2:123: The meaning of ‘Be on guard against a day when intercession will not profit any soul’


I was just going through this verse and have a question, maybe you could elaborate.

My question is, what day is Allah (swt) referring to in this verse?

And be on your guard against a day when no soul shall avail another in the least neither shall any compensation be accepted from it, nor shall intercession profit it nor shall they be helped. (2:123)

Is it the Day of Judgement? I understand that on the Day of Judgement we may receive intercession but not in Barzakh.


The Ayah is mentioned almost identically in two places in the second Surah of the holy Quran. It is talking about the great Day of Judgment.

In both instances it is addressing the Children of Israel; i.e. the Jews who claimed that they were the children of God and hence no hell fire will reach them. The concept of ‘intercession’ is mentioned in almost 30 different Ayaat of the Quran, and in general the Almighty Allah whilst denying it for the disbelieving arrogant ones (like the Ayah under the consideration), confirms it for those who meet its conditions as mentioned in Surah 21 Ayah 28.

It is narrated from the holy Prophet (P): “My intercession is for the sinful Muslim of my community.”

Intercession in this world is when one of the near people to Allah such as Ma’soomin (a.s) prays for us, or when we repent or do righteous good deeds. Imam Ali (a.s) said: “There is no intercession more successful than repentance.”

Also, the prayer of angels for believers is another kind of intercession which includes the life of Donya (this world) and the next. In Surah 42 Ayah 5 we recite: “and the angels glorify the praises of their Cherisher, and ask forgiveness for those on the earth. Verily, Allah is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”

There is however, one narration from Imam Sadiq (a.s) in which the Imam confirms that Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) will intercede for all believers on the Day of Judgment, yet the Imam expresses his concern for them in Barzakh. “By Allah I am concerned for you for Barzakh.” (al-Kaafi vol.3 p.242).

We must however note that our dear Imam does not deny the intercession in Barzakh. His concern may be due to the fact that our souls have to be purified somehow in Barzakh to be able to abide in eternal Paradise. Thus, before sinful Shi’a receive the intercession of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s), they ought to go through the process of purification. It is this process that our dear and compassionate Imam is concerned about.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei