Lesson 22: Intercession

Intercession and Conditions of Intercession

{يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا تَنفَعُ ٱلشَّفَٰعَةُ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنُ وَرَضِىَ لَهُۥ قَوْلًا}

Upon that day the intercession will not profit (anyone), save for him to whom the All-merciful gives leave, and whose speech (the one who seeks or gives the intercession) He approves. (Ta Ha 20:109).

Denial of intercession is in contradiction of the Holy Qur’an and narrations and is the source of despair for believers who commit sins, and acceptance of unconditional intercession or qualification is the reason for the defiance of wrongdoers and is contrary to Divine Justice, so the Holy Qur’an has clarified for us that there is accounting and record keeping required for intercession.

In the Holy Qur’ans point of view, intercession, gives a window of hope for those who sin and a vehicle for a relationship with the Divine Chosen Guardians and to be able to follow them.

Intercession requires the permission from Allahﷻ and those who can enjoy it will only be those who pivot around monotheism, have the correct logic and fundamental beliefs of Truth, what they say is of the acceptance of Allahﷻ, that is, they proclaim the Two Witnesses (That there is No God but Allahﷻ and that the Mohammad is His Prophet) is not thematic, seasonal, coerced, shallow or based on mockery or hypocrisy. In that case, if their deeds come short of the necessary requirements then intercession can come in to play.

From this point of view, the Holy Qur’an views as null and void the intercession of idols for the idol-worshippers in this world and in the hereafter.

Intercession does not mean that all the sins of the followers of Prophet Jesus (pbuh) are cleansed or that the Shia Muslims have their sins purified through the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (pbuh), although the Imam is one of the major intercessors on the Day of Judgement, however, it must be known that the aim of his martyrdom was not to intercede on behalf of his followers.

In relation to this Ayah, Imam Baqir (pbuh) stated that the intercession of the Prophet (pbuh) is only for those whose views and words were accepted, and lived for the love of the Purified Household (pbuth), and dies for it:1

لَا يَنَالُ شَفَاعَةُ مُحَمَّدٍ ص يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ بِطَاعَةِ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ رَضِيَ لَهُ قَوْلًا وَ عَمَلًا فِيهِمْ فَحَيِيَ عَلَى مَوَدَّتِهِمْ وَ مَاتَ عَلَيْهَا

Intercessors and those who Receive Intercession

{وَكَم مِّن مَّلَكٍ فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ لَا تُغْنِى شَفَٰعَتُهُمْ شَيْـًٔا إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ أَن يَأْذَنَ ٱللَّهُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَرْضَىٰ}

How many an angel there is in the heavens whose intercession avails not anything, save after that God gives leave to whomsoever He wills and is well-pleased.
(An Najm 53:26).

{فَمَا تَنفَعُهُمْ شَفَٰعَةُ ٱلشَّٰفِعِينَ}

Then the intercession of the intercessors shall not profit them. (Al Muddathir 74:48).

In the Holy Qur’an and in the narrations we read that on the Day of Resurrection, certain individuals will be granted permission to intercede on behalf of others.

The Prophet (pbuh): In a narration from the Prophet (pbuh) we read that he stated I am the first of intercessors.2

انا اوّل شافع

The Holy Qur’an: Imam Ali (pbuh) states that the Qur’an is an intercessor.3

Prophets: It has come in to narrations that Prophets provide intercession on the Day of Resurrection.4

یشفع الانبیاء

The Divinely Guided Guardians and the True Shias: A narration from a Divinely Guided Imam (pbuh) states that In the Resurrection, intercession will be for us and our supporters.5

لنا شفاعة و لاهل مودّتنا شفاعة

Angels and Martyrs: On the Day of Resurrection, permission has been given to angels and martyrs to intercede on behalf of whomever they wish.6

يؤذن للملائكة و الشهداء ان يشفعوا

On that Day, every martyr can intercede on behalf of seventy individuals from their family.7

Worship: From the reasons for intercession on the Day of Resurrection is the worship performed. Fasting and the Qur’an are intercessors to the worshipper on the Day of Resurrection.”8

الصيام والقرآن شفیعان للعبد يوم القيامة

Conditions for Receiving Intercession

The Holy Qur’an and narrations point to conditions for those who will be able to enjoy intercession:

• People of faith, prayer, charity in the Cause of Allahﷻ and who do not waste away their life. Then the intercession of the intercessors shall not profit them. (Al Muddathir 74:48).

• Allahﷻ will give permission for the intercession to take place. Who is there that shall intercede with Him save by His leave? (Holy Qur’an 2:255).

• Passes away with faith.

• There is a relationship between the intercessor and the one receiving intercession. One who does not have a faith inter-relationship with the intercessor will not be able to be a recipient of their intercession.

QUESTION: Is not intercession a form of “it’s who you know or related to”?

ANSWER: No. Because:

• One who receives intercession will make intercession possible by their own thoughts and deeds. So, contrary to “who you know or are related to”, intercession is based upon laws and criteria.

• In intercession, no rights are forgone. Whereas in intervention through relationships, someone else’s rights are abused.

• The intercessor does not have any expectations from the one seeking intercession. Where as in intervention through relations, there is an expectation of the recipient.

• The goal of the intercessor for the one receiving the intercession is for their redemption and salvation. Where as in intervention through relations, is a worldly success.

• Intercession is a form of nurturing and growth, because the recipient will have a spiritual relationship with those close to Allahﷻ, the intercessors.

QUESTION: Will intercession not encourage people to sin?

ANSWER: Never, because firstly it is not known who will be granted intercession and secondly, will the formulation an anti-venom encourages people to get themselves poisoned and consume venom!?

  • 1. (تأويل الآيات - Taw'eel Al Ayat)
  • 2. (Sahih Muslim) V2 P130
  • 3. (Nahjul Balagha) Speech 176
  • 4. (Musnad Ahmad) V3 P12
  • 5. (خصال Khisal) P624
  • 6. (Musnad Ahmad) V5 P43
  • 7. (سنن اب داود - Sunan Abu Dawood) V3 P15
  • 8. (Musnad Ahmad) V2 P174