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Who is permitted? What will be said? – Join islam

Intercession (shafa’a / شفاعة ) refers to the act of pleading or intervening on someone’s behalf. In the context of the Hereafter, it specifically denotes the idea of one entity interceding to God on the Day of Judgement to change the outcome of another, thus forever altering their destiny in the Hereafter. Check out the following article for some of the Hadith and understandings traditionalists have regarding intercession.

The root for the word intercession ( shafa’a / شفاعة ) is “shin-fa-ayn” ( ش ف ع ) and has the following derivative meanings.

intercede; intercessor; to make even that which was odd; make double; pair; make a thing to be on of the pair; adjoin a thing to its like; protect; mediate

The root occurs 31 times in the Quran. Five of these occurrences are outside of the context of intercession, four in 4:85 in the context of mediating a good or bad deed, and one in 89:3 in reference to the meaning of “even,” like even and odd. This leaves 26 occurrences where the word is used in the context of the Day of Judgment.

The 26 verses in the Quran that discuss intercession can typically be divided into two categories. 18 of these 26 occurrences concern verses that discredit the possibility of any entity interceding on behalf of another on the Day of Judgment. The other 8 occurrences occur in verses that appear to present a caveat to this rule.

These can be further subdivided among the 8 occurrences that present a caveat. Three verses state that there is no intercession except in accordance with God’s will. Three other occurrences add a caveat of who God has approved. One verse states, except who took from the Most Gracious a covenant. And the last verse states, except who bore witness to the truth.

No Intercession 2:48, 2:123, 2:254, 6:51, 6:70, 6:94, 7:53(x2), 10:18, 26:100, 30:13, 32:4, 36:23, 39:43, 39:44, 40:19, 74:48(x2)
Except in accordance with God’s will 2:255,10:3, 34:23
Except He approved 20:109, 21:28, 53:26
Except who took a covenant from the Most Gracious 19:87
Except who bear witness to the truth 43:86

Let’s start by looking at the first batch of verses.

NO INTERCESSION VERSES

Below is the full list of all the verses that clearly state that there are no other intercessors on the Day of Judgment.

[2:48] Beware of the day when no soul can avail another soul, no intercession will be accepted, no ransom can be paid, nor can anyone be helped.

 وَٱتَّقُوا۟ يَوْمًا لَّا تَجْزِى نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْـًٔا وَلَا يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا شَفَـٰعَةٌ وَلَا يُؤْخَذُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ

[2:123] Beware of the day when no soul will help another soul, no ransom will be accepted, no intercession will be useful, and no one will be helped.

 وَٱتَّقُوا۟ يَوْمًا لَّا تَجْزِى نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْـًٔا وَلَا يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلَا تَنفَعُهَا شَفَـٰعَةٌ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ

[2:254] O you who believe, you shall give to charity from the provisions we have given to you, before a day comes where there is no trade, no nepotism, and no intercession. The disbelievers are the unjust.

 يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَنفِقُوا۟ مِمَّا رَزَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِىَ يَوْمٌ لَّا بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلَا خُلَّةٌ وَلَا شَفَـٰعَةٌ وَٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَ هُمُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ

[6:51] And preach with this (Quran) to those who reverence the summoning before their Lord—they have none beside Him as a Lord and Master, nor an intercessor—that they may attain salvation.

 وَأَنذِرْ بِهِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ أَن يُحْشَرُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ لَيْسَ لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِۦ وَلِىٌّ وَلَا شَفِيعٌ لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

[6:70] You shall disregard those who take their religion in vain, as if it is a social function, and are totally absorbed in this worldly life. Remind with this (Quran), lest a soul may suffer the consequences of its evil earnings. It has none beside GOD as a Lord and Master, nor an intercessor. If it could offer any kind of ransom, it would not be accepted. They suffer the consequences of the evil works they earn; they have incurred hellish drinks, and a painful retribution because of their disbelief.

 وَذَرِ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّخَذُوا۟ دِينَهُمْ لَعِبًا وَلَهْوًا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ ٱلْحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَذَكِّرْ بِهِۦٓ أَن تُبْسَلَ نَفْسٌۢ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ لَيْسَ لَهَا مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَلِىٌّ وَلَا شَفِيعٌ وَإِن تَعْدِلْ كُلَّ عَدْلٍ لَّا يُؤْخَذْ مِنْهَآ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُبْسِلُوا۟ بِمَا كَسَبُوا۟ لَهُمْ شَرَابٌ مِّنْ حَمِيمٍ وَعَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌۢ بِمَا كَانُوا۟ يَكْفُرُونَ

[6:94] “You have come back to us as individuals, just as we created you the first time, and you have left behind what we provided for you. We do not see with you the intercessors that you idolized and claimed that they will help you. All ties among you have been severed; the idols you set up have abandoned you.”

 وَلَقَدْ جِئْتُمُونَا فُرَٰدَىٰ كَمَا خَلَقْنَـٰكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَتَرَكْتُم مَّا خَوَّلْنَـٰكُمْ وَرَآءَ ظُهُورِكُمْ وَمَا نَرَىٰ مَعَكُمْ شُفَعَآءَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّهُمْ فِيكُمْ شُرَكَـٰٓؤُا۟ لَقَد تَّقَطَّعَ بَيْنَكُمْ وَضَلَّ عَنكُم مَّا كُنتُمْ تَزْعُمُونَ

[7:53] Are they waiting until all (prophecies) are fulfilled? The day such fulfillment comes to pass, those who disregarded it in the past will say, “The messengers of our Lord have brought the truth. Are there any intercessors to intercede on our behalf? Would you send us back, so that we change our behavior, and do better works than what we did?” They have lost their souls, and their own innovations have caused their doom.

 هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا تَأْوِيلَهُۥ يَوْمَ يَأْتِى تَأْوِيلُهُۥ يَقُولُ ٱلَّذِينَ نَسُوهُ مِن قَبْلُ قَدْ جَآءَتْ رُسُلُ رَبِّنَا بِٱلْحَقِّ فَهَل لَّنَا مِن شُفَعَآءَ فَيَشْفَعُوا۟ لَنَآ أَوْ نُرَدُّ فَنَعْمَلَ غَيْرَ ٱلَّذِى كُنَّا نَعْمَلُ قَدْ خَسِرُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا۟ يَفْتَرُونَ

[10:18] They worship beside GOD idols that possess no power to harm them or benefit them, and they say, “These are our intercessors at GOD!” Say, “Are you informing GOD of something He does not know in the heavens or the earth?” Be He glorified. He is the Most High; far above needing partners.

 وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ شُفَعَـٰٓؤُنَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ قُلْ أَتُنَبِّـُٔونَ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَلَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ سُبْحَـٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَـٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

[26:92] They will be asked, “Where are the idols you had worshiped
[26:93] “beside GOD? Can they help you now? Can they help themselves?”
[26:94] They will be thrown therein, together with the strayers.
[26:95] And all of Satan’s soldiers.
[26:96] They will say as they feud therein,
[26:97] “By GOD, we were far astray.
[26:98] “How could we set you up to rank with the Lord of the universe?
[26:99] “Those who misled us were wicked.
[26:100] “Now we have no intercessors.

(١٠٠) فَمَا لَنَا مِن شَـٰفِعِينَ

[30:13] Their idols will have no power to intercede on their behalf; on the contrary, they will disown their idols.

 وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُم مِّن شُرَكَآئِهِمْ شُفَعَـٰٓؤُا۟ وَكَانُوا۟ بِشُرَكَآئِهِمْ كَـٰفِرِينَ

[32:4] GOD is the One who created the heavens and the earth, and everything between them in six days, then assumed all authority. You have none beside Him as Lord, nor do you have an intercessor. Would you not take heed?

 ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِى سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى ٱلْعَرْشِ مَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِهِۦ مِن وَلِىٍّ وَلَا شَفِيعٍ أَفَلَا تَتَذَكَّرُونَ

[36:23] “Shall I set up beside Him gods? If the Most Gracious willed any harm for me, their intercession cannot help me one bit, nor can they rescue me.

ءَأَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِهِۦٓ ءَالِهَةً إِن يُرِدْنِ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنُ بِضُرٍّ لَّا تُغْنِ عَنِّى شَفَـٰعَتُهُمْ شَيْـًٔا وَلَا يُنقِذُونِ

[39:43] Have they invented intercessors to mediate between them and GOD? Say, “What if they do not possess any power, nor understanding?”
[39:44] Say, “All intercession belongs to GOD.” To Him belongs all sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, then to Him you will be returned.

 أَمِ ٱتَّخَذُوا۟ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ شُفَعَآءَ قُلْ أَوَلَوْ كَانُوا۟ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ شَيْـًٔا وَلَا يَعْقِلُونَ

 قُل لِّلَّهِ ٱلشَّفَـٰعَةُ جَمِيعًا لَّهُۥ مُلْكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

[40:18] Warn them about the imminent day, when the hearts will be terrified, and many will be remorseful. The transgressors will have no friend nor an intercessor to be obeyed.

 وَأَنذِرْهُمْ يَوْمَ ٱلْـَٔازِفَةِ إِذِ ٱلْقُلُوبُ لَدَى ٱلْحَنَاجِرِ كَـٰظِمِينَ مَا لِلظَّـٰلِمِينَ مِنْ حَمِيمٍ وَلَا شَفِيعٍ يُطَاعُ

[74:48] The intercession of the intercessors will never help them.

 فَمَا تَنفَعُهُمْ شَفَـٰعَةُ ٱلشَّـٰفِعِينَ

Analysis of “No Intercessors” Verses

It’s worth noting that in verses where it states that there is intercession without any caveats, it consistently pertains to a third party interceding on behalf of another on the Day of Judgment to change the outcome determined by God.

INTERCESSION WITH A CAVEAT DISCUSSION

The second set of verses regarding intercession includes a slight caveat to this statement and typically includes the statement, “bi-idh’ni l-lahi” ( بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ ), or some derivate of this statement. This statement would literally translate to “except by God’s permission.”

Dr. Rashad Khalifa often translates this expression as “in accordance with God’s will.” I believe this is because God already knows everything and has planned accordingly; therefore, whatever He permits will always be in accordance with His will.

To better understand what it means when it states “except by God’s permission” or “in accordance with God’s will,” it helps to look at the following verse that also uses this expression.

[59:5] Whether you chop a tree, or leave it standing on its trunk, is in accordance with GOD’s will. He will surely humiliate the wicked.

 مَا قَطَعْتُم مِّن لِّينَةٍ أَوْ تَرَكْتُمُوهَا قَآئِمَةً عَلَىٰٓ أُصُولِهَا فَبِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ وَلِيُخْزِىَ ٱلْفَـٰسِقِينَ

The above example of this expression informs us that any decision someone makes is always in accordance with God’s will. Therefore, whether someone is able to do something or not, it is always with God’s permission; otherwise, it would not happen. This is also why God commands believers to say “if God willed” when they say they will do anything in the future. Because unless God wills it, then it will not happen.

[18:23] You shall not say that you will do anything in the future,
[18:24] without saying, “GOD willing.” If you forget to do this, you must immediately remember your Lord and say, “May my Lord guide me to do better next time.”

 وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَا۟ىْءٍ إِنِّى فَاعِلٌ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا
إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ وَٱذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّى لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَـٰذَا رَشَدًا

So, if God permitted something to happen, it is in accordance with God’s will.

Now, God willing, let’s review the verses that use this conditional statement in the context of intercession.

EXCEPT BY GOD’S PERMISSION

The first batch of verses only includes the caveat of God’s permission.

[2:255] GOD: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.

 ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْحَىُّ ٱلْقَيُّومُ لَا تَأْخُذُهُۥ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ لَّهُۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُۥٓ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِۦ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَىْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِۦٓ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ وَلَا يَـُٔودُهُۥ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْعَظِيمُ

[10:3] Your only Lord is GOD; the One who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then assumed all authority. He controls all matters. There is no intercessor, except in accordance with His will. Such is GOD your Lord. You shall worship Him. Would you not take heed?

 إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ فِى سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى ٱلْعَرْشِ يُدَبِّرُ ٱلْأَمْرَ مَا مِن شَفِيعٍ إِلَّا مِنۢ بَعْدِ إِذْنِهِۦ ذَٰلِكُمُ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ فَٱعْبُدُوهُ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

[34:23] Intercession with Him will be in vain, unless it coincides with His will. When their minds are finally settled down, and they ask, “What did your Lord say,” they will say, “The truth.” He is the Most High, the Most Great.

 وَلَا تَنفَعُ ٱلشَّفَـٰعَةُ عِندَهُۥٓ إِلَّا لِمَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُۥ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا فُزِّعَ عَن قُلُوبِهِمْ قَالُوا۟ مَاذَا قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ قَالُوا۟ ٱلْحَقَّ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْكَبِيرُ

EXCEPT WHOM HE TOOK A COVENANT

The next example is the only verse that uses this caveat.

[19:87] No one will possess the power to intercede, except those who conform to the laws of the Most Gracious.

 لَّا يَمْلِكُونَ ٱلشَّفَـٰعَةَ إِلَّا مَنِ ٱتَّخَذَ عِندَ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ عَهْدًا

The literal Arabic of this verse is “except whom took from the Most Gracious a covenant.

1 لَّا Not
2 yamlikūna يَمْلِكُونَ they possess power (of)
3 l-shafāʿata ٱلشَّفَـٰعَةَ the intercession
4 illā إِلَّا except
5 mani مَنِ (he) who
6 ittakhadha ٱتَّخَذَ he took
7 ʿinda عِندَ from
8 l-raḥmāni ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ (the) Most Gracious
9 ʿahdan عَهْدًا a covenant.

Elsewhere in the Quran, we see that this covenant (ʿahdan / عَهْدًا ) corresponds with those who upheld God’s covenant by not following Satan and maintaining righteousness.

[3:76] Indeed, those who fulfill their covenant and lead a righteous life, GOD loves the righteous.
[3:77] As for those who trade away GOD’s covenant, and their obligations, for a cheap price, they receive no share in the Hereafter. GOD will not speak to them, nor look at them, on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them. They have incurred a painful retribution.

 بَلَىٰ مَنْ أَوْفَىٰ بِعَهْدِهِۦ وَٱتَّقَىٰ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ

 إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَشْتَرُونَ بِعَهْدِ ٱللَّهِ وَأَيْمَـٰنِهِمْ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ لَا خَلَـٰقَ لَهُمْ فِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ وَلَا يُكَلِّمُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَلَا يَنظُرُ إِلَيْهِمْ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ وَلَا يُزَكِّيهِمْ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

[36:60] Did I not covenant with you, O Children of Adam, that you shall not worship the devil? That he is your most ardent enemy?

 أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَـٰبَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ أَن لَّا تَعْبُدُوا۟ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنَ إِنَّهُۥ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ

EXCEPT WHO HE APPROVED

The next three verses present the caveat of being approved in conjunction with intercession.

[21:25] We did not send any messenger before you except with the inspiration: “There is no god except Me; you shall worship Me alone.”
[21:26] Yet, they said, “The Most Gracious has begotten a son!” Glory be to Him. All (messengers) are (His) honored servants.
[21:27] They never speak on their own, and they strictly follow His commands.
[21:28] He knows their future and their past. They do not intercede, except whom He approved
, and they are anxious from fear of it.

(٢٥) وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِىٓ إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۠ فَٱعْبُدُونِ
(٢٦) وَقَالُوا۟ ٱتَّخَذَ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنُ وَلَدًا سُبْحَـٰنَهُۥ بَلْ عِبَادٌ مُّكْرَمُونَ
(٢٧) لَا يَسْبِقُونَهُۥ بِٱلْقَوْلِ وَهُم بِأَمْرِهِۦ يَعْمَلُونَ
(٢٨) يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يَشْفَعُونَ إِلَّا لِمَنِ ٱرْتَضَىٰ وَهُم مِّنْ خَشْيَتِهِۦ مُشْفِقُونَ

[53:26] Not even the angels in heaven possess authority to intercede. The only ones permitted by GOD are those whom He wills and He approves.

 وَكَم مِّن مَّلَكٍ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ لَا تُغْنِى شَفَـٰعَتُهُمْ شَيْـًٔا إِلَّا مِنۢ بَعْدِ أَن يَأْذَنَ ٱللَّهُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَرْضَىٰٓ

Additionally, the last example of this caveat gives us a clue that what is being approved is their utterance.

[20:109] On that day, intercession will be useless, except for those permitted by the Most Gracious, and whose utterances He approves.

 يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا تَنفَعُ ٱلشَّفَـٰعَةُ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنُ وَرَضِىَ لَهُۥ قَوْلًا

WHAT IS PERMITTED OR APPROVED ON JUDGMENT DAY?

On the Day of Judgment, the only ones permitted or approved are those God allows to speak, and they will only be able to utter what is right.

[78:38] The day will come when the Spirit and the angels will stand in a row. None will speak except those permitted by the Most Gracious, and they will utter only what is right.

 يَوْمَ يَقُومُ ٱلرُّوحُ وَٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ صَفًّا لَّا يَتَكَلَّمُونَ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنُ وَقَالَ صَوَابًا

This is very telling because one needs to be able to speak to intercede. Secondly, the verse also gives us a clue that anyone permitted to speak will only be able to utter what is right. This is further confirmed in the next verse to be “those who bear witness to the truth.”

[43:86] None of those whom they idolize beside Him possess any power to intercede, except who bear witness to the truth, and they fully know.

 وَلَا يَمْلِكُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ ٱلشَّفَـٰعَةَ إِلَّا مَن شَهِدَ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

Therefore, “uttering what is right” and “bearing witness to the truth” are the only kinds of speech that will be permissible on the Day of Judgment and not the ability to plead for anyone. This is the only kind of “intercession” that will be permissible, and it also aligns with verse 75:15, which states that “no excuses will be accepted” in reference to that day.

[75:15] No excuses will be accepted.

 وَلَوْ أَلْقَىٰ مَعَاذِيرَهُۥ

This is because God is the only One who makes all decisions on that day, and His decisions are irrevocable.

[82:19] That is the day when no soul can help another soul, and all decisions, on that day, will belong to GOD.

 يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْـًٔا وَٱلْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلَّهِ

Additionally, The Quran informs us that no one possesses the power to argue with God. So, to think that someone can intercede on behalf of someone else would imply that they will be permitted to make a case, which God says is not going to happen.

[78:37] Lord of the heavens and the earth, and everything between them. The Most Gracious. No one has power to argue with Him.

 رَّبِّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِنْهُ خِطَابًا

NEGATIVE INTERCESSION

Many people make the following mistake concerning intercession: They only think of the scenario where intercession works out favorably for a person. Yet, the Quran says that one’s testimony hurts themselves more often than not.

[6:130] O you jinns and humans, did you not receive messengers from among you, who narrated to you My revelations, and warned you about the meeting of this day? They will say, “We bear witness against ourselves.” They were totally preoccupied with the worldly life, and they will bear witness against themselves that they were disbelievers.

 يَـٰمَعْشَرَ ٱلْجِنِّ وَٱلْإِنسِ أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِّنكُمْ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ ءَايَـٰتِى وَيُنذِرُونَكُمْ لِقَآءَ يَوْمِكُمْ هَـٰذَا قَالُوا۟ شَهِدْنَا عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِنَا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ ٱلْحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَشَهِدُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا۟ كَـٰفِرِينَ

[7:37] Who is more evil than those who invent lies about GOD, or reject His revelations? These will get their share, in accordance with the scripture, then, when our messengers come to terminate their lives, they will say, “Where are the idols you used to implore beside GOD?” They will say, “They have abandoned us.” They will bear witness against themselves that they were disbelievers.

فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ ٱفْتَرَىٰ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ كَذِبًا أَوْ كَذَّبَ بِـَٔايَـٰتِهِۦٓ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ يَنَالُهُمْ نَصِيبُهُم مِّنَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا جَآءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا يَتَوَفَّوْنَهُمْ قَالُوٓا۟ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ قَالُوا۟ ضَلُّوا۟ عَنَّا وَشَهِدُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا۟ كَـٰفِرِينَ

[41:21] They will say to their skins, “Why did you bear witness against us?” They will reply, “GOD made us speak up; He is the One who causes everything to speak. He is the One who created you the first time, and now you have been returned to Him.”

وَقَالُوا۟ لِجُلُودِهِمْ لِمَ شَهِدتُّمْ عَلَيْنَا قَالُوٓا۟ أَنطَقَنَا ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنطَقَ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ وَهُوَ خَلَقَكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

[17:13] We have recorded the fate of every human being; it is tied to his neck. On the Day of Resurrection we will hand him a record that is accessible.
[17:14] Read your own record. Today, you suffice as your own reckoner.

 وَكُلَّ إِنسَـٰنٍ أَلْزَمْنَـٰهُ طَـٰٓئِرَهُۥ فِى عُنُقِهِۦ وَنُخْرِجُ لَهُۥ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ كِتَـٰبًا يَلْقَىٰهُ مَنشُورًا
 ٱقْرَأْ كِتَـٰبَكَ كَفَىٰ بِنَفْسِكَ ٱلْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكَ حَسِيبًا

WHAT ABOUT THE WITNESSES ON DAY OF JUDGMENT?

Several verses in the Quran also state that God will call upon a witness from each community to serve as witnesses on that day. Two of these verses specifically rerfernce Muhammad and one specifically references Jesus.

[4:41] Thus, when the day (of judgment) comes, we will call upon a witness from each community, and you (the messenger) will serve as a witness among these people.

 فَكَيْفَ إِذَا جِئْنَا مِن كُلِّ أُمَّةٍۭ بِشَهِيدٍ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ عَلَىٰ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ شَهِيدًا

[4:159] Everyone among the people of the scripture was required to believe in him (Jesus) before his death. On the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them.

 وَإِن مِّنْ أَهْلِ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ إِلَّا لَيُؤْمِنَنَّ بِهِۦ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِۦ وَيَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا

[16:89] The day will come when we will raise from every community a witness from among them, and bring you as the witness of these people. We have revealed to you this book to provide explanations for everything, and guidance, and mercy, and good news for the submitters.

 وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ فِى كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْهِم مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ شَهِيدًا عَلَىٰ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ تِبْيَـٰنًا لِّكُلِّ شَىْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ

Interestingly, we have the testimony of both Jesus and Muhammad in the Quran, and as we will see that their testimony is not to plead on behalf of anyone, but only to utter the truth.

[5:116] GOD will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Make me and my mother idols beside GOD’?” He will say, “Be You glorified. I could not utter what was not right. Had I said it, You already would have known it. You know my thoughts, and I do not know Your thoughts. You know all the secrets.
[5:117] “I told them only what You commanded me to say, that: ‘You shall worship GOD, my Lord and your Lord.’ I was a witness among them for as long as I lived with them. When You terminated my life on earth, You became the Watcher over them. You witness all things.
[5:118] “If You punish them, they are Your constituents. If You forgive them, You are the Almighty, Most Wise.”
[5:119] GOD will proclaim, “This is a day when the truthful will be saved by their truthfulness.” They have deserved gardens with flowing streams. They abide therein forever. GOD is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. This is the greatest triumph.

We even have Muhammad’s testimony against his people on the Day of Resurrection.

[25:27] The day will come when the transgressor will bite his hands (in anguish) and say, “Alas, I wish I had followed the path with the messenger.
[25:28] “Alas, woe to me, I wish I did not take that person as a friend.
[25:29] “He has led me away from the message after it came to me. Indeed, the devil lets down his human victims.”
[25:30] The messenger said, “My Lord, my people have deserted this Quran.”

 وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَالَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا
 يَاوَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا
 لَقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنْسَانِ خَذُولًا
 وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَارَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا

ON JUDGMENT DAY, EVERYONE WORRIED ABOUT THEMSELVES

Before we get to the final set of verses regarding the caveats to intercession on the Day of Judgment, it is worth highlighting that the Quran informs us that every person will only be concerned about their own neck on that day.

[70:8] The day will come when the sky will be like molten rocks.
[70:9] The mountains will be like fluffy wool.
[70:10] No friend will care about his close friend.
[70:11] When they see them, the guilty will wish he could give his own children as ransom, to spare him the retribution of that day.
[70:12] Also his spouse, and his brother.
[70:13] Even his whole tribe that raised him.
[70:14] Even all the people on earth, if it would save him.

[75:15] No excuses will be accepted.

(٨) يَوْمَ تَكُونُ ٱلسَّمَآءُ كَٱلْمُهْلِ
(٩) وَتَكُونُ ٱلْجِبَالُ كَٱلْعِهْنِ
(١٠) وَلَا يَسْـَٔلُ حَمِيمٌ حَمِيمًا
(١٢) وَصَـٰحِبَتِهِۦ وَأَخِيهِ
(١٣) وَفَصِيلَتِهِ ٱلَّتِى تُـْٔوِيهِ
(١٤) وَمَن فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ يُنجِيهِ
(١٥) وَلَوْ أَلْقَىٰ مَعَاذِيرَهُۥ

[80:33] Then, when the blow comes to pass.
[80:34] That is the day when one flees from his brother.
[80:35] From his mother and father.
[80:36] From his spouse and children.
[80:37] Each one of them, on that day, worries about his own destiny.

(٣٣) فَإِذَا جَآءَتِ ٱلصَّآخَّةُ
(٣٤) يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ ٱلْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ
(٣٥) وَأُمِّهِۦ وَأَبِيهِ
(٣٦) وَصَـٰحِبَتِهِۦ وَبَنِيهِ
(٣٧) لِكُلِّ ٱمْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ

The messengers are not exempt from the above passages. Like every other human, they will be concerned about their own neck.

[17:57] Even the idols that they implore are seeking the ways and means towards their Lord. They pray for His mercy, and fear His retribution. Surely, the retribution of your Lord is dreadful.

 أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ يَبْتَغُونَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمُ ٱلْوَسِيلَةَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ وَيَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَهُۥ وَيَخَافُونَ عَذَابَهُۥٓ إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ كَانَ مَحْذُورًا

CONCLUSION

Based on this information, the Quran, in no uncertain terms, eliminates the possibility of any kind of third-party intercession. The only people who will be able to intercede will be those who are permitted to speak, whom God has already approved, and who bear witness to the truth. This will not change the outcome for anyone but only confirm God’s predetermined decision.

[69:18] On that day, you will be exposed, nothing of you can be hidden.
[69:19] As for the one who receives his record with his right hand, he will say, “Come read my record.
[69:20] “I did believe that I was going to be held accountable.”
[69:21] He has deserved a happy life.
[69:22] In an exalted Paradise.
[69:23] Its fruits are within reach.
[69:24] Eat and drink happily in return for your works in days past.

[69:25] As for him who is given his record in his left hand, he will say, “Oh, I wish I never received my record.
[69:26] “I wish I never knew my account.
[69:27] “I wish my death was eternal.
[69:28] “My money cannot help me.
[69:29] “All my power is gone.”
[69:30] Take him and shackle him.
[69:31] Burn him in Hell.
[69:32] In a chain that is seventy arms long, tie him up.
[69:33] For he did not believe in GOD, Most Great.
[69:34] Nor did he advocate the feeding of the poor.
[69:35] Consequently, he has no friend here.

So, to summarize,

  • The Quran informs us that on the Day of Judgment, no one will be able to intercede on behalf of anyone else
  • The Quran informs us that God will permit certain people on the Day of Judgment to speak
  • Anyone who speaks will only worry about their own neck and not the outcome of anyone else
  • These individuals will only speak the truth about what they bore witness to
  • They will not be able to make excuses or argue on behalf of themselves or others
  • Their intercession will not change God’s decreed outcome but will only confirm God’s preexisting decision

FINAL THOUGHTS

Reform Must Happen in This Life, Not in the Hereafter

While someone is living, one’s destiny cannot be changed except in accordance with God’s will. However, individuals have the agency to decide to believe or disbelieve, which will impact their condition in the Hereafter. This can only be achieved during the person’s life while they are still living.

[13:11] Shifts (of angels) take turns, staying with each one of you—they are in front of you and behind you. They stay with you, and guard you in accordance with GOD’s commands. Thus, GOD does not change the condition of any people unless they themselves make the decision to change. If GOD wills any hardship for any people, no force can stop it. For they have none beside Him as Lord and Master.

 لَهُۥ مُعَقِّبَـٰتٌ مِّنۢ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِۦ يَحْفَظُونَهُۥ مِنْ أَمْرِ ٱللَّهِ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا۟ مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ وَإِذَآ أَرَادَ ٱللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوٓءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُۥ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِۦ مِن وَالٍ

The Quran informs us that while the messenger was alive, the people who wronged their souls were commissioned to go to him, and both of them were required to pray to God for forgiveness. But this would not have been possible if the person had died, and it is no longer feasible now that the messenger is no longer living amongst us.

[4:64] We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed in accordance with GOD’s will. Had they, when they wronged their souls, come to you and prayed to GOD for forgiveness, and the messenger prayed for their forgiveness, they would have found GOD Redeemer, Most Merciful.

 وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا لِيُطَاعَ بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآءُوكَ فَٱسْتَغْفَرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا

Once the person dies, their fate is sealed, and the outcome can not be altered. However, as long as someone is alive, they can choose to change their ways.

[2:160] As for those who repent, reform, and proclaim, I redeem them. I am the Redeemer, Most Merciful.

 إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ تَابُوا۟ وَأَصْلَحُوا۟ وَبَيَّنُوا۟ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنَا ٱلتَّوَّابُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

[3:86] Why should GOD guide people who disbelieved after believing, and after witnessing that the messenger is truth, and after solid proofs* have been given to them? GOD does not guide the wicked.
[3:87] These have incurred condemnation by GOD, and the angels, and all the people.
[3:88] Eternally they abide therein; the retribution is never commuted for them, nor will they be reprieved.
[3:89] Exempted are those who repent thereafter, and reform. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

 كَيْفَ يَهْدِى ٱللَّهُ قَوْمًا كَفَرُوا۟ بَعْدَ إِيمَـٰنِهِمْ وَشَهِدُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱلرَّسُولَ حَقٌّ وَجَآءَهُمُ ٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتُ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
 أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ جَزَآؤُهُمْ أَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ لَعْنَةَ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ وَٱلنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ
 خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا لَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ ٱلْعَذَابُ وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ تَابُوا۟ مِنۢ بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ وَأَصْلَحُوا۟ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

[4:18] Not acceptable is the repentance of those who commit sins until death comes to them, then say, “Now I repent.” Nor is it acceptable from those who die as disbelievers. For these, we have prepared a painful retribution.

 وَلَيْسَتِ ٱلتَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّى تُبْتُ ٱلْـَٔـٰنَ وَلَا ٱلَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

We see that even someone as wicked as Pharoah had the possibility of changing his path if he so chose when Moses first delivered God’s revelations to him.

[20:44] “Speak to him nicely; he may take heed, or become reverent.”

 فَقُولَا لَهُۥ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُۥ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ

Yet, after Pharoah consistently rejected each of the miracles, the possiblity of redemption collapsed to zero.

[10:88] Moses said, “Our Lord, You have given Pharaoh and his elders luxuries and wealth in this world. Our Lord, they only use them to repulse others from Your path. Our Lord, wipe out their wealth, and harden their hearts to prevent them from believing, until they see the painful retribution.”
[10:89] He said, “Your prayer has been answered (O Moses and Aaron), so be steadfast, and do not follow the ways of those who do not know.”
[10:90] We delivered the Children of Israel across the sea. Pharaoh and his troops pursued them, aggressively and sinfully. When drowning became a reality for him, he said, “I believe that there is no god except the One in whom the Children of Israel have believed; I am a submitter.”
[10:91] “Too late! For you have rebelled already, and chose to be a transgressor.

 وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ ءَاتَيْتَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَأَهُۥ زِينَةً وَأَمْوَٰلًا فِى ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا رَبَّنَا لِيُضِلُّوا۟ عَن سَبِيلِكَ رَبَّنَا ٱطْمِسْ عَلَىٰٓ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ وَٱشْدُدْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُوا۟ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُا۟ ٱلْعَذَابَ ٱلْأَلِيمَ
 قَالَ قَدْ أُجِيبَت دَّعْوَتُكُمَا فَٱسْتَقِيمَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعَآنِّ سَبِيلَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
 وَجَـٰوَزْنَا بِبَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ ٱلْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُۥ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَآ أَدْرَكَهُ ٱلْغَرَقُ قَالَ ءَامَنتُ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَامَنَتْ بِهِۦ بَنُوٓا۟ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ وَأَنَا۠ مِنَ ٱلْمُسْلِمِينَ
 ءَآلْـَٔـٰنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ ٱلْمُفْسِدِينَ

We learn from the Quran that Abraham, God’s beloved servant, could not intercede on behalf of his father (9:114). Noah could not intercede on behalf of his son (11:46). Muhammad could not intercede on behalf of his uncle (111:1-3) or relatives. What makes anyone think that a prophet or a saint will intercede on behalf of a perfect stranger?!

[9:80] Whether you ask forgiveness for them, or do not ask forgiveness for them—even if you ask forgiveness for them seventy times—GOD will not forgive them. This is because they disbelieve in GOD and His messenger. GOD does not guide the wicked people.

 ٱسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ أَوْ لَا تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ إِن تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً فَلَن يَغْفِرَ ٱللَّهُ لَهُمْ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْفَـٰسِقِينَ

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