Rafed English

Wilayah, the Station of the Master

Wilayah, the Station of the Master by : Ayatullah Murtadha Mutahhari


It is a pleasure for us, and all praise to Allah, to undertake the publishing of the English translation of the book Wala'ha wa wilay atha, which was written in Persian by the late, great, Islamic thinker Shaykh Murtadha Mutahhari - may Allah bestow His Mercy on him.

We came to know of this translation when the English translator of the book, Yahya Cooper, who was then a student of Islamic Sciences in Qum, presented a copy of the translation which he had made from the Persian text.

He has requested us to undertake the publishing of the book, and, since its publication is in full agreement with the goals we are trying to attain, and the book is centered around a matter of intellectual importance in Islam, which should not be overlooked, and since the high stature of the writer is universally recognized, we decided to publish it.

It was intended to publish the book outside Iran, and we had begun to do this; however, obstacles which we do not intend to go into, prevented us from accomplishing this, even though the decision to produce this book had been taken prior to our decision to publish the other two works- of al-`Allamah Mutahhari which have already come out. It is the wish of Allah that this work should be delayed and that, it is now that we should publish it with the help of Allah and His guidance.

We pray to Allah to guide our steps and to lead us in the right path, for He is the Best Friend and the Best Helper.

(Board of Writing, Translation and Publication)
Tehran - Iran.
يَسُرّنا - و الحمد الله- أن نتولّى نشر الترجّمة الإنجليزّية لكتاب (ولاءها و ولايتها) الذي وضعة باللّغة الفارسيّة المفكّر الإسلاميّ الكبير العلاَمة المغفور له الشَيخ مرتضى مطهّري تغمده الله برحمته.
وصلة مؤسستنا بهذه الترجمة, أنّ المترجم الإنجليزّي للكتاب و هو الأستاذ (يحيى كوبر) الّذي كان يوم ذاك أحد المهاجرين إلى قم لدراسة العلوم الدينيّة عهد إلينا بنسخته من التّرجمة الّتي قام بها من النّص الفارسّي. و حيث إنّ نشر الكتاب كان ينسجم و الغاية الّتي نسعى إليها, نظرا لما في الكتاب من مادة فكريّة و إسلاميّة لا يستهان بها, و ما للكاتب من مكانة سامية لا يغفل عنها, عزمنا على نشره, و كان في النية نشر الكتاب خارج إيران –العمل الذي قد نقوم به- و لكن حال دون إنجاز العمل موانع لا نريد أن نشرح أمرها, مع أن التصميم على نشر هذا الكتاب كان سابقا على نشر الأثرين الآخريين للعلاّمة المطهّري الذّين نشرناهما من قبل, و شاء الله أن يتأخر العمل و ننشر الكتاب هنا, بعون الله و تسديده.
و من الله سبحانه نرجوا و إليه نتضرع أن يسددّنا في خطايانا و يهدينا سواء السّبيل, إنّه نعم المولى و نعم النّصير.
٩/٣/١٤٠٢ المؤسسة العالمية للخدمات الإسلامية
٥/١/١٩٨٢ لجنّة التّأليف و التّرجمة و النّشر
طهران - إيران
The present translation is a very short example of the writing of the late Murtadha Mutahhari, but it gives a taste of the broad scope of his view of Islam and its dealings with every aspect of human life. Perhaps no other contemporary Iranian writer has managed to write so lucidly and yet paint so large a canvas. It is hoped that further works of his will find their way to a larger public through translation into English.

The present translation was done in the blessed month of Ramadan 1399, and the translator would like to thank Dar at-Tabligh al-Islami in Qum for their help and encouragement, and also W.O.F.I.S. for their acceptance for publication.

Yahya Cooper
Qum - IRAN.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا مُبِينًا
“ O you who believe! do not take the unbelievers for friends rather than the believers; do you desire that you should give to Allah a manifest proof against yourselves? (4:144)”
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ ۗ
و أُوْلئِكَ هُمُ المُفْلِحُونَ
 “And (as for) the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other; they enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger; (as for) these, Allah will show mercy to them; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise (9:71)”
"And these it is who shall be successful" (9:88)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ 
And these it is who shall be successful 9, 88).
إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ 
“Only Allah is your wali, and His Messenger and those who believe, who keep up prayer and pay zakat while they bow down in prayer (5:55).”
Wila’, walayah, wilayah, wali,mawla. The real, original meaning of all of these words comes from the root-word “waliya" (waw-lam ya). This root-word is among those which appear with the greatest frequency in the Qur'an, being used in various forms: it appears in the Qur’an in 124 places in the noun form, and in 112 places in the verb form.

The original meaning of this root-word, according to the famous Qur'anic lexicon Mufradatu 'l-Qu'ran, is “the being situated of something besides something else, in the sense that there is no separation between them", that is to say that if two things are so contiguous one with the other that there is nothing between them, the root-word "waliya" is used.

As a result of this, the word has come to be used in the sense of nearness and affinity, usually to mean a special or spiritual affinity. And again, for the same reason, it has been used with the meaning of "intimacy", "friendship", "being in charge", "being in control", and with other meanings of the same variety. In all of these, there exists a kind of personal contact and contiguity.

For this root-word and its derivatives many meanings are mentioned. For example, 27 meanings are given for the word mawla. However, it is obvious that this word was not created with 27 meanings and that in other instances it is used with the sanction of this meaning. The subsequent different meanings, or, to put it more exactly, the numerous instances of usage, should be derived from their syntactical and situational contexts.

The derivatives of this root word have been used in application to both material, bodily things, and abstract and mental matters, but they were unquestionably used originally in a physical sense, and then, by appropriate comparison with what is visualized, or by abstraction of the perceived meaning from its material and tangible associations, they also came to be used with abstract meanings.

For man's attention to the things he perceives either from the point of view of a single individual during his own life time, or from the point of view of a human collectivity during the period of its historical life predates his meditation on intellectual ideas.

After sensory signification and meaning, man moves on little by little to an abstract signification and meaning, and he then naturally uses the same words which he employed with the objects of nature and thus recruits them into his service. In a similar way, scientists do not invent special words for their particular sciences, but rather they use words which have a current meaning in the ordinary language giving these words a particular meaning and signification which differ from the common meaning and signification.

The Mufradatu 'l-Qur'an says in connection with the word “walayah/wilayah", looking at it from the point of view of the instances of its application.

"Wilayah' has the meaning of `assistance', but walayah has the meaning of `being in charge' and `the person in authority in a certain matter'; it is also said that the meaning of both is the same, and that it is this `being in charge and having authority' ". Then it mentions instances of the use of these words.
Two Kinds Of " Wila' "
In the Holy Qur'an, the words wila’, muwalat, and tawalli are used many times. In this great, heavenly book, certain matters are set out under these headings, and, on the whole, it can be seen from contemplation of this purified text that from the vantage point of Islam there are two kinds of wila': negative and positive.

That is to say that on the one hand Muslims are ordered not to accept one kind of wila' and to leave it alone, while, on the other hand, they are shown another kind of wila' which they are to cultivate diligently.

"Wila", affirmative and Islamic, is in turn of two kinds: general wila’, and special wila’. This special wila’ is also of several different kinds. These are: a wila' of love, a wila' of Imamate, a wila' of social leadership, and a wila' of universal disposal. Here briefly, we shall discuss each one of these.
1. Negative " Wila' "
The Qur'an strongly warns Muslims against accepting fellowship with, and protection from, non-Muslims: not that it takes a bad view of love for other human beings, or supports hatred by Muslims against non-Muslims in all circumstances, or is against kindness towards them. The Qur’an explicitly says:
لَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُمْ مِنْ دِيَارِكُمْ أَنْ تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ 
“Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice. (60:8)”
Islam does not say that acts of friendship and works of good must be done exclusively for Muslims, and that in no way should generosity be extended from you towards others. How could a religion whose Prophet is, according to the Qur'an, “a mercy for the worlds" (21:107) be like that?

The matter is, however, that Muslims must not be inattentive towards their enemy, some of whom secretly harbor duplicity towards them. The pretension of friendship by the enemy towards Muslims should not deceive them, and it must not cause them to take the enemy for a friend and to trust him.

The Muslim must always be aware that he is a member of Islamic society, that he is a part of this whole; and his being part of this whole, a member of one body, necessitates, whether you like it or not, conditions and limits. The non-Muslim is a member of another body.

The relationship of a member of the body of Islam with members of non-Islamic bodies must be of such a kind that, at the very least, it does not compromise his membership of the Islamic body; in other words, it must not damage the unity and independence of that body. Thus, like it or not, the relation of a Muslim with a non-Muslim cannot be equal with, or, even sometimes, closer than the relation of a Muslim with a Muslim.

The friendly and sincere relationship of Muslims with one another must be within the limit that membership of one body and participation in one whole requires. Wila’ of the negative sort in Islam expresses the fact that a Muslim should always realize in an encounter with a non-Muslim that he is encountering a member of an alien body, and the meaning of saying that there must not be wila' with non- Muslims, is that the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims must be within the limit of the relationship between Muslims themselves, which means that a Muslim should not accept membership of a non-Muslim body; or, put in other words, his membership of the Islamic body should not be ignored.

Thus, there is no inconsistency in a Muslim being benevolent and kind towards a non- Muslim and at the same time not accepting his wila' (allegiance with him), that is to say that the Muslim must not count him a member of the body of which he himself is a member, and should behave towards him as an outsider.

In the same way, there is no inconsistency between wila' in the negative sense and the fundamental of humanitarianism and compassion for mankind. The essential condition of humanitarianism is that man should be concerned with the fate, well-being and true happiness of all men.

It is for this very reason that every Muslim is concerned that all human beings should become Muslims and be led to the right path. However, as long as this blessing is not obtained, those others who have been blessed must not be sacrificed for those who have not been blessed, and permit boundaries to collapse and every kind of action and reaction to take place.

Imagine that a certain group of men are afflicted with a certain illness. Humanitarianism requires that we come to their rescue, and as long as rescue is not forthcoming to them, it requires that we be benevolent towards them.

However, humanitarianism does not demand that we impose no restrictions between these people whose illness, it so happens, is contagious, and individuals who are healthy or have been cured. Thus, it is that Islam, on the one hand, counts generosity and kindness towards non- Muslims as permissible, but, on the other hand, does not permit that a Muslim should accept the protection (wila') of a non-Muslim.

Islam is the religion of humanitarianism; Islam even loves the one who associates others with Allah (mushrik), not from the point of view that he is a mushrik, but from the point of view that he is a created being, one of God's creatures, and Islam is concerned for the reason that he has fallen into the way of ruin and confusion, and the way of liberation and bliss has been made narrow. For if it did not love him, Islam would be indifferent to his shirk and misery.

In Islam there is love and hatred, but a love and hatred which is reasonable and logical, not sentimental, for no good reason, and without any standard of comparison. A friendship or enmity which arises solely from the feelings has no logic; it is sentimental, blind and deaf, and it dominates the human heart, it tugs in any direction it wishes. But rational love and hatred arise from a kind of understanding, and in fact result from affection for the fate of other people, and this is an instance of genuine affection.

Here is an example: A father and a mother have two sorts of affection towards their child; one is reasonable and logical, the other sentimental. Reasonable affection sometimes causes the parents in all seriousness to subject their own child to suffering, and they consider all the reasons for causing him pain.

Let us say they put their child in the hands of a surgeon. The parents, in such a case, fall to weeping, they feel greatly afflicted and tears pour from their eyes; but they want the doctor to start the operation as soon as possible. They ask him to remove the troublesome part. The weeping is the result of sentimental emotions, but their demand is the result of reasonable emotion.

If those parents had taken heed of their present grief, and if their sentimental emotions had taken precedence over their rational emotions and they had not allowed one of their child's limbs to be cut, they would in fact have been consenting to his death.

But with the logic of the intellect and the verdict of the affections about the fate of their child, they put aside their feelings and submit the child to pain and torment.

Every rational man may occasionally, in order to cure his own pain, put himself in the hands of a surgeon who may, for example, remove his finger. In his heart, he does not want to suffer the pain of having his finger cut off, and, of course, he will be extraordinarily unhappy to lose it.

However, he will endure this pain in a rational way, and, following the verdict of his mind, will submit to the loss of the part; clearly it is logic and his intellect which leads him forward and brings the request to his tongue, otherwise his feelings would have caused him to reverse his verdict.

In the case of a corrupt, unreformed society in which unbelief and ignorance rule, Islam, on the one hand, gives the command to jihad so that the corruption may be uprooted;
وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ
“Kill them, so that calamity is no longer” (2:193).
On the other hand, it orders vigilance and avoidance, so that people do not reveal what is in their hearts to them (the unbelievers), so that the community and mankind remains healthy; and this is not in the least incompatible with humanitarianism.
The nature of man is a thief; appropriating and seizing things are human characteristics, and how many times has unawareness of the thoughts and deliberations of others been inscribed on men's tombstones. The Qur’an exhorts us
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا عَدُوِّي وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ تُلْقُونَ إِلَيْهِمْ بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِمَا جَاءَكُمْ مِنَ الْحَقِّ
“O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth (60:1)”
إِنْ يَثْقَفُوكُمْ يَكُونُوا لَكُمْ أَعْدَاءً وَيَبْسُطُوا إِلَيْكُمْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ وَأَلْسِنَتَهُمْ بِالسُّوءِ وَوَدُّوا لَوْ تَكْفُرُونَ 
 “If they find you, they will be your enemies, and will stretch forth towards you their hands and their tongues with evil, and they ardently desire that you may disbelieve” (60:2)
Here the Qur'an considers the secret of vigilance towards, and avoidance of, the outsider; it is that the latter wishes others to enter into his faith and religion. What a great danger there is, then, for his companion in his show of friendship and his camaraderie.

It is here that the Qur'an affirms the original source of the danger. When these people befriend, it is not merely friendship and acquaintance, for they expend great effort to reach their goal and try hard in all ways.

All that we have discussed affirms that the relationship between a Muslim and a non-Muslim must be a prudent one, that a Muslim must not remain inattentive to danger, that he must not forget that he is a member of a society of tawhid, and that the non-Muslim is a member of another body and another social group.

But none of these things necessitates that the Muslim should completely cut off relations with the non-Muslim, that he should not foster any social, economic or even sometimes political relations. Of course, all this is conditional on their totally coinciding with the interest of the Islamic society.
2. Wila', In A Positive Sense, With A General Meaning
Islam wishes Muslims to live as a single, independent form, to always have order, inter- communication and sociality, every individual aware of himself as being a member of one body which is Islamic society itself, so that this Islamic society becomes strong and powerful, in the way that the Qur'an wants the society of Muslims to be superior to other societies.
وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنْتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ 
“And be not infirm, and be not grieving, and you shall have the upper hand if you are believers.” (3:139)
Faith is the supreme support, but what does faith do? Faith is the support, the force and the pillar of the character, the maintainer of the independence and the motor of the movement of Islamic society.
Elsewhere the Qur'an says:
وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَنَازَعُوا فَتَفْشَلُوا وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ ۖ وَاصْبِرُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ 
 “And obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel for then you will be weak in hearts and your power will depart, and be patient; surely Allah is with the patient” (8:46)
Quarrelling and disputation destroy the being and character of Islamic society. Faith is the foundation of the friendship, love and fraternity wila' of the believers.
The Qur’an says:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ
“And the believers, the men and the women, are friends (wali) one to the other; they bid to good and forbid evil” (9:71).
Believers are close to each other, and the cause of their being close to each other is that they are the protectors, friends and helpers of each other; they are concerned for each other’s future; in fact, they cultivate concern in their own future in which they form one unity, and therefore they "bid to good " and dissuade each other from evil and wickedness.
These two activities - bidding to good and forbidding evil - result from the friendship of faith, and so together these two are situated immediately after the explanation of the wila' of faith.
A feeling for the future of individuals springs from affection for them in themselves. A father who has affection for his children naturally feels concern for their future. But perhaps he has no feelings towards other people's children in themselves. Therefore, he will have no affection towards them in themselves until he has also a concern for their future, and their doing good awakens in him a positive feeling, and their doing bad a negative feeling.
Bidding to good is a consequence of this positive feeling, and forbidding evil is a consequence of the negative feeling, and, until love and friendship exist, these feelings do not bring joy to a man's heart.
If a man is without affection for individuals, he is indifferent when faced with their actions and behavior, but when he is concerned, his loves and friendships will not leave him in peace. Thus, in the noble aayah (verse) bidding to good and forbidding evil are connected in a particular way to the question of wila'.
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ
“And the believers, the men and the women, are friends (wali) one to the other; they bid to good and forbid evil” (9:71).
Afterwards, under the subject of the fruits of bidding to good and forbidding evil, two subjects are mentioned:
وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ
“They perform prayer, and pay zakat (9:71).”
Prayer is an example of the relationship of the created with the Creator. And zakat is an example of the benefit of relations between Muslims themselves, who support each other as a result of being compassionate and merciful within Islam. And afterwards, it branches out from this
ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ ۗ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ 
“These, Allah will show mercy to them. (9:71).
And these it is who shall be successful (9:88)”
It is then that various Divine mercies and joys come down on this society, and thus they become the people who deserve to be called free.
Later we shall give some explanations of this ayah, showing that it, and some other aayah (verses) which mention wila' in its ordinary affirmative sense, are not only witnesses to love and friendship, but that they affirm a kind of obligation and responsibility for Muslims, as far as the virtue of the relationship of Muslims with each other is concerned.
The Prophet (May Allah bless and grant him and his family peace) said in a famous and established hadith:
مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي تَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَرَاحُمِهِمْ وَتَعَاطُفِهِمْ كمَثَلُ الْجَسَدِ إِذَا اشْتَكَى بَعْضُ تَدَاعَى لَهُ سَائِرُ الْجَسَدِ بِالسَّهَرِ وَالْحُمَّى
“Believers, in loving one another and being merciful towards each other, are like the body that, when a part of it complains, the other parts rally to it by fever and sleeplessness.”
The noble Qur'an says, regarding the Prophet and those who follow him and have received Islamic education
مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves; (48:29)”
In this aayah, allusion is made to wila' in the negative sense and wila' in the positive sense. Just as we said earlier that the aayah of the Qur'an draws our attention towards the fact that the enemies of Islam, in every age, try to substitute negative wila’ for positive wila', and vice versa; or in other words, they direct all their efforts to the end that relations between Muslims and non-Muslims should be cordial, and that relations between Muslims themselves, for various reasons, through all the disputes of the sects, should be hostile.
In our own time, a great number of actions have been carried out by outsiders, enormous budgets deployed, and regretfully they have introduced elements who have no other work than to transform wila' in the negative Islamic sense into a wila' in an affirmative sense, and affirmative Islamic wila’ into a negative wila'. This is the greatest blow which these wicked people have dealt against the Prophet.
Today, if we should weep over one disaster from among those assailing Islam, and if we should shed tears over one tragedy from among those befalling Islam, it is this disaster and this tragedy. Amiru'l-mu'minin, `Ali (a.s.) said:
فَيَا عَجَباً وَاللهِ يُمِيتُ الْقَلْبَ وَيَجْلِبُ الْهَمَّ مِن اجْتِمَاعِ هؤُلاَءِ الْقَوْمِ عَلَى بَاطِلِهِمْ، وَتَفَرُّقِكُمْ عَن حَقِّكُمْ
“How strange it is! By Allah, it mortifies the heart and draws forth grief that these people agreed about their falsehood and you disagree about your truth.” (Nahju 'l-balaghah)
O Allah, protect and guard Islam and the Muslims from the evil of these evil-doers through the truth of Muhammad and his Pure Household!
اَللّـهُمَّ اِنّا نَشْكُو اِلَيْكَ فَقْدَ نَبِيِّنا صَلَواتُكَ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ،وَغَيْبَةَ وَلِيِّنا، وَكَثْرَةَ عَدُوِّنا وَقِلَّةَ عَدَدِنا وَشِدّةَ الْفِتَنِ بِنا وَتَظاهُرَ الزَّمانِ عَلَيْنا فَصَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّد وَآلِهِ وَاَعِنّا عَلى ذلِكَ بِفَتْح مِنْكَ تُعَجِّلُهُ وَبِضُرٍّ تَكْشِفُهُ وَنَصْر تُعِزُّهُ وَسُلْطانِ حَقٍّ تُظْهِرُهُ وَرَحْمَة مِنْكَ تَجَلِّلُناها وَعافِيَة مِنْكَ تُلْبِسُناها بِرَحْمَتِكَ يا اَرْحَمَ الرّاحِمينَ .
“O Allah, we complain to You over the loss of our Prophet - Your blessings on him and his family and on the absence of our wali, the abundance of our enemy and the paucity of our number, over the strain of afflictions on us and time's turning against us. So, bless Muhammad and his family, and help us in this by a victory which You will hasten, and a help which You will strengthen, and an authority of truth which You will manifest, and a compassion You will envelop us in, and a well-being You will clothe us in.”
Wila' in its positive, special sense is the wila' of Ahlu 'l-bayt, the Household of the Prophet. There can be no room for debate over the fact that the noble Prophet has called and directed the Muslims to a kind of wila' in connection with his pure, sinless family; that is to say that even scholars from the Sunni sect make no controversy over this. The aayah of the pure relatives:
قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ
Say: "I do not ask of you any reward f or it but love of my near relatives" (42: 23)
Sets down the matter of wila' in its special meaning. And it is also present in the famous and uncontested hadith of Ghadiri, where it is said 1:
مَنْ كُنْتُ مَوْلاهُ فَهذا عَلِيٌ مَوْلاهُ
“For whomsoever I am his mawla, `Ali is his mawla.”
This itself is mention of a kind of wila' which will be explained later.
A noble ayah says:
إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ 
“Only Allah is your Vali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow (5:55)”
The different schools are of one opinion, that this was revealed concerning `Ali (a.s.) at-Tabari cites many ahadith in this connection2, and az-Zamakhshari, who was one of the greatest scholars of the Sunni school, said in a definitive manner
"This ayah was revealed concerning `Ali,” and the reason for the plural being used (i.e., those), although that which was revealed was not more than one person, that it is exhorting people to behave like this; and it explains that believers should acquire character and qualities like this, and should be eager and fervent in this way in doing good and in generosity and in helping the poor, and that even in prayer they should not procrastinate."' (i.e., although they may be in prayer when the matter of zakat arises, they should not delay, and should perform their obligation during the time of prayer.)3
Also Fakhru'd-Din ar-Razi, who, like az- Zamakhshari, is one of the great men of the Sunni school and of the whole community, said: "This ayah was revealed concerning `Ali, and scholars are all in agreement that the payment of zakat in the time of ruku`4 (the position of bowing down in prayer) did not take place except in the case of 'Ali."'
Towards the end he makes some contention about the interpretation of the word wali, and later on we will discuss the meaning of this ayah.
`Ali ibn Hammad al-`Adwi al-Basri al-Bagh- dadi, known as Ibn Hammad, one of the Shi'ah poets of the fourth century of the hegira (10th/11th century A.D.) points to the present meaning in the following poem
قرن الاله ولاءه بولائه مما تزكى و هو حان يركع
سماه رب العرش نفس محمد يوم البهال و ذالك مالا يدفع
“God brought the wila' of Ali and His wila', Because Ali, in the time of ruku, gave zakat.
The Lord of the Throne gave him the name of `the soul of Muhammad’,
On the day of cursing. And this is an indisputable fact.” 5&6
As we said before, a kind of wila' has been prescribed in Islam that is positive7 and has an ordinary meaning, and the noble ayah;
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ
“And the believers, the men and the women, are wali one to the other (9:71).”
Is a witness to this kind of wila'.
Now we wish to say that the noble ayah:
إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ
“Only Allah is your Wali. (5:55).”
states the matter in such a way that it does not carry universality. In no way is it possible that this ayah was designed as a statement of wila' with its ordinary, positive meaning, because the Qur'an here is not aiming to state a universal law; it does not seek to set down the desirability or the necessity of paying zakat at the time of ruku `, and lay it down as a duty, something recommended legally in the Islamic sense as a kind of law of the shad’ah.
Rather, it is a reference to an action that took place when someone did something in the external world, and now the Qur'an established that action to indicate the person, and in an indirect way affirms its decree which is this very wila' in its special meaning.
This way of saying something, when a particular event pertaining to a specific individual is expressed using a plural, is not uncommon in the Qur'an. For example:
يَقُولُونَ لَئِنْ رَجَعْنَا إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ لَيُخْرِجَنَّ الْأَعَزُّ مِنْهَا الْأَذَلَّ
“They say: If we return to Medina, the mighty will surely drive out the meaner therefrom (63:8)”
Here also, the Qur'an is referring to a story which actually took place, and it says yaquluna (they say) although the speaker was not more than one person - `Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul.

The giving of zakat during ruku` was not something commonplace among the Muslims, as a result of which we might say that the Qur'an praises them all and affirms wilayah in whatever sense we say it for everyone.

This very matter is a living witness that the reference of the ayah is individual and specific, in other words that there was someone who, while in ruku` and while in worship, was still not inattentive to the slaves of Allah and thus did something, and now the Qur'an tells us: "He, also, like Allah and His Prophet, is your wali.” Therefore, a particular person is being discussed, and he, like Allah and the Messenger, is also the wali of the believers, and the believers must accept his wila'.

However, what is the purpose of this wila'? Is it only a specific love and devotion which people should have towards that respected person, or is it higher than that? It is this matter that we shall be discussing before long. For the time being, let it suffice to say that contrary to the fancy of some of the scholars of the Sunni school, the sense of this ayah is wila' with a special meaning, not wila' in its ordinary sense.
The Kinds of Wila in its Positive Sense, With a Special Meaning
So far, as has been noted, the matter of the wila' of `Ali (a.s.) and the rest of the household of the Prophet is in general, not open to doubt. Ultimately, the controversy lies in what is the intended meaning of wila' in this ayah, and in the rest of the aayah’s and in the ahadith (traditions) of the Prophet which were gathered together with it. In order, so that the meaning should be clear, we consider it necessary to discuss the special uses of the words wila' and wilayah in the Qur'an and the sunnah which have reference to the Household (of the Prophet). These two words are normally used in four different ways:
A. The Wila' Of Love (Mahabbah) Or The Wila' Of Nearness (Qarabah)
The wila' of love, or the wila' of nearness, signifies that the Household are the near relatives of the noble Prophet, and that people are recommended to cultivate affection for them and to love them in a special way, over and above the necessity for wila' in its ordinary positive sense.

This is in the Qur'an, and many ahadith have also been recorded through Shi'ah and Sunni schools about this subject, that love of the Household, and, among them, of `Ali (a.s.), is one of the basic precepts of Islam; and in this connection two problems immediately crop up.

Firstly, why, with special reference to the Household, has all this been recommended: that people should cultivate devotion to them? And is this love and devotion a means of approaching near to God? Suppose that everyone is acquainted with the Household of the Prophet, and that they truly have love and devotion towards them, what is the result and benefit of this? All Islamic precepts have a philosophical and metaphysical reason behind them.

If a certain precept turns up in the context of Islam, it absolutely must have its own philosophy and metaphysics. The answer to this problem is that the exhortation to love the Household and other expressions of the wila' of love of the House hold do have a special metaphysics; it is not an extravagance or a foolishness, it is not (merely) a reward for the noble Prophet or for themselves.

The noble Qur'an makes it clear through the mouth of the Prophet that the benefit of the recompense that he is asking from us, in other words love of his near relatives, accrues to us ourselves.

The wila' of love, is an introduction and a way to other kinds of wila' which we want to explain. The bond of love is what really joins people to the Household so that they can benefit from their existence, from what they have left behind, from what they have said and what they have taught, and from their behavior and their manner.

In our book Jadhibah wa daf i`ah-e A li (alayhi’s-salam), we have discussed at length the virtues of love and devotion towards the pure ones, and the ones near to Allah (al - Haqq), which fashion man and are precious agents in training and stimulating his spirit and transforming his state of mind, and here we shall not repeat ourselves.

Secondly, is the wila' of love a peculiarity of the Shi`ahs, or is it also believed in by other Islamic groups?

In answer, it must be said that the wila' of love is not a peculiarity of Shi `ites. Other Muslim groups also give importance to it. Al-Imam ash-Shafi'i, who is one of the Imams of the Sunni schools, wrote in his famous poems:
يا راكبـا قف بالمحصب من منى واهتف بقـاعد جمعها والناهض
سحرا إذا فاض الحجيج إلى منى فيضا كملتطم الفرات الفـائض
إن كان رفضا حب آل محمــد فليشهد الثقــلان أني رافضي
O rider, standing on the stony ground of Mind:
Cry at dawn to those stopped at Khif 8
and those bestirring,
When the pilgrims are leaving for Mind,
Moving like the rolling of the waves of
the surging Euphrates:
If love of the Household of Muhammad is a heresy (rafd )
Then, jinn and men bear witness that
I am a heretic (Rafidite)! 9
He also wrote:
يا آل بيت الرسول حبكم فرض من الله في القرآن انزله
يكفيكم من عظيم الفخر انكم من لم يصل عليكم لا صلاة له
O Household of the Messenger of Allah,
love for you
Is an obligation from Allah,
revealed in the Qur'an.
It suffices as the greatest honor bestowed
on you,
That his prayer is as nothing who does not
include in it praises to you.
Again, he wrote:
ولـمّـا رأيــتُ الـنـاس قــد ذهـبت بـهم مـذاهـبُهم فــي أبـحـرِ الـغـيِّ والـجـهلِ 
ركـبتُ عـلى اسـم الله فـي سـفن النَّجا وهـم آلُ بـيت الـمصطفى خاتمِ الرُّسْلِ 
وأمـسـكـتُ حــبـلَ الله وهــو ولاؤهــم كــمـا قـــد أُمِــرنـا بـالـتمسكِ بـالـحبلِ
When I saw people being taken
Through their madhahib10 into seas
of erring and ignorance,
I set sail in the name of Allah in the ship
of deliverance
Which is the Household of Mustafa, the
Seal of the Prophets;
I grasped the rope of Allah which is their wila',
As we were commanded to grasp the rope 11
Az-Zamakhshari and Fakhru’d-Din ar-Razi, who in the matter of the succession to the caliphate, came down against the Shi’as, are themselves narrators of hadith on the subject of the wila' of love. Ar-Razi quotes from az-Zamakhshari that the Prophet said:
أَلا و مَنْ مَاتَ عَلى حُبِ آلِ مُحَمًدٍ مَاتَ شَهيداً, أَلاَ ومَنْ مَاتَ عَلى حُبِ آلِ مُحَمًدٍ مَاتَ مَغْفُوراً لَهُ, أَلاَ ومَنْ مَاتَ عَلى حُبِ آلِ مُحَمًدٍ مَاتَ تَائِباً, أَلاَ ومَنْ مَاتَ عَلى حُبِ آلِ مُحَمًدٍ مَاتَ مُؤْمِناً مُسْتَكْمِلَ اِلإيمانِ...
“Whosoever died in love of the Household of Muhammad has died a martyr;
Whosoever died in love of the Household of Muhammad has died in forgiveness; whosoever died in love of the Household of Muhammad has died a believer and in the perfection of his faith." 12
Amiru 'l-mu'minin (a. s.) has also said in Nahju 'l-balaghah, Sermon 232:
فَاِنًهُ مَنْ مَاتَ مِنْكُمْ عَلى فِراشِهِ وُهُوَ عَلى مَعْرِفَة حَقَ رَبَهِ وَ حَقّ رَسُولِهِ وَأَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ ، مَاتَ شَهيداً وَوَقَعَ آجْرُهُ عَلى اللهِ ، واستَوْجَبَ ثَوابَ مَا نَوَى مِنْ صَالِحِ عَمَلِهِ وَ قَامَتِ النِيَةُ مَقامِ إِصْلاتِهِ لِسَيْفِهِ .
“Whosoever from among you dies in his bed in knowledge of the truth of his own Lord and the truth of His Messenger and his House- hold, has died a martyr and his reward is with Allah. He will deserve the reward for the intention of his righteous actions, and the intention will take place of the unsheathing of the sword.”
Ibnu l-Farid, the famous Egyptian Sufi and poet (in Arabic literature, he is the equivalent of Hafiz in the Persian language), has said in his famous ghazal which begins with the couplet "Driver of the caravans, passing through the desert: With the measured pace of thy goodness, ascend the dunes of Tayy."
ذهب العمر ضياعا و انقضى
باطلا ان لم افز منك بشئ
عترة المبعوث حقا من قصى
Life dwindles away wastefully and ends in
If I do not attain union with you.
A part from this one thing I hold nothing, but
To the wila' of the family (of the Prophet)
who was appointed from the descendents
of Qusayy.
Here, perhaps, his meaning is wila' in a most sublime sense, but it is indisputable that he mentions wila' in the sense of love. `Abdu'r-Rahman Jami13, about whom al-Qadi Nurullah 14 said "two `Abdu'r-Rahmans have injured `Ali - `Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn Muljam al-Muradi 15 and `Abdu 'r-Rahman Jami", arranged in Persian the famous poem of al-Farazdaq 16 in praise of al-Imam Zaynu'l-`Abidin (a.s.).
It is said that someone reported from a dream that after the death of al-Farazdaq they had asked him in the dream: "What did Allah do with you?" He replied: "He forgave me on account of that poem I recited in praise of `Ali ibn al-Husayn."
Jami himself adds to this and says: "If God forgave all men for the sake of this poem, it would not be surprising!" Jami says of Hisham ibn `Abdu'1-Malik who imprisoned al-Farazdaq and tortured him
اگرش چشم راست بين بودى 
راست كردار و راست ‏دين بودى‏
دست بى داد و ظلم نگشادى
جاى آن حبس خلعتش دادى
If he had right-seeking eyes,
Had done goodness and had true din.
He would not have opened his hand to injustice and oppression
Instead of imprisonment he would have
given his robe of honor.
Therefore the Shi'ah and the Sunni do not have different views about wila' meaning love, except for the Naasibi who hated the Household of the Prophet, were excluded from Islamic society, and were, like the unbelievers, condemned to vileness, and from the defilement of whose existence, praise be to Allah, the world has become cleaned in this age.
Only a few people are now occasionally seen, who write the odd book still endeavoring to increase the gaps between Muslims; and there are few among ourselves. And this is the best evidence that they have no authenticity, and that, like their associates from amongst us, they are the tools of the infernal colonialists.
Az-Zamakhshari and ar-Razi, in a foot- note to the previous hadith, narrate from the Prophet that he said:
أَلا و مَنْ مَاتَ عَلى بُغْضِ آلِ مُحَمًدٍ مَاتَ كافراً, أَلاَ ومَنْ مَاتَ عَلى بُغْضِ آلِ مُحَمًدٍ لَمْ يَشُمً رائِحَة الجَنةِ
“Whosoever dies in enmity to the family of Muhammad, dies an unbeliever. Whosoever dies in enmity of the family of Muhammad, will not smell the scent of Paradise.”
And al-Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said:
فَإِنً اللًه تًبارَكَ وَتَعالى لَمُ يَخْلُقْ خَلْقاً أَنْجَسَ مِنَ الكلبِ وَ إِنَ النًاصِبَ لنا أَهْلِ البَيْتِ لأنْجَسُ مِنْهُ
“Allah has not created anything more unclean than the dog; and those who oppose us, the Household, are more unclean than that.”
We must call this kind of wila', if it is attributed to the Household of the Prophet (we call them those who are `entrusted with wila'), the wila' of nearness; and if we attribute it to Muslims, from the point of view of an obligation that they have concerning affection for the Household, then we should say wila' of love.
This is obviously not the place to go into how the root-word wila' has come to be used in the sense of love . . . but two more aspects should be considered. One is whether the word wali has been used in the sense of friend or not? The other concerns which meaning is intended when the word wali is used in connection with the ayah of the Qur'an: "Surely Allah is your wali . . ." (5:55) which established the wilayah of Amiru 'l-mu'minin.
Some believe that in the Qur'an, everywhere this word is used (and it does at first seem as if this is the case), that it has the meaning of `friend'. But with attention it is realized that it does not mean this. For example, the meaning of
اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ
 “Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light;” (2:257)
Is not that Allah is the friend of the believers; rather that Allah, through His own special providence, has the ranks of the believers in His hands. Similarly, the meaning of
أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ 
 “Now surely the friends of Allah-- they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve (10:62)”
Is not that there is no fear for the friends of Allah. Here the word wali is in the form of "fa`il" (subject) with the meaning of “maf'u1" (object) 17. So the meaning thus becomes:
"Those whose guardian and the master of whose affairs is Allah are not subject to fear and apprehension” (10:62).
Similarly, the meaning of the ayah:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ
"And the believers, the men and the women, are awliya ' one to the other" (9:71)
is not that the believers are each other’s friends; rather that the believers are under a mutual obligation to one another, and are occupied with each other's affairs, and considerate of each other's future. So afterwards it says: "Bidding to good and forbidding evil."

From here the answer to the second question becomes clear. In the ayah under discussion, the meaning is not that Allah and the Prophet and `Ali are your friends; rather that they are the holders of authority and the ones with the right to be the masters of your affairs.

So, although the idea that the word wali is used with the meaning of friend is correct, it is inconceivable that it should be restrictively used to mean that Allah, the Prophet and `Ali are nothing but your friends.

From this it becomes obvious that the explanation by some of the Sunni commentators is wrong when they say that the substance of this ayah is not something important, rather that it just means that `Ali is your friend, and that `Ali must be loved by you and be the object of your affections (because it is in the form `fa`il' with the meaning of `maf `ul') .

According to this proof, the ayah:

"And Allah is your wali."(5:55)

Which uses wali in the positive special sense, is not just wali in the sense of love. It is greater than this. So what kind of wila' is it? The explanation that will be given now will clarify this matter.
B. Wila' - Imamate
Wila' meaning Imamate and leadership; or, in other words, the position of authority in the din (to which matters are referred for decision), that is, a position which others should follow, should take as an example for their actions and behavior, from whom they should learn the precepts of the din; or yet again, supremacy (za`amah).

Such a position is necessarily one of immunity from sin (`ismah), and the speech and actions of such a person are a guarantee and a proof for others. It is this same position about which the noble Qur’an, when talking of the Prophet, says:
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
“Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.” (33:21)
قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ
“Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults” (3:31)
In this ayah, the Messenger of Allah is introduced as an exemplar to whose behavior and morality people should conform their own behavior and morality, and whom they should take as their precedent. And this in itself is a proof of the Prophet's immunity from sin and error, because, if it were possible for sin and error to proceed from him, there would be no purpose in Allah, the Sublime, introducing him as a leader and a precedent.
This position then, after the Prophet, passed to the Household, and, according to a hadith which many Sunni scholars have narrated in books on the life of the Prophet, in histories, and in their own books on hadith from nearly thirty companions of the Prophet18, the Prophet chose his Household for the leadership and Imamate.
He said:
إِنّي تارِكٌ فِيكُمُ اَلَثَقَلَيْنِ: كِتابَ اللهِ وَ عِتْرَتي أَهْلَ بَيْتي, وَ إِنَّهُما لَنْ يَفْتَرِقا حَتَى يَريدا عَليّ الحَوْضَ, فَلا تَقَدَّمُوهُما
فَتَهْلكِوا, وَ لا تَقْصُرواعَنْهُما فَتَهْلكِوا, وَ لا تُعَلِّمُوهُم فَإْنَّهُمْ اَعْلَمُ مِنْكُمْ
“I leave among you two precious things: the Book of Allah and my Household. These two will not be separated until they encounter me at the pool of Kawthar (in Paradise). Do not run ahead of them, for you will be ruined; do not neglect them, for you will be ruined. And do not seek to instruct them, for they are wiser than you.”
Allah appoints, and Allah says about His Book:
لَا يَأْتِيهِ الْبَاطِلُ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلَا مِنْ خَلْفِهِ
 “Falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it”. (41:42)
So, if the Household were associates of falseness and unrighteousness and ignorance, and thus ceased to be the complement and twin of the Book, and if they were not, like the Prophet, preserved and free from sin and error, they would not have become the leaders and exemplars in his place.

The subject matter of the hadith shows that those mentioned in it must be individuals preserved from sin, and, as Khwajah Nasiru'd-Din at-Tusi said, the others (i.e., the non- Shi’as) neither have anyone who is protected from sin, nor do they claim this protection for anybody, and so, apart from the pure Imams, the hadith has no applicability.

Ibn Hajar (al-Haytami) says:

"This saying of the Prophet - `Do not run ahead of them, for you will be ruined; do not neglect them, for you will be ruined; and do not seek to instruct them, for they are wiser than you' - is a proof that whoever from the Household reaches the highest degree of knowledge, and merits the taking on of religious duties, is to be preferred before others." 19

Al-Hafiz Abu Nu'aym narrates a hadith from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet said:

“Whoever wishes that his life and death be like mine, and that he rest in eternal Paradise, should choose `Ali as wali after me, and take his wali as wali, and should follow the Imams after me for they are my descendants and were created from my clay. They are gifted with understanding and knowledge. Woe unto those who deny their virtues and who alienate them in kinship from me, for my intercession will never include them." 20

Imamate and leadership in din, in such a sense that whatever the leader says and whatever he does is taken as a Divine guarantee and a proof, is a kind of wilayah, because it is an example of the right to govern, direct and control the affairs of man.

Anyway, every teacher and mentor, in so far as he is a teacher and mentor, is a wali, an authority and a master of the affairs of the learner and student. What does the teacher and the mentor have, that this right should not be given to someone sent by Allah?

The glorious ayah:

"Only Allah is your Wali and His Messeng

Share this article

Comments 0

Your comment

Comment description

Latest Post

Most Reviews