Who is it that can intercede with Allaah except with His Permission? – Shaykh Uthaymeen | Dr. Saleh as-Saleh


The following is excerpted from the Shaykh Uthaymeen’s explanation of Aayatul-Kursi, Translated by Dr. Saleh as-Saleh rahimahullaah

[FOURTH]: In the fourth statement, Allaah, the Most High, said:

مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ
Who is it that can intercede with Him except with His Permission?

[Qur’aan, Aayatul-Kursi , Surah Al-Baqarah 2:255]

The word { ْمَن } “Who” is an interrogative noun [46] and the intended use of the interrogation in the sentence is to assert the negation [that there is none who can intercede] as evident in the affirmation phrase which followed it: { ِ إإِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ  } “Except with His Permission.” Whenever a negation takes the form of an interrogative construct, then the statement is infused with the meaning of challenge.

The Intercession (Ash-Shafaa’ah):

Regarding the saying of Allaah, the Most High:

يَشْفَعُ  }

know that:

1 . Linguistically, the term “shafaa’ah” means to make an odd number an even one.[47]

2 . Traditionally, it refers to the laying of a petition (interceding, mediating) with someone in favor of another, in procuring a benefit or warding off harm. Thus the shafaa’ah of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) for ahlul-mawqif [48] after the worry and distress which befalls them and which they are unable to bear is an intercession to ward off a harm. On the other hand, the Prophet’s shafaa’ah for ahlul-Jannah [49] to enter al-Jannah is aimed at procuring a benefit.

3. None can intercede except by Allaah’s Permission: { إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ } His Leave is kawni. [50] Even Muhammad (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) who has the greatest rank with Allaah cannot intercede except with the prior leave from Allaah. He will be granted this permission after he (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) prostrates before Allaah and praises Him with the great praises and glorifications which Allaah guides him to it on that day. Then it will be said:

“ارفع رأسك وقل يُسمَع واشفَعْ تُشَف َّع.”
“Raise your head and speak; you will be listened to, intercede and your intercession will be accepted.” [51]

[It is known] that no one have a rank with Allaah greater than that of the Messenger [Muhammad صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم], nevertheless, he (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) cannot intercede except with the prior leave of Allaah. It is so because of Allaah, Most Majestic and Most High’s, perfection of Authority and hayybah.[52] The more a king’s authority becomes fully established, the more reverent and respected he becomes. People would not even speak in his court unless he speaks. Consider the Prophet’s (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) relation with his companions and which Quraysh’s [53] emissary [‘Urwah bin Mas’oud] described [after finalizing the treaty of AlHudaybiyah]: “And when they spoke to him they would lower their voices.” [54]

All of this is out of respect. You find that if a king is revered by his flock, then no one can speak in his court and in his presence because of the might of his authority. [55]

[The Conditions of Confirmed Intercession]: [56]

Allaah, (تعالى ), has made it clear that He does not permit intercession except for the one whom He approves of and whose word is acceptable to Him, and for the one He is pleased with and on whose behalf intercession shall be made. It is inevitable that Allaah is pleased with ash-shaafi’, the intercessor, and al-mashfoo’i lahu, the one on whose behalf intercession is sought.[57] Consequently, the idols of the polytheists could not intercede on their behalf with Allaah because Allaah does not approve of them. The Prophets and the righteous do not intercede on behalf of the polytheists because the latter are not approved with Allaah.

Accordingly, the conditions for the confirmed shafaa’ah are three:

1. Allaah’s permission of it.
2. Allaah being pleased with the shaafi’.
3. His approval of the one on whose behalf intercession is sought (al-mashfoo’i lahu).[58]


[46] In the grammatical sense, the noun { ْمَن ] is the subject, and the term { ذَا ] is omitted for being redundant. The term { الَّذِي } “he that” is a relative pronoun standing as the predicate of the subject {مَن } “Who.” [Author’s note].

[47] Allaah (تعالى) said: { وَالشَّفْعِ وَالْوَتْرِ  }, [which means], And by the shaf’a (even) and the witr (odd) [of all the creations of Allaah]. [Qur’aan Soorat Al-Fajr (89:3)].

[48] Ahlul-Mawqif: All human beings gathered on one plane on the Day of Resurrection awaiting their accounts to be taken by Allaah. The Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) said, “The sun will come so close to the people that they will suffer such distress and trouble as they will not be able to tolerate it or to bear it.” The Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) intercedes with Allaah to pronounce His Judgment among the people of al-Mawqif. They will be relieved from their long standing by virtue of his interceding with Allaah on their behalf. [See Saheeh alBukhaari (Arabic/English)], vol. 6, no. 236.

[49] Ahlul-Jannah: The believers who will be admitted to reside forever in al-Jannah.

[50] Kawni: Pertaining to the Universal Will of Allaah, the Most Majestic and Most Magnificent, and which is in accordance with His Foreknowledge and Wisdom. Creation, provisions, life, death, permission to intercede, and so forth exists by the Will of Allaah. Everything that Allaah Wills is certain to occur. He Willed that eemaan (belief in Allaah) and kufr (disbelief) occur, although He Loves eemaan and Hates kufr. On the other hand, the Legislative Decree (al-hukm ash-shar’i) comprises the Revealed Laws (sharee’ah) which the Messengers came with and what is stated in the Revealed Scriptures. Under this Decree, Allaah Loves that mankind believe in Him (eemaan) and does not Love for them to commit kufr. Mankind, however, may or may not believe in Allaah. In short, under His Universal Will, everything Allaah Wills is certain to pass while under the Legislative Will, what is beloved to Allaah may or may not take place.

[51] Part of a long and agreed upon hadeeth. [See Saheeh al-Bukhaari (Arabic/ English)], vol. 6, no. 3 and no. 236.

[52] Hayybah: An attribute inspiring reverence, or veneration.

[53] Quraysh is the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم).

[54]This is part of a long hadeeth detailing the story of the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah. [See Saheeh al-Bukhaari, vol. 3, hadeeth 891 (English/Arabic).

[55] Kings are in need of intercessors because of the imperfection of their knowledge, might and authority. Allaah, Most Perfect in His Might, Knowledge, and Authority, is in no need for intercessors. That is why intercession with Allaah takes place only if He permits it. With kings, however, intercession is permitted with or without a king’s permission. Those close to the king, for example, may intercede without permission. [See Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen’s Al-Qawlul Mufeed ‘Alaa Kitaabit-Tawheed (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Daarul ‘Aasimah, 1st ed. 1415/1994)], vol. 1, p. 330, 332.

[56]The intercessions permitted by Allaah تعالى are six. The Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) will have the privilege of making three of these intercessions. They are:

1. The Prophet’s intercession for ahlul-mawqif. This is known as the Prophet’s greatest shafaa’ah and it is part of the highest station of praise and honour (almaqaam al-mahmood) with which the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) is distinguished, and for which he will be praised by all creatures. It is mentioned in the Qur’aan [17:78].

2. The Prophet’s intercession for ahlul-Jannah to enter al-Jannah.

3. The Prophet’s (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) intercession with Allaah تعالى to reduce the punishment of his uncle, Abu Taalib because of his protection and support of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم). He will be placed in a shallow part of Hell-Fire.

The other intercessions are not restricted to the Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم). They include:

4. The Prophet’s intercession with Allaah تعالى that He does not cast into Hell the one who deserves it.

5. His intercession of taking out from Hell those admitted to it because of their sins.

6. The intercession to raise the ranks of the believers. This is the du’aa of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) to believers and by the believers for each other.

[See (1) Shaykh bin Baaz’s commentary on Ibn Taymeeyah’s Al-’Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyyah which Shaykh ‘Ali Hasan ‘Abdul Hameed compiled in his verification of Shaykh ‘AbdurRahmaan As-Sa’di’s book At-Tanbeehaat Al-lateefah ‘Ala Al-Waasitiyyah (Dammaam, Saudi Arabia: Daar Ibnul Qayyim, 1409/1989), p. 73, and (2) Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen’s Al-Qawlul-Mufeed, pp. 332-335].

The intercessions mentioned above are the ones approved by Allaah (تعالى). The annulled intercession is any intercession not approved by Allaah(تعالى ).

[57] The conditions are stated in the following aayaat:

1. Allaah (تعالى) says:

مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ
Who is he that will intercede with Him except by His permission.
[Qur’aan, Soorat Al-Baqarah (2:255)].

2. Allaah (تعالى) says:

يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا تَنفَعُ الشَّفَاعَةُ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وَرَضِيَ لَهُ قَوْلًا
On that day, no intercession shall avail, except the one for whom ar-Rahmaan has given permission and whose word is acceptable to Him. [Qur’aan, Soorat Taha (20:109)].

3. Allaah (تعالى) says:

 وَلَا يَشْفَعُونَ إِلَّا لِمَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ
And they cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased. [Qur’aan,Soorat Al-Anbiyaa’ (21:28)].

[58] The case of intercession on behalf of the Prophet’s uncle, Abu Taalib, is excluded and in a very limited sense from the ruling stated in Allaah’s saying:

فَمَا تَنفَعُهُمْ شَفَاعَةُ الشَّافِعِينَ
No intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them [unbelievers, polytheists].[Qur’aan, Soorat Al-Muddathir (74:48)].

Abu Taalib stood in support of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) and protected him from his enemies of Quraysh. The intercession on behalf of Abu Taalib is special for the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم). Other than this special intercession, none is allowed to intercede for a kaafir. Even Abu Taalib is not saved from the Fire of Hell. Had it not been for the intercession of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم), Abu Taalib “would have been in the bottom of the (Hell) Fire,” as the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) said. “Perhaps my intercession will be helpful to him on the Day of Resurrection so that he may be put in a shallow fire reaching only up to his ankles with which his brain will boil,” he (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) added. [See Saheeh al-Bukhaari, vol. 5, no. 222 and no. 224, and Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen’s Al-Qawlul Mufeed, vol. 1, p. 334].

Source : From the eBook: Tafseer Ayatul-Kursi – By Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen (rahimahullah). With Related Points of Benefit From the Shaykh’s Commentary on Imaam ibn Taymeeyah’s Sharhul ’Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah, Prepared by Dr. Saleh As-Saleh (rahimahullah)

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