Allah calls Himself Al-Mawlaa— The Master, The Protector— on 11 occasions in the Quran. Al-Mawlaa is the only one who is truly in control and who provides the most perfect support in each situation. He is the one who is near to us, as both our patron and ally, He is our ultimate back-up and His help is the only we seek!
The Master, the Patron, the Benefactor and Helper
Mawlaa comes from the root waaw-laam-yaa, which points to four main meanings. The first main meaning is to be near and to be a friend and supporter. The second is to defend and guard (in a loving way) and the third main meaning is to turn towards something. The fourth main meaning is to be master and lord.
This root appears 232 times in the Quran in 12 derived forms. Examples of these forms are tawallaw (“they turn away”), awlaa (“is nearer or woe”), al-waliy (“the ally”) and awliyaa (“allies”).
Linguistically, mawlaa comes from the same root as waliy and is a ‘noun of place’ (ism al-makaan). Both have the root wilaya which is the opposite of enmity (adawaa).
A waliy is someone who is willing to help, protect and support you whereas a mawlaa is more than a waliy; it is someone who has the ability to protect you and does so. Allah is Al-Waliy, the Ally, the Guardian and He is Al-Mawlaa, the Master and Protector. He is the One infiniteProtector, He aloneis the best to protect and help.
Al-Mawlaa Himself says:… That is because Allah is the protector of those who have believed and because the disbelievers have no protector [Quran, 47:11] and …But if you cooperate against him – then indeed Allah is his protector, and Gabriel and the righteous of the believers and the angels, moreover, are [his] assistants [Quran, 66:4]
A beautiful phrase in the Quran
Allah ‘azza wa jall mentions a beautiful phrase of dhikr in the Quran:
But if they turn away – then know that Allah is your protector. Excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper [Quran, 8:40] This phrase: ni’mal Mawlaa wa ni’mal Naseer – refers to the fact that Allah is the excellent Protector and excellent Helper. The same wordings are used in another ayah: He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper [Quran, 22:78]
Even though mentioned separately in the Quran, there’s another popular statement closely related in meaning: hasbunAllahu wa ni’mal Wakeel (Allah is sufficient for us and excellent Disposer of affairs). These two beautiful remembrances are often said together: Hasbunallahu wa ni’mal Wakeel, ni’mal maula wa ni’mal Naseer and combine a beautiful and powerful meaning.
Ni’ma means ‘what a perfect, what a wonderful, truly, and excellent…..!’. And what an excellent Trustee (Wakeel), what a perfect Master and Protector (Mawlaa) and what a wonderful Supporter and Defender (Naseer) Allah ‘azza wa jall is!
How Can You Live By This Name?
1. Call upon Al-Mawlaa and strive in His path. In both occasions Allah ‘azza wa jall mentions the statement: ni’mal Mawlaa wa ni’mal Naseer, it is preceded by the command to strive in the path of Allah and Islam.
So if you struggle with your soul, wealth and person in the way of Allah with all your might, know that Al-Mawlaa will help you and protect you in the most perfect way. Use this powerful dhikr in your daily life and reflect upon its meaning!
2. Strive to be of the awliyaa.
Allah has mentioned the signs by which His close friends or awliya’ may be known. They are: faith (eemaan) and piety (taqwa). Allah says: No doubt! Verily, the awliyaa’ of Allah, no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve. Those who believed, and used to fear Allah much [Quran, 10:62-63] Whoever is a believer and is pious is a close friend of Allah, and whoever is not like that is not a close friend of Allah. If he has some faith and piety then he is a friend of Allah to some extent. Nevertheless we cannot be certain about a specific person, but we say in general that everyone who believes and is pious is a friend of Allah (wali) [Fataawa Muhimmah, p. 83, 84] So strive to be of the close friends of Al-Mawlaa by fulfilling your obligatory acts of worship and supplementing them by many voluntary acts and good deeds!
3. Know that faith is thicker than blood. In the context of your relationship with the Prophet Ibraheem ‘alayhi sallam Allah ‘azza wa jall uses the word awlaa (أَوْلَى) in the Quran: Surely the people who have the best claim to a relationship (awlaa) with Ibraheem are those who followed him in the past, and presently this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who believe in him; Allah is the Guardian (Waliy) of the believers [Quran, 3: 68] Awlaa comes from the same root as mawlaa and means to be more entitled and worthier. What you can learn from this ayah is to actively study the lessons from the story of Ibraheem ‘alayhi sallam, subsequently increase your love for him and strengthen your Muslim identity over any other identities. Let it motivate you to follow the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam first and foremost above cultural practises!
4. Be helpful. Be supportive and helpful to others and instead of being passive, actively look for the weak in your community and stand up for their rights. Out of love and fear for Al-Mawlaa fulfil your duty in the ummah to the best of your ability as the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. [Muslim]
5. Do dhikr with this name.
Every night before you go to sleep, recite the last ayaat of surah Al-Baqarah [Quran, 285 – 286] in which Allah’s Beautiful Name Al-Mawlaa is mentioned:
… You are our Protector, and help us against the disbelieving people [Quran, 2:286]
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: Whoever recites the last two verses of surah Al-Baqarah at night, those two verses shall be sufficient for him [Al-Bukhaaree, Muslim] Put a reminder in your bedroom, memorize them and learn the meaning. To read the word for word meaning of this ayah, study here: https://understandquran.com/resources/free-online-quran-word-by-word.html#!#/quran-wordbyword/2
Wallahu ta’alaa ‘alem
O Allah, Al-Mawlaa, we know that You are the Master and provide the best protection. Aid us in striving in Your path and support us with when we do so. Make us of Your awliyaa and support us in following the Quran and the Sunnah. Give us the tawfeeq to help others and remind us to call upon You with full reliance day and night, in easy and hard times, ameen!
*To read about the Beautiful Names Al-Waliy, click here: https://understandquran.com/answer-al-waliy.html and for Al-Wakeel, click here: https://understandquran.com/answer-al-wakeel.html.
*For an excellent article on how to use the powerful dhikr of hasbunAllahu wa ni’mal wakeel, read this: https://understandquran.com/dhikr-face-lifes-challenges.html
The Understand Quran Academy Team