2. Wila', In A Positive Sence, 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. 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 connec- tion 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 (9:71) .

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.

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 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 Nurullahl4 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'1-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'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). 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.