The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
“Do not curse my companions. If any of you were to spend the weight of Uhud in gold, it still would not reach the measure (mudd) of one of them nor even one-half of it.”
(Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah from Abi Sa`id, Muslim from Abu Hurayra, Bazzar from Jabir with the wording ‘If any of you were to spend all the wealth of the earth’)
Qutb al `Alam wal Shaykh al Akbar Maulana `Ashraf `Ali Thanawi (Allah be well-pleased with him) stated, while explaining this narration:
“Within the books of this science (s: of tasawwuf), it is mentioned that the action (`amal) of the `arif is increased manifold in reward and degree over that of the ghayr `arif (s: the one who does not ‘know’ Allah) – so much so that it was heard from Shaykh Murshidi (Allah have mercy on him) that two cycles of prayer by the `arif are more superior than a thousand cycles of prayer by the ghayr `arif. This narration is a proof for this, for even though it is regarding the companions the underlying reasoning between the two are shared, which is their distinct level of sincerity (s: from others) …”
(Al Takashaf, Pg 357 Ed. Kutub Khana Mazhari)
It should be noted here that an `arif is not merely a person who knows that God exists. He is not merely someone who is a “good muslim” or a “pious” one. Rather, he is a person who has actualized the very definition of Ihsan, which is to “Worship Allah as if you see Him”, also known as the level of mushahada, and stays firm (istiqamat) on this state. This is a key point to understand since many seemingly confuse the distinction.
From the above, it also becomes quite necessary to understand that respecting, following, and loving such people is wherein our success lies. Opposing them will lead to our destruction. It is our duty to realize their immense rank, to realize their inheriting of the propehtic states, and to realize that they are our door to Allah and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).
May Allah grant us true knowledge of Him, and grant us sincere following and actualization of the state of His greatest creation, the cause of our salvation, the reason for our existence, Muhammad, for whom we would sacrifice our lives over and over just to get a glimpse of his face… Nay! even the sandals that touched his feet! The dust of those sandals!
And Allah Alone gives success.