THE MAGNIFICENCE OF THE SAINTS (AWLIYA ALLAH)
Allah Ta'ala states in The Holy Quran:
''Only those of His devotees who possess knowledge fear Allah. Undoubtedly Allah is Honourable, Forgiving'
(Surah Faatir. verse 28)
From this we learn that religious scholars (Ulama) are people of great honour and status. Allah Ta'ala has vested His awe and fear in them. Whoever would be blessed with the fear of Allah, it would be done through the means of the true and pious scholars. However, the men of knowledge are those scholars who possess knowledge of religion and whose deeds are correct.
'O believers! When it is said to you: 'make room in (your) assemblies', then make ample room, Allah will make ample room for you. And when it is said: 'Rise up' then arise. Allah will exalt those of you who believe from among you, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees. And Allah is aware of what you do'
(Surah Al-Mujadalah. Verse 11)
This tells us that Islamic scholars are persons of high status as they are held in high esteem in the world and in the hereafter. Allah Ta'ala has promised about their high status, that they have respect in the world and in the hereafter.
In a hadith, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, 'the Ulama are indeed the heirs of the prophets'. (Abu Dawood)
From The Holy Quran and hadith, we have seen the magnificence of the Islamic scholars (Ulama). But who are the Ulama (aalim)?
An aalim is one who is very well versed in his knowledge and has achieved mystic status. He is one through whose knowledge; others achieve the nearness of Allah Ta'ala. An aalim is one who has achieved the nearness of Allah Ta'ala and fears Allah Ta'ala. Whoever has achieved the highest level of knowledge, but has not achieved the nearness of Allah Ta'ala, and does not fear Allah Ta'ala is not an aalim.
This is because the nearer one gets to Allah Ta'ala, the greater the fear of Allah Ta'ala. The greater the fear, the greater will be his obedience and he will be more submitting to the will of Allah Ta'ala. Because of his piety and purity, the worshipper achieves the nearness of Allah Ta'ala and comes in the troop of the saints (Awliya Allah). And, Allah Ta'ala honours him:
'Listen carefully! No doubt there is no fear nor grief, upon the friends of Allah'
(Surah Yunus. verse 62)
The pious servants of Allah Ta'ala (saints/Friends of Allah) do neither fear nor grief. In this verse of The Holy Quran Allah Ta'ala used the word 'ala', before stating the magnificence of the Awliya Allah. Be fearsome of the Friends of Allah.
When Allah Ta'ala command to pray Namaaz, to observe fast, perform Hajj, pay Zakaat in The Holy Quran, Allah Ta'ala did not use the word 'ala' before mentioning the obligatory deeds. But when Allah Ta'ala mentioned the Awliya Allah in the Holy Quran, Allah Ta'ala warned to be fearsome; Awliya Allah is being mentioned.
It was known to Allah Ta'ala that in His creation there would be worshippers who believe in the worship of Allah Ta'ala but would refuse to submit to Allah Ta'ala. There would be people who would believe in the will of Allah Ta'ala, but refuse to believe in Awliya Allah- the Friends of Allah, who have submitted to the will of Allah Ta'ala. Allah Ta'ala has warned beforehand not to reject the Awliya Allah. They don't fear nor grief.
An example of 'fear' and 'grief' would be where a wealthy person fears that is wealth will be stolen. If it is stolen, then he grieves. The Friends of Allah are that, that do not fear or grief. They submit everything including their lives to the will of Allah Ta'ala. Such conditions (kayfiat) of the saints is mentioned in The Holy Quran:
'Please declare: 'surely, My prayer and my sacrifice, and my living and my dying are all for Allah who is the Lord of all the worlds'
(Surah Al-An'aam. Verse 162)
The Awliya Allah lives in the service of religion and remembrance of Allah Ta'ala, and die serving Allah Ta'ala.
'You shall soon remember when the time comes as to what I say to you. And I entrust my affairs to Allah. Allah sees all His devotees'
(Surah Al-Momin. Verse 44)
'And among the people is he, who sells his life in seeking the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is compassionate to His bondsman'
(Surah Al-Baqara. verse 207)
The Awliya achieve the nearness of Allah Ta'ala and are attributed the guardianship of faith (wilayat). They fear Allah Ta'ala to such a great degrees that they do not fear anything else. They are free of any worldly fear or grief. They leave everything including their lives in the care of Allah Ta'ala.
One meaning of a wali is a helper. Allah Ta'ala states in The Holy Quran:
''. And help each other in righteousness and piety, and help not one another in sin and transgression, and remain fearing Allah. Surely, the punishment of Allah is severe'
(Surah Al-Ma'ida. verse 02)
Another meaning of a wali is graciousness (kareemi).
The Awliya Allah is a congregation, who have achieved the nearness of Allah Ta'ala.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, 'verily Allah Ta'ala has said: 'whosoever shows enmity to a friend (wali) of mine, then I have declared war against him. And my servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved to Me than the religious duties I have obligated upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory (nafil) deeds until I love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask (something) of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge'.' (Bukhari).
Because of the supererogatory (nafil) deeds, the worshipper (wali) is drawn so close to Allah Ta'ala that Allah Ta'ala becomes his hearing with which he hears, and Allah Ta'ala becomes his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Allah Ta'ala gives him what he asks for and gives refuge if he seeks refuge.
Allah Ta'ala states in The Holy Quran:
''and fear Allah and know that Allah is with the God fearing'
(Surah Al-Baqara. verse 194)
Allah Ta'ala is with those who fear Allah Ta'ala
The magnificence of the saints (Awliya Allah) is like a water drop. When the water droplet is dropped in the sea, it loses its status as a drop of water, and becomes the sea. Such are the wali of Allah Ta'ala.
To achieve this level of nearness to Allah Ta'ala, one should associate with the Awliya Allah; attend their gatherings to come under the guardianship of faith. Give your hand in the hand of a perfect saint (kamil Peer).
This article is an abridged English translation of an Urdu sermon delivered by his eminence, Peer Syed Imroz Dean Saifi, Hanfi, Maturidi of Masjid Anwaar e Madina, Surrey BC Canada
If there is an inaccurate translation, please pardon it and not let it be a means to negatively reflect on the honoured presenter.