Those Whom Allah Protects—Awlia
Who are the awlia(66) of Allah?
Who are the most praiseworthy among them?
How they may be recognized?
Should we confirm that they are awlia of Allah, and how can we become one of
The central idea of awlia is one of love and proximity (closeness). It is the opposite of enmity, which depends upon dislike and distance. Wali is a person who is near to Allah and beloved by Him and is someone who fits the description Allah has given of such a person: someone who believes and who
fears Allah. Allah said, “Surely, the allies of Allah, there will be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve.
Those who believed, and used to fear (Allah). For them are good tidings in the present life and in the Hereafter. There is no changing in the words of Allah, that is the great success”. (10:62)
Belief and fear of Allah are both characteristics of such a person. The matter of al-wilaya and wali (one who is near to Allah) had been the source of much confusion and misguidance among people. These ideas have been taken up by the Sufi’s who made the wali the cornerstone of their religion, much in the same way as the Shias do to their Imams, and they both claim infallibility for them. Both groups make fanatical claims and this is one such claim they share.
Sufis have made use of the matter of wali, creating among them corruption in faith and false imaginations that the wali of Allah is something other than what our faith teaches us about him. They have twisted ideas and the beliefs of the people to the point that they begin to believe in whoever was reputed to be a wali of Allah, even if they see in him what is against the wilaayah (friendship) to Allah, and contradicts what anyone would expect of such a person. The Sufis duped people into thinking that a wali could outwardly live in contradiction to Allah’s shariah, yet be obedient to it inwardly.
From this perspective some people began to think that the wali occupied an intermediary position between themselves and Allah, and that they could ask him to approach Allah on their behalf; they even would ask him for things which one should never ask of anyone but Allah.
They wrongly think that only prostrating to the grave is shirk. They wrongly think also that so long as they believe that Allah is One Creator, and they do not prostrate themselves before idols or graves, but they only go to graves and ask the deads to intercede with Allah on their behalf, they are still monotheists.
It escapes them that the first mushriks used to believe that Allah alone created the heavens and earth, but they used to ask the idols that they had fashioned in the image of their righteous men to help them approach nearer to Allah.
The Qur’an explains this truth: “And those who have taken for themselves allies [protectors] besides Him [say], “We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to Allah.” (39:3) And He said, “Those whom you invoke apart from Allah are servants like you; so call them and let them respond to you, if you are truthful. ” (7:194)
Allah said “Those whom you invoke” He did not say “Those whom you prostrate to” which proves that they used to worship human beings who died and whose graves were taken as places of worship. Glorifying Graves and Exaggerating about the Righteous men is the Origin of the first age of ignorance (jahiliyya) Many are those whose ignorance ensnares them in the diabolic trap that caused the first of mankind to associate others with Allah. Ibn Abbas explained the verse:
"And they have said, `Do not ever leave your gods. And never leave Wadd, nor Sowâ_ nor Yaghûth and Ya_ûq nor Nasr.'(67) (71:23) He said, “These were the names of some of the righteous men from among Noah’s people.
When they died, people put up statues and other images of them.” Al-Tabari said in his explanation book of Qur’an tafsir that Ya’uq and Nasr were righteous men. They each had followers, and when they died their companions decided to make images of them to remind them of their leaders and encourage them to worship [Allah]. Others followed after them when they died and Satan deceived them into thinking that those who made the images used to worship them, and Allah sends the rain to people in their honor. So they worshipped them.(68)
It is quite clear from this that the origin of shirk began in the glorification of graves. Satan uses the graves of the righteous to delude mankind and urges men to venerate the burial places of their predecessors, and he urges man to denounce any who speak out against this and to accuse them of insulting the reputation of these righteous men. This is a corruption in belief in the oneness of Allah, and a return to the ancient Ignorance that Allah revealed many verses to stop.
Just consider the following verse. “Those whom you call upon besides Allah are servants like you. So call upon them, and let them respond to you, if you are true!” (7:194) If you invoke them, they do not hear your supplication, and if they heard, they would not respond to you, and on the Day of Judgement, they will deny your association. And no one can inform you like One who is well aware. (35:14) And who is more astray than he who invokes apart from Allah some one that never respond to him until the Day of Judgement, and they were unaware of their invocation and [They will be] when people are gathered, they will become enemies with them, and they will reject their worship [They used to address to them]” (46:4)
(66) The wali of Allah is the one who is close to Allah and beloved of Him. awlia is the plural.
(67)These five were idols of the pagan Arabs.
(68) Tabari, 12/29, 62.