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Sura 10
Aya 18
وَيَعبُدونَ مِن دونِ اللَّهِ ما لا يَضُرُّهُم وَلا يَنفَعُهُم وَيَقولونَ هٰؤُلاءِ شُفَعاؤُنا عِندَ اللَّهِ ۚ قُل أَتُنَبِّئونَ اللَّهَ بِما لا يَعلَمُ فِي السَّماواتِ وَلا فِي الأَرضِ ۚ سُبحانَهُ وَتَعالىٰ عَمّا يُشرِكونَ

Muhammad Asad

and [neither will] they [who] worship, side by side with God, things or beings that can neither harm nor benefit them, saying [to themselves], "These are our intercessors with God!"1 Say: "Do you [think that you could] inform God of anything in the heavens or on earth that He does not know?2 Limitless is He in His glory, and sublimely exalted above anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity!"
  • Thus the discourse returns to the problem of "intercession" touched upon in verse 3 of this surah. Literally, the beginning of the sentence reads thus: "And they worship that which neither harms them nor benefits them" - an expression alluding to both concrete representations and conceptual images. It should be noted that the "they" elliptically referred to here are not identical with the people spoken of earlier as "those who do not believe that they are destined to meet Us" (in other words, those who deny the reality of resurrection and of the Day of Judgment): for the people of whom the above verse speaks obviously do believe - albeit in a confused manner - in life after death and man's responsibility before God, as is evident from the statement that they worship imaginary "intercessors with God".
  • Thus, belief in the efficacy of anyone's unqualified intercession with God, or mediation between man and Him, is here equated with a denial of God's omniscience, which takes all the circumstances of the sinner and his sinning a priori into consideration. (As regards God's symbolic grant of permission to His prophets to "intercede" for their followers on the Day of Judgment, see note 7 above.)