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Every human being has felt – at one point in life – unable to decide for himself the ideal way forward. Man is susceptible to hesitation and stifling reluctance; indecisiveness and fear of the unknown prevents him from progressing. Examples of when such feelings intensify are when one is torn between two job offers, unable to confidently settle in choice with a future spouse, or when one is simply tired of the misery of sin, desperately trying to find his way back to Allāh.
These reasons are why every human being is in need of discovering Allāh’s name: Al-Hādi/The Guider.
Defining who Al-Hādi is according to Prophet Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām)
When Mūsā invited the Pharaoh of Egypt to Allāh, the Pharaoh asked:
قَالَ فَمَنْ رَبُّكُمَا يَا مُوسَى (49) قَالَ رَبُّنَا الَّذِي أَعْطَى كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَى (50)
“He said: So who is your Lord O Mūsā? He said: ‘Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it.’”
He has allocated all things the guidance appropriate for them. He created the human body and has guided each limb to carry out what is was created for; He guided the hands to work, the feet to walk, the eyes to see, and the mouth to speak.
– The blind to navigate their way despite being visionless
– The mute to communicate his needs via sign language
– Scientists to their remarkable discoveries
– The researcher to the information he needs
– The judge to take the right decision
– The caller of Islam to the best approach
– The father to the best method of advising his child
– The mother to care for your children
– The new born to know that the process of suction is what he needs to extract the milk from his mother’s chest despite having no prior education
– Animals to ward harm away from themselves and find their sustenance
As Prophet Mūsā (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it.”
Examples of Al-Hādi’s guidance manifesting in the world
The Salmon fish
The Salmon fish are born in fresh water and migrate downriver to the cold open waters of the Pacific Ocean. They often travel for thousands of kilometres then miraculously return to the river of their birth and die there. Each year, thousands of spawning salmon struggle up the falls, fighting the current, darting about, resting in the shadows, and somehow navigating their way back to their original streams. It is still a mystery exactly how salmon find their way home, but they seem to rely on a combination of genetic coding, celestial navigation, electromagnetic currents, and a strong sense of smell.
“Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it.”
Some flowers have more pollen and nectar than others. When a good flower patch is found, bees recruit other bees from their colony to the patch. But how do they tell those bees where to find the best flowers? Bees communicate flower location using special dances inside the hive. One bee dances, while other bees watch to learn the directions to a specific flower patch. The dancing bee smells like the flower patch, and also gives the watching bees a taste of the nectar she gathered. Smell and taste helps other bees find the correct flower patch.
Bees use two different kinds of dances to communicate information: the waggle dance, and the circle dance. The waggle dance informs the watching bees of two things about a flower patch’s location: the distance and the direction away from the hive. The circle dance: the duration of this waggle is thought to indicate the quality of the flower patch she has found.
Researchers at Sussex University spent two years decoding the “waggle dance” of thousands of honeybees. By measuring the angle of the dance in relation to the sun and the length of time the bee waggled its abdomen while moving in a figure of eight pattern, researchers have been able to map the distance and location where bees forage from month to month.
“Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it.”
A hedgehog was spotted eating the flesh of a dead snake. Following each bite, the hedgehog would make its way to a particular plant and eat from its leaves, then back to the snake to eat from it, then back to the plant, and so on. This caught the interest of an onlooker who wanted to know why it was doing this, and so he rooted the plant it was eating from. The hedgehog went to the plant to take a bite from it but did not find it. Soon after, it died. Who was the One who guided the hedgehog to know that the plant had a property that countered the poison it was consuming from the snake?
“Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it.”
Examples of Al-Hādi’s guidance in the life of a Muslim
The above was mentioned in order to arrive at one question, namely; if this is the extent to which Allāh guides animals, insects, and inanimate objects to their roles in life, then how will Allāh’s guidance be towards dignified human beings, whom paradise and hell were created for? Al-Hādi would not leave them in the dark.
This next section is dedicated to those who argue that “Allāh has not yet guided me”, “I am still upon my sins because Allāh does not want me”, “Had Allāh wanted me, He would have shown me the way” and so on. The following headings, however, will reveal beyond doubt that it was never Allāh who had – God forbid – fallen short in offering guidance, but rather it is man who falls short in showing attention to them. So, how does Allāh’s name – Al-Hādi – appear in the life of man?
The sending of prophets, messengers, scripture, and miracles
وَإِنْ مِنْ أُمَّةٍ إِلَّا خَلا فِيهَا نَذِيرٌ
“…and there never was a people, without a warner having passed among them.”
Many of these messengers came with scriptures to help people navigate their journeys to Allāh and the Home of the Hereafter. Each and every one of them was also equipped with miracles to help people find their way to Allāh. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:
مَا مِنْ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ نَبِيٌّ إِلَّا أُعْطِيَ مَا مِثْلهُ آمَنَ عَلَيْهِ الْبَشَرُ ..
“Every prophet was given miracles through which people believed…”
Islam was made to be the default status of every human being
Man is not born as an atheist. Because Allāh is Al-Hādi, He has made Islam the birthright of every human being.
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said that Allāh said:
إني خلقت عبادي حنفاء فاجتالتهم الشياطين
“I created my servants innately inclined to worship me, but the devils turned them away…”
And he said:
كُلُّ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ
“Every new born child is born upon the disposition of Islam…”
There came a time in the distant past when Allāh caused every human being to stand before Him and asked about Himself, to which they testified their belief in Him.
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى شَهِدْنَا أَنْ تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَذَا غَافِلِينَ
“And when your Lord took from the children of Adam – from their backs – their descendants and made them testify of themselves, saying to them, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said, ‘Yes, we have testified’” Lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, ‘Indeed, we were of this unaware.’”
The duty of the prophets and messengers was to remind people of this covenant, returning them to their default state of monotheists. Is this not a remarkable sign of Al-Hādi?
Man’s inner caller to Allāh
Within the heart of every human being is a caller which, when he does good, encourages him, and when he commits sin, screams at him and causes guilt to consume him. Indeed, the signs of Al-Hādi are found within the very depths of each human being. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:
ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا صِرَاطًا مُسْتَقِيمًا ، وَعَلَى جَنْبَتَيْ الصِّرَاطِ سُورَانِ فِيهِمَا أَبْوَابٌ مُفَتَّحَةٌ ، وَعَلَى الْأَبْوَابِ سُتُورٌ مُرْخَاةٌ ، وَعَلَى بَابِ الصِّرَاطِ دَاعٍ يَقُولُ : أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ! ادْخُلُوا الصِّرَاطَ جَمِيعًا ، وَلَا تَتَفَرَّجُوا ، وَدَاعٍ يَدْعُو مِنْ جَوْفِ الصِّرَاطِ ، فَإِذَا أَرَادَ يَفْتَحُ شَيْئًا مِنْ تِلْكَ الْأَبْوَابِ قَالَ : وَيْحَكَ لَا تَفْتَحْهُ ! فَإِنَّكَ إِنْ تَفْتَحْهُ تَلِجْهُ ، وَالصِّرَاطُ الْإِسْلَامُ ، وَالسُّورَانِ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ، وَالْأَبْوَابُ الْمُفَتَّحَةُ مَحَارِمُ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ، وَذَلِكَ الدَّاعِي عَلَى رَأْسِ الصِّرَاطِ كِتَابُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ، وَالدَّاعِي فَوْقَ الصِّرَاطِ وَاعِظُ اللَّهِ فِي قَلْبِ كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ
“Allāh has given an example of a straight path, on both sides of which are two walls, in which there are open doors, and over the doors are curtains, and at the beginning of the path there is a caller who says: ‘O people, enter the path all together and do not go depart from it. And there is a caller who calls from further in; when a person wants to open any of those doors, he says: Woe to you, do not open it, for if you open it you will enter it. The path is Islam and the walls are the sacred limits of Allāh, and the open doors are the things forbidden by Allāh. The caller at the beginning of the path is the Book of Allāh and the caller at the top of the path is the conscience found in the heart of every Muslim”
Even in the absence of prophets, messengers, and human guiding voices, man has a divinely installed sense of guidance that speaks with him at the juncture of every good deed or sin. Again, this is a tremendous sign of Al-Hādi.
Circumstances in life that He allows to unfold in the most guiding of ways
– He guides through a single moment of reflection
– He guides through reminders that crosses one’s path
– He guides through illness
– He guides through the death of a loved one
– He guides through marriage and divorce
– He guides through loss of finances
– He guides through words that were at miraculously specific times
– He guides through dreams that one sees of oneself, or others see of him
A famous example of the latter is that which Al-Hākim An-Naysābūrī – the famous compiler of the Hadith book, Al-Mustadrak – experienced. He suffered an outbreak of severe sores on his face for almost a year, and every form of medication failed. He asked Imam Abū ‘Uthmān Al-Sābūni to make a public du’ā for him during the Friday prayer, which he did and people passionately proclaimed “āmīn!”
A week later, a woman dropped off a letter to the mosque and returned home. The letter mentioned that upon hearing of Al-Hākim’s condition, she returned home and made abundant du’ā for him during that night. In the same night, she saw a dream where the Prophet Mohammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said to her, “Tell Abū ‘Abdullāh (Al-Hākim) to facilitate water for the Muslims.”
When Al-Hākim learned of this, he dug a small area to the front of his house, filled it with water, added ice to it, and dedicated it for public use. People started drinking from it and before a week had passed, he had made a full recovery. His sores had cleared up, his beauty returned to him, and lived for many years after this event.”
He also guides through what some may call a coincidence
Al-Fudayl b. ‘Iyād, whom is widely known today as a great scholar and worshipper, began as a highly feared bandit, raiding caravans and robbing travellers. As he ascended a wall during one evening, making his way to a woman he loved, he heard someone reciting the āyah:
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ
“Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should humbly submit at the remembrance of Allāh and what has come down of the truth?”
He stopped in his tracks and then retreated from his endeavor. That moment would become the turning point in his life; he declared his repentance to Allāh and turned over a new leaf of knowledge, worship, and preparation for the hereafter. The Muslim world as a result continues till this day to benefit from his works, opinions, and heart-melting reminders.
He guides through the Qur’ān, and this is the chief of all guidance
إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ
“Truly, this Qur’ān guides to that which is best…”
Trying to enumerate those who found their way to Allāh and Islam through the Qur’ān is an impossibility. They include kings like the Negus of Abyssinia, passersby as the Qur’ān was being recited like Jubair b. Mut’im, and even more miraculously, some of the most notorious enemies of the religion, including ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattāb. Hence it comes as no surprise that the term Hudā/guidance along with all of its different forms appears in no less than 250 places in the Qur’ān.
These are just some of the countless ways of how Al-Hādi sends His lifeboats of guidance to man’s shores time and time again. There is no shortage of them, but it is man who refuses to sail.
Al-Hādi continues to guide, but man chooses to close his eyes
How many times had one found himself sinking within the dark oceans of sin, unable to escape, when all of a sudden, an unexpected lifeline of guidance is dangled for him? How many times has it happened in people’s lives as they wondered aimlessly, having forgotten Allāh and themselves, sleep walking through the door of one prohibition to another, when all of a sudden, the penny drops in the most unexpected of ways and they wake up from their heedlessness?
Al-Hādi is He who sends one’s heart back to the masjid even though in the past he may have looked at it from a distance with the corner of his eye without giving it a second glance.
Al-Hādi is He who sends one’s heart back to the Islamic hijāb even though in the past she may have never imagined that she would one day give it the lifelong commitment it deserves.
Al-Hādi is He who inspires one to fall in love with the Qur’ān to the extent that he aches at the thought of putting it down even though it may have been the most abandoned book in his life not long before this.
Al-Hādi is He who inspires one’s to crave His remembrance and long for those gatherings where He is praised even though His name may have been the most neglected of names in one’s conversations not long before this.
With just a few moments of basic reflection, one will be able to track down the sheer number of times that Al-Hādi had in fact sent guidance to him. No man has the right to claim that “He doesn’t want me” or “He hasn’t guided me”. Rather, if he is honest with himself, he would say, “He has never fallen short in showing me the way. I have just been giving Him my back.” It is when this type of negligent behaviour towards Allāh’s guidance is insisted upon, reacting obliviously to them time and time again that, with time, they stop crossing paths with a person.
وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ الَّذِي آتَيْنَاهُ آيَاتِنَا فَانْسَلَخَ مِنْهَا فَأَتْبَعَهُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَكَانَ مِنَ الْغَاوِين
“And recite to them the news of him to whom we gave knowledge of Our signs, but he threw them away so Satan pursued him, and he became of the deviators.”
According to the āyah above, Satan only pursued him and made him from the deviators when he first “threw away” Allāh’s signs.
However, the converse is just as true. Should one make a point of acting upon every bit of guidance which Al-Hādi sends him, Allāh will grace him with gift of guidance. Should this gift also be acknowledged and acted upon, Al-Hādi will send yet another gift of guidance. This will happen until such a person finds himself simply showered with guidance, rejoicing in divine care, just as Allāh said about the youth of the cave who acted upon guidance when it came to them:
إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى
“Indeed, they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance”
One is to see the signs of Al-Hādi in every walk of life, accept them wholeheartedly when they arrive, thank Allāh for them, and beg Him for more.
‘Ali Ibn Abī Tālib said,
قَالَ لِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” قُلْ: اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِنِي وَسَدِّدْنِي”
“The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said to me: ‘Say: O Allāh, guide me and set me right.’”
With sincerity, humility, an attentive heart and absolute desperation, one should raise his hands to Allāh, pleading:
“Allāh, gift me and my family with guidance that will keep us as You please till the day we meet You.”
 Al-Qur’ān, 20:49-50
 Li’annak Allāh, Ali al-Faifi
 Al-Qur’ān, 35:24
 Al-Bukhārī and Muslim, on the authority of Abū Huraira
 Muslim, on the authority of ‘Iyād Ibn Himaar Al-Mushāji’i
 Muslim, on the authority of Abū Huraira
 Ahmad, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbās
 Al-Qur’ān, 7:172-173
 Ahmad, on the authority of Al-Nawwās Ibn Sam’ān
 Shu’ab al-Īmān
 Al-Qur’ān, 57:16
 Tafsīr al-Qurtubi
 Al-Qur’ān, 17:9
 Al-Qur’ān, 7:175
 Al-Qur’ān, 18:13
 Sunan Al-Nas’ī
Shaykh Ali Ihsan Hammuda is Islam21c’s Tarbiya Editor. A UK national of Palestinian origin, he gained bachelors and masters’ degrees in Architecture & Planning from the University of the West of England, before achieving a BA in Shari’ah from al-Azhar University in Egypt. He is currently based in Wales and is a visiting Imām at Al-Manar Centre in Cardiff, and also a senior researcher and lecturer for the Muslim Research & Development Foundation in London. Shaykh Ali is the author of several books including ‘The Daily Revivals’, ‘The Ten Lanterns’ and ‘The Friday Reminder’. He delivers sermons, lectures and regular classes across the country.