Walayah (Ismaili and Druze pillar)

This article is about the "pillar of Islam", for the historical view, see Imamah (Shi'a Ismaili doctrine)

Walayah (Arabic: ولاية‎) means "guardianship".

Walayah or Walaya, is a word which empower gives authority/guardianship to a person, community, or country that is under the direction and rule on behalf of another. "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" (authority or guardianship) over somebody else. For example, in fiqh, a father is wali of his children. The word Wali holds a special importance in Islamic spiritual life and it is used with various meanings, which relate to its different functions, which include: “next of kin, ally, friend, helper, guardian, patron, and saint”. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu l-Lāh[1] can be used to denote one vested with the "authority of God":

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ
"In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate: Only God is your wali and his messenger and those who believe, establish worship, and pay the poor due while bowing down (in prayer)."[5:55]

Ismaili and Druze pillar

Walayah or Walayat is a pillar of Shia Islam specifically in Ismaili and Druze denoting:

"love and devotion for God, the Prophets, the Imam and the dai.".

One should have Walayat (guardianship of the faith) on the wali. If someone has been made Wali of yours than have full walayat (guardianship of faith) of him. Dawoodi Bohras believe Walayah to be the most important of the seven pillars of Islam. It is the acceptance of guardian ship of Allah, through their Dai, Imam, Wasi (Wali) Ali and Nabi Muhammad. To accept that Ali is Wali of Allah is doing "Walayat" of Ali. For Shia "Walayat' of Ali ( and his further representative) is a must. There is an incident famous amongst Bohra which confirm how they mean and weigh ‘walayat’ principle. There was order from 19th Dai Syedna Idris to Wali-ul-Hind (6th) Moulai Adam that he has to follow a person named by "Sakka" (a water carrier by profession). Moulai Adam along with his associate willingly performed prayer under "Sakka" . This shows that adam has full walayat of his master Dai Syedna Idris and he has blindly accepted his guardianship and followed his instruction as the order of God( accepting Dai as true wali of god without any second thought).[2]

Wali and Walayah

Wali in the most literal form of the word, means "a person, community, or country that is under the direction and rule of another". It is an Arabic word derived from the root wly ولي , which carries the basic meanings of “friendship, assistance”, and “authority or power”.[3] The word holds a special importance in Islamic spiritual life and it is used with various meanings, which relate to its different functions, which include: “next of kin, ally, friend, helper, guardian, patron, and saint”.[3]

In its connotation of sainthood, the word describes an innate sense of selflessness and separation from one’s own wants in favor of awareness of being “under the dominion of the all-living, self-subsistent one and of the need to acquire nearness to the necessarily existent being – which is God.”.[4]

Individuals that have attained this level are believed to be both favored and live in a state of nearness with God. The first step in sainthood is indicated in the Qu'ran verse (2:257):

God is He Who loves, guards and directs those who believe; He has led them out of all kinds of darkness into the light, and keeps them firm therein.

and also in (10:62):

Know well that the confidants (saintly servants) of God-there will be no reason for them to fear (both in this world and the next, for they shall always find My help and support with them), nor shall they grieve.[4]

One who has been favored with sainthood is called a wali or Waliullah, meaning a saint.[4] Waliullah may also be translated as a word used to describe a certain group of people selected by God from among millions of others to be “His friends” because of their closeness to God. And thus, a saint, or a friend to God, is thought to have favor in the eyes of the Lord.[4]

For an individual to achieve walaya, or sainthood, a person must first become, and remain, a pristine example of a truly religious person, an example for all other Muslims to look up to. Upon these individuals, the peace and blessing of God have been placed.[4] In the Qur'an, walaya is expressed in the fable of the rich but immoral owner of two gardens and his poor but pious companion. The rich man ends up a loser despite his prosperity and power, for ultimately, the walayah belongs to God, the Truth (18:44).[5]

It is said that “Saints, as exemplary Muslims, represent the highest virtues and religious commitment worthy of emulation."[this quote needs a citation] These individuals who have reached such statuses in the Muslim religion are thought to bridge the gap between followers and their God and the common folk. Waliyy, or saints can be both men and women.


See also

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