And those who associate others with Allah say, “If Allah had willed, we would not have worshiped anything other than Him, neither we nor our fathers, nor would we have forbidden anything through other than Him.” Thus did those do before them. So is there upon the messengers except [the duty of] clear notification? [Quran, 16:35]
Blaming Allah (swt)
The Mushrikeen of Makkah argued that if Allah (swt) had wanted He would have given guidance, to them as well as to their forefathers. They tried to justify their misguidance by blaming Allah (swt), saying that Allah (swt) simply didn’t want to give them guidance.
Allah (swt) tells us that His will has always been used as an excuse by wrongdoers to justify their wickedness.
The True Meaning of His Will
The real meaning of “Allah’s Will” is that Allah will open for man whatever way he would choose for himself — the way of gratitude or ingratitude, guidance or deviation, obedience or disobedience. Then Allah will let the man do anything good or bad he chooses and will provide for its fulfillment the means that fit in His vast universal designs.” (The Meaning of the Quran, Maududi ).
Because Allah’s Book is a guide for all times to come, we find people even today using this very excuse for not obeying Him. They make such statements as: “Please pray that Allah gives us guidance to follow the straight path,” while they themselves don’t want to make an effort to search for the truth and perhaps are even expecting that Allah (swt) will send down angels to wave a magic wand and turn everyone into believers.
This is not Allah (swt)’s way. He knows exactly what’s in our hearts. He knows when we have a genuine desire for guidance and whether or not we’re willing to make an effort to acquire it.
Analyzing Our Excuses
Let’s analyze this excuse: “If Allah had willed, we would be among the believers.” This excuse is conveniently used for matters pertaining to deen, but is this the strategy we adopt in matters of dunya? Do we just keep sitting at home waiting for the rizk Allah (swt) has willed for us or do we spend sleepless nights and try our utmost to get the best possible jobs with the best remuneration?
The Importance of Active Hope
When anyone of us falls ill, do we lie in bed waiting for Allah (swt) to heal us, or do we exert our best efforts in finding the best doctor and getting the best treatment, no matter how much it costs?
In matters concerning our children’s education, do we sit around and hope that they’ll be admitted to the best institutions or do we move heaven and earth, stand for hours in queues, approach high-ups, and spend any amount of money to get them admitted to the right schools and universities?
A Beautiful and Generous Provision, Material and Physical
If we don’t have guidance, we can’t blame Allah (swt). He has made impeccable arrangements for not only our physical needs in this world but also for our spiritual needs.
As far as physical needs are concerned, He (swt) has placed the entire earth at our service; the sun provides light, making things grow, the stars guide us when we’re lost, the oceans are a means of trade by ship, the animals provide food and clothing and can be used to carry loads, plants provide us with food, clouds give us rain . . . the list is endless.
As for our spiritual needs, the arrangements are no less comprehensive. First and foremost Allah (swt) has put in the fitrah of all human beings a conscience—the inherent recognition of right and wrong— and this conscience is ours whether we’re red, black, white, or brown, Christian, Jew, Hindu, or Muslim, man or woman, child or adult. Our morality is inbuilt.
Secondly, Allah (swt) has given us a very special gift— the gift of freedom of choice. If we look at the story of Adam (AS) and his wife, both these gifts were brought into play. Although Adam (AS) had been warned against eating from the forbidden tree, he used his freedom of choice and ate the fruit.
This is when their inbuilt morality was displayed, because they immediately began covering themselves with the leaves of the trees.
Thirdly Allah (swt) has given us intelligence to be able to decide for ourselves whether to follow His Guidance or to go astray. However since He is our Creator, He knows that sometimes our intelligence is flawed and can lead us towards disaster as in the case of Adam (AS).
Through His Benevolence, He then sent His Prophets with books for our guidance, explaining in detail the way to gain Allah’s Pleasure. It’s a clear and constant standard, not subject to people’s wishes and desires, by which we’re able to determine right and wrong on any matter.
Guiding Those Who Choose Guidance
So we see that Allah (swt) has made full arrangements for the guidance of those who choose to be guided. These are the people who listen to their consciences, who use their intelligence to decide what is best for them based on the teachings of the Prophet (saw) and the guidance in Allah(swt)’s book.
They exercise their freedom of choice by choosing to submit to Allah(swt)’s will. These people will be guided and led to the ultimate goal of Jannah. Allah (swt) will help them and make it easy for them to follow the right path. But if someone chooses the wrong way, in spite of all the wonderful opportunities afforded to him, Allah (swt) will make it easy for them to continue on the path leading to disaster and hell fire.
Guidance on the Shelf, Wrapped in Silk
We all have Qurans in our homes, don’t we? We have guidance, lying on our highest shelf, wrapped in silken cloth. But how many of us choose to read it? How many make the choice, the effort, to try to understand it and to live by its teachings?
In spite of having guidance at our fingertips, within easy reach, many of us choose not to avail ourselves of it. It is such people— those who’ve received the Quran and still don’t make the effort to follow its teachings— whose hearts Allah (swt) has sealed. This is their punishment. Their hearts have been sealed so that guidance will never reach their hearts. What a terrible, terrible punishment.
Shireen Husain lives in Karachi Pakistan.