The Concept of Wilayah

Whichever majlis it may be, in whatever corner of the world, the core of any type of majlis for Imam Husayn in whatever language is this Wilayah. Because it is this Wilayah, which makes us understand what our purpose actually is. What is this Wilayah based on and why is this important for us?

Wilayah, as a concept, usually when we look at it, any word within the Arabic language they look at the root of this word. And you will find that the linguists and the experts in literature tell us that Wilayah comes from 'walaya' simple. This 'walaya' in Arabic literally means when two things are so close together that there is not even one small centimetre gap in between those two things.

In actual fact, in the narrations it is mentioned, that 'walaya' and Wilayah refers to two things being so close that there is not even enough space to fit in an eyelid in between those two entities. Therefore, when I say, Wilayah and 'walaya' meaning this, how does this relate to me and the Ahlul Bayt, alayhimu as-salaam?

For example, if you look in the books of fiqh, the books of fiqh will tell you that for wudhu and salaah, there is a condition - tarteeb is there that all of the rituals are done in order. The second is what? Muwaalat. Muwaalaat comes from this 'walaya', comes from the same root as Wilayah because'walaya' means when two things are so close together, there is no gap, muwaalaat means I continue, I perform the rituals of wudhu and salaah in such a way that there is no gap in between them.

How then does this Wilayah and walaya relate to me and the Ahlul Bayt? Or me and Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala? Generally speaking, we are told by the scholars that this means that my character should be so close to the character of the Ahlul Bayt that no one can see a difference between us and the Ahlul Bayt. In the way that whatever I do is what the Ahlul Bayt, alayhimu as-salaam, have told me to do. And I mirror their sifaat, I mirror their attributes. Not only that, Ahlul Bayt, alayhimu as-salaam, are close to me, are close to me with regards to my action and what they have told me to do in regards to this.

An example is given generally by the scholars that, for example, you are travelling on a mountain and it is icy, there is snow, the weather conditions are severe, and there is a group of you 10 or 15 and you reach a very narrow ledge. Below you is, of course, for example, a very long drop. You reach this very, very narrow ledge and you realise that it is difficult to cross this part of area without harming one's life.

Wilayah, in this case would be when everyone grouped so close together, they stood together, they walked across this ledge together, so close that there was no gap in between them and the next person. And Wilayah here would mean that there would be one individual right at the forefront of all of the other individuals, and he would be guiding those individuals across this ledge. Now we understood Wilayah.

Wilayah, is that when me and you together form a conformity under the leadership of certain individuals known as the Ahlul Bayt, alayhimu as-salaam. This is Wilayah generally. And unfortunately people took this concept of Wilayah, this concept of leadership of Ahlul Bayt. Of course Wilayah is of Allah first. First type is Wilayah of Allah. However then comes Wilaayat Ahlul Bayt, alayhimu as-salaam.

Unfortunately, people took this Wilayah primarily to mean love. For example, you will find in the books Mansur Dawaaniqi, the Caliph, the killer of Imam as-Sadiq, salaamu Allahi 'alayh. This Mansur, when he was informed that Abu 'Abdillah as-Sadiq, salaamu Allahi 'alayhi, has been killed, do you know what he did? Mansur Dawaaniq, when he hears that the Imam has been killed, he cries so profusely that tears roll down his cheeks and the person looked at him and said "look, you are the one that ordered his killing, why are you crying for him?" Because Mansur had a type of love within his heart for Imam as-Sadiq.

If Wilayah meant love only, then we would Mansur Dawaaniqi had Wilayah. Of course, Wilayah does not just mean love. Wilayah means that I take whatever they tell me.