ASH-SHAFAA ‘AH – INTERCESSION
When the distress of the people in that great gathering grows intense, they will search for a long time among those of high status for someone to intercede for them with their Lord.
They will ask their father Adam A.S. to undertake this great mission, and they will remind him of his virtue and how Allah honoured him, but he will refuse and will make excuses. He will mention how he disobeyed his Lord by eating from the tree from which Allah forbade him to eat, and he will refer them to Nooh (Noah) A.S., the first Messenger whom Allah sent to mankind, whom Allah called a grateful slave. But he will refuse and make excuses by referring to some of his shortcomings in his duties towards his Lord and Master. He will refer them to the Mighty Messengers who came after him, and each of them in turn will refer them to the one who came after him, until they come to the Last Messenger, Muhammad ﷺ, to whom Allah forgave all his past and future sins, so he occupies a position for which the earlier and later generations will praise him, and his great and high status will thereby be made manifest. He will ask his Lord for permission, which will be granted, and he will praise and glorify Him, and ask Him with regard to his ummah, and his prayer will be answered. That is because Allah has granted each Prophet a prayer for his nation which will not be refused. Every Prophet hastened to offer that supplication in this world, but the Messenger ﷺ saved his prayer for that great gathering when his ummah will need his supplication. May Allah bless him and grant him peace, for he is kind and merciful towards his ummah, as his Lord described him. It is narrated in Bukhari and Muslim that Anas ibn Maalik R.A. said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Every Prophet asked for something or every Prophet was granted one supplication for his nation, but I have postponed my supplication in order to intercede for my ummah on the Day of Resurrection.“
The Hadeeth about Ash-Shafaa’ah
Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmidhi narrated that Prophet ﷺ said : –
‘I will be the leader of mankind on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know why that is? Allah will gather the first and the last in one arena, and they will all be seen and they will all hear the call of the caller. The sun will be brought close to them, and the people will suffer unbearable distress and grief. The people will say, ‘Do you not see the state you are in and how bad it is? Why don’t you look for someone who will intercede for you with your Lord? And the people will say to one another, ‘Your father Adam A.S.’ So they will go to him and say, ‘ O ‘ Adam, you are the father of mankind; Allah created you with His hand and breathed into you the soul (created by Allah for you); He commanded the angels to prostrate to you and He caused you to dwell in Paradise. Why do you not intercede for us with your Lord? Do you not see the state we are in and how bad it is?’ He will say, ‘My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been before and never will be again. He forbade me (to eat) from the tree, and I disobeyed him. Myself, myself, myself. Go to someone else, go to Nooh (Noah) A.S.’
So they will go to Nooh and will say, ‘O’ Nooh, you were the first of the Messengers to the people of the earth, and Allah called you a grateful slave. Do you not see the state we are in and how bad it is? Why do you not intercede for us with your Lord?’ He will say, ‘My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been before and never will be again. I had one supplication and I prayed against my people. Myself, myself, myself. Go to someone else, go to Ibraaheem (Abraham) A.S.’
So they will go to Ibraaheem and will say: ‘You are the Prophet of Allah, His Close Friend (Khaleel) among the people of the earth. Intercede for us with your Lord. Do you not see the state we are in?’ He will say to them: ‘My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been before and never will be again, and I told three lies which he will mention – Myself, myself, myself. Go to someone else, go to Moosa (Moses) A.S.’
So they will go to Moosa and will say, ‘You are the Messenger of Allah, and He favoured you above the people by sending you and by speaking to you. Intercede for us with your Lord. Do you not see the state we are in?’ He will say to them: ‘My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been before and never will be again, and I killed a soul whom I had not been commanded to kill. Myself, myself, myself. Go to someone else, go to ‘Eesa (Jesus) A.S.’
So they will come to ‘Eesa, and will say, ‘O’ ‘Eesa, you are the Messenger of Allah and His Word which He bestowed on Maryam, and a spirit created by Him, and you spoke to the people in the cradle. Intercede for us with your Lord. Do you not see the state we are in?”Eesa will say to them: ‘My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been before and never will be again,’ and he will not mention any sin. ‘Myself, myself, myself. Go to someone else, go to Muhammad.’
So they will come to Muhammad ﷺ – according to one report, they will come to me – and will say, ‘O’ Muhammad, you are the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets. Allah forgave you all your past and future sins. Intercede for us with your Lord. Do you not see the state we are in?’ So I will set out and come beneath the Throne, where I will fall down prostrating to my Lord. Then Allah will inspire me to praise Him in a way that no one before me was ever inspired. Then it will be said, ‘O’ Muhammad, raise your head. Ask and you will be given, intercede and your intercession will be accepted. ‘ So I will raise my head and say, ‘My ummah, O’ Lord, my ummah O’ Lord, my ummah O’ Lord. ‘It will be said, ‘O’ Muhammad, admit to Paradise those among your ummah who will not be brought to account, from the right-hand gate of the gates of Paradise.’ They will have the right to enter through the same gates as other people. Then he said: ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the distance between two of the gateposts of Paradise is like the distance between Makkah and Hajar – or like the distance between Makkah and Busrah. “
SubhaanAllah! `Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala `ali Muhammadin, kama sallaita `ala `ali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum Majid. Allahumma barik `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala `ali Muhammadin, kama barakta `ala `ali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum Majid
Two important things to note from the Hadeeth: –
Types of Intercession on that Day
· The greater intercession, which is the station of praise and glory (Al-Maqaam al-Mahmood). This is when the first and the last will approach the Messenger ﷺ to intercede with his Lord so that the people may find relief from the terrors of the gathering.
· Intercession for the sinners among the monotheists (believers in Tawheed) who entered Hell (for their sins).
Intercession for sinners is not specific for the last Messenger ﷺ. The Prophets, martyrs and scholars may all be given the permission by Allah and will intercede. A man’s deeds will also intercede for him. But our Messenger ﷺ will have the greatest share of this type of intercession.
Accepted and Rejected types of Waseela
Since many people have an incorrect understanding of this concept, and because of it fall into shirk or innovation, it is important that this topic be given greater attention.
From this intersession people derive that taking Waseela (Tawassul) is Halal. The general meaning of Tawassul is to seek nearness to Allah through performing good deeds. As for the specific meaning of Tawassul, it is to hope for and seek the answering of one’s duaa (supplication).
Types of Permissible Tawassul
a) All kinds of worshipping to Allah.
b) A way to have the call responded. This is divided in into 6 ways: –
1. Tawassul by calling the Best Names of Allah
This is the Tawassul (Use of a Means) for Allah by His Best Names, whether by all of them as a whole or by One of them only.
Allah says “The most beautiful Names belong to Allah: “so call on Him by them”
Another way of Tawassul for Allah by One of His Names, such as your saying, “O forgiver, forgive me, O Merciful, be Merciful with me, O Allah, You indeed Love pardon, so Pardon me”. So this is a call using a means which is One of His Best Names.
2. Tawassul by Attributes of Allah
This is the Tawassul by all of His Attributes as a whole or using One of them, including His Deeds for they are considered Attributes as well. Such as saying, “O Allah, I call You by Your Best Names and Your Superior Attributes”, and this is a sound Du’a’.
3. By Your Belief in Allah:
This is the tawassul to Allah by our belief in Him, so that we can ask Allah to respond our call because we believed in Him and His messenger ﷺ. This is correct as Allah says, “Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous.
This means that they asked their Lord to forgive them because they believed, so they made the faith a means of the call of forgiveness.
4. By Presenting the State of the Slave:
Tawassul to Allah by Presenting the State of the Slaves that he would submit himself to his Lord without mentioning anything about his needs, such as saying, “O Allah! I am needy poor to You, I am the prisoner in Your hands“. This is clearly shown by what Musa said when he watered the two women’s flocks before he went to the shadow and said “O my Lord! truly am I in (desperate) need of any good that You have send me!” and did not mention anything about his needs. Obviously, what is important here is the miserable state that in directly necessitates Mercy & Kindness especially when it is concerned with the most merciful.
5. Tawassul by Asking a LIVING (Pious) Person to Make Dua
It is allowed to make Tawassul by asking a living person to make dua on your behalf, if you feel that such a person is a true and righteous person. So, it is permissible to go to a scholar, and say, for example: “O so-and-so! I ask that you make a dua to Allah that he cure my son from such-and-such an illness“.
The Prophet ﷺ used to say: “The dua of a Muslim for his brother in his absence is responded to. In his presence there is an angel that has been assigned to him; every time he makes a dua for his brother with good, the angel assigned to him says, ‘Amin. And to you the same.” (Sahih Muslim)
Although it is permissible to ask others to make dua for one’s self, it is better not to do so for personal duas.
6. By the pious deeds
Tawassul to Allah by the pious deeds is mentioning to Allah while calling him for help a good deed one has previously done, which he thinks he did purely for the sake of Allah and is useful as a means to have his need responded. It is clearly illustrated by the story of the three men which the Prophet ﷺ. told us about.
He ﷺ said “Once three persons (from the previous nations) were traveling, and suddenly it started raining and they took shelter in a cave. The entrance of the cave got closed while they were inside. They said to each other, ‘O you! Nothing can save you except the truth, so each of you should ask Allah’s Help by referring to such a deed as he thinks he did sincerely (i.e. just for gaining Allah’s Pleasure).’ So one of them said, ‘O Allah! You know that I had a laborer who worked for me for one Faraq (i.e. three Sas) of rice, but he departed, leaving it (i.e. his wages). I sowed that Faraq of rice and with its yield I bought cows (for him). Later on when he came to me asking for his wages, I said (to him), ‘Go to those cows and drive them away.’ He said to me, ‘But you have to pay me only a Faraq of rice,’ I said to him, ‘Go to those cows and take them, for they are the product of that Faraq (of rice).’ So he drove them. O Allah! If you consider that I did that for fear of You, then please remove the rock.’ The rock shifted a bit from the mouth of the cave. The second one said, ‘O Allah, You know that I had old parents whom I used to provide with the milk of my sheep every night. One night I was delayed and when I came, they had slept, while my wife and children were crying with hunger. I used not to let them (i.e. my family) drink unless my parents had drunk first. So I disliked to wake them up and also disliked that they should sleep without drinking it, I kept on waiting (for them to wake) till it dawned. O Allah! If You consider that I did that for fear of you, then please remove the rock.’ So the rock shifted and they could see the sky through it. The (third) one said, ‘O Allah! You know that I had a cousin (i.e. my paternal uncle’s daughter) who was most beloved to me and I sought to seduce her, but she refused, unless I paid her one-hundred Dinars (i.e. gold pieces). So I collected the amount and brought it to her, and she allowed me to sleep with her. But when I sat between her legs, she said, ‘Be afraid of Allah, and do not deflower me but legally. ‘I got up and left the hundred Dinars (for her). O Allah! If You consider that I did that for fear of you than please remove the rock. So Allah saved them and they came out (of the cave).”
This Hadith indicates that one can only ask Allah for help directly or through his performed good deeds. But to ask dead or absent prophets, saints, spirits, holy men, angels etc. is absolutely forbidden in Islam and it is a kind of disbelief and asking through them leads to Shrik so is again forbidden.
The Prohibited Types of Tawassul
The prohibited Tawassul includes all the forms and types of Tawassul other than the allowed types that we have explained above. The scholars of Islam have firmly rejected the prohibited types of Tawassul throughout the centuries. We should note here that some scholars had allowed Tawassul by the Jah (the grade and the high status) of the Prophet ﷺ. However, there are no proofs in the Quran or the Sunnah that allow this type of Tawassul.
There are basically three types of the innovated Tawassul.
1. Invoking other than Allah, such as a dead righteous person, for various needs and wants. This is clear Shirk.
2. Asking a dead prophet or righteous person to invoke Allah on one’s behalf. This type is also disallowed, as it is innovated and thus an evil act that the Sahaba never practiced or allowed.
3. Invoking Allah by the Jah, that is, the grade and status the prophets and the righteous ones have with Allah. None among the companions or the Tabi’een —the second generation of Islam— ever practiced this type.
We should note here that in order for our acts of worship to be accepted by Allah, we are obliged to perform them for the sake of Allah alone and in accordance with the Sunnah of His Messenger ﷺ. We are thus required to refer to the Sunnah of our Messenger regarding every matter of the religion. This is also the command that the Messenger of Allah has issued to us, “I have left with you two matters with which you will never be misled as long you hold fast unto them: the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger.” [Malik & Ibn Majah].