Some people find fault with the Shias claiming that they believe in the intercession of the Prophet, the Imams and Saints and that they ask them to be intercessors for them with Allah on the Day of Judgment.
Evidence for the validity of intercession is found in the Holy Qur’an. We have talked about this topic in detail in our book titled al-Jami’ li Barahin Usul ul-I’tiqadaat p.419-422.
Intercession, according to the Holy Qur’an, is of two types:
The first type is intercession without Allah. It is an intercession to other than Himself that Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) denies. Allah says,
There is no guardian for them or any intercessor besides Him. (Qur’an 6:51)
There are other verses having the same meaning.
Generally, intercession depends upon the power over conveying the needs of the person requesting the intercession and the obligation of the one interceded to fulfil this need even if he is not pleased with it. Such intercession cannot be for other than Allah (Exalted is He). Allah says:
Say: Allah's is the intercession altogether. His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. (Qur’an 39:44)
Believing in the intercession of any other save Allah in this respect is a form of polytheism. The idolaters worshipped idols in order to obtain such an intercession, as testified to in the Holy Qur’an.
The second type is intercession with Allah’s permission. Allah has made this type of intercession an exception from that intercession that he has denied and has granted it to whomever He has willed. Allah says,
Who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? (Qur’an 2:255)
Whose intercession does not avail at all except after Allah has given permission to whomsoever He pleases and chooses. (Qur’an 53:26)
...and they do not intercede except for him whom He approves (Qur’an 21:28)
This type of intercession consists of simply asking Allah on behalf of him who is to be interceded for.
Another kind of intercession is asking Allah to forgive others. Allah has permitted his Prophet Muhammad (s) to ask Him for forgivness for believing men and believing women. Allah says,
and ask pardon for them, and take counsel with them in the affair. (Qur’an 3:159)
and ask forgiveness for them from Allah. (Qur’an 24:62)
and ask forgiveness for them (women) from Allah.(Qur’an 60:12)
Allah has promised to forgive whoever asks Him for forgiveness and beseeches the Prophet (s) to intercede for him. He, The Almighty says,
And had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Apostle had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-Returning (to mercy), Merciful. (Qur’an 4:64)
Allah has mentioned that the angels ask Him to forgive the believers. He says,
Celebrate the praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask protection for those who believeÖ grant protection to those who turn (to Thee) and follow Thy way, and save them from the punishment of Hell. (Qur’an 40:7)
Allah has also mentioned the prayer of the prophet Noah and his asking Allah to forgive the believers,
My Lord! Forgive me and my parents and him who enters my house believing, and the believing men and the believing women. (Qur’an 71:28)
He has also spoken about the prophet Ibrahim’s prayer and his asking Allah to forgive the believers. He says,
O our Lord! Grant me protection and my parents and the believers on the Day when the reckoning shall come to pass!( Qur’an 14:41)
Allah has taught the believers how to ask Him for forgiveness,
Our Lord! Surely, we believe, therefore forgive us our faults and save us from the chastisement of the Fire. (3:16)
Our Lord! Forgive us our faults and our extravagance in our affair.( Qur’an 3:147 and other verses)
Allah has forbidden asking Him to forgive the polytheists. He says,
It is not (fit) for the Prophet and those who believe that they should ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even though they should be near relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are inmates of the flaming Fire. And Ibrahim asking forgiveness for his sire was only owing to a promise, which he had made to him; but when it became clear to him that he was an enemy of Allah, he declared himself to be clear of him. (Qur’an 9:113-114)
Allah, likewise, has forbidden asking Him to forgive the disbelievers and confirmed He will not accept it. He says,
It is alike to them whether you beg forgiveness for them or do not beg forgiveness for them, Allah will never forgive them. (Qur’an 63:6)