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WALī ( Arabic
Arabic
: ولي‎‎, plural ʾawliyāʾ أولياء) is an Arabic
Arabic
word whose literal meanings include "custodian", "protector", "helper", and "friend." In the vernacular, it is most commonly used by Muslims to indicate an Islamic saint , otherwise referred to by the more literal "friend of God." In the traditional Islamic understanding of saints , the saint is portrayed as someone "marked by divine favor ... holiness", and who is specifically "chosen by God and endowed with exceptional gifts, such as the ability to work miracles ." The doctrine of saints was articulated by Islamic scholars very early on in Muslim
Muslim
history, and particular verses of the Quran
Quran
and certain hadith were interpreted by early Muslim
Muslim
thinkers as "documentary evidence" of the existence of saints.

Since the first Muslim
Muslim
hagiographies were written during the period when the Islamic mystical trend of Sufism began its rapid expansion, many of the figures who later came to be regarded as the major saints in orthodox Sunni Islam were the early Sufi
Sufi
mystics, like Hasan of Basra (d. 728), Farqad Sabakhi (d. 729), Dawud Tai (d. 777-81) Rabi\'a al-\'Adawiyya (d. 801), Maruf Karkhi (d. 815), and Junayd of Baghdad (d. 910). From the twelfth to the fourteenth century, "the general veneration of saints, among both people and sovereigns, reached its definitive form with the organization of Sufism ... into orders or brotherhoods." In the common expressions of Islamic piety of this period, the saint was understood to be "a contemplative whose state of spiritual perfection ... permanent expression in the teaching bequeathed to his disciples." In many prominent Sunni
Sunni
Islamic creeds of the time, such as the famous Creed of Tahawi (ca. 900) and the Creed of Nasafi (ca. 1000), a belief in the existence and miracles of saints was presented as "a requirement" for being an orthodox Muslim believer.

Aside from the Sufis, the preeminent saints in traditional Islamic piety are the Companions of Muhammad
Muhammad
, their Successors , and the third generation after the Prophet, often called "the Successors of the Successors" . Additionally, the prophets of Islam are also believed to be saints by definition, although they are rarely referred to as such, in order to prevent confusion between them and ordinary saints; as the prophets are exalted by Muslims as the greatest of all humanity, it is a general tenet of Sunni
Sunni
belief that a single prophet is greater than all the regular saints put together. In short, it is believed that "every prophet is a saint, but not every saint is a prophet."

Although there are many similarities between the traditional Islamic and apostolic Christian conception of saints, there are also important differences. For example, Islam has no process of canonization , whence saints are declared by popular acclaim and unanimous consensus rather than through a congregation for the causes of saints . In this sense, the Islamic veneration of saints is more akin to Christian veneration in the early centuries of Christianity, when saints were honored through popular acclaim rather than by official ecclesiastical declaration.

In the modern world, the traditional Sunni
Sunni
and Shia
Shia
idea of saints has been challenged by movements such as Salafism
Salafism
, Wahhabism
Wahhabism
, and Islamic modernism
Islamic modernism
, whose influence has "formed a front against the veneration and theory of saints," in a manner similar to the reaction of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
against similar practices in the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
. As has been noted by scholars, the development of these movements has indirectly led to a trend amongst some mainstream Muslims to resist "acknowledging the existence of Muslim
Muslim
saints altogether or ... their presence and veneration as unacceptable deviations." However, despite the presence of these opposing streams of thought, the classical doctrine of saint-veneration continues to thrive in many parts of the Islamic world today, playing a vital role in daily expressions of piety among vast segments of Muslim populations in Muslim
Muslim
countries like Pakistan
Pakistan
, Egypt
Egypt
, Turkey
Turkey
, Senegal
Senegal
, Iraq
Iraq
, Iran
Iran
, Algeria
Algeria
, Tunisia
Tunisia
, Indonesia
Indonesia
, Malaysia
Malaysia
, and Morocco
Morocco
, as well as in countries with substantive Islamic populations like India, China, Russia, and the Balkans
Balkans
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Names * 2 History

* 3 Definitions

* 3.1 Classical testimonies

* 4 Types and hierarchy

* 5 Regional veneration

* 5.1 North Africa * 5.2 Turkey, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan

* 6 Patron saints * 7 See also * 8 References

* 9 Further reading

* 9.1 Primary * 9.2 Secondary

* 10 External links

NAMES

A Persian miniature depicting Jalal al-Din Rumi showing love for his disciple Hussam al-Din Chelebi (ca. 1594)

Regarding the rendering of the Arabic
Arabic
walī by the English "saint", prominent scholars such as Gibril Haddad have regarded this as an appropriate translation, with Haddad describing the aversion of some Muslims towards the use of "saint" for walī as "a specious objection ... for – like 'Religion' (din), 'Believer' (mu'min), 'prayer' (salat), etc. – generic term for holiness and holy persons while there is no confusion, for Muslims, over their specific referents in Islam, namely: the reality of iman with Godwariness and those who possess those qualities." In Persian , which became the second most influential and widely-spoken language in the Islamic world after Arabic
Arabic
, the general title for a saint or a spiritual master became pīr (Persian : پیر‎‎, literally "old ", "elder" ). Although the ramifications of this phrase include the connotations of a general "saint," it is often used to specifically signify a spiritual guide of some type.

Amongst Indian Muslims , the title peer baba (पीर बाबा) is commonly used in Hindi to refer to Sufi
Sufi
masters or similarly honored saints. Additionally, saints are also sometimes referred to in the Persian or Urdu
Urdu
vernacular with " Hazrat ," an honorific having the connotations of "His Holiness" as applied to some of the higher types of Christian clergy ; in fact, both pīr and hazrat can also be interpreted in the manner of an "elder " in Eastern Christianity . In Islamic mysticism , a pīr's role is to guide and instruct his disciples on the mystical path. Hence, the key difference between the use of walī and pīr is that the former does not imply a saint who is also a spiritual master with disciples, whilst the latter directly does so through its connotations of "elder." Additionally, other Arabic
Arabic
and Persian words that also often have the same connotations as pīr, and hence are also sometimes translated into English as "saint", include murshid ( Arabic
Arabic
: مرشد‎‎, meaning "guide" or "teacher"), sheikh and sarkar (Persian word meaning "master").

In the Turkish Islamic lands, saints have been referred to by many terms, including the Arabic
Arabic
walī, the Persian s̲h̲āh and pīr, and Turkish alternatives like baba in Anatolia, ata in Central Asia
Central Asia
(both meaning "father"), as well as eren or ermis̲h̲ (< ermek "to reach, attain") or yati̊r ("one who settles down") in Anatolia
Anatolia
. Their tombs, meanwhile, are "denoted by terms of Arabic
Arabic
or Persian origin alluding to the idea of pilgrimage (mazār, ziyāratgāh), tomb (ḳabr, maḳbar) or domed mausoleum (gunbad, ḳubba). But such tombs are also denoted by terms usually used for dervish convents, or a particular part of it (tekke in the Balkans
Balkans
, langar, 'refectory,' and ribāṭ in Central Asia
Central Asia
), or by a quality of the saint (pīr, 'venerable, respectable,' in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
)."

HISTORY

A Mughal miniature dated from the early 1620s depicting the Mughal emperor
Mughal emperor
Jahangir
Jahangir
(d. 1627) preferring a Sufi
Sufi
saint to his contemporary, the King of England James I (d. 1625); the picture is inscribed: "Though outwardly kings stand before him, he fixes his gazes on saints."

As has been noted by some modern scholars, the Quran
Quran
does not explicitly outline a doctrine or theory of saints. In the Quran, the adjective walī is applied to God
God
, in the sense of Him being the "friend" of all believers (2:257). However, particular Quranic verses were interpreted by early Islamic scholars to refer to a special, exalted group of holy people. These included 10:62: "Surely God's friends (awliyāa l-lahi): no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow," and 5:54, which refers to God's love for those who love Him. Additionally, some scholars interpreted 4:69, "Whosoever obeys God
God
and the Messenger, they are with those unto whom God
God
hath shown favor: the prophets and the ṣidīqīna and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they," to carry a reference to holy people who were not prophets and were ranked below the latter. The word ṣidīqīna in this verse literally connotes "the truthful ones" or "the just ones," and was often interpreted by the early Islamic thinkers in the sense of "saints," with many modern translators, such as Marmaduke Pickthall , rendering it as "saints" in their interpretations of the scripture. Furthermore, the Quran
Quran
referred to the miracles of saintly people who were not prophets like Khidr (18:65-82), the disciples of Jesus (5:111-115), and the People of the Cave (18:7-26), amongst many others, which also led many early scholars to deduce that a group of venerable people must exist who occupy a rank below the prophets but are nevertheless exalted by God. The references in the corpus of hadith literature to bona fide saints like the pre-Islamic Jurayj̲ (seemingly an Arabic
Arabic
form of the Greek Grēgorios), only lent further credence to this early understanding of saints.

Collected stories about the "lives or vitae of the saints", like the Golden Legend in medieval Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Europe, began to be compiled "and transmitted at an early stage" by many regular Muslim
Muslim
scholars, including Ibn Abi al-Dunya (d. 894), who wrote a work entitled Kitāb al-Awliyāʾ (Lives of the Saints) in the ninth-century, which constitutes "the earliest compilation on the theme of God's friends." Prior to Ibn Abi al-Dunya's work, the stories of the saints were transmitted through oral tradition ; but after the composition of his work, many Islamic scholars began writing down the widely circulated accounts, with later scholars like Abū Nuʿaym al-Iṣfahānī (d. 948) making extensive use of Ibn Abi al-Dunya's work in his own Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ (The Adornment of the Saints). It is, moreover, evident from the Kitāb al-Kas̲h̲f wa ’l-bayān of the early Baghdadi Sufi
Sufi
mystic Abu Sa\'id al-Kharraz (d. 899) that a cohesive understanding of the Muslim
Muslim
saints was already in existence, with al-Kharraz spending ample space distinguishing between the virtues and miracles (karāmāt) of the prophets and the saints . The genre of hagiography (manāḳib) only became more popular with the passage of time, with numerous prominent Islamic thinkers of the medieval period devoting large works to collecting stories of various saints or to focusing upon "the marvelous aspects of the life, the miracles or at least the prodigies of a Ṣūfī or of a saint believed to have been endowed with miraculous powers."

In the late ninth-century, important thinkers in Sunni
Sunni
Islam officially articulated the previously-oral doctrine of an entire hierarchy of saints, with the first written account of this hierarchy coming from the pen of al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi (d. 907-912). With the general consensus of Islamic scholars of the period accepting that the ulema were responsible for maintaining the "exoteric" part of Islamic orthodoxy, including the disciplines of law and jurisprudence , while the Sufis were responsible for articulating the religion's deepest inward truths, later prominent mystics like Ibn Arabi (d. 1240) only further reinforced this idea of a saintly hierarchy, and the notion of "types" of saints became a mainstay of Sunni
Sunni
mystical thought, with such types including the ṣiddīqūn ("the truthful ones") and the abdāl ("the substitute-saints"), amongst others. It should be noted, however, that many of these concepts appear in writing far before al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Arabi; the idea of the abdāl, for example, appears as early as the Musnad of Ibn Hanbal (d. 855), where the word signifies a group of major saints "whose number would remain constant, one always being replaced by some other on his death." It is, in fact, reported that Ibn Hanbal explicitly identified his contemporary, the mystic Maruf Karkhi (d. 815-20), as one of the abdal , saying: "He is one of the substitute-saints, and his supplication is answered." An Indian miniature of A Discourse between Muslim
Muslim
Sages (ca. 1630), thought to be executed by the court painter Govārdhan

From the twelfth to the fourteenth century, "the general veneration of saints, among both people and sovereigns, reached its definitive form with the organization of Sufism —the mysticism of Islam—into orders or brotherhoods." In general Islamic piety of the period, the saint was understood to be "a contemplative whose state of spiritual perfection ... permanent expression in the teaching bequeathed to his disciples." It was by virtue of his spiritual wisdom that the saint was accorded veneration in medieval Islam, "and it is this which ... his 'canonization,' and not some ecclesiastical institution" as in Christianity
Christianity
. In fact, the latter point represents one of the crucial differences between the Islamic and Christian veneration of saints, for saints are venerated by unanimous consensus or popular acclaim in Islam, in a manner akin to all those Christian saints who began to be venerated prior to the institution of canonization . In fact, a belief in the existence of saints became such an important part of medieval Islam that many of the most important creeds articulated during the time period, like the famous Creed of Tahawi , explicitly declared it a requirement for being an "orthodox" Muslim
Muslim
to believe in the existence and veneration of saints and in the traditional narratives of their lives and miracles. Hence, we find that even medieval critics of the widespread practice of venerating the tombs of saints , like Ibn Taymiyyah
Ibn Taymiyyah
(d. 1328), never denied the existence of saints as such, with the Hanbali
Hanbali
jurist stating: "The miracles of saints are absolutely true and correct, by the acceptance of all Muslim
Muslim
scholars. And the Qur'an has pointed to it in different places, and the sayings of the Prophet have mentioned it, and whoever denies the miraculous power of saints are only people who are innovators and their followers." In the words of one contemporary academic, practically all Muslims of that era believed that "the lives of saints and their miracles were incontestable."

In the modern world, the idea of saints has been challenged by the movements of Salafism
Salafism
and Wahhabism
Wahhabism
, whose influence has "formed a front against the veneration and theory of saints." For the adherents of Wahhabism
Wahhabism
, for example, the practice of venerating saints appears as an "abomination", for they see in this a form of idolatry . It is for this reason that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , which adheres to the Wahhabi creed, "destroyed the tombs of saints wherever ... able" during its expansion in the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
from the eighteenth-century onwards. As has been noted by scholars, the development of these movements have indirectly led to a trend amongst some mainstream Muslims to also resist "acknowledging the existence of Muslim
Muslim
saints altogether or ... their presence and veneration as unacceptable deviations." At the same time, the movement of Islamic Modernism has also opposed the traditional veneration of saints, for many proponents of this ideology regard the practice as "being both un-Islamic and backwards ... rather than the integral part of Islam which they were for over a millennium." Despite the presence, however, of these opposing streams of thought, the classical doctrine of saint-veneration continues to thrive in many parts of the Islamic world today, playing a vital part in the daily piety of vast portions of Muslim
Muslim
countries like Pakistan, Egypt
Egypt
, Turkey, Senegal
Senegal
, Iraq
Iraq
, Iran
Iran
, Algeria
Algeria
, Tunisia
Tunisia
, Indonesia
Indonesia
, Malaysia
Malaysia
, and Morocco
Morocco
, as well as in countries with substantive Islamic populations like India, China, Russia, and the Balkans
Balkans
.

DEFINITIONS

Detail from an Indian miniature depicting the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh (d. 1659) seeking the advice of a local saint named Mian Mir (d. 1635), undated but perhaps from the late seventeenth-century

The general definition of the Muslim
Muslim
saint in classical texts is that he represents a " marked by divine favor ... holiness", being specifically "chosen by God
God
and endowed with exceptional gifts, such as the ability to work miracles ." Moreover, the saint is also portrayed in traditional hagiographies as one who "in some way ... acquires his Friend's, i.e. God's, good qualities, and therefore he possesses particular authority, forces, capacities and abilities." Amongst classical scholars, Qushayri
Qushayri
(d. 1073) defined the saint as someone "whose obedience attains permanence without interference of sin; whom God
God
preserves and guards, in permanent fashion, from the failures of sin through the power of acts of obedience." Elsewhere, the same author quoted an older tradition in order to convey his understanding of the purpose of saints, which states: "The saints of God
God
are those who, when they are seen, God
God
is remembered."

Meanwhile, al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi (d. 869), the most significant ninth-century expositor of the doctrine, posited six common attributes of true saints (not necessarily applicable to all, according to the author, but nevertheless indicative of a significant portion of them), which are: (1) when people see him, they are automatically reminded of God; (2) anyone who advances towards him in a hostile way is destroyed; (3) he possesses the gift of clairvoyance (firāsa); (4) he receives divine inspiration (ilhām), to be strictly distinguished from revelation proper (waḥy), with the latter being something only the prophets receive; (5) he can work miracles (karāmāt) by the leave of God
God
, which may differ from saint to saint, but may include marvels such as walking on water (al-mas̲h̲y ʿalā ’l-māʾ) and shortening space and time (ṭayy al-arḍ); and (6) he associates with Khidr
Khidr
. Al-Tirmidhi states, furthermore, that although the saint is not sinless like the prophets, he or she can nevertheless be "preserved from sin" (maḥfūz) by the grace of God. The contemporary scholar of Sufism Martin Lings described the Islamic saints as "the great incarnations of the Islamic ideal.... spiritual giants with which almost every generation was blessed."

CLASSICAL TESTIMONIES

Main article: Miracles of the Saints (Islam)

The doctrine of saints, and of their miracles, seems to have been taken for granted by many of the major authors of the Islamic Golden Age (ca. 700-1400), as well as by many prominent late-medieval scholars. Just as the historic spread of saint-veneration in medieval Christianity
Christianity
can be attributed to the approving statements of the Church fathers
Church fathers
, the growth of the same phenomena in traditional Islam can be at least partly ascribed to the writings of many of the most prominent Sunni
Sunni
theologians and doctors of the classical and medieval periods, many of whom considered the belief in saints to be "orthodox" doctrine. Examples of classical testimonies include:

* " God
God
has saints (awliyā) whom He has specially distinguished by His friendship and whom He has chosen to be the governors of His kingdom… He has made the saints governors of the universe… Through the blessing of their advent the rain falls from heaven, and through the purity of their lives the plants spring up from the earth, and through their spiritual influence the Muslims gain victories over the truth concealers" ( Hujwiri ; Sunni
Sunni
Hanafi
Hanafi
jurist and mystic) * "The miracles of the saints (awliyā) are a reality. The miracle appears on behalf of the saint by way of contradicting the customary way of things.... And such a thing is reckoned as an evidentiary miracle on behalf of the Messenger to one of whose people this act appears, because it is evident from it that he is a saint, and he could never be a saint unless he were right in his religion; and his religion is the confession of the message of the Messenger" (al-Nasafī , Creed XV; Sunni
Sunni
Hanafi
Hanafi
theologian) * "The miracles of saints are absolutely true and correct, and acknowledged by all Muslim
Muslim
scholars. The Qur’an has pointed to it in different places, and the Hadith of the Prophet have mentioned it, and whoever denies the miraculous power of saints are innovators or following innovators" ( Ibn Taymiyya , Mukhtasar al-Fatawa al-Masriyya; Sunni
Sunni
Hanbali
Hanbali
theologian and jurisconsult)

TYPES AND HIERARCHY

A drawing of The Two Poet Saints Hafez and Saadi Shirazi (ca. 17th century), thought to be executed by a certain Muhammad
Muhammad
Qāsim

Saints were envisaged to be of different "types" in classical Islamic tradition. Aside from their earthly differences as regard their temporal duty (i.e. jurist , hadith scholar , judge , traditionist , historian , ascetic , poet), saints were also distinguished cosmologically as regards their celestial function or standing. This is another point of difference between the Islamic and Christian doctrine of saints, for Christian tradition has rarely ever considered the latter type of distinction with regard to its saints, who are distinguished "celestially" only in the fourfold sense of "Servant of God
God
", "Blessed ", " Venerable
Venerable
", and " Saint
Saint
" during the process of canonization . In Islam, however, the saints are represented in traditional texts as serving separate celestial functions, in a manner similar to the angels , and this is closely linked to the idea of a celestial hierarchy in which the various types of saints play different roles. A fundamental distinction was described in the ninth-century by al-Tirmidhi in his Sīrat al-awliyāʾ (Lives of the Saints), who distinguished between two principal varieties of saints: the walī ḥaḳḳ Allāh, on the one hand, and the walī Allāh on the other. According to the author, "the ascent of the walī ḥaḳḳ Allāh must stop at the end of the created cosmos ... he can attain God's proximity, but not God
God
Himself; he is only admitted to God's proximity (muḳarrab). It is the walī Allāh who reaches God. Ascent beyond God's throne means to traverse consciously the realms of light of the Divine Names .... When the walī Allāh has traversed all the realms of the Divine Names, i.e. has come to know God
God
in His names as completely as possible, he is then extinguished in God's essence. His soul, his ego, is eliminated and ... when he acts, it is God
God
Who acts through him. And so the state of extinction means at the same time the highest degree of activity in this world."

Although the doctrine of the hierarchy of saints is already found in written sources as early as the eighth-century, it was al-Tirmidhi who gave it its first systematic articulation. According to the author, forty major saints, whom he refers to by the various names of ṣiddīḳīn, abdāl, umanāʾ, and nuṣaḥāʾ, were appointed after the death of Muhammad
Muhammad
to perpetuate the knowledge of the divine mysteries vouchsafed to them by the prophet. These forty saints, al-Tirmidhi stated, would be replaced in each generation after their earthly death; and, according to him, "the fact that they exist is a guarantee for the continuing existence of the world." Among these forty, al-Tirmidhi specified that seven of them were especially blessed. Despite their exalted nature, however, al-Tirmidhi emphasized that these forty saints occupied a rank below the prophets. Later important works which detailed the hierarchy of saints were composed by the mystic ʿAmmār al-Bidlīsī (d. between 1194 and 1207), the spiritual teacher of Najmuddin Kubra
Najmuddin Kubra
(d. 1220), and by Ruzbihan Baqli (d. 1209), who evidently knew of "a highly developed hierarchy of God's friends." The differences in terminology between the various celestial hierarchies presented by these authors were reconciled by later scholars through their belief that the earlier mystics had highlighted particular parts and different aspects of a single, cohesive hierarchy of saints.

REGIONAL VENERATION

As in Christian history, the amount of veneration a specific saint received varied from region to region in Islamic civilization, often on the basis of the saint's own history in that region. While the veneration of saints played a crucial role in the daily piety of Sunni Muslims all over the Islamic world for more than a thousand years (ca. 800-1800), exactly which saints were most widely venerated in any given cultural climate depended on the hagiographic traditions of that particular area. Thus, while Moinuddin Chishti
Moinuddin Chishti
(d. 1236), for example, was honored throughout the Sunni
Sunni
world in the medieval period, his cultus was especially prominent in the Indian Subcontinent , as that is where he was believed to have preached, performed the majority of his miracles, and ultimately settled at the end of his life.

NORTH AFRICA

As has been remarked by scholars, the veneration of saints has played "an essential role in the religious and social life of the Maghreb
Maghreb
for more or less a millennium," in other words since Islam first reached the lands of North Africa in the eighth-century. The first written references to ascetic Muslim
Muslim
saints in Africa, "popularly admired and with followings," appear in tenth-century hagiographies. As has been noted by scholars, however, "the phenomenon may well be older," for many of the stories of the Islamic saints were passed down orally before finally being put to writing. One of the most widely venerated saints in early North African Islamic history was Abū Yaʿzā (or Yaʿazzā, d. 1177), an illiterate Sunni
Sunni
Maliki
Maliki
miracle worker whose reputation for sanctity was admired even in his own life. Another immensely popular saint of the time-period was Ibn Ḥirzihim (d. 1163), who also gained renown for his personal devoutness and his ability to work miracles. It was Abu Madyan
Abu Madyan
(d. 1197), however, who eventually became one of the patron saints of the entire Maghreb
Maghreb
. A "spiritual disciple of these two preceding saints," Abū Madyan, a prominent Sunni
Sunni
Maliki
Maliki
scholar, was the first figure in Maghrebi Sufism "to exercise an influence beyond his own region." Abū Madyan travelled to the East, where he is said to have met prominent mystics like the renowned Hanbali
Hanbali
jurist Abdul-Qadir Gilani
Abdul-Qadir Gilani
(d. 1166). Upon returning to the Maghreb, Abū Madyan stopped at Béjaïa and "formed a circle of disciples." Abū Madyan eventually died in Tlemcen , while making his way to the Almohad court of Marrakesh
Marrakesh
; he was later venerated as the patron saint of Tlemcen by popular acclaim.

One of Abū Madyan's most notable disciples was ʿAbd al-Salām Ibn Mas̲h̲īs̲h̲ (d. 1127), a "saint ... had a posthumous fame through his being recognised as a master and a 'pole' by" Abu ’l-Ḥasan al-S̲h̲ād̲h̲ilī (d. 1258). It was this last figure who became the preeminent saint in Maghrebi piety, due to his being the founder of one of the most famous Sunni
Sunni
Sufi
Sufi
orders of North Africa: the Shadhiliyya
Shadhiliyya
tariqa . Adhering to the Maliki
Maliki
rite in its jurisprudence , the Shadhili order produced numerous widely-honored Sunni
Sunni
saints in the intervening years, including Fāsī Aḥmad al-Zarrūq (d. 1494), who was educated in Egypt
Egypt
but taught in Libya and Morocco
Morocco
, and Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad al-Jazūlī (d. 1465), "who returned to Morocco
Morocco
after a long trip to the East and then began a life as a hermit," and who achieved widespread renown for the miracles he is said to have wrought by the leave of God. Eventually, the latter was buried in Marrakesh
Marrakesh
, where he ended up becoming of the city's seven patron saints for the Sunnis of the area. Some of the most popular and influential Maghrebi saints and mystics of the following centuries were Muḥammad b. Nāṣir (d. 1674), Aḥmad al-Tij̲ānī (d. 1815), Abū Ḥāmid al-ʿArabī al-Darqāwī (d. 1823), and Aḥmad b. ʿAlāwī (d. 1934), with the latter three originating Sufi
Sufi
orders of their own. Famous adherents of the Shadhili order amongst modern Islamic scholars include René Guénon (d. 1951), Abdallah Bin Bayyah (b. 1935), Muhammad
Muhammad
Alawi al- Maliki
Maliki
(d. 2004), Hamza Yusuf (b. 1958), and Muhammad
Muhammad
al-Yaqoubi (b. 1963).

The veneration of saints in Maghrebi Sunni Islam has been studied by scholars with regard to the various "types" of saints venerated by Sunnis in those areas. These include:

* (1) the "pure, ascetic hermit," who is honored for having refused all ostentation, and is commemorated not on account of his written works but by virtue of the reputation he is believed to have had for personal sanctity, miracles, and "inward wisdom or gnosis"; * (2) "the ecstatic and eccentric saint" (mad̲j̲d̲h̲ūb), who is believed to have maintained orthodoxy in his fulfillment of the pillars of the faith, but who is famous for having taught in an unusually direct style or for having divulged the highest truths before the majority in a manner akin to Hallaj
Hallaj
(d. 922). Famous and widely venerated saints of this "type" include Ibn al-Marʾa (d. 1214), ʿAlī al-Ṣanhāj̲ī (ca. 16th-century), ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Mad̲j̲d̲h̲ūb (literally "ʿAbd al-Raḥmān the Ecstatic", d. 1569); * (3) the "warrior saint" (pl. murābiṭūn) or martyr; * (4) female saints, who may belong to one of the aforementioned three categories or some other. It has been remarked that "Maghrebi sainthood is by no means confined to men, and ... some of the tombs of female saints are very frequently visited." * (5) "Jewish saints", that is to say, venerable Jewish personages whose tombs are frequented by Sunni
Sunni
Muslims in the area for the seeking of blessings

Regarding the veneration of saints amongst Sunni
Sunni
Muslims in the Maghreb
Maghreb
in the present-day, scholars have noted the presence of many "thousands of minor, local saints whose tombs remain visible in villages or the quarters of towns." Although many of these saints lack precise historiographies or hagiographies, "their presence and their social efficacity ... immense" in shaping the spiritual life of Muslims in the region. For the vast majority of Muslims in the Maghreb
Maghreb
even today, the saints remain "very much alive at their tomb, to the point that the person's name most often serves to denote the place." While this classical type of Sunni
Sunni
veneration represents the most widespread stance in the area, the modern influence of Salafism and Wahhabism
Wahhabism
have challenged the traditional practice in some quarters.

TURKEY, THE BALKANS, THE CAUCASUS AND AZERBAIJAN

Scholars have noted the tremendously "important role" the veneration of saints has historically played in Islamic life all these areas, especially amongst Sunnis who frequent the many thousands of tombs scattered throughout the region for blessings in performing the act of ziyāra. According to scholars, "between the Turks of the Balkans
Balkans
and Anatolia, and those in Central Asia, despite the distance separating them, the concept of the saint and the organisation of pilgrimages displays no fundamental differences." The veneration of saints really spread in the Turkish lands from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries, and played a crucial role in medieval Turkic Sunni
Sunni
piety not only in cosmopolitan cities but also "in rural areas and amongst nomads of the whole Turkish world." One of the reasons proposed by scholars for the popularity of saints in pre-modern Turkey
Turkey
is that Islam was majorly spread by the early Sunni
Sunni
Sufis in the Turkish lands, rather than by purely exoteric teachers. Most of the saints venerated in Turkey
Turkey
belonged to the Hanafi
Hanafi
school of Sunni jurisprudence.

As scholars have noted, saints venerated in traditional Turkish Sunni Islam may be classified into three principal categories:

* (1) The g̲h̲āzīs or early Muslims saints who preached the faith in the region and were often martyred for their religion. Some of the most famous and widely venerated saints of this category include the prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
's companion Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī (d. 674), who was killed beneath the walls of Constantinople
Constantinople
and was honored as a martyr shortly thereafter, and Sayyid Baṭṭāl G̲h̲āzī (d. 9th-century), who fought the Christians in Anatolia during the Umayyad
Umayyad
period. * (2) Sufi
Sufi
saints, who were most often Sunni
Sunni
mystics who belonged to the Hanafi
Hanafi
school of Sunni
Sunni
jurisprudence and were attached to one of the orthodox Sufi
Sufi
orders like the Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi
or the Mevlevi . * (3) The "greats figures of Islam", both pre-Islamic and those who came after Muhammad
Muhammad
, as well as certain sainted rulers.

PATRON SAINTS

Although Islam has no codified doctrine of patronage on the part of saints , it has nevertheless been an important part of both Sunni
Sunni
and Shia
Shia
Islamic tradition that particularly important classical saints have served as the heavenly advocates for specific Muslim
Muslim
empires, nations, cities, towns, and villages. With regard to the sheer omnipresence of this belief, the late Martin Lings wrote: "There is scarcely a region in the empire of Islam which has not a Sufi
Sufi
for its Patron Saint." As the veneration accorded saints often develops purely organically in Islamic climates, in a manner different to Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Christianity
, "patron saints" are often recognized through popular acclaim rather than through official declaration. Traditionally, it has been understood that the patron saint of a particular place prays for that place's wellbeing and for the health and happiness of all who live therein. Here is a partial list of Muslim
Muslim
patron saints: The shrine of Niẓām al-Dīn Awliyā (d. 1325) in Delhi
Delhi
, India, where he is honored as patron saint of the city; the shrine is the most popular site of Muslim pilgrimage in the Indian Subcontinent
Indian Subcontinent
The shrine of Aḥmad Yesewī (d. 1166) in Turkistan , Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
, where he is honored as patron saint of the country; the shrine was commissioned by Timur
Timur
in 1389

COUNTRY PATRON SAINT

Algeria
Algeria
ABū MADYAN (d. 1197-8; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki
Maliki
jurisprudence) ʿABD AL-RAḥMāN AL-T̲H̲AʿāLIBī (d. ca. 1200; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki
Maliki
jurisprudence)

Egypt
Egypt
ABU’L-ḤASAN AL-S̲H̲āD̲H̲ILī (d. 1258; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki
Maliki
jurisprudence and founder of the Shadiliyya tariqa ) ABū L-ḤAJJāJ OF LUXOR (d. 1244; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki jurisprudence) ʿABD AL-RAḥīM OF QENA (d. 1196; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki jurisprudence, and famous defender of orthodoxy in the area)

Ethiopia
Ethiopia
ABāDIR ʿUMAR AL-RIḍā (d. ca. 1300; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Shafi\'i jurisprudence)

India NIẓāM AL-DīN AWLIYā (d. 1325; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi jurisprudence) S̲H̲āH AL-ḤAMīD ʿABD AL-ḲāDIR (ob. 1600; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Shafi\'i jurisprudence) SALīM CHIS̲H̲Tī (d. 1572; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi
Hanafi
jurisprudence and the Chishti tariqa )

Iran
Iran
DANIEL (d. 600 BCE; famous Hebrew
Hebrew
prophet who is venerated in Islamic tradition)

Iraq
Iraq
HUSAYN IBN ALI (d. 680; grandson of Muhammad
Muhammad
and Third imam for Shia Muslims) ʿABD AL-QāDIR AL-JīLāNī (d. 1166; Sunni
Sunni
mystic and jurist of Hanbali
Hanbali
jurisprudence and founder of the Qadiriyya
Qadiriyya
tariqa )

Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
BāBā NūR AL-DīN RIS̲H̲ī (d. 1377; Sunni
Sunni
ascetic and mystic)

Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
AḥMAD YESEWī (d. 1166; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi
Hanafi
jurisprudence and founder of the Yesewīyya tariqa )

Morocco
Morocco
ABū S̲H̲UʿAYB AYYūB B. SAʿīD AL-ṢINHāJ̲ī (in the vernacular "Mūlāy Būs̲h̲ʿīb"; d. ca. 1100; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki
Maliki
jurisprudence) ḤMāD U-MūSā (d. 1563; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki
Maliki
jurisprudence and the Shadiliyya tariqa ) AḥMAD B. JAʿFAR AL-ḴH̲AZRAJī ABU ’L-ʿABBāS AL-SABTī (d. 1205; d. Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki
Maliki
jurisprudence) SIDI BELLIūT (d. ca. 1500 ; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki
Maliki
jurisprudence) IBN ʿĀS̲H̲IR (d. 1362-3; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki
Maliki
jurisprudence) ABū MUḥAMMAD ṢāLIḥ (d. 1500 ; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki jurisprudence) MūLāY ʿALī Bū G̲H̲āLEM (d. 1200 ; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki jurisprudence) ʿABD AL-ḲāDIR MUḥAMMAD (d. ca. 1500 ; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki jurisprudence) MUḥAMMAD B. ʿĪSā (d. 16th century; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki jurisprudence)

Pakistan
Pakistan
ʿABD ALLāH S̲H̲āH G̲H̲āZī (d. ca. 800; early Muslim
Muslim
mystic and preacher ) HUJ̲WīRī (d. 1072-77; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi
Hanafi
jurisprudence; often referred to as Dātā Ganj̲bak̲h̲s̲h̲ by Pakistanis) BAHāʾ AL-DīN ZAKARīYā (d. 1170; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi jurisprudence and the Suhrawardiyya
Suhrawardiyya
tariqa ) LāL SHāHBāZ ḲALANDAR (d. 1275; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi jurisprudence)

Syria
Syria
ARSLāN OF DAMASCUS (d. 1160-4; Sunni
Sunni
mystic)

Tunisia
Tunisia
MUḥRIZ B. K̲H̲ALAF (d. 1022; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki jurisprudence) SīDī AL-MāZARī (d. 1300 ; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki
Maliki
jurisprudence) ʿABD ALLāH ABU ’L-JIMāL (d. 1500 ; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Maliki jurisprudence) BOULBABA (d. 7th-century; according to tradition, a companion of Muhammad
Muhammad
)

Turkey
Turkey
ḤāJJī BAYRāM WALī (d. 1429-30; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi jurisprudence) EMīR SULṭāN (d. 1455; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi
Hanafi
jurisprudence) MISKIN BABA (d. 1858-9; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi
Hanafi
jurisprudence)

Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
QUTHAM B. ʿABBāS (d. 676; early Muslim
Muslim
martyr ) ZANGī ĀTā (d. 1269; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Hanafi
Hanafi
jurisprudence)

Yemen
Yemen
MUḥAMMAD B. ʿALī Bā ʿALāWī (d. 1255; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Shafi\'i jurisprudence and founder of the ʿAlāwiyya tariqa in Hadhramaut ) S̲H̲AIK̲H̲ ṢADīQ (d. 1500 ; Sunni
Sunni
mystic) ʿALī B. ʿUMAR AL-S̲H̲āD̲H̲ILī (d. 1400 ; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of the Shadiliyya tariqa ) ABū BAKR AL-ʿAYDARūS (d. 1508; Sunni
Sunni
mystic of Shafi\'i jurisprudence)

SEE ALSO

* Law portal

* Amir
Amir
* List of Sufi
Sufi
saints * List of Sufis * Mawla * Pir * Wali (Islamic legal guardian) * Wali Sanga * The Verse of Wilayah

REFERENCES

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God
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FURTHER READING

PRIMARY

* Ibn Abi ’l-Dunyā, K. al-Awliyāʾ, in Mad̲j̲mūʿat rasāʾil, Cairo 1354/1935 * Abū Nuʿaym al-Iṣbahānī, Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ, Cairo 1351 ff./1932 ff. * Abū Saʿīd al-K̲h̲arrāz, K. al-Kas̲h̲f wa ’l-bayān, ed. Ḳ. al-Sāmarrāʾī, Bag̲h̲dād 1967 * al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmid̲h̲ī, K. K̲h̲atm al-awliyāʾ, ed. O. Yaḥyā, Beirut 1965 * idem, K. Sīrat al-awliyāʾ, ed. B. Radtke, in Drei Schrijten, i, 1-134, Beirut 1992 * idem, al-Farḳ bayn al-āyāt wa ’l-karāmāt, ms. Ankara, Ismail Saib i, 1571, fols. 152b-177b * idem, Badʾ s̲h̲aʾn Abī ʿAbd Allāh, ed. Yaḥyā, in Tirmid̲h̲ī, K̲h̲atm, 14-32, facs. and German tr. in Radtke, Tirmid̲iana minora, 244-77, Eng. tr. in Radtke and O’Kane, Concept of sainthood, 15-36. Handbooks. * Bādisī, "al-Maḳṣad", tr. G. Colin, in Archives marocaines, xxvi-xxvii (1926) * G̲h̲ubrīnī, ʿUnwān al-dirāya, Algiers
Algiers
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