Glossary Terms

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
walaya

Friendship or assistance. In Sufism the term is used for qualities that can be translated roughly as ‘sainthood’; in Shi‘i Islam, it is used specifically for devotion to the imam (see wilaya).

wali

Saint, friend of God, or patron. In a political context the terms can also mean administrator or ruler (pl. awliya’).

wazier

A high officer of state, equivalent of a chief minister.

wilaya

Authority. In Shi‘i Islam, this refers to the authority that the imam has over his believers.

wujud

A metaphysical term meaning ‘existence’, employed by philosophically–inclined thinkers such as al–Farabi (d. ca. 950), Ibn Rushd (d. 1198), al–Suhrawardi and Mulla Sadra (d. 1050/1640). According to Ibn Sina (d. 1037), God is the wajib al–wujud (‘the necessary existent’ or ‘the one whose essence is to exist’). Sufis use the term wujud in different ways. Ibn al–‘Arabi (d. 638/1240) is regarded as the father of the concept of wahdat al–wujud (the unity of being).