him (say): ‘We worship them only so that they may bring us nearer to Allaah.” [Surah az-Zumar:3]
This is the greatest of matters that the Messenger of Allah salalahu alayhi wa salam opposed them in. So he brought sincerity (i.e. doing deeds sincerely for Allaah alone and not for anyone else) and informed that it was the religion of Allah, which all the Messengers were sent with. And he informed us that no deeds are accepted (by Allaah), except those done sincerely (for Him alone). And he salalahu laayhi wa salam informed that whosoever does what these (polytheists) approved of, then Allaah has forbidden paradise for him and his final destination will be the hellfire.
It is due to this aspect that mankind becomes divided into Muslims and disbelievers. And it is due to it that enmity (between the two) occurs. ANd it is for this purpose that Jihaad was legislated, as Allaah says:
“And fight them (disbelievers) until there is no more fitnah (evil/disbelief) left, and the religion is for Allaah alone.” [Surah al-Anfaal:39]
“And I did not create the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me.” [Surah adh-Dhaariyaat:56]
Worship is the right of Allaah – It is not permissible that someone else be worshipped along with Him regardless of who it may be. However, the people of the Days of Ignorance did the opposite of this, for they abandoned worshipping Allaah, which was the reason why they were created. Instead of worshpping Allaah, they worshipped statues, trees, rocks, jinn, angels, “saints”, and righteous people. So they directed their worship to otehr than Allaah. Among them were those who did not worship Allaah at all. These were the disbelievers, such as the athiests and the Dahriyyah. And among them were those who worshipped Allaah as well as other gods along with Him. But the ruling with regard to both of these types is one and the same. The one who worships others along with Allaah is just like one who doesnt worship Allaah at all. This is since his worship is in vain. Allaah is not pleased with Shirk (associating partners in worship with Him). Likewise, the deed must be in accordance with what Allaah has legislated. So Allah do not accept the deed that has innovation in it, just as He does not accept the deed that has polytheism in it. So the greatest aspect of the Days of Ignorance was Associating partners in worship with Allaah and innovating into the Religion.
The author, may Allaah have mercy on him, began with this aspect since it was the most dangerous characteristic of the people of the Days of Ignorance. ANd it is also because it was the first thing that the Messenger of Allaah salalahu alayhi wa salam began with-rejecting it and calling the people to abandon it. So the first thing the Messenger of Allaah salalahu alayhi wa salam began with-as did all of the other prophets0 was the command to make all of the worship sincerely and exclusively for Allaah alone and to abandon the worship of everything besides Him. This is the beginning of the call of the Messengers, since this is the foundation uponw hich everything else is built on. If the foundation is corrupt, there is no benefit in all of the other things that come after it-there is no benefit in the prayer, fasting, hajj, charity or any of the other forms of worship. So long as the foundation is corrupt and one is lacking Tawheed, there is no benefit in all of the other good deeds, since Shirk (associating partners in worship with Allaah) has nullified and invalidated them.
During the Days of Ignorance, the people would worship Allaah and many other things along with Him, amongst which was the worship of righteous and pious individuals, as occured with the people of Nooh (alayhi salam) when they went to extremes with regard to their righteous people- Wadd, Suwaa’, Yagooth, Ya’ooq and Nasr. They worshipped their graves apart from Allaah using the excuse that htey were righteous people and they sought nearness to Allaah through them and that they would intercede before Allaah on their behalf.
This is how the people of the Days of Ignorance gradualy began to fall into Shirk. SO they would worship the righteous and pious people as well as the angels. And they would say: “We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to Allaah.” And they would say: “They will intercede for us before Allaah.” They would not say: “They are partners in worship with Allaah.” Rather, they would say: “They are only devout worshippers of Allaah who serve as intermediaries for us before Allaah, and they will intercede on our behalf and draw us nearer to Him.” They would not call this action of theirs Shirk, since the Devil had made it appear to them that it wasn’t Shirk, but rather they would call it “seeking nearness to Allaah” through the intermediation and intercession of righteous people. Consideration is not given to names but rather to the facts. So this act of theirs is shirk even if they call it “intercession” or “nearness.” It is in fact Shirk. Using different names does not change the reality of something.
to be continued Inshaallaah