By. Dr. Amir Parviz Parsa


The word intercedeشفع and its derivatives appear 10 times in the Holy Quran. It means to intercede on behalf of a person. Three examples of this word appear as follows:

In Surah 2 Ayah 255 the Holy Quran says:

اللّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ

لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ

لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ

مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ…

Allah! There is no god but He, ─the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal.

No slumber can seize Him nor sleep.

His are all things in the heavens and on earth.

Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permits? ….

In Surah 10 Ayah 18 the Holy Quran says:

وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ مَا لاَ يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلاَ يَنفَعُهُمْ

وَيَقُولُونَ هَـؤُلاء شُفَعَاؤُنَا عِندَ اللّهِ …..

And they serve beside Allah what can neither harm them nor profit them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allah….

In Surah 4 Ayah 85 the Holy Quran says:

مَّن يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً حَسَنَةً يَكُن لَّهُ نَصِيبٌ مِّنْهَا

وَمَن يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً سَيِّئَةً يَكُن لَّهُ كِفْلٌ مِّنْهَا

وَكَانَ اللّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّقِيتًا

Whoso intervenes in a good cause will have the reward thereof, and whoso intervenes in an evil cause will bear the consequence thereof. Allah oversees all things.

This all indicates that intercession  is there and often indicates asking favors or forgiveness on behalf of somebody. No such thing exists in Islam as it is in other religions whereby a person asks a priest, i.e. an intermediary, for forgiveness (confession to a priest). In Islam it is the direct connection with the Almighty, (without an intermediary in between), to plead for His forgiveness directly. Confession in Islam is between the individual to the Almighty.

Examples of such confessions are  evident in some Du’aas. let us bring an example, that of Imam Ali in Du’aa Kumayl:

اَللّهُمَّ اِنّي اَتَقَرَّبُ اِلَيْكَ بِذِكْرِكَ، وَاَسْتَشْفِعُ بِكَ اِلى نَفْسِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ بِجُودِكَ اَنْ تُدْنِيَني مِنْ قُرْبِكَ، وَاَنْ تُوزِعَني شُكْرَكَ، وَاَنْ تُلْهِمَني ذِكْرَكَ،
O Allah! I endeavor to draw myself nigh to Thee by invoking Thee,

And I pray to Thee to intercede on my behalf

And I entreat Thee by Thy love to draw me closer to Thee

And grant me that I should be grateful to Thee and inspire me to remember and to invoke Thee

Let us take a Du’aa by Imam Husain  on Jabal Rahma, before going to Iraq:

اَللّهُمَّ اجْعَلْنا فى هذَا الْوَقْتِ مِمَّنْ سَاَلَكَ فَاَعْطَيْتَهُ، وَشَكَرَكَ فَزِدْتَهُ، وَتابَ اِلَيْكَ فَقَبِلْتَهُ وَتَنَصَّلَ اِلَيْكَ مِنْ ذُنُوبِهِ كُلِّها فَغَفَرْتَها لَهُ يا ذَالْجَلالِ وَالاِْكْرامِ،
اَللّهُمَّ وَنَقِّنا وَسَدِّدْنا واقْبَلْ تَضَرُّعَنا، يا خَيْرَ مَنْ سُئِلَ، وَيا اَرْحَمَ مَنِ اسْتُرْحِمَ،
O Allah! Place us among those who ask of Thee and to whom You give,
who thank Thee and whom You increase,
who turn to Thee in repentance and whom You accept
and who renounce all of their sins before Thee and whom You forgive,
O Lord of Majesty and Splendor!O God, purify us, show us the right way and accept our pleas.
O Best of those from whom is asked!
And O Most Merciful of those whose mercy is sought!
O He from whom nothing is hidden ……

In recent years, however, we have observed an increasing tendency to ask for intervention of intermediaries between God Almighty and human beings.

It is the purpose of this article to show that, from an Islamic perspective, there is no need for anyone to intervene between Allah (swt) and human beings.

It must be mentioned at the outset that intermediaries are odious of the God-Human relationship. There are religious guides who are revered, highly respectable, responsible internally, decent externally. They act as religious guides for those who need help; they are the true spiritual leaders of our various communities, most honored, respected, and getting the real support of the believers.

Unfortunately, however, along with them, there are those who are imposters who aim to get wealthy at the expense of the society, who normally invest on the naivety of sincere but simple-minded individuals who are trying to learn about and follow the religion. These imposters are truly the target of this article.

Some Verses from the Quran:

Chapter 2, Verse 186 of the Glorious Quran says:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every Supplicant when he calls on Me; let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way.

Please note that here God Almighty  is talking to His chosen person, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and is guiding His messenger: that God is indeed CLOSE to all persons and He hears their supplication and prayers.

In other parts of the Holy Quran, it is also mentioned that God is closer to us than our own jugular vein, (the vein in our neck). See Surah 50 verse 16 of the Holy Quran:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ
It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein

Another significant fact related to our discussion is that Allah (swt) has made the Quran easy to understand. Chapter 54 Verse 17 tells us in this context:

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ
And We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember*: then is there any that will receive admonition?

In fact, this notion is so important that it is repeated, not just once, but five times in verses 22,32,40 of the same Surah, plus verse 97 of Surah 19, and 58 of Surah 44.

Still another significant point is that no financial remuneration (Ajr) was set up for the Messenger of God. However, collections by preachers of all religions (made under different titles) are taken from the public. In Islam this collection forms the Zakat and Khums as mandated in the Holy Quran.

Verse 13 of Surah 67 reminds us that whether you reveal or hide something from Allah (swt), He knows it quite well.

وَأَسِرُّوا قَوْلَكُمْ أَوِ اجْهَرُوا بِهِ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ
And whether ye hide your word or publish it, He certainly has (full) knowledge, of the secrets of (all) hearts.

The next ingredient we need for our discussion is what is mentioned in Surah 33 verses 45 and 46:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا

وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُّنِيرًا

O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner,-
and as one who invites to God’s (Grace) by His leave, and as a Lamp spreading light

In all of these there is no mention of any financial or worldly rewards. See verses 119 of Surah 2, 79 of Surah 4,25 of Surah 57 too.

Is it not possible for us to learn the Quran? Is it not possible for us to learn some fundamental Do’s and Don’ts of religion? My answer is that if we honestly try to learn the Quran and read a few interpretations of it too, we can understand it and we can do so relatively well. But many of us are too indolent; and some of the so-called preachers speculate on that, (against naïve persons) who put their entire trust in them.

Is it not true that Allah (swt) himself said in Surah 29 verse 69:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right.

If we believe in the fact that God always speaks the truth, shall we not take Him to His Word that He will be guiding us? So long as we keep on the side of tardiness, not trying to improve ourselves to the necessary levels that we need to reach, the abuse of abusers (religious charlatans) shall continue.

While the writer has the utmost respect and regards for truly religious scholars who are to be deeply appreciated, he is also against those who do not qualify as such, the so called religious charlatans.

While the writer has the deepest respect for the genuine religious scholars, he believes individuals have a duty to acquire enough religious knowledge ─especially in this day and age of improved communications and the Internet. The writer emphasizes that there are no intermediaries (Waseet وصيط) between God and people.

However, so long as many individuals have tardiness and no inclination to learn the religious necessary minimum, the group of quacks would continue to take advantage of them.