What is intercession? (Shafa’ah) Intercession in verses and hadiths

Intercession is true

Intercession in verses and hadiths

What is intercession? Intercession in verses and hadiths

Evidences showing that intercession is right

Verses showing that intercession is right

Hadiths showing that intercession is right

Answers to be given to those who deny intercession

An important illness of this age is to put forward views that are contrary to the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah by opposing the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah in order to spread their own deviant views. Many people oppose the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah and virtually wage war against them without any evidence and basis with the impulse of this disease. What is cutting is that ordinary people who do not know the evidences of their creed believe in these people and leave the circle of Ahl as-Sunnah. It is such a big harm that it cannot be imagined.

We accept it our target and duty to teach people the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah with evidences. Our aim in preparing this work is to explain the issue of intercession, which is denied by the people of bid'ah, with evidences and to prove that intercession is true with evidences. Thus, the ignorance of those who deny intercession will appear and the ummah of Muhammad will be protected from their evil. Help and assistance come from Allah.

Intercession is a request and wish about a person in order to make him be forgiven and his punishment be annulled.

In fiqh terminology, it means the begging and request by the Prophet (pbuh) and other lofty people from Allah so that He will forgive the sins of some sinful believers and will elevate the ranks of obedient believers. 

Now, we will explain some verses showing that intercession is true. With these verses, we will prove with the certainty of two plus two equals four that intercession is true.

Verses showing that intercession is right

VERSE 1

مَنذَاالَّذِييَشْفَعُعِنْدَهُإِلاَّبِإِذْنِهِ

Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? (al-Baqara 255)

In the verse above, Allah states that nobody can intercede without His permission. “Nobody can intercede without the permission of Allah” means “When Allah permits, some people can intercede.” It shows that intercession is true.  For, if intercession were not dependent upon the permission of Allah, the following phrase in the verse would be meaningless: “except as He permitteth”. The existence of an unnecessary expression in the Quran is not possible. Then, intercession is true when Allah permits and it is the expression of the verse.

VERSE 2

مَامِنْشَفِيعٍإِلاَّمِنْبَعْدِإِذْنِهِ

No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His leave (hath been obtained). (Yunus 3)

In the verse above, intercession is attributed to the permission of Allah. It means, intercession exists when Allah permits and it is true. The expression except after His leave (hath been obtained) in the verse clearly proves that intercession is true and that intercession takes place when Allah permits. How can intercession be denied despite the clear expression of the verse?

Verses stating that intercession is true

VERSE 3

وَلاَيَشْفَعُونَإِلاَّلِمَنِارْتَضَى

They offer no intercession except for those who are acceptable.(al-Anbiya 28)

As the verse above clearly expresses, the people whom Allah is pleased with will be offered intercession. For, the expression They offer no intercession except for those who are acceptable”in the verse shows that intercession will be offered to those who are acceptable. It means intercession will not be offered to those whom Allah is not pleased with and whom He does not permit. The others can be interceded with the permission and acceptance of Allah. It is expressed very clearly in the verse; there is no need to explain it.

VERSE 4

يَوْمَئِذٍلاَتَنْفَعُالشَّفَاعَةُإِلاَّمَنْأَذِنَلَهُالرَّحْمَنُوَرَضِيَلَهُقَوْلاً

On that Day shall no intercession avail except for those for whom permission has been granted by (Allah) Most Gracious and whose word is acceptable to Him. (Taha 109)

Let us ask by looking at the verse:

To whom intercession will not be useful?

Answer: To those whom Allah does not permit and whose word is not acceptable to Him.

To whom intercession will be useful?

To those whom Allah permits and whose word is acceptable to Him.

As the verse clearly expresses, intercession will be useful to those whom Allah, who is ar-Rahman, permits and whose word is acceptable to Him and intercession will not be useful to the others. We are astonished by those who deny intercession by closing their eyes to the clear expression of the verse. 

Verses stating that intercession is true

VERSE 5

لَايَمْلِكُونَالشَّفَاعَةَإِلَّامَنِاتَّخَذَعِندَالرَّحْمَنِعَهْدً

None shall have the power of intercession, but such a one as has received permission (or promise) from (Allah) Most Gracious. (Maryam 87)

We show the verse above to the blind eyes of those who deny intercession. As the verse clearly expresses, those who have received permission (or promise) from (Allah) will have the power of intercession on that day with the permission and consent of Allah. The verse is so clear that there is no need to explain it.   

VERSE 6

يَوْمَلَايَنفَعُمَالٌوَلَابَنُونَ  إِلَّامَنْأَتَىاللَّهَبِقَلْبٍسَلِيمٍ

The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, But only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart! (ash-Shuara 88-89)

As the verses above clearly express, wealth and sons will not be useful to those who do not come with a sound heart in the hereafter; a sound heart will be useful. Now we are asking those who deny intercession: By what can sons being useful to a person be explained but intercession? If intercession is denied, by what can sons being useful to a person who comes with a sound heart on that day be explained? By nothing. For, the only benefit that is expected on that day is being saved from fire and entering Paradise. The benefit of the son to a person in this regard is intercession.

Verses stating that intercession is true

VERSE 7

وَلاَتَنْفَعُالشَّفَاعَةُعِنْدَهُإِلاَّلِمَنْأَذِنَلَهُ

No intercession can avail in His Presence, except for those for whom He has granted permission! (Saba 23)

To whom is intercession not useful according to the verse? To those whom Allah has not granted permission.

To whom is intercession useful? To those whom Allah has granted permission.

How can intercession be denied since the verse above is so clear?  Are those who deny intercession not regarded to have denied those verses?

VERSE 8

وَلاَيَمْلِكُالَّذِينَيَدْعُونَمِنْدُونِهِالشَّفَاعَةَإِلاَّمَنْشَهِدَبِالْحَقِّوَهُمْيَعْلَمُونَ

And those whom they invoke besides Allah have no power of intercession;― only he who bears witness to the Truth and they know (him). (az-Zukhruf 86)

Let us ask again by looking at the verse above: Who has no power of intercession?

Answer: Idols.

Who has power of intercession?

Answer: Those who bear witness to the truth.

The verse above clearly states that idols have no power of intercession and that only "those who bear witness to the truth and know" have power of intercession. Do those who deny intercession not see those verses at all? Does denying intercession not mean denying the verse since the verse clearly states that "those who bear witness to the truth and know" have power of intercession?

Intercession is true

VERSE 9

وَكَمْمِنْمَلَكٍفِىالسَّمَاوَاتِلاَتُغْنِىشَفَاعَتُهُمْشَيْئًا

إِلاَّمِنْبَعْدِأَنيَأْذَنَاللَّهُلِمَنيَشَاءُوَيَرْضَى

How many so ever be the angels in the heavens, their intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He pleases and that he is acceptable to Him. (an-Najm 26)

We are asking again by showing the verse above: When will the intercession of the angels in the heavens be not useful? 

Answer: Before Allah gives permission and He is pleased.

When will the intercession of the angels be useful?

Answer: After Allah gives permission and He is pleased

Yes, as the verse clearly expresses, the angels will intercede. This intercession will be valid for the people that Allah wishes and is pleased with. There will be no intercession for the people that Allah does not wish and is not pleased with; and intercession will not be useful to them. Besides, all of the verses of the Quran stating that there is no intercession add the phrases for those "whom Allah is not pleased with" and "whom He does not permit". However, some ignorant people who look only one part of the sentence close their eyes to the verses we have mentioned and the hadiths we are going to mention and deny intercession, which is visible like the sun in the Quran. We are really astonished by it.

VERSE 10

وَاسْتَغْفِرْلِذَنبِكَوَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَوَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ

O Muhammad! Ask forgiveness for the fault, and for the men and women who believe!”(Muhammad 19)

We are asking those who deny intercession by showing the verse above: In the verse, the Prophet (pbuh) is ordered toask forgiveness for the fault, and for the men and women who believe. What is the meaning of this verse if the Prophet's asking forgiveness for believers is of no use? Why did Allah give the Prophet (pbuh) this order if the Prophet's asking forgiveness for believers is of no use? Will we not have to accept that this order is meaningless if we do not accept intercession? Those who deny intercession need to see what they will have to accept and feel ashamed of it.   

The issue that intercession is true is as visible as the sun; therefore, we regard the ten verses mentioned above sufficient and do not think it is necessary to mention more verses. In fact, only one of the verses mentioned above is enough to show that intercession is true. However, we thought there might be some people who would insist on denying; so, we gave more examples.

Hadiths showing that intercession is right

Some hadiths showing that intercession is right are as follows:  

عَنْاَنَسِبْنِمألِكٍرَضِيَاللَّهُعَنْهُقَالَرَسُولُاللَّهِصَلَّىاللَّهُعَلَيْهِوَسَلَّمَشَفَاعَتِىلِاَهْلِالْكَبَائِرِمِنْاُمَّتِى

Anas Ibn Malik narrated. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “My intercession is for the committers of major sins among my ummah.” (Tirmidhi, Qiyama:11, Ibn Majah, Zuhd:26, Ahmad I. Hanbal: 3/113)

عَنْزَيْدِبْنِاَرْقَمَرَضِيَاللَّهُعَنْهُقَالَرَسُولُاللَّهِصَلَّىاللَّهُعَلَيْهِوَسَلَّمَشَفَاعَتِىيَوْمَالْقِيَامَةِحَقٌّفَمَنْلَمْيُؤْمِنْبِهَالَمْيَكُنْمِنْاَهْلِهَا

Zayd Ibn Arqam narrated. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “My intercession on the Day of Judgment is true. A person who does not believe in it will not attain it.” (al-Muttaqi, Kanzu-l Ummal: 14/399)

عَنْعُثْمَانَبْنِعَفَّانَرَضِيَاللَّهُعَنْهُقَالَرَسُولُاللَّهِصَلَّىاللَّهُعَلَيْهِوَسَلَّمَيَشْفَعُيَوْمَالْقِيَامَةِثَلاَثٌاَلْاَنْبِيَاءُثُمَّالْعُلَمَاءُثُمَّالشُّهَدَاءُ

Uthman Ibn Affan narrated. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “The following three groups will intercede on the Day of Judgment: Prophets, then scholars, then martyrs.” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd:37, 2/1443)

Abu Hurayra narrated. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Every prophet has an invocation that will be accepted by Allah. All of them hurried to utter that invocation. I kept it to use on the Day of Judgment. Inshaallah those among my ummah who die without associating partners with Allah will attain it.” (Bukhari, Da’awat 1, Tawhid 31; Muslim, Iman 334, (198); Muvatta, Qur’an 26, (1, 212); Tirmidhi, Daawat)

The Prophet (pbuh) states in some other hadiths that the Quran, hafizes (those who memorized the whole Quran) and saints will also intercede with the permission of Allah. We refer the other hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) regarding the issue to hadiths books and regard the four hadiths mentioned above sufficient.  

Intercession is true

As the ten verses and four hadiths we have mentioned above clearly express, intercession is true and real. The people that Allah wishes will intercede with the permission and consent of Allah. All of the verses of the Quran stating that there is no intercession are related to unbelievers, polytheists and the people that Allah is not pleased with. Even if all human beings and jinn come together, intercession will be of no use to them. That is, intercession is not possible for the people with whom Allah is not pleased; it will be possible only with the permission and consent of Allah.

However, there will be so horrifying scenes on the Day of Judgment that even the prophets will think of themselves then; they will run about by saying, "O Allah! Give me peace! O Allah! Give me peace!" Some of the verses stating that there is no intercession mean those horrifying situations.

Next, we will answer the so-called evidences put forward by those who try to deny intercession.

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