Thursday, April 29, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles –Islamic perspective in brief:

Part 8 – Continued….

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

From Shawahid an-Nabuwwa of Noorudin al-Jami (d.1492 c.e.) also, we learn of the karamaat of Sahaba al-Kiraam and the Tabiian, and a few of which are mentioned below:

1. Abu Bakr ® the first Caliph of Islam, willed at the time he was about to leave the world that his children would be looked after by Aisha ®. He said: My son and two daughters, I entrust them to you.” Now other than Aisha ® he had only one daughter named Asma. Aisha ® asked: “ I have only one sister, who is the other sister of mine?” He said, “My wife is pregnant. I think she will have a baby-girl.” Indeed, after his demise, a baby-girl was born to his wife as he had said. [This is also reported by ash-Shatibi in 'al-Muwafaqat' (4/85), and Ibn Taymiyyah in 'Majmu' al-Fatawa' (11/318)]

2. When he was about to die, Hazrat Ali ® instructed his son, Husain ®: “Take my coffin to a place called ‘Arnanin where you will see a luminous white rock. Dig up a grave and bury me there.” They carried out the instruction and actually saw what Hazrat Ali ® had told.

3. While travelling with ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair ®, Hazrat Hasan ® stopped to take rest at a date grove. The date palms having withered, ibn Zubair ® said: “How nice it would have been if there were dates on the tree!”  Thereupon, Hazrat Hasan ® supplicated to Allah. Soon a palm bloomed into clusters of dates. Seeing this, the people around him said: “This is magic”! Hasan ® said: “No, it is not. Allah the Exalted created it because of the supplication of the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam)”.

4. Abdullah ibn Umar ® while travelling once met some wayfarers who were waiting on the road. He asked them what had held them there. A traveler replied: “We’ve heard that there is a lion on the way. That’s why no one can traverse further. Abdullah ibn Umar ()R) went up to the lion and patting its back, removed it away from the road.

5. According to an account stated by Safina ®, an ex-slave having been set free by the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam), he was travelling by ship when a tempest set in and the ship was wrecked. He clung to a log and was driven ashore by waves. He now had to cross a forest on his inland. A lion came out of the forest. He told the lion that he was a Companion of the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam). The lion bowed its neck and led him out of the forest. The lion murmured something at the time of parting. He understood that the murmuring as bidding a farewell to him.

6. Once Ali ibn Husain (also known as Zain al-Abidin ®) was dining in the countryside along with the members of his household. A gazelle approached and stood waiting. He said: “O gazelle! I’m Ali ibn Husain ibn Ali, and my mother is Fatima the daughter of Rasool (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam). Come and eat too.” The gazelle did eat after which it went away. The children begged him to call the gazelle again. He said: “I shall, only if you will not disturb it.” The children agreed. He called out the gazelle again. The gazelle came up to them, and ate its fill. Only when one of the children patted its back, that it shied away from them.

7. A blind Muslim came to Abdullah ibn Mubarak (d.181H/797 c.e.) and begged him to pray for his sight. Abdullah prayed long, and soon the blind man gained his sight. Many people witnessed this incident. Among those who saw the blind man coming to Abdullah ibn Mubarak was al-Fudhail bin Iyadh.

8. Hamid at-Tawil narrated: A brick fell when closing the grave of Thabit al-Banani (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala)after his burial. They saw al-Banani performing ‘salaat’ (the ritual prayer or Namaaz) in the grave. Thereupon, they went to his house and inquired from his daughter about her father. She informed them that her father performed salaat late every night for fifty years and habitually supplicated before dawn: “O my Allah! If you have granted the performance of salaat in the grave to anyone besides the prophets, let it fall to my lot too.”

9. Once Ayyub as-Sahtiyani (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) had a hard time in the desert with his friend who was so thirsty that his tongue hung from his mouth. "Do you have a problem?" he asked. "I am about to die of thirst," his friend said. "If you will not tell anybody, I may find you water," he said. His friend swore that he would not. Then, he stamped his foot on the ground and a spring gushed out. They drank to their fill. His friend did not explain the event to anybody until Ayyub died.

Let us now turn to Yusuf an-Nabhani (1849-1932 c.e.) who wrote forty-seven valuable books has also documented the Karamaat of fifty-four as-Sahaaba, corroborated by eye-witness account, in his book two-volume Jami’ al-Karamat-al- Awliya [Compendium of Miraculous Gifts of Friend of Allah]. Some of these Karamaat are in fact well known:

1. During the time of Caliphate of Hazrat ‘Umar ® the Muslim army was engaging a huge army of the Persians who outnumbered them five to one. Sariya, the commander of the Muslim army, engaged the Persians on the plain of Nehavend (A.H.23). Just at the time when the Persian army was about to encircle the Muslim army, Hazrat Umar ® who was delivering a ‘Khutba’ (sermon) on the minbar of the Masjid at al-Madinah, came to know about the condition of the Muslim army. He cried out: Ya Sariya! To the hill! To the hill! Sariya and his companions heard the Caliph’s voice and backed off to the hill. Reorganizing themselves from there, they attacked the enemies on the plain, completely routing the Persians. (This incident is also reported in Bayhaqi’s Irshaad at-Taalibin on the authority of ibn Umar ®, and also by Ibn Katheer in Taareekh). It may be noted that when Sariya had heard the voice of Umar ® he was at a distance of two months’ journey from Madinah the Radiant, and Muslim army were in fact outnumber to the ratio of 1:5.

2. During the time of Hazrat ‘Uthman ® caliphate, Anas ibn Maalik ® visited him, and seeing him Hazrat Uthman ® remarked “I see there is a sign of ‘Zina’ (fornication) in your eyes. On his way to the Caliph, Anas had cast glances on a woman. This fornication of the eye became apparent to Hazrat ‘Uthman ® and hence constitutes a miracle. (This incident is also mentioned in Maktubat III, 19th letter, of Muhammad Mathum al-Farooqi).

Briefly, there are more miraculous incidents involving the Sahaba or Tabiian and others:

1. Hadith al-Ghaar: Story of three friends who were blocked in a cave by a huge rock, and how the rock shifted gradually on its own each time one of them narrated his good deeds, and finally they were freed when the rock moved completely aside.

2. A tradition related by Abu Huraira ® of infants who were miraculously endowed with speech (i.e. other than Jesus): A child who exculpated the monk Jurayj (Gregory) when he was falsely accused by a harlot; a child who divined the characters of a horseman and a woman.

3. The story of Khalid b. Waleed ® who said “Bismillah” and drank a deadly poison which did not harm him.

4. Hazrat Umar ® being saved by two lions when a Persian assassin was about to kill him.

5. The fire refusing to burn Abu Muslim al-Khawlani who was thrown into a burning fire when he had refused to acknowledge al-Aswad al-Ansi of Yemen as prophet. After being banished, Abu Muslim came to Madinah the Radiant and met Hazrat Umar ® who praised Allah for letting him see the man who had performed the same miracle as Ibrahim a.s. (recorded by Shaykh Abdullah Ayad al-Qarni).

To Continue, Insha Allah….


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Miracles - Islamic Perspective in Brief - Part 7.

Regarding the Awliya-Allah, one of the Islamic doctrines mentioned in Tahawi’s Aqida is: “We believe in what has appeared regarding their marvels and such narrations of them as have been authentically reported from trustworthy persons. In order to deny the Karamaat, some ignorantly claim that the Sahabas did not work any miracles. Nothing could be further from the truth as the following examples from the prophetic traditions will show:

1. 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud ® narrated: "A man from among the humans went out and was met by a man from among the jinn, who said: "Will you wrestle with me? If you throw me to the ground, I will teach you a verse which, if you recite it when you enter your house, no devil will enter." So, he wrestled with him and threw him to the ground. He said: "I see that you are very small and your forearms are like the front paws of a dog. Are all the jinn like this, or only you?" He said: "I am strong amongst them. Let us wrestle again." So, they wrestled again and the human threw him to the ground. So, the jinn said: "Recite Ayat al-Kursi, for no one recites it when he enters his house except that Satan leaves, passing wind like a donkey."" It was said to Ibn Mas'ud ® : "Was that man 'Umar ®?" He said: "Who else could it have been, other than 'Umar?"
['Majma' az-Zawa'id'; 9/71]

2. When the bodies of the martyrs of Uhud were being relocated forty years after their burial (during the reign of Mu'awiyah), the foot of Hamzah bin 'Abd al-Mutallib ® was scratched in the process of being moved, and it started gushing blood. ['al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah'; 4/43]

3. Ibn 'Abbas ® died in at-Ta'if, and a bird, the likes of which had never been seen before, was seen at his funeral. The bird entered the hole in the ground where Ibn 'Abbas was to be buried. So, we looked and waited to see if it would come out, and it didn't. When his body was finally placed in the ground, we could hear the verse {"O, the one in rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord, Well-pleased and well-pleasing!"} [al-Fajr; 27-8] being recited from the edge of his grave, but we were unable to find out who had recited it. (Authentically reported by al-Hakim in 'al-Mustadrak' 3/543)

4. Khayshamah narrated: "Khalid bin al-Walid ® came to a man carrying a jug of alcohol, so, he said: "O Allah! Turn it into honey!" So, it turned into honey."
[Reported by Ibn Hajar in 'al-Isabah fi Ma'rifat as-Sahabah'; p. 414]

5. The Romans imprisoned a son of the Companion, Abu Qurfasah ®. So, whenever it was time for prayer, Abu Qurfasah would climb the wall of 'Asqalan (in Syria) and call out: "O, son! It is time to pray!" And, his son would hear him all the way from the land of the Romans." ['Majma' az-Zawa'id' (9/396)]

6. When Sa'd and the Muslim army arrived at the Tigris River during the battle of Qadisiyyah, Salman stopped and said: "A river from the rivers of Allah. Will it not carry the soldiers of Allah?" So, he took Sa'd by the hand and stepped onto the water, leading all 30,000 soldiers across the Tigris River on foot. The Persians saw this and escaped, saying: ‘The demons have arrived! The demons have arrived!’"
[Reported by at-Tabari in 'at-Tarikh' (3/123), and Ibn Kathir in 'al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah' (7/64)]

7. During the khilafah of 'Umar ®, the governor of Egypt wrote to him asking for help as the river Nile had failed to flood. 'Umar ® wrote a letter in return, addressing the Nile itself. This was then placed in the Nile, and no sooner this was done, than the Nile's water began to flood. [Tarikh Ibn Kathir, volumes 1 and 8, chapter on Rivers and chapter on Khilafah of 'Umar, ®

8. Abu Hurairah narrated: "al-'Ala' al-Hadrami supplicated for rain, and it then began to rain in the middle of the desert. In another incident, he supplicated, and we were able to walk over the water in the Arabian Peninsula (near Bahrain), without even the bottom of our feet getting wet. When he died, we buried him, and after a while, we opened up his grave to find that he was not there."
('Majma' az-Zawa'id'; 9/276)

9. During the Caliphate of Hazrat of 'Umar ®, a fire was noticed in the desert. Hazrat 'Umar ®, asked Tamim al-Dari ® to assist him. They approached the area of the fire when Tamim al-Dari ® began to gather the fire with his hands and started shoving the fire into a hole in the ground. This was a karamah of Tamim al-Dari ®. (Tarikh Ibn Kathir, Vol. 6, chapter on Miracles, and Sirat un-Nabi, Ibn Kathir, chapter on Mu'jizat)

10. Sa'id bin al-Musayyib, a famous Tabi, narrated: "Zayd bin Kharijah al-Ansari died during the reign of 'Uthman bin 'Affan. When he was wrapped in a shroud in preparation of the burial, a gurgling sound was heard coming from his chest. Then Zayd got up and said: "Ahmad! Ahmad! He is in the first Book! Abu Bakr has spoken the truth! 'Umar has spoken the truth! 'Uthman has spoken the truth!" [Authentically reported in 'al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah'; 6/293]

11. Sa'id then said: "Then, another man died shortly thereafter. When he was wrapped in a shroud in preparation of the burial, a gurgling sound was heard coming from his chest. The man then got up and said: "Zayd bin Kharijah has spoken the truth!”
['Majma' az-Zawa'id'; 8/230]

12. A Sahaba once pitched his tent on a plot of ground without realizing that he was doing so over a grave. After a while, he realized that his tent was over a grave for he could hear the recital of the Surah Mulk. He related the entire episode to the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), who replied that the recital of Surah Mulk indeed assists the person within the grave and protects him from pain and punishment. (Tirmidhi Shareef)

From this episode, we see that the beloved servants of Allah are still alive within their graves, or else the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) would have merely disregarded the entire incident. But he did not do so. Rather, he commented on the excellences of the Sura Mulk, which means that he also accepted that the beloved servants of Allah Ta'ala are still alive within their graves.

13. It is recorded that in the period of Hazrat Mu'awiya (R) a canal was dug between Mecca and Medina. Co-incidentally, the canal passed through that plot of land where the Shuhada (Martyrs) of Uhud lay buried. A person while digging accidentally cut the foot of a Shaheed with a spade. As a result of this, blood began to flow from the blessed foot. We learn from this incident that aside from their souls, even the bodies of these great and beloved servants of Allah are alive. (Jazbul Quloob, Sharahus Sudr)

Imam an-Nawawi was a wali and a great scholar who authored many works. A karamah of his states that when the lantern extinguished for want of oil, Allah illuminated his finger for him at night so he could see and continue writing about the Religion. Imam Nawawi has mentioned some miraculous incidents of the Sahaba in his Riyadh as-Saliheen (Meadows of the Righteous):

1. Quraish ordered ‘Uqbah bin Al-Harith, whose father had been killed by Khubaib ® himself, to execute him. They also appointed someone to guard his corpse.   Al-Harith’s daughter reported that shortly before his execution, Khubaib ® was seen eating a bunch of grapes when no fruit was available in Makkah at that time. [In fact, it was nothing but sustenance bestowed upon him by Allâh.]

2. ‘Asim ibn Thabit, who had previously slain one of the Chieftans of Quraysh in the Battle of Badar. When the Quraysh were told that he had been slain, they sent a few of their men to bring something that might identify him. To their disappointment, they could not reach his corpse because a large swarm of hornets had been shielding him against any malicious mutilation. ‘Asim had already sought his Lord’s pledge to protect his body from mutilations by the polytheists. He had also kept aloof from any contact with the enemies of Allâh. On hearing this piece of news, ‘Umar ® exclaimed, “Allâh verily protects His believing slave after death just as He does during his lifespan.” ( from al- Bukhari)

3. Ibn Umar ® said that he never heard from ‘Umar say about anything that I conceive to be thus and thus, but that it turned out to be in accordance with what he had conceived.

4. Jabir bin Abdullah ® related that his father called him on the eve of Uhad and said: ‘I believe I’ll be the first among the Sahaba to be killed, and after the Holy Prophet (s) you’re the one most dear to me. Discharge my debts and treat your sisters well. The next morning, he was among the first to be killed and I buried him along with another in the same grave. Thereafter, I was not happy that I should leave him with another in the same grave. So I dug up his body after six months, and he was in the same condition as he was on the day I had buried him but for his ear. Then I buried him in a separate grave. (Bukhari)

5. Anas related that Holy Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) two companions (Usaid ibn Huzair and Abbad ibn Bishar) left the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) late one dark night and perceived as if there were two lights in front of them. And, when they separated each had one light before him till the time he reached home.

6. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "In the nations before you there were people who were spoken to (by Allah). If there was to be such a man among my community, it would be 'Umar." [al-Bukhari. Muslim transmits it from 'A'isha.]

7. 'Urwa ibn az-Zubayr reported that Sa'id ibn Zayd ibn 'Umar ibn Nufayl had litigation instigated against him by Arwa bint Aws before Marwan ibn al-Hakam. She claimed that he had taken some of her land. Sa'id said, "Would I take any of her land after what I heard from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?" He said, "What did you hear from the Messenger of Allah?" He said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'Anyone who wrongfully takes a hand's width of land will wear it round his neck down through seven earths.'" Marwan said to him, "I will not ask you for evidence after this." Sa'id said, "O Allah, if she is lying, make her lose her eyesight and kill her in her land!" He said, "She did not die before her eyesight had gone, and while she was walking in her land, she fell into a pit and died." [Agreed upon] A variant of Muslim from Muhammad ibn Zayd ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar has something to the same effect and says that he saw her blind, groping for the wall, saying, "The invocation of Sa'id has struck me." She passed by a well in the house regarding which she had litigated and fell into it and it became her grave.

It is written in Usd-ul ghaba fi ma’rifat al-sahaba: When the ship on which Safina, Rasulullah's slave, sank, she got hold of a piece of board, and the waves brought her to the shore.  When she was on land she saw a lion, and said to it, "O thou lion! I am Safina, Rasulullah's slave." In sheepish submission the lion took her up to the road, and then wagged its tail to bid farewell.

To continue, Insha Allah…


Monday, April 26, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles–Islamic perspective in brief: Part 6
– Continued….

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

“And thou (Muhammad) threwest not when thou didst throw (a handful of dust in the Battle of Badr), but Allah threw.”(Quran: 8:17)

Mujizah and Karamah are two broad categories of Miracles in Islam:

A miracle is broadly categorized as ‘Mujizah’ and ‘Karamah’, and as stated before, are actually the actions of Allah. In Islam, the phenomena that happen beyond the laws of causation are distinguished by their sources, that is at whose hands they are shown, as we shall see below:

1. The miracles wrought by Prophets and Messengers of Allah are called Mujizaat. The literal meaning of Mujizah is something that “incapacitates”, i.e. it is derived from the word ‘ijaaz’ which means “inability”

2. The miracles or marvels attributed to Awliya-Allah are called “Karamah” or “Karamaat” which is a gift of Grace or  a “token of honour”.   In English language the word is commonly termed as miracle.  However, some orientalists do make a distinction by terming Mujizah as “Evidentiary Miracle” and Karamah as “ non-evidentiary miracle, Marvel, etc”.   Generally, no Wali claims that he can work miracles and can make on attain whatever one wishes.

3. Those that happen through the disbelievers are called “Sihr” i.e. magic.

4. Those that happen at the hands of those whose sins are many (Fasiqs) are called “Istidraj” which proves the person to be an imposter and are a means to degrade and demote him gradually. The marvelous acts related to Shaddad, Nimrod and Pharaoh fall under divine deception. So also the extraordinary acts of Dajjal that are related from many ahadeeth (prophetic traditions) about the future events fall under Divine deception.

5. Those that happen in any community from people who are not Awliya-Allah (Friends of God) is called Firasat (say, Clairvoyance). However, if it is the effect of the light which Allah sets in the purified heart of the Awliya-Allah, Firasa is reckoned among the gifts and is accepted as evidence of holiness. The exalted position of the Awliya’s “Firasat” is evident from the hadith: “Beware of the vision of the believer, for he sees with the light of Allah.” The miracles of Hazrat Abu Sa’id Fazlullah ibn Abi’l Khayr mainly consisted of the powers of Firasa.

6. ‘Kashf’ or spiritual unveilings are the knowledge disclosed to the soul of the one who constantly remembers and worships Allah. Kashf consists, according to al-Sharif al-Jurjani's definition in his Kitab al-ta`rifat, in "apprehending beyond the veil of ordinary phenomena, whether by vision or experience, the meanings and realities that pertain to the unseen. It is a kind of intuitive knowledge or discovery that exemplifies Awliya-Allah whose ranks are raised by Allah with the affirmation. The reality of Kashf is established in Sacred Law and it refers to a hidden knowledge of a tremendous nature - what has also been called the “Secrets of Allah the Exalted.” Kashf is reliable if it is in conformity with Islam. The vision seen while one is awake is Kashf and that seen in a dream is called Ru’ya. The purer and the cleaner the mirror of the mind is, the more correct and reliable is the Kashf and the Ru’ya. Prophet’s dream are absolutely reliable, and most dreams of Awliya too are reliable since their ‘baatins’ (states of inner conditions) are polished like bright mirrors because of their obedience to prophets. Allah mentions in the Qur'an thus: "Allah has fulfilled the vision (ru'ya) for his Messenger in very truth" (48:27). The Prophet said: The vision or dream (al-ru'ya) is one-fortysixth part of prophecy.

7. The process of receiving the gift (karamah) for the saint is through ilham (inspiration). In addition to those mentioned above, the others are mubashshira (glad tidings from Allah), mushahada (mutual vision) or mukhataba (divine conversation).

Distinction between Mujizah and Karamah: Just a few points:

The holy Qur’an as well as the prophetic traditions are replete with the examples of Mujizaat worked by the Prophets and Messengers. The Holy Qur’an ratifies the miracles of Moses and Jesus, including the Virgin Birth of Jesus, amongst those of other prophets of Bani Isra’il. Since there are no disagreements regarding the Mujizaat, we won’t delve into these.

We have mentioned before that the miracles worked by Messengers and Prophets of Allah are called Mujizaat and those worked by other than Prophets and Messengers, such as Awliya-Allah, are called Karamaat. In his celebrated Kashful Mahjoob (Unveiling of the Veiled), Hazrat Ali bin Uthman al-Hajwiri, who is also known as Data Ganj Baksh ® in the sub-continent of India and Pakistan, has dealt with this subject at length nearly a thousand years ago. To put it very succinctly, this is what he says: Mujizaat involve publicity since they affect others. Karamaat involve secrecy since they are peculiar to the person by whom they are performed. The doer of Mujizaat is quite sure that he has worked a miracle while the doer of Karamaat is not sure, whether he has really worked a miracle.

According to Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh ®, however, the quality of ijaaz (inimitability) is the same as in the other and not affected. He gives a classic example: When the infidels were putting Khubaib ® on the gallows in Makkah, the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) who was with his Companions in the Masjid at Madinah Munawwara told them what was happening to Khubaib ®. Allah also lifted the veil from the eyes of Khubaib ® so that he saw the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and greeted him (s). Allah caused the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) to hear that salutation so that he gave the answer, and He also caused Khubaib ® to hear that answer. Both were extraordinary acts but one was an example of Mujiza and the other, that of a Karaamat.

Data Ganj Baksh ® makes another important statement: There is no difference in absence in time and absence in space. For Khubaib ® the Karaamat was wrought when he was absent from the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) in space.  The later days miracles were performed by those who were absent from the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) in time.  Data Ganj Baksh ® says that this is a clear proof that a Karaamat cannot be in contradiction with ‘ijaaz, i.e. the miracles performed by prophets.  Karamaat are not established unless and until they testify to the truth of the one performing the mujizaat. Therefore, Karamaat are not given except to a pious believer who gives such testimony. The Muslim saints are witnesses to the truth of the mission of Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and therefore, it is impossible that Karamaat may be worked by unbelievers because as the law of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) is permanent, so must the proof (hujjat) be also permanent.  All Karamaat of a saint or Wali are the mujizaat of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam).

To continue Insha Allah….



From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles –Islamic perspective in brief:

Part 5 – Continued….

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

Karamaat of Awliya-Allah are true:
Believing in miracles of the Messengers of Allah, the prophets, and the Awliya-Allah is among the fundamentals of the people of Sunnah and the community. This is evident from the Holy Quran, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam), reports from the Sahaba, and the overwhelming majority of the Sunni scholars and the Sufi Shaykhs.

According to the Islamic scholars, only the people of Bidah (innovations) and deviation and those of weak faith in Allah’s attributes and actions deny the miracles of Awliya-Allah. Those who don’t believe that Allah has given the power of disposition and effectiveness to His awliya, about such people the scholars of Ahle Sunnat had anticipated them by way of a Karamat and refuted them before hand by giving a fit reply. Such scholars included ibn al-Arabi and his successor Sadrudin Qunawi, Jalaludin Rumi and Ahmad al-Badawi among many others.

The Holy Qur’an establishes the fact that miracles are also vouchsafed to people other than the prophets, in which case they are called Karamaat. Let’s see some of the very well-known Quranic examples of Karamaat:

Regarding Mary, mother of Jesus:

Whenever Zachariah went into the sanctuary where she was, he found that she had food. He said: O Mary! Whence cometh unto thee this (food) ? She answered: It is from Allah. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will. (Qur’an: 3:37) and

Regarding the People of the Cave and the Dog:
Or deemest thou that the People of the Cave and the Inscription are a wonder among Our portents ? When the young men fled for refuge to the Cave and said: Our Lord! Give us mercy from Thy presence, and shape for us right conduct in our plight. Then We sealed up their hearing in the Cave for a number of years. And afterward We raised them up that We might know which of the two parties would best calculate the time that they had tarried. (18:9-12)

And thou mightest have seen the sun when it rose move away from their cave to the right, and when it set go past them on the left, and they were in the cleft thereof. That was (one) of the portents of Allah. (18:17)

Regarding the one with the knowledge of the scripture: (Asif Barkhiya)
One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: I will bring it thee before thy gaze returneth unto thee. And when he saw it set in his presence. (Qur’an: 27:40).

Now, Mary (Maryam a.s.) is not an apostle. Owing to her piety and devotion, Allah raised her in rank as one of the best women.  Her story in the Holy Quran is one of the best stories ever told. The entire Chapter is devoted to her - something that is not found even in the Christian Bible.  In fact she was very young and miraculously pregnant with child Jesus. When the pangs of parturition drove her to the palm tree the miraculous child told her: And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee. (Qur’an: 19:25). He also told her that “Thy Lord has placed a rivulet beneath thee.”(19:24) Zakariya a.s. (Zachariah) had taken charge of her. Whenever Zakariya (a.s.) went into the sanctuary (Hujra) where she was, he found her with provisions. In fact, in summer he saw her with the winter fruit, such as culms of corn, and in winter he saw that she had summer fruit, such as the grapes. When he asked her from where did she get it, she answered that Allah sends this from Paradise and that Jibrail (a.s.) (Gabriel) brought it to her.

As for the People of the Cave, they were in the cave for 309 years. The cave was an open-ended one so that the sunlight could come both at sunrise and sunset. But Allah commanded the sun to change its path so that the the men did not feel the heat of the sun. Shaykul Islam Dr. Tahir al-Qadri explains that if someone says that the course of the sun was natural, the answer to that would be then there was no need for Allah to mention it in the Holy Qur’an. This was the sign of Allah (Ayatillah), just as Mary’s conception as well as the She-camel of Allah were far from the natural process. According to him, Imam Nasafi is an authority and he says in Tafseer Nasafi that the sun used to bend one side. Moreover, there was also a dog outside the cave for all those years. ‘Lahuti’ nutrition was provided for the Ashab. During their sleep, they used to change sides every six months. Even the dog correspondingly changed sides with them, stretching out his paw on the threshold. Imam Qurtubi in his Tafseer and Imam Razi in Tafseer al-Kabeer say that the dog did not belong to the ‘Ashab’. It had joined them on the way. The Ashab were hiding from the tyrant king and were afraid that the dog would bark and expose their hideout. They threw stones at it to drive it away. The dog prayed to Allah to give the power of speech which was granted. The dog asked them why did they hurl stones at him. They said: “You’ll bark!” The dog informed them that he was not a barking dog. The dog had “Muhabbat”, “Mutabiyat”, and “Isteqamat”. There was no change in their condition. So a speaker asked “How long have you tarried” (18:19). They had tarried in the Cave for 309 years (18:25).

As for the one with knowledge of the scripture, it was Asif bin Barkhiya, a righteous individual who had the knowledge of ‘Ism-e-Azam’ (Allah’s Greatest Names). When these are invoked in a supplication for something it is immediately granted . He said that he would bring the throne of Bilqis (the queen of Sheba) before the glance of Solomon returned to him. The Afreet Jinn told Solomon to look up heaven-wards, which he did. As soon as the glance returned to the normal, i.e. in front of him, he found the throne of Bilqis. What had happened was, that as soon as Solomon looked upwards to heaven Asif bin Barkhiya, by invoking the Ism-e-Azam, supplicated to God that He bring it there. This was done when the throne travelled under the earth until it sprung up below Solomon’s seat. Allamah Sayyad Mahmood Alusi states that Shaykh al-Akbar said that Asif bin Barkhiya did ‘Tasarruf’ with the throne of Bilqis. He made the throne disappear from its location and appear before Sulaiman (a.s.) before anyone could realize it, except for Him who knows everything. Everything happened in a moment. Chronologically speaking, Asif bin Barkhiya performed only one action since the accomplished persons gain a state where their speech is granted immediate action by the announcement of “Kun” (Be!) by Allah.

Thus the Holy Qur’an bears testimony to the fact that not only Allah loves His Awliya, but He also creates whatever they want through them to honour them. The miracles of the saint too helps the religion of Allah - as happened with Bilqis who was the sun-worshipper but adopted the Abrahamaic religion after meeting Solomon.    

Shaykh al-Akbar, Ibn al- ‘Arabi explains the phenomenon of a miracle as of two types: Apparent (Hissi) and Spiritual (Ma’nawi). The first type is generally seen by the common people, such as flying through the air, walking on water, foretelling future events, traversing hundreds of kilometers in a step and so on. The second type of miracle can only be seen and perceived by special people it consists in controlling the carnal desires, adopting virtues through divine guidance, refraining from corrupt practices, and punctually practicing all the compulsory acts (Waajibaat).

According to Al-Aqidah al-Wasitiyah of ibn Taimiyya, Allah created supernatural acts through the Awliya in all aspects of life, revelations (Mukashafaat), power and impressions. This is known of ancient nations in Surat al-Kahf (Chapter 18 of the Holy Qur’an) and in other Quranic chapters, and is known of the early men of this Ummah amongst the Sahabas (Companions of the Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wassallam), and the Tabiian (Successors of Sahabas) and also among the rest of the generations of this Ummah. It will be with them till the Day of Resurrection.

In Majmu’a Fataawa, Ibn Taimiyaa says: It is said that after the Seal of Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) revelation does descend but it is not called so. Rather it is called as what the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) referred to as the “Light of God”. The believer sees with the Light of God. When the believer sees through the Light of God he sees all things – the First and the Last; the Present and the Absent. How can anything be concealed from God’s light? And, if something does appear concealed, then it is not the Light of God. Therefore, the meaning of revelation exists even if it is not called so. Further, according to him: What is considered as a saint’s miracle, is that sometimes the saint hears what others do not hear or sees something that others do not see – not while he is asleep, but in a wakened state of vision. He even knows things that others cannot know, through revelation or inspiration – not while he is asleep, but in a wakened state of vision. He even knows things that others cannot know through revelation or inspiration.

In a book published by al-Madani Publishing House, namely Mukhtasar al-Fatawa al-Misriyya, the statements of ibn Taimiyya are: The miracles of saints are absolutely true and correct, and the Muslim scholars have acknowledged it. The Qur’an has pointed to them at various places. The Hadiths of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) too point them. Whoever denies the miraculous powers of saints are either people of ‘Bidah’ (innovators) or those who follow the innovators.

Ibn Taimiyya said (Vol.11 p.313): Allah the Almighty unveils to his saints states that have never been unveiled before and He gives them support without measure. If that saint begins to speak from the things of the unseen – past, present or future – that constitutes miraculous knowledge. Therefore, we have to accept anything that a saint does, as coming from the unseen, for the people or listeners, of healing or teaching knowledge. According to ibn Taimiyya, we must thank Allah for the unveiling of the appearances.

Hazrat Shaykh Muhiyuddeen Abdul Qadir Jilani ® said in Discourse 9 of his Futuh al-ghayb: To awliya' and abdal (Substitute-saints) are disclosed such workings of Allah in the course of kashf and mushahada as overwhelm the reasoning power of man and shatter into pieces all habits and customs.

Nor is it impossible that some saints of the Prophet's Community, like the Prophet himself, do know the Unseen except for what Allah hides from them and reserves to others of His creatures -- such as angels -- or exclusively to Himself, according to His will.

Allamah Nasafi (d.1013 c.e.) has also said that the charismatic miracles of the Friends of Allah are true – “Karamaat al-Awliya haqqun”.

To continue…


Saturday, April 24, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles –Islamic Perspective in brief:
Part 4 - Continued.....

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

“His command when He desires a thing is just to say to it, ‘Be!’ and it is.” (Surah Ya Sin, 82)

Allah is the Real Doer, Causator and Creator of Miracles:

Now before we come to “Miracles” it is important to draw the attention of the uninitiated non-muslim readers that while in non-Islamic religions “miracles” are usually directly attributed to the human agency that seems to be the author, this is not so in Islam because human attribution is not allowed.

Imam Tahawi, who was one of the Salafs (not to be confused with modern Salafi sects), says: Nothing happens except what Allah wills. Everything happens according to His degree and will, and His will is accomplished. The only will that people have is what He wills for them. What He wills for them occurs and what He does not will, does not occur. Allah has been always the Creator and the originator and the Lord.

Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Allah is the Creator of all things.” (Sûrah al-Zumar: 62 , and Sûrah al-Ra`d: 16). There are quite a few verses of this kind in the Holy Qur’an that says that it is Allah the Almighty who is the Creator, Real Doer, Author, Originator and Causator. This applies not only to the creation of the universe and creatures and all that is there, but also to day to day activities and occurrences and miracles. Everything takes place in the universe because of the decree of Allah. Therefore, the bottom-line is that while the miracles may be attributed, as the case may be, to prophets and the Awliya-Allah or a pious person, in our hearts we must always know and believe that it is Allah alone who is the Causator, Doer and Creator of Miracles. Therein remains our safety as far as the religion of Islam goes.

Hazrat Bayazid Bistami ® stated that ‘Maarifat’ (Gnosis) consists in knowing that without Allah’s permission no one has the least control of his kingdom. It is Allah who creates the ability to act and puts the will to act in the heart since the human actions are metaphorical and Allah is the Real Causator. It is only when Allah gives strength that we are able to carry on the spiritual exercises. Bishr al-Hafi ® whom even Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal used to consult, stated that an individual and his actions are created by Allah. Allah being the Provider, if He makes a creature the means of giving you sustenance, consider it that it has come from Allah and not the creature.

Before we come to the "Miracles" there is one more aspect to be understood about the miracles.  It is this:

Miracles are downplayed in Islam:

The Holy Qur’an sent down upon the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) is the greatest sign sent down to mankind. Generally, not much weightage is given to miracles. The Holy Qur’an says: And yet they say, “Why are signs not sent down upon him from his Lord? Say: “The signs are indeed with Allah, and I am but a clear warner.” (29:50).

Indeed, Awliya-Allah have also not attached much significance to miracles and marvels.

When the great saint of Mayhana, Hazrat Abu Sa’id Fazlullah ibn Abi’l Khayr ® (967-1049 c.e.) was told that so- and-so walks on water, he replied that it was easy since frogs and water-fowls do it.  When someone drew his attention that so-and-so flies through the air, he merely replied that so do the birds and insects.   Again, when someone told him that somebody goes from one town to another in a moment, he replied that things such as these are of no great value since even Satan travels from East to the West in a moment. According to him, the true saint eats and sleeps and has social intercourse with the people. He even marries and lives among them. He carries on buying and selling in the market. However, he never forgets Allah even for a single moment. It is true that some of them renounced worldly activities in order to worship Allah unhindered. However, that was nothing new since we have the example of Ashab us-Suffa (People of the Verandah), i.e. the Companions of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) who resided in the verandah of the Masjidun Nabawi and who were extremely poor, and about whom it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an: “Do not drive away those who call unto their Lord, at morn and eve, desiring His face” (6:52).   Despite their privations and sufferings, the Ahle Suffa were great lovers of Allah and His holy Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam).    It is significant to note that included among these are such famous names as Bilal ibn al-Rabah, Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dharr al-Ghiffari, Abdullah ibn-Masood, Abdullah ibn Umar, Abu Huraira, Muadh b. al-Haris and others (may Allah be pleased with them all), some of whom even attained martyrdom in several battles of nascent Islam.

When Hazrat Bahaudin Naqshbandi was asked about showing miraculous power, he said: “What more miraculous power do you want than that we are still walking on this earth with all these sins upon us and around us.” Hazrat Shihab ad-din Suhrawardi (d.632H/1234 c.e.) mentioned in his Awaarif Al-Ma’arif that “Marvels and Karamaat are of no value in comparision with the heart’s dhikr of Allah”.

Hazrat Bayazid Bistami ® says: I seek His Grace from the Bestower of Graces. I don’t seek miracles. He also said that if you see a person sitting cross-legged in the air, don’t be fooled by his act!  Observe his approach and attitude to the compulsory acts (Faraaiz, Waajibaat) and prohibited acts (Haraam, Makrooh Tahreemi) and detestable acts (Makrooh) and other restrictions and etiquettes of the Shariah. (Risalah Qushayriya)

Further, according to Imam Muhammad Mathum (d.1074H/1668 c.e.) of Sirhind, knowing Allah is more valuable than possessing Kashf and Karamah. The reason is that being a knower of Allah (Aarif Billah) entails the secret knowledge about Allah’s Essence and Attributes; while Karamah or marvels manifest secret knowledge about creatures. Awliya-Allah don’t want marvels because they don’t desire knowledge about the creatures. As Allah loves his Awliya very much, He does not keep them preoccupied with creatures. Those who are addicted to the world cannot recognize and do not like men of Allah who can comprehend and reveal secrets about creatures better than others provided they choose to think about them.

In short, it is important to realize that just as the pre-eminence of prophets depends not on miracles or evidentiary miracles but on their exalted ranks and being preserved from defilement of sin, similarly, working miracles or ‘Karaamaat’ is not an end in itself for a Vali (Saint).  As Dr. Tahir al-Qadri explains, Miracle is not Vilayat (Sainthood), and Vilayat is not miracle. Miracle is just a by-product of being a Vali because for a Vali a miracle is not a product. According to him, there is Ijma (consensus) among the scholars that a Karamat is “Nafs-ki-Talab” while “Allah’s Talab” is Isteqaamat (remaining firm on the right path, or rectitude, steadfastness). Isteqaamat is higher than Karaamat. There have been many Friends of Allah who have had no miracles, and what is more, there are many unknown Awliya-Allah who are unknown to the world. As far as the Vilayat is concerned, all Awliya-Allah are equal, but they differ as far as the status is concerned.

To continue....

Friday, April 23, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles –Islamic perspective in brief: Part 3.

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

Tasawwuf is not new to Islam:

We need to explain a few more things before we come to the "Miracles".  We noted earlier that Deen consists of Islam, Iman and Ihsan. We further noted that Ihsan is what came to be known later as Tasawwuf.  In other words, the reality of Tasawwuf existed during the time of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam). Those who say that it is borrowed from other discipline simply want to mislead the Muslims.  In the early period of Islam, the followers of Tasawwuf or Sufism were known as Muqarrabin (favourits of Allah) Sabirin (patient ones), Abrar (the virtuous), Zuhhad (the pious), Awliya-Allah (Friends of Allah), Siddiqun (Truthful) which were all the Quranic terms. Therefore, absence of the word “Tasawwuf” or “Sufi” does not indicate that the reality was not there. In fact, the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) was the first Sufi who used to retire to Ghaare Hira for Dhikr Allah. During the early years of his ministry forty-five men of Makkah joined as many others of Madinah the Radiant, took an oath of fidelity to the doctrines of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and formed a fraternity, engaging themselves in devotion, renouncing the active life of the world and engaging themselves in prayers and meditation. They occupied the verandah of the Masjid and came to be known as the Ahle Suffa, whence came the word “Sufi”.  Earliest mention of those words has been made by Hasan Basri ® (d.110 A.H.) and by Sufyan al-Thawri the Islamic scholar, jurist, Hafiz who learnt various shades of meaning of 'Riya' (Ostentation) from a Sufi.   

The Sufis have also adopted themselves to the pattern of Hazrat Abu Bakr ® in stripping themselves of worldly things; to Hazrat Umar ® in wearing of the patched robe or Muraqqa and rigorously performing religious duties; to Hazrat Uthman ® in resigning their affairs to Allah, sincerity of devotion and sacrificing life and property; to Hazrat Ali ® in endurance of affliction, and in respect to the truth of outward expressions and subtleties of inward meanings, severance of all things from the heart except the remembrance of Allah who keeps his servants in whatever state He wills, and consideration of Divine Providence.

Imam Muhammed Mathum al-Faruqi ® has given us details on the subject in the 59th letter of the second volume of his Maktubat. According to him, all the paths of tasawwuf come from Rasulullah (sall-allahu alaihi wasallam). The superiors of tasawwuf have attained the ma’arif emanating from the blessed heart of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) through their Guides in every century. In fact all the external and the internal (spiritual) perfections were attained through the Holy Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam). The external form of command and prohibition was transmitted by the learned scholars of the four schools of thoughts. The hidden knowledge relating to the heart and soul were conducted by the Sufis. Indeed the terms fana’, baqa’, jadhba, suluk and sair-i ila’llah, which were used for attainments on the way of tasawwuf, were first used by the great leaders of tasawwuf.

Imam-e-Rabbani points out that it  is written in the Sahih of al-Bukhari that Abu Huraira (radi-Allahu ta’ala ’anh) said:

‘I filled two cups from Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alaihi wasallam). I have explained the contents of one of them. You would kill me if I disclosed the other.’

{Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number 121: where” two cups” are sometimes translated as “two kinds” or as G.F. Haddad  recommends: “Two vessels”. }

Those who don’t believe in Tasawwuf, the above hadith has been the butt of frequent criticism. But it is there in Sahih Bukhari unless it has been expunged.   For brevity's sake, I don't intend to go into background of this hadith shareef.   

It is also written in the Sahih of al-Bukhari that when ’Umar ® died, his son ’Abdullah ® said that nine-tenths of knowledge had died and, seeing that the listeners were confused, added that he meant not the knowledge of fiqh (jurisprudence) but the knowledge of knowing Allah (Gnosis).

Sufi terminologies such as Tawajjuh (thinking deeply) of Allah Most High, the dhikrs of nafi (negation) and ithbat (affirmation) and muraqaba (meditation) existed during the time of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and that of as-Sahabat al-kiram ® . Although the above terms had not been heard from the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) but he did have the above states {ahwal (pl. of hal, spiritual state)}.

According to Shah Waliyulla Dehelvi, the four periods of mysticism were to the liking of Allah. During the first and the second century of Islam, the outcome of mysticism and the sum-total of the religion was Ihsan. The second began with Junaid Baghdadi ® when emphasis was put on the acquisition of attributes, i.e ‘Ta’alluq Billah’ (attachment with Allah). The third began with Shaykh Abu Sa’id Fazlullah Ibn abi’l Khayr of Mayhana and with Abu’l Hasan Kharqani ® when on crossing the bar of action the mystics acquired the degree of ‘ Jadhb’ (Absorption). The fourth period began with ibn al-Arabi when other relevant problems of mysticism were discussed (such as “Wahdat al-Wajud or Unity of Being).

In passing it may be noted that later when Ahmad Sirhind Mujaddid Alf Sani confronted the Unity of Being with his own, Unity of Witnessing, (Wahdat al-Shuhud) it was Hazrat Shah Waliullah Dehelvi who brought about the reconciliation between the two doctrines (Maktoob-i-Madani; Lamhaat, Lamha 21).   Care must be taken to remember that the differences, if any, were not theological ones  as between Asharism and Mutazilaism,  but merely "Irfani" (Gnostic) ones.  Earlier it was Imam Ghazali (d.1111 c..) who brought about the reconciliation between the theological Islam and the mystic or sufistic Islam where it was necessary to get rid of evil dispositions, vile qualities and the appetites of the flesh. Then it was for the heart to be cleared of all except Allah - and this could be done by Dhikr-Allah. This could not be acquired by learning but by inward transformation and actual experiencing. That was why Imam Ghazali detached himself from worldly ties and turned wholly to Allah. But that’s another subject. 

That brings us to the importance of loving Awliya-Allah. We have never seen the Awliya-Allah of the past but we do love them for the sake of Allah since they are the beloved of Allah.


We have to remember that Awliya-Allah have strived to help the Ummah of our beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam). Everyone Muslim knows that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) has clearly indicated that on the Day of Resurrection, Hazrat Uwais al-Qarni ® would intercede for as many people of the Ummah as there were the sheep of Rabia and Muzzer tribe. Before the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) assumed the veil from this material world, he had also asked Hazrat Umar ® and Hazrat Ali ® to seek him and give him his mantle and also ask him to pray to Allah for forgiveness of both of them – which they did. Generally, such is the status of Awliya-Allah.

Hazrat Shaykh Muhiyuddeen Abdul Qadir Jilani Ghousul Azam ® once said that if Allah grants him a station of honour in His sight, he would obtain from his Creator a covenant on behalf of his disciples, to be binding till the Day of Qiyamah, that none of them would die without being in a state of repentance, and that he would be the Surety for them in this regard.

Hazrat Bayazid Bistami ® too states that he had made a resolve to pray for all the creatures. However, then a thought came to him that the station of intercession belongs to the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam). So he observed his manner. He tells us that then he heard a voice saying, because of this one observance of good manners, I have exalted your name so that until the Resurrection, men shall call you the Sultan of the Gnostics.

Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti ® too prayed for the salavation of followers till the Day of Qiyamah (Last Day) and obtained it while he was absorbed in prayers at the Ka’ba shareef in 583 A.H.

Without purifying our heart, it is very difficult to receive “Faiz” from Awliya-Allah. Once when someone asked Hazrat Bayazid Bistami ® the reason why the former had not gained spiritually despite remaining in his company for so long, the Shaykh replied: “It’s because of your ‘Nafs’ (carnal self) which is not under your control. You do not regard honour the same as disgrace. Consider both of them equal.”

There was a person whose mother had been telling him off and on to offer supererogatory prayers (‘nawaafil’) and sit in the company of Bayazid Bistami ®. Like many of us today, he thought that if he has at all to offer additional prayers or do some extra good deeds, why not do it on our own and alone! The answer holds good today as it was then. The Faiz (Divine Effusion) of Allah would come to that person in his individual capacity which is not much compared to that he would get by sitting in the company of Awliya-Allah who have the ‘Qurb” (nearness) of Allah.

Allah has promised us that He will accept the prayers of those whom he Loves. We know that Messengers of Allah, Prophets, Siddiqeen (the Truthful), Shohda (Martyrs), Awliya-Allah (Friends of Allah) and the Saliheen (the Pious and Righteous people) are loved by Allah. “Faiz” and “Marifa” have been over-flowing from Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq to the great Sufi Masters and Awliya through Hazrat Abu Bakr ® and to those of other Orders (Silsilas) through Hazrat Ali ®.

A man asked Bayazid, "Show me a deed by which I will approach my Lord." He said, "Love the friends of Allah in order that they will love you. Love his saints until they love you. Because Allah looks at the hearts of His saints and He will see your name engraved in the heart of His saints and He will forgive you." For this reason, the Naqshbandi followers have been elevated by their love for their shaikhs. This love lifts them to a station of continuous pleasure and continuous presence in the heart of their beloved.

In his first letter, Shaykh Ahmad al-Badawi ® has indicated that “no one who sits with them (i.e. the Awliya) is wretched,”  as reported in the Sahih.  He quotes a hadith from Sahih Bukhari regarding the evidence against turning away from sitting with them: “Shall I tell you about the three men? One of them took himself to Allah and Allah took him in. The other was shy, so Allah was shy with him. And the other turned away, so Allah turned away from him.” Awliya-Allah are the endless treasure trove, impenetrable fortress, “the universal interspace” and the overflowing sea.

Therefore, we need to seek the company of such emancipated souls. No less a person than Hazrat Fariduddin Masood Ganj-e-Shakhar ® who is known in the sub-continent of India and Pakistan as Baba Farid and is the third Peer-O-Murshid in line of the Chishtiya Silsila, himself used to set out to meet saints, i.e. before he met Hazrat Qutub-ud-din Bhaktiyar Kaki.

“Uth Farida gaun kar duniyaa bekhan jay,
Mat koyee bakshaa milanwajay tuu bhee bakshaa jay”

(Get up O Farid and roam about the world/Maybe in thy wandering ye may meet some emancipated soul, receive his blessings and achieve deliverance.)

Hazrat Baba Farid ® has narrated that a there was a sinful young man who died in Multan. It was revealed in a dream that the young man had been pardoned by Allah for the reason that one day when Hazrat Khwaja Baha-ul-aq Zakarriya Multani was taking a walk, the young man had kissed his hand with utmost respect. It was because of this gesture that he had been pardoned.

On the subject of Loving of Awliya-Allah, this is especially applicable to loving the Ahle Bayt or People of the House of Prophet (sallal laahu alahi wassallam).  According to the prophetic traditions, not loving Hazrat Ali (R) is a sign of a hypocrite (Munafiq) and offending Hazrat Fatimah (R) is offending the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) whose dear daughter she is.  The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) has categorically shown his love for Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain (may Allah be pleased with them both).    According to a Sahih Hadith in Tirmidhi, the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) has said: "When I am loved, then my family members whom I love, should also be loved." 

Loving someone means having affinity with that person and having a strong affection for that person, and accepting the deeds and beliefs of that person.  This should not be confused with the words: "although I have not acted like them.." which appears in Sahih Muslim, in a hadith reported by Anas bin Maalik in addition to the one, that when a person told the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) that "I have made no significant preparation with prayer and fasting and charity, but I however love Allah and His Messenger,' thereupon the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) said: "you would be along with the one whom you love."   These words underline that although I do not possess their strength of belief, their actions, their piety and their powerful proximity to Allah with their devotions, yet with all my faults and shortcoming in controlling my 'Nafs' (carnal soul or the lower self) and striving to do those deeds, I do love them while admitting that I have not acted like them.  Allah tells us: Whoso obeyeth Allah and the messenger, they are with those unto whom Allah hath shown favour, of the prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they! (Qur'an 4:69).  In fact that this company begins from the Barzakh itself is also proven from the prophetic traditions.  This will definitely bring out the paramount importance of loving those whom Allah has shown His favours though we may not to anything as far as their rank with Allah goes, or we may not even belong to their 'Jamaat', yet by loving them we can expect to be in their august company right after leaving this transitory world.  As Allah says in the next verse: That is bounty from Allah (Qur'an: 4:70).  What a bounty it is! As it has been said “Zikr-ul-Anbiah Ibada tun Wa Zikr-ul-Auliya Kafara tun” i.e. Discussing about the Prophets of Allah is a form of Ibaadah, and discussing the Awliya is atonement. Mercy of Allah descends when His Awliya are discussed.

To continue, Insha Allah….


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles –Islamic perspective in brief: Part 2.

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

As we noted in Part 1 of our Article, Allah declares war on the enemy of His Friend.   Ibn Taimiyya said that Allah is expressing: "I will seek revenge like an aggressive lion against anyone who comes against My saints."

There was a disciple of Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi ® who bore him a grudge and therefore left him. One day, however, he returned to the Shaykh with the intention of testing him. Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi ® was aware of the intention. So he asked him, “Do you need a formal answer or a spiritual one?” “Both,” said the disciple. Replying to him, the Shaykh said: If you had tested yourself, you wouldn’t have the need to test me. And the spiritual answer is, I depose you from the Saintship. The disciple’s face turned black immediately and the light of certainty (‘Yaqeen”) also vanished from his heart. The disciple abandoned his foolish self-conceit and implored the Shaykh to forgive him. Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi ® told him: Don’t you know that Awliya-Allah possess mysterious powers? You cannot endure their blows.” Saying this, and considering the repentence of the disciple, the Shaykh blew a breath over his face and the disciple was restored to his original self. 

Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti ® narrated that there was a man who hated the Awliya-Allah. After he died, he was placed in a grave where the people tried to turn his face towards the Qibla. To their astonishment, as much as they tried, that man’s face always turned away from the Qibla. A voice from nowhere announced that it would be an exercise in futility trying to turn his face to the Qibla because that man used to turn his face in disgust on seeing the Awliya-Allah. “I will turn away My face from him. He is a condemned soul, and on the Day of the Judgment such people would appear with faces of the donkeys.” That is one of the ways how Allah deals with those who bear grudge against Awliya-Allah.

Of course, there are also instances when Awliya-Allah suffer the ignominy heaped upon them but they bear it without complaint – which goes to show their extreme forbearance, tolerance and patience with the ignorant for the ‘Rida’ of Allah, depending upon their ranks.

Awliya-Allah are the persons of Ahl-e-Tassawwuf: 

Allah has exalted status of knowledge and power of the Awliya. Allah says about them:  “Whosoever mortifify themselves for Our sake, We will assuredly guide them in Our ways."

(Qur’an: 29:69).

Shaykh Hakim of Tirmidh in the second chapter of his Adab al-muridin describes such mortification or striving as a kind of door which leads to nearness to Allah. Now attaining this nearness (which is not physical) is itself not easy because it requires the mastery of bringing the carnal soul (Nafs-e-Ammaara) under control which in itself is ‘Jihaad-e-Akbar’ ( the greater Jihad) as per the famous hadith of Mohammed Mustafa (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) which he (s) stated to his Companions while returning from a battle which he (s) merely termed as “Jihaad-e-Asghar” (i.e. Lesser Jihad).

Observance of outer state by man is "mortification".  "Guidance" consists in Allah's maintenance of man's spiritual feelings of Inner Truth or Inner Reality.  Thus there are two aspects:  The first is the Shariat consisting of the outer state or external ordinances.  The second is what is at the heart of the revelation - which is called Haqiqat.  Shariat cannot be maintained without the Haqiqat and conversely Haqiqat cannot be maintained without the Shariat.  Those who uphold both Shariat and Haqiqat are called people of Tasawwuf or the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat that consists of the four schools of thoughts namely, the Hanafi, the Shafii, the Hanbali, and the Maliki. 

Again, regarding the Quranic verse, ittaqullah wa yu`allimukumullah ("Be aware of Allah, and Allah Himself will teach you" 2:282), Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani ® points out in Discourse 16 of Futuh al-Ghaib: And fear Allah and He will teach you, then He will invest you with the power of controlling the universe with a clear permission which will have no obscurity in it... and He has done this with many of His Prophets and awliya and people especially favored from among the children of Adam. Then there is the hadith shareef: “ man `amila bi ma `alima warrathahullahu `ilma ma lam ya`lam ("Whoso acts upon what he knows, Allah will make him inherit a knowledge that he did not have"). Hazrat Bayazid of Bistam cited this hadith in response to a question: "From where and from whom did you get this knowledge which you claim to have?"

Awliya-Allah are the people of Tasawwuf and are also called the "Sufis".  They fulfill the requirements of the 'Deen' (Religion), which consists of Islam, Imaan and ihsaan,  as aptly explained in the Hadith of Jibreel.  With the evolvement of the language, it is "ihsaan" that came to be known as "Tasawwuf" in later centuries, and the two aspects of Ihsan came to be known as Mushahada and Muraqaba, i.e one where one worships God as if he sees God; and the other where one is unable to worships God in the first way, he at least worships God knowing that God sees him.  Awliya-Allah are the most ardent defenders of  Shariat, and their path from the outer Shariat to the inner Haqiqat is known as "Tariqat".  A qualified seeker can traverse this Islamic spiritual path but under the direction of the qualified guide known as Pir-O-Murshid who is well-versed with the Holy Quran and the prophetic traditions (ahadeeth), and practising the Shariat.     Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh says that Law without Truth is ostentation, and Truth without Law is hypocrisy.  Truth or Inner Reality means knowledge of Allah and such religious practices which are made perfect by sincerity.  The word "Awliya" represent conformity with the revealed religion and as such to the truth.  There is no heresy as there is no departure from the revealed religion or from the truth.  Even orientalists such as Louis Massignon and others have irrefutably demonstrated that the doctrines and practices of the Sufis, i.e. the Awliya-Allah, are entirely based on and derived from the Holy Qur'an - which is the very base of Islamic orthodoxy. 

It is to be remembered that the word Sufi should be used only of the Awliya-Allah who have attained the proximity of Allah, though it has become a fashion nowadays to distinguish a Sunni Muslim by calling him a Sufi.  Even a great Awliya such as Hazrat Abul Hasan Kharqani (R) used to say:  "Don't call me Sufi."  Such is the weightage of this word.  The righteous 'ulema of the traditional four schools of thought are, more or less, Awliya-Allah or Sufis, and no Awliya-Allah are found in other sects.     

Modern scholars and pseudo-sufis have based their school of thoughts on the teachings of the sufi stalwarts of Islam, but under their own labels. We need to reject the false Wali and seek the real Wali-Allah.  It is not easy to recognise a Wali-Allah.  But as a general rule one way of recognizing them is to know that “The friends of Allah are those who when they are seen, Allah is remembered” (Majma’uz Zawaid; Vol. 10, Pg. 78, Bazzaar).  Another general way is to rectify our own heart and adopt his company.  If his company generates thoughts and love of Allah in our heart then he is a Wali.  If the heart indulges in worldly thoughts then he is not a Wali since it is said that the heart is a mirror of another heart.   We must also note the observation of the Shariat in him, remembering that even the Sultan of Awliya, Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Ghausul Azam, did not give up the Shariat, including the ritual prayers.  Or the instance when Hazrat Bayasid Bistami (R) refused to accept a person as a Wali when he learnt that while entering the Masjid that person had put his left foot forward.  There are many examples of such a nature. 

At the same time, we must not come to a swift conclusion in judging a person who is known as a Wali because we might commit an error of judgment, which reminds me of the anecdote of Hazrat Bayazid Bistami (R) who,  while travelling to another town during the month of Ramadan,  found that almost the entire town had come to receive him, an Awliya-Allah.  Since he did not like it,  he removed a khubooz (bread) from his sleeve and began to munch on it.  Seeing this, all the people lost faith in him and went back home.  To think about it, the Shaykh had done nothing wrong with the Shariah, since eating and drinking on a Ramadan day is allowed on travelling certain distances.  He did that just to be left alone, but see how the people judged him hastily.    Even Ibn Taimiyya who himself belonged to the Qadri Order, considered Bayazid as one of his masters.  About him he said:  "There are two categories of fana': one is for the perfect Prophets and saints, and one is for seekers from among the saints and pious people (saliheen). Bayazid al-Bistami is from the first category of those who experience fana', which means the complete renunciation of anything other than God. He accepts none except God. He worships none except Him, and he asks from none except Him." He continues, quoting Bayazid saying, "I want not to want except what He wants."

Awliya-Allah have influenced other religions too.  Quranic verses and the sayings of Baba Farid (Hazrat Shaykh Fariduddin Masood Ganj-e-Shakhar (R)) are found in the holy book of the Sikh, Adi Granth; while the Rosicrucian sect of Christianity has liberally borrowed from the teaching of Hazrat Shaykh Muhiyuddeen Abdul Qadir Jilani. 

The lives of  Muslim Saints are a source of inspiration to the Muslims all over the world -  even in those pockets where their teachings are being suppressed.  Their unswerving love of Allah, their Tawakkal (piety)and Tauheed (Unity of Allah), courage of conviction, strength of character, religious zeal and devotion to earning the pleasure of Allah, sprinkled with countless miracles at their hands, and their empowerment of Allah on this earth and the hereafter have earned them the title of Friends of Allah.     

To continue....


Monday, April 19, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles–Islamic perspective in brief: 1.

أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ


Of course, there is a plethora of literature on the subject written by the great scholars and stalwarts of Islam, both past and present, as well as by orientalists. Unfortunately, for those who know only English much of those great works are not readily available to cherish and savour except for abridged English versions of Kashful Mahjoob, Tadhkirat al-awliya, the Ihya, some translations of the discourses of Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani ®, and a few others. Therefore, for those who are well-versed with the subject, I am afraid, they will be disappointed here. My only reason for foraying into this subject as a layman is that maybe my two cents will expiate some of my sins and earn me some reward from Allah who loves his Awliya whom I love for the sake of Allah.

Miracles are mentioned in all Religions and Cultures:

We do know that a miracle is an extraordinary act created by Allah outside his usual custom, i.e. beyond the scope of scientific and natural laws.

Miracles are common to all religion and culture. Old Testament and Hebrew scriptures contain many accounts of miracles. So do the Budhist and the Hindu scriptures. They attribute miracles to God, prophets, saints, sages, and holy men. In non-Islamic religions and cultures, we hardly find any distinction being made in the categories of so-called miracles. As far as working miracles by personalities are concerned, some religions believe that only the dead can work miracles and not the living ones whereafter they are canonized as saints. Sometimes the word “Miracle” is used in a metaphorical sense to the happenings in daily life whence the Hindi expression: “Chamatkaar ko Namaskaar Karna”. Sometimes, even magic, hypnotism, mesmerism, charlatanism, clairvoyance, out-of-body experience, and the like are termed as a “Miracle” by incredulous people. This is one of the reasons why there is such a proliferation of fake gurus or a ‘Babas’ or ‘Pirs’ in our society. However, trickery and self-aggrandisement do not preclude the occurrence of real miracles. Islam too has a fair share of real miracles, but with a unique difference as we shall see in due course.

Miracles of the prophets are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and the ahadeeth (prophetic traditions) and Islamic hagiography which are generally accepted by the entire Muslim communities. However, as a minute section frowns upon the very mention of Awliya-Allah and their miracles, or deny their high-rank and status by imagining that every believer is of the status of a Friend of God, we shall be restricting ourselves to the miracles of Awliya-Allah. There is of course the general closeness of every believer to Allah, which is categorized as Wilayat-e-Amma. This is because Allah declares in the Holy Qur’an: We are nearer to him than his own jugular vein” (Surah Qaaf, verse 16).  So we need to get an idea of what or who is a Friend of God (Wali or saint).

Briefly, who are Awliya-Allah?

Scholars tells us that an Arabic word has a number of meaning, but for simplicity, let’s restrict ourselves to the meaning of “Awliya” as the plural of “Wali” or Friend of God or Saint, and the word Wali being derived from “Wilaya” which means nearness or closeness (‘Qurb’) or Sainthood. This word with different forms appear in the Holy Quran over 200 times in different context and also means “Patronage, ”Protection,” and even “Intimacy”. The Holy Qur’an also categorises the believers as ‘Muqarrabin’ (i.e. those brought near or favourties of Allah), Sabireen (Patient Ones), Muttaqoon (God-conscious) Abrar (the Virtuous), Zuhhad (the Pious ones), Siddiqun (the Truthful ones), Saalihoon (the Pious Ones), Qanitoon (The Obedient Ones), Mohsinoon (The Doer of Good),  Zakiroon (Those who remember Allah much),  Muminoon (the Believers),  besides using the word Awliya-Allah.  These qualities are found in the Awliya-Allah.

Generally, Surah Waqiah of the Holy Qur’an gives the details of the categories of the believers. The highest position is for those who are called “the foremost,” “those brought nigh,” and “these will be those who are nearest to Allah.” In the middle position are those souls who attend to both the worlds who advance upward to the higher world by obeisance and devotion, and who sometimes descend to the lower world for administering their affairs and exercising sway over it. These are the people of the right-hand who will be given their records in their right hand. Most of the “foremost” and the “Right-Hand” will be from the first generation and comparatively fewer will be from the later generations. In Surah Nisa, verse 69, the categories of Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Righteous People are mentioned.

A very famous verse of the Holy Qur’an says about them: “Ala, inna awliya Allah, la khawfun alayhim wala hum yah-zanoon!” , i.e. "Lo! verily the friends of Allah! No fear comes upon them, nor shall they grieve." (Quran-10:62)

For an explanation of the above verse, let’s refer to a prophetic  tradition:

It is reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, once said after the salat:

‘O people! Listen to this, understand it, and know it. Allah has servants who are neither Prophets nor martyrs and whom the Prophets and martyrs yearn to be like, due to their seat and proximity in relation to Allah.” One of the Bedouin Arabs who came from among the most isolated of people twisted his hand at the Prophet and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! People from humankind who are neither Prophets nor martyrs and yet the Prophet's and the martyrs yearn to be like them due to their seat and proximity in relation to Allah?! Describe them for us!"’

'The Prophet's face showed delight at the Bedouin's question and he said: ’ ...

‘They are of the strangers from this and that place. They frequent this or that tribe without belonging to them. They do not have family connections among themselves. They love one another for Allah's sake. They are of pure intent towards one another. On the Day of Resurrection Allah will place for them pedestals of light upon which He will make them sit, and He will turn their faces and clothes into light. On the Day of Resurrection the people will be terrified but not those. They are Allah's Friends [Awliya'] upon whom fear comes not, nor do they grieve.’

[Haythami in Majma'al-Zawa'id says: 'Ahmad relates it, and Tabrani relates something similar, and the men in its chain of transmission have been declared trustworthy." Also related through several chains by Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna, al-Hakim in the Mustadrak, Ibn 'Asakir, Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Kitab al-Ikhwan, Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, and others].

Now, in the well-known prophetic tradition where Allah states through the mouth of His Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasssallam) the above Quranic verse is further amplified:

"Allah said, 'I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper (walî) of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him (i.e. made ‘Fard’); and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing nawaafil (i.e. supererogatory prayers and doing extra deeds besides ‘Fard’) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him; and if he asks for My protection (Refuge), I will protect him; and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him." (Narrated by Abu Huraira in Bukhari, vol8, hadith 509)

The above Quranic verses and the ahadith shareef, surely sum  up the definition of not of an ordinary believer but that of a pious person who never ceases to strive for attaining the nearness (Qurb) of Allah by carrying out all the compulsory religious obligations, required of a pious believer, and topping that with additional prayers and good deeds to such an extent that he comes under the protection of Allah and attains the position of Wilayat and becomes a Wali. Then Allah becomes his sense of sight and hearing as well as his limbs, and if the Wali were to ask, Allah would surely give him, making him free from fear and grief.

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.

The other meaning, as I see it is, Awliya-Allah always spoke fearlessly in the face of tyrants who oppressed and mistreated their subject. For example, Hazrat Shaykh Muhiyuddeen Abdul Qadir Jilani ® was one such Friend of Allah whose admonitions the Caliph or Governors of his time could not ignore. Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti ® who settled down in Ajmer, India, against all odds, facing the might of the Raja, his army and his magicians all by himself with the aid of Allah of course . The last Khilji king of Delhi threatened to hang Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya ® who wouldn’t attend his court, got killed in a court intrigue just before he could implement his order; or when a king of the next dynasty wanted the saint out of the Delhi suburbs before he reached Delhi, the saint uttered: Delhi is still far (Dilli hinoz duur ast). True enough, the king himself could not reach Delhi as he got crushed to death when the palace fell upon him. Thus, there are many such instances when an Awliya-Allah was not seized by the fear of tyrants but it was the other way about. Nor do they grieve even in personal tragedies, thus remaining content with the decree of Allah, as happened in the case of Mansur Hallaj whose mystical utterances of Ana al-Haqq (I am the Truth) was considered as heresy, leading to his imprisonment for 11 long years in Baghdad and final torture and execution in the public by the Abbasid Caliph, Al-Muqtadir.  All the time during his trial and execution he remained unperturbed. Despite the fact that stones were thrown by the public at him, and his eyes were gorged out, his limbs were cut, his nose and ears were sliced off, his tongue was severed, and finally his head was chopped off, he forgave everyone who was present at his execution. He remained content with the decree of Allah!  In passing it may be stated that Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh has drawn our attention to the fact that if the religion of Mansur Hallaj were suspect, Hazrat Shibli (a disciple of Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi ®) would not have stated: “Al-Hallaj and I are of one belief.”

In Kashful Mahjoob, Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh ® has beautifully explained the concept by quoting Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi ® on “fear” that a saint has no fear since it involves expectation of some future calamity or loss of a desired object whereas a saint is the Son of his Time (‘ibni waqtihi’) who has no future to fear nor has any hope of relieving the misfortune or gaining an object of desire as that involves the future. Nor does the saint grieve because he is in the radiance of satisfaction (‘Rida’) and in the garden of concord (‘muwaafaqat’). According to Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh ®, Fear and Grief, Hope and Security belong to the interest of lower soul.

Awliya-Allah are known by various names, depending on their rank with Allah. To add some more: Muhaqqiq (Fully Realised), Aarifeen (sing.Arif – Intimate or experiential knowers), Qutb (Pole or Axis), Awtaad (Pegs), Abdaal (Substitutes) and so on.  A great scholar of Islam Imam al-Qastalani (Reh.) wrote:

"One of the karamat Allahu ta'ala has bestowed upon this umma is that there are qutbs, awtad, nujaba' and abdal among them.

Anas ibn Malik ® said that the abdal consists of forty persons. The hadith ash-Sharif quoted in al-Imam at-Tabarani's Awsat declares, 'There will always exist forty persons on the earth each of whom is blessed like Ibrahim (a.s.). It rains because of their baraka. Allahu ta'ala appoints another one when one of them dies. ' Ibn 'Adi said, 'Abdal embodies forty persons.'

The hadith ash-Sharif reported by Imam Ahmad declares, "There are always thirty persons among this umma each of whom is blessed like Ibrahim (a.s.)."

The hadith ash-Sharif reported by Abu Nuaym (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) in the book Hilya states, 'There exist some good people among my umma in every century. They are five hundred in number. Forty of them are abdal. They exist in every country.'

There are many other hadiths on this subject. The hadith ash-Sharif reported as marfu' again by Abu Nuaym in Hilya declares, 'There always exist forty persons among my umma. Their hearts are like Ibrahim's(a.s.) heart. Allahu ta'ala redeems His human servants from disasters for their sake. They are called abdal. They do not attain to that degree by performing salat, fasting or giving zakat.' Ibn Masud ® asked, 'Ya Rasul-Allah! By what means do they attain that degree?' 'They attain it by being generous and by advising Muslims,' said the Prophet. It was declared in another hadith ash-Sharif, 'The abdal among my umma do not curse anything.

Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (Reh.) wrote in his book Ta'reekh al-Baghdad, 'The nuqaba' comprises three hundred persons. The nujaba' comprises seventy; the abdal forty; the akhyar seven and the 'amad represents four persons. There is one ghawth. When human beings need something, the nuqaba' pray first. If it is not granted [by Allahu ta'ala], then the nujaba' pray. And if not granted again the abdal, akhyar and 'amad pray sequentially. If all are not granted, the ghawth, whose prayer will certainly be granted, prays.'

" [Translation of Al-mawahib al-ladunniyya, p. 512.]"

The prophets are infallible (masoom) and form the highest rank. Among the Ummah of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) coming after the prophets (a.s.) the superior are the Sahabas (the Noble Companions of Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and the most superior amongst them are the Righteous Caliphs (Khulfa-e-Raashideen) namely, Hazrat Abu Bakr ®, Hazrat Umar ®, Hazrat Uthman ® and Hazrat Ali ®. All the Sahaba, generally, are also Awliya. But all Awliya are not Sahaba. The family of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and the Ahe-e-Bayt also occupy a special place among the Awliya and deserve a separate topic. Thereafter comes the group of actual Awliya-Allah who founded the various Orders for spread of Islam throughout the world peacefully, headed by Hazrat Shaykh Muhiyuddeen Abdul Qadir Jilani Ghaus-ul-Azam of the Qadiri Order (Silsila).

The fact that there are many unknown saints whom even Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) doesn't know, is generally well-known. Also, some have been Awliya-Allah since their birth as in the case of Hazrat Shaykh Muhiyudeen Abdul Qadir Jilani ®.  The Sufi Shaykh, Imam ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad of Arabia, explains that possessor of supreme degree of veracity is called Qutb al-Ghawth. He adds, “As for the Qutb (Pole), the Ghawth, he is one in each time. He is the all-comprehensive Fard, and is known among the People as the viceregent (Khalifa), and the Perfect Man (al-Insan al-Kamil). Pole were of three kinds, the Pole of Sciences, such as the Proof of Islam al-Ghazali, the Pole of Spiritual States, such as Abu Yazid al-Bistami, and the Pole of Spiritual Stations, such as Shaykh ‘Abdal-Qadir.  Imam Abul-‘Abbas al-Mursi is also reported to have said, “Al-Junayd was the Pole of knowledge, Sahl the Pole of Stations, and Abu Yazid the Pole of States.”

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”.

Regarding the statement in the hadith of Abu Huraira ® in Bukhari, vol8, 509, that we mentioned before: ‘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."

To Continue, Insha Allah…..