Awliya, Peer-o-Murshid, Waseelah
by G.A. Parwez
translated by A.S.K Joommal
From the point of view of the Quran, the ultimate objective of a Mu’min’s life is the guarding of permanent values. When, however, there is a tie (or a clash) between the permanent values and his personal inclinations or interests, then he sacrifices his personal interests on the altar of permanent values… so much so that if he has to give his life while guarding some noble, permanent value, he does so without a moment’s hesitation. The Holy Quran names this as a test of true Eemaan.
The Jews had claimed they are the beloved “Awliya” of Allah. They were told:
“If you claim that you (alone) are the Awliya-Allah to the exclusion of all other people, then you should be longing for death – if what you say is true.” (62/6)
It should be noted that by “longing for death” is not meant the annihilation of the “Nafs” (self) which is being regarded amongst us as a sign of the “Awliya Allah”. The very concept of “killing the Nafs” is un-Quranic, and has been borrowed from Christian monasticism, Hindu yogis and Buddhist Nirvana. From the point of view of the Quran “longing for death” signifies fighting in the Way of Allah, doing battle for the Cause of Islam, and safeguarding the Deen by appearing against the enemy, ready to do or die.
“They fight in the Cause of Allah, and slay and are slain.” (9:111)
Sitting in monasteries (Khaanqaahs) in order to conduct a “Jihaad-e-Akbar” against one’s self (nafs) is not “Qitaal Fee Sabeelillah”. It is the BELIEVING people (people with TRUE Eemaan) who fight in the Way of Allah, who are called the “Hizbullaah” by the Quran (58:22) vis-à-vis the non-Muslim who are “Hizbush Shaitaan” (party of Satan) (58:19).
From the above explanation it is clear that the “Awliya-Allah” are the ENTIRE Jamaa’at of Mu’mineen. To be the “Walee” of Allah is their foremost characteristic. In this Jamaa’at there is no special group of Awliya-Allah. We, however erroneously conceive that the Awliya are a special group of people whose characteristics are different from the Jamaa’at-e-Mu’mineen.
It is widely believed that they have the power to cause harm or grant benefits. This is why people turn to them to pray for boons, and are afraid of their displeasure.
From the Quranic viewpoint, this type of belief is a result of fanciful imagination and superstition, and thus weak and feeble. The Quran says: “The parable of those who take (beings and forces) other than Allah for their Awliya, is that of the spider that makes for itself a house: for, behold, the frailest of all houses is the spider’s house. Could they but understand this!” (29:41).
As for causing harm of affording benefits to others is concerned, the Quran says that they (our so-called, supposed “Awliya”) do not even process the power of aggrandizing any profit or incurring any loss for themselves, let alone doing so for others! Everything that happens, happens according to the Fixed Law of Allah. “Tell them (O Prophet) that do you accept besides Allah as Awliya those who do not have the power to benefit or harm themselves?” (13:16)
Let alone the “Awliya-Allah”, in this connection, even the greatest holy personage whose status is said to be “BA’D AZ KHUDAA BUZURG TOO-EE QISSAH MUKHTA-SAR – after Allah, to cut a long story short , it is YOU who are the most exalted one”, Allah says about him:
“Say (O Prophet): It is not within my power to avert harm or bring benefit to myself, except as Allah may please.” (10:49)
It is also said (by the Peeri-Mureedi gentlemen) that they turn to and follow the “Awliya-Allah” because they will bring them (the mureeds) nearer to Allah since they themselves (the Awliya-Allah) are near to Allah. The Quran has categorically refuted this belief in the following words:
“Surely we have revealed to thee the Book (Quran) with truth, so SERVE ALLAH, BEING SINCERE TO HIM IN OBEDIENCE. Now surely sincere obedience is to Allah (alone). And those who choose Awliya besides Him (say): ‘We serve them (the Awliya) only because they may bring us nearer to Allah’. Surely Allah will judge between them in that in which they differ. Surely Allah guides not him who is a liar, ungrateful.” (39:2-3)
We must remember that:
“he whom Allah guides, is on the right path; and he whom he leaves in error, you will not find for him a WALEE or MURSHID.” (18:17)
“Walee” means one who may be obeyed, and “Murshid” is one who shows the correct path. Only Allah is the “Walee” and “Murshid” (and NO human being!) Allah is obeyed through His Book, the Holy Quran, which has been revealed for the guidance of mankind.
The Awliya are “Waseelah”
Regarding the Awliya, it is also contended that they are medium or means (“Waseelah”) of taking the mureeds, or conveying their duas, to Allah … and it is for this reason that they (the mureeds) follow the Peers/Walees. In support of this belief, they furnish the following aayat:
“O you who believe! Remain conscious of Allah and seek to come close to Him (WAB-TAGHOO ILIHIL WASEELATA), and strive hard in His Cause, so that you may be successful.” (5:35)
The word “Waseelah” in this verse is taken as “proof” that peer-worship is permissible. And from here an edifice of personality-worship is erected, for the demolition of which (edifice) the Holy Quran was revealed, and which was the purpose of the Holy Prophet’s mission:
“…and removes from them the burdens and shackles that were on them.” (7:157)
These burdens and shackles were of personality-worship, for the removal of which the Nabi (S) was sent.
In the Arabic tongue, the word “Waseelah” does not only mean medium, instrumentality, means (zaree-ah), but also status, nearness, dignity, station, rank, honor. The aayat (5:35) quoted above means that we must always be conscious of the Laws of Allah, and try to achieve high status, rank, station, dignity, in the eyes of Allah. The way to do this is to work hard and expend in His Path. In doing so, we should attain the nearness to Him for which we are striving.
The signification that through TAQWA (God-consciousness), nearness to Allah is achieved, is to be found in many verses of the Quran, one of which is:
“Verily, the noblest among you in the sight of Allah, is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him.” (49:13)
If the word “Waseelah” is taken to mean “zaree-ah” (instrumentality, means, medium), then, too, the purport becomes clear… that we must through the “zaree-ah” of God-consciousness, seek station, dignity, and nearness to Allah.
Direct Connection between Man and God
The Holy Quran brings about a DIRECT connection between man and his Creator. It is the Quran alone by means of which a relation between Creator and created is established. And this is achieved by ACTING ON and PUTTING INTO PRACTICE THE PRECEPTS OF THE QURAN, which makes a man the true servant of Allah. The concept of another human being can become a “zaree-ah” (Waseelah) between man and GOD is therefore UN-QURANIC! That is why the Quran states clearly:
“And if My servants ask thee (O Prophet) about Me – behold, I am near; I respond to the call of him who calls, whenever he calls unto Me: let them, then, respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way,” (2:186)
How clear everything has been made! Whoever has faith in the truth of the laws of Allah, and obeys these laws, he attains that objective for which people search of r a “Murshid”! The focal point of Quranic teaching is that it does not allow any power to come between man and God: be it the power of a sovereign in politics, the power of sovereign in politics, the power of a capitalist in matters of sustenance (Rizq), or the power of religious leadership in matters of Mazhab. (In Islam, there is, in any case, NO dichotomy of religion and politics). And, of course, the Quran proscribes (prohibits) the intermediacy of the so-called peers/walees. Every Muslim can establish a DIRECT CONTACT with Almighty by carrying out His Commandments in the Holy Quran.
Allah Ta Aala refers to His Book as the “Kalaamullah”. Hence, when someone recites the Quran, then it is obvious that Allah is having Kalaam with him, or speaking to him. After the termination of prophethoot, there remained NO OTHER MEANS OF SPEAKING TO THE ALMIGHTY EXCEPT THROUGH THE HOLY QURAN!!
Occasioned by the erroneous acceptation of “Awliya-Allah, the way in which the factor of Allah’s “special servants” (as being intermediaries between man and God) is regarded as indispensable, can be assessed by the following story that is imprinted indelibly on the minds of those who go to the Khaanqaahs (monasteries) to server as novitiates.
“Yaa Fareed, Yaa fareed”
(This story, incidentally, is attributed to many other Awliya as well!!)
The story is told of Hazrat Baba Fareed who was living on this side of the sea. Each morning he used to leave home (to go to his Khaanqaah) and behind him his mureed followed. On arriving at the shore, he used to cross the sea without the aid of a ship or bright. He used to come home in the evening in the same manner, i.e., walking on water. He had given strict instructions to his mureed that while walking on water, he must keep repeating “Yaa Fareed”. Many years passed in this wise. One day, however, while walking on water, the mureed heard that Baba Fareed was muttering some words. When he strained his ears to catch the words, he heard that the Baba Saheb was uttering: “Yaa Allah, Yaa Allah.”
The mureed thought that why should he not also say “Yaa Allah” instead of “Yaa Fareed”. But the moment he uttered “Yaa Allah”, he fell into the water with a heavy splash, and began to drown.
Baba Saheb saved him. Upon reaching the shore, he asked his mureed as to what happened. Shivering, and in fear, he revealed the truth, whereupon the Baba Saheb said: “Did you ever see Allah? Have you any contact or communication with Him?” The Mureed answered in the negative. Khwaja Fareed then asked: “How can you call for your assistance a Being Whom you do not know, and with Whom you have no connection? Fareed calls on Allah because Fareed ahs a direct link with Him. You must call upon Fareed because you have dealings with Fareed. On the day that you establish a direct communication with Allah, you too may call upon Him.”
This, and other such stories are drummed into the head of the mureed – that the “Awliya” are indispensable links between man and God, and without their intermediation we simply cannot establish contact with Him.
This relation between the peer and his mureed does not exist only until the end of the murshid’s life, but continues uninterruptedly beyond his (the murshid’s) death!
The reason for this is the belief that the Awliya are present and seeing (Haazir-o-Naazir) even after death, just as they could hear and see everything when alive, granting the wishes of the suppliant, and interceding on their behalf to the Almighty. Contrary to this belief, the Holy Quran states about those who are dead:
“And who is in greater error than he who invokes besides Allah such as will not respond to him till the Day of Resurrection, and are not even conscious of being invoked. And when men are gathered together, they (the Awliya) will be enemies unto those (the mureeds or peer-worshipers), and will UTTERLY REJECT their worship.” (46:5-6)
This verse VERY CLEARLY, indicates that neither the idols of the non-believers (Kuffaar) nor any other false deities of theirs are spoken of here. The discussion in this aayat is about those pious servants of Allah who, after their death, are invoked to grant their (the mureeds’) wishes. The very fact that they are going to reject the mureed’s claims, testifies to their innocence and to their being the sincere and blameless servants of Allah. Regarding them the Quran says that they just CANNOT hear those who cal lupon them. The FACT, from the Quranic viewpoint, is that all connections between those who are dead, and this world, are severed, cut off! After death, they are transferred to the other side. This is why the Quran says:
“If you invoke them, they do not hear your call; and even if they could hear, they would not (be able to) respond to you. And on the Day of Qiyaamah they will UTTERLY DISDOWN YOUR HAVING ASSOCIATED THEM WITH ALLAH. And none can make you understand (the truth) like the One Who is All-Knowing.” (35:14)
The second sentence of the above aayat discusses the position of those who are the RIGHTEOUS servants of Allah who will dissociate themselves from the SHIRK of their (unwanted) mureeds. It is indeed FOOD for THOUGHT that those whom the mureeds invoke, reject them, calling their invocation SHIRK; yet the mureeds continue to be their faithful devotees!
Knowledge of the Unknown (ILM-e-GHAIB)
It is also believed (by peer-worshippers) that the Awliya have knowledge of the Unseen. Allah, however, debunks this belief in the following words:
“Say (O Prophet): None in the heavens or on earth knows the unseen except Allah. And neither can they (who are dead) know when they will be raised.” (27:65)
Let alone others, even the Holy Prophet (S) hand no KNOWLEDGE WHATSOEVER of the Unseen. Allah tells him:
“Say (O Prophet): ‘I do not say unto you that I have with me the treasures of Allah no do I know the Unseen… I follow only that which is revealed to me’.” (6:50)
When Allah wished to acquaint the Nabi (S) and other prophets with Ilm-e-Ghaib, he did so through Wahy (revelation). After relating the story of Bibi Maryam ®, Allah says in the Quran:
“This account of things unseen We reveal unto thee”. (3:43)
Since Wahy (revelation) terminated with the Holy Prophet (S), the possibility of anyone else being a recipient of the knowledge of the hidden, unknown, unseen things also ended!
ANYBODY, THERFORE, WHO CLAIMS TO POSSES ILM-E-GHAIB, IS ACTUALLY CLAIMING TO BE A PROPHET!!