Sometimes translated as “sainthood.” State of being of one chosen by God to interpret the inner meaning of God's revelation to human beings, providing an ongoing link between humankind and divine revelation. In Shiism, denotes the characteristics required for succession to the imamate. Successors must be descendants of Muhammad who are appointed based on their esoteric knowledge. They are expected to provide political leadership, be actively involved in upholding religious law, and possess special knowledge of the esoteric dimension of Quranic revelation. In Sufism, a person chosen by God to fulfill the duty of walayah is known as a wali, or friend of God. The wali is believed to have been given divine protection against error in order to preserve God's religion intact.