Wilayat [sainthood] is a special closeness which Allah Almighty bestows upon His chosen bondmen only by virtue of His grace and favour. Wilayat is a Wahbi [وَہْبِی] thing (i.e. bestowal from Allah Almighty) a person cannot get it himself through very hard good deeds. However, probably many times good deeds are a means of getting this Divine blessing and some get it in the beginning. (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 1, pp. 264)
Types of blessed saints of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ
There are two types of blessed saints of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ: (1) Tashri’ee [تَشْرِیْعِی] saint and (2) Takweeni [تَکْوِیْنِی] saint.
1. Tashri’ee saint, i.e. saints who are close to Allah Almighty. There are countless Tashri’ee saints in the Ummah of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ. Wherever 40 righteous Muslims gather there are surely one or two saints.
2. Takweeni saints are those who have been granted the power to do what they want, in the universe; they have a specific group such as Ghaus, Qutb, Abdaal, etc. There are different types of Takweeni blessed saints and they all are safe from the fear and grief of the Judgement Day or the fear and grief of the harm of the world. (Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 8, pp. 517; Noor-ul-‘Irfan, part 11, Surah Yunus, Taht-al-Ayah: 62; summarised) Blessed Islamic scholars have mentioned different types and number of Takweeni blessed saints. Please read briefly about eight of them for gaining blessing:
1. Qutb [قُطْب]
It means the great person who is only one in his era; he is also called Ghaus. Qutb is very close to Allah Almighty and the chief of all blessed saints of his era.
2. Aimmah [آئِمِّہ]
There are only two Aimmah in every era. First one bears the attributive name ‘Abdur Rab’ and second one bears the attributive name ‘Abdul Malik’. Both of them are the ministers of Qutb and become the successor of the Qutb after his demise.
3. Awtaad [اَوْتَاد]
There are only four Awtaad in every era. Allah Almighty protects the east, west, north and south through them. Every one of them rules in one direction of the earth. Their attributive names are as follows: ‘Abdul Hayy [عَبْدُ الْحَیّ], ‘Abdul ‘Aleem, ‘Abdul Qaadir and ‘Abdul Mureed.
4. Abdaal [اَبْدَال]
They are exactly seven in number. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 30, pp. 87) Allah Almighty has given them the responsibility of protecting the whole universe. Every Budal (singular of Abdaal) has one Iqleem [1/7th part of the populated land] where he rules.
5. Nuqaba [نُقَبَا]
There are 12 Nuqaba in every era. Every Naqeeb possesses the knowledge of the peculiarities of one Burj out of twelve Burooj [بُرُوْج] of the sky. Allah Almighty has bestowed this glory upon them that they become aware of a person being fortunate and unfortunate by seeing only his footprint on the earth.
6. Nujaba [نُجَبَا]
They are exactly eight in number in every era. The signs of acceptance appear even by the appearances of these blessed personalities. They are overcome by the Haal and this state can be recognized by only the great blessed saints who have higher status than them.
7. Rijaal-ul-Ghayb [رِجَالُ الْغَیْب]
They are exactly ten in number. Divine luminosities always descend to them; therefore, they are humble and talk in whispers. They remain invisible. Whenever Allah-loving people use the word ‘Rijaal-ul-Ghayb’, they mean the same blessed personalities. This word sometimes means invisible human and sometimes also Mu’min (believer) jinn. Further, sometimes the people who gain knowledge and sustenance from Ghayb (unseen) are also called Rijaal-ul-Ghayb.
8. Rajabi [رَجَبِی]
There are forty Rajabi in every era. They are called Rajabi because they are in this state only from the first day of Rajab to the last day of Rajab. However, some continue to be under some influence of this state throughout the year. (Jami’ Karamaat-e-Awliya, vol. 1, pp. 69, 74; summarised)