The existence of intercession by the intercessor is essential to the Muslim. Intercession is a gift from Allah to both His Prophet and the Prophet’s ummah or people.
It is a gift to the Rasul, sallallahu alayhi wa sallim, because of his love for his people and a gift to them because of their need and the inherent weakness of humanity.
It is from love; the greatest power known to us, the attribute that all other attributes emerge from. Whatever is brought forward from a life lived, with all its imperfections and evil cannot remain when encountered by love. This all-effacing love is the love that Allah has for His beloved, Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallim, and in turn, it is the love that Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallim, has for his ummah. The power and light of this love obliterates all that comes before it. The gift of intercession is given to a heart that weeps for his ummah, thereby palliating the pain felt for those in distress and anguish for the wrong done to others.
It is in the nature of men that they will stand before Allah with a mountain of evil actions against Allah, His Rasul and all those they came into contact with. The rights they did not fulfil to parents, wives and children, colleagues, those above and below them, older and younger, their leaders, benefactors, well-wishers, enemies and detractors. Those he should have protected and spoken for and those he should have left alone, covering their mistakes; the moments he stole that belonged to others and the lassitude that led to difficulty for others; the fear for self that compromised the safety of others and the disasters brought about by good intentions.
The good we did is a hill in comparison, although by the mercy and generosity of Allah those hills are weighty in His sight and this is key for us and a means for hope as it comes from His love. He, subhanahu wa ta’ala, wipes away a wrong action if it is followed by a good one; He rewards us ten times for a good one and punishes us only once for its opposite. He obliterates our evil if we turn sincerely to him for forgiveness and makes a lifetime of evil disappear if we travel to His house in submission.
Men will come to Allah with varying balances, some worse than others and given the mercy displayed to them during their lifetimes, those heavy on the wrong side will have been quite wilful to a degree. If we were to judge those lives then many would be sorely dealt with even if we were the most merciful of judges. Al-hamdulillah, we will not be in that position but will all stand before a merciful King and all that is between us and our just deserts will be one who weeps for us on that awful day.
Allah and His Rasul have made plain the path to the Garden and the Fire and if we take one or the other the results are clearly delineated, but intentions can obscure the matter; when we gave to others was it for their benefit or reputation; the courage shown was it really selfless or was it to be seen? Were we giving hoping to get more in return? It is very unwise to be certain of your fate based upon your own calculations. You may have prayed all your life but with the wrong intention, equally another may have seemed to rebel at every opportunity only to be revealed as a man of true sincerity. In the end you cannot rely on your performance; you have to rely on the One who will judge when it matters because if you rely on yourself you will likely become arrogant but if you rely on your Lord you will always be humble.
The gift of intercession given by Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, to the Rasulullah, sallallahu alayhi wa sallim, is not to be confused with the erroneous Christian doctrine that the supposed death of sayyidina ‘Isa, alayhi sallim, obliterates the sins of his flock, thereby allowing the assumption that to believe it is to be forgiven. A gift comes regardless of the actions of the receiver and is based solely on the generosity of the giver. We do not live our lives based upon an expectancy of gifts, because they are beyond our power, but instead we work with those gifts already given as part of our humanity, such as life, power, will, hearing, touch, knowledge, etc. It is the use, or lack thereof, of these qualities that correspond to our singular destinies; hence our destinations are of our making as Allah states.
When the time comes for judgement, which is after the completion of effort, an effort that cannot be changed, added to or subtracted from, self-evident without screen and not a breath missing, there is only the mercy of the Merciful. He, subhanahu was ta’ala, has placed that mercy with His Beloved in the form of prophetic intercession. We do not rely on it but our hope in it is greater than our hope in what we may have achieved.
Therefore rely on the promises of Allah, which are connected to our humanity and the obligations that it brings. Obey Him and His Rasul because that is what He commands, and rely on His mercy that you never taste His anger, and be sure of the love that Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallim, has for his ummah.