Imam al-Razi on the polytheists belief in intercession

Imam al-Razi, in his Quranic commentary for the verse 40:18,  writes:

إن القوم كانوا يقولون في الأصنام إنها شفعاؤنا عند الله وكانوا يقولون إنها تشفع لنا عند الله من غير حاجة فيه إلى إذن الله، ولهذا السبب رد الله تعالى عليهم ذلك بقوله
{ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ }[البقرة: 255]

He (rahimahullah) explains (roughly) that the polytheists say their idols are an intercessor to Allah and that they intercede with Allah without requiring the permission of Allah and it is for this reason that Allah says:  “Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission?“[2:255]

Thereafter Imam al-Razi continues:

 {فهذا يدل على أن القوم اعتقدوا أنه يجب على الله إجابة الأصنام في تلك الشفاعة، وهذا نوع طاعة، فالله تعالى نفى تلك الطاعة بقوله { مَا لِلظَّـٰلِمِينَ مِنْ حَمِيمٍ وَلاَ شَفِيعٍ يُطَاعُ

He says, this indicates that those people believed Allah must answer those idols intercession, and this is a kind of obedience. Allah Almighty has denied that obedience by saying {For the wrongdoers there will be no devoted friend and no intercessor [who is] obeyed.} [Quran 40:18]

So the following matters are addressed here with regards to the intercession as believed by the polytheists:

1) They took idols as an intercessor.

2) They believed these idols will intercede without requiring any permission of Allah.

3) They believed that Allah must obey and answer to the intercession of these idols.


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