In the Name of Allah, the Entirely-Merciful, the Especially-Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His Noble Prophet (SAW), his household and companions. Brethren!
Having discussed An-Nubuwwah (the Prophethood) and Ar-Risaalah (the Messengership) in Islam a few weeks ago, we need to complement that with a further discussion about Al-Wilaayah (the Sainthood).
It is an undisputable fact that some individuals can attain the position of Sainthood, just as we have Prophets and Messengers. Though, the Prophets and Messengers of Allah as we said were appointees duly confirmed by divine revelations, some of who were mentioned in the Holy Scriptures i.e. At-Taorah (The Torah), Al- Injeel (The Gospel) and also in The Qur’an. As for the position of Sainthood, it is not restricted to a particular time or individuals. The door to becoming a saint is widely open and will remain so till the day of resurrection.
Allah says: “Allah is the Waliyy (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Awliyaau (supporters and helpers are Taghut (false deity). They bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the fire, and they will abide therein forever.” Quran 2: 257.
Among the initial challenges encountered by the Prophets and Messengers during their lifetime was that, their people who perceived them as common human beings like themselves, found it difficult to just embrace their seemingly strange religion. So, they resorted to demanding for miracles as prerequisite for believing in them. As a result of that, Allah, The Almighty in His wisdom, granted His Messengers the power to perform different kinds of miracles.
Though the Prophetic era is over and there are no more miracles, there are Karaamaatul Awliyaau (dignities of the saints). As far as Islam is concerned, the performance of extraordinary acts could be classified into three categories. Firstly, Al- Mu’jizah (the miracle) exclusively given to the Prophets and Messengers. Secondly, Al- Karaamah (the dignity) given to Awliyaau (the saints). And lastly, Sihir (Sorcery) acquired by magicians and their agents.
Hafiz ibn Katheer said in his tafseer (exegesis) that Laith ibn Sa’ad used to say: “If you people see a person flying in the sky, or walking on the surface of the ocean, never be deceived by that till you have crosschecked his day-to-day activities, using the Quran and Sunnah as criterion”. If you find out that he is an upright person, then know that he is a saint, otherwise he is merely a magician.
How could a Muslim in this era descend so low to the level of believing that someone else has the ability to perform miracles when the Quran, the mother of all miracles and the everlasting one is within his reach? The types of the physical miracles which were performed by the Prophets in the past are completely above the ability of common human beings, just like no sane person can claim to be like any of them. Besides that, those miracles were meant to convince the nonbelievers in order to accept the messages preached by the Prophets and Messengers who had already accomplished their tasks. Why then are these hullabaloos about performing miracles?
As for attaining the status of Sainthood, Imam al-Bukahri in hadeethul Qudsiyy narrated the following: “On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: “the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said: “Whoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and my servant will continue to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to request (something) from Me, I would surely give him and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about (seizing) the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.”
This sound Hadeeth hopefully will correct the wrong impression of some, who believe that to attain the post of Wilaayah (Sainthood), one must keep himself in isolation for a number of days, months, or even years chanting some ambiguous hems after which he may start performing mysterious acts which ostensibly would look like miracles, whereas it is a mere magic being facilitated for him by the agents of devil with whom he had reached a compromise during the period he was in seclusion.
Another dangerous zone which Islam seriously frowns at because of the risk involved, yet some people out of ignorance or stubbornness take it with levity is the act of soothsaying as well as patronising the soothsayers. It is dangerous because the soothsayers by implication equate themselves with Allah, the Almighty, Who in many places in the Quran emphasises that it is only He Who absolutely possesses the knowledge of the unseen.
Allah says: “Allah! With Him (alone) is the knowledge of the hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the womb. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware.” Quran 31:34.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “whoever consulted a soothsayer seeking for the knowledge of unseen and then believed in what he was told, such person would as a result of that, forfeit the reward of his salaat (daily prayers) for forty days.
The primary duty of an Islamic scholar towards Muslims is to invite them to the way of Allah by explaining to them what should be done and what should be avoided, based solely on the Quran and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). They should distance themselves from what will make them fall into the wrath of Allah, all in an attempt to impress people through fortunetelling or performing magic. Bearing in mind the commendation of Allah for the Muslim Ummah when He said: “You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (goodness) and forbid Al-Munkar (evil deeds), and you believe in Allah.” Quran 3:110.
O Allah! Show us the truth as reality and grant us the ability to follow it and show us the falsehood as a lie, and grant us the ability to refrain from it.
May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His Messenger (SAW), His household, the companions, and all those who follow their path till the Day of Judgment.