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intercession.

 

1)                 INTERCESSION THROUGH PROPHET AND AULIAS

 

2)                 UMAR (rtu) ASKING FOR RAIN THROUGH IBN-E-ABBAS (rtu)

 

3)                 GRAVES PEOPLE INTERCESSION

 

4)                 TAWWASUL (INTERCESSION) THROUGH DEAD PEOPLE

 

5)                 Praying through prophet companions

 

6)                 INTERCESSION IN THE HEREAFTER

 

 

 

1. INTERCESSION THROUGH PROPHET AND AULIAS

Question:

I hear some people saying that intercession belongs only to Allah and can only be asked of Him, while others say that Allah has given the power of intercession to His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and to His righteous close friends (awliyaa’) so that we may ask them to intercede for us. What is the correct view?

Answer: Praise be to Allah.  

Intercession means mediating for someone else to gain some benefit or ward off some harm. It is of two types: 

The first type:

Intercession that will take place in the Hereafter, on the Day of Resurrection. 

The second type:

Intercession concerning matters of this world. 

With regard to the intercession that will take place in the Hereafter, it is of two types: 

THE FIRST TYPE: EXCLUSIVE INTERCESSION,

It will be granted only to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and no one else in creation will have a share in that with him. This is of various kinds: 

1 – The greater intercession. This is the station of praise and glory (al-maqaam al-mahmood) which Allah has promised to him, when He said :

“And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salaat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Qur’aan in the prayer) as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawaafil) for you (O Muhammad). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaam Mahmood (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection)” [Al-Isra’ 17:79] 

What this intercession means is that he will intercede for all of mankind when Allah delays the Reckoning and they have waited for so long in the place of gathering on the Day of Resurrection. Their distress and anxiety will reach a point where they can no longer bear it, and they will say, “Who will intercede for us with our Lord so that He will pass judgement amongst His slaves?” and they will wish to leave that place. So the people will come to the Prophets, each of whom will say, “I am not able for it,” until when they come to our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he will say, “I am able for it, I am able for it.” So he will intercede for them, that judgement may be passed. This is the greater intercession, and it is one of the things that belong exclusively to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). 

There are many ahaadeeth which speak of this intercession, a hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh (1748) from Ibn ‘Umar (RTU): “The people will fall on their knees on the Day of Resurrection, each nation following its Prophet, saying, ‘O So and so, intercede!’ until intercession is granted to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). On that Day Allah will resurrect him to a station of praise and glory.” 

2 – Intercession for the people of Paradise to enter Paradise. 

It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘I will come to the gate of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection and will ask for it to be opened. The gatekeeper will say, “Who are you?” I will say, “Muhammad.” He will say, “I was commanded not to open it for anyone before you.”’ (Narrated by Muslim, 333). 

According to another report narrated by Muslim (332), “I will be the first one to intercede concerning Paradise.” 

3 – The intercession of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for his uncle Abu Taalib: 

It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) that mention was made of his uncle Abu Taalib in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He said, “Perhaps my intercession will benefit him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will be placed in a shallow part of the Fire which will come up to his ankles and cause his brains to boil.” (Bukhaari, 1408; Muslim, 360). 

4 – His intercession so that some people of his ummah will enter Paradise without being brought to account. 

This kind of intercession was mentioned by some of the scholars, who quoted as evidence the lengthy hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah concerning intercession, in which it says: “Then it will be said, ‘O Muhammad, raise you head; ask, it will be given to you; intercede, 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, ‘Admit those among your ummah who are  not to be brought to account through the right-hand gate of Paradise. They will share the other gates with the people of other nations.’” (Bukhaari, 4343; Muslim, 287). 

THE SECOND TYPE: GENERAL INTERCESSION.

This will be granted to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and others – angels, Prophets and righteous people – will share in it as Allah wills. This is of various kinds: 

1 – Intercession for some people who have entered Hell, that they might be brought forth from it. There is a great deal of evidence for this, for example: 

The marfoo’ hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) in Saheeh Muslim (269): “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, none of you can be more insistent in asking Allah to restore his rights against his opponent than the believers who will ask Allah, on the Day of Resurrection, (to grant them the power of intercession) for their brothers who are in the Fire. They will say, ‘Our Lord, they used to fast with us and pray and perform Hajj.’ It will be said to them, ‘Bring out those whom you recognize, so the Fire will be forbidden to burn them.’ So they will bring out many people… And Allah will say: ‘The angels have interceded, and the Prophets have interceded, and the believers have interceded. There is none left but the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.’ Then He will seize a handful of the Fire and bring forth from it people who never did anything good.” 

2 –   Intercession for people who deserve Hell, that they may not enter it. This may be indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “There is no Muslim who dies and forty men who associate nothing with Allah pray the funeral prayer for him, but Allah will accept their intercession for him.” (Muslim, 1577). For this intercession happens before the deceased enters Hell, and Allah will accept their intercession concerning that. 

3 – Intercession for some of the believers who deserve Paradise, that they may be raised in status in Paradise. For example, Muslim (may Allah have mercy on him) narrated (1528) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed for Abu Salamah and said: “O Allah, forgive Abu Salamah and raise his status among those who are guided, and take good care of his family that he has left behind. Forgive us and him, O Lord of the Worlds, make his grave spacious for him and illuminate it for him.” 

Conditions of this intercession: 

The evidence indicates that intercession in the Hereafter will only happen if the following conditions are met: 

1)     Allah must approve of the one for whom intercession is made, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“...and they cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased...” [Al-Anbiya’ 21:28]

This implies that the one for whom intercession is made must be a believer in Tawheed, because Allah is not pleased with the mushrikeen. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari (97) it is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: “It was said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, who will be the most blessed of people by your intercession of the Day of Resurrection?’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I thought, O Abu Hurayrah, that no one would ask me about this hadeeth before you, because I have seen how keen you are to learn hadeeth. The people who will be most blessed by my intercession on the Day of Resurrection are those who say Laa ilaaha ill-Allah sincerely from the heart.’” 

2)   Allah must give permission to the intercessor to intercede, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“....Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? ....” [Al-Baqarah 2:255] 

3)    Allah must approve of the intercessor, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“…whose intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He wills and is pleased with” [An-Najm 53:26] 

And the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has stated that those who curse much will not be intercessors on the Day of Resurrection, as Muslim narrated in his Saheeh (4703) that Abu’l-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, ‘Those who curse much will not be witnesses or intercessors on the Day of Resurrection.’” 

The second type of intercession is that which has to do with matters of this world. This is of two types: 

1 – That which is within a person’s ability to do something. This is permissible, subject to two conditions: 

a)  That it should have to do with a permissible thing. It is not correct to intercede concerning something that will result in the loss of people’s rights or in wrong being done to them. It is also not correct to intercede concerning something that is haraam, such as those who intercede concerning those who deserve the hadd punishment, asking that it not be carried out on them. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“....Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression....” [Al-Maa’idah 5:2]

According to a hadeeth narrated by ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), Quraysh were concerned about a Makhzoomi woman who had stolen, and they said, “Who will speak to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) concerning her? Who better than Usaamah, the beloved of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)?” So Usaamah spoke to him, and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Are you interceding concerning one of the hadd punishments prescribed by Allah?”

Then he stood up and addressed the people, and said, “O people, those who came before you were only destroyed because if one of their nobles stole they would let him off but if one of the weak stole they would carry out the punishment on him. By Allah, if Faatimah the daughter of Muhammad were to steal, I would cut off her hand.” (Bukhaari, 3261; Muslim, 3196). 

In Saheeh al-Bukhaari (5568) and Saheeh Muslim (4761) it is narrated that Abu Moosa (may Allah be pleased with him) said that if someone came with a need to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he would turn to those who were sitting with him and say, “Intercede, and you will be rewarded, and Allah will decree what He wills through the lips of His Messenger.”  

b)  In his heart, the person must depend on Allah alone to realize his aim and ward off what is disliked. He should know that this intercessor is no more than a means which Allah has permitted to us, and that benefit and harm are in the hand of Allah alone. This meaning is expressed clearly in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). 

If either of these two conditions is not met, then the intercession is not allowed. 

2 – That which is not within a person’s ability to do something, such as seeking intercession from the dead and occupants of graves, or from a living person who is absent, believing that he is able to hear and meet one’s need. This is the kind of intercession that constitutes shirk, which is clearly forbidden in many verses of the Qur’aan and ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), because it ascribes to them attributes which belong only to the Creator, for He is the Ever-living Who never dies. 

Their specious argument is that the awliya’ (“saints”) and Sayyids intercede for their relatives and for those who call on them and take them as friends and love them, and because of that they ask them for intercession. This is exactly what Allah described the early mushrikeen as doing, when they said, 

“....These are our intercessors with Allah...” [Yoonus 10:18]

Referring to those whom they worshipped among the angels, righteous people and others, and meaning that they would intercede for them with Allah. In the same way, the contemporary mushrikoon say “the awliya’ (‘saints’) intercede for us; we cannot ask of Allah (directly) so we ask them and they ask of Allah.” And they say that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and all the Prophets and righteous people were given the power of intercession, and we call upon them and say, intercede for us as Allah has given them the power of intercession. They give the example of kings in this world, and say that the kings of this world can only be approached through intercession; if you need something, you go to their friends and those who are close to them, their ministers, gatekeepers, servants, etc., to intercede for you so that the king can deal with your matter; so we reach Allah by approaching and asking His awliyaa’ and the Sayyids who are close to Him. By doing this they fall into the same shirk as those who came before them, and they compare the Creator to His creation. 

Allah tells us of a righteous man in Soorat Ya-Seen, who said (interpretation of the meaning): 

‘Shall I take besides Him auliah (gods)? If the Most Gracious (Allah) intends me any harm, their intercession will be of no use for me whatsoever....” (Ya-Seen 36:23)

And Allah tells us in Suorat Al-Muddaththir, that the kuffaar will confess it themselves: 

“They will say: ‘We were not of those who used to offer the Salaah (prayers), (43) Nor we used to feed Al‑Miskeen (the poor); (44) And we used to talk falsehood (all that which Allah hated) with vain talkers. (45) And we used to belie the Day of Recompense, (46) Until there came to us (the death) that is certain’ (47) So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them”  (Al-Muddaththir 74:43-48)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), even though he will be given the power of intercession on the Day of Resurrection, will not be able to use it until after Allah has given him permission and has approved of the one for whom intercession is to be made. 

Hence he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not let his ummah ask him to intercede for them in this world, and that was not narrated from any one of his Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them). If that had been a good thing, he would have conveyed it to his ummah and called them to do it, and his Companions who were keen to do good would have hastened to do it.

“Nor would he instruct you to take angels and prophets for Lords and patrons. What! would he bid you to unbelief after ye have bowed your will (To Allah in Islam)?” (Aale ‘Imraan 3:80)

Thus we know that seeking intercession from him now (in this world) is a great wrong, because it involves calling upon someone other than Allah and doing something which is an obstacle to intercession, for intercession is available only to those who sincerely believe in Allah alone (Tawheed) 

The people in the place of standing (on the Day of Resurrection) will only ask the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to intercede for them so that judgement will be passed, because he will be there with them and because he will be able to turn to his Lord and ask Him. This is like asking a person who is alive and present to do make du’aa’ for one, which is something that he is able to do. 

Hence it is not narrated that any of the people in the place of standing will ask him (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to intercede for them that their sins might be forgiven. 

WORLDLY INTERCESSION

Those who ask him for intercession now in this world, based on the fact that it will be permissible to ask him for that in the Hereafter, if their claims were justified, would have to limit what they say to, “O Messenger of Allah, intercede for us that judgement may be passed”! But they do something other than that. They do not limit it to a request for intercession, rather they ask the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) – and others – to relieve their distress and send down mercy; they turn to him at times of calamity; they pray to him on land and sea, at times of ease and times of difficulty, ignoring the words of Allah (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations?...”  [An-Naml 27:62] 

From the above it is clear to every fair-minded person that the correct kind of intercession is intercession that depends on the permission and approval of Allah, because all intercession belongs to Him. That also includes asking for intercession from living people who are able to do that concerning worldly matters, for which Allah has granted permission.

It should be pointed out here that this kind of intercession is permitted because Allah has given permission for it, since it involves no kind of emotional attachment to the person, rather the point is that it is a means, like all other means which Islam permits us to use.

We ask Allah to keep us safe and sound, and we ask Him to cause our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to intercede for us … Ameen. 

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2. UMAR (rtu) ASKING FOR RAIN THROUGH IBN-E-ABBAS (rtu)

Question :

Hadeeth: Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that when they suffered drought, ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would seek rain by virtue of al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, and he would say: “O Allah, we used to ask You for rain by virtue of our Prophet and You gave us rain. Now we ask You for rain by virtue of the paternal uncle of our Prophet, so give us rain” and they would be given rain. Is this saheeh? Is this evidence that it is permissible to seek the help of Allah by virtue of the status of the awliya’ (close friends of Allah)?

Answer :  Praise be to Allah.

The hadeeth referred to by the questioner is a saheeh hadeeth which was narrated by al-Bukhaari, but anyone who studies it will find that it is evidence that one should not seek help from Allah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or of anyone else, because tawassul (using a means to achieve a goal) and al-waseelah is the thing that helps you to achieve that goal. The waseelah referred to in this hadeeth (“we used to ask You for rain by virtue of our Prophet and You gave us rain. Now we ask You for rain by virtue of the paternal uncle of our Prophet, so give us rain” and they would be given rain) is seeking the help of Allah by virtue of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), as a man said: “O Messenger of Allah, our wealth has been destroyed and the roads are cut off, so pray to Allah to help us.” And because ‘Umar said to al-‘Abbaas: “Get up, O ‘Abbaas, and pray to Allah, so he prayed to Allah.” If this had come under the heading of seeking Allah’s help by virtue of a person’s status only, then ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would have sought the help of  Allah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) before doing so by virtue of the status of al-‘Abbaas, because the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is greater before Allah than that of al-‘Abbaas or anyone else. If this hadeeth came under the heading of seeking the help of Allah by virtue of status that it would have been more appropriate for the ameer al-mu’mineen ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) to seek the help of Allah by virtue of the status of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), not the status of al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. 

To sum up, there is nothing wrong with seeking the help of Allah by means of the du’aa’ of a person who it is hoped will have his du’aa’s answered because of his righteousness. The Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) used to seek the help of Allah by means of the du’aa’ of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for them. Similarly, ‘Umar sought the help of Allah by means of the du’aa’ of al-‘Abbaas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (may Allah be pleased with him). So if you think a man is righteous and likely to have his du’aa’s answered because his food, drink, clothing and housing are halaal, and because he is known to be a man of worship and piety, there is nothing wrong with asking him to pray to Allah for you and ask for what you like, on condition that this does not stir up self-admiration in this person whom you ask to make du’aa’ for you. If it does stir up self-admiration, then it is not permissible for you to doom him by making this request of him, because that will harm him. 

I also say: This is permissible, but I do not recommend it. I think that each person should ask Allah by himself, without appointing any intermediary between him and Allah. That brings a greater hope and is nearer to fear of Allah. I also encourage anyone who asks his brother whose du’aa’s he hopes will be answered to make du’aa’ for him, to intend thereby to treat him kindly – i.e., the one who will make du’aa’ – and not do it for the sake of meeting his own needs, because if he asks him for the sake of meeting his own needs, then it will become like asking him for money and the like, which is blameworthy. But if he intends thereby to benefit his brother who will make du’aa’ by treating him kindly, then treating a Muslim kindly is something for which a person will be rewarded, as is well known – and that is better. And Allah is the source of strength. End quote. 

Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (2/277). 

For more information on the hadeeth about ‘Umar seeking the help of Allah by virtue of al-‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with them both) and the fact that this tawassul was by virtue of his du’aa’ and not of his status, please see the book al-Tawassul by Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him), pp. 50-68.

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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3. GRAVES PEOPLE INTERCESSION

Question:

I was in a conversation with a follower of the sufi way of Islam and that person asked me what did I think about praying at the graves, or about religious scholars interceding during the Day of Judgment. I told that person that praying to someone’s grave is shirk and no one can intercede except the prophet. Please comment with proof?

Answer: Praise be to Allah.

1 – The issue of praying at graves

Praying at graves is of two types: 

The first type is praying to the occupant of the grave.

This is major shirk which puts a person beyond the pale of Islam, because prayer is an act of worship, and it is not permissible to do any act of worship to anyone other than Allah. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“....Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship)...” [An-Nisa’ 4:36]

“Verily, Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills, sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away” [An-Nisa’ 4:116] 

The second type is praying to Allah in the graveyard.  

This covers a number of issues: 

1–    Praying the funeral (janaazah) prayer at the graveside, which is permissible. 

Example: if a person dies and you are not able to offer the funeral prayer for him in the mosque, then it is permissible for you to offer the prayer for him after he is buried. 

The evidence for this is that this is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that a black man or a black woman used to clean the mosque, and he (or she) died. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked about him and they said, “He died.” He said, “Why did you not tell me? Show me to his grave (or her grave).” So he went to the grave and offered the funeral prayer. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 458; Muslim, 956). 

2 – Praying the funeral prayer in the graveyard, which is permissible 

Example: a person dies and you are not able to offer the funeral prayer for him in the mosque, so you go to the graveyard and offer the prayer there before he is buried. 

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “It is permissible to offer the funeral prayer for the deceased inside the graveyard just as it is permissible to offer the funeral prayer for him after he is buried, because it was proven that a woman used to clean the mosque and she died. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked about her and they said, ‘She died.’ He said, ‘Why did you not tell me? Show me to her grave.’ So they showed him and he offered the prayer for her, then he said, ‘These graves are filled with darkness for their occupants, but Allah illuminates them by my prayer over them.’” (Narrated by Muslim, 956.)

From Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 8/392 

3 – Praying in the graveyard – apart from the funeral (janaazah) prayer – this prayer is invalid and does not count, whether it is an obligatory prayer or a naafil prayer. 

The evidence for that is as follows: 

(i)    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “All the earth is a mosque apart from the graveyards and bathrooms.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 317; Ibn Maajah, 745; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 606).

(ii)    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “May Allah curse the Jews and the Christians, for they have taken the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.” (Bukhaari, 435; Muslim, 529).

(iii)    Praying in graveyards may be a means that leads to worshipping the graves, or to imitating those who worship graves. Hence, because the kaafirs used to prostrate to the sun as it was rising and setting, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade us to pray when the sun is rising or setting, lest that be taken as a means that leads to worshipping the sun instead of Allah, or to resembling the kuffaar. 

4 – Praying towards the graveyard, which is haraam, according to the correct opinion. 

Example: you pray with a graveyard or grave in the direction of your qiblah, but you are not praying in the graveyard, rather you are praying on some other ground that is close to the graveyard, with no wall or barrier between you and it. 

The evidence for this being haraam: 

(i)    It was narrated that Abu Marthad al-Ghanawi said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not sit on graves, or pray towards them.” (Narrated by Muslim, 972). This indicates that it is haraam to pray towards graveyards or towards graves or towards a single grave.

(ii)    The reason why it is not allowed to pray towards a graveyard is the same as the reason why it is not allowed to pray towards a grave. So long as a person is facing towards the grave or graveyard in such a way that it may be said that he is praying towards it, then this comes under the prohibition, and if it comes under the prohibition then it is not valid, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Do not pray …” The prohibition here is on praying, so if a person prays towards a grave, he is combining obedience and disobedience, and it is not possible to draw closer to Allah in such a manner. 

Note: If there is a wall between you and the graveyard, then the basic principle is that it is acceptable to pray in this case and it is not prohibited. Similarly, if there is a street or a considerable distance which would mean that you cannot be regarded as praying towards the graves, then this is acceptable. And Allah knows best.  

2 – The issue of intercession

You were mistaken when you said that no one will intercede on the Day of Resurrection except the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Rather the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) will intercede and so will others among the believers.

But we will add here an issue that was not mentioned there, which is that there are conditions attached to intercession: 

1 –   Permission must be granted by Allah to the intercessor to intercede.

2 –   Allah must approve of the one for whom intercession is to be made. 

The evidence for these two conditions is the verses in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And there are many angels in the heavens, whose intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He wills and is pleased with” [An-Najm 53:26] 

“...and they cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased...” [Al-Anbiya’ 21:28] 

As for the imaginary intercession which the idol-worshippers think their gods perform for them, this is an invalid intercession, for Allah does not permit intercession unless He is pleased both with the intercessor and those for whom intercession is made.  

See al-Qawl al-Mufeed Sharh Kitaab al-Tawheed by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him), p. 336-337. 

The fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the believers will intercede does not justify asking them to intercede, as some people do when they ask the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to intercede for them even after his death.

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4. TAWWASUL (INTERCESSION) THROUGH DEAD PEOPLE

Question :

I have question regarding the tawasul, I was telling someone that thinking tawasul at graves and asking the dead person, Aulias, have personal spiritual powers called 'karamats',  can give relief or remedy of physical or spiritual illness, or accomplish other things as well is wrong. Making dua through them to Allah is wrong. He told me what is wrong with it, if I asked pious person during his life to make Dua or when died.

So I want you to clarify me, what kind Tawasul is allowed and which one not allowed since a lot people have been misguided in this Area?

Answer:

Islam teaches us to pray to Allah and ask favors from Him alone. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told his cousin Ibn `Abbas, "If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek assistance, seek assistance from Allah." As Muslims, we are required to recite Surat Al-Fatihah a minimum of seventeen times a day, in which we affirm, "You alone we worship; and from You alone we seek help!"  (Al-Fatihah 1:5)

Tawassul in Arabic means seeking to draw close. Allah says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): “Those whom they call upon desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord....” [Al-Isra’ 17:57], i.e., means of drawing close to Him. There are two types of Tawassul, correct Islamic tawassul and forbidden tawassul.

Correct Islamic Tawassul:

This means seeking to draw close to Allah through acts of worship which He loves and which please Him; these may be waajib (obligatory) or mustahabb (encouraged), and may take the form of words, actions or beliefs. Some types are as follows:

1.  Seeking to draw close to Allah by means of His names and attributes. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His names. They will be requited for what they used to do.” [Al-A’raaf 7:180].

So when a person makes du’aa’ to Allah, he begins by calling on Allah with the name that is most apt, such as “al-Rahmaan” (the Most Merciful) when seeking mercy and al-Ghafoor (the All-Forgiving) when asking for forgiveness, and so on.

2. Seeking to draw close to Allah by means of faith and Tawheed. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Our Lord! We believe in what You have sent down, and we follow the Messenger, so write us down among those who bear witness (to the truth).” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:53]

3. Seeking to draw close to Allah through righteous deeds, whereby a person asks Allah by virtue of the best deeds that he has done, such as salaah, fasting, reading Qur’aan, avoiding haraam things, and so on. An example of this is the saheeh hadeeth narrated in the Saheehayn about the three people who entered a cave, and a rock fell and blocked their way out. They asked Allah by virtue of their best deeds (to save them).

4. A person may also ask Allah by virtue of his total dependency upon Him, as Allah mentions in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): “[Prophet Ayyoob said:] ....Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.’ [Al-Anbiya’ 21:83] ; or by admitting his own wrongdoing and his need for Allah, as Prophet Younus is described as saying (interpretation of the meaning): “....None has the right to be worshipped except You (O Allah). Glorified (and exalted) are You. Truly I have been of the wrong-doers.” [Al-Anbiya’ 21:87]

The rulings on Islamically correct tawassul vary according to its type. Some types are waajib, such as seeking to draw close to Allah through His names and attributes and through Tawheed (believing in His absolute Oneness), and some are mustahabb, such as seeking to draw close to Him by virtue of all kinds of righteous deeds.

Tawassul that is bid’ah and therefore forbidden:

This is the attempt to draw close to Allah by means of things that He does not like and that do not please Him, whether they be words, deeds or beliefs. One example of this is trying to draw close to Allah by calling on the dead or people who are absent, asking them for help, and so on. This is a form of major shirk (shirk akbar), which goes against Tawheed and means that a person is no longer considered to be a Muslim.

Calling upon Allah, whether it is for a purpose, such as asking Him to grant some benefit or to ward off some harm, or as an act of worship to express humility and submission before Him, can only be addressed directly to Allah. If du’aa’s or prayers are addressed to anything or anyone else, this is shirk. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And your Lord said: ‘Invoke Me (and ask Me for anything), I will respond to your invocation. Verily! Those who scorn My worship [i.e., do not invoke Me and do not believe in My Oneness], they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” [Al-Ghaafir 40:60].

In this aayah, Allah explains the punishment of those who arrogantly refuse to call on Allah, whether they call on someone other than Allah or they do not call on Him at all, out of pride and self-admiration, even if they do not call on anyone else.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret… [Al-A’raaf 7:55]. Allah commands His slaves to call on Him and not anyone else.

Allah says of the people of Hell (interpretation of the meaning): “[They say:] ‘By Allah, we were truly in a manifest error (97) when we held you (false gods) as equals (in worship) with the Lord of the Worlds.” [As-Shu’ara’ 26:97-98]

Anything that results in equating something other than Allah with Allah in worship or acts of obedience is shirk, the crime of associating partners with Him. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not answer him until the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them? (5) And when mankind are gathered (one the Day of Resurrection), they (false deities) will become enemies for them and will deny their worshipping.” [Al-Ahqaaf 46:5-6]

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): And whoever invokes (or worships) besides Allah, any other god, of whom he has no proof, then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely, al-kaafiroon (the disbelievers in Allah and in the Oneness of Allah) will not be successful.” [Al-Mu’minoon 23:117].

Allah states that anyone who calls on anything other than him is taking that thing as a god, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“…And those, whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a qitmeer (the thin membrane over a date-stone). (13) If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call, and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you (O Muhammad), like Him Who is the All-Knower (of everything).” [Al-Faatir 35:13-14].

In this aayah, Allah explains that He is the only One Who deserves to be called upon, because He, and no one else, is the Sovereign who is directing everything. Those things that are worshipped cannot hear du’aa’s, let alone respond to the one who invokes them, and even if they were able to hear, they cannot respond, because they do not have the power to either benefit or harm.

The mushrik Arabs whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent to call were disbelievers because of this shirk. They would call upon Allah sincerely at times of difficulty, but they became disbelievers at times of ease and plenty, when they would call on others besides Him. Allah says (interpretation of the meanings):

“And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allah, making their Faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.” [Al-‘Ankaboot 29:65]

“And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon besides Him vanish from you excpet Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safely to land, you turn away (from Him)…” [Al-Isra’ 17:67].

“… till when you are in the ships and they sail with them with a favourable wind, and they are glad therein, then comes a stormy wind and the waves come to them from all sides, and they think that they are encircled therein, they invoke Allah, making their Faith pure for Him Alone…” [Yoonus 10:33]

The shirk of some people nowadays goes even further than the shirk of people in the past, because they direct some acts of worship to something other than Allah, calling upon them and asking them for help even at times of distress. We ask Allah to keep us safe and sound.

When people visit the grave of someone in order to ask him, or his spirit, to recommend to Allah to grant us wishes, do they think that the dead person recognizes them, or hears them, or knows the likely results of granting their wishes? If we answer in the affirmative, then we are claiming that the dead person is given something superior to what living people have. Otherwise, on what basis would he recommend to Allah to grant us our wishes?

Furthermore, what need is there for such recommendation? Is it needed by Allah or by ourselves? Do not people realize that Allah knows everything about them? If they do their supplications to Him directly and earnestly, believing that He alone can grant their wishes then what use is the recommendation of the dead people. Can anyone claim that Allah needs such a recommendation in order to decide whom He should help?

To entertain such a thought even for the briefest of moments is a great affront to Allah. Allah tells us in Qur'an: “....Pray to me and I will answer your prayers...." (Al-Ghafir 40:60)

When we pray to Allah to do something for us, we are actually declaring that He is our Lord and the Lord of all worlds. This declaration, when meant seriously and honestly, is sufficient to get our prayers answered. Indeed, Allah answers the prayers of those who do not believe in Him, if they turn to him in sincerity. This is because of the fact that at the moment when they pray to Him, they make a declaration of recognition of his Lordship. This being the case, what use is an intermediary?

From another point of view, those pious people are dead. Let us not forget the authentic Hadith which tell us :"When a human being dies, all his actions come to an absolute end except in one of three ways: a continuous act of charity, a useful contribution to knowledge or a dutiful child who prays for him. "

If you examine this Hadith carefully, you realize that we are in a position to benefit the dead by praying for them, while they are in no position to benefit us. There is no question about it. When a person visits a tomb of a dead person and asks the deceased to intercede with Allah on his behalf, he is guilty of associating partners with Allah. He is making that dead person a deity, on a junior or senior level. That cannot be countenanced in any way. That is direct opposition to the teachings of the Prophet who has taught us to worship Allah alone and to purge our thoughts, concepts and practices of all traces of polytheism.

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5. Praying through prophet companions

Question :

In my home country, a small community appeals to the Prophet's companions for blessings and bounty. Although they recite the Qur'an and offer their prayers and fulfill other duties, they feel that a direct approach to Allah is not appropriate. Therefore, they appeal to the Prophet's companions for blessings and bounty. This community is in utter disarray at the moment. Could you please explain the Islamic view of their attitude.

Answer :

What this community does is certainly very serious. To start with, their practice is contrary to the one the Prophet has taught us of addressing our supplication to Allah directly and seeking His bounty and grace. As you realize, there is only one source for learning what pleases Allah. That source is His messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Every Muslim is deemed to be fully aware of this, because it represents the practical implementation of the second part of the declaration which brings a person into the fold of Islam. To be a Muslim, one must declare one's firm belief in the Oneness of Allah and in the fact that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was Allah's messenger.

A messenger is required to convey a message, and the message is the one chosen by Allah. Therefore, any deviation from it represents disobedience to Allah. In this particular case, the message is very clear; Allah instructs us to address our supplication to Him alone and He promises to answer us:

"Your Lord says: Pray me and I will answer you." (Al-Ghafir 40:60)

Secondly, this community, as you say, addresses its supplication through the Prophet's companions. It is well known that the Prophet's companions have all been dead for more than thirteen hundred years.

The Prophet says: "When a human being dies, all his actions come to an absolute end, except in one of three ways: A continuing act of charity, a useful contribution to knowledge and a dutiful child who prays Allah to have mercy on his parent."

All the companions of the Prophet were human beings. This Hadith applies to them as indeed it applies to all other people. When a human being addresses his supplication to Allah through one of the Prophet's companions, that person does not hear his supplication, because he is dead and can do nothing either for himself or for others. Thirdly, by appealing to the Prophet's companions, this community actually raises those companions to a superhuman status. That constitutes, in Islamic terminology a sort of worship. While members of the community you have mentioned may not be aware that they are actually worshipping those companions of the Prophet, the fact remains that by elevating them in this way, they confer on them a status of Godhood. This is indeed very serious. It takes those people out of the fold of Islam altogether.

Islam is based on the principle of the Oneness of Allah, and these people are creating other gods from among human beings who were dedicated to the cause of Islam. Were those companions of the Prophet to be resurrected now, they would have certainly fought hard to bring that community back to Islam by convincing them that their practice is not merely wrong, but it contradicts the very basis of the Islamic faith.

Next, why should these people think that addressing Allah directly and appealing to Him is not appropriate, when He Himself likes to be prayed to directly and promises a direct answer? Do not these people realize that supplication is a mark of submission to Allah? When you humbly request Allah to help you in a particular way, you are actually acknowledging that you are in need of help and that He is able to help you accomplish whatever purpose you may have. That acknowledgment is a mark of submission to Allah and recognition of His attributes.

An important attribute in this connection is Allah's ability to accomplish any purpose and the fact that He has power over all things. When a human being earnestly and sincerely prays Allah, his prayer will certainly be answered. I have explained in the past that Allah answers all our supplication, but He may choose to defer answering some of our supplication to the Day of Judgment.

When we realize what He has in store for us by way of answering our supplication, we would wish that He had deferred answering all our supplications to the Day of Judgment.

If He answers some of our prayers now, He does that because He knows that it would make us happy. I have often quoted the Qur'anic verse in which Allah addresses the Prophet in this way:

"When My servants ask you about Me, I am near, I answer the supplication of My servant when he prays Me. Let them, then, respond to Me and believe in Me so that they may be rightly guided." (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

May I draw your attention to the way this Qur'anic verse is phrased. It begins with an address to the Prophet pointing out the situation when people ask him about Allah. It does not follow that with an instruction to the Prophet on how to answer that question. Allah gives the answer Himself directly to those questioners by saying: "I am near, etc." If Allah Himself answers our question directly, without even the need of asking the Prophet to give us that answer, then why should we be hesitant to appeal to Him, hoping for His bounty, and praying for His grace. That is indeed the appropriate method. Any other method is wrong and unacceptable.

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6. INTERCESSION IN THE HEREAFTER

 Question :

What is intercession (shafaa’ah? Are there different kinds of intercession? Will people intercede or only the Prophets? Are there any people whose intercession will not be accepted?.

Answer :  Praise be to Allah.

When the distress becomes too great for the people on the Day of Judgement and they have stood for too long, suffering in the heat and terror and distress, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) says, “How will you be when Allah gathers you together like arrows in a quiver, for fifty thousand years, during which Allah will not look at you?”  (al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2817). 

The people will look to those who are of high status to intercede for them with their Lord so that He might relieve them of this distress that they are suffering and come to pass judgement amongst them. So they will come to Adam, but he will excuse himself; then they will come to Nooh, but he will excuse himself; then they will come to Ibraaheem, but he will excuse himself; then they will come to Moosa, but he will excuse himself; then they will come to ‘Eesa, but he will excuse himself. Then they will come to our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he will say, “I am fit for that.” So he will intercede for the people in the place of gathering, so that judgement may be passed. This is the station of praise and glory which Allah has promised to him, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“… It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaam Mahmood (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection)”   (Al-Isra’ 17:79) 

There follows the lengthy hadeeth about intercession: 

It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik said: Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us: “When the Day of Resurrection comes, the people will surge with each other like waves. They will come to Adam and say, ‘Intercede for us with your Lord.’ He will say, ‘I am not fit for that. Go to Ibraaheem for he is the Close Friend of the Most Merciful.’ So they will go to Ibraaheem, but he will say, ‘I am not fit for that. Go to Moosa for he is the one to whom Allah spoke directly.’ So they will go to Moosa but he will say, ‘I am not fit for that. Go to ‘Eesa for he is a soul created by Allah and His Word.’ So they will go to ‘Eesa but he will say, ‘I am not fit for that. Go to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).’ So they will come to me and I will say, I am fit for that.’ Then I will ask my Lord for permission and He will give me permission, and He will inspire me with words of praise with which I will praise Him, words that I do not know now. So I will praise Him with those words of praise and I will fall down prostrate before Him. He will say, ‘O Muhammad, raise your head. Speak and intercession will be granted to you, ask and you will be given, intercede and your intercession will be accepted.’ I will say, ‘O Lord, my ummah, my ummah!’ He will say, ‘Go and bring forth everyone in whose heart there is faith the weight of a barley-grain.’ So I will go and do that. Then I will come back and praise Him with those words of praise and I will fall down prostrate before Him. He will say, ‘O Muhammad, raise your head. Speak and intercession will be granted to you, ask and you will be given, intercede and your intercession will be accepted.’ I will say, ‘O Lord, my ummah, my ummah!’ He will say, ‘Go and bring forth everyone in whose heart there is faith the weight of a small ant or a mustard-seed.’ So I will go and do that. Then I will come back and praise Him with those words of praise and I will fall down prostrate before Him. He will say, ‘O Muhammad, raise your head. Speak and intercession will be granted to you, ask and you will be given, intercede and your intercession will be accepted.’ I will say, ‘O Lord, my ummah, my ummah!’ He will say, ‘Go and bring forth from the Fire everyone in whose heart there is faith the weight of the lightest, lightest grain of mustard-seed.’ So I will go and bring them forth.”  

When we left Anas I [the narrator of the hadeeth] said to some of our companions, “Why don’t we go to al-Hasan, who is hiding in the house of Abu Khaleefah, and tell him what Anas ibn Maalik has told us?” So we went to him, greeted him with salaam and he gave us permission to enter. Then we said, “O Abu Sa’eed, we have come to you from your brother Anas ibn Maalik, and we have never heard anything like what he narrated to us about intercession.” He said, “Tell me.” So we narrated the hadeeth to him and we came to this point and he said, “Keep going.” We said, “He did not tell us any more.”  He said, “He told me this hadeeth when he was a young man, twenty years ago. I do not know if he forgot or if he did not want to let you depend on what he might have said. We said, “O Abu Sa’eed, tell us.” He smiled and said, “ Man was created hasty. I only mentioned that because I wanted to inform you of it. Anas told me the same as he told you, and said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) added: “Then I will come back a fourth time and praise Him with those words of praise and I will fall down prostrate before Him. He will say, ‘O Muhammad, raise your head. Speak and intercession will be granted to you, ask and you will be given, intercede and your intercession will be accepted.’ I will say, ‘O Lord, give me permission (to bring forth) all those who said Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah.’ He will say, ‘By My Might, My Majesty, My Supremacy and My Greatness, I will most certainly bring forth from it those who said Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 7510) 

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I will be the leader of mankind on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know why that is? Allah will gather mankind, the first and the last of them, in one place, so that the caller will be able to make them all hear his voice and the watcher will be able to see them all. The sun will be brought close and the people will suffer such distress and trouble that they will not be able to bear it or stand it. The people will say, ‘Don't you see in the state you are in and the condition you have reached? Why don't you look for someone who can intercede for you with your Lord?’ The people will say to one another: ‘Go to your father, Adam.’ So they will go to Adam (peace be upon him) .… I will go and prostrate beneath the Throne. Then I will be given words of praise such have never been given to anyone before me, then it will be said, ‘O Muhammad! Raise your head; ask, for it will be given to you, and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.’ I will raise my head and say, ‘My ummah, O lord! My ummah, O Lord!’ It will be said, ‘O Muhammad, admit from among your ummah those who will not be brought to account from the right-hand gate of Paradise, and they will share the other gates with the people.’ He said, By the One in Whose hand is my soul, the distance between two of the gate-posts is like the distance between Makkah and Humayr, or between Makkah and Busra.”    (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4712) 

This is the great intercession in the place of standing, and it is intercession so that judgement may be passed. Intercession on the Day of Resurrection is of two types: 

1- Intercession which will be accepted. This is intercession which is proven in the texts of sharee’ah. More details will be given below. 

2- Intercession which will be rejected. This is intercession which according to the texts of the Quran and Sunnah is invalid and ineffective, as we shall see below. 

Accepted intercession is of various types: 

1- The greatest intercession, which is al-maqaam al-mahmood, which the earlier and later generations will ask the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to intercede for them with their Lord so that He might relieve them of the horrors of the Day of Judgement. This has been explained above.

2- Intercession for those among the monotheists who committed major sins and entered Hell, that they may be brought forth from it. It was narrated that Anas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “My intercession will be for those among my ummah who committed major sins.” (Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 1983).

3- The intercession of the Messenger for people whose good deeds and bad deeds are equal, that they may enter Paradise, and for others who had been ordered to Hell, that they may not enter it.

4- Intercession that some people may enter Paradise without being brought to account.

5- Intercession of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for his paternal uncle Abu Taalib, so that the torment of the Fire be reduced for him. This applies only in the case of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his paternal uncle Abu Taalib.

6- The intercession of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that the believers might be granted permission to enter Paradise. 

Intercession for those who committed sin will not be granted only to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), rather the Prophets, the martyrs, the scholars, the righteous and the angels will also join in that. A man’s righteous deeds may also intercede for him. But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) will have the greatest share of intercession. 

There follows a hadeeth which indicates that intercession will be granted to the Prophets and others. It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: “We said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, will we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?’” … and he quoted the hadeeth, until he came to the part which describes how the believers will pass across the Siraat and will intercede for their brothers who have entered Hell: “They will say, ‘O Lord, our brothers used to pray with us and fast with us and do good deeds with us.’ Allah will say, ‘Go, and whoever you find with a dinar’s-weight of faith in his heart, bring him forth, and Allah will forbid their bodies to the Fire.’ So they will go, and some of them will be sinking into the Fire up to their feet or shins, and they will bring forth those whom they recognize. Then they will come back, and He will say, ‘Go, and whoever you find with half a dinar’s-weight of faith in his heart, bring him forth.’ So they will go and bring forth those whom they recognize. Then they will come back, and He will say, ‘Go, and whoever you find with an atom’s-weight of faith in his heart, bring him forth.’ So they will go and bring forth those whom they recognize.” Abu Sa’eed said: “If you do not believe me, then read the verse interpretation of the meaning): 

‘Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a small ant), but if there is any good (done), He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward’   (An-Nisa’ 4:40) 

[The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:] “So the Prophets, the angels and the believers will intercede, and the Compeller (Allah) will say, ‘There remains My intercession.’ Then He will take a handful from the Fire and bring forth some people whose bodies have been burnt and throw them into a river at the entrance to Paradise that is called the Water of Life.  

They will grow on its banks, as a seed carried by a flood grows. You have seen how it grows beside a rock or beside a tree, and how the side facing the sun is usually green while the side facing the shade is white. They will come out like pearls, and necklaces will be placed around their necks. Then they will enter Paradise, and the people of Paradise will say, ‘These are the people emancipated by the Most Merciful. He has admitted them into Paradise without them having done any good deeds and without them having sent forth any good (for themselves).’ Then it will be said to them, ‘You will have what you have seen and the equivalent thereof.’”  (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 7440) 

Intercession of the Day of Resurrection will only be granted if three conditions are met, as indicated in the verses (interpretation of the meaning):

 “And there are many angels in the heavens, whose intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He wills and is pleased with”   (An-Najm 53:26) 

“On that day no intercession shall avail, except the one for whom the Most Gracious (Allah) has given permission and whose word is acceptable to Him”  (Ta-Ha 20:109) 

“He knows what is before them, and what is behind them, and they cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased. And they stand in awe for fear of Him”  (Al-Anbiya’ 21:28) 

“…Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission?…”   (Al-Baqarah 2:255) 

These conditions are: 

1- The permission of Allah to the intercessor to intercede.

2- Allah’s being pleased with the intercessor.

3- His being pleased with the one for whom intercession is made. 

It was narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that the intercession of some people will not be accepted on the Day of Resurrection, including those who cursed a great deal. Muslim narrated that Abu’l-Darda’ said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, ‘Those who curse will not be witnesses or intercessors on the Day of Resurrection.” 

With regard to the kind of intercession that will be rejected, this is intercession that does not meet the conditions required of permission from Allah or His being pleased (with the intercessor or the one for whom intercession is made), such as the intercession which the people of shirk believe that their gods will achieve. They only worship them because they believe that they will intercede for them with Allah, and that they are mediators or intermediaries between them and Allah. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only. And those who take Awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, lords, gods) besides Him (say): ‘We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah.’ Verily, Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allah guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever”  (Az-Zumar 39:3) 

Allah tells us that this kind of intercession is ineffective and of no benefit, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them" (Al-Muddaththir 74:48) 

“And fear a Day (of Judgement) when a person shall not avail another, nor will intercession be accepted from him nor will compensation be taken from him nor will they be helped”  (Al-Baqarah 2:48) 

“And fear the Day (of Judgement) when no person shall avail another, nor shall compensation be accepted from him, nor shall intercession be of use to him, nor shall they be helped”  (Al-Baqarah 2:123) 

“O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Zaalimoon (wrongdoers)”  (Al-Baqarah 2:254) 

Hence Allah did not accept the intercession of His Close Friend Ibraaheem for his father Azar who was a mushrik. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Ibraaheem will meet his father on the Day of Resurrection, and Azar’s face will be dark and covered with dust. Ibraaheem will say to him, ‘Did I not tell you not to disobey me?’ His father will say, ‘Today I will not disobey you.'’ Ibraaheem will say, ‘O Lord! You promised me not to disgrace me on the Day of Resurrection; and what will be more disgraceful to me than cursing and dishonoring my father?’ Then Allah will say, ‘I have forbidden Paradise to the disbelievers.’ Then he will be addressed, ‘O Ibraaheem, what is beneath your feet?’ He will look and there he will see a Dhabh (an animal,) blood-stained, which will be caught by the legs and thrown into the Fire.”  (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3350).

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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