Pearl of Wisdom
'He who uses his intellect restrains himself.'
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 7646
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"Allah is the Guardian (al-Waliyy) of those who believe" (Quran, 2:257).
Al-Waliyy connotes closeness, nearness, one who may be an ally, a neighbor, a guardian, a relative, etc. It also means the supporter, the beloved one.
Allah has said, "Allah is the Guardian of those who believe" (Quran, 2:257). Quoting Yousuf, He has said, "You are my Guardian in this life and in the life hereafter" (Quran, 12:101). Quoting the believers, He has said, "You are our Patron; so, help us against the unbelieving people" (Quran, 2:286), and, "Then are they sent back to Allah, their Master, the True One" (Quran, 6:62). He has also said, "That is so because Allah is the Protector of those who believe, and because the unbelievers shall have no protector" (Quran, 47:11).
Allah is the Guardian of His servants. A good servant of Allah is also a friend of His. The Exalted One has said, "Surely the friends of Allah shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve" (Quran, 10:62). The word "waliyy" simultaneously conveys the meanings of a master and a slave, a supporter, a neighbor, a cousin, an ally, a guardian...
The common denominator in the meaning of all these connotations is nearness. A "waliyy" is one who is near to someone else physically and figuratively. The Almighty has said, "Awla laka fa awla" (Quran, 75:34): Nearer to you (is the destruction) and nearer, a clear warning meaning: "It (destruction) has come close to you, and that against which I have warned you has almost reached you; therefore, beware!"
This proves that the root word of this Attribute is derived from nearness, and this meaning is met in the case of a slave, a supporter, a cousin, an ally, or a guardian. In all these cases, there are situations which necessitate nearness required for proximity and communication. If this is proven, His being al-Waliyy of His servants is indicative of His being near to them. The Almighty has said, "... and He is with you wherever you are" (Quran, 57:4). He has also said,
... and We are nearer to him than his life-vein. (50:16) Nowhere is there a secret counsel between three persons except that He is their fourth. (58:7)
Whoever repeats this Attribute, realizing its great meanings, must be a friend of Allah. Any friend of Allah is also a friend of people, Allah's servants. He looks after them, managing their affairs, and so on. Allah says, "Believing men and women are guardians of one another" (Quran, 9:71). Whoever aspires to be close to the Almighty will find Him willing to be his friend too, and whoever turns away from Allah, Allah will turn away from him, and Satan will welcome him with open arms.