Shafaath or Intercession: Its relevance in Islam
By B. F. H. R. Bijli
KKRA No. 3: Dr. Palpu Rd. Lane A
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Rs. 80, Pages 62
Shafaath or intercession is a process by which someone enables someone else to gain some benefits or wards off harm. In our kind of democracy and bureaucracy, shafaath or pairvi works wonders. But would it work with Allah too, and on the Day of Judgment? This question may evoke a bevy of replies ranging from staunch belief in intercession of the Holy Prophet for the believers and other holy men to total denial of it.
Man wants intercession to escape from the God’s punishment. The author has collected a vast number of verses of the Quran that make it abundantly clear that people would be judged mainly on the basis of their belief in God and their deeds. Everyone would be accountable for his own deeds. No individual would be sharing virtues or sins of others. It is established through Quranic verses that intercession is the absolute right of Allah and he will allow this right to be exercised by some chosen people (with whom He would be pleased) on the Day of Judgment. There are also verses that negate the intercession and make it clear that all individuals would be carrying the burden of their deeds on their shoulders. Both the seekers of intercession and those who intercede, would be chosen exclusively by Allah. Allah advised some of his messengers to seek forgiveness for their followers but made it clear that He had the prerogative of forgiveness. Decision would be His on the Day of Judgment.
Hadees in the authentic collections do mention the holy Prophet seeking forgiveness for the dead, but make it clear that he (the Prophet) had no knowledge of their deeds being accepted by Allah and Allah granting them forgiveness. Hadees also quote the Prophet that he would be the first among the intercessors. A Hadees even goes to the extent that some people who just had belief in Allah but did not deserve the paradise by virtue of their deeds, would be taken out of hell due to the intercession of the Prophet. Another Hadees says that the Prophet would intercede on behalf of all those who committed sins except those of shirk (making partners with Allah) and zulm (oppression). Bijli sounds extremely logical when he says that to position Hadees on par with the Holy Quran is a form of shirk which several Muslim commit without knowing the consequences.
The author concludes that there would be absolutely no intercession in the Hereafter. Those who promote the thought of of shafaath are taking human beings in the wrong direction, and are injecting an illusory hope. It would be better for them to pin their hopes on their virtuous deeds, seek Allah’s forgiveness before they die and seek no delusionary shelters of intercessors. Those doing this are like the ones who are looking for a black cat in a dark room in the dead of night which is not there.
(By A Staff Reviewer)