Saints in the Islamic Tradition

Islam does, of course, possess the notion of virtue and “holiness.” There are certain qualities that can be earned by an individual during his lifetime, and others which may be attributed by religious tradition. Any person, for instance, may become a religious scholar and thus earn the title of “shaikh.”

Muslims are required to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca during their lives, after which they may be called “hajji.” Warriors (“ghazi”) and martyrs (“shahid”) also earn special titles. Depth of faith and the absolute cultivation of it, on the other hand, may earn a religious person the title of “murshid” (spiritual guide), “nabi” (prophet), or “mujjadid” (renewer of religion). A religious renewer is a particularly worthy person for he will keep the flame of the faith alight. While other sacred scriptures such as the Bible and the New Testament, eagerly remind the reader of the unholiness and state of sin of all mankind, the Koran encourages the faithful to rejoice in the bounty which has been given to them.

-Manuella Dunn-Mascettie; Saints, the Chosen Few


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