Having come across many people throughout 24 years of travel, study and experience of life in general. I can safely say one thing with regards to the mindsets’ of people. I have found that many within the Muslim community, especially amongst the practising ones, that anything supernatural happens which to a person is a sign of the persons piety visions/states/experience for example. Many who witness visions of the unseen world for example are my discussion.
In the Indian – subcontinent there are many people, who when they see a supernatural event take place are convinced that the individual who performed the ‘spectacle of brilliance’ is a great friend of GOD. Thereafter no matter what a person does in his/her life he is still considered to be a great friend and an ‘accomplished’ friend of Allah! If he fails to live up to the conditions of shariyah, i.e pray five times, give zakah, hajj etc there is no criticism on him. As he is an ‘Accomplished’ Friend of God because unnatural occurrence happen to him. Although supernatural events/visions can happen to a friend of God there are by no means the requirement nor a criteria for his friendship with Allah. Many of the greatest friends of Allah to have walked on the face of earth never performed miracles/ had any visions of the unseen world. The criteria for being a friend of Allah is not the visions and miracles performed, but by how closely an individual lives and moulds his/her life according to the sunnah. The more close an individual is to the sunnah the higher the degree of friendship with God.
Now moving onto the practising Muslims who are with a particular shaykh. Some of the students of a given shaykh may experience visions and states in which the student seems to express his love for God and his prophet. This then make the other students present feel inferior to the ‘pious’ student who is experiencing the vision or state. Thereafter if the ‘visionary’ does a mistake or falls from his usual ‘pious’ state the others are greatly shocked as to how this individual can do such an act. An image of the person is built-in their (other students) minds of that of a prophet – sinless. People, especially these students in the inner circle of a gathering/group need to come out of this assumption and know that apart from the prophets all are vulnerable to making mistakes/sins!. No matter who they are, even if they are the greatest waliullah of their time.