Allah calls Himself Al-Waliy— The Protecting Friend, the Ally — on five occasions in the Quran. He is the One who lovingly guards and guides His creation. Al-Waliy is the lord and protector of creation, showing the path to righteousness. He is the One who protects, guards, and supports the believer in this world and the next!

The Ally, The Protector, the Loving Guardian

Waliy 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-mawlaa (“the protector”) and awliyaa (“allies”).

Linguistically waliy (plural awliyaa) comes from the root word of wilaya, which is the opposite of enmity (adawaa).  A ‘waliy amr’ is for example used referring to a child’s guardian, who looks after his or her affairs, someone who is close and who takes care of the child.

Al-Waliy combines the near, loving, protective, and guarding attributes of the One who is also the lord and master of the universe! Al-Waliy Himself says: And Allah is the ally of the believers [Quran, 3:68] and Or have they taken protectors [or allies] besides him? But Allah – He is the Protector [Quran, 42:9]

The Allies of Allah and the Allies of Shaytan

Al-Waliy has awliyaa among the people and Shaytan also has his allies. Indeed there is no fear upon the awliyaa of Allah, nor shall they grieve; those who believe and used to fear Allah much. For them are glad tidings in this life and the Hereafter. [Quran, 10:62]

The allies of Allah ‘azza wa jall will have no fear nor sadness in this world or the next. And Al-Waliy will bring light into their lives: Allah is the protector of those who believe, He takes them out of darkness into light [Quran, 2: 257] and the allies of Allah will have victory: Whoever takes a Wali of Mine as an enemy, I will wage war on him.[Hadith Qudsi, Al-Bukharee]

Al-Waliy also mentions the allies of Shaytan and the conseqences of their deeds: As for those who disbelieve, their allies are the taaghoot who take them out of the light and into the darkness. Those are the people of fire, and they will be in it forever [Quran, 2: 257] and We have made the devils allies of those who do not believe. [Quran,7:27]

How Can You Live by This Name?

1. Strive to be Allah’s wali.

Al-Waliy says in a hadith qudsi: Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with the supererogatory (nawafil) so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it [Al-Bukharee]

Don’t think only scholars can be awliyaa; know that you too can be a wali of Allah ‘azza wa jall! How? By focusing on your obligatory acts of worship first, e.g. give priority to your prayer, like studying ways of how to concentrate better, pray on time, etc.  Then complement them by doing as many voluntary deeds as you can, studying the sunnah so you can apply the daily ways of the prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to your life. The result is, Al-Waliyy will love you, and when He loves you He will guide you in using your limbs righteously. He will grant your wishes and protect you!

2. Strive for taqwa.

Unquestionably, [for] the awliya of Allah there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. Those who believed and had taqwa of Allah.. [Quran, 10:62]. If you want to be a wali of Allah, build a relationship with the Quran and ask Al-Waliy to give you understanding of its ayaat so you will be inspired to live by them Al-Waliyy describes the risk of turning away from the Quran: Whoever turns away from the reminder of the Merciful, we will assign to him a devil, who will be a partner to him [Quran, 43: 36] Another great motivator to increase your taqwa is daily remembering and visualising Paradise. Study the names and attributes of Allah ‘azza wa jall to increase your fear and love for Him and pray to be included in the above ayah as one of His awliyaa.

3. Be a righteous friend.

Be a loving friend to others, protecting their rights. The prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. [Muslim] Take any responsibility you have seriously in representing someone or supporting someone with their affairs.

4.Trust that Allah is the best ally.

Remind yourself that Al-Waliy is the best ally to turn to at all times and put your trust in Him. When two parties from among you were about to lose heart, but Allah was their Waliy. And in Allah let the believers put their trust [Quran, 3:122] Take comfort in the fact that He knows your enemies and He is your best Helper: Allah is full of knowledge of your enemies, and Allah is Sufficient as a Waliy; and Allah is sufficient as a Helper [Quran, 4:45]

5. Ask Al-Waliyy.

You will always be in need of the support and protection of Al-Waliy so ask Him to protect and assist you in this life, at the time of death, in the grave, and on the Day of Reckoning.

Wallahu ta’alaa ‘alem.

O Allah, Al-Waliy, we know that You are the most  loving Guardian. Make us of your awliyaa and guide us to complement our obligatory acts of worship with abundant voluntary deeds. Bless us with righteous friends, make us pious friends to other believers and assist us in turning to You and trusting in You only as our best Ally at all times, ameen!

The Understand Quran Academy Team

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