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The Greatest Intercession – Part 2

By Editorial Staff

If you read our previous article, you will learn that Islam does not deny intercession. We have provided evidence to the contrary. However, in the Hereafter, making intercessions with Allah requires some prerequisites the most important of which is Allah’s permission.

Permission must first be granted to the intercessor so that he or she can intercede on behalf of those who deserve it, namely, those who get permission confirming that they deserve it.

On the other hand, Intercessions, in general, may be divided into three kinds: intercessions made in the Hereafter, living persons making intercessions on behalf of the departed, and intercessions made in this life. Let us consider these kinds in some detail.

The kinds of Intercessions

As for the Greatest Intercession, the intercessor with Allah will be only Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) after obtaining Allah’s permission.

A. ِِIntercessions made in the Hereafter

1. The Greatest Intercession

As for the Greatest Intercession, the intercessor with Allah will be only Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) after obtaining Allah’s permission.

On the Day of Resurrection, people will suffer anguish and affliction to the extent that they will not be able to bear. They, then, will ask some of the prophets (peace be upon them) to intercede to alleviate their sufferings. Praying to Allah, Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) will be granted the right of the Greatest Intercession. Moreover, he will have the right to admit some people into the Paradise and save others from the Hellfire.

The  Hadith that tells the story of this Great Intercession.

Abu Huraira reported:

“Meat was one day brought to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and a foreleg was offered to him, a part which he liked. He sliced with his teeth a piece out of it and said:

“I shall be the leader of mankind on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know why?

The setting of this real, yet unseen story

Allah would gather in one plain the earlier and the later (of the human race) on the Day of Resurrection. Then the voice of the proclaimer would be heard by all of them and the eyesight would penetrate through all of them and the sun would come near.

People would then experience a degree of anguish, anxiety and agony which they shall not be able to bear and they shall not be able to stand. Some people would say to the others:

“Don’t you see in which trouble you are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken you? Why don’t you find one who should intercede for you with your Lord?”

Prophet Adam (peace be upon him)

Some would say to the others: “Go to Adam”.

And they would go to Adam and say: “O Adam, thou art the father of mankind. Allah created thee by His own Hand and breathed in thee of His spirit and ordered the angels to prostrate before thee. Intercede for us with thy Lord Don’t you see in what (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”

Adam would say: “Verily, my Lord is angry, to an extent to which He had never been angry before nor would He be angry afterward.

Verily, He forbade me (to go near) that tree and I disobeyed Him. I am concerned with my own self. Go to someone else; go to Noah.”

Messenger Noah (peace be upon him)

They would come to Noah and would say: “O Noah, thou art the first of the Messengers (sent) on the earth (after Adam), and Allah named thee as a ‘Grateful Servant’, intercede for us with thy Lord. Don’t you see in what (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”

He would say: “Verily, my Lord is angry today as He had never been angry before, and would never be angry afterwards. There had emanated a curse from me with which I cursed my people. I am concerned with only myself, I am concerned only with myself; you better go to Ibrahim (peace be upon him).”

Allah’s Beloved Friend and Messenger, Abraham (peace be upon him)

They would go to Ibrahim and say: “Thou art the apostle of Allah and His Friend amongst the inhabitants of the earth; intercede for us with thy Lord. Don’t you see in which (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”

Ibrahim would say to them: “Verily, my Lord is today angry as He had never been angry before and would never be angry afterwards. And (Ibrahim) would mention his lies (and then say): I am concerned only with myself, I am concerned only with myself. You better go to someone else: go to Moses.”

Messenger Moses (peace be upon him)

They would come to Moses (peace be upon him) and say: “O Moses, thou art Allah’s messenger, Allah blessed thee with His messengership and His conversation amongst people. Intercede for us with thy Lord. Don’t you see in what (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”

Moses (peace be upon him) would say to them: “Verily, my Lord is angry as He had never been angry before and would never be angry afterwards. I, in fact, killed a person whom I had not been ordered to kill. I am concerned with myself, I am concerned with myself. You better go to Jesus (peace be upon him).”

Messenger Jesus (peace be upon him)

They would come to Jesus and would say: “O Jesus, thou art the messenger of Allah and thou conversed with people in the cradle, (thou art) His Word which He sent down upon Mary. And (thou art) the Spirit from Him; so intercede for us with thy Lord. Don’t you see (the trouble) in which we are? Don’t you see (the misfortune) that has overtaken us?”

Jesus (peace be upon him) would say: “Verily, my Lord is angry today as He had never been angry before or would ever be angry afterwards.” He mentioned no sin of his. (He simply said:) I am concerned with myself, I am concerned with myself; you go to someone else. You better go to Muhammad (ﷺ).”

The Last Messenger, Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace)

They would come to me and say: “O Mahammad, thou art the messenger of Allah and the last of the apostles. Allah has pardoned thee all thy previous and later sins. Intercede for us with thy Lord; don’t you see in which (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”

I shall then set off and come below the Throne and fall down prostrate before my Lord; then Allah would reveal to me and inspire me with some of His Praises and Glorifications which He had not revealed to anyone before me. He would then say:

“Muhammad, raise thy head; ask and it would be granted; intercede and intercession would be accepted.” I would then raise my head and say:

“O my Lord, my people, my people.”

It would be said: “O Muhammad, bring in by the right gate of Paradise those of your people who would have no account to render. They would share with the people some other door besides this door.”

The Prophet then said: By Him in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, verily the distance between two door leaves of the Paradise is as great as between Mecca and Hajar, or as between Mecca and Busra. (Muslim)

 

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The Concept of Intercession in Islam- Part 1

The matter of intercession is of great importance because it is part of the Islamic Faith or ‘Aqidah. To reach a proper understanding of this matter, one must first study all the verses of the Gracious Quran and the authentic Hadiths that speak about it. Adopting an opinion according to a specific text without taking into consideration the other texts may lead to misunderstanding.

Definition

Al-Shafa’ah (intercession) is an Arabic term taken from al-Shaf’ which means two, even or couple. Two antonyms of al-Shaf’ (couple) are single and odd.  It may be defined as speaking to or asking someone to bring about benefits or to save or protect another one from harm. If the intercession is accepted, this becomes a sign of the high status the intercessor enjoys in the eye of the person who accepts it.

Scanning the verses of the gracious Quran, one finds out that there are some verses that negate al-Shafa’ah (intercession) while there are other verses that confirm it. Of course, there is no problem here as scholars provide some ways of reconciliation between the two apparently contradictory kinds of verses.

Intercession may be defined as speaking to or asking someone to bring about benefits or to save or protect another one from harm.

Some verses which absolutely negate al-Shafa’ah(intercession):

There are some verses that deny intercession. It will be sufficient to quote a few of them.

1. Allah says,“Then be ever fearful of a Day (Hereafter) when no soul shall indemnify any other soul against anything (from God). Nor shall any intercession be accepted from it (for its salvation). Nor shall any compensation be taken from it (in atonement for its sins). Nor shall they (who have disbelieved) ever be helped (against God’s Judgment).” (Quran 2:48)

2.“O you who believe! Spend (charitably) out of what We have provided you, before there comes a Day (Hereafter) in which there shall be no (gainful) trade nor (availing) friendship, nor intercession. Then (as to) the disbelievers (who embrace false gods) _ it is they who are the wrongdoers, (godless in heart).” (Quran 2:254)

3.“Hence, forewarn with (this Quran all) those who fear being gathered before their Lord (that) they have no patron apart from Him, nor any intercessor, so that they may become God-fearing.” (Quran 6:51)

As for intercession to take place, there are some conditions regarding all the parties involved. The above mentioned verses can be understood to refer to the people who do not meet the requirements necessary for them to intercede on behalf of others or have others intercede on their behalf.

Some other verses which confirm intercession:

On the other hand, the following verses mention some prerequisites so that the intercession can be accepted. Allah’s permission and pleasure are but a few examples. A few examples of these verses will also be sufficient.

1. Allah says, “Who is it that shall intercede with Him, except by His permission?” (Quran 2:255)

2. “So all those that they call upon apart from Him hold no (power of) intercession. Excepted are those (of God’s servants whom He permits to intercede, and) who bear witness to the truth and they know well “from Him for whom it may be made).” (Quran 43:86)

3. “For how many an angel is there in the heavens whose intercession is of no avail (to anyone) in anything until God grants permission to whomever He so wills and is pleased with.” (Quran 53:26)

Ways to reconcile between the two types of verses:

1. The matter of intercession is entirely in the Hands of Allah (Glory be to Him). Allah says, “(Then) say (to them): Intercession is altogether for God (alone to permit)!” (Quran 39:44)

2. There is no intercession in favor of the disbelievers. Allah says, “So forewarn them of the Impending Day when hearts go up into choking throats – (when) there shall be no intimate friend for the wrongdoers, nor any intercessor to be heeded.” (Quran 40:18)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, Abraham will meet his father (on the Day of Resurrection) and will say, ‘O my Lord You promised me that You would not let me in disgrace on the Day when people will be resurrected.’ Allah will say, ‘I have forbidden Paradise for the disbelievers.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

However, Abu Talib, Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, may be regarded as an exception. Although the intercession of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) will not save him from the Hellfire, the torment of the Hell-fire will be alleviated for him.  This is because he used to defend and protect Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Moreover, Abu Talib did not use to call people to disbelief even though he was a disbeliever.

Narrated `Abdullah bin Al-Harith bin Naufal:

`Abbas bin `Abdul Muttalib said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Did you benefit Abu Talib with anything as he used to protect and take care of you, and used to become angry for you?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Yes, he is in a shallow place of Fire. But for me he would have been in the lowest part of the Fire. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

3. The intercessor can intercede only by Allah’s permission. Allah says, “Who is it that shall intercede with Him, except by His permission?” (Quran 2:255)

4. The intercessor can intercede only on behalf of those whom Allah is pleased with. Allah says, “He (alone) knows what lies before them and what lies behind them. Nor do they intercede (with God) – except on behalf of those with whom He is pleased.” (Quran 21:28)

5. Idols, the sun, the moon and all the other things that were worshipped apart from Allah do not intercede with Allah on behalf of their worshippers. Allah says,

“Thus (all) those whom you call upon apart from Him hold no authority even over (so much as) a seed coat. If you call them, they do not hear your call. And were they to hear, they could not answer you. Thus, on the Day of Resurrection, they will utterly disavow your association of them (as gods) with God. And there is none to tell you (of the events of that Day) like the One who is all-aware. (Quran 35:14)

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Intercessions Made in The Hereafter – Part 3

By Editorial Staff

Intercession in Islam takes place in this life and afterlife, and what’s more living persons can make intercession with Allah on behalf of the departed.

In the Hereafter, the Greatest Intercession, whose right Allah grants to only Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace), is the first and foremost kind of intercessions.

Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) will intercede with Allah on the Day of Resurrection in order that reckoning begins. In addition, He will have the right to admit some people into the Paradise and save others from the Hellfire.

Next, there are some people who will benefit greatly from the intercessions of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). They include perpetrators of major sins. We discussed number 1, namely, the Greatest Intercession in a previous article.

Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) will intercede with Allah on the Day of Resurrection in order that reckoning begins. In addition, He will have the right to admit some people into the Paradise and save others from the Hellfire.

2. Making intercessions on behalf of the perpetrators of major sins

People who commit major sins deserve punishment in the Hereafter except for those whom Allah so wills to forgive. If Allah grants our Prophet Muhammad the right to intercede on behalf of the perpetrators of major sins, they, then, will be saved from the torment of the Hellfire.

This is supported by a lot of proofs from the Sunnah. However, it will be sufficient to quote a few of them.

Narrated Anas ibn Malik:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: My intercession will be for those of my people who have committed major sins. (Abu Dawud and Ahmad)

This does not mean the intercession of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is exclusive to those who have committed major sins. We have provided evidence to the contrary. However, I think the correct explanation could be that perpetrators of major sins will get the most benefit.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I said: “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Who will be the luckiest person, who will gain your intercession on the Day of Resurrection?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: O Abu Huraira! “I have thought that none will ask me about it before you as I know your longing for the (learning of) Hadiths. The luckiest person who will have my intercession on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who said sincerely from the bottom of his heart “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.” (Al-Bukhari)

The sin that cannot be forgiven

However, there is one grave and major sin that Allah will never forgive so long as the person who committed it has not repented. It is associating other gods with Allah or disbelief in Allah.

Indeed, there is no intercession in favor of the disbelievers. Allah says,

“So forewarn them of the Impending Day when hearts go up into choking throats – (when) there shall be no intimate friend for the wrongdoers, nor any intercessor to be heeded.” (Quran 40:18)

3. Making intercession to admit some people into the Paradise without reckoning

Allah promised Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) to admit into paradise from among his followers 70,000 people who will not be held accountable nor punished. This is supported by the Hadith that talks about the Greatest Intercession and many other Hadiths.

Abu Huraira reported:

“…The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:” I would then raise my head and say:

“O my Lord, my people, my people.”

It would be said: “O Muhammad, bring in by the right gate of Paradise those of your people who would have no account to render. They would share with the people some other door besides this door…” (Muslim)

4. Making intercession on behalf of dwellers of the Hellfire, yet they believe in the Oneness of Allah

There is also an intercession on behalf of the believers who have committed sins for which they will be thrust into the Hellfire. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) will intercede so that they can get out of it.

Abu Haraira reported:

The people said to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): Messenger of Allah, shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Do you feel any trouble in seeing the moon on the night when it is full?

They said: Messenger of Allah, no.

He (the Messenger) further said: Do you feel any trouble in seeing the sun, when there is no cloud over it?

They said: Messenger of Allah, no.

He (the Holy Prophet) said: Verily you would see Him like this (as you see the sun and the moon).

God will gather people on the Day of Resurrection and say: Let every people follow what they worshipped. Those who worshipped the sun would follow the sun, and those who worshipped the moon would follow the moon, and those who worshipped the devils would follow the devils.

The Excellence of The Muslim Community

This Ummah (of Islam) alone would be left behind and there would be hypocrites too amongst it. Allah would then come to them in a form other than His own Form, recognizable to them, and would say: I am your Lord.

They would say: We take refuge with Allah from thee. We will stay here till our Lord comes to us. And when our Lord would come we would recognize Him.

Subsequently Allah would come to them in His own Form, recognizable to them, and say: I am your Lord.

They would say: Thou art our Lord. And they would follow Him, and a bridge would be set over the Hell; and I (the Holy Prophet) and my Ummah would be the first to pass over it; and none but the messengers would speak on that day, and the prayer of the messengers on that day would be: O Allah! Grant safety, grant safety.

In Hell, there would be long spits like the thorns of Sa’dan He (the Holy Prophet) said: Have you seen Sa’dan?

They replied: Yes, Messenger of Allah. He said: Verily those (hooks) would be like the thorns of Sa’dan, but no one knows their size except Allah. These would seize people for their misdeeds. Some of them would escape for their (good) deeds, and some would be rewarded for their deeds till they get salvation.

The Excellence of the Belief in the Oneness of Allah

When Allah would finish judging His bondsmen and because of His mercy decide to take out of Hell such people as He pleases. He would command the angels to bring out those who had not associated anything with Allah; to whom Allah decided to show mercy. Those who would say: There is no god but Allah.

They (the angels) would recognize them in the Fire by the marks of prostration, for Hell-fire will devour everything (limb) of the sons of Adam except the marks of prostration. Allah has forbidden the fire to consume the marks of prostration.

They will be taken out of the Fire having been burnt, and the water of life would be poured over them, and they will sprout as seed does in the silt carried by flood…” (Muslim)

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Intercessors on the Day of Resurrection. Who? – Part 5

By Editorial Staff

On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will give the right of intercession to Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the first place. Other intercessors include the angels, the prophets, and the believers and, what’s more, there will be the Intercession of Allah.

There are still others who will be enjoying this high status on the Day of Judgment. We wrote about the first four intercessors in a previous article. The other intercessors include the following:

In the Hereafter, children will be united with their good and righteous parents even if they fall short of their parents’ status in the Paradise.

5. The martyrs

Once they die, martyrs get a lot of rewards and favors in their next life. One of these favors is that they will intercede with Allah on behalf of their relatives. Narrated Al-Miqdam bin Ma’diykarib:

That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “There are six things with Allah for the martyr. He is forgiven with the first flow of blood (he suffers), he is shown his place in Paradise, he is protected from punishment in the grave, secured from the greatest terror, the crown of dignity is placed upon his head – and its gems are better than the world and what is in it – he is married to seventy two wives from the wide-eyed houris of Paradise, and he may intercede for seventy of his close relatives.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

6. Parents

Parents’ righteousness and belief benefit their children in this life and Afterlife. In this life, children may follow and learn from their parents the teachings of Islam. In the Hereafter and as a result of following in their parents’ footsteps, children will be united with their parents even if they fall short of their parents’ status in the Paradise. Allah says,

“Moreover, (as for) those who (in the world) believed -and whose children followed them in faith- We shall unite their children with them. And We shall not deprive them of anything (from the rewards) of their (good) work.” (Quran 52:21)

7. Children

It may happen that a child dies at an early age. If the child’s parents are patient, Allah will provide them with huge rewards that outweigh their anguish. Of these rewards, such a child will intercede with Allah on behalf of his or her parents. Abu Hassan reported:

I said to Abu Huraira that my two children had died. Would you narrate to me anything from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) a hadith which would soothe our hearts in our bereavements? He said: Yes. Small children are the fowls of Paradise. If one of them meets his father (or he said his parents) he would take hold of his cloth, or he said with his hand as I take hold of the hem of your cloth (with my hand). And he (the child) would not take off (his hand) from it until Allah causes his father to enter Paradise. (Muslim)

8. The Gracious Quran

The Gracious Quran, especially Surat Al-Baqarah (the Cow) and Al-‘Imran (the Family of ‘Imran), will be interceding with Allah on the Day of Resurrection on behalf of those who believe in, always recite and follow the teachings of the Quran. Abu Umama said he heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say:

Recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite It. Recite the two bright ones, Surat Al-Baqara and Surat Al ‘Imran, for on the Day of Resurrection they will come as two clouds or two shades, or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them. Recite Surat Al-Baqara, for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the magicians cannot confront it. (Mu’awiya said: It has been conveyed to me that here Batala means magicians.) (Muslim)

Living persons interceding on behalf of the departed

This happens when a Muslim person dies and Muslims make supplications to Allah to shower such a person with His mercy and to forgive him. Supplications are made just after a person’s death, during funeral prayer, and after burial. In addition, people who love the departed continue to make supplications for him or her. Here supplication acts as an intercession with Allah. ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas reported that his son died in Qudaid or ‘Usfan. He said to Kuraib to see as to how many people had gathered there for his (funeral). He (Kuraib) said:

So I went out and I informed him about the people who had gathered there. He (Ibn ‘Abbas) said: Do you think they are forty? He (Kuraib) said: Yes. Ibn ‘Abbas then said to them: Bring him (the dead body) out for I have heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: If any Muslim dies and forty men who associate nothing with Allah stand over his prayer (they offer prayer over him), Allah will accept them as intercessors for him. (Muslim)

 

In fact, it is part of our Islamic teachings and traditions to make supplications to Allah for all our Muslim brothers and sisters who came before us even if we may not have seen them. This often happens especially when good sons or daughters ask Allah to forgive their parents. On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) who said: the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

Allah (The One to whom belongs absolute power and majesty) does raise the status of a good servant in the Paradise. Thereupon, he or she will say, “O my Lord! How have I reached this degree?” He will say, “This is through asking for forgiveness for you by your son (or daughter)”. (Imam Ahmed)

Things that bring about intercession

We have already mentioned some of the things that bring about intercession whether you are the intercessor or the person interceded on his or her behalf. The Gracious Quran acts an intercessor on the Day of Judgment as mentioned above. Also, performing prayer more often may also bring about intercession. However, you may become an intercessor when you offer funeral prayers. Other things that may bring about intercession include:

1. Living in Medina

Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

He who patiently endures the hardships of it (of this city of Medina), I would be an intercessor or a witness on his behalf on the Day of Resurrection. (Muslim)

2. Saying prayers of supplications related to Adhan (the call to prayer)

‘Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

When you hear the Mu’adhdhin (the caller to prayer), repeat what he says, then invoke a blessing on me, for everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah; then beg from Allah al-Wasila for me, which is a rank in Paradise fitting for only one of Allah’s servants, and I hope that I may be that one. If anyone who asks that I be given the Wasila, he will be assured of my intercession. (muslim)

3. Avoiding cursing people

Abud-Darda’ (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Those who frequently resort to cursing (people) would neither be accepted as witnesses nor as intercessors on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)

 

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