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What is the meaning of intercession in Islam? Are there certain people who have the privilege to do it? It (shafa'a) is mentioned in a number of locations in the Qur’an.

Either positive or negative, please support your answer with Qur’anic verses or authentic narrations.

  • I feel this question would be stronger if you actually bring up one (or more) of the mentions in the Qur'an and describe exactly where your confusion lies. The question as it stands is a bit vague. – goldPseudo Oct 18 '12 at 15:06
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Shafa'ah is different from Tawasul, but the translation for both is the same (intercession). The Prophet {Peace be Upon Him} will be the first one to intercede and the first one whose intercession is accepted, Abi Dawood. The intercession of the Prophet {Peace be upon Him} will be for the people who committed major sins, At-Tirmidhi.

The Prophet {Peace be Upon Him} said that if forty people who do not associate anything with Allah in worship. make salatul Janazah (funeral prayer) over a Muslim that died than Allah would accept their their intercession for him. Riyadussaliheen. In another Hadith it states that if 100 Muslims pray over (funeral prayer) a dead person, all of them interceding for him, their intercession will be accepted. Sahih Muslim.

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In the name of Allah the merciful the compassionate

The answers(s) to your question(s) is brought into two sections as such:

Meaning of shafa'a

Shafa‘ah means that an upstanding person who enjoys special high rank and proximity to God can appeal the Almighty Allah to forgive the sins of sinners, or elevate of the rank of others.

Quranic verses and authenticated narrations

Based on the Quranic verses, intercession:

  1. is negated (2:123)
  2. exclusively belongs to Allah (6:70 and

    39:44)

  3. while is only in the domain of Allah, He can grant it to special people among His creations.

The following Quranic verses are related to the third section and support it:

No intercessor can plead with Him except by His permission.(10:3)

Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission? (2:255)

On that Day, no intercession shall avail, except the one from whom Allah, the Most Gracious has given permission and whose word is acceptable to Him.(20:109)

And they cannot intercede, except for Him with whom He is pleased.(21:28)

None shall have the power of intercession except one who has received permission or a promise from Allah, the Most Gracious.(19:87)

Intercession with Him profits none except for those He permits.(34:23)

According to above verses, besides God, awliya’ (intimate friend of Allah) such as: prophets, Imams are allowed by Allah for intercession. The holy prophet of Islam is of the people who is granted intercession by Almighty Allah. He says:

"أعطيت خمساً وأعطيت الشفاعة فأدخرتها لأمتي."

“I have been granted five things… and I have been granted intercession which I have reserved for my ummah.” (1)

Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq, the sixth Imam of the school of Ahlul Bayt says:

“Verily, our intercession will never reach one who takes the prayers lightly.”(2)


References:

1-Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, p. 301; Sahih al-Bukhari (Egypt), vol. 1, p. 91.

2-al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, 82:236.

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