WHO IS AWLIYA?
Awliya Allah or Waliyullah literally means friend of Allah.
Awliya are the pious people those who obeyed and followed the orders of Allah Almighty and sunnat of beloved Prophet sallallahu alaihiwasallam in every aspects of their life and finally were pleased and accepted by Allah Almighty.
A Wali is someone who occupies a very close station to Allah and is protected by Allah from major sins and repetition of sins in general, and kept in a state of obedience. It is a very special rank and position of acceptance given by Allah to His beloved servants.
When we call Awliya or Waliyullah, it includes whole Noble Sahaba (the companions of beloved Prophet ﷺ, Tabi'een, Tab al tabi'een, Imams and other Awliya.
However, when people used to speak they call sahaba in their unique name. Since it is the noble status in Islam. Hence, commonly we say waliyullah for Tabi'een, Tab al tabi'een, Imams and other Awliya.
THE STATUS OF AWLIYA
It is the common Islamic theology that the status of all the noble sahaba is much higher than that of all Awliya Allah. Likewise, the status of all Awliya is higher than that of ours.
AWLIYA IN AL QURAN
♦ Beware! Verily, the friends of Allah will not have any fear, nor will they grieve. (10:62)
Awliya will never worry for anything if anything happened that they disliked. Also they will never fear for the future on worldly matters. But they will always be remained in God-fearing.
AWLIYA IN AL HADITH
♦ Allah's Apostle ﷺ said:
"Allah said, 'I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a Wali of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) 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 My protection (Refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My Refuge) 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 RadhiAllahu Anhu
Book : Sahih al Bukhari 8:76:509
This is a powerful and profound Hadith Qudsi in which Allah informs and invites us to be among His friends and allies. It undoubtedly demonstrates the reality and existence and nature of these Awliya (Intimate Friends of Allah), and so no one has the right to deny their existence and special distinction after this knowledge has come to them.
It tells us:
1. Showing enmity to the friends of Allah is among the major sins.
2. Affirming that there are Awliya Allah among His slaves. This cannot be denied.
3. Affirming that Allah loves and that this is one of His attributes.
4. That pious deeds drives one closer to Allah. This is experienced by anyone who performs righteous actions.
5. When Allah loves a person He gives him spiritual and physical strength.
6. When Allah loves a person He answers his prayers.
7. Affirming that Karamat (mini miracles) are real and only pious people have the potential to experience them if Allah so wills.
8. All believers have the capacity and ability to become the Awliya Allah.
HIERARCHY OF AWLIYA
Hafiz Sakhawi in his Maqasid al-Hasana (p. 10 #8) and Hafiz Suyuti in his Hawi lil Fatawi (2:250-51) state that Ibn ‘Asakir (Tarikh Dimashq 1:300) and Hafiz al-Khatib (Tarikh Baghdad 3:75-76) both relate that Abu Bakr al-Kattani said:
The Nuqaba are 300, the Nujaba are 70, the Abdal are 40, the Akhyar are 7, the ‘Umud (supports) are 4, and the Ghawth is 1. So the dwelling of the Nuqaba are in the Maghrib, the Nujaba in Egypt, the Abdal in Sham, the Akhyar travel throughout the Earth, the ‘Umud are in the corners of the Earth, and the Ghawth is in Makka. So when a need arises among the commonality, the Nuqaba plead to Allah to fulfil it, then the Nujaba, then the Abdal, then the Akhyar, then the ‘Umud, and if they are answered by Allah (it stops with them), and if not, then the Ghawth pleads, and he does not complete his request until it is answered.
WHAT IS KARAMAT?
Karamat are the miracles that performed by Awliya with the blessings of Allah Almighty.
It is the belief of Islam that the Prophets have miracles which is called as mu’jizat, among which is included knowledge of the Unseen continually bestowed to them by Allah.
It is also the doctrine of Islam that the Awliya have miracles which is called as karamat, that they received from Allah, among which is “Kashf” (unveiling/perception of the unseen).
The fact that the Awliya have knowledge of the Unseen (and other miraculous abilities) is attested to by the Qur’an and Sunna and the experience of the righteous Muslims throughout the centuries of the history of Islam, and does not constitute, as some misguided Muslims claim, kufr or shirk.
Proof from the Quran
♣ The Wali who was with Sayyidina Sulayman (Alaihissalam) brought him the throne of Bilqis quicker than the blink of an eye. He was characterized as "one who had knowledge of the Book," as Allah stated,
"One with whom was knowledge of the Book said, 'I will bring it to you before your gaze returns to you…' (Q27:40)",
and this is Asif bin Barkhiya (a non-prophet human), the scribe and relative of Prophet Sulayman (Alaihissalam), according to the Tafsir of Ibn ‘Abbas and the majority of commentators.
Proof from the Hadith
♣ Harith ibn Malik al-Ansari passed by the Prophet ﷺ who asked him, “How are you this morning, O Harith?” and he replied, “This morning I am a true believer in Allah.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “Take care of what you say, for everything has a proof to it, so what is the proof of your belief?” He said: “I have turned myself away from this world by keeping awake at night and staying thirsty by day; and I can almost see the Throne of my Lord in full view before me, and I can see the people of the Garden visiting each other, and the people of the Fire wailing to each other.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “O Harith! You have realized (the truth), therefore cling to it.” Some versions add, “(This is) a believer whose heart Allah has illumined.”
Book - Tabarani in his Mu’jam al-Kabir (3:266 #3367)