Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Islam’s Divine Savior Revealed Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue from the previous part.

Who will Allah intercede with?

The following text, among a host of others,

Say, ‘To God belong all intercessions.’ To Him belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, then to Him you will be returned. S. 39:44 QRT

indicates that it is Allah who intercedes for believers, a point made explicit in the following hadith:

“… The Prophet added, ‘Then the prophets and Angels and believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (Allah) will say, “Now remains My intercession.” He will then hold a handful of fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of Paradise, called the water of life…’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s; *)


“… Then Allah, Exalted and Great, would say: The angels have interceded, the apostles have interceded and the believers have interceded, and no one remains (to grant pardon) but the Most merciful of the mercifuls. He will then take a handful from Fire and bring out from it people WHO NEVER DID ANY GOOD and who had been turned into charcoal, and will cast them into a river called the river of life, on the outskirts of Paradise. They will come out as a seed comes cut from the silt carried by flood. You see it near the stone or near the tree. That which is exposed to the sun is yellowish or greenish and which is under the shade is white. They said: Messenger of Allah! It seems as if you had been tending a flock in the jungle. He (the Prophet) said: They will come forth like pearls with seals on their necks. The inhabitants of Paradise would recognise them (and say): Those are who have been set free by the Compassionate One, Who has admitted them into Paradise without any (good) deed that they did or any good that they sent in advance. Then He would say: Enter the Paradise; whatever you see in it is yours. They would say: O Lord, Thou hast bestowed upon us (favours) which Thou didst not bestow upon anyone else in the world. He would say: There is with Me (a favour) for you better than this. They would say: O our Lord! which thing is better than this? He would say: It is My pleasure. I will never be angry with you after this.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0352; *)

This raises a major problem since, theologically speaking, intercession is an act whereby a person goes before God on behalf of another in order to plead his/her case.

Since intercession refers to an individual pleading with God to forgive someone and to look upon that person with favor, the question that naturally comes to mind is, to whom does Allah intercede when he is making intercession for the believers?

Seeing that Muslims insist that Allah is uni-personal in his being then this implies that he is basically interceding to himself!

In other words, the Islamic doctrine of intercession basically means that Allah is making intercession to himself, e.g. the Muslim deity is essentially pleading with and invoking himself to forgive the believers as well as to show them mercy!

Talk about mass confusion!

Our Divine Savior and Mediator Has Come

Like the Quran, the Holy Bible reveals that intercession is a divine work. Unlike Islamic tradition, however, the Holy Bible does not present an imperfect sinner as our intercessor with God. Rather, the God-breathed Scriptures are emphatically clear that intercession is a work of the glorious and majestic Triune God, specifically the divine Son and the eternal Spirit, as they make intercession with the Father on behalf of God’s elect.

As the Apostle Paul explained:

“For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation/atoning sacrifice by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:22b-26

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God Who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus Who died—more than that, Who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’” Romans 8:1, 26-27, 31-39

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6

The blessed Apostle was merely echoing the teachings of his glorious Lord and Savior as recorded in the Gospels:

“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 – cf. Mark 10:45

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28 – cf. Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Paul wasn’t the only inspired author who spoke of Christ’s intercessory role and atoning death. John did as well:

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation/atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:9-19

John, like Paul, was also reiterating and emphasizing what Christ himself taught during his earthly ministry:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.’” John 6:47-58

“‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’” John 14:1-7

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ is actually seated on God’s heavenly throne in the most holy place where he intercedes before the Father on behalf of all those who have been purified by his atoning blood:

“For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life… The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but He holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for His own sins and then for those of the people, since He did this once for all when He offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son Who has been made perfect forever. Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a High Priest, One Who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a Minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.” Hebrews 7:14-16, 23-28; 8:1-2

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore He is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenantFor Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not His own, for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:14-15, 24-28

What makes this last text rather interesting is that the inspired author has deliberately adopted the very language of Isaiah 53 to describe Jesus’ sacrificial death:

“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for sin, He shall see offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the Righteous One, My Servant, justify the many, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the many, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:10-12

Hence, not only do the NT documents speak of the atoning death and intercessory work of the Messiah, but the OT writings do so as well!

Christians have the advantage over the Muslims in this area since their belief in the intercessory work of God’s Son and Spirit avoid the contradictions and blatant idolatry that are found in the Islamic teaching on intercession.

Muslims are left with a view of intercession which elevates a fallible human being to divine status, thereby associating an imperfect creature with Allah in his exclusive divine functions and roles, which is the unpardonable sin of shirk. They are also faced with the fact that their doctrine of intercession means that Allah isn’t omniscient, thereby undermining the claim that their deity is perfect in all his essential attributes such as knowledge and understanding.

Muslims must also contend with the problem that Allah’s intercession raises for their monotheistic beliefs. Since Muslims insist that Allah is a singular person or consciousness, this means that they must accept the fact that Allah will actually make intercession with himself in order to invoke himself to show mercy and compassion to his followers!

Christians, however, do not have two imperfect, finite creatures sharing in God’s work of intercession and redemption. Rather, the Biblical witness is clear that the Son and Spirit are fully divine, and therefore one with the Father in his essence, which is why they can carry out such a divine work.

Moreover, since the Son and the Spirit are eternally and personally distinct from the Father and from one another, this avoids the problem which Muslims have with their god interceding for them. Instead of a single divine person interceding with himself, which makes absolutely no sense, we have two distinct divine Persons interceding with another divine Person on behalf of all those who believe.

In light of the foregoing, we invite Muslims to seriously consider the Biblical teaching on intercession and embrace what it says in regard to the true God who alone is capable of saving them from their sins. We invite them to turn to the Triune God of Scripture since he is the only Hope that mankind has for salvation:

“‘You are My witnesses, ‘ declares the Lord, ‘and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no savior.’” Isaiah 43:10-11

“Declare what is to be, present it—let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By Myself I have sworn, My mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before Me every knee will bow; by Me every tongue will swear.’” Isaiah 45:21-23

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ, the Lord.” Luke 2:11

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are Spirit and life.” John 6:63

“When God raised up His Servant, He sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” Acts 3:26

“God exalted Him to His own right hand as Leader and Savior that He might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.” Acts 5:31

“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as He promised… Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.” Acts 13:23, 38-39

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant — not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6

“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus Who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, Who sits on the throne, AND TO THE LAMB.’ All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’ Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes —who are they, and where did they come from?’ I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He Who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence. “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,” nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; “He will lead them to springs of living water.” “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”’” Revelation 7:9-17

The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.’” Revelation 22:17

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12