Is it correct to say that the best of this Ummah, the likes of the premeire SaHaabah and taabi`iin from the salaf, and the likes of Shaykh al-Akbar, al-Jiilaaniyy, al-Shaadhiliyy, al-Badawiyy, al-Suharwardiyy, al-Chishtiyy from the khalaf, etc. were of such high stature that the only thing that differentiated them and the anbiyaa‘ was that the latter received waHiy whereas the former did not? In other words, had the former received waHiy (hypothetically), they would have been Prophets. Moreover, they are equal in a`maal and akhlaaq with the Prophets. In short, my question is if the above explanation is a valid Sunni opinion to hold about our illustrious awliyaa‘ or is it in violation of our doctrine?
It is not subject to speculation but rather Divine ordainment (tawqif) as in the Hadiths about our liegelords Ibrahim, the son of the Prophet (upon them blessings and peace) being a Prophet if he had lived, and `Umar b. Al-Khattab likewise. However, there is evidence alluding to the acceptability of such a comparison such as “the Knowers [of Allah Most High] are the inheritors of the Prophets” and this is why that position was held by Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi and Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya (Allah have mercy on them) who adduced the saying that the Knowers of this Umma are like the Prophets of Banu Isra’il, and Allah knows best.
Hajj Gibril Haddad