Allah says in the Quran, “Allah is the wali (protective friend) of those who believe. He brings them out of the darknesses into the light and those who disbelieve, their auliya (protective friends) are taghoot (anything that’s worshipped besides Allah) who take them out of the light into the darknesses; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide eternally.”
(Al Baqarah : 257)
The above ayah (verse) in the Quran starts from the word wali. Wali means the one who has a desire to protect his friend. This name of Allah refers to a relationship between people and Allah and a relationship always works two ways so if people believe in Allah as is His right to be believed, then they will be entitled to His protection, help and support.
Allah is the Wali of the believers
There is another name of Allah with the same root word and similar meaning and that is Maula. Maula means someone who is continuously protecting and helping his friend. Allah says in Surah Muhammad in the Quran that He is the Maula of the believers, whereas the disbelievers have no maula. We see the disbelievers being helped in this world by their allies but why is that when they have no maula? This can be understood by the example of Prophet Nuh (alaihi salam) and Prophet Hud (alaihi salam) and all those civilisations who were completely destroyed by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) when their people chose not to believe in their Prophets. The illusion they had that their auliya, or protectors, in the form of false gods and taghoot could help and protect them, was shattered when nothing could save them from the wrath of Allah.
While Allah was the Maula of the believers, they were saved from the calamity that befell the disbelievers. However, after the last Prophet, Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi waslam) Allah gave respite to mankind from collective punishment in this world and we see the temporary reprieve the disbelievers have today but eventually, Allah will hold them accountable for their deeds in the akhira and then their illusion that they had auliya to help them will be shattered.
Forms of darkness
When someone believes in Allah, He will become their helper and protector and will take them out of different forms of darkness into light. The darkness in the above ayah is used in plural form. It actually refers to the rebellion against Allah which comes from different sources, for example disbelief, defiance, disobedience, doubts, associating partners with Allah, not being concerned about the Hereafter, love of the material world, hypocrisy, envy, greed and jealousy. These are various forms of darkness, while there is only one light, one straight path and only one type of guidance, because it comes from a single source that is Allah who is the Light of the heavens and earth. Allah has sent this guidance in the form of the Quran and Sunnah and has called the Quran nur which means light.
Forces of taghoot
Whoever forms a friendship with Allah and accepts Him as his Wali and Maula, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) guides him to this light. On the other hand, whoever disbelieves in Allah, their supporters, protectors and helpers will be taghoot. Taghoot refers to anyone or anything that takes one away from the remembrance of Allah. It can be Shaitan who calls people to worship anything other than Allah, it can be false deities or a tyrannical ruler, the one who claims to have knowledge of the unseen like a magician or the one who encourages others to worship him instead of Allah and is pleased with it.
In this world many disbelievers and sadly even Muslims take the help of taghoot to fulfil their desires and attain happiness. They try to make taghoot a means of removing their worries, anxiety and depression. We see that many people, when depressed, sit around their television set to kill their time instead of bowing before Allah. They go to false priests and depend on them for guidance while in fact they become misguided. They may resort to feng shui, reiki or the like to solve worries and problems. Many even fall into worshiping the dead and start offering sacrifices to other than Allah but as the ayah says these are just false protections and in reality people will not be protected or helped by them. Simply put, when people choose not to rely on Allah, they are led astray by taghoot which pull them away from the light of Allah to different forms of darkness.
The ayah goes on to say that such people will then be the dwellers of the fire and they will live therein forever. This means that Allah shows people the light of guidance but when they are not willing to accept that light, the darkness of their sins surrounds them completely and they get lost in this darkness forever.
Where is Allah’s help today?
The question one might ask is, if Allah is the Wali of the believers then why are they not being protected and why are they being oppressed all around the world today? The answer lies in the two ayat above this one, Ayat al Kursi and the ayah following it. A Muslim should have true marifah (recognition) of Allah so that he does not liken Him to His creation and fall into shirk or disbelief and Ayat al Kursi was sent by Allah to give us that recognition. When a person truly comes to know Allah and he starts to love Him from his heart, it becomes the kind of love that results in complete submission to the Will of Allah with sincerity and without any compulsions. This is the reason there is no room for force in Islam to revert people to this religion.
Allah goes on to say in the next ayah after Ayat ul Kursi, that whoever shuns taghoot, has grasped the most trustworthy handhold which will never break. This is what strong iman is actually like, being steadfast in all the trials and tribulations of this world and turning towards Allah alone. After the person passes through the tests and proves his firmness in religion, Allah will take him as a friend by becoming his protector and supporter.
Now the question is, have Muslim nations shunned all the taghoot and kept their part of the bargain to fulfil the condition of the friendship of Allah. Look at the vices which have engulfed this ummah. We have lost the real purpose of being sent to this world. Sadly Muslims today have various aims in life, like lust for money, fascination with false ideologies, infatuation with women, hunger for power and sovereignty, addiction to intoxicants and subjugation to their own egos. It seems wealth has become the goal in life instead of a means to attain the love of Allah. Hearts are soaked in the love of the material world, even though Allah warned us that wealth and children are only a test.
Furthermore the Muslim nation is not one ummah anymore. It is divided into different groups on the basis of nationalities, tribes, castes, creeds and languages whereas Islam demands unity and sacrifice. Muslims have to reject ignorance, invite each other to Allah through insight, denounce evil deeds through sound knowledge, use their time, rest and wealth to fulfil their obligations, repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness. It is foolish to expect that the help of Allah will arrive without people making sacrifices for His sake.
Role models have to change from those that are advertised in the media or portrayed in the movies to those that are mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. In the Quran, the example of Ibrahim (alaihi salam) is given and we see how his steadfastness and complete denial of falsehood and his defiance in the wake of the haughtiness of his own father led him to the honour of being given the name Khalil Allah by Allah himself. It is a great example where Allah proves how He protects his believing slaves when He takes them as a friend. In fact, in the very next ayah, after our chosen ayah above, Allah relates how Ibrahim (alaihi salam) stood firm in the wake of the tyrannical ruler Nimrod and as a help from Allah even the fire was made cool for him. Allah said to Ibrahim (alaihi salam), “submit” and he said, “I submit to the Lord of the worlds”. He was asked by Allah to leave his wife and child in a barren land and he obeyed without question. He was asked to sacrifice his own son and he obeyed and Allah accepted his sacrifice and saved his son. It is the Sunnah of Allah that He gives people living examples to follow and role models to show them the straight path without ambiguity.
Allah’s help will come
The help of Allah will definitely come if Muslims are willing to take the responsibility of supporting His religion, exalting His word, obeying Him and following in the footsteps of His Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salam). Islam is not the religion of myths, doctrines, heresy, bad morals, fanaticism, and imitating ignorant people. Islam is about dignity, fairness, justice, modesty, decency, upholding the ties of kinship, integrity, trustworthiness, honesty, fulfilling promises, social solidarity and loving for others what one loves for oneself.
Success is attained by building, not destroying with quiet effort and productivity. Muslims long for success but when they hear the call five times a day from the masjid, “come to success, come to success,” how many of them respond and rush to bow down before the Lord of the worlds. Allah is Al Fattah (the Opener). He has the key to the door of success in this world and the Hereafter and to Him belong the Heavens and the Earth. Let this nation not be lost in the maize of desires. We must firmly grasp the handhold of Allah and follow His light to come back to the straight path, as clear as a full Moon in the dark sky and return to our glory, inshaAllah.