Rafed English

Wilayat - The Station of the Master

Wilayat - The Station of the Master

by :

Ayatollah Shaikh Murtada 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 wilayatha, which was written in Persian by the late, great, Islamic thinker Shaykh Murtada 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 centred around a matter of intellectual importance in Islam, which should not be overlooked, and since the high stature of the writer is universally recog- nized, 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.

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 ap- pear 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 beside 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 Wilayah - The Station of the Master 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 mean- ings 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 subse- quent 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 com- parison with what is visualized, or by abstraction of the perceived meaning from its material and The Word "Wali" 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 abstract signifi- cation 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 connec- tion 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 Wilayah - The Station of the Master same, and that it is this `being in charge and having authority' ". Then it mentions instances of the use of these words.


In the 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.


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 circum- stances, or is against kindness towards them. The Qur'an explicitly says Wilayah - The Station of the Master Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, and that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of jus- tice (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 harbour 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.

Negative wila

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 par ticipation 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 Wilayah - The Station of the Master 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 com passion for mankind. The essential condition of humanitarianism is that man should be con- cerned with the fate, well-being and true happi- ness 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

Negative "wila" 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 Wilayah - The Station of the Master arise from a kind of understanding, and in fact result from affection for the fate of other peo- ple, 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 senti mental. 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 emo tions 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 Negative "wila' " 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 un- happy 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 lead him forward and bring the request to his tongue, otherwise his feelings would have caused him to reverse his verdict.

In the case of a corrupt, unreformed so- ciety in which unbelief and ignorance rule, Islam, on the one hand, gives the command to jihad so that the corruption may be uprooted; Kill them, so that calamity is no longer (2:193).

On the other hand, it orders vigilence and avoidance, so that people do not reveal what is in their hearts to them (the unbelievers), so that Wilayah - The Station of the Master 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 en- scribed on men's tombstones. The Qur'an exhorts us O believers, take not My enemy and your enemy for friends ( wali), offering them love, though they have disbelieved i n the truth that has come to you (60:1). 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 out- sider; 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 com- pletely 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 th e interest of the Islamic society.

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. And be not infirm, and be not grieving, and you shall have the upper hand if you are believers ( 3 :139).

Wila', in a Positive tense

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:

And do not quarrel together, for then you will be weak in heart and your power will depart (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 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 with each others 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 peo- ple'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 conse- quence 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 individ- uals, he is indifferent when faced with their actions and behaviour, but when he is concerned, his loves and friendships will not leave him in peace. Thus, in the noble(verse) bidding to good and forbidding evil are connected in a particular way to the question of wila'.

aayah And the believers, the men and women, are 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: 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 Wilayah - The Station of the Master These, Allah will show mercy to them. . . (9:71) ; . . . and these it is who shall be succesful (ibid., 88).

It is then that various Divine mercies and joys come down on this society, and thus they become a people who deserve to be called free. Later we shall give some explanations of this ayah, showing that it, and some other (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:

Believers, in loving one another and being merciful towards each other, are like the body who, when a part of it complains, the other parts rally to it by fever and sleeplessness. The noble Qur'an says, regarding the Proph- et and those who follow him and have received Islamic education Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves (48:29). In thisallusion is made to wila' in the negative sense and wila' in the positive sense. Just as we said earlier that the dydt of the Qur'an draw 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. aayah, 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 trans- form 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: How strange it is! By Allah, it mortifies the heart and draws forth grief that these people * (a.s.) : is the abbreviation of the Arabic phrase `alay-hi/-ha/-himu 's-salam (peace be upon him/ her/them).

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! 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 auth- ority 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 con- nection with his pure, sinless family; that is to say that even scholars from the Sunni sect make no controversy over this. Theof the pure relatives:

Say: "I do not ask of you any reward for it but love of my near relatives" (42: 23 ), Wila, in a Positive Sense sets down the matter of wila' in its special mean- ing. And it is also present in the famous and un- contested hadith of Ghadiri, where it is said: 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: Only Allah is your Wali, and His Messenger and those who believe, who keep up prayer and pay zakat while they bow in prayer (5:55).

The different schools are of one opinion, that this was revealed concerning `Ali (a.s.) . at-Tabari cites many ahadith in this connection 2 , 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, Wilayah - The Station of the Master and the reason for the plural being used (i.e., those), although that about which it was re- vealed was not more than one person, is 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 gener- osity and in helping the poor, and that even in prayer they should not procrastinate."' (i.e., although they may be in prayer when the mat- ter of zakat arises, they should not delay, and should perform their obligation during the time of prayer.) 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 pay- ment of zakat in the time of ruku` (the position of bowing down in prayer) did not take place except in the case of 'Ali."'

Towards the end he makes some conten- tion 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 Wila', in a Positive sense poets of the fourth century of the hegira (10th/ 11th century A.D.) points to the present mean- ing in the following poem 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 in- disputable fact. 5 & 6 As we said before, a kind of wila' has been prescribed in Islam that is positive and has an ordinary meaning, and the noble ayah; And the believers, the men and the women, are wali one to the other (9:7`) .

Wilayah - The Station of the Master is a witness to this kind of wila'. Now we wish to say that the noble ayah; 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 uni- versal 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 par- ticular event pertaining to a specific individual is expressed using a plural, is not uncommon in the Qur'an. For example:

They say: "If we return to Medina the mightier ones of it will surely drive out the more abased therefrom" (63 :8). Here also, the Qur'an is referring to a story which actually took place, and it say 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.


So far, as has been noted, the matter of the wila' of `Ali (a. s.) and the rest of the House- hold 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 dydt and in the ahadith (traditions) of the Prophet which were gathered together with it. In order that the meaning should be clear, we consider it necessary to dis- cuss the special uses of the words wila' and wilayah in the Qur'an and the sunnah which have reference to the Household (of the Proph- et). 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 rela- tives 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 approach- ing 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 philosophi- cal and metaphysical reason behind them. If a certain precept turns up in the context of Islam, The Kinds of Wila in Its Positive Sense 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 them- selves. 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 bene- fit from their existence, from what they have left behind, from what they have said and what they have taught, and from their behaviour and their manner.

In our book Jadhibah wa dafi`ah-e Ali (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 trans- Wilayah - The Station of the Master forming 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 Mus- lim 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: 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:

The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense 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 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 honour bestowed on you, That his prayer is as nothing who does not include in it praises to you. Again, he wrote When I saw people being taken Through their madhahib 10 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, come down against the Shi `ahs, are themselves narrators of hadith on the subject of the wila' of love. ar-Razi quotes from az- Zamakhshari that the Prophet said The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense 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." Amiru 'l-mu'minin (a. s.) has also said in Nahju 'l-balaghah, Sermon 232: 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 unsheath- ing of the sword. Ibnu l-Farid, the famous Egyptian Sufi and poet (in Arabic literature, he is the equival- ent 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."

Life dwindles away wastefully and ends in futility If I do not attain union with you. Apart from this one thing I hold nothing, but connection 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 Jami 13, 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 l6 in praise of The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense 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'l-Malik who imprisoned al-Farazdaq and tortured him If he had had right-seeking eyes, Had done goodness and had had true din. He would not have opened his hand to in- justice and oppression - Instead of imprisonment he would have given his robe of honour. Therefore the Shi'ah and the Sunni do not have different views about wila' meaning love, except for the Naasibi who hated the Household Wilayah - The Station of the Master of the Prophet, were excluded from Islamic society, and were, like the unbelievers, con- demned 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 endeavouring to increase the gaps between Muslims; and thereare 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: . 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: The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense 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 attri- buted 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, every- where this word is used (and it does at first seem as if this is the case), that it has the mean ing of `friend'. But with attention it is realized that it does not mean this. For example, the meaning of Allah is the wall of those who believe, He brings them out of darkness into 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 Now surely the awliya' 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'ul" (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). Simi- larly, the meaning of the ayah: "And the be- lievers, the men and the women, are awliya ' one to the other" (9:71), is not that the believers are each others 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 ques- tion 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.

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 behaviour, from whom they should learn the precepts of the din; or yet again, su- premacy (za`amah) . Such a position is necess- arily 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:

The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah a good example for whosoever hopes for Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much (33:21).

Say: if you love Allah, then follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins (3:31). In this ayah, the Messenger of Allah is intro- duced as an examplar to whose behaviour and morality people should conform their own behaviour 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 Wilayah - The Station of the Master in books on the life of the Prophet, in histories, and in their own books on hadith from nearly thirty companions of the Prophet 18 , the Proph- et chose his Household for the leadership and Imamate. He said:

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:

The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense 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 examplars 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 'ahs) neither have anyone who is pro- tected from sin, nor do they claim this protec- tion 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 House- hold 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: .

Wilayah - The Station of the Master " 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 what- ever 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 con- trol 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 Messenger, and those who believe, who keep up prayer and pay zakat while they bow in ruku' " (5:55), is a witness to this kind of wilayah. Of course, this does not mean that The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense this ayah does not contain some other meaning of wilayah which we shall mention later on. It means that this ayah encompasses wila' in the sense of Imamate, leadership and mastery over the din. This word wali, was also used in some of the ahadith that have been quoted in the sense of wali - Imamate.

This kind of wila', then, if it is used in con- nection with the Imam, means the right to leadership and mastery in the din, but if it is used in connection with an ordinary individual, it means acceptance of and compliance with this right.

C. Wila' - Za'amah

Wila', in the sense of za`amah, is the right to social and political leadership. Society needs a leader. That person who takes the reins of the government of a society and directs the social affairs of man, carries the destinies of the peo- ple, and is the ruler (waliyyu 'l-amr) of the Muslims. The Prophet, during his lifetime, was the waliyyu 'l-amr of the Muslims, and Allah granted him this position; and after him, accord- ing to a great deal of irrefutable evidence, it passed to the Household. Wilayah - The Station of the Master Obey Allah, obey the Messenger, and those in authority over you (4:59). Similarly, the first ayah of surah al-Ma'idah and the hadith of Ghadir, together with the whole of the ayah: "Certainly Allah is your Wali . . ." (5:55) , and the whole of the ayah :

The Prophet has a greater claim on the believers thant they have on themselves (33:6), concern the same kind of wilayah. In so far as the Prophet did have such a rank, and in so far as this unique rank was a Divine one, that it to say, it was a Divine ob ligation with which Allah had favoured the Prophet, and it was not conferred on him by the people, thus far there is no argument be- tween the Shi`ahs and Sunnis; upto this point our Sunni brothers are with us. The problem now arises as to what, after the Prophet, was The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense the commandment concerning wilayah-za` amah. In order that there should be no social insta- bility, and that chaos should not intervene, individual people must submit to someone who is worthy to be called the ruler, the waliyyu 'l - amr. What is the commandment concerning such a position? Did Islam make a specific command- ment about this matter, or did it choose to remain completely silent? And if it did make a specific commandment, what was it? Or did it leave the choice to the people to elect after the Prophet anyone they wanted to, and is obedience to him then an obligation to others (who did not elect him)? Or did the Prophet nominate a specific person before his death to take his place in this great and important position ?

Here we shall go into the Prophet's social dealings among his ummah according to what can be inferred from the Qur'an. From the Qur'an, and from the sunnah as well and the life of the Prophet, it can be shown that in this matter the Prophet held together in his person three positions among the Muslims.

First, he was the Imam, the leader and the authority in the din; he held the wilayah of the Wilayah - The Station of the Master Imamate, and his speech and actions were his guarantee and his proof. Whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back (59:7).

Second, he held juridical wilayah; in other words, his judgement was binding in legal differ- ences and internal disputes. But no, by Thy Lord! they will not believe until they make you a judge of the dis- agreement between them, then they shall find in themselves no impediment touch- ing thy verdict, but shall surrender in full submission (4:65). Of course, it is true that in this case, it is also an example of the previous instance of the use of the term wilayah, but we have not yet The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense seen this term actually used in the meaning of juridical wilayah..

Third, he had social and political wilayah. That is, apart from being the explainer and propagator of the commands, and apart from being the judge for the Muslims, he was the statesman and the ruler of the Muslim com- munity, he was the waliyyu 'l-amr of the Mus- lims and the holder of authority in the Muslim community, as we have said before; The Prophet has a greater claim on the believers than they have on themselves (33:6).

Obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those in authority over you (4:59), are relevant here. Of course, the Prophet held a fourth rank also, which we shall mention later. The Prophet formally governed the people, and he was the leader of the policies of the Islamic community. According to this ayah:

Take of their wealth a freewill offering, clense them and purify them thereby (9:103), he took taxes from the people; he administered the financial and economic affairs of the Islamic community.

This situation, from the three kinds of positions that the Prophet held, is a basis for the discussion of the caliphate.

It is necessary to say here that the word 'Imamate', as well as having the meaning of leadership, is also used to mean a leader in reach ing the ways of the din; that is to say, the word "Imam" is said and understood as `someone from whom one should obtain the ways of the din', and the Sunni Muslims generally apply the word `Imam' to Abu Hanifah, ash-Shafi'i, Malik and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. It is also much used in the sense of social and political leader- ship.

The Prophet said The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense In connection with three things, the heart of a Muslim will never permit treachery and doubt. Purity of intention before Allah, wish- ing good for a leader (Imam) of the Muslims in the way of leading the Muslims, (and) support for the community of Muslims. `Ali, peace be upon him, in one of his letters which are recorded in Nahju 'l-balaghah says:

The greatest treachery is treachery to the community, and the most abominable deceit is deceit with the leaders (Imams) of the community; because the result of this deceit is against the Muslims. If the captain of a ship steers the ship on a good course, and then someone comes who misleads the captain and involves the ship in some danger, he has not only been treacher- ous to the captain, he has betrayed all those on board the ship. In this sentence, then, the word `Imam' is used in the sense of social leader.

In the history of Islam we read that the Muslims, even those who acknowledged the true Imams, addressed the caliphs of their time using the word Imam. The problem is that an Imam in this meaning is sometimes an Imam of justice and sometimes an Imam of oppression, and the Muslims have (different) obligations when faced by each one of these. The Prophet said, in an authentic hadith reported by both schools:

The most excellent jihad is (to utter) a word of justice in front of an oppressor. And, similarly, the .Prophet said The blight of the din is three things. An op- pressive leader (Imam), and ignorant worship- per of Allah, and a sinful `alim (scholar). More important than this, in the Qur'an itself leaders are mentioned who invite people to the Fire of Gehenna, and they are also designated by the word of Imam.

The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense And we made them Imams who call to the Fire (28:41). Of course, there is no doubt that usually the word `Imam' or `Imams' is applied to just and pious leaders, and in Shi'ite parlance, the word is applied to those who lead to Allah who are immune from sin -and these are only twelve.

Wila '-tasarruf (free universal determina- tion), or spiritual wila', is the highest of the stages of wilayah. The other kinds of wilayah are either connected to the degree of nearness to the Prophet, to the abundance of the loftiness of the degree of purity, or to the stature of an individual of the Household, or else they are connected to their social or cognitive knowledge.

That which has been designated by the word wilayah in the two last sections did not stretch beyond the limits of legislation and adminis- tration, although the origin an d foundation of the philosophy behind this administration is social and cognitive authority. However, wila' -tasarruf, or spiritual wila' is a kind of extra- ordinary creative ability and mastery. First we must see what the meaning and semantics of wilayah-tasarruf are, and what the ideas of those who believe in it are.

The concept of creative wilayah, from one angle, is connected with hidden faculties in this creature who appeared on the face of the earth with the name of man, and with accomplish- ments which this amazing creature is potentially capable of, and which he can bring up to the level of action. From another angle, it is con- nected with the relationship of this creature to Allah. The purpose of creative wilayah is that man, as a result of travelling on the way of sub- mission, achieves the station of Divine nearness, any the result of his arrival at the station of nearness, naturally to the higher stages of it, that is, human spirituality, which is itself truth and reality, becomes the leader of the caravan of spirituality, the commander of the hearts, the testifier of actions and the Proof of the Age (Hujjatu 'z-zaman). The earth is never void of a wali, who is the bearer of this spiritual- ity; or, using a different expression, of the The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense Perfect Man (al-Insanu l-kamil ).

Wilayah in this meaning is different from prophethood, different from the caliphate, different from guardianship (wilayah), and different from the Imamate when it has the meaning of an authority in the commandments of the din. Its difference from prophethood, the caliphate and guardianship is an absolute one, but from Imamate it has a conceptual and mentally creative difference.

The meaning of its difference from prophet- hood, the caliphate and guardianship being abso- lute is not that everyone who became a prophet, a caliph or guardian was not a wali, rather, it means that prophethood, and also the caliphate and guardianship are realities different from wilayah. Notwithstanding this, the great proph- ets, and especially their Seal, were possessors of universal Divine wilayah.

And the meaning of its difference from Imamate being mentally-created is that there is only one station. Considering it from one direction it is called Imamate, and from another direction it is called wilayah. But the meaning of Imamate is a wide one. Imamate means leadership, but an authority in the command- ments of the din is a leader; a political and social Wilayah - The Station of the Master leader is also a leader; and a teacher of the inner self, a spiritual guide, is also a leader for the innermost heart.

From the Shi`ite point of view, from which the question of wilayah is under consideration, it can be viewed from three aspects; and in each of the three aspects the word Imamate has been used.

Firstly, from the political point of view, who was the person who most merited and was fittest to assume the place of the Prophet in social and political leadership of the Muslims? And who had to be the leader (za`im) of the Muslims after the Prophet? There is also the fact that the Prophet, on behalf of Allah, appointed `Ali to that social position. This point of view, in the present instance, has a historical and dogmatic aspect, and is not being looked at from the point of view of pure knowledge. Secondly, as far as the commandments of the din are concerned, on whom does the authority for reference fall? And in which way has this person acquired his knowledge? And is this person incapable of erring as far as the commandments are concerned, or not? This aspect has a dogmatic side to it as well as being a question of knowledge.

Thirdly, from the point of view of the spirit and the inner self, the Shi`ite view is that at all times there is no Perfect Man who has the power of penetrating what is hidden, and he is a witness for the spirits, the souls and the hearts, and he has a kind of creative control over the world and over man. He is always in existence, and for this reason he is called hujjah - proof, guarantee. As was said, the ayah: "The Prophet has a greater claim on the believers than they have on themselves" (33:6) is not very far from this subject, and it also bears witness to this meaning of wilayah. The meaning of wilayah-tasarruf or creative wilayah is not what some ignoramuses have supposed, namely, that one man from humanity obtained the position of guardianship and protectorship with regard to the world in such a way that he becomes the turner of the earth and the heavens, the creator, the sustainer, the life -giver, and the bringer of death on behalf of Allah.

Although Allah arranged the world accord- ing to the regularity of cause and effect, and although creatures which the Qur'an calls angels were, by Allah's permission, "those who regu- late the affair" (79:5) and "the partitioners" Wilayah -The Station of the Master (51:4), this consideration is in no way contra- dictory with Allah's not taking a partner in His supreme authority and creative power: and, similarly, it does not contradict the fact that no being can ever be deemed a wali in the sense of a companion or an assistant to Allah or even a tool or instrument of Allah.

Who has not any associate in the Kingdom, nor any protector to save Him from dis- grace; and magnify Him with repeated magnificats (17 :111) . The relationship of the created to the Creator is not anything other than createdness, absolute dependence and nothingness. The Qur'an, in the same way as it makes Allah known to the highest limit of self-sufficiency, and in the same way as it says, for examples; Allah takes the souls at the time of their death (39:42).

The Kinds of Wila in Its Positive Sense also proclaims: Say: `Death's angel, who has been charged with you, shall gather you " (32 :11) . Those whom the angels take while still they are wronging themselves (16 :28). The Qur'an, at the same time as it says; My Lord is Guardian over everything (11:57).

He sends recorders over you till, when anyone of you is visited by death, Our messenger takes him (6:61) .

In this ayah, He distinguishes the prophets both as guardians and also as takers of souls. So, from the point of view of tawhid (Divine Unity), there is nothing preventing the existence of means, or the ascribing of the carrying out of commands to other than Allah, but by the permission of Allah and by the will of Allah, in such a way that those who carry out and execute are themselves the very command and will of the Lord.

At the same time, good Islamic thinking first of all requires that we do not associate the creation, and giving and taking of life, and instances of these, to other than Allah; because the Qur'an forces us to pierce through the ways and the means and to gain access to the original source, to turn our attention to Him Who ac- complishes the labour of the whole world, to see that the means are His creation, the execu- tion of His command, and the manifestation of His wisdom. Secondly, the order of the universe is, from the point of view of means, a special order which Allah created, and man will never, as the result of his own evolution, take the place of any of the means of Divine bounty. Rather, he himself will take the bounty through these very means; that is to say, an angel will inspire The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense him, and an angel will become an agent of his preservation, and an agent of the taking away of his soul. And yet at the same time it is poss- ible that the station of nearness and freedom of existence of that man be sometimes higher and greater than that of the angel who is an agent for him.

Another matter is that we cannot exactly determine the limits of the wilayah-tasarruf, or creative wilayah of a perfect or comparatively perfect man. That is to say that all the indica- tions of the Qur'an and the knowledge that we have verified, in short, the arrival of man at a level at which his will has a determining control over the universe; but to what extent? Is there no limit, or is there a restriction to the extent? This is a matter which is outside our present undertaking.

The third matter which it is necessary to mention is that wilayah-tasarruf is a question of a degree of obedience which has become entirely cleared of material thoughts. This power is not a power which we call a desire of the heart, or a function of the mind, or someone's willful desire. Basically, a man who is still con- demned to the thoughts and desires of his fancy is deprived of such wonders. In a man who is pure to this extent, his will is never excited by the beginning and preliminaries that excite our will; his will is excited by inward stimulation and beckonings from the unseen. But how and what is the nature of this stimulation and beckoning we do not know, and so such a man "sometimes sits in the highest heaven" and "sometimes does not see as far as his instep. 21 However, according to what was revealed in the ayah of the Qur'an;

Say: I have no power to profit for myself, or hurt (7: 188). it is clear that this means that the original power for all profit and hurt is Allah, and that my ability to profit and hurt myself is also from Allah, not from myself. Anyway, how could it be possible for other men to be, within limits, the masters of their profit and hurt, and for the Prophet to be even less so than other men. It was necessary to raise these three points in the introduction to the discussion of creative wilayah. Since there has been less discussion on this subject, and, moreover, since there are a The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense number of assertions which stimulate interest and which we shall put forward on this topic, we shall extend the discussion about this matter a little further.

We confess that the acceptance of wilayah in this meaning is a little difficult; believing in it is not without its problems, especially since, for our level of understanding, so many expla- nations for such problems are not satisfying. From time to time people expose the diffi- culties of the problem and the way in which it is rejected in this manner: "At present, with all the urgent and pressing problems that there are for Muslims, what is the necessity of intro- ducing such difficulties as to whether the Prophet and the Imams have wilayah-tasarruf or not?" Some others bring forth their objec- tions and difficulty in another manner which has a religious colouring, and they say that this is an exaggeration, and it is believed to be a super-human, semi-divine degree for a man to have: it associates the work of Allah with what is other than Allah, so it is shirk (associ- ating with Allah) and is in opposition to the first Islamic fundamental which is tawhid.

The fact of the matter is that we cannot either accept or refute a matter just by our- selves; whether a concept entails shirk or con- forms to tawhid is not a matter for our desire or free-will, so that anything we want to stick the word tawhid onto we can. There are many precise criteria in the Qur'an and from the proofs of reason. Islamic teachings on matters concerned with shirk and tawhid emanate from the summit and the highest-degree of self- mastery, beyond the conceptualization of the ordinary individual. The question of whether one matter is more urgent and more pressing than another is also a fundamental matter, but it is not the only criterion of necessity that one matter in one epoch is discussed more, and so more people have the impression of its necessity. It is a mistake if we always imagine that the impressions of necessity are the same as the necessities themselves.

To what extent the Qur'an emphasizes a matter in the presentation of a problem and in its teaching is in itself a criterion which must at all times be something to be made use of. The problem of creative wilayah is one of the problems associated with man and human powers. The Qur'an lends great importance to man, human powers and the extraordinary aspects of his nature, and, in discussions which The Kinds of Wila' in Its Positive Sense we shall, insha' Allah, set forth in our book Man in the Qur'an, 22 we shall deal with this subject.

Here, it is sufficient that we give a sum- mary indication of this problem and make clear the foundations of this idea, with attention to the meaning and understanding of the Qur'an; so that the ordinary person should not imagine that this is, so to speak, an "occult " subject. With this kind of problem, which may sometimes seem irrelevant to our understanding, we get nearer to the truth if we find fault with- in ourselves rather than if we reject the matter.

There is no doubt that the subject of wila- yah in its fourth meaning belongs to gnosis (`irfan) , but it has not been proved that since something belongs to gnosis, it must be declared null and void. This matter belongs to gnosis, which, from the point of view of Shi`ism, is also an Islamic matter. Shi'ism is a school of Islam, and `irfan is a way; at this point this school and this way (irresective of the super- stitions with which the latter is cluttere

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