Shafa’at, Intercession

Intercession For Whom

It is evident from the Qur’anic verses and the traditions of the infallibles that on the day of judgement intercession is only for those who have faith with a pure heart and for those who harbour no enmity towards the progeny of Holy Prophet (S).

Minimum Requirements For Intercession Are Three

(1) Tauheed – Having complete faith in unity of Allah.

(2) Nabuwat – believe the Holy Prophet (S) as the seal of the prophets

(3) Love towards Holy Prophet (S) progeny and aversion towards their enemy.

Beside these there are other sins which make intercession invalid we will list below group of such unfortunate persons.

No Intercession For Unbeliever And Polytheist

The proof are the following verses of Qur’an, namely in Surah Aaraaf : verse 53, Surah Shoaraa : verses 98-101, and also from the traditions. Quoting an incident Imam Husain (a.s.) narrates that one day a group of Jews came to the Holy Prophet (S) with a few questions, when the question of intercession arose the Holy Prophet (S) said:

وَ اَمَّا شَفَاعَتِيْ فَفِيْ اَهْلِ الْكَبَائِرِ مَا خَلاَ اَهْلُ الشِّرْكِ وَ الظُّلْمِ.

“As far as the question of my intercession is there my intercession will also be there for the great sinners, but not for polytheist and the tyrants.”[^1]

No Intercession For Tyrants And Oppressor

In Surah Aaraaf : verse 18 the Holy Qur’an says :

مَا لِلظَّاْلِمِيْنَ مِنْ حَمِيْمٍ وَلاَ شَفِيْعٍ يُطَاْعُ.

“The unjust shall not have any compassionate friend nor any intercessor who should be obeyed.”

This verse should be read by those persons who favour Yazid, (who is the greatest despot) who write and say in his favour. Even Lord has cursed the tyrants on many places as it is recommended to favour the oppressed it also recommended to curse the oppressor.

No Intercession For The Enemies Of The Progeny Of Holy Prophet (S)

There are numerous traditions regarding this topic, but we only quote one tradition.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has said:

لَوْ اَنَّ الْمَلَآئِكَةَ الْمُقَرِّبِيْنَ وَالْاَنْبِيَاءَ الْمُرْسَلِيْنَ شَفَعُوْا فِيْ نَاصِبٍ مَّا شَفَعُوْا.

“If (it is just an imagination) even sacred angels and prophets intercede for the enemies of the progeny of Holy Prophet (S) Allah (s.w.t.) refute or reject their intercession.”[^2]

No Intercession For Those Who Harass The Progeny Of Holy Prophet (S)

Holy Prophet (S) has said:

اِذَا قُمْتُ الْمَقَامَ الْمَحْمُوْدَ تَشَفَّعْتُ فِيْ اَصْحَابِ الْكَبَائِرِ مِنْ اُمَّتِيْ فَيَشْفَعْنِيْ اللهُ فِيْهِمْ وَاللهِ لاَ تَشَفَّعْتُ فِيْمَنْ آذيٰ ذُرِّيَّتِي.

“When I will be placed on a lofty status of intercession then I will intercede for the greater sinners of my nation and Lord will even accept my intercession, by Allah He will not intercede for those persons who have harassed and troubled my progeny.”[^3]

No Intercession For Who Do Not Believe In The Successorship Of Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) And His Infallible Sons

There are many traditions but we only quote here one. Imam ‘Ali Reza (a.s.) quotes from his father and he from his father and so on, the main source being Hazrat ‘Ali (a.s.) who has heard from Holy Prophet (S) who said that persons eligible, who are of four types.

No Intercession For Those Who Do Not Believe In Intercession

Holy Prophet (S) has said:

مَنْ لَمْ يُؤْمِنْ بِشَفَاعَتِيْ فَلَاْيَنَا لُه شَفَاعَتِيْ.

“Those who do not have faith in my intercession will be deprived from it.”[^4]

Imam ‘Ali Reza (a.s.) has also said:

مَنْ كَذِبَ بِشَفَاعَةِ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ لَمْ يَنِلْهُ.

“Those who do not believe in the intercession of Holy Prophet (S) they will not be interceded.”[^5]

No Intercession For People Who Usurp The Trusts

Holy Prophet (S) has said:

مَنْ غَشَّ الْعَرَبَ لَمْ يَدْخُلْ فِيْ شَفَاعَتِيْ.

“Those who cheat the Arab they will not receive my intercession.”[^6]

(In this tradition the word “Arab” is only for an example) otherwise to cheat any Muslim or to digest his trusts is such a great sin by which there will no intercession for him.

No Intercession For Those Who Take Salat (Prayer) Lightly

We only quote here one out of many traditions on this topic. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has said:

لاَ يَنَالُ شَفَاعَتُنَا مَنِ اسْتَخَفَّ بِالصَّلٰوةِ.

“Those who consider Salat (Prayer) as a trifle affair will not receive our intercession.”[^7]

Those Sins Which Delay Intercession

It is evident from the traditions that there are certain sins by which intercession will be prolonged and due to this they will have to bear the punishment for longer time and then only they will be interceded for e.g. Fornication, the intercession will be delayed for the believer. Imam Sadeq (a.s.) said thus:

فَوَ اللهِ لاَ تَنَالُ شَفَاعَتُنَا اِذَا رَكَبَ هٰذَا (يَعْنِي اَلزِّنَا) حَتَّي يُصِيْبَه اَلَمِ الْعَذَابِ وَ يَرَيٰ هَوْلَ جَهَنَّمٍ.

“By Allah (s.w.t.) our intercession for a fornicator will not be up to that time till he has not tasted grievous punishment. Beside this other sins like, interest, false narration, backbiting, having attraction towards base action, and to be infatuated towards music, will not be easily interceded.”[^8]

Those Actions Which Expedite Intercession

There are such few good action by virtue of which there is no delay in his intercession. We quote below a few deeds so that the readers may be inclined to do such actions by which they will be eligible for intercession.

(1) Belief In His Unity With A Pure Heart

It goes without saying that the soul of good action is a pure heart, one who has it his small action will be sufficient for his salvation, therefore Holy Prophet (S) said:

يَسْتَحِقُّ النَّاسُ بِشَفَاعَتِيْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مَنْ قَالَ لاَ اِلٰه اِلاَّ اللهُ خَالِصًا مِنْ قَلْبِه.

“Those person who utter لا اله الا الله from the bottom of the heart they will be the first to receive my intercession on the day of judgement.”[^9]

(2) Long Prostration In His Presence

By this, believers will be eligible for a quick intercession by the Holy Prophet (S). A person asked the Holy Prophet (S) for a promise to intercede to which Holy Prophet (S) replied that

فَاَعِنِّي بِكَثْرَةِ الْسُّجُوْدِ.

“If you want my quick intercession then help me with your long prostration.”[^10]

(3) To Send Blessing On Holy Prophet (S) And His Progeny (a.s.)

We quote here one out of many traditions from Musnud Ibn Ahmed, vol. 4, p. 108, Holy Prophet (S) said that:

مَنْ صَلَّي عَلٰي مُحَمَّدٍ وَّ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ جَبَتْ لَه شَفَاعَتِيْ.

“Those who send blessings on me and my progeny (a.s.) it will be incumbent on me to intercede for him.”

(4) To Dole Out The Services To A Brother In Faith

Although to help mankind in general is a good act but the status of one who helps his fellow brother is something greater. We only relate one out of many traditions.

The Holy Prophet (S) has said: “There will be a queue for the people of heaven, the people of hell will be make to pass by, a person among the hell will address to the person from the heaven O the son of “so an so” don’t you remember that when your were thirsty I quenched your thirst, he will say yes I remember, to which the person of hell will ask him towards his intercession and Lord will also accept it”.

This incident throws the light on the importance of service to a believer, and to help him in all possible way makes him eligible for intercession. We hope after reading this, you will not shirk from helping a believer.

(5) Be Prompt In Forgiveness

World is aware of the saying, “you will reap as you sow”. So, be prompt in forgiveness if you want a prompt intercession. Hazrat ‘Ali (a.s.) advised his son Mohammad bin Hanafia,

اِقْبَلْ مِنْ مُتَنَصِّلٍ عُذْرَه فَتَنَالُكَ الشَّفَاعَةُ.

“Forgive promptly the one who asks forgiveness from you so that Lord may accept your intercession immediately.”[^11]

Besides this, there are other good deeds too, by virtue of which your intercession will be accepted. Below we quote a few, viz.:

a) To propagate the education of Holy Qur’an

b) To make public the recognition of the progeny of Holy Prophet (S)

c) To strengthen the relation between the fellow believers

d) To help the poor and the needy as per your capacity

e) To bear the calamities with patience and perceiveness.

f) To behave nobly towards neighbours and people in vicinity.

Lastly we lay stress on the most important point i.e. never be careless towards the laws laid down by the Lord. Remember that your actions will be your first intercessor to help you from the grave to the day of judgement, do not let your lethargic behaviour can deprive you from intercession.

Faith in intercession generates hope in humans and lightens the path towards optimism. To obtain perpetual happiness one must never forget that intercession creates in him hope of His grace and mercy and thereby enters heaven - our last abode.

[^1]: Khesaal al-Suduq, p. 355

[^2]: Mahaasin of Barqi, p. 184.

[^3]: Amaali of Shaikh Sadooq (a.r.), pg. 370.

[^4]: Amaali al-Suduq, p. 5

[^5]: Uyyun Akhbaar al-Reza, vol. 2, p. 66

[^6]: Musnad al-Ahmad, vol. 1, pg. 72.

[^7]: Usul al-Kafi, vol. 3, p. 270

[^8]: Usul al-Kaafi, vol. 5, pg. 469.

[^9]: Sahih Bukhaari, vol. 1, pg. 36.

[^10]: Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 22, pg. 87, Tr. No. 39.

[^11]: Manla Yazharal Faqih, vol. 4, p. 279.