Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Part 1: There's Baraka in Awliya-Allahs' Graves.


From the Layman’s Desk: Islamic Article No.17:  
In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, and blessings and peace of Allah upon His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), his Family and all his Companions.

Forewords: In the foregone pages of our Article (Parts 1 to 8), we noted how the Companions sought tabarruk during the lifetime of Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and from his relics even after his (Sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) passing away from this world.  We have also seen that calling upon someone who is absent, present, dead or alive is not Shirk.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) taught us to call for help.  According to Tafseer Ibn Katheer Surah an-Nisa [4] ayah 64 it is not shirk to call upon [du’a] the Messenger ﷺ whilst he is in his grave.   Imaam Muwaffaq ud-Deen Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdasi also included this is his al-Mughni, vol. 3, pp. 599-601, The Shaafi Master, Imaam Nawawi also included this narration in his book al-Adhkaar pp. 218-221, The Maaliki Master Qadi Iyaad also documented this is his classical text Ash-Shifaa’a and number of other Imaams from the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah have used this as an evidence as seeking a need.  The Quranic evidence and the hadiths there are so many but this is not our purpose to repeat them here.  On reading Parts 1 through 8 of our previous Article we have established that it is well-settled that Tabarruk is a noble and established practice in our Islamic tradition and in full agreement with the Qur’an and Sunnah — even if the deviant sects foolishly think that Tabarruk and Tawassul are shirk (polytheism) and in pursuance of which they brazenly keep on correcting, deleting, omitting, adding and adversely commenting on the books of the Righteous Islamic Scholars of the Ahle Sunna wal Jamaat!

Lets move on with our present subject:

It is true that Allah says: “We are closer to him, than his own jugular vein.” (Surah Al-Kaaf, Verse 16).  Therefore, nearness of Allah (swt) to His servants is true and has been termed as the “general closeness  of Allah to every believer”.  But does that imply that the servant is always close to Allah (swt)?   The fact is that the servant has to consistently work to attain that closeness by way of good deeds and obedience to Allah by meticulously following the Shari’ah.  The Holy Qur’an mentions that “He raises (yarfa’u) some of the believers above others”.  Those whom Allah has particularly graced are defined as “the Prophets, the Siddiqs, the Shuhada’, and the Righteous” –  in that order.  Some Prophets are exalted above others.  Therefore, there is a hierarchy of believers in general and hierarchies of Prophets and Awliya in particular. The siddiqeen are also called Awliya-Allah for they are the people who are completely intoxicated with the love of Allah. That is why they have a special relationship of closeness and proximity with Allah.  Therefore, when we talk about a Wali we don’t imply the “general closeness” (i.e. “Wilayat-e-Aam) but mean the special proximity or Wilayat-e-Khaas.  A Wali is someone who occupies a very close station to Allah and is protected by Allah from major sins and repetition of sins in general, and kept in a state of obedience. It is a very special rank and position of acceptance given by Allah to His beloved servants. Every breath of an Arif (one who has recognized his creator) is a martyr.  Therefore, besides the Prophets (as) and the Martyrs, the Siddiqeen, the Saliheen, the Awliya-Allah come  within the ambit of the Quranic verses 3:169 and 2:154 that inform us about the martyrs being alive and being provided the sustenance by Allah.  Although all the Awliya Allah are equal as far as Wilayah is concerned, they differ as far as status is concerned.  So we don’t agree with any contrary assertions.  The Holy Qur’an testifies to the existence Awliya-Allah time and again: “Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve” [Qur’an 10:62].

The friends of Allah have been described in detail in the Holy Qur'an. The quality of their Taqwa (reverence) and Iman (faith), their actions, their worship, their character, their steadfastness, and the position that they are given by Allah, can be understood from the descriptions found in the Holy Qur'an.  Awliya-Allah have been given various titles in the Holy Qur'an. Each title reflects a certain quality, which makes the wali beloved in the sight of Allah. As their qualities are so numerous and each one describes the manner in which they love Allah, likewise, Allah has conferred many titles upon them.  Allah has referred to the Awliya as the Muslim and Believers who remember Allah much and are Truthful and Obedient.  They are Pious, Devout, Doers of good, Patient, Humble before Allah, Repentant, and the ones who Seek Forgiveness.  There are other references too in the Holy Qur’an such as the Foremost, Those Brought Near, and they have been called the Special Servants of the Most Merciful.   Although this may be applied to believers in general, the distinctive quality of the Awliya Allah is their steadfastness and the level of application of the above attributes in their personalities.  In fact, their unswerving "Steadfastness” is nothing short of a miracle.

Again, there are more descriptions including: Some faces that Day shall be shining and radiant, looking at their Lord (75: 22-23). It may be noted that Sayyedina Umar (Radi Allahu ta'ala Anhu) said: “I heard the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam) saying "Among Allāh’s servants there are some who are neither prophets nor martyrs but on the Day of Judgement the prophets and the martyrs will envy their grades. The Companions asked: ‘O Messenger of Allāh, tell us, who are those people?’ He replied: ‘those are the people who love one another on Allāh’s count. They are neither related to one another nor do they have any property to exchange. I swear on Allāh that they will have faces of light, they will be on pulpits of light. They will not have any fear when others will be afraid, they will not have any grief when others will be aggrieved.’ Then he recited the verse: Beware! No doubt, there is no fear for the friends of Allāh nor shall they be sad and sorrowful. " ([Qur’ān (Yūnus, Jonah) 10:62.]Abū Dāwūd, Sunan, b. of ijārah (wages) 3:288.

Further, coming to the Proof of Awliya-Allah in the Holy Qur’an:

1.Sayyidina al-Khadir (although the name is not mentioned in the Holy Qur’an).  Some Islamic scholars consider him to be a Prophet while some, a Wali.  He possessed knowledge directly from the presence of Allah without intermediary:  “Then they found one from among Our servants whom We had granted mercy from Us and whom We had taught knowledge from Ourselves” (Qur’an 18:65).    Baghawi stated in his Tafsir of this verse: "He taught him the inward (batin) knowledge by inspiration ilham)." Sayyidina Musa (as) did not have this knowledge.  Musa (a.s.) said to him: Shall I follow you on condition that you should teach me right knowledge of what you have been taught? [Quran 18:66]
2.Then, the  Wali who was with Sayyidina Sulayman (as) brought him the throne of Bilqis quicker than the blink of an eye. He was characterized as "one who had knowledge of the Book," as Allah stated, "One with whom was knowledge of the Book said, 'I will bring it to you before your gaze returns to you…' (Q27:40)", and this is Asif bin Barkhiya (a non-prophet human), the scribe and relative of Prophet Sulayman (as), according to the Tafsir of Ibn ‘Abbas and the majority of commentators.
3.An entire Quranic Surah has been named after Sayyida Maryam.  She was a Siddiqa (see Q4:69 and Q5:75), which is one of the highest categories of Ihsan, and she was granted numerous miracles, such as being provided for without intermediaries or secondary causes (Q3:37), and giving birth without human impregnation (Q3:47 and Q19:20), and super-human strength (Q19:25):
Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty: To the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (Her) chamber to see her, He found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?" She said: "From Allah: for Allah Provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure." [Quran 3:37]
She said: My Lord! when shall there be a son (born) to I me, and man has not touched me? He said: Even so, Allah creates what He pleases; when He has decreed a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is. [Quran 3:47]
And shake towards you the trunk of the palm-tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates. [Quran 19:25]
4. Ashab al-Kahf (The people of the cave)
These servants of Allah, sometimes known as the Seven Sleepers (although the Quran does not specify an exact number), were not Prophets or Messengers but were blessed with special ranks and favours. This group of young believers resisted pressure from their people to worship others beside God and took refuge in a cave, following which they fell asleep for 300 solar years or 309 lunar years, whilst being guarded by a dog.
5. Other Examples
The story of Dhu'l Qarnayn whom Allah strengthened to do what was impossible for anyone else but him to do! (18:83-98). 
There are several other examples in the Qur’an of non-Prophets receiving "wahy," such as: Maryam (Q19:25), the mother of Musa and Harun (alayhim salam) (Q20:38, 28:7), and the disciples of Sayyidina ‘Isa (Q5:111).  The scholars of Tafsir agree unanimously that this "wahy" refers to inspiration (ilham) and unveiling (kashf), and not revelation which only Prophets receive.
Sura Al-Kahf (Qur’an Ch.18:60 – 82) describes the events of Prophet Moses and Khidr (a.s.).  So a Prophet’s going in search of a Wali to seek wisdom and knowledge is a Sunnah of the Prophet (Musa a.s).  We should remember that’s why Allah made it part of Quran. Allah warns all believers to keep company with them when He says: "O believers! Be wary of Allah, and keep company with the truthful!" (Qur’an 9:119).  Allah enjoins the followership of those who have turned to Him in true and complete repentence (Qur’an 31:15).  As stated by al-Tustari in his Tafsir: This means that anyone who has not been guided to the path [that leads] to God, Mighty and Majestic is He, should follow in the footsteps of the virtuous (ṣāliḥūn), so that the blessing (baraka) of following them may lead him to the path of God.  Do you not see how the dog of the Companions of the Cave benefitted by following those virtuous ones, to the point that God, Exalted is He, repeatedly mentioned it in a good light? Indeed, the Prophet said in a ḥadīth in this regard, ‘Anyone who keeps their company will not be among the wretched’."

Lets continue on this one by turning to a few out of the many ahadeeth on the subject:
1. Hadhrat Umar ® narrates that the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said:  "There will be certain worshippers of Allah who will not be Prophets, nor martyrs, but the Prophets and martyrs will envy them on the Day of Judgement."  The companions then asked, ‘O prophet of Allah! who are these people?’ Then the beloved prophet(peace be upon him) explained to them the qualities of Awliya. And the Prophet(sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) read to them the verse: ‘Beware, verily on the friends of Allah, there is no fear, nor shall they grieve’(Surah younus, verse 62).” [Abu Dawud, Sunan, book of ijarah 3:288:3527]
2. Harith ibn Malik al-Ansari passed by the Prophet ﷺ who asked him, “How are you this morning, O Harith?” and he replied, “This morning I am a true believer in Allah.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “Take care of what you say, for everything has a proof to it, so what is the proof of your belief?” He said: “I have turned myself away from this world by keeping awake at night and staying thirsty by day; and I can almost see the Throne of my Lord in full view before me, and I can see the people of the Garden visiting each other, and the people of the Fire wailing to each other.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “O Harith! You have realized (the truth), therefore cling to it.” Some versions add, “(This is) a believer whose heart Allah has illumined.”
[Recorded by Tabarani in his Mu’jam al-Kabir (3:266 #3367), Quda’i (Musnad Shihab, 2:127 #1028), Abu Nu’aym (Hilya, 1:242), Bazzar (Zawa’id, 1:26 #32), Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf (7:226-27) and his Kitab al- Iman (#114-115)]
3. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Be wary of the spiritual vision (firasa) of the believer, for indeed he sees by the Light of Allah.”[Tirmidhi (#3052, Tafsir of Q15:75), Tabarani in his Mu’jam al-Kabir (8:121 #7497) and others.]
4. Similar to this is the hadith (reported through Anas and others) in which he ﷺ said: “Indeed, Allah has servants who know (the truth about people) through reading the signs (tawassum).” [Recorded by Tabarani in Mu’jam al-Awsat (3:207 #2935), Quda’i in Musnad Shihab (2:116 #1005), Hakim Tirmidhi in Nawadir (Asl #227) and others.]
5.  “In the nations before you were people who were spoken to (muhaddathun) who were not Prophets. If there is anyone in my community, it is ‘Umar ibn Khattab.”  [Bukhari (#3210, 3413), Muslim (#4411), Nasa’i (Sunan Kubra, #8119-20), Tirmidhi (#3626), Imam Ahmad (#23150) and others.]  In his narration Imam Muslim adds, “Ibn Wahb explained ‘spoken to’ to mean ‘inspired’ (mulhamun),” and this is the majority’s opinion according to Ibn Hajar in his Fath al-Bari (7:62), who adds, “spoken to” means, “by the angels.” In his explanation on Sahih Muslim, Imam Nawawi writes on this hadith: “…there is in this a confirmation of the miracles of Awliya” (Kitab Fada’il as-Sahaba, Ch. 2, #10). This hadith specifically refers to the perfection of the quality of Ilham (inspiration) in Sayyidina ‘Umar and not the fact that other Muslims lack this ability, as Hafiz Ibn Hajar explained in his commentary on this hadith.
6. Ibn Mas’ud (Radi Allahu ta'ala Anhu) asked, “Ya Rasoolallah (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam), by what means do they attain that degree?” “They attain it by being generous, and by advising muslims,” said the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam).

7. A Hadith Qudsi says: "Whoever shows hostility to My Wali, I proclaim war against him. My servant does not draw near to Me by anything more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him. My servant continues to draw near to Me by the voluntary deeds, until I love Him. When I love him, I will be his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his feet with which he walks. If he asks Me, I will surely give him. And if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely give him refuge." (Agreed upon)  Regarding the statement in the hadith of Abu Huraira ® in Bukhari, vol8, 509, that we mentioned here: ‘I shall declare war on him who shows hostility to Wali of Mine…even the rigorous Ibn Taimiyya has gone to explain the statement to mean that Allah is expressing: "I will seek revenge like an aggressive lion against anyone who comes against My saints." 

Although the Holy Qur’an is replete with the many rewards that Allah confers upon Awliya Allah both in this world and the hereafter, the aforesaid definitions should be enough to give us an idea about the high esteem in which Allah (swt) holds his Friends.
Imam Jalaluddin as-Suyuti (ra) wrote an essay in his collection of fatwas, al-Hawi lil-Fatawi, and called it: “The narrations which demonstrate the existence of the Qutb and the Awtad and Nujaba and Abdal.” At the beginning of it, he writes: It has reached me that some of those who possess no knowledge deny what is famously known among the noble Awliya, namely, that among them exist Abdal (substitutes), Nuqaba (chiefs), Nujaba (nobles), Awtad (supports, or pegs), and Aqtab (poles, or axial pivots), while there are numerous hadiths and narrations which affirm their existence and reality…. And know that the denial of the stubborn is not to be given any weight or importance… So I say, it is authentically narrated from (and then he lists 18 Companions and Followers), and those after them, innumerable reports which attest to the above. [See Hawi li-l Fatawi (2:241ff), and for more information on hadiths about the Abdal see ‘Ajluni’s Kashf (#35) and Sakhawi’s Maqasid (#8).]

In short, superiority of the status of Awliya is not dependant on miracle they work, but are dependant upon their proximity to Allah and His love for them and their desire to be with Allah to the exclusion of all others, with no desire for the Jannah or the Houris or the world or the ability to work miracles, or for any other purpose . Awliya are the inheritors of Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) when he said, the scholars of the ummah are the inheritors of the prophets. Imam Sayuti said: "The Awliya of Allah are those, if you see them, Allah is mentioned, and if they are absent, they are missed and if they come Allah will be mentioned”.  And, lest it be misconstrued, let me add that “Becoming free from fear and grief” for Awliya-Allah simply means that for the pleasure of Allah, they remain content with whatever state and condition they find themselves in. Otherwise it is well known that the lives of Friends of Allah were full of incredible hardship, suffering and pain. Higher the rank, higher the trial.

No less than Ibn Taymiyya writes at the end of his `Aqida wasitiyya: 
The true adherents of Islam in its pristine purity are Ahl al-Sunnat wal-Jama`a. In their ranks the truthful saints (siddiqin), the martyrs, and the righteous are to be found. Among them are the great men of guidance and illumination, of recorded integrity and celebrated virtue. The Substitutes (abdal) and the Imams of religion are to be found among them and the Muslims are in full accord concerning the guidance. These are the Victorious Group about whom the Prophet said: "A group within my Community manifestly continues to be in the truth. Neither those who oppose them nor those who abandon them can do them harm, from now on until the Day of Resurrection."

Continued in Part 2....


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