الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي خص نبيَه بالوسيلةِ والشفاعة، وأدخل بها من وحّد من أمتِه إلى الجنة، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير،  ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.

 

Our noble Messenger is not like other men – he holds a unique position within creation and has a unmatched station with his Lord, and has been granted what the ulama refer to as khasa’is – his special qualities. Things that he and he alone has. Some are in this world and some are in the Next. Some are for him alone and some are for his umma. There are many examples, indeed some of the ulama have numbered these khasa’is at more than seventy. So I will make do with mentioning but a few. With regard to his umma, the whole earth has been made a mosque for them, and they can purify themselves with it in the absence of water. Similarly, the spoils of war are permissible for them and they will be the first ones into the garden, with seventy thousand of them entering without reckoning. And with regard to him, his eyes slept but not his heart, he saw behind him as he saw in front, space folded up before him as when he prayed janaza over the Najashi according to Imam Malik. And as for the Next world, he alone will be given Kawthar from which the people of his umma will drink, and he alone will be granted the maqamun mahmud – the praiseworthy station. Allah says,

 

عَسَى أَنْ يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَحْمُودًا

 

the translation of which is “It may well be that your Lord will raise you to a Praiseworthy Station.” What is this praiseworthy station? According to the mufassirin, it refers to one of two things, or possibly to both of them: the first is that it will be him who holds aloft the banner to which all believers, past and present, including the previous Prophets, Messengers and their followers, will flock on the day of Qiyama. The Prophet said, as narrated by Anas,

معي لواءُ الحمدِ يوم القيامة، وأنا أولُ من تُفتَح له الجنةُ ولا فخر

 

“The Banner of Praise will be with me on the Day of Rising and I will be the first for whom the Garden will open, and that is no boast.” He alone will be permitted to hold this banner aloft, thereby making him the focal point around which all the believers will gather. They will all flock to his side on the Day of Qiyama, and that place in which they find him standing will be the maqamun mahmud. That is the first honour his Lord will grant him on that day. The second is that he will be granted the shafa‘a, the capacity to intercede with Allah. And this is the second interpretation that the mufassirun have given for maqamun mahmud, for Abu Hurayra narrates that when the Messenger of Allah was asked what the praiseworthy station was, he said,

المقام المحمودُ هو المقامُ الذي أشفَعُ فيه لأمتي

 

“The praiseworthy station is the station in which I intercede on behalf of my umma.” This shafa’a is one of his khasa’is – only he will be permitted to intercede and speak out on behalf of others. Everyone else will be focused on themselves, such is the terror of that day. They will all say nafsi nafsi nafsi, apart from our Messenger who will say ummati ummati ummati. Even the chosen of Allah, the Prophets and Messengers, will not dare intercede but will instead direct all supplicants to the Messenger of Allah. In a long hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik, the Prophet relates that on the day of Rising, the people will approach each Prophet in turn, Adam, Ibrahim, Musa, Isa, and ask them to intercede with Allah on their behalf. But each of them will refuse saying it is not their right and send them on to the next Prophet until Isa finally sends them to our own Prophet, Muhammad. And he finally will be the one to accept, saying,

أنا لها

 

“I am your man.” Then, straight away, he will go to his Lord, prostrate before Him and intercede on their behalf, and they will be granted relief from the harshness of the sun and the hardship of the standing on that day when there is no shade except for that directly granted by Allah. In that moment at that place, the maqamun mahmud, he will intercede for every one of them along with most of  the rest of creation. Anas ibn Malik narrated that he said,

 

لأشفعَنَّ يوم القيامة لأكثرَ مِمَّا في الأرض مِن حَجَرٍ وَشَجَرٍ

 

“I will intercede on the Day of Rising for most of what is on the earth, including its rocks and trees.”

This, the shafa’a udhma – the great intercession, is the first of four types of shafa’a granted exclusively to the Messenger of Allah, in response to his dua. For he said,

 

لكل نبي دعوةٌ يدعو بها، واختبأتُ دعوتي شفاعةً لأمتي يوم القيامة

 

“Every Prophet has a supplication that he makes. I have reserved my supplication for intercession for my community on the Day of Rising.” The Prophet chose to store his guaranteed supplication for the Day of poverty and terror, for in his wisdom he knew that that, the place and time of reckoning, would be when they would be in most need of it.

The second type or level of intercession granted to the Prophet is that of having people of his umma enter the Garden bighayri hisaab – without any Reckoning, as has come down in a narration from Abu Hurayra,

 

فيقال: يا محمدُ، ارفع رأسَك، سل تُعطَه، واشفع تُشفَع، فأرفعُ رأسي، فأقول: يا رب أمتي، يا رب أمتي. فيَقُولُ: أدخِل من أمتِك مَن لا حسابَ عليه من الباب الأيمنِ مِن أبوابِ الجنة، وهم شركاءُ الناسِ فيما سوى ذلك من الأبواب.

 

“It will be said, ‘Muhammad, lift up your head. Ask and it will be given to you. Intercede and your intercession will be granted.’ The Prophet will say, ‘I will raise my head and say, ‘O Lord, my community! O Lord, my community!’ He will say, ‘Admit [to the Garden] through the righthand gate those of your community who will not have to undergo the Reckoning. [The rest of your umma] can share the other gates with all the other people.’”

The third level of intercession granted the Prophet is reserved for those of his umma who affirmed the Oneness of Allah but whose actions brought them to the Fire. The Prophet said,

 

فيقال لي: ارفع رأسك، و قل يُسمَع، واشفع تُشفَع، وسل تُعطَه. فأقول: يا رب، ائذَن لي فيمن قال: لا إله إلا الله. قال: ليس ذلك إليك. ولكن وعزتي وكبريائي وعَظَمتي وجِبريائي لأخرجَنَّ من النار من قال: لا إله إلا الله.

 

“I will be told, ‘Lift up your head! Speak and you will be heard. Intercede and it will be granted. Ask and you will be given!’ I will say, ‘O Lord, give me permission for the one who says, “There is no god but Allah”.’ He will say, “That is not your affair, but by My might, My pride, My immensity and My greatness, I will bring out of the Fire those who say, “There is no god but Allah.”

Thanks to the intercession of the Prophet, no matter how heinous a person’s actions, so long as there is but a single grain of belief in his heart when he dies, Allah will bring him out of the Fire and admit him to the Garden. Ibn Abbas narrates that the Prophet said,

 

فيقول الله تبارك وتعالى: ما تريدُ بأمتك؟ فأقول: يا رب، عَجِّل حسابَهم، فيُدعَى بهم، فيحاسَبون. فمنهم من يدخل برحمته، ومنهم من يدخل الجنةَ بشفاعتي، ولا أزالُ أشفعُ حتى أُعطَى صِكاكاً برجالٍ قد أُمِرَ بهم إلى النار، حتى إن خازنَ النار ليقولُ: يا محمد، ما تركتَ لغضبِ ربك في أمتك من نِقمَة.

 

“Allah will ask me, ‘What do you want Me to do with your community?’ I will reply, ‘O Lord, make their reckoning quick.’ He will call for them and they will be judged. Some of them will enter the Garden by His mercy and some of them will enter the Garden by my intercession. And I will continue to intercede until He gives a paper of good deeds to men who have been commanded to the Fire. So the Guardian of the Fire will say, ‘Muhammad! You haven’t left any scope for the anger of your Lord against your community!’” Allahumma sali ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammad.

The fourth level of intercession is for the those who have already been granted the Garden. The Prophet will ask that each of them be given a station higher than that merited by their good actions. And that is why we find it narrated of so many of the salaf and the men of Allah that they used to ask for the intercession of the Prophet despite their high station with Allah. So we ask Allah to grant us his intercession and repay him with the best a Prophet can be repaid from his community. And we ask Him to bless him abundantly.

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم.

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.

 

Such is the compassion of the Messenger of Allah that he will intercede on behalf of this umma. But the mu’min must never take anything for granted and must never take the Prophet for granted. That is the height of bad manners, both towards Allah and towards His Messenger. We cannot assume the shafa’a will be granted us, instead we must constantly ask our Lord and ask the one to whom He has granted that right. Allah says,

 

وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآؤُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُواْ اللّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ اللّهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا

 

the translation of which is, “If only when they had wronged themselves, they had come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger asked forgiveness of them, they would have found Allah ….” This is the example of the best community, the noble Sahaba. They were not shy to ask the Messenger of Allah to intercede on their behalf, and they saw nothing wrong in doing that. Anas said,

سَأَلْتُ النَّبِيَّ أَنْ يَشْفَعَ لِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، فَقَالَ: أَنَا فَاعِلٌ

 

“I asked the Prophet to intercede for me on the Day of Rising and he said, ‘I will do so.’” He did not say, ‘You must not ask me, you must only ask Allah to make me your intercessor.’ He did not say, ‘This is shirk’, as some today will have you believe. Rather he acknowledged the request and said he would do it. For it is an ability Allah has given him, something within his power, like when you ask someone strong to help you lift something, or someone wise to help you work something out. We are simply asking someone to do what is within their granted capacity and there is no shirk in that. It is what the people will do on the Day of Qiyama when they go from Prophet to Prophet, and they will not have suddenly been transformed into idolaters. It is not as if anyone is asking him personally to grant us forgiveness, only to ask for it. And the reason we ask him is the request by a beloved is far likely to be answered than that made by anyone else. Do you not see that if you want something from a king, you approach those closest to him and ask them to present it to give your petition the greatest chance for success.

Thus those who claim it is forbidden to ask the Prophet for shafa’a are shown to be wrong. And if they say that yes, it was permissible when he was alive, but no longer now that he is dead, for the dead do not have the capacity to accomplish anything, then narrate to them the words of the Messenger of Allah narrated by Anas ibn Malik,

 

الأنبياءُ أحياءُ في قبورهم يُصَلُّون

 

“The Prophets are alive in their graves, praying.” Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawzi said on this matter, “It is confirmed in the Sahih from the Prophet that the earth does not consume the bodies of the Prophets; that he met with previous Prophets on the Night of the Isra in Jerusalem, and later the same night in heaven (during the mi’raj); that whenever a Muslim sends him salams, Allah returns his ruh to the Prophet so that he can return the salam, and many other such things. When all these matters are taken together, they prove decisively that when we say the Prophets are dead, we simply mean that they are in the Unseen in a place we cannot see them. The reality is that they are alive and in existence, just like the angels, who despite the fact that we cannot see them, are alive and in existence.”

They hear us and are able to respond. The fact that we cannot hear them is immaterial. And sometimes a response does come. It is narrated by Ibn Abi Shayba that Malik ad-Darini said, “There was a severe drought in the time of Umar so a man went to the grave of the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your umma, for they are dying.’ So the Messenger of Allah came to him in a dream and told him to go to Umar and give him salaams and tell him that rain is coming. And the man did so.” So the Messenger of Allah heard the man while in his grave and responded to his request.

Death for a Prophet is not like death for one of us. So the objection that the Prophet is dead is not a valid one. And even were it valid, still the fact that it has been the ijma, the practice of all the great men of this community to ask for intercession, even after his death, should be enough for us. There is a wonderful story narrated in the Shifa of a visit the khalifa Abu Ja’far made to the grave of the Prophet. When he entered the rawda, he wanted to know the correct adab for making dua there, so he asked Imam Malik whether he should face the qibla or face the Messenger of Allah. Imam Malik replied,

“Why would you turn your face from him when he is your wasila – your means and the means of your father, Adam, to Allah on the Day of Rising? I face him and ask him to intercede on my behalf, and Allah will grant his intercession.” This is correct adab, this has been the dua of all true men of knowledge and all true men of Allah from the time of the Prophet until the present day and anyone who says or does otherwise belittles the Messenger of Allah and cuts himself off from him. And indeed limits his chances of entering the garden, for there are but two ways into the Garden, and if you deny one, all you are left with is the other. And the other is dependent on your love, respect and appreciation for the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet said, as we mentioned in the first khutba,

 

فمنهم من يدخل برحمته، ومنهم من يدخل الجنةَ بشفاعتي

 

“Some will enter the Garden by His mercy and some will enter the Garden by my intercession.” His intercession, his shafa’a is the key that unlocks the gateway to the Garden and opens the way to the Pleasure of our Lord, so we must use whatever means are available to us to obtain it. We must ask him for it, we must say ‘la ilaha illa-l-lah’ often and with true sincerity, we must make our salawat on him ﷺ plentiful, and we must make the following dua every time we hear the adhan,

 

اللهم ربَّ هذه الدعوة التامة، والصلاة القائمة، آت سيدنا محمدا الوسيلة والفضيلة، وابعثه مقاما محمودا الذي وعدته، إنك لا تخلف الميعاد

 

“O Allah, Lord of this perfect call and established prayer, give our master Muhammad the wasila and the fadila, and grant him the praiseworthy station that You promised him. You do not break Your promise.” By holding to all these things, we give ourselves the greatest chance of being recipients of his shafa’a and therefore recipients of the mercy and acceptance of our Lord. We ask the Messenger of Allah to intercede on our behalf and ask Allah to grant us his intercession. Let us finish with the dua of Shaykh Ahmad al-Huwaarii, mentioned in the Hafidha of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib,

 

تشــفع يا رســــول الله فينا             فما نـرجو شفـاعة من ســـواك

أغث يا خير خلق الله قوما               ضعافــا ظلهــم أبـــدا لواكـــــا

وســارع فـــي إغاثتنا                    فإنا نري المولي يسارع في رضاك

عليك صـــلاة ربك كل حين               وآلك كلهم ومـــن ولاك

 

Intercede for us, Messenger of Allah,             we do not hope for intercession from any but you.

Grant help, best of Allah’s creation,   to a weak people whose protection is always your banner,

Hasten to aid us, for we see                            that the Lord is swift to please you.

May the blessings of your Lord be upon you in every moment,                     and on all your family and those who are your friends. Amin.

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.

رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.

إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ