Terms for Intercession (Shafa’at)

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عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ تَمَامٍ قَالَ قُلْتُ لِاَبِي عَبْدِ اللهِؑ اِنَّ فُلَاناً مَوْلَاكَ يُقْرِئُكَ السَّلَامَ وَ يَقُولُ لَكَ اضْمَنْ لِيَ الشَّفَاعَةَ فَقَالَ اَ مِنْ مَوَالِينَا قُلْتُ نَعَمْ قَالَ اَمْرُهُ اَرْفَعُ مِنْ ذٰلِكَ قَالَ قُلْتُ اِنَّهُ رَجُلٌ يُوَالِي عَلِيّاً وَ لَمْ يَعْرِفْ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ مِنَ الْاَوْصِيَاءِ قَالَ ضَالٌّ قُلْتُ فَاَقَرَّ بِالْاَئِمَّةِ جَمِيعاً وَ جَحَدَ الْآخِرَ قَالَ هُوَ كَمَنْ اَقَرَّ بِعِيسَى وَ جَحَدَ بِمُحَمَّدٍ ﷺ اَوْ اَقَرَّ بِمُحَمَّدٍ وَ جَحَدَ بِعِيسَىؑ نَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنْ جَحْدِ حُجَّةٍ مِنْ حُجَجِهِ

Muhammad Ibn Tamaam reports, “I asked Imam Abu Abdillah al-Sadeq (peace be upon him), ‘So and so has accepted your mastership and conveys salutation to you and says to you, ‘Guarantee intercession for me.’ He (peace be upon him) asked, ‘Is he from those who have accepted our mastership?’ I replied in the affirmative. He (peace be upon him) said, ‘His matter is higher than that.’ I said, ‘He is a man who has accepted the mastership of Ali but does not know the successors after him.’ (i.e. he does not acknowledge the other Imams (peace be upon them)). He (peace be upon him) retorted, ‘He is deviated.’ I inquired, ‘What about the one who acknowledges all the Imams but denies one of them?’ He (peace be upon him) answered, ‘He is like the one who acknowledges Eesa (peace be upon him) but denies Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) or acknowledges Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) but denies Eesa (peace be upon him). We seek refuge in Allah from the denial of a proof from his proofs (peace be upon him).

Note:

His affair is higher than that implies that if he has truly accepted our mastership, he is not in need of intercession.  

Question: Why Imam (peace be upon him) asked whether he has accepted our mastership? Was he not aware of the unseen?

Answer:

1)    Allah asks in the Holy Quran, ‘What is in your right hand, O Moosa?’ He said, ‘It is my staff.’ Was Allah not having knowledge of the unseen that it is staff? Often, a person knows something but for a specific purpose and aim, raises a question so that the point becomes clear for everyone.

2)    The knowers of the unseen are not ordered to use their knowledge of the unseen except rarely. Those who possess the power to perform miracles don’t always perform them except when required.

References:

1.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 23, p. 97, H. 5

2.    al-Ghaibah of al-No’mani, p. 112, H. 4, Chapter 5

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