When the ordeal gets too serious at that site, people will keep searching for those with high positions to intercede with their Lord on behalf of these people, that He may relieve them from the stress and terror of the situation and settle their accounts. They will approach Adam, and remind him of his advantage and of Allah’s generosity with him. He will apologize and turn them down, reminding them how he disobeyed and ate from the tree. He will refer them to Noah, the first of Allah’s messengers, who was called by his Lord a grateful servant. Noah will also apologize and turn them down, referring them to the messenger next to him in the group of “Messengers of Resolve.”
This will go on until they will get to Muhammad. He will be standing at a station for which he will be envied by members of early and late generations and which will show his great status and high position. He will ask Allah for admission, and he will be admitted. He will praise and glorify Allah and plead with Him on behalf of his nation, and Allah will grant him his wish, because Allah has allowed every prophet to have his wish granted in worldly life, while Messenger Muhammad has kept his pleading for the Day of Resurrection.
Anas Ibn Malik quotes Allah’s Messenger as saying,
Every prophet made a pleading on behalf of his nation, and I have kept mine to be an intercession on behalf of my nation on the Day of Resurrection.
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In a similar tradition quoted by Abu Hurairah he says,
Every prophet is granted a prayer, and all prophets were quick to use their prayers. I have kept mine to be an intercession on behalf of my nation on the Day of Resurrection. It will affect, by Allah’s will, every member of my nation who dies, believing in no one other than Allah.
The intercession of the Messenger will be in two situations: (1) his intercession on behalf of all creation for Allah to come and judge between people, and that is when they are gathered and suffer anxiety, misery, and regret; and (2) an intercession limited to his nation, after they have walked on the Straight Path.
Brothers and sisters in Islam, there are many verified traditions that declare and affirm that the intercession of Muhammad will work for his followers, as long as they worship no partner with Allah, and that no monotheist will remain in Hell forever.
The Prophet says,
Then I will return to my Lord for the fourth time. I will praise Him with those praises and then fall prostrate. I will be told, ‘Muhammad, lift your head and speak, and you will be listened to. Ask, and you will be given. Intercede, and your intercession will be granted.’
I will say, “Lord, allow me those who say, ‘ There is no deity but Allah.’”He will say, ‘You cannot have that,’ or ‘That is not for you. But, by my Glory, Vanity, and Greatness, I will indeed get out of it everyone who has said, ‘There is no deity but Allah.’
This is a great tradition; it shows the mercy of Prophet Muhammad for his nation and his eagerness to get its members into Paradise. It also shows the vastness of the mercy of Allah, the Most Sublime.
Still, Muslims should not depend on that and fail to work, for this intercession of the Prophet is for monotheists who are already in Hell. I have already mentioned that the situation on the Day of Resurrection is full of horrors, and the account and recompense are so dreadful that one loses his mind. How much more terrible it is to fall into Hell!
As mentioned above, this intercession is made for monotheist believers alone. Meanwhile, polytheists remain eternally in Hell, and the intercession of Muhammad does not apply to them, because Paradise is a forbidden place for unbelievers.
Therefore, we must fear Allah and repent to him. Let us equip ourselves for that day with good deeds in the hope that Allah will forgive us, have mercy on us, and, out of mercy, admit us into Paradise, and that the intercession of our Prophet will include us before we get into hell. Let us pray to Allah to make us among the seventy thousand who will be admitted into Paradise without going into any accounting or punishment, the ones who, as the Prophet says, use no charm or cauterization-based treatment, do not believe in evil omens, and trust their affairs to Allah. This is the form of perfect monotheism: trusting things to Allah and seeking help from none other than Him, although it is not forbidden to use some charms and to cauterize —believing in bad omens, however, is forbidden.
Behold then what a blessing we receive from Allah and what mercy His Messenger Muhammad has for us. He is eager for us to maintain our belief in this world and kind and merciful to us both in this world and the Hereafter. Allah, glory be to Him, describes him as such in the chapter of Al-Tawbah, saying,
There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer, [he is] concerned over you [i.e., your guidance] and to the believers is kind and merciful. [Surat Al-Tawbah, 9:128]
One of the traditions supporting what I have said is one quoted by Anas ibn Malik, in which the Prophet says,
When the Day of Resurrection comes and people surge towards each other, they will approach Adam and say, ‘Intercede for us!’He will say, ‘I am not your man, but go to Abraham; he is intimate with Allah.’
They will approach Abraham, and he will say, ‘I am not your man, but go to Moses; he is the one Allah conversed with.’
Moses will be approached and will say, ‘I am not your man, but go to Jesus; he is Allah’s spirit.’
Jesus will be approached and will say, ‘I am not your man, but go to Muhammad.’ I will be approached and will say, ‘I am your man. ’I will set out and seek My Lord’s admission and be admitted. I will stand in his presence and praise Him with praises I will not be capable to master unless He inspires them to me. I will then fall prostrate before our Lord. He will tell me, ‘Muhammad, lift your head and speak, and you will be listened to. Ask, and you will be given. Intercede, and your intercession will be granted.’ I will say, ‘Lord, my nation! My nation!’
He will say, ‘Set out, and release from it [i.e., Hell] every person who has faith in his heart equal to the weight of a single grain of wheat of barley.’
Nobody will intercede for that other than those whom Allah permits to do so and is satisfied both with them and the one interceded for, as Allah the Most Sublime says,
Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? [Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:255]
He also says,
…and they cannot intercede except on behalf of one whom He approves. [Surat Al-Anbiya’, 21:28]
The accepted intercession is of several types:
- The Great Intercession: This is the Praised Station, where people from early and late generations appeal to Prophet Muhammad to intercede with his Lord to relieve people from the terrors at the site of gathering. This has been previously mentioned.
- His intercession on behalf of guilty monotheists who will go to Hell, to be released from it.
- His intercession on behalf of people whose good and bad deeds are equal, for them to be admitted into Paradise.
- His intercession on behalf of some people for them not to be dragged into Hell after orders will be given for them to be taken there.
- His intercession to have raised the ranks of people who will be admitted into Paradise, raised above what is merited as a reward for their deeds.
- His intercession on behalf of people to be admitted into Paradise without having to present their accounts. Let us pray to Allah, the Most Merciful of all, to include us among these.
- His intercession for believers to get permission to enter Paradise.
- His intercession to have the punishment of his uncle Abu Talib reduced. This reduction will be that Allah will get him away from the middle and the blaze of Fire to a shoal of Fire that will cover his feet, making his brain boil.
The Straight Path
After unbelievers and polytheists have been driven to Hell, there will remain in the plazas of Resurrection Day the followers of monotheist messengers. Some of these will have been sinful and disobedient, others will have been hypocritical. Darkness will be cast on them before passing over the bridge. At that point, hypocrites will get separated from believers and stay behind. Believers will go ahead, and the two groups will be kept from each other by a wall that will not permit unbelievers to join believers. Male and female believers will be granted a light that will reveal for them the road leading to Paradise, sparing them any slips or stumbles. They will be promised Paradise, of which hypocrites, who have claimed in worldly life that they are on the side of Muslims, will be deprived. As they have deprived themselves on earth of the light of the Quran, they will be deprived of light on the Day of Resurrection. Hypocrites will ask believers to wait, so the former may be guided by the light of the latter. But hypocrites will be deceived, the same way they deceive believers in this world. They are told, “Step back to seek a light.” Hypocrites will step back, and believers will go forward. When the two sides are clearly divided, Allah will cast a wall between them, which on the inside has mercy and on the outside torment. Believers’ destiny will be Paradise and hypocrites’ destiny Hell fire.
On that, Allah says,
On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said],‘Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally. ’That is what is the great attainment. On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, ‘Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light.’ It will be said, ‘Go back behind you and seek light.’ And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment. They [i.e., the hypocrites] will call to them [i.e., the believers],‘Were we not with you?’They will say, ‘Yes, but you afflicted yourselves and awaited [misfortune for us] and doubted, and wishful thinking deluded you until there came the command of Allah. And the Deceiver [i.e., Satan] deceived you concerning Allah. So today no ransom will be taken from you or from those who disbelieved. Your refuge is the Fire. It is most worthy of you, and wretched is the destination.’ [Surat Al-Mujadilah, 57:12-15]
The Path will be set up for believers, who include in their ranks hypocrites and insubordinate believers, while polytheists and unbelievers will fall into Hellfire before going on the Path.
The Path will be a bridge stretching over Hell proper on which early and late followers of messengers will pass. An overpass between Heaven and Hell, it will be sharper than a sword and thinner than a hair. People will cross it in a manner concordant with their deeds: some will pass like a winged horse, some like a stallion, and some will gallop. Others will just walk, and still others will crawl on it. A group will fall into fire and be caught with hooks.
Picture yourself getting to the Path and looking at Hell below you, black and dark, with its blazing fire and rising flames, and you walk a little and crawl a little. Imagine yourself glancing at black hell below, hearing its breathing fire, and you are ordered to proceed on the Path in spite of your unsteady feet and trembling heart. Envision people close to you stumbling and slipping down, caught with hooks by the tormentors of Hell.
What a grisly picture! What a steep climb! What a narrow path!
May Allah guide us on the Straight Way and keep us mindful of Him!