They say: We do not call them or turn to them except to seek closeness (to Allaah) and intercession.
The evidence for closeness is His word (the Exalted):
And those who take Auliyâ’ (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): “We worship them only that they may bring us near to God.” Verily, God will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, God guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever.
Surah Az-Zumar: 3
And the evidence for intercession is:
And they worship besides God things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with God.” Say: “Do you inform God of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?” Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him!
Surah Yunus: 18
However intercession are of two types:
- Negated intercession
- Affirmed intercession
The negated intercession is whatever is sought from other than Allaah but none has ability to give it except Allaah.
The affirmed intercession is that which is sought from Allaah.
The intercessor is honoured by the intercession, the interceded for is a person whom Allaah is pleased with his speech and deeds after permission. As He (Exalted is He) said:
Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission?
Surah Baqarah: 255
This is the second principle that the great scholar and reformer, Imam Muhammad bn AbdilWahhab wish that his brothers and sisters in Islam understand. In this principle he explains a flimsy argument that the Arab polytheists present to defend their idolatory. We need to understand this deeply therefore we will explain it in great detail. So we say and Allaah alone we beseech to assist us.
A Detailed Explanation of the Concept of Intercession (Shafaa’ah) in Islam
The discussion of intercesssion in the books of our scholars is in two aspects; Intercession between a person and another person such as interceeding for a worker before his employer to grant him a loan or permit etc.
Intercession between a person and Allaah (the Lord of the worlds) such as leading the people in solatul Istisqaa (prayer for seeking rainfall).
Although the second aspect is what relates to what the author mentioned. But for the benefit of knowledge we will be discussing the Islamic ruling on both types of intercession in this article.
Intercession between a person and another
This is when a person asks another person to raise his plea or request to a higher authority. The first person is the interceeded for, the second person is the intercessor, interceder or mediator and the third party is the authority.
There are many examples of this type of intercession in our daily lives. For example a student may ask the secretary of his HOD (head of department) to assist him in getting the HOD to sign a letter. If the student goes directly to the HOD it may take him up to a week before the form gets signed. But if he goes through the secretary it might not take more than a day.
Another example is when a child asks his mother to help him seek an amount of money from his father. If the child goes directly, he might not be able to explain himself well but his mother might know how to best present the issue before her husband.
A last example is when a brother asks the Imam of his mosque to help him propose to a sister. If the brother goes directly his request might be delayed or not be accepted. But if he sends the Imam, due to his maturity, knowledge and the trust the sister has in the Imam she is more likely to accept the proposal.
Now you get the picture.
What is the ruling on this type of intercession?
The interceder must be capable of granting the request
It is not permissible to ask a person to intercede on what is beyond his ability as this would be tantamount to having belief that he has metaphysical powers or mere making jest of the person. For example, it is not permissible to ask a dead or absent person to help you lift a load. This is major shirk if the caller believes that the mediator has some extraordinary power or ability. So you should only ask a person who is present and able.
Intercession must be on a permissible matter
It is wrong to intercede for a person who has committed a crime so as to avert the punishment from him. So also it is wrong to intercede for a person to help him reach an haram end. For example, it is impermissible to intercede for a person to get a ribaa (usury) loan or to intercede for a person to woo a woman for other than Nikah (Islamic marriage).
The evidence for this is found in the Quran and the sunnah.
Allaah the exalted says:
Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is severe in punishment.
Surah Maidah: 2
Imam Muslim compiled in his saheeh with his chain of narrators from Aishah (may Allaah be pleased with her and her father) that:
The Quraysh were perturbed by the case of the Makhzoomi woman that stole. So they said: who will speak to the messenger of Allaah?
They said: “and who can dare such if not Usaamah the beloved of Allaah’s messenger (commendations and peace of Allaah be upon him)?”
So Usaamah spoke to him (commendations and peace of Allaah be upon him). Thereupon the messenger of Allaah (commendations and peace of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Are you interceding in one of the penalties of Allaah?”
Then he (commendations and peace of Allaah be upon him) stood and delivered a sermon saying:
“O people! What destroyed the people before you is that when the noble among them steals they spare him but when the weak among them steals they serve him the penalty. I swear by Allaah if Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad stole I would cut her hand
Bukhaaree: 3261 and Muslim: 3196
He shouldn’t place his reliance in the interceder
This means that he should place his reliance in Allaah. The one seeking intercession should believe that the interceder will only be granted his request if Allaah has decreed it to be so.
The intercessor is only a means that Allaah may use to make His decree come to pass. The affair lies with Allaah; if He wishes He makes the intercessor say everything right and the authority pleased with the intercessor’s words. If He wills, He makes everything about the intercessor wrong before the authority.
And moreover, if Allaah had not willed you wouldn’t have met this intercessor in the first place. And Allaah knows best.
In shaa Allaah in the next article we will discuss the ruling on interceding for a person before Allaah