The guidance of Allaah for His servants
Fatwa No: 8976

Question

Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):
· {Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allaah guides whom He wills.} [Quran 28: 56]
· {And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. } [Quran 29: 69]
It was also reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that every infant is born with a sound nature that is inclined to the truth; then, his parents convert him to Judaism, Christianity or Magianism.
Does all this mean that the individual possesses the ability to guide himself, or does he have no hand in it and guidance only comes from Allaah The Almighty?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Him, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

 

Man is incapable of attaining guidance for himself, unless Allaah The Almighty grants him success in that regard; yet, even if that happens, the individual’s struggle to do acts of obedience and avoid sins would also benefit him. This is the meaning of what Allaah The Almighty Says (which means): {And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allaah is with the doers of good.}[Quran 29: 69] The interpretation of this verse is that Allaah The Almighty grants those who strive, more [of a share of] direction towards the way of goodness and righteousness. The same meaning is indicated in other verses where He Says (what means):

·        {And those who are guided - He increases them in guidance and gives them their righteousness.}[Quran 47: 17]

·        {And whenever a Soorah (chapter) is revealed, there are among the hypocrites those who say, "For which of you has this increased faith?" As for those who believed, it has increased them in faith, while they are rejoicing.}[Quran 9: 124]

  The term “guidance” is used in the Quran in two different senses: general and specific. In the general sense, it denotes that Allaah The Almighty makes the way of truth evident and informs people [of it] beyond the excuse of ignorance, regardless of whether they then adhere to it or not. This meaning of guidance is manifest in verses such as the following (that mean):

·        {And as for Thamood, We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance, so the thunderbolt of humiliating punishment seized them for what they used to earn.}[Quran 41: 17] This shows that Allaah The Almighty had clarified the path of truth to them, however, they chose to follow another way.

·        {Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful.}[Quran 76: 3]

The specific connotation of the word “guidance” in the Quran, refers to the success that Allaah The Almighty grants His servants who follow the true way. This is evident in these verses (that mean):

·        {Those are the ones whom Allaah has guided, so from their guidance take an example. Say, "I ask of you for this message no payment. It is not but a reminder for the worlds."}[Quran 6: 90]

·        {So whoever Allaah wants to guide - He expands his breast to [contain] Islam; and whoever He wants to misguide - He makes his breast tight and constricted as though he were climbing into the sky. Thus does Allaah place defilement upon those who do not believe.}[Quran 6: 125]

This distinction clears away any ambiguity between the two verses where Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

·        {Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allaah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided}[Quran 28: 56], and,

·        {And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path }[Quran 42: 52]

The guidance mentioned here which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, cannot achieve, is the specific type, meaning, success on the path of truth, for it is only granted by Allaah The Almighty.

All the acts that one does are interpreted in light of these two meanings of guidance. The guided person has been granted direction by Allaah The Almighty; and it is by virtue of that and His Will that he is not astray. One cannot lead himself aright independent of Allaah The Almighty.

As for the aforementioned Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him in which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, mentions every infant being born on Fitrah (natural predisposition to the truth) [Al-Bukhari, Muslim], there is no contradiction between it and the verses where Allaah The Almighty Says (what mean):

·        {Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allaah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.}[Quran 28: 56]

·        {And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allaah is with the doers of good.}[Quran 29: 69]

The Fitrah mentioned in the Hadeeth refers to the covenant, which Allaah The Almighty has taken from all human beings before their creation, to submit to His Command and accept His religion and Sharee'ah (Islamic jurisprudence). Every child is born in this state and retains it, unless his parents convert him to another religion. This is mentioned in the two verses [Quran 28: 56] and [Quran 42: 52], and we have already mentioned how to reconcile them.

And Allaah Knows best.

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