Salam,

It is stated there is no intercession in Surah 2:254 – O ye who believe! Spend out of (the bounties) We have provided for you, before the Day comes when no bargaining (Will avail), nor friendship nor intercession. Those who reject faith they are the wrong-doers.

The Quran however being claimed makes contradictory statements on intercession where some verses say there is no intercession but some verses are stating there is intercession. Here are some examples of no intercession:-

O children of Israel! Call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations. And be on your guard against a day when one soul shall not avail another in the least, neither shall intercession on its behalf be accepted, nor shall any compensation be taken from it, nor shall they be helped. (Surah 2:47-48) and the same is stated in Surah 2:122-123)

These two passages quoted above make it clear that intercession will not avail any person, not just the Israelites, since the references to “No soul” and “One soul” not availing another naturally includes every human being.

And the Quran even says that even prophets and angels can only hope for God’s mercy and none else: Say: Cry unto those (saints and angels) whom ye assume (to be gods) beside Him, yet they have no power to rid you of misfortune or to change. Those unto whom they cry seek the way of approach to their Lord, which of them shall be the nearest; they hope for His mercy and they fear His doom. Lo! The doom of thy Lord is to be shunned. (Surah 17:56-57).

The next set of verses of the Quran will look like contradicting the preceding verses quoted earlier regarding the permissibility of intercession:

Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him or sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permit? He know what (appear to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He will. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). (Surah 2:255).

And in another verse it is stated: Verily your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority), regulating and governing all things. No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His leave (hath been obtained). This is Allah your Lord; Him therefore serve ye: will ye not receive admonition? (Surah10:3)

On the day when We shall gather the righteous unto the Beneficent, a goodly company. And drive the guilty unto hell, a weary herd, They will have no power of intercession, save him who hath made a covenant with his Lord. (Surah19:85-87)

On that Day shall no intercession avail except for those for whom permission has been granted by (Allah) Most Gracious and whose word is acceptable to Him. (Surah 20:109)

And We did not send before you any messenger but We revealed to him that there is no god but Me, therefore serve Me. And they say: The Beneficent Allah has taken to Himself a son. Glory be to Him. Nay! They are honored servants, they do not precede Him in speech and (only) according to His commandment do they act. He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they do not intercede except for him whom He approves and for fear of Him they tremble. And whoever of them should say: Surely I am a god besides Him, such a one do We recompense with hell; thus do, We recompense the unjust. (Surah 21:25-29)

“No intercession can avail in His Presence, except for those for whom He has granted permission. So far (is this the case) that, when terror is removed from their hearts (at the Day of Judgment, then) will they say, ‘what is it that your Lord commanded?’ they will say, ‘That which is true and just; and He is the Most High Most Great’.” (Surah 34:23)

And those unto whom they cry instead of Him possess no power of intercession, saving him who bear witness unto the Truth knowingly. (Surah 43:86)

How many-so-ever be the angels in the heavens, their intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He pleases and that he is acceptable to Him. (Surah 53:26)

To answer whether there is contradiction or not on the alleged case of intercession based on all the given verses above one has to determine and to know the definition of intercede or what is intercession and below are some of the meanings given by various dictionaries as stated:-

Oxford dictionary defined “intercede” as “intervene on behalf of another”; Longman dictionary defined it as “to speak in support of someone, especially in order to try to prevent them from being punished”; while Merriam-Webster defined it as “to try to help settle an argument or disagreement between two or more people or groups: to speak to someone in order to defend or help another person.”

Thus in the matter of intercession taking the definition from above meanings and according to the Quran Allah will never allow those who has sinned and done evil deeds being interceded by anyone even of those whom He loved. This is so in the case of Noah who pleaded for his son who had sinned in which Allah’s replied when “He said: “O Noah! He is not of thy family: For his conduct is unrighteous. So ask not of Me that of which thou hast no knowledge! I give thee counsel, lest thou act like the ignorant!” (Surah 11:46). A similar situation happened to Abraham when he prayed for his pagan father as stated in Surah 19:47 he says “Peace be on thee: I will pray to my Lord for thy forgiveness: for He is to me Most Gracious. But the Quran forbid such prayer if the person we prayed for is an obvious rejecter and an enemy to Allah as stated in Surah 58:22 “Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And thus in Surah 9:114 Abraham stopped praying for his father as quoted “And Abraham prayed for his father’s forgiveness only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became clear to him that he was an enemy to Allah, he dissociated himself from him: for Abraham was most tender-hearted, forbearing.

It is therefore clearly not wrong for anyone to intercede for someone when he is only for doing of deeds which is of good and not for the doing of evil and the following verse substantiate this claim as stated in Surah 4:85 “Whoever intercedes and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein: And whoever intercedes and helps an evil cause, shares in its burden: And Allah hath power over all things.

And even the angels will not intercede for an evil deed as Allah only take that is acceptable to Him that is of their good deeds as confirmed in Surah 53:26 “How many-so-ever be the angels in the heavens, their intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He pleases and that he is acceptable to Him.” And also in Surah 21:28 He knows what is before them, and what is behind them, and they offer no intercession except for those who are acceptable, and they stand in awe and reverence of His (Glory). And in Surah 78:38 “The Day that the Spirit and the angels will stand forth in ranks, none shall speak except any who is permitted by (Allah) Most Gracious, and He will say what is right.

Such being the case the angels who intercede for the deeds of those who do good will be acceptable by Allah as in this example:-

Those who sustain the Throne (of Allah) and those around it Sing Glory and Praise to their Lord; believe in Him; and implore Forgiveness for those who believe: “Our Lord! Thy Reach is over all things, in Mercy and Knowledge. Forgive, then, those who turn in Repentance, and follow Thy Path; and preserve them from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire! And grant, our Lord! That they enter the Gardens of Eternity, which Thou hast promised to them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their posterity! For Thou art (He), the Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom. And preserve them from (all) ills; and any whom Thou dost preserve from ills that Day, on them wilt Thou have bestowed Mercy indeed: and that will be truly (for them) the highest Achievement.” (Surah 40:7-9)

Thus Allah only permits those who intercede on behalf for others for doing a good deed and not of evil that they do and therefore there is no contradiction in the concept of intercession of the Quran. Those who reject Allah and His message will never get intercession by anybody for his salvation but his punishment will be due to him.

The Quran says: Nor can a bearer of burdens bear another’s burdens if one heavily laden should call another to (bear) his load. Not the least portion of it can be carried (by the other). Even though he be nearly related. Thou canst but admonish such as fear their Lord unseen and establish regular Prayer. And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own soul; and the destination (of all) is to Allah. (Surah 35:8)

Asar