Who are the Awliya of Allah?
The word 'Awliya' also spelt as ‘Aulia’ singular 'Wali' comes from the root word of Wilaya.
The Wali is one who is close to Allah. This is a person who gives priority to the commands of Allah and conducts his or her life strictly applying the Quran and Sunnah in their life.
Allah has explained in His Book, and in the Sunnah of His Messenger (Sallalahu Alaihe Wasallam) that He has Awliya among the people.
The Quran mentions the allies of Allah:
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Wilayat (referred to as Sainthood) is a very special rank and position of recognition given by Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) to His beloved servants who have attained closeness to the Lord Almighty.
This is not a title that you gain by attending any college or university, but one that comes with many years of utmost devotion to the acts of prayer and worship.
A Wali is a pious Muslim who attains this position of wilayat through many years of complete devotion to seeking the pleasure of Allah. Wilayat comes from the root word “Wila”, which means closeness.
Some people will attain this transcendent position due to their sincere devotion to Allah and acts of worship seeking the pleasure and acceptance of Allah, this is not easy and requires dedication, much hard work and patience, most of all giving priority to the development of ones inner-self towards fulfilling the commands of Allah no matter what and remaining in this world as a traveller only utilising what is required for existence. Some attain this position from birth, but ultimately, it depends on Allah’s mercy and kindness. A Wali, no matter how great his status, cannot reach the status of a Prophet or a Sahaabi (the companions of the Beloved Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihe Wasallam).
A person who attains the position of a Wali, will always prioritise the hereafter and conduct themselves in accordance to the Quran and Sunnah. They will not pay attention to worldly gains or material possessions. They prefer to live the simple life, spending much of their time in the pursuit of perfecting their nafs (soul) and pleasing Allah through acts of worship.
All those people who have attained the spiritual level required to be known as Awliya Allah belong to the Ahlas-Sunnah wal Jama’at. Wali, plural awliya, is an Arabic word meaning friend. Awliya Allah, therefore, means Friends of Allah (swt).
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Types of Wilayat
It is said that there are two types:
Wilayat-e-Amma (common closeness to Allah) – This is the basic closeness of Allah to every believer, as Allah declares in the Quran:
“We are closer to him, than his own jugular vein.” (Surah Al-Kaaf, Verse 16)
The typical Muslim should and must have this basic level of closeness to his Creator Allah (swt). The second type is Wilayat-e-Khaas (distinctive nearness to Allah) – This attachment to Allah is exclusive to the Awliya. This is achieved by those who have travelled on the path of Tasawwuf, and attained nearness to Allah through their devotion and solitude dedicated to that cause. This is declared in a Hadith-e-Quddsi, where Allah says to the Most Beloved Prophet (sallalahu alaihe wasallam):
Read Imam Gazzali's books
The closeness to Allah’s is not like material attachment that can be understood by reason, or perceived through the sense of our organs. It can only be comprehended through the knowledge of Ma’rifa (gnosis) bestowed by Allah upon the Awliya.
This is a very important subject - awliya of allah and one cannot do justice to it in a single hub, so I will be writing more on this topic in my future hubs on learning about awliya allah and I shall also provide details on how to start your journey on achieving closeness to Allah.
Imam al-Ghazzali (RA) says:
I end this hub with a Hadith of the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihe Wasallam), in which he said to his companions returning from a battle: