Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Muhammad & His Concept of Intercession with Allah

Whoever has said that [old habits do not die easily] was right. To the skeptics or critics who hesitate to consider this saying seriously, I will try to prove its veracity and value by giving two examples.

One: I lived the life of a Muslim for almost forty-five years. I came out of it twenty years ago with the determination to shake off all the Islamic things that had become, during my Islamic days, a part of my personality. Though I have succeeded in burying under the ground my Islamic past without much difficulty, yet often I do, and say things, that will give an observer the impression that I am more of a Muslim than a loud renegade. Examples:

I still greet my Muslim friends and relatives with the customary Islamic salutation of Assala-mu alaikum. Instead of saying goodbye, I still say Khuda Hafiz, while seeing them off. I still call out Allah’s name, whenever I feel a pain, or whenever I am in a depressed mood.

When realization downs, I promise myself to be careful in future, but without any success. Whenever I see a Muslim, I forget my promise and greet and see him or her off in the same Islamic fashion.

This has been happening to me because some of the old Islamic habits that had become part of my life still lives in me. They seize my mind, and make me do or say things that I want to do or say no more.

Two: Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, was born in a Pagan family. He was given his so-called Muslim name by his Pagan mother and grandfather. He grew up seeing and following the Pagan rituals. He practiced paganism for forty years.

It was the Pagan ritual of fasting that had taken him to the cave of Hira for penance where, he claimed later, he was visited by the archangel Gabriel to tell him that he was a prophet of Allah.

The Pagans’ fast was not like the one Muslims observe today. During their fasts, the Pagans ate and drank, but did not talk. In other words, remaining silent during day time was their fasting.

This was the fast that Muhammad himself had not only observed during his Pagan days, he also believed it was the same fast that Allah had wanted Mary to observe after she had delivered Jesus Christ in the wilderness of a desert.[1]

Like all other Pagans of his time, Muhammad also prayed to the 360 idols that occupied the inside and the outside of the Ka’aba. Those idols did not look like the idols we see now in the temples of the people, we call Hindu.

I believe that all the Pagan idols were in the form of weird looking stones and rocks. Some of the good looking idols might have been brought from Syria and other places that the Pagans used to visit in connection with their trade.

The Pagans believed that those stones and rocks they collected from the rocky and mountainous regions of their land came from heaven, a belief that made them to install them inside and outside of the Ka’aba. This is the same belief that made them to affix a stone on its wall. This stone is known as 'san’g-e-as’vad'.

The word 'san’g' means stone. The word 'as’vad' means black. The stone affixed to the wall of the Ka’aba is black, hence the name 'san’g-e-as’vad' given to it.

Among the 360 idols, there was a stone or rock that the Meccan Quraish believed represented Allah. According to Phillip K. Hitti,

"Allah was the principal, but not the only, deity of Makkah. The name 'Allah' is an ancient one. It occurs in two South Arabic inscriptions, one a Minaean found at al-‘Ula and the other a Sabaean, but abounds in the form of HLH in the Lihyanite inscriptions of the fifth century B.C. Lihyan, which evidently got the god from Syria, was first centre of the worship of this deity in Arabia. The name occurs as Hallah in the Safa inscriptions five century before Islam and also in a pre-Islamic Christian Arabic inscription found in umm-al-Jimal, Syria, and ascribed to the sixth century. … The esteem in which Allah was held by the pre-Islamic Makkans as the creator and the supreme provider and the one to be invoked in time of special peril may be inferred from such koranic passages as 31:24, 31; 6:137, 109; 10:23. Evidently, he was the tribal deity of the Quraysh". [2]

The Meccans also believed that this deity, Allah, had three daughters. In accordance with this belief, they installed three stones or rocks in the Ka’aba, and they called them Lat, Uzza and Manat.[3] They worshipped them in the hope that they would intercede, on their behalf, with their father to make their life easy and worth living. Their belief was akin to the theory of Oedipus complex developed by Freud in our modern time.

Influenced, perhaps, by the pagan concept of intercession with a deity who was supposed to be more powerful than other deities, Christianity assigned the responsibility to intercede with God to Jesus Christ, God's only son. On the Day of Judgment, Christ will intercede with his father, and his father will forgive all the sins of his followers, which they committed during their sojourn on earth.

Muhammad grew up with all the beliefs of the Pagans occupying his mind. These beliefs continued to occupy him even when he launched his movement to oust all the idols from the Ka’aba. Even after being partially, but greatly, successful in his effort, he carried out the circumambulation of the House of Allah, when all the idols he gave the appearance of hating so madly were still residing within and outside its four walls.

Remaining under the influence of paganism, Muhammad also wanted to promote a concept of intercession with Allah in a way that was different from those of the Pagans and Christians. He replaced the intercessory role of Allah’s daughters with himself, but failed to make his appointment as the new intercessor clear. While developing his role as the only intercessor whose pleadings Allah will accept on the Day of Judgment, he became confused. With a confused mind, he confined Allah (also called the Lord) to the city of Mecca together with making Him second to a Supreme Allah who controlled Him and His activities. The Meccan Lord will intercede, on the Day of Judgment, with the Supreme Allah for the salvation of Muhammad’s followers.

About his own intercessory role with Allah, Muhammad wrote in the Quran:

"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". [4]

Though Muhammad has not said that it will be only he who will intercede with Allah on behalf of his followers, but the phrase [except for those for whom permission has been granted by (Allah), Most Gracious and whose word is acceptable to Him] indicates that along with him, there will be others whose intercession will also be acceptable to Allah.

In respect to the area the Meccan Allah had His control and authority on, Muhammad wrote:

"For me, I have been commanded to serve the Lord of this City, Him Who has sanctified it and to Whom (belong) all things: and I am commanded to be of those who bow in Islam to Allah’s Will, -". [5]

The phrase [this City] refers to Mecca. Muhammad spoke the above words in this city.[6]

It is clear from this statement that it was the Meccan Lord (or Allah) who, under an order from a higher Allah, commanded Muhammad to serve only Him (the Meccan Lord), as all the things that were in this city, belonged only to Him.

In regard to the intercessory role that the Meccan Lord will play on the Day of Judgment, Muhammad wrote:

"It is Allah Who has created the heavens and the earth, and all between them, in six days, and is firmly established on the Throne (of authority): ye have none, besides Him, to protect or intercede (for you): will ye not then receive admonition?" [7]

Because the Meccan Lord was subservient to a Supreme Allah, the former took oath on the latter with a view to making humans understand how powerful He was. This is what Muhammad has said on this account:

"By Allah, We (also) sent (our apostles) to Peoples before thee; but Satan made, (to the wicked), their own acts seem alluring: He is also their patron today, but they shall have a most grievous penalty" .[8]

It was the Supreme Allah on whom the Meccan Lord swore, for the latter could not have sworn on Himself to make His point weighty and believable. It is the Supreme Allah who will ultimately decide the fate of the Muslims, intercessions from Muhammad and the Meccan Lord on their behalf notwithstanding.

In the light of my short discussion on intercession, Muslims need to keep the role of the Supreme Allah in their mind as well. It is He who will ultimately decide who, among them, will enter heaven on the Day of Resurrection. They should, therefore, try to keep Him happy, and not the Lord of Mecca.

[1] Cf. The Quran; 19:26.

[2] History of the Arabs; pp. 100 & 101.

[3] The Quran; 53:19 & 20.

[4] The Quran; 20:109.

[5] The Quran; 27:91.

[6] Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Quran, Vol. 2, p. 999.

[7] The Quran; 32:4.

[8] The Quran; 16:63.

Hit Counter