Can you give information about Awliya (saints) in Islam? Is it permissbile for Muslims to distribute food to their shrine?

The Details of the Question
What is the position of Awliya (saints)? Are they alive in their graves. Nowdays people distribute food items in the shrine. Please also define advantages and disadvantages of "wasela" in the light of Qur'an and Sunnat. Some people also say that placing head on the sufi saint grave is also allowed as there is always rain of nur (light) on their grave so we also make a contact with them. Please define in detail...
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Saints in their graves see those who come to visit them. However, it is forbidden for people to exhibit superstitions in grave visits. It is bid'at (innovation; something which is entered into religion afterwards) to put one's head on the grave so that light be rained on it or to leave food there.

Awliya (saints) are the loyal friends of Allah and followers of Allah's Shari'a (Islamic Law). Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, described saints this way: “When they are seen, one is reminded of Allah Most High. Their faces are radiant. Those with them do not become complainer.”

Prophets, the loyal, the learned, the righteous, and those worthy in Allah's sight can, with Allah's leave, intercede for their relatives, friends and those they are close to. (see Gazali, Ihya, IV/509).

Bediuzzaman also gives important good news as follows: “The result of love for the prophets and saints is as the Qur'an explains. That is, it will be both to benefit in the intermediate world and at the resurrection from the intercession of the prophets and saints, and also to profit abundantly, through that love, from the station and blessings that befit them.” (Risale-i Nur Collection, Words; 32nd Word: Sixth Indication).

The souls of believers in the intermediate realm are free. They see both believers in graves and those who come to visit them and hear them. Souls in the intermediate realm are of two kinds: Those in blessings and those in agony. According to the explanation of Ibnu'l-Kayyim, the souls in agony do not find the opportunity to visit one another. They are like captives. But the souls that are not captive but free and in other words in blessings meet and visit one another. They exchange their views about the things that happened and that will happen in the world. Each soul is together with his/her friends who are at a similar degree and rank with him/her as regards good deeds. And the soul of The Prophet (PBUH) is at Rafiku'l-A'la (the highest rank).

In the Qur'an it is stated: “Whoever obeys God and the Messenger (as they must be obeyed), then those are (and in the Hereafter will be, in Paradise) in the company of those whom God has favored (with the perfect guidance) – the Prophets, and the truthful ones (loyal to God's cause and truthful in whatever they do and say), and the witnesses (those who see the hidden Divine truths and testify thereto with their lives), and the righteous ones (in all their deeds and sayings, and dedicated to setting everything right). How excellent they are for companions!” (The Qur'an, An-Nisa, 4:69) and this company continues in three places: in the world, in the intermediate realm and in the hereafter. In all these three realms one is with the ones whom one loves. (Suyuti, Bushra'l-Kaib, 147

However, it has been attained only by those whom Allah favored that other persons than prophets meet, while alive and awake, those in the intermediate realm; and similarly, many events are narrated about Allah's saintly slaves' meeting The Prophet (PBUH) and certain great personalities. (see Abdullah Sirajuddin, al-Iman Bi’Awalimil-Ahirati wa Mawafikiha p. 110-113)

That in grave visits, the visitor is called 'zair' and the visited 'mazur' is also a proof of the fact that the visited one hears and knows his/her visitor during visits. For if the visited does not know about his/her visitor, then it would not be called 'mazur' (the one visited). Furthermore, while teaching the manners about grave visits, The Prophet (PBUH) taught saluting the dead upon approaching the graveyard, which is among the manners that he followed in his relations with the living. (Wujudi, Muhammad b. Abdulaziz, Ahval-i Alam-i Barzah, V. 9 a)

For the second part of your question, please click on the link given below;

Is it permissible to make tawassul while praying and asking the help of awliya of Allah?

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