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Do You Need a Spiritual Guide to Become One of the Elect Servants of Allah (awliya)?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org
Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


Does one need a spiritual guide to become of Allah’s elect servants (Awliya)?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Spiritual Guides

Allah Most High says, “That is one of the signs of Allah. Whoever Allah guides is truly guided. But whoever He leaves to stray, you will never find for them a guiding mentor.” [Qur’an; 18:17]

From this verse we can see that when Allah Most High intends to guide someone, He places for them someone to assistance in their journey to Allah. In the Arabic, Allah Most High mentions two terms: waliyyan; murshidan – i.e. a person of electhood and a person who can guide others.

General Electhood (Wilaya)

In short, having a spiritual guide (murshid) is not a condition to reach general electhood (wilaya), although it is a great means of facilitation along the path.

The condition for general electhood is sound faith and mindfulness of Allah (taqwa). Allah Most High says, “Indeed, the elect servants of Allah (awliya), there is no fear upon them nor shall they grieve. Those who believe and are mindful…”

Reaching this level demands knowledge of that which is personally obligatory on one and  to implement that knowledge with steadfastness and sincerity. If one is struggling to remove inward and outward sins, it is even more pressing upon them to seek out a guide.

The Beginning of the Path

I would greatly encourage getting the book ‘The Beginning of Guidance’ by Imam Abu al-Hamid al-Ghazali. Our teachers have insisted that the one who sincerely implements the teachings of this book with steadfastness, will indeed reach general electhood.  

Higher Levels of Electhood

Attaining higher levels of electhood which now bridges into the realities of beholding, witnessing and nearness to Allah Most High, requires a spiritual guide who has him/herself purified their souls and have reached this level.

Imam ‘Abdullah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad (Allah have mercy on him), a great scholar from the Hadrami tradition, explained the importance of having a spiritual guide and the conditions one should look for in them:

ولا بد من شيخ تسير بسيره – إلى الله من أهل النفوس الزكية

من العلماء العارفين بربهم – فإن لم تجد فالصدق خير مطية

It is necessary to have a spiritual guide (shaykh) on whose path you travel

to Allah from the people of purified souls.

Of the scholars who have intimate knowledge of their Lord

and if you cannot find (such a guide), then truthfulness is the best of provisions

Hope this helps

Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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