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Last Updated: 2014/09/09
Summary of question
What is the meaning of "Shaf'a Prayer" and what is its relationship with intercession?
We perform namaz-e shaf' as part of namaz-e tahajjud; does shaf' in this instance refer to intercession or good health?
Concise answer
The word "shaf'" literally means adding something to something else.  It also means "even" as opposed to odd. The Quranic verse says "wash-shaf'a wal-watr" in which "shaf' means even while "watr" means "one".[1]  " Shafa'ah" (intercession) is derived from "shaf'" which means adding something to something else.[2]
The reason this prayer is called "shaf'" is because it consists of two rak'ats.  Some exegetes have said in the interpretation of the following verse:
«مَنْ یَشْفَعْ شَفاعَةً حَسَنَةً یَکُنْ لَهُ نَصِیبٌ مِنْها وَ مَنْ یَشْفَعْ شَفاعَةً سَیِّئَةً یَکُنْ لَهُ کِفْلٌ مِنْها وَ کانَ اللَّهُ عَلى‏ کُلِّ شَیْ‏ءٍ مُقِیتاً»[3]
" Shafa'ah" (intercession) is derived from "shaf'" which means "even" as opposed to odd - the interceder adds his own recommendation to the plea of the petitioner; in this way the number of pleaders becomes even, and the weak plea of the petitioner is strengthened by the prestige of the intercessor.[4]
As for the last part of the question, we must say: Well-being and good health are the fruits of the night prayer as stated in some traditions. For further information about them, you are advised to study the following indexes:
"The Importance and Effects of the Night Prayer and the Rules regarding Its Qaza", question 60928.
"Night Prayer", question 60929

[1] Vide: Difference between "even" and "shaf'", question 37518.
[2] Waseti Zubaidi, Sayyed Muhammad Murtadha, Taaj al-Aroos min Jawaher al-Qamus, researched and edited Shiri, Ali, vol.11, p. 250, Beirut, Dar al-Fikr for Printing and Publication and Distribution, first edition, 1414 A.H.
[3] Nisa (4): 85: "Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein: And whoever recommends and helps an evil cause, shares in its burden: And Allah hath power over all things."
[4] Tabarsi, Fadhl bin Hasan, Majma'ul Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an, preface, Balaghi, Muhammad Jawad, vol.3, p. 128 – 129, Tehran, Nasir Khosro Publications, third edition, 1372 (solar).
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