As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 6


The Arab Pagans worshiped Angels claiming them to be their intercessors with Allah

Some Arab Pagans also worshiped angels claiming that angels had special status with Allah and thus, they would intercede on their behalf with Allah. They said, 'we do not worship them except that they may draw us closer to Him (Allah).' [Soorah Az-Zumar (39): 3] Allah says, 'And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say, 'These are only our intercessors with Allah.' [Soorah Yunus (10): 18] In this verse, 'Allah reproaches the idolaters who worshiped others besides Allah, thinking that those gods would intercede for them before Allah. Allah states that these gods do not harm or benefit. They do not have any authority over anything, nor do they own anything. These gods can never do what the idolaters had claimed about them. This is why Allah said (next in the same verse), 'Say, Do you inform Allah of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?' Ibn Jareer said, 'This means, 'Are you telling Allah about what may not happen in the heavens and earth?' [See, Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

It is important to mention here that the Arab Pagans, who worshiped angels also believed in and confessed the Lordship of Allah, they worshiped Him regularly, performed pilgrimage, gave charity and remembered Allah constantly. They witnessed Allah as the Creator, Provider, and Owner of the Universe and that all creatures are under His Command and at His disposal. 'And indeed if you ask them, 'Who has created the heavens and the earth?” they will surely say, 'The All Mighty, the All Knower created them.' [Soorah az-Zukhruf (43): 9]

However, this belief did not qualify them to be saved from Hell-fire because they associated angels as partners in the worship of Allah. They prayed day and night, but associated angels for intercession. Thus, Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) was ordered to fight them because of this 'Shirk.' He (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) invited them to exclude all but Allah from their devotion and worship. He summoned them to make worship, sacrifice, supplication and all religious actions for Allah Alone.

Today people, who direct acts of worship towards the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) and dead saints also make similar claims that righteous people have position with Allah and we appeal to the saints only to intercede with Allah on our behalf and our acts are not worship to them. (We have discussed the subject of Shafaa’ah (intercession) in issue no. 2).

We say to them as Allah says in Soorah az-Zumar (39): 1-4, 'Surely, the religion is for Allah only. And those who take protectors besides Him (say), 'We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah.' Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) writes in the Tafseer of this verse, '…Allah tells us that the idolaters say, 'We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah.' Meaning what motivates them to worship them (i.e., the angels) is the fact that they made their idols in the image of the angels or so they claim and when they worship those images it is like worshiping the angels, so that they will intercede with Allah for them to help and give them provision and other worldly needs… Allah tells us that the angels in the heavens, those who are close to Him and others, are all servants who submit humbly to Allah. They do not intercede with Him except by His leave for the one with whom He is pleased. They are not like the princes and ministers of their (the idolater’s) kings who intercede with them without their permission for both; those whom the kings like and those whom they hate, 'So put not forward similitudes for Allah.' [See, Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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