Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’aan
اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا
Allah is a protecting friend to those who believe (Surah al-Baqarah, verse 257).
Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala is establishing that for the person who believes, there is a state called wilayah. Wilayah means to attain a degree of proximity to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala such that you become someone who is recognized and someone who is beloved to Allah .
Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala establishes that He is The Wali i.e. The Protecting Friend of those who believe. Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’aan;
إِنْ أَوْلِيَاؤُهُ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقُونَ
People cannot attain the wilayah of Allah except through taqwa (surah al-Anfaal verse 34)
Our ‘ullema have divided wilayah into 2 sub types; Wilayat-e-Aama and Wilayat-e-Khasa. Wilayat-e-Aama is a general type of wilaya and it is a general state that every believer attains when they enter the deen. Wilayat-e-Khasa is a particular and special state that is given to people filled with taqwa.
Every aspect of the deen produces a different means of attaining wilayah. The prophet (ﷺ) established the greatest way of attaining wilayah through his actions and his example. Every single deed that he did is ranked by the ‘ullema as to how it relates to producing wilayah. For example, there are mandatory deeds within the deen which create the general wilayah between Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala and the believer. Then there are supererogatory deeds (sunnah or mustahab) which produce an extremely close relationship with Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala .
For those who are aiming to get closer to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala , Wilayat-e-Khasa is the goal. However, it does not come but with special effort. That is the thing to keep in mind when analyzing the shariah and sunnah. Every single deed that the prophet (ﷺ) did had an effect on his relationship with Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Some ‘ullema have written that if you do the mandatory deeds, you get the mandatory relationship with Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala and if you do the supererogatory deeds then you get the results of supererogatory relationship that can exist with Allah . If you aim to gain wilayah then the key is to establish the mandatory acts and to perform the supererogatory acts.
When we talk of wilayah, there are effects of wilayah. The effect of wilayah is Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala gives you peace in this world and in the hereafter. When Allah describes the auliya in the Qur’aan, He says;
لا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
There is no fear upon them nor is there grief. (Surah al-Tabari, verse 62)
The auliya don’t get caught up with what we consider as everyday difficulties of life. When it comes to the hereafter where the real difficulties exist, Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala creates for them situations where they are able to pass the most difficult of tests.
So when we ask the question, ‘How can we improve our relationship with Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala?’ the key is to attain these things that are particular within the deen. The things that we consider small are actually essential in attaining wilayah.
Look through the sunnah of the prophet (ﷺ). Look through the writings of our ‘ullema on what they advise people to do, what they carried themselves, and then carry that as well because that is what will produce the special wilayah.
(The above is a summary of the talk given by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar. The audio of the talk can be downloaded from HERE. To listen to more talks of Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar, please visit sacredlearning.org)