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al-Walaa` wal-Baraa` as Revealed in Surat aal-'Imraan (1/2)

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

by Khaalid al-Ghareeb

The legal meaning of Al-Wala' (love, support, help, follow, etc.) is to totally agree with the sayings, deeds and beliefs which please Allah and the persons whom He likes.
In an age where truth is presented as falsehood, righteousness is translated to rebelliance and the preserving of ones land and dignity is called terrorism, there will naturally arise many confusions about the pillars of Iman and the facts of Islam. Those in whose hearts there is a deviation find it expedient to twist the meaning of many sacred texts because it does not conform with their desires and motives. Not even the principles of Al-Aqeedah can escape their ploys. Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara' is the creed that guides all the actions and sayings of a Muslim and it is by its practice and application that the ranks of the believers vary. It is imperative that this creed be unambiguous to the Muslim's mentality in order that it manifests and materialises correctly in his actions.

28. Let not the believers take the disbelievers as Awliya' (supporters, helpers, etc.) instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allah warns you against Himself (ie. His Punishment), and to Allah is the final return.
29. Say [O Muhammad (s.a.w.)]: "Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it, and He knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And Allah is Able to do all things".

The Occasion of Revelation

The Ayah (verse) was revealed concerning a group of believers who had Jewish friends. Those believers were giving Muwalat (support, help, etc.) to these Jews. Some of the Sahabah (r.a.a.) said to those believers: "Keep away from those Jews and beware of their friendship for they could seduce you away from your religion and guide you astray after you have believed". However this group of believers disobeyed the advice and remained loyal to their Jewish friends; and so Allah (s.w.t.) revealed "Let not the believers take the disbelievers as Awliya'".

Al-Qurtubi also reports in his Tafseer, narrated by Ibn Abbas (r.a.a.) that the Ayat was revealed with respect to 'Ubadah bin us-Saamet Al-Ansari Al-Badri who had a coalition of Jews. On the day of Al-Ahzaab, 'Ubadah said to the Prophet (s.a.w.): "O Prophet of Allah, I have a fellow of five hundred Jews; I see that they should come with me for support against the enemy". In this incidence, Allah (s.w.t.) revealed the aforementioned Ayat.

The General Meaning of the Ayah

Allah (s.w.t.) forbids His Believers from exhibiting any form of Muwalat to the disbelievers. This includes the manifestation of love and compassion to strengthen the ties with them or to regard them as companions and friends because of their kinship or acquaintance. The Believer can not be an ally of Allah's enemies and it is impossible for a person to combine the love of Allah (s.w.t.) and the love of his enemies because this is a combination of opposites; therefore, he who loves Allah, must also hate His enemies.

It is forbidden upon the Muslim to give Muwalat to the disbelievers and forsake the believers. There is no association or relationship whatsoever between Iman and Kufur. The preceding noble Ayat forewarns us from Muwalat Al-Kafireen and alerts us to the consequences of such an action, with one exception being in extreme necessity when one must avoid or protect oneself from the harm or injury inflicted upon by disbelievers by presenting an outer appearance that belies what one conceals inside. This is known as Taqiyyah, and it is only permitted under such circumstances.

The noble Ayat concludes by strongly threatening those who disobey Allah and show Muwalat to the disbelievers. This threat indicates the magnitude of such a sin.

The Definition of Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara' in the Islamic Belief

The legal meaning of Al-Wala' (love, support, help, follow, etc.) is to totally agree with the sayings, deeds and beliefs which please Allah and the persons whom He likes. Al-Bara' (despise, desert, keep innocent of, etc.) is the complete opposite of Al-Wala' and it is to disagree with everything that Allah hates and condemns. Hence, there are four issues related to the belief in Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara', those being: the sayings, the deeds, the beliefs and the individual persons. Some of the things that pleases Allah (s.w.t.) are the saying of Dhikr, the deed of Jihad, the belief in His Oneness and the love of the believing person. Backbiting, fornication, Shirk and disbelief are some of the things that are hated by Allah (s.w.t.) and must also be hated by the Believer.

The Rank of the Belief in Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara'

The belief in Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara' occupies a meritorious rank in the Islamic Aqeedah. This can be understood from the following reasons:

  • Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara' is part of the Shahadah (testimony of faith) that being 'La ilaha' which is the portion from 'La ilaha illallah'. This means to be free and immune from all that is worshiped besides Allah (s.w.t.) as He the Almighty states: "And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): 'Worship Allah (alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, ie. do not worship Taghut besides Allah)" (16:36).

  • The eminent creed of Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara' is the strongest bond of Iman. Al-Barra' bin A'aazeb (r.a.a.) narrates that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "The strongest bond of Iman is the love for Allah's sake and the hatred for Allah's sake" (Reported by Imam Ahmad).

  • It is one of the basis by which the heart can experience the beauty of Iman and absolute assurance. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Whoever possesses the following three (qualities) will have the sweetness (delight) of faith: The one to whom Allah and His Messenger become dearer than anything else, who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah's sake, and who hates to revert to atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire". [Bukhary and Muslim]

  • It is the foundation by which all relationships and dealings in a Muslim community is built upon as described by the Prophet (s.a.w.): "None of you will have faith till he likes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself" (Bukhari), and by Wisdom of the Almighty: "The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion)" (49:10).

  • The great and abundant reward is due to those who are characterised by the love of each other for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.). The Prophet (s.a.w.) articulates: "Those who love me will be (standing) upon pulpits made of light on the day of Resurrection". He (s.a.w.) also said: "There will be seven (categories of people) for whom Allah will Shed (Protect) under His Shade, when there will not be any shade except His", one of those categories is "Two men who loved each other for Allah's sake. They congregate for His Sake, and they separate for His Sake".

  • It is the most powerful tie or relationship that links between people. Allah (s.w.t.) has given it the precedence and priority over all types of ties by Asserting: "Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight ... are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah guides not the people who are Fasiqun (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah)" (9:24).

  • It is by the means of the creed of Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara' that Allah grants His Walayah (the protection, power, authority and kingdom). Ibn Jareer reports the saying of Ibn Abbas (r.a.a.): "He who loves for Allah's sake and hates for Allah's sake, he who gives Muwalat (support, help, etc.) for Allah's sake and exhibits enmity for Allah's sake, will attain Allah's Walayah".

  • The relationship of Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara' will be theonone to remain on the Day of Reckoning as foretold by Allah the All-Knowing: "When those who were followed, disown (declare themselves innocent of) those who followed (them), and they see the torment, then all their relations will be cut off from them" (2:166).

  • He who loves other than Allah and His Religion and hates Him (s.w.t.), His Religion or followers is a definite disbeliever, "And if any amongst you takes them (Jews and Christians) as Awliya', then surely he is one of them" (5:51).

  • The Al-Wala'u wa Al-Bara' is an integral part of Iman and is necessary for its perfection. In a Hadith: "He who loves for Allah's pleasure, hates for Allah's pleasure, donates for Allah's sake and deprives for Allah's sake, then that person has perfected his Iman" [Sound Hadith related by Ahmad and Tirmithi] n


    • The Meaning of the Qur'an, S.Abul A'la Al-Maududi
    • In the Shade of the Qur'an, Sayyid Qutb

    By Br. Khalid El-Gharib

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