Islamic Heritage of South Asia

The Station of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and of the Ranks of the Awliya

Translated from Noor ul Haqeeqat

Author: Shah Ismail Qadri al Multani

Arranged by: Prof. Maulana Syed Ataulla Hossaini

Translated from Urdu by: Prof. Dr. Nazeer Ahmed

Summarily, the station of Muhammed (Muqam e Muhammadi) is this: If there be anyone who is worthy of honor after Allah, it is you (O Muhammad). Undoubtedly, the Prophet has the highest and the most exalted station in all creation.  He is in essence the Perfect Human (Insan e Kamil). All the other Perfect Humans are so with qualification. That is why only he is “Khalifat ul Allah” (The regent of Allah) and the others achieve a reflection of this title only as his followers and as those who love him.

There are two categories of obedience to him:

  1. External obedience: This relates to the station of Nabuwwat (Prophethood). By Prophethood the allusion here is to those edicts that the Prophet received from angel Jibril (Gabriel) and transmitted to humankind.
  2. Internal obedience: This relates to the station of Wilayet and Wilayet is that blessing from the Secret of Tawhid which the Prophet received from the direct presence of Allah (swt) without the intervention of Gabriel and then transmitted to humankind. That is why the Arifeen (people of inner knowledge) have said:

“Wilayet has a degree over Nabuwwat”.

One should remember in this saying of the A’rifeen that what is referred to here is “Waliyet e Nabi” not “Wilayet e Wali”. The source of the Wilayet e Wali is the blessing from a Prophet while the source of Wilayet e Nabi is Haqq e taala (the Truth from Allah Most High).  It would be erroneous to assume that the reference is to Wilayet e Wali.

There are two kinds of Wilayet:

  1. Wilayet e Amma (The common Wilayet): This is for all the people.
  2. Wilayet e Qassa (The select Wilayet): This is reserved for those who have attained union with the Truth (Waseel e Haq). The station of Fana (annihilation in the presence of God) is its lowest level and the highest station is that Allah swt manifests His Asma wa Sifat (Names and Attributes) through knowledge, certainty and state (Hal) and empowers a Wali to demonstrate their impressions and their effects and makes him a safe keeper of his Asma wa Sifat. To achieve this rank, perfect obedience to the Prophet, following the etiquette of the righteous, and the love of the Awliya are essential. Without these it is futile to aspire to Wilayet e Khasa (the Select Wilayet).

The Awliya, whether they have received Wilayet e Amma or Wilayet e Qassa, are called Men and Women of Allah (Rijal ullah). It is about them that the Qur’an says:

“Those people whom neither trade nor transaction take away from remembrance of Allah”. (The Qur’an, Al Noor 24:37)

Such people have appeared in every age and will continue to appear in the future. The cosmos is anchored with them. They are means for the transmission of Grace between the Sustainer and the votary. They are gifted with the powers for the execution and arrangement of activities in the created world. It rains with their baraka (blessing), crops grow, towns and villages are settled and thrive. The doors to success and victory are opened through them. Revolutions in nations appear and the affairs of men and women are disrupted through them. Times change through them.

There are two kinds of Awliya:

  1. Those Awliya who are visible: They are given the responsibility for serving and implementing divine Laws. They are recognized in society as scholars of Truth (Ulma e Haq). They are honored and respected as appropriate. It is their way to call what is right as right and what is wrong as wrong. They are the standard bears of truth on the pulpit and in positions of power. Even the errors they make in their Ijtehad have goodness in them. Whoever is guiding and leading humankind towards good, to whatever degree he/she is doing it, is a Waliallah to that degree.
  2. The hidden Awliya: They are given the responsibility for the organization and arrangement of the affairs of creation. They are hidden from the eyes of others. They are engaged in service and they are enriched by their service. They are called “Rijal ul Gaib”. Among them are some who taste martyrdom while walking on the path of prophets and thereby enter the hidden station of the Most Compassionate. They are not recognized and their characteristics cannot be described even though they are human. Among them are some who stay only in their own abodes. In their perception, they take on the shape of any human. Sometimes they convey information from that which is hidden. Some among them roam the world, sometimes visible, sometimes hidden. They even talk to people and answer their questions. Usually, such people live in the forests, mountains or by riverside. However, there are also some who live in cities with all the constraints and requirements of civil society. They live in homes according to their financial ability. They marry , fall sick, get cured, have friends and enemies. They are envied and honored, they are dishonored and punished. They bear the punishments with patience and this patience elevates their rank. Allah conceals their state from the eyes of people. It is about them that it was declared:

My friends area hidden under my mantle; no one but Me knows them”.

 

There are five ranks of the hidden Awliya:

  • Aqlab (The Spiritual Poles or the Guiding Poles)

This is the first and a large category of Awliya. In every age, there is a Qutub in the world who is called Qutub e Alam (the Spiritual Pole of the world), Qutub e Irshad (the Spoken Pole), Qutub e Madar (The Anchor Pole), Qutub ul Aqtab (the Pole of the Poles), Qutub e Jehan (The Pole of the world) and Jehangir e Alam (the Conqueror of the World). The higher world as well the lower world is under his arrangement. The entire world stands with his blessings. His vision is on the Will of Allah. He understands fully the signs of the heavenly Will and arranges things in accordance with it. There are spiritual guides under him who are delegated to towns and settlements. Whether his eyes are open or closed, his heart is always open. He sees with the Light of Muhammed that shines in his heart all the time.  Progress and decay are under the Spiritual Poles and the Appointed Awliya. The station of Qutbiyet has sixteen worlds one of which is the duniya (this world) and akhirat (the afterlife).

 

  • Ghouse (Those who succor humankind)

Some elders have equated Ghouse and Qutub. However, Mohiuddin Ibn Arabi has distinguished between the two. The permission for Ghousiat (the ability to provide spiritual succor to the afflicted) was given to no one but Shaikh Abdel Qader Jeelani. The ability to provide spiritual succor and listening to supplications is the specific attribute of a Ghouse. It is stated in Jamia Usul e Aqliya that the term Ghouse is used only because of the ability to listen to the supplication of the afflicted.

  • Amameen (The lieutenants of the Pole of the Spiritual Poles)

It is as if the Qutub ul Aqtab (the Pole of the Spiritual Poles) has two viziers who stand on either side of him and arrange in order the higher and the lower worlds. When the Qutub ul Aqtab passed away, his place is taken by one of the Amameen as is experienced with the mundane world of turmoil.

  • Awtad (The four Spiritual Pillars)

There are four Awtad who are stationed in the four directions. Allah has established them like mountains in the four corners of the world for its hidden order and arrangement as He has stated:

“Have We not spread out the earth and anchored it with mountains?” (Naba’, 78:6-7)

  • Abdal (The seven Awliya entrusted with Wilayet)

These are also called “Badla’”. There are seven of them and are assigned to seven domains. Each of them is also called “Qutub e Aqleem” (The spiritual pole of the domain).

 

It is easier to under the Qa-eem ul Wilayet (the living upholder of Wilayet) after one comprehends these categories and ranks of the Awliya. What is meant by “Qa-eem ul Wilayet” is that Perfect Person who is Qutub ul Aqtab (Pole of Spiritual Poles). It is through the Perfect Human that Allah swt protects the world and His creation just as the royal treasury is guarded by the royal seal and no one has the courage to open it without royal permission. Similarly, the Perfect Human is the seal of Allah. When the seal of the treasury is broken, it is broken and its contents are dispersed. In the same way “Qa-eemul Wilayet” is for this world at the station of a seal. When this seal is broken and Qa-eemul Wilayet is dead and is not replaced, then the tajalliyat (heavenly manifestations) in the world will end and go into the afterlife. The life of the world will rolled up and Qiyamat (the Day of Judgment) will be established.