He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) will intercede for his uncle, Aboo Taalib. The intercession does not benefit the disbelievers, but this is noteworthy because Aboo Taalib protected and defended the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and was patient along with him in times of distress and he treated the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) well. However, he did not agree to enter into al-Islaam when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) presented Islaam to him and desired that he enter into Islaam. Rather, he refused because he felt that his entering into Islaam would mean cursing the religion of his forefathers, since he was overtaken by the fanaticism of jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic times of ignorance) for the religion of his forefathers. Other than that, he knew that Muhammad was upon the truth and that his Religion was the truth. However, the fanaticism and pride prevented him, because if he had embraced Islaam, he claimed that this would mean dishonour for his people. And he said,
“Indeed, I have come to know that the Religion of Muhammad,
Is from the best of the religions amongst the creation.
Were it not for the rebuke and being cautious of dishonour,
You would have seen me clearly indulging in that” 1
So rebuke and fear of dishonouring his people prevented him. Indeed, the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came when he was in the throes of death and said to him, “O uncle! Say: There is none worthy of worship besides Allaah – a statement by which I can argue on your behalf before Allaah.” And Aboo Jahl and ‘Abdullaah Ibn Abee Umayyah were with him. So they said to him, ‘Do you turn away from the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib?’ So the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) repeated his statement. So they said to him once again, ‘Do you turn away from the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib?’ So he replied that he was upon the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib and died upon that and he refused to say, ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah.’ So the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Surely, I will seek forgiveness for you as long as I am not prohibited from that.”2
So Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) revealed His statement,
“It is not for the Prophet and those who believe to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of the Hellfire.” [Sooratut-Tawbah 9:113]
And it was revealed concerning Abee Taalib,
“Indeed, you (O Muhammad) do not guide whom you like, but Allaah guides who He wills. And He is most knowing of the rightly guided.” [Sooratul-Qasas 28:56]
So the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) will not intercede for his removal from the Fire, because he will abide in the Fire forever. However, he will intercede for his punishment to be lightened only. And he will be placed in the shallow part of the Fire. And there will be smoldering coals underneath the soles of his feet, which will make his brain boil. So he will not hold that anyone has a punishment more severe than his, despite the fact that he will have the lightest punishment from all the people of the Fire.3
Shaikh Saalih al-Fawzaan.
1 Refer to al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah (3/42) of Ibn Katheer and al-Isaabah (7/236) of Ibn Hajr.
2 Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 1360) and Muslim (no. 24), from the hadeeth of Sa’eed Ibnul-Musayyab (رضي الله عنه), from his father.
3 Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 3883) and Muslim (no. 209)
Source: from the book, Explanation of the ‘Aqeedah of the Imaam, the Reformer, Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab. Translation by Maaz Qureshi, Sunnah Publishing, pages 141-143.