Shafa’at, Intercession

Intercession In The Light Of Traditions

Regarding intercession there are so many traditions that if you collect them they will take a ‘book form’ that is why the belief in intercession forms a basic peg in Islam. We have taken the support of traditions and narrations from exegesis of Jafar Subhani ‘Manshoor Javed’. Forty five traditions are from ‘Sehah Sitta’ and fifty five are from Shiite sources, but we only relate here ten from Ahlul Sunnat and fourteen from ‘Shiite’ sources. We have taken care that the chosen traditions are complicit, clear and useful; we will first throw light on the tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) from the books of Ahlul Sunnah.

Few Traditions From The Books Of Ahlul Sunnat

Holy Prophet (S) said:

لِكُلِّ نَبِيٍّ دَعْوَةٌ مُسْتَجَابَةٌ فَتَعَجَّلَ كُلُّ نَبِيٍّ دَعْوَتَه وَ اِنِّي اِخْتِبَاتُ دَعْوَتِيْ شَفَاعَةٌ لِاُمَّتِيْ فَهِيَ نَائِلُهْ مَنْ مَاتَ مِنْهُمْ لَاْيُشْرِكُ بِاللهِ شِيْئًا.

“Lord has made some prayers of Prophets which are answered. All have used them in this world but I have kept my prayer for the intercession of my nation which is only for the true believers of my nation who have not associated anybody with Allah.”[^1]

Holy Prophet (S) said:

اَعْطَيْتُ خَمْسًا ...... وَ اَعْطَيْتُ الشَّفَاعَةَ فَاِذَ خَرَّتْهَا لِاُمَّتِيْ فَهِيَ لِمَنْ لاَّيُشْرِكُ بِاللهِ شَيْئًا.

“Allah has blessed me with five superiority one of which is my intercession which I have kept for the believers of my Ummat who have not associated anybody with Allah.”[^2]

Holy Prophet (S) said:

قَوْلُه عَسيٰ اَنْ يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَحْمُوْدًا هُوَ الْمَقَامُ الَّذِيْ اِشْفَعْ لِاُمَّتِيْ فِيْهِ.

“This praiseworthy position which is in Surah Bani Israel : verse 79, is that status by which I will do intercession of my nation.”[^3]

Holy Prophet (S) said:

’’اَنَا اَوَّلُ شَافِعٍ وَ اَوَّلُ مُشْفِعٍ‘‘

“The foremost of the intercessor will be myself and my intercession will be accept before everybody.”[^4]

Holy Prophet (S) said:

اِنَّ شَفَاعَتِيْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لِاَهْلِ الْكَبَائِرِ مِنْ اُمَّتِيْ

“On the day of judgement my intercession will be for those of my Ummat those who have done major sins.”[^5]

Holy Prophet (S) said:

شَفَاعَتِيْ لِمَنْ شَهِدَ اَنْ لاَّ اِلٰهَ اِلاَّ اللهُ مُخْلِصًا يَصْدُقُ قَلْبُه لِسَانَه وَ لِسَانُه قَلْبَه.

“My intercession will be exclusively for those who bear witness of His oneness with a pure heart of whose tongue testify the heart and vise versa.”[^6]

Holy Prophet (S) said:

اِنَّ اللهَ يَخْرُجُ قَوْمًا مِنَ النَّارِ بِالشَّفَاعَةِ.

“Surely one group will be extracted from hell by intercession.”[^7]

Holy Prophet (S) said:

يَشْفَعُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ اَلْاَنْبِيَاءُ ثُمَّ الْعُلَمَاءُ ثُمَّ الشُّهَدَاءُ.

“On the day of judgement first to do intercession will be the prophets, learned people and then martyrs.”[^8]

Holy Prophet (S) said to attendant:

قَالَ لِخَادِمِه مَا حَاجَتُكَ؟

“Do you have any need?”

حَاجَتِيْ اَنْ تَشْفَعَ لِيْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ.

“He said my need is that you do intercession on the day of judgement.”

وَ مَنْ دَلَّكَ عَلٰي هٰذَا؟

“Prophet asked from whom you have learnt to seek intercession from me?”

قَالَ رَبِّي

He replied: From my Lord.

اَمَّا فَاَعِنِّيْ بِكَثْرَتِ السُّجُوْدِ.

Holy Prophet (S) said: “Then you help me in my intercession by your prostration.”[^9]

Holy Prophet (S) said:

مَنْ صَلّي عَلٰي مُحَمَّدٍ وَ قَالَ اَللّهُمَّ اَنَزَلَهُ الْمَقْعَدَ الْمُقَرَّبَ عِنْدَكَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَ جَبَ لَه شَفَاعَتِيْ.

“One who sends blessing on Muhammad (S) and prays to Lord to appoint you (Holy Prophet (S)) on the position near to You and my intercession becomes obligatory. (one should bear in my, that blessing on me will be complete only when he sends blessings on my progeny too.)” [^10]

The above traditions are mostly from the companions of Holy Prophet (S) now we quote below few traditions from the reliable books of the Shias on the subject of intercession.

Few Traditions From The Books Of Shias

Holy Prophet (S) said:

اِنِّي لَاَشْفَعُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَاُشْفَعُ وَ يَشْفَعُ عَلِيٌّ فُيُشْفَعُ وَ يَشْفَعُ اَهْلُ بَيْتِيْ فَيُشْفَعُوْنَ.

“Undoubtedly I will intercede on the day of judgement and it will be accepted, Hazrat ‘Ali (a.s.) will also intercede and it will be also accepted, and my progeny will also intercede and it will be also accepted.”[^11]

Holy Prophet (S) said:

اِنَّ مِنْ اُمَّتِيْ مِنْ سَيَّدٍ اَحَلَّ اللهُ الْجَنَّةَ بِشَفَاعِتِه اَكْثَرُ مِنْ مُضِرٍّ.

“There are such people in my Ummat, by whose intercession persons more than the Tribe of Mazhar (the biggest tribe of Arabia) will enter Heaven.”[^12]

Hazrat ‘Ali (a.s.) said:

لَنَا شَفَاعَةٌ وَ لِاَهْلِ مَوَدَّتِنَا شَفَاعَةٌ.

“We will do intercession and also those who love us will intercede.”[^13]

Ameerul Momeneen ‘Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) narrates that the Holy Prophet (S) said:

ثَلاَثَةٌ يَشْفَعُوْنَ اِلٰي اللهِ عَزَّوَجَلَّ فَيُشْفَعُوْنَ اَلْاَنْبِيَاءُ ثُمَّ الْعُلَمَاءُ ثُّم الشُّهَدَاءُ.

“There are three groups who will intercede and it will be accepted: (a) Prophets, (b) Learned man of religion and (c) Martyrs (who have laid their lives on the path of Lord.”[^14]

Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) has advised his son Mohammad bin Hanafia thus:

اِقْبَلْ مِنْ مُتَنَصِّلٍ عُذْرَه فَتَنَالُكَ الشَّفَاعَةُ.

“Accept the excuse of those who plead so that, intercession for you will be accepted.”[^15]

It is clear from the saying of Hazrat ‘Ali (a.s.) one who will not forgive the faults of brother in faith in spite of his asking forgiveness that person’s intercession is not possible, the reason being that if he does not forgive the fault of others how can he expect the Lord to forgive him on the day of judgement. Perhaps even Holy Prophet (S) must have mentioned thus:

’’مَنْ لَاْيَرْحَمْ لَاْيُرْحَمْ‘‘

“Those who withhold mercy, mercy will not be showered on them.”

Hazrat ‘Ali (a.s.) has narrated from Holy Prophet (S) thus:

اِذَا قُمْتُ الْمَقَامَ الْمَحْمُوْدَ تَشَفَّعْتُ فِيْ اَصْحَابِ الْكَبَائِرِ مِنْ اُمَّتِيْ فَيَشْفَعْنِيْ اللهُ فِيْهِمْ وَ اللهُ لاَ تَشَفَّعْتُ فِيْمَنْ اَذَيٰ ذُرِّيَّتِيْ.

“When I will be placed on Maqamul Mahmud (مقامو المحمود) I will intercede that person of my nation who has committed greater sins. Surely Lord will not accept my intercession for those people who have harassed and inflict my progeny.”[^16]

Imam Husain (a.s.) narrates that when he left Madina for Karbala he saw the prophet in his dream who said:

حَبِيْبِيْ يَا حُسَيْنُ كَاَنِّي اَرَاكَ عَنْ قَرِيْبٍ مُرَمِّلَاً بِدِمَائِكَ مَذْبُوْحًا بِاَرْضِ كَرْبَلَآءَ عَلٰي اَيْدِيْ عِصَابَةٌ مِنْ اُمَّتِي وَ اَنْتَ مَعَ ذٰلِكَ يَرْجُوْنَ شَفَاعَتِيْ لاَ يَنَالُهُمْ وَ اللهُ شَفَاعَتِيْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ.

“My dear Husain I see you bathed in your blood and a group of my Ummat has slaughtered you in a state of thirst, in spite of this they hope for my intercession (no my son) Lord will never accept my intercession for them on the day of judgement.”[^17]

Forth Imam Zainul Aabedin narrates in one of his dua,

فَاِنِّيْ لَمْ آتِكَ ثَقَتْ مِنِّيْ بِعَمَلٍ صَالِحٍ قَدَّمْتُه وَلاَ شَفَاعَةِ مَخْلُوْقٍ رَجَوْتُه اِلاَّ شَفَاعَةَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَّ اَهْلِ بَيْتِه عَلَيْهِ وَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَلَاْمُكَ.

“I come not before Thee trusting in a righteous work I have sent ahead, nor in the intercession of any creature in whom I have hope, except the intercession of Muhammad and the Folk of his House(upon him and upon them be Thy peace).”

And in another dua he says,

صَلِّ عَلٰي مُحَمَّدٍ وَّ آلِه وَاجْعَل تَوَسُّلِيْ بِه شَافِعًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ نَافِعًا اِنَّكَ اَنْتَ اَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِيْنَ.

“O Lord sends blessing on Muhammad (S) and is progeny (a.s.), and on the day of judgement accept recommendation of intercession which will be beneficial to me, surely You are most Merciful.”

Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s.) narrates:

يَشْفَعُ الرَّجُلُ فِيْ الْقَبِيْلَةِ وَ يَشْفَعُ الرَّجُلُ لِاَهْلِ الْبَيْتِ وَ يَشْفَعُ الرَّجُلُ لِلرَّجُلَيْنِ عَلٰي قَدْرِ عَمَلِه فَذٰلِكَ الْمَقَامُ الْمَحْمُوْدُ.

“Every person (believer) will do intercession for others on the strength of his good action it is possible that he alone can intercede for a tribe, or for his family members or for a single person and the right to intercede is termed “مقام محمود” (as referred in Qur’an).”[^18]

A Tradition relates that a person named Abu Aiman came to Imam Baqir (a.s.) and said that few people from deviate the others saying that will be receive the intercession of Holy Prophet (S) on the day of judgement (and will be forgiven) but the fact is every body will receive punishment or reward according to their actions. Imam became angry and the expression on his face changed and he said,

وَيْحَكَ يَا اَبَا اَيْمَنْ اَغَرَّكَ اِنْ عَفَّ بَطْنَكَ وَ فَرْجَكَ اَمَاْ وَاللهِ لَوْ قَدْ رَاَيْتَ اِفْزَاعَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لَقَدِ احْتَجْتَ اِلٰي شَفَاعَةِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَيْلَكَ وَهَلْ يَشْفَعُ اِلاَّ لِمَنْ قَدْ وَجَبَتْ لَهُ النَّارُ؟

“Woe be unto you, O Abu Aiman! Do you think that by saving yourself from the sins of hunger and lust your become proud. By Allah when you witness the intensities and the calamites of day of judgement you will really know the importance of the Prophet’s intercession (and you will need his intercession), woe on you will anybody who deserve hell can except to get intercession?”

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) narrates:

وَ اللهُ لَنَشْفَعَنَّ لِشِيْعَتِنَا وَ اللهُ لَنَشْفَعَنَّ لِشِيْعَتِنَا حَتّي يَقُوْلَ النَّاسُ فَمَا لَنَا مِنْ شَافِعِيْنَ وَلَاْصَدِيْقٍ حَمِيْمٍ.

“By Allah he will intercede for our Shias, by Allah we will surely intercede for our Shias, till that extent (our enemies) they will shout that there is nobody to do our intercession or help us.”[^19]

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) said:

لِكُلِّ مُؤْمِنٍ خَمْسُ سَاعَاتٍ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَشْفَعُ فِيْهَا.

“On the day of judgement five hours are fixed for a believer so that he can intercession for others.”[^20]

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) said:

مَنْ اَنْكَرَثَلاَ ثَةَ اَشْيَاءٍ فَلَيْسَ مِنْ شِيْعَتِنَا اَلْمِعْرَاجَ وَ الْمَسَائِلَةَ فِي الْقَبْرَ وَ الشَّفَاعَةَ.

“One who refutes this three things he is not from our Shias: (1) Ascension (Meraj) of our Holy Prophet (S), (2) Questioning in the grave and (3) Intercession.”

Imam ‘Ali al-Reza (a.s.) narrated from Ameerul Momineen ‘Ali (a.s.) that he said that:

مَنْ كَذَبَ بِشَفَاعَةِ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ صَلّي اللهُ عَلَهْه وَ آلِهِ وَ سَلَّمُ لَمْ تَنِلْه.

“Person who negates the intercession of Holy Prophet (S) he will never be interceded.”

Two Important Points Regarding Above Mentioned Traditions

It is evident that the concept of intercession is not the idea of a particular sect but is found in the all Muslim Ummat.

This is also evident from the above traditions that everybody has not the right to do or receive intercession, but with special conditions. One must not deduce that a person becomes careless in committing sins as there will be no punishment for the sin, definitely it is not as the think but those who have faith in intercession, their faith is well-founded and his helplessness and hopelessness is change into hope, thus he take the step not towards evil but towards good. So let us examine those personalities who are a termed as “Intercessor of the day of judgement”

[^1]: Refer Sunan Ibn Maajah, vol. 2, p. 1440; Musnad Ibn Ahmad, p. 281, Muta Malik, p. 166, Sunan Tirmidhi, vol. 5, p. 238; Sahih Muslim p. 31; Sahih Bhukhari, vol. 8-9, p. 170.

[^2]: Musnad Ibn Ahmad, vol. 1, p. 1301 and vol. 4, p. 246; Sunan Sanai, vol. 1, p. 172; Sahih Bhukhari, vol. 1, p. 92 and p. 119.

[^3]: Musnad Ibn Ahmad, vol 2, p. 528; Sunan Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 325.

[^4]: Sunan Tirmidhi, vol. 5, p. 238; Sunan Dareme, vol. 1 p. 126 and p. 67.

[^5]: Sunan Maajah, vol. 2, p. 441.

[^6]: Musnah ibn Ahmad, vol. 6, p. 428.

[^7]: Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, p. 122; and Sahih Bhukhai, vol. 8, p. 143.

[^8]: Sunan Ibn Maajah vol. 2, p. 1443.

[^9]: Musnad Ibn Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 500.

[^10]: Musnad Ibn Ahmad, vol. 4, p. 108.

[^11]: Manaqib Ibn Shahar Aashub, vol. 2, p. 15; and Majmul Bayaan, vol. 1, p. 104

[^12]: Majmul Bayaan, vol. 1, p. 392

[^13]: Khesaal al-Suduq, p. 624

[^14]: Khesaal al-Suduq, p. 156

[^15]: Manla Yazharal Faqhi, vol. 4, p. 279

[^16]: Aamali al-Suduq, p. 177

[^17]: Makatebul Aimah, vol. 2, p. 41

[^18]: Usul al- Kafi, vol. 8, p. 101

[^19]: Manaqib Ibn Shahar Aashub vol. 2, p. 14

[^20]: Sifaat us-Shia by Shaikh Saduq, p. 181