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Guidance – An Islamic Perspective

I attended a class this morning on Islamic Psychology at Islamic Online University [IOU] that dealt with the topic of how Allah influences human beings through guidance. So, I thought I might share some of the Quranic ayat that were discussed, so that we all can ponder upon them to broaden our understanding on the topic.

The definition of “guidance” given by Webster dictionary is:

1 the act or process of guiding
2 a : the direction provided by a guide
b : advice on vocational or educational problems given to students

However, the customary meaning / haqeeqah shariah means that certain words take a certain definition from an Islamic point of view. For instance, the word “kafir” linguistically meant “who is ungrateful” before Quran was revealed. However, from an Islamic context, it has been used to refer to a disbeliever. Another example is salah. The word’s original meaning, prior to islam, is any dua. After Islam, it specifically refers to the pillar of Islam: salah / namaz and not dua. Another example is “zakat” which originally meant purification and growth, and islamically it is referred to the “poor rate” (and by giving zakath, we achieve purification and growth, by disbelieving, the disbeliever is extremly ungrateful to Allah etc.) [Based on notes from Dr. Riaz Ansary – Tafseer 101 IOU]

So from this point of view, although all these people think they are in guidance, Allah has defined guidance as the hidayah given by Him, through Islam (Quran & Sunnah) to the current generation and the hidayah given through other prophets to previous generation (2:285, Surah Anbiyah etc) .

Now, are the people who think they are guided,but are following false religions – They are in nothing but delusion.

“It almost bursts with rage. Every time a company is thrown into it, its keepers ask them, “Did there not come to you a warner?” [Quran 67:8]

“They will say,” Yes, a warner had come to us, but we denied and said, ‘ Allah has not sent down anything. You are not but in great error.’ “” [Quran 67:9]

Now, let us look at some translations / interpretation of the meaning of a few Quranic ayat’s that talk about guidance.

“O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered.” [8:24]

[Who say], “Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower. [Quran 3:8]

“Mankind was [of] one religion [before their deviation]; then Allah sent the prophets as bringers of good tidings and warners and sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed. And none differed over the Scripture except those who were given it – after the clear proofs came to them – out of jealous animosity among themselves. And Allah guided those who believed to the truth concerning that over which they had differed, by His permission. And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path” [Quran 2:213]

“And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path” [Quran 10:25]

“It is that of which Allah gives good tidings to His servants who believe and do righteous deeds. Say, [O Muhammad], “I do not ask you for this message any payment [but] only good will through kinship.” And whoever commits a good deed – We will increase for him good therein. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Appreciative.” [Quran 42:23]

“So whoever Allah 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 Allah place defilement upon those who do not believe.” [Quran 6:125]

According to the ayat above, Allah expands the hearts to contain Islam. The hard hearts cannot contain Islam / accept Islam. This is why we see some people who might be knowledgeable about Islam (kuffar professors on Islam) but they are disbelievers.

The professor mentioned that Allah Azzawajal is “Al Adl” The Most Just. Due to His Justice & Mercy,
– He would not guide anybody who is not deserving of hidayah
– Nor would he let go astray anyone who deserves to be guided
– Individual needs to take initiative to seek guidance and Allah facilitates by guiding.

Who does Allah guide?
– Individual who seeks Allah & attempts to follow His way
– Effort to understand, to believe, to gain knowledge and to obey
– Initially not complete, yearning leads to assistance from Allah (this is apparent from stories of converts such as Yusuf Estes, Joshua Evans etc.)

“And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” [Quran 29:69]

“So those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him – He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path.” [Quran 4:175]

I would highly recommend the professor’s book: “Islamic Perspective on Psychology”: https://www.iiph.com.sa/iiph-Psychology_from_the_Islamic_Perspective-p476.html For more information on Dr. Bilal Philips’ initiative on Islamic Online University, please visit: http://www.islamiconlineuniversity.com/ There are free diploma courses available as well as a low-cost tuition free B.A. in Islamic Studies. Please spread the word.

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