It is interesting to note that Imam al-Dhahabi despite being a student of Ibn Taymiyya, categorised the opinion of those who oppose tabarruk as being the opinion of the kharijites. He relates that Imam Ahmad himself used to seek blessings from the relics of the Prophet saws then he lambasts whoever would fault the practice of tabarruk or seeking blessings from blessed objects:
“’Abd Allah ibn Ah.mad said: “I saw my father take a hair that belonged to the Prophet saws, put it on his mouth, and kiss it. I believe I saw him put it on his eyes. He also dipped it in water and drank the water to obtain cure. I saw him take the Prophet’s saws bowl (qas’a), wash it in water, and drink from it. I saw him drink Zamzam water in order to seek cure with it, and he wiped his hands and face with it.” I say: Where is the quibbling critic of Imam Ah.mad now? It is also authentically established that ‘Abd Allah asked is father about those who touch the pommel of the Prophet’s e pulpit and touch the wall of the Prophet’s e room, and he said: “I do not see any harm in it.” May Allah protect us and you from the opinion of the Khawarij and from innovations!” [Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’ (9:457). Ch. on Imam Ahmad, section entitled Min adabih]
Only if he had been alive to see the form in which the kharijites have manifested today declaring Muslims as Mushrikeen, plundering like bandits the properties of Muslims and destroying historical monuments and relics of the Islamic past.
Imam al-Dhahabi also elsewhere said: “Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about touching the Prophet’s saws grave and kissing it and he saw nothing wrong with it. His son ‘Abd Allah related this from him. If it is asked: “Why did the Companions not do this?” We reply: “Because they saw him with their very eyes when he was alive, enjoyed his presence directly, kissed his very hand, nearly fought each other over the remnants of his ablution water, shared his purified hair on the day of the greater Pilgrimage, and even if he spat it would virtually not fall except in someone’s hand so that he could pass it over his face. Since we have not had the tremendous fortune of sharing in this, we throw ourselves on his grave as a mark of commitment, reverence, and acceptance, even to kiss it. Do you not see what Thabit al-Bunani did when he kissed the hand of Anas ibn Malik and placed it on his face saying: “This is the hand that touched the hand of the Messenger of Allah saws”? Muslims are not moved to these matters except by their excessive love for the Prophet saws, as they are ordered to love Allah and the Prophet saws more than their own lives, their children, all human beings, their property, and Paradise and its maidens. There are even some believers that love Abu Bakr and ‘Umar more than themselves.” [Al-Dhahabi, Mu’jam al-Shuyukh (1:73 #58)]
And how many from the Wahhabi cult would have labelled him a “grave worshipper” if he was alive today?