Regarding the practice of reciting the spiritual lineage (shajara) Hakim al-Umma Hadhrat Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said,
“The reality of reading the shajara is making supplication (dua) through a means (tawassul). And supplication is a form of remembrance (dhikr). (Hence, reading the shajara will also be included in dhikr).
The meaning of tawassul is, O Allah! Have mercy on us due to (the status of) XYZ-pious person.”
waaz: Akbar al-‘amaal, page 5-8