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(1,233 words)

Awtād (pillars, nails or pegs), is a Sufi expression for those in the esoteric mystical hierarchies of the awliyāʾ (God’s intimate ‘friends’, the saints) whose rank is below that of a quṭb (pole), imam and afrād (the solitary individuals), but above the abdāl (the substitutes or successors), abrār (the pious or the righteous) and akhyār (the supremely good). Awtād literally means ‘pegs’ and mountains, in general, are mentioned in the Qurʾān as the awtād (Q 78:7). In some ḥadīths these awtād are explained, and interpreted to refer to various groups of saints.

In Shiʿi narrations the term awt…

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La-Shay', Hussein and Translated by Farzin Negahban, “Awtād”, in: Encyclopaedia Islamica, Editors-in-Chief: Farhad Daftary. Consulted online on 10 June 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-9831_isla_SIM_0317>
First published online: 2015

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