The Saints of God and who they are:
‘Ali bin ‘Uthman al-Hajweri [d. 465 AH] said:
Shaykh Abu Yazid Bistami said, “A saint is he who accepts courageously what is commanded (by God) and rejects what is prohibited (by God).” This is because the more a man loves God, the greater is His respect for His commands.
God Almighty has, therefore, upheld the validity of prophethood for good and has done so through the continuity of the class of his chosen people: the saints of God. They are God’s vicegerents on Earth and are fully devoted to Him without the slightest interference of the lower beastly self. It is through the spiritual blessings of the saints that God sends rain from the skies, grows vegetation form the earth and grants success to the Muslims over the disbelievers.
The saints of God are four thousand in number, but they are hidden from the gaze of the common people; and even they themselves don’t know one another. In fact, they are not aware of their own spiritual capabilities and virtues. In short, they remain hidden not only from mankind but from themselves as well. Their existence stands confirmed not only by the Quran and Hadith, but actual experience of the saints of God as well, including myself, by the grace of God.
Those who are entrusted the duty of administration are three hundred in number and are known as Akhyār or Nujabā. There are forty more who are called Abdāl; seven more known as Abrār; four more known as Awtād; three more known as Nuqabā; and one more who is called Qutb or Ghawth, (who is the most righteous man on earth at any given time). All these persons know one another and depend on one another in the performance of their duties. Their existence has been confirmed by the Holy Quran and Hadith, and by a vast majority of the Ummah, called Ahlus Sunnah wa’l-Jamā’ah (People of the Prophetic way and the majority of scholars). [Kashf al-Mahjūb]
Murabit al-Hajj [who resides in Tuwamarat, Mauritania] said:
While some of these terms (i.e. Nujabā, ‘Abdāl, Qutb etc.) are mentioned in the Quran and Hadith, others are not; but their existence has been confirmed by too many of the scholars and saints to deny them.
Loving the Saints of God:
Shaykh Abu Talib al-Makki [d. 386 AH] said:
If you are not from the righteous, see to it that you have love for them, for Allah Most High will look to their hearts, and perhaps He may look at your name and forgive you.
Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Mu’inuddin Chishti [d. 627 AH] narrated:
There was a man who hated the saints. When he died, and was placed in the grave, the people tried to turn his face towards Mecca, but it would always turn away from that direction. The people were astonished at this action. There was a voice from nowhere announcing, “It would be a futile exercise to try to turn his face towards Mecca, because he used to turn his face away at seeing the saints, and that he who would turn his face in disgust from My friends, I will turn My face from him. He is a condemned soul, and on the day of judgement, such people will appear with faces of donkeys.”
Fariduddin Mas’ud Ganj Shakar [d. 661 AH] narrated:
A sinful young man died in Multan. He then appeared to someone in a dream and was asked by him what his condition was. He replied that Allah had pardoned him. He explained that one day, when Khawaja Baha ul-Haq Zakariyya Multani was walking, he had kissed his hand with utmost respect. Due to this act, he had been pardoned.
Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq [d. 899 AH] said,
Know that the spirit of Islam is loving Allah, loving His Messenger—Salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, loving the Hereafter, and loving the righteous among Allah’s servants. [Badl al-Nasīha]
Shaykh Ibn al-Zakari, in his commentary on the above said:
It is related from my master, Abdul Rahman al-Thalabi, with his chain of transmission up to Imam al-Tabari who said, ‘A stranger passed away when we were in Mecca. We took his body to Bāb al-Mala and sat down to prepare for his burial when suddenly he rose up and sat upright. We asked ourselves, “Did he not die?” The stranger said, “I did, but I returned in order to bring you glad tidings and inform you that the most beneficial thing we have is love for the righteous and closeness with them.” Right after he said that, he became a corpse again.’
Shaykh Abdur Rahman ould Murabit al-Hajj [who resides in Granada, Spain] said:
Even if you never get to meet a saint of God, but simply love them and would love to meet them, the saints of God know without you having to tell them. The scholars of our religion say, “A person being blessed with just visiting the lands they reside in, without meeting them, is a great honour in itself.”
May Allah grant us love for the saints of God, allow us to meet them in this life and unite us with them in the next life. Ameen!