Waliy, when used in relation to Allah, has two meanings in Arabic:
This is Allah’s sovereignty, support, protection and provision. This includes His arranging of affairs for all creatures, His decreeing whatever matters He wills and establishing all the meanings encompassed in sovereignty to Him. This general “wilayah” involves the believers as well as the disbelievers, and the righteous as well as the evil-doers. (1)
قال الله تعالى: أَمِ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاء فَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْوَلِيُّ وَهُوَ يُحْي المَوْتَى وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Or have they taken (for worship) Auliya (guardians, supporters, helpers, protectors, etc.) besides Him? But Allah, He Alone is The Waliy (Lord, Protector, etc.). And it is He Who gives life to the dead, and He is Able to do all things.
Surah Ash-Shura [42: 9]
قال الله تعالى: ثُمَّ رُدُّواْ إِلَى الهِ مَوْلاَهُمُ الْحَقِّ أَلاَ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَهُوَ أَسْرَعُ الْحَاسِبِينَ
Then they are returned to Allah, their True Maula [True Master (God), the Just Lord (to reward them)]. Surely, His is the judgement and He is the Swiftest in taking account.
Surah Al-An’am [6: 62]
This wilayah is only for those who believe in His Oneness and are obedient to Him. It includes love, support, aid, guidance and protection. It is a special care and nurturing which Allah has promised to His true believers.
قال الله تعالى: أَلا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاء الهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَكَانُواْ يَتَّقُونَ
No doubt! Verily, the Auliya of Allah [i.e. those who believe in the Oneness of Allah and fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which he has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve , -Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and used to fear Allah much (by abstaining from evil deeds and sins and by doing righteous deeds).
Surah Yunus [10:62-63]
قال الله تعالى: وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِير
ِِAnd hold fast to Allah [i.e. have confidence in Allah, and depend upon Him in all your affairs] He is your Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.), what an Excellent Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.) and what an Excellent Helper!
Surah Al-Hajj [22: 78]
قال الله تعالى: بَلِ اللهُ مَوْلاَكُمْ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ النَّاصِرِينَ
Nay, Allah is your Maula (Patron, Lord, Helper and Protector, etc.), and He is the Best of helpers.
Surah Al-Imran [3: 150]
It is a great bounty for a believer to have Allah as his Maula because if Allah loves a person, then He will take special care of him in regards to His nurturing and guidance to the correct path, as well as protecting him from the paths of deviation and loss.
Allah’s special “wilayah”, this loving and caring for His true believers will bear several fruits. Among them are:
- Allah will take them out of the darkness and into the light:
قال الله تعالى: اللهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَوْلِيَاؤُهُمُ الطَّاغُوتُ يُخْرِجُونَهُمْ مِنَ النُّورِ إِلَى الظُّلُمَاتِ أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
Allah is The Waliy (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliya (supporters and helpers) are taghut [false deities and false leaders, etc.], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever.
Surah Al-Baqarah [2: 257]
Allah will bring the one He loves out of the darkness into the light. He will bring him out of the darkness of worshipping others along with Allah into the light of Monotheism, out of the darkness of worshipping creatures to the light of worshipping the Creator, out of the darkness of loving this worldly life to the light of loving the eternal Paradise. Allah will take special care of the person, guiding him to comprehension of the truth of this life and the real aim of his existence. We find people living on this earth who do not know the goal of their creation! They are only concerned with eating, drinking, working, owning a house and getting married, and eventually they die without fulfilling the aim of their creation. Indeed, this is total loss! Allah guides those whom He loves to understand the truth about this life, that it is simply a path to either paradise or hellfire. Allah guides mankind to the path to Paradise, then guides them further upon it. He fills their hearts with love for Paradise and eagerness for it. No one will be able to understand this except those whose hearts Allah has guided. Allah’s guidance and support will continue to be with these blessed people, guiding them to the best of manners in every way.
2. Allah will forgive their sins and wrongdoings:
قال الله تعالى: أَنْتَ وَلِيُّنَا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الْغَافِرِينَ
You are our Waliy (Protector), so forgive us and have Mercy on us, for You are the Best of those who forgive.
Surah Al-Araf [7:155]
These words of supplication were said by Prophet Musa (Moses), peace be upon him; He asked Allah to forgive his people for worshipping a cow. He asked Allah, realising and feeling this wilayah of Allah’s love and special care, because if Allah loves a person He will forgive him in a special way and not everyone can have this special forgiveness. Musa certainly was worthy of Allah’s love and wilayah due to his love for Allah, his jealousy for the rights of Allah, and his striving and patient perseverance in calling to Allah, and he asked Allah by it.
3. Allah will grant them victory over their enemies:
قال الله تعالى: أَنتَ مَوْلَانَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
You are our Maula (Patron, Supporter and Protector, etc.) and give us victory over the disbelieving people.
Surah Al-Baqarah [2: 286]
قال الله تعالى: بَلِ اللهُ مَوْلاكُمْ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ النَّاصِرِينَ
Nay, Allah is your Maula (Patron, Lord, Helper and Protector, etc.), and He is the Best Granter of victory.
Surah Al-Imraan [3:150]
During the battle of Uhud, there was a rumour that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was dead. Abu Sufyan, who was still a disbeliever at that time, called, “Is Abu Bakr still Alive?” Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said “Do not reply.” No one replied. Abu Sufyan then asked, “Is Umar still alive?” No one replied. He became very happy and exclaimed, “We have al-‘Uzza“ (their idol) and you have no honor or supporter!” Here, the Prophet, peace be upon him, told them to reply. They asked what they should say and He said, “Say: Allah is our Maula (our protector and supporter) and you have no one!”
Therefore, if Allah loves a person and is deserving of His wilayah, He will aid him and grant him victory over all his enemies. This is a fact. But today we see that our enemies have power over us! So why is this happening? The answer is because we have distanced ourselves from Allah’s religion, we have become satisfied with this life and have made it our only concern. We have left calling the people to Allah; we do not command the good and forbid the evil, and we do not even ask for protection and aid from Allah from our own enemies. That is why we have lost Allah’s aid, protection and victory. If we return to Allah and support His religion Allah will certainly grant us what He promised, and we will be granted victory.
4. Allah’s wilayah will be needed at the most critical time of one’s life:
Those whom Allah loves and is their Waliy will see the result of this in the most critical moment of their lives, which is when the Angel of Death comes to take their souls. Here the wilayah will be seen and experienced in person. Allah will send the Angels of mercy to give glad tidings to His beloved ones. These Angels will say to them, “Do not be afraid of what is coming in the future and do not be sad about what you have left behind”. Furthermore, they will hear the best phrase ever, which is the statement that Allah is pleased with them. The reward starts from the moment one dies.
قال الله تعالى: إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ ، نَحْنُ أَوْلِيَاؤُكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۖ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِي أَنفُسُكُمْ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَدَّعُونَ ، نُزُلًا مِّنْ غَفُورٍ رَّحِيمٍ
Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah (Alone),” and then they Istaqamu (stand firm on the correct path); upon them the Angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!
“We have been your friends (supporters, helpers) in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask for. “A generous hosting” from (Allah), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Surah Fussilat [41: 30-32]
Glorified is Allah! Those who believe in Allah and followed the correct path during their lives, Allah will love them. Then due to Allah’s love for them His angels will also love and care for them and will come to assure them at the time of their deaths. This moment will come to each one of us. It is the moment in which we will know the end result of our greatest exam and from which party each of us will be. Imagine the great need to hear this glad tiding at that time when one is about to be taken alone to an empty, dark grave! One must truly try to comprehend this desperate need of Allah’s wilayah, as at that time he will have no one but Him.
5. Allah’s wilayah will lead to Paradise:
Allah’s love and caring for His true believers necessitates that He will guide them to His Paradise due to His mercy for them.
قال الله تعالى: لَهُمْ دَارُ السَّلامِ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَهُوَ وَلِيُّهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
For them will be the home of peace (Paradise) with their Lord. And He will be their Waliy (Helper and Protector) because of what they used to do.
Surah Al-An’am [6: 127]
If Allah loves a person, He will guide him to His Paradise where he will be close to Him. Thus, as Allah cares for one in this life, He will care for him in the hereafter. Allah’s wilayah is infinite, and those who truly loved Allah will never lose it.
Now, let’s reflect on this verse:
He will be their Waliy (Helper and Protector) because of what they used to do.
One must take the means and perform the actions that lead to earning Allah’s wilayah. From Allah’s mercy for His creation is that He has given us the details of how to attain His wilayah. Allah says that He is The Waliy of those who believe in Him and who have true piety in regards to Him. The Quran and the Sunnah (the statements, actions and approvals (or disapprovals) of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) clearly explain how to be a true believer and be pious to Allah. Because of this, if one wants to be a waliy to Allah, he needs to read and understand Quran and Sunnah as explained by the Pious Predecessors and the true Islamic Scholars, and then act in accordance with it in every aspect of one’s life including creed, behavior, relationships, money dealings and more. One should also read the biography of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and that which has been narrated concerning his Companions, and then strive to follow their path. Indeed there is no path to Allah except their path; they are those whom Allah loved and loved their acts of worship and their way, and those who truly loved Allah and spent their entire lives aiming at supporting and defending His religion. They clearly proved their love to Allah; so what about us? Like them, we need to also prove our love to Allah.
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال : قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : إن الله قال (من عادى لي وليا فقد آذنته بالحرب ، وما تقرب إلي عبدي بشيء أحب إلي مما افترضت عليه ، وما يزال عبدي يتقرب إلي بالنوافل حتى أحبه ، فإذا أحببته كنت سمعه الذي يسمع به ، وبصره الذي يبصر به ، ويده التي يبطش بها ، ورجله التي يمشي بها ، وإن سألني لأعطينه ، ولئن استعاذني لأعيذنه
Verily Allah, the Most High, has said, as related in a hadith qudsi (meaning from Allah with the wording of the Prophet peace be upon him): Whosoever shows enmity to a wali (friend) of Mine, then I have declared war against him. And My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the religious duties I have obligated upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to me with nawafil (supererogatory) deeds until I love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge. (2)
قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم :مَنْ أَحَبَّ لِلَّهِ وَأَبْغَضَ لِلَّهِ وَأَعْطَى لِلَّهِ وَمَنَعَ لِلَّهِ فَقَدْ اسْتَكْمَلَ الْإِيمَانَ
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, also said,
“Whoever loves for the sake of Allah, hates for the sake of Allah, gives for the sake of Allah, and prevents (withholds) for the sake of Allah, has perfected the Iman (faith).” (3)
One of the greatest means of earning Allah’s wilayah is to love for His sake and to hate for His sake. Sadly, today this is seldom found in Muslims. Today people tend to love for the sake of worldly affairs and benefits, and hate due to being deprived of these benefits. If one wants to know if he truly loves Allah, then he must search his heart to discover if he loves those whom Allah loves and he hates those who have denied Allah’s right to be worshipped alone, without partners, thus earning His enmity. If the answer is no, then he must supplicate to Allah, asking Him to bring his heart alive through knowledge of and love for Him, as unless he loves and hates for the sake of Allah, he does not truly love Him yet.
Above is a transcription of a class given by teacher Zaynab El-Kateb, based on the book Fiqh Al-Asmaa Al-Husnaa by Shaikh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-Badr.
1- Fiqh Al-Asma Al-Husna, by Sheikh Abdur Razzaq Al-Badr.
2- Narrated by Al-Bukhari
3- Narrated by Abu Dawud, corrected by Al-Albani