Questions & Answers on Shafaa’ah (Intercession) from explanation of Aqeedah At-Tahaawiyyah

Questions on Al-‘Aqeedah At-Tahaawiyyah
Using the explanation by Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan
Q’s & A’s authored by Abu Abdir Rahmaan Nasser ibn Najam Alvi.

“And intercession (ash-Shafaa’ah) which has been stored up for them, is true, as is related in the narrations.”

From the text of Al-‘Aqeedah At-Tahaawiyyah

Q1. Why is eemaan in the shafaa’ah (intercession) considered to be from the most important aspects of Islaamic ‘aqeedah?

A1. This is because some of the people have gone astray in their affirming it, with some going beyond the due limits in affirming it and some others denying it and some people being justly balanced in this issue.

Q2. Who is the first group the Shaykh mentions who have gone astray in the issue of the shafaa’ah? What do they say?

A2. Some people have gone beyond the due limits in affirming the intercession, to the extent that they seek it from the dead and from the graves and from the idols, trees and stones.

And they worship besides Allaah that which can neither harm them nor benefit them and they say: These are our shufa’aaunaa (intercessors) with Allaah
Soorah Yoonus (10) Aayah 18

And those who take awliyaa besides Him (say): worship them only so that they may bring us close to Allaah!
Soorah Az-Zumar (39) Aayah 3

Q3. Who are the second group mentioned by the Shaykh who have gone astray in the issue of shafaa’ah?

A3. This group have gone beyond the due limits in denying the shafaa’ah, such as the Mu’tazilah and the Khawaarij.

So they deny that the shafaa’ah will occur for the Muslims who have committed major sins – and in doing so, these misguided groups oppose that which has been reported in a mutawaatir form in the Book and the Sunnah with regards to the shafaa’ah.

Q4. Who is the third group mentioned by the Shaykh?

A4. It is the ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah who are justly balanced in this issue between the two extremes, so they affirm the shafaa’ah in the manner that Allaah and His Messenger sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam have mentioned it.

So the ahlus-Sunnah have eemaan in the shafaa’ah without falling into ifraat (going to excess in affirming it) nor tafreet (falling short in affirming it).

Q5. What is the linguistic meaning of shafaa’ah?

A5. It is taken from the word shaf’ which means ‘even’ i.e. the opposite of ‘odd’, a number greater than 1 e.g. 2 or 4 or 6.

Q6. What is the sharee’ah meaning of shafaa’ah?

A6. It means: mediation in answering a need, a mediation between the person who has the need and the person who can answer the need.

Q7. Broadly speaking, what are the two types of shafaa’ah?

A7. They are:
a. intercession with Allaah
b. intercession with the creation

Q8. With regard to the second type of shafaa’ah, what is the first subtype?

A8. The first subtype of intercession is the shafaa’ah hasanah – interceding with someone from the creation in matters which are good, those matters which are beneficial and permissible.

And whoever intercedes with a shafaa’ah hasanah will have a portion of its reward…
Soorah An-Nisaa (4) Aayah 85

Q9. Why and when is there reward in this type of shafaa’ah?

A9. There is reward in this type of shafaa’ah because it contains benefit for the Muslims in answering their needs, and bringing about that which they were seeking.

The reward however will only occur as long as there is no transgression or oppression against anyone involved in this shafaa’ah.

Q10. What is the second subtype of the second type of shafaa’ah?

A10. It is the shafaa’ah sayyi’ah – the evil intercession, which is the intercession for matters which are haraam (forbidden). An example of this would be interceding for the overturning of legal punishments when they have become obligatory upon someone.

Q11. What is the first type of shafaa’ah and why is it different from the second type?

A11. It is the intercession with Allaah, and it is different from the intercession with the creation.

This second type involves Allaah – the Majestic and Most High – giving honour to some of His servants, who supplicate to him on behalf of one of the Muslims who has committed a major sin and therefore deserves punishment.

Q12. What does the one who makes shafaa’ah in this circumstance ask for on behalf of the one being interceded for?

A12. The one who intercedes asks that Allaah forgive the sinner and that He does not punish him, because the sinner was a believer, a person of Tawheed. Or the one who intercedes may ask that the person who enters the Hellfire (on account of a sin he committed) be taken out and the punishment be lifted from him.

Q13. What are the two conditions which must be fulfilled before this first type of shafaa’ah can occur?

a) Allaah must give His permission for the shafaa’ah to occur
b) The person for whom intercession is sought must be a person of Tawheed.

Q14. What proof does the Shaykh quote for the first condition?

A14. …Who is there who can intercede with Him except with His permission?…
Soorah Al Baqarah (2) Aayah 255

Q15. What proof does the Shaykh quote for the second condition?

A15. And they cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased.
Soorah Al Anbiyaa (21) Aayah 28

Q16. Which Aayah does the Shaykh quote which demonstrates both of these conditions?

A16. …Except after Allaah has given permission for whomsoever He wills and with whom He is pleased…
Soorah An-Najm (53) Aayah 26

Q17. Which of the types of shafaa’ah will benefit the disbeliever?

A17. No shafaa’ah will benefit the disbeliever.
So the intercession of the shaafi’een (those who intercede) will not benefit them.
Soorah Al Muddathir (74) Aayah 48

Q18. The Qur’aan mentions two types of shafaa’ah. What are they?

a) The shafaa’ah which is rejected, where the necessary prerequisites are not met.
b) The shafaa’ah which is affirmed, where the necessary prerequisites are actualised.

Q19. Why does the Shaykh mention the example of Aboo Taalib, the uncle of the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam?

A19. Aboo Taalib died as a kaafir but his is the only example where the intercession for a disbeliever will be accepted.

For the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam will intercede for his uncle, but it will not be an intercession for his uncle to taken out of the Fire; it will only be for his punishment to be lightened, on account of his giving assistance and shelter and defence to the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.


Q20. The Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam shares the right of some of the types of shafaa’ah with other created beings. Who are they?

A20. The Prophets, the Angels, the saaliheen (righteous people) and the afraat (the young children who have died before their parents died) who did not reach puberty.

Q21. What is the shafaa’ah for the people of the mawqif, and is this shafaa’ah specific to the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam alone?

A21. This is the intercession for the people on the Day of Judgement when the standing on the mawqif (standing place) becomes prolonged, the torment becomes severe and the sun comes close to the heads of the people.

The people will want someone to intercede for them for the Judgement between them to be completed and for them to be taken away from that standing place, whether it be to Paradise or to the Fire.

This intercession is specific to the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

Q22. What is the order of the Prophets who will be approached on that day to make shafaa’ah for the people?

A22. Aadam, then Nooh, then Moosaa, then ‘Eesaa, then Muhammad ‘Alaihimus salaatu wa salaam.

Q23. What will be said to the Prophet sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam after he has fallen prostrate in front of Allaah, praising Him and calling upon Him on that day?

A23. Raise your head, and ask, and you will be given it, and intercede and your intercession will be accepted.

Q24. Will the shafaa’ah of the Prophet sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam be accepted immediately after that?

A24. No, he sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam will prostrate and call upon Allaah, praising Him and seeking intercession by means of His Names and His Attributes.
After that he sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam will intercede for the Judgement of the Creation to be completed and then Allaah will accept his intercession.

Q25. What will occur after that?

A25. After this intercession is accepted, then Allaah subhaanahu wa ta’aala will come to complete the judgement between His Slaves.

But no! When the earth is ground to powder. And your Lord will come with angels in rows.
Soorah Al Fajr (89) Aayaat 21 and 22

Q26. What is the maqaam mahmood that the Prophet sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam will be given, as mentioned in Soorah Al Israa (17:79)?

And spend some of the night in tahajjud (night prayer) as an additional prayer for you (O Muhammad) – it may be that your Lord will raise you to a maqaam mahmood.
Soorah Al Israa (17) Aayah 79

A26. This praiseworthy position is the right of the Prophet sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam to intercede for the Judgement to occur between the Creation.

Q27. What is the second type of shafaa’ah mentioned by the Shaykh?

A27. It is the intercession made by the Prophet sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam (and no one else) for the people of Paradise to actually enter Paradise.

Q28. Who will be the first person to enter Paradise?

A28. It will be the Prophet sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam and he is also the one who will open the door of Paradise.

The Prophet sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam said:
I will come to door of Paradise on yawm ul Qiyaamah, then I will ask for it to be opened, so the Guardian will say:

Who are you?

Then I will say: Muhammad.

So he will say: (It is) for you, I was commanded that I should not open (it) for anyone before you.

Hadeeth of Anas ibn Maalik radi Allaahu ‘anhu reported by Muslim (197).

Q29. Which will be the first ummah (nation) to enter Paradise?

A29. It will be the Muslims, the ummah of Muhammad sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam.

Q30. What is the third type of shafaa’ah mentioned by the Shaykh?

A30. It is the intercession made by the Prophet sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam (and no one else) for the people of Paradise that Allaah raise their station and level in Paradise.

Q31. What is the fourth type of shafaa’ah mentioned by the Shaykh?

A31. It is the intercession made by the Prophet sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam (and other than him as well) for the mu’minoon who have fallen into major sins and who deserve to enter the Fire, that they be saved from entering the Fire.

It is also an intercession for those mu’minoon who have entered the Fire that they exit from it.

Q32. Which sects disagree with the ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah about this fourth type of shafaa’ah and what do they say?

A32. The Jahmiyyah and Khawaarij and those who resemble them disagree with the people of Sunnah on this issue.
These misguided sects mistakenly say: the one who enters the Fire will never exit from it.

Q33. What is the fifth type of shafaa’ah mentioned by the Shaykh?

A33. It is the intercession made by the Prophet sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam (and no one else) for his uncle Aboo Taalib who died upon shirk, the deen of ‘Abdul Muttalib the mushrik.

He sall Allaahu ’alaihi wa sallam will intercede for his uncle’s punishment to be lightened – for his uncle will never leave the Fire – and as a result, Aboo Taalib will be in a SHALLOW PIT of fire.

Despite this, Aboo Taalib will not see that anyone is being more severely punished than him.

For the complete Q & A on the famous classical treatise, Al-‘Aqeedah At-Tahaawiyyah, please refer to the following link:

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The Qur'an and Sunnah upon the understanding of the Salafus-Saalih (Righteous Predecessors).
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