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Intercession and the Qur'an
Question asked by Khalid Ahmad.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - Hits: 2512

Muslims believe that the Prophet (sws) will be allowed to intercede for men by permission of Allah on the Day of Judgment, and that all of humanity will benefit from this intercession, even those who rejected him. Many who would have been in Hell will be taken out from it due to his intercession, and many who will be in Hell will have their punishment lightened due to his intercession. This seems to be in DIRECT violation of concept of Justice.

Please explain.

The Holy Qur'an negates the idea of intercession by anyone on the Day of Judgment merely on the grounds of the status they (the recipients of intercession) occupy in this world or a particular race or religious group they belong to. It variously charges the Jews of unjustly deeming themselves worthy of high reward because of being the chosen people of Allah. Almost the same beliefs have found place among most of the Muslims today. They think that following the religion of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) is sufficient for their eternal success in the Hereafter. This is supported by the belief of the intercession by the Holy Prophet on the Day. This kind of belief has no place in the Holy Qur'an. It says:

O Children of Israel! Remember My favor wherewith I favored you and how I preferred you to (all) creatures. And guard yourselves against a day when no soul will in aught avail another, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be received from it, nor will they be helped. [2:47-8]

At another place it says that there would be no intercession except for the will of God. No body will dare intercede except when the Almighty honor him with that. This, it should be noted, must be in accordance with the principle of justice and the wisdom of God. He will not violate His attribute of being just. Another thing that should be appreciated is that no body will dare speak in favor of the evil people. 2:255 reads:

Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. Unto Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedes with Him save by His leave?

The following verse leads to the above-mentioned principle.

[A reward] from the Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them; the most Gracious – there is no one who has the authority to speak on His behalf. On the Day when Gabriel and the angels will stand arrayed [before Him]. [The Day] when only they will speak whom the most Gracious allows and who speak the truth. That Day [O People!] is sure to come; therefore, now whoever wishes can make his abode towards his Lord. We have forewarned you of an imminent doom on the Day when a man will see all that he has sent forward, and the unbeliever will cry: O would that I were dust! (78:37-40)

It will only after the permission of the Almighty that people will speak. And obviously none would intercede for the wrongdoers before God the Almighty. If all this material is analyzed, one can conclude that intercession merely amounts to being a prayer of forgiveness in favour of people who would be boderline cases.


Tariq Mahmood Hashmi
Research Assistant, Studying Islam

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