Friday, 22 June 2018

Reality of Shafaa (Intercession)

مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ

Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission?

(Sura 2:255: Ayat al-Kursi)

مَا مِن شَفِيعٍ إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ إِذْنِهِ

There is no intercessor except after His permission

(Sura 10:3)

يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا تَنفَعُ الشَّفَاعَةُ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ الرَّحْمَـٰنُ وَرَضِيَ لَهُ قَوْلًا

On that Day no intercession will benefit except to whom the Most Gracious has given permission and has accepted for him a word.

(Sura 20:109)

وَلَا يَشْفَعُونَ إِلَّا لِمَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ

They cannot intercede except on behalf of one whom He approves

(Sura 21:28)

وَلَا تَنفَعُ الشَّفَاعَةُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا لِمَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ

Intercession does not benefit with Him except for one whom He permits

(Sura 34:23)

وَكَم مِّن مَّلَكٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ لَا تُغْنِي شَفَاعَتُهُمْ شَيْئًا إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ أَن يَأْذَنَ اللَّـهُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيَرْضَىٰ

And how many Angels there are in the heavens whose intercession will not avail at all except only after Allah has permitted it to whom He wills and approves.

(Sura 53:26)

These are the holy verses of the Qur’an al-Karim which state quite explicitly that the only form of intercession that shall benefit and avail the people on Judgment Day is that intercession which Allah Most High permits, approves of and wills. Thus the only form of intercession which Islam acknowledges is al-Shafa’a bi-Idhn Illah intercession with the permission of Allah. Throughout the holy Qur’an, Allah emphasizes the fact that the false objects of worship of the polytheists have no power to intercede with Him on behalf of their worshipers on Judgment Day. However, He says:

إِلَّا مَن شَهِدَ بِالْحَقِّ

Except one who testifies to the Truth

(Sura 43:86)

A reference to those objects of worship who did not call the people to worship them, but in fact disavow such worship, and testify to the oneness of Allah and that only He is worthy of worship. This includes many Angels, Prophets and Saints that are falsely worshiped by the polytheists, but who, in reality, disavow that worship, being themselves uncompromising monotheists and unitarians. Shah Isma’il shahid of Delhi, a great Islamic reformer who preached Tawhid and was martyred in the cause of Allah, explained the reality of this kind of intercession by the permission of Allah with a parable:
“The third kind of intercession implies the situation wherein a thief indeed is found guilty of theft but he has not committed it by way of profession but he has unfortunately slipped into it (being a victim of circumstances). Out of a feeling of guilt, this person now feels extremely remorseful, his head lowered downward, constantly being gnawed by the fear of punishment. Paying due respect to the law of the land, he considers himself to be vice-ridden, a perpetrator of sin and thus eligible for punishment. He does not flee the king and does not request a courtier or a minister to intercede with the king for his amnesty. He seeks no one's support other than the king himself. He only pins his hopes to His Majesty day in and day out and is awaiting the pronouncement of a judgment in regard to the delinquency. The king, taking pity on his deplorable condition, intends to connive at his delinquency but also wants to uphold the law of the country lest it should be looked down upon by the people. Now, a governor or a minister, after getting a wink from the king, comes forward to intercede on his behalf. So the king grants a pardon to the thief apparently on the plea that so long as the governor has himself interceded for him, he has to honor it. The governor did not intercede for the thief because he was either his relative, friend or one of his acquaintances or he took the responsibility of defending him, but it was simply due to the fact that the king willingly instructed him to do so. Obviously, he is a governor appointed by the king and not a supporter of the thief (and hence he will not undertake an action of this kind without a nod of approval from the king), as the one who favors a thief is himself a thief. This type of intercession is known as ‘an intercession with permission’ (mediation with the permission and willingness of the master himself). This kind of intercession only shall prevail in the court of Allah the Almighty. An intercession by a Prophet or a saint which is mentioned in the Noble Qur'an is none other than this type of intercession.” (Taqwiyat-ul-Iman)

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