Wilayah in lexicon means the coming of something right after another, without any space existing in between them. This calls for the closeness and nearness of these two to each other. Wilayah has been used to denote love and friendship, victory and assistance, following and submission, as well as guardianship and leadership. Wilayah Takwini means to have control over all things in the material world; such power primarily belongs only to Allah (swt), but can also be attributed to the prophets and infallible imams and complete individuals secondarily.
Wilayah is an Arabic word derived from the word (ولی). In Arabic Wilayah means the coming of something right after another, without any space existing in between them. This calls for the closeness and nearness of these two to each other. Wilayah has been used to denote love and friendship, victory and assistance, following and submission, as well as guardianship and leadership. In regards to Wilayah Takwini the last meaning that we mentioned (that of guardianship and leadership) is the most suitable in terms of context. Wilayah Takwini means guardianship over all things in this world and to have control over them and to be able to render change in them in any way; such power primarily belongs only to Allah (swt), but can also be attributed to the prophets and infallible imams and complete individuals secondarily.
In regards to Wilayah we see that God Almighty has said in the Holy Quran: (فالله هو الولیّ), which means that, “The only true Wali (guardian) of human beings and the universe is Allah”. At the same time, in other places, he has said: (النبی اولی بالمؤمنین من انفسهم و اموالهم), which means, “The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves.” Yet again the Quran says: (انما ولیکم الله و رسوله والذین آمنوا الذین یقیمون الصلوة و یؤتون الزکات و هم راکعون), which means, “Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.” This last verse proves the guardianship of Allah, the Messenger (s), and the Ahlul Bayt (a).
Now this does not mean that the verse is saying that human beings have several various guardians, and of these, one of them, or the greatest of them is God. In paying attention to the verse: (والله هو الولی) it is evident that the only true guardian is God. The Prophet (s) and the Ahlul Bayt (a) are guardians appointed by God, and according to the Holy Quran, they are the signs of divine guardianship.
The second part of the question relates to what the meaning of Wilayah Takwini is in regards to the Infallible Imams (a). Before answering this question, we have to go over a few introductory points:
1. Firstly, amongst the existents of this world, human beings possess a position and status, which even the angels do not hold. If human beings are able to discover their hidden potential and tap into it, they can reach the status of the most noble of God’s creation and be his ‘Caliphs on Earth’.
2. The second point is that God has left open the way to reaching this Wilayah. He has said: (الا ان اولیاء الله لاخوف علیهم و لا هم یحزنون). Not only has he left the way open, but he has also described the matter and explained it clearly. By paying attention to these two matters, we can reach the conclusion that the Infallible Imams (a), through their capabilities, understandings, insights, and their living up to their true potentials, ended up reaching a high state of faith and yaqin about God which resulted in a blessed event; Allah (swt) endowing them with His Wilayah Takwini. The lives of the infallibles (as) shows us that worship and servitude and a continuous connection with Allah (swt) was their top priority in life, and it was through this elixir that they would do alchemy and breathe life into the body of the universe: “بکم یمسک السماء ان تقع علی الارض” (It is through you that Allah (swt) holds the sky from falling on the earth).
It has been narrated from Imam Mujtaba (a) that: (من عبد الله عبد الله له کل شیء), which means, “Whoever becomes a servant of God, God will make everything his servant.”
In a Qudsi tradition it has been narrated that God the Almighty said: (عبدی اطعنی حتی اجعلک مثلی), which means, “Oh my servant, obey me till I make you like myself.”
Another tradition narrates: (ابن آدم أنا غنی لا أفتقر أطعنی فیما أمرتک أجعلک غنیا لا تفتقر یا ابن آدم أنا حی لا أموت أطعنی فیما أمرتک أجعلک حیا لا تموت یا ابن آدم أنا أقول للشیء کن فیکون، أطعنی فیما أمرتک أجعلک تقول لشیء کن فیکون), which means, “Oh Son of Adam, I am self sufficient and I will not become needy. Obey me so that I make you needless and so that you will never become poor. I am alive and will never die, obey my command so that I make you eternally alive so you will never die. I tell a thing to be and it is. Obey me so that I make you as such, where you tell a thing to be and it becomes so.” In addition to these traditions, there is the famous tradition of ‘Qurbe Nawafil’, which has been narrated in Usulul Kafi. This famous tradition makes clear the Wilayah Takwini of the Infallibles (a).
For example, (بیمنه رزق الوری و بوجوده تثبت الارض والسماء), which means, “By grace of their (the imams) existence, the creation receive their sustenance and the sky and the earth remain stable.”
In conclusion: The Infallibles (a), through their gaining of the Wilayah Takwini of God, have become able to take command of the world of existence; many of the countless miracles that took place at their hands are proof of this undeniable truth.