Superiority of the Gawthul A’zam over the Seal of Muhammadan Awliya


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

As Salaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

I have read that Shaykh Ibn ‘Arabi (RA) is the Seal of Muhammadan Awliya. Does this mean he is the last and most perfect of those type of Awliya?(Like how the Seal of Prophets is the last and most perfect of all Prophets (AS)). If this is the case then what is the difference in rank of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) in the capacity of being the Gawthul A’zam as well as being one of the Muhammadan Awliya as compared to Shaykh Ibn ‘Arabi being the Seal of Muhammadan Awliya?

Also, the followers of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani (RA) claim that Ibn ‘Arabi (RA) is not the Seal of Muhammadan Awliya and he was incorrect in believing so, and that the real Seal is Shaykh Ahmad Tijani (RA). What is the truth of this?


Wa `alaykum as-Salam,

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and Mawlana Shaykh Hisham have answered this question so many times already, maybe more than a hundred times. In a nutshell they said that first of all the finality of the Seal of Prophets (upon him blessings and peace) is clear, and is beyond any discussion and any analogy. However, with regard to the Seal of sainthood, when a great wali sees above him one whom he sees as the Holy Prophet himself (upon him blessings and peace) and no one else, he concludes that he is above every other wali and must therefore be their final Seal; whereas Allah Most High said:

{We raise in levels whomever We wish, and above every knower there is a greater knower} 12:76.

One time Abu Yusuf asked his teacher Imam Abu Hanifa whether `Alqama was greater than al-Aswad or vice-versa (two great imams of the Tabi`in). He replied: “I swear by Allah that I never even think of them except I feel obliged to make du`a for them due to their high rank. How could I prefer one over the other?” Similarly we say may Allah be well-pleased with them (RA) – “Radya Allahu `anhum” – but then we investigate the veracity of their pedigree, and whether their perfection is relative or absolute…! With apologies this cannot be correct adab. It might deprive us of spiritual inheritance.

It is just one most perfect wali after another. And the most perfect living wali in our time is there before our eyes, so no need to look right or left in the books – except to understand better about him. We may read Kitab al-Ibriz and understand Mawlana better; or the books of Shaykh Muhyiddin and the discourses of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir, or Qushayriyya, etc. and we see Mawlana emerge from those pages so that belief increases and calls out to practice. Otherwise it is academic, and divorced of wisdom.

We ask Allah Most High to keep us safe on the path of followership, i.e. obeying and acting, not talking much; and far from what the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) called lethal excessive questioning (kathrat al-su’al ahlakat man qablakum).

Hajj Gibril Haddad

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