How does Islam define the word saint? Does it just mean any reasonably good person; or a person in close communication with God? Is it in some way analogous to the Christian concept of a "saved" person? Can you call someone a saint while they're still alive, or is that title given only to a person now dead?

Britannica has a short paragraph on saints in Islam which, if I'm reading it correctly, says that saints are not an "official" part of the religion. Perhaps. I'm not actually sure what it's saying. I do note that the word saint is used three times on this site, without any definition being given, so presumably there is a fairly standard accepted definition.


The concept of saint is not universal in Islam, and as far as I know is almost exclusive to Sufist Islam.

In Sufism, a "wali" (saint) is a particularly pious person chosen by Allah Himself. They rank above most people but below prophets. Some of them are granted a karama (minor miracle) or more, but they are not infallible.

For example, Maryam (Mary) in Sufism is regarded as a wali.

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  • In fact, it is not just the Sufis who believe in saints. Both Sunnis and Shiites do with the exception of Salafis/Wahhabis. – Artus Dec 17 '14 at 14:34

A saint or Wali in Islam refers to a friend of Allah, Allah has said in the Quran that his friends, Awliya' will have nor fear nor shall they grieve.

أَلَآ إِنَّ أَوۡلِيَآءَ ٱللَّهِ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ (٦٢)

Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; (62)

Read: 1

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  • Interesting, I never thought of it that way! – Honey Sep 24 '16 at 21:37

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