An Inquiry into Intercession
Intercession (shaf‘ah), the act of an intercessor when he asks God for forgiveness and help on behalf of sinners, is of two types: generative and legislative. It is a principle found in many Islamic schools of thought, although questioned by some. This paper analyzes and explains the verses of the Qur’an regarding intercession and replies to several objections raised by its opposers. Qur’anic verses on intercession do not contradict one another; rather, they emphasize that intercession inherently belongs to God, and some special servants of God are entitled to intercede by His permission. This paper also refers to Sunni and Shi‘a hadiths in support of the principle of intercession and ends by highlighting some of its positive outcomes, such as preventing sinners from despairing of Allah’s mercy and promoting a stronger relationship with those who can intercede. Based on Qur’anic verses and hadiths, those who have been granted permission by Allah to intercede include prophets, angels, martyrs, and religious scholars.