This article is about the "pillar of Islam", for the historical view, see Imamah (Shi'a Ismaili doctrine)
Imamah (Shi'a Ismaili doctrine)
The Ismaili view on the Imamah differs from the Twelver Shi'a view, in particular because the Imam in Ismailism is the Noor of God . Ismailis believe that the Noor of God is present in the Imam, and that there is only a Ẓāhirī difference between each one...

Walayah means Guardianship.

Walayah or Walaya, in the most literal form of the word, means "a person, community, or country that is under the direction and rule of another". It is an Arabic word derived from the root
wly, which carries the basic meanings of “friendship, assistance”, and “authority or power”. The word holds a special importance in Islamic spiritual life and it is used with various meanings, which relate to its different functions, which include: “next of kin, ally, friend, helper, guardian, patron, and saint”.

In its connotation of sainthood, the word describes an innate sense of selflessness and separation from one’s own wants in favor of awareness of being “under the dominion of the all-living, self-subsistent one and of the need to acquire nearness to the necessarily existent being – which is God.” .


Individuals that have attained this level are believed to be both favored and live in a state of nearness with God. The first step in sainthood is indicated in the Qu'ran verse (2:257):
God is He Who loves, guards and directs those who believe; He has led them out of all kinds of darkness into the light, and keeps them firm therein.

and also in (10:62):
Know well that the confidants (saintly servants) of God-there will be no reason for them to fear (both in this world and the next, for they shall always find My help and support with them), nor shall they grieve.

One who has been favored with sainthood is called a
Walī , is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh...

or Waliullah, meaning a saint. Walayah may also be translated as a word used to describe a certain group of people selected by God from among millions of others to be “His friends” because of their closeness to God. And thus, a saint, or a friend to God, is thought to have favor in the eyes of the Lord.

For an individual to achieve walaya, or sainthood, a person must first become, and remain, a pristine example of a truly religious person, an example for all other Muslims to look up to. Upon these individuals, the peace and blessing of God have been placed. In the Qur'an, walaya is expressed in the fable of the rich but immoral owner of two gardens and his poor but pious companion. The rich man ends up a loser despite his prosperity and power, for ultimately, the walayah belongs to God, the Truth (18:44)..

It is said that “Saints, as exemplary Muslims, represent the highest virtues and religious commitment worthy of emulation." These individuals who have reached such statuses in the Muslim religion are thought to bridge the gap between followers and their God and the common folk. Waliyy, or saints can be both men and women.

Ismaili and Druze pillar

Walayah is an Ismaili
' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

 and Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 pillar of Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

"love and devotion for God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, the Prophets, the Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

 and the dai."

See also

  • Islamic leadership
    Islamic leadership
    After Muhammad's death, the disputed question of who should be the successor to Muhammad's political authority led eventually to the division of Islam into Sunni and Shia....

  • Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
    Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
    Imāmah is the Shia doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shīa believe that the A'immah are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muḥammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt,...

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