Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: A friend of mine recently told me that she heard that Prophet Isa (as) would intercede for Christians on the Day of Judgement similarly to how Prophet Muhammad (saw) will intercede for Muslims. Is this true?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
The various prophets sent by Allah will be granted the right to intercede for others on the Day of Judgment.
This has been established by countless traditions, such as:
a. The statement of Allah Most High, “The angels have interceded, the prophets have interceded, and the believers have interceded. None remains to intercede except the most Merciful.” [Bukhari, Muslim]
b. The narration of `Uthman (Allah be well pleased with him), “Three categories of people will intercede on the Day of Judgment: the prophets, the scholars, and then the martyrs.” [Ibn Majah]
c. The narration of Abu Bakra (Allah be well pleased with him), “Allah will save out of His mercy whosoever He wills, and then He will grant permission to the angels, the prophets, and the martyrs to intercede…” [Ahmad, Musnad; Tabarani, Mu`jam al-Saghir, with a sound chain as per Suyuti in his Budur al-Safira]
Will `Isa (Allah bless him) Intercede for Christians?
I did not find anything specific regarding whether `Isa (Allah bless him) will intercede for Christians. The closest I found was the Qur’anic verse that quotes `Isa (Allah bless him) saying regarding those of his community who strayed, “If you punish them, they are your servants, and if you forgive them, indeed you are the powerful and wise.” (5:118)
Imam Razi in his Qur’anic commentary identifies this as a form of intercession, and this is perhaps supported by the fact that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is said to have asked Allah to grant him intercession for his own community when this verse was revealed to him.
Despite this, it is an established point in our tradition that intercession is reserved for those who are monotheists. Polytheism is unforgivable, even though the polytheist may attain salvation if he falls under the category of those who were not reached with a proper, divine message.
As such, the intercession of `Isa (Allah bless him) would be for those members of his community who were monotheists, or perhaps even for those later members of his community who were not reached with the proper message.