Definition of Awliya-Allah
What is an Awlia
Awliya in the Quran
Awliya in the Hadith
System of Awliya
Walī (Arabicولي , plural Awliyā' أولياء), is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" (authority or guardianship) over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh. 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 [Quran 5:55] "Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe, establish worship, and pay the poor due while bowing down (in prayer)."[Quran 5:55]
In religious uses, it is generally short for Waliullah (Arabic ولي الله) or friend of God. Belief in the Awliya is an agreed upon article of faith in Sunni Islam having been mentioned in the earliest creeds to the most recent. Imam Tahawi mentions them in his creed:
We do not prefer any of the saintly men among the Ummah over any of the Prophets but rather we say that any one of the Prophets is better than all the awliya' put together. We believe in what we know of Karamat, the marvels of the awliya' and in authentic stories about them from trustworthy sources.
Islamic books of Aqeedah are not meant to be exhaustive of every branch of faith but rather to clarify points deviated from by non-Sunni sects. Thus Imam Tahawi clarifies some Sufis mistaken belief that the Awliya could become greater than Prophets and confirmed the majority of Sunni Muslims' belief that the Awliya can perform miracles.
Use in Tasawuf/Sufism
A hierarchy of Awliya and their functions are outlined in the books of Sufi Masters. There is disagreement as to the terms used for each rank but there is a general agreement about the numbers and functions of each level. Starting from the top downwards:
- One Ghawth (Helper)
- Three Qutub (Pole)
- Three Nuqaba (Watchmen)
- Four Awtaad (Pegs)/Aqtab (Poles)
- Seven Abraar (Pious)
- Forty Abdal (Substitutes)
- Three Hundred Akhyaar (Chosen)
The Ghawth is the leader of "Rijjall ul Ghaib" (the invisible men). He leads the world government.
A useful reference appears on p154 of The People of the Secret by Ernest Scott quoting Al Hujwiri, the Afghan Sufi who died in 1063. Spellings differ, notably Abraar is rendered Akbar in Idries Shah's Oriental Magic from which the full passage is extracted. It places the above hierarchy into a valuable context.
Wali not only means “authority” to Shi’as, but is also used as a short form of Waliullah, the one vested with the "authority of God". Waliullah references the authority that was vested in the Prophet Muhammad, then succeeded by Ali ( the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad; husband of his daughter Fatimah Zahra) as the first of twelve divinely appointed “Imams”, or male descendants of Muhammad through his daughter . According to this view, there is always an “Imam of the Age”, and the twelfth is in occultation until God will command him to establish His government on earth. For Shi’as, following this "Wali" and believing in "Walayah" (divine authority) is mandatory. The Shi’a accordingly include the third phrase “Ali-un-Wali-ul-lah” ("Ali is God’s appointed Wali”) in their kalimah.
Shi'as corroborate the revelation of the Quranic verse 5:55 with the incident widely narrated in both Sunni and Shia narrations (ahadith) where Ali gave his ring in charity to a beggar while bowing in prayer, and cite the verses use of the word إِنَّمَا to indicate that the subjects are specific, not general.
بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ
"Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe - establish worship and pay the poor due and bow down humbly (in prayer)."[Quran 5:55]
Another disputed use of “wali” in Quran includes the verse:
بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ أَوْلِيَاءَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
"Oh you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians as your Wali; they are but Wali of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a Wali, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people." [Quran 5:51]
Sunnis interpret this verse to mean that a Muslim may not take a Christian or Jew as a “friend”, whereas Shi’as reject this and interpret the verse in a political sense to mean that Christians and Jews should not act as “authorities” over Muslim people.
بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ [Quran 5:55] "Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe, establish worship, and pay the poordue while bowing down (in prayer)."[Quran 5:55]
Wali is also a common last name among Kashmiri Pandit(Hindu's)in India,
Legal (fiqh) uses of the term
In the Islamic law of marriage, the wali is a woman's closest adult male relative, who has authority and responsibility with respect to her marrying; in this context, wali can be translated as "marriage guardian".
Guardian of orphans
Executor of wills
- ↑ ولي. Google Translate. Accessed February,7 2010.
- ↑ "Walī (a., pl. awliyā;)",
- ↑ Imam Abu Ja'far al-Tahawi al-Hanafi. al-Tahawiyya. trans. Iqbal Ahmad Azami. Verse(?) 98. Accessed May 30, 2010.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Chodkiewicz, Michel. The Seal of the Saints: Prophethood and Sainthood in the Doctrine of Ibn 'Arabi. trans. Liadain Sherrard. Cambridge, UK: Islamic Texts Society, 1993. ISBN 0946621403.
- ↑ Radtke, Bernd, and John O'Kane. The Concept of Sainthood in Early Islamic Mysticism: Two Works by Al-Hakim Al-Tirmidhi. Richmond, Surrey, UK: Curzon Press, 1996, pp. 10, 109. ISBN 0700704532, ISBN 0700704132.
- ↑ Scott, Ernest. The People of the Secret. London: Octagon Press, 1983. ISBN 0863040381.
- Sajid, Imam Dr. Abduljalil (22 December 2004). "Scholars Smash Hizb Argument Against British Politics". Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK. http://www.mpacuk.org/content/view/211/. ca:Valí