top_heading

Review of instances of shafaa`at (شَفَٰعَة) in the Quran

Introduction

Intercession, which typically means the act of intervening on behalf of another, and its synonyms are mediation, intermediation, negotiation, arbitration, conciliation etc. However, its Arabic counterpart is “shafaa`at“, which in religious context means pleading with our Lord who belongs all power over creations and creatures on behalf of another, especially on a Day of the Judgment for the guilty. Thus, it is very popular among us that Jesus being son of God will intercede on behalf of Christians and Muhammad being the greatest and the latest prophet of the world will do it on behalf of the so called Muslims to put them in Paradise. Let us confirm what God has taught us about it in the Quran so that we all may know the truth to avoid the horrendous situation when there is no escape for the guilty from it, nor will the guilty be sent back to correct their wickedness:

The instances of Arabic words from the root: sheen, faa and `ayn (ش ف ع) occurs 31 times in the Quran in 5 derived forms having similar meanings according to their morphological and grammatical forms while we know that an Arabic word may have a range of meanings depending on context, which is a key concept to understand the message coded in the Arabic text of the Quran:

Note: The above table is populated with data obtained from the corpus.quran.com

These 31 instances rooted from: sheen, faa and `ayn (ش ف ع) are reviewed below to understand better in the context while out of 31 instances, 30 instances talk about intercession and 1 instance means “even” being unrelated with intercession as highlighted in the table above:

Instances of yashfaʿu

5 instances of yashfaʿu in the verb form meaning “to intercede” found in 4 verses across 4 suras in the Quran are described below:

[2:255] God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep can overtake Him. To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. Is there anyone who can intercede with Him, except of His permission (man dhaa alladhee yashfa`u `indahu illaa bi-idhnihi)? He knows what is of their past and what is of their future, and they cannot encompass with anything of His knowledge except of what He had willed. His Throne extends to the heavens and the earth, and it does not tire Him for their looking after, and He is the Most High, the Great.
Note: God has given His identity in the verse known as “ayat al-kur’siy” to many being sovereign over all things needing no help from anyone to look after His dominion and whatever is in it.

[4:85] Whoever intercedes (man yashfa`a) a good intercession will have for him a share of it, and whoever intercedes (wa-man yashfa`a) an evil intercession will have for him a share of it. And God is a Guardian over all things.
Note: Whoever mediates good works will get a share of it with God while whoever mediates evil work will get a share of it with Him as well.

[7:53] Do they wait just for its fulfillment? The day its fulfillment comes, those who had forgotten it before will say: “Certainly, our Lord’s messengers had come with the truth! So are there any intercessors for us that they can intercede for us (fa-yashfa`uu lanaa) or can we be sent back that we can do other than what we had done?” Certainly, they have lost their souls and strayed from them for what they had done to invent.

[21:28] He knows what is of their past and what is of their future. And they cannot intercede (wa-laa-yashfa`uuna), except for whom He has approved, and they are the fearful from His fear.

Instances of shafaa`at

13 instances of shafaa`at in the noun form meaning “intercession” found in 9 verses across 10 suras in the Quran, are described below:

[2:48] And you shall fear a day, no soul will help another soul, nor will any intercession be accepted from it (wa-laa-yuqbala minhaa shafaa`atun), nor will any ransom be taken, nor will they be helped.

[2:123] And you shall fear a day, no soul will avail anything of another soul, nor will any compensation be accepted from it, nor will any intercession benefit it (wa-laa tanfa`ulahaa shafaa`atun) nor will they be helped.

[2:254] O you who have believed, you shall spend from what we have provided you before that a day comes, there is no trade in it, nor is there any relationship, nor is there any intercession (wa-laa-shafaa`atun). And the disbelievers are surely the wrongdoers.

[4:85] Whoever intercedes a good intercession (shafaa`atan hasanatan) will have for him a share of it, and whoever intercedes an evil intercession (shafaa`atan sayyi-atan) will have for him a share of it. And God is a Guardian over all things.
Note: Whoever mediates good works will get a share of it with God while whoever mediates evil work will get a share of it with Him as well.

[19:87] They will have no power of the intercession (laa-yamlikuuna al-shafaa`ata), except who has taken a promise from the Most Gracious.

[20:109] That day, will not benefit the intercession (laa-tanfa`u al-shafaa`atu) except for whom the Most Gracious has given permission for him and He has accepted a word for him.

[34:23] Nor will benefit the intercession with Him (wa-laa-tanfa`u al-shafaa`atu `indahu), except for whom He has permitted for him. Until when fear has been removed from their hearts, they have said: “What is that, your Lord has said?” They have said: “The truth!” And He is the Most High, the Great.

[36:23] “Should I take gods other than Him? If the Most Gracious intends for me of any harm, their intercession in any way (shafaa`atuhum shayan) cannot help me, nor can they save me.”
Note: This statement refers to a person who believed three messengers who were sent to a city even all the people of the city rejected them knowing that there is no deity other than God while there is no intercession.

[39:44] Say, “To God the intercession for all (lillahi al-shafaa`atu jamee`an).” While to Him dominion of the heavens and the earth, then to Him you will be returned.
Note: All intercession on a Day of the Judgment to God for all. So, to expect any intercession from anyone on a Day of the Judgment is a satanic trick to make us losers.

[43:86] And those whom they call on other than Him do not have power of the intercession (al-shafaa`ata); except who has testified with the truth, and they know.
Note: None has any power of intercession with God except to testify with the truth, which means intercession only belongs to Him.

[53:26] And how many of an angel in the heavens, will not help their intercession in any way (laa-tugh’nee shafaa`atuhum shayan) except after that God permits for whom He wills and approves.
Note: Even the angels have no power of intercession except that what God permits and approves, which means intercession only belongs to God.

[74:48] Then will not help them intercession (shafaa`atu) of the intercessors.
Note: There is no intercession or intercessors with God for the guilty on a day of the Judgment.

Instance of shaf`

There is an instance of al-shaf`i in the noun form meaning “the even” found in one verse of a sura, is described below:

[89:3] And the even (wal-shaf`i) and the odd.
Note: God has taken an oath referring to 4 items: (1) the dawn, (2) the ten nights, (3) the even and odd, and (4) the night that passes.

Instances of shafee`

There are 10 instances of al-shafee` in the noun/adjective form meaning “intercessor” found in 10 verses across 10 suras, are detailed below:

[6:51] And you (prophet) shall warn with this (Quran) those who fear that they will be gathered to their Lord; for them there is no protector other than Him nor is there any intercessor (wa-laa-shafee`un) that they may fear.

[6:70] You (prophet) shall disregard those who have taken their religion as a play and an amusement, and the worldly life has deceived them. You shall remind with it lest a soul to be suffered for what it has earned; there is no protector other than God nor is there any intercessor (wa-laa-shafee`un). And if it offers, every ransom, it will not be accepted from it. Those are the ones who will be suffered for what they had earned. For them there is a drink of boiling water and a painful retribution because of what they used to disbelieve.

[6:94] And certainly, you have come back to us as individual as we created you first time, and you left behind your backs whatever we had bestowed on you. And we do not see with you your intercessors (wa-maa naraa ma`akum sufa`aa-akumu) those who you claimed that them partners in you. Indeed, has severed between yourselves and has lost from you what you have been to claim.

[7:53] Do they wait just for its fulfillment? The day its fulfillment comes, those who had forgotten it before will say: “Certainly, our Lord’s messengers had come with the truth! So are there any intercessors for us (fa-hal lanaa min shufa`aa-a) that they can intercede for us or can we be sent back that we can do other than what we had done?” Certainly, they have lost their souls and strayed from them for what they had done to invent.

[10:3] Indeed, your Lord is God; the One who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then He established on the Throne. He controls all matters. There is no intercessor (maa min shafee`in), except after His permission. That is God your Lord. So you shall worship Him. Then will you not take heed?
Note: God is sovereign over His dominion consisting of the heavens and the earth and there is no intercessor except His permission.

[10:18] And they worship other than God that does not harm them nor does that benefit them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with God (haaulaai shufa`aaunaa `inda allahi)!” Say, “Do you inform God of what He does not know in the heavens or in the earth?” Glory be to Him and He has exalted above what they associate.
Note: Those who have worshiped other than God claiming them their intercessors associate partners with God.

[30:13] And there will be no intercessors for them from their partners (wa-lam yakun lahum min shurakaihim shua`aau) and they have become disbelievers in their partners.

[32:4] God is the One who created the heavens and the earth, and whatever between them in six days, then He established Himself on the Throne. There is no protector for you other than Him nor is there any intercessors (wa-laa-shafee`in). Then will you not take heed?

[39:43] Or have they taken intercessors other than God (ami ittakhadhuu min duuni allahi shufa`aa-a)? Say, “Even though, have they not been of possessing anything or of understanding?”

[40:18] And you (prophet) shall warn them a day of the Approaching when the hearts are the choked at the throats. There is no friend for the wrongdoers nor is there any intercessor to be obeyed (wa-laa-shafee`in yataa`u).

Instances of shaafi`een

There are 2 instances of shaafi`een in the active participle form in 2 verses across 2 suras are detailed below:

[26:100] So we have not any intercessors (fa-maa lanaa min shaafi`een).
Note: Those who had associated partners with God would know on a day of the Judgment that there are no intercessors for them.

[74:48] Then will not help them any intercession of the intercessors (al-shaafi`eena).
Note: There is no intercession or intercessors with God for the guilty on a day of the Judgment.

Mathematical analysis

There are 30 instances of shafaa`at in 4 derived forms found in 25 verses across 18 suras. Out of 30 instances, 4 instances in verb and noun forms found in the verse, 4:85 state the mediation of good and evil works to have a share of it with God while 26 instances in verb, noun and active participle forms found in 24 verses across 17 suras tell about intercession and intercessor(s).

However, out of 26 instances, 12 instances found in 12 verses across 10 suras assert that the intercession directly and indirectly is a matter of God while 14 instances found in 12 verses across 8 suras confirm that there is no intercession on a day of the Judgment, which can also be mathematically confirmed if the relevant sura and verse numbers are added, the total is a multiple of 19 => 1026 (19x54) as detailed in the table below:

Note: The orange highlighted cells indicate presence of duplicate instance in the relevant verse, is not included in the mathematical confirmation as an established rule.

Conclusion

God has described His identity being sovereign over what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, and He does not need any help for looking after them. He will gather us as individuals on a day of the Resurrection/Judgment and will judge us based on our records to be carried over with us. Thus, our common sense should dictate that there is no option of intercession in His judgment system. But it is unfortunate that the concept of intercession as invented does exist in two major religious groups that are supposed to follow words of God. If we expect that there is any help from anyone whoever he may be we are associating partners with Him on one hand, and on the other hand, our concept of His impartial judgment system is not clear to us being aware that our records will determine our fate. While associating partners with our deity nullify our all works that He has repeated over and over in the Quran as well as in what was sent down before it that we can perfect our beliefs and practices.

Thus, this review not only give us clear insight but also give us an explicit proof that there is no intercession on a day of the judgment except a misconception or a myth being satanic trick to make us losers what he wants for all of us to be.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (12/20/2019).