Allah has the Most Beautiful Names. So call upon Him by them. (Quran 7:180)
In this series we have learned that God must be referred to either in the way He referred to Himself, or in the way Prophet Muhammad referred to Him. God describes Himself in great detail, and in this series, we have pondered many of His names.
During this journey, we have learned to call on God by the names that suit our needs. Now, as we delve deeper into God’s names and attributes, we come to the name, Al Hadi, the Guide.
When we open our books or computers preparing to study aspects of Islam, or contemplate the greatness of God, do we ever pause to wonder why we have been blessed with the ability to sustain a relationship with God? Why we have been called to Islam and then guided to the correct choice?
Some people go their whole lives without making that connection, or worshipping God in the way that He deserves to be worshipped. What makes us, the believers, special? Why have we been chosen by God?
The Guide, The Helper
And make no mistake about it, we have been chosen because guidance comes from God. He is Al Hadi, the Guide.
… but sufficient is your Lord as a Guide and Helper. (Quran 25:31)
You surely cannot guide whoever you like ˹O Prophet˺, but it is Allah Who guides whoever He wills, and He knows best who are ˹fit to be˺ guided. (Quran 28:56)
Guiding to the Best Way
A guide can be defined as the one who assists a person to reach a destination. We are privileged to have The Guide, Al Hadi, assisting us, and He helps us reach the ultimate destination, Paradise.
Al Hadi is the One who continuously shows us the right way. He consistently opens and closes doors for us, easing us onto the right path, and away from temptation and evil.
Most of the time we do not even notice that God is guiding us down a certain path. Often, we look back at what has happened in the past week, or year, and see that our path was being directed to the right way, or to the best conclusion.
The Source of All Guidance
Al Hadi is the One who guides all of humankind to what is beneficial for them and protects them from what is harmful.
God guides in many ways, shapes and forms; and He guides all forms of creation. For instance, the birds know how to fly, and human beings understand that they must breath, eat and drink to survive.
This guidance includes the instinct human beings have even at birth that leads them to what benefits them. Take for example the God given guidance that leads the infant to suckle at his mother’s breast.
Prophet Moses described the nature of guidance when he said:
‘Our Lord is the One Who has given everything its ˹distinctive˺ form, then guided ˹it˺. (Quran 20:50)
Guidance Comes from Him
Al Hadi gives everybody the opportunity to know Him and to follow the straight path. Thus His guidance also leads them to what benefits them in a spiritual sense.
To this end, Al Hadi is the One who sent Prophets and Messengers to assist humankind to the right path. God also revealed books of guidance, including His last message to humankind, the Quran, revealed to His last messenger Prophet Muhammad.
Those who choose to follow this guidance are the believers. As for the disbelievers, they are given many chances, but should never forget that people in the past had cause to seriously regret not accepting the guidance offered to them.
As for Thamûd, We showed them guidance, but they preferred blindness over guidance. So the blast of a disgracing punishment overtook them for what they used to commit. (Quran 41:17)
The Straight Path
Most people are guided to the straight path via their own intellect and powers of reason. Sometimes however, people come to Islam, or reaffirm their faith, when God places faith and guidance directly into their hearts. This is a blessing for which we should be extremely grateful.
Whoever Allah guides is truly guided. But whoever He leaves to stray, you will never find for them a guiding mentor. (Quran 18:17)
Once a person has established a relationship with God, it takes very little effort to maintain and strengthen that relationship. The one who sincerely has faith in God will find he or she is guided toward deeper insights and the ability to see God’s role in the realities of life.
The believer then understands that God has paved the straight path in a way that guides towards the ultimate destination. However, if a person deviates from this straight path, he will not reach his home in Paradise.
Calling on Him
Surely those who believe and do good, their Lord will guide them ˹to Paradise˺ through their faith, rivers will flow under their feet in the Gardens of Bliss. (Quran 10:9)
As believers, we call on God, the Guide, at least seventeen times every day in our obligatory prayers. When we ask Him to guide us on the straight path, we are acknowledging that He is Al Hadi, the Guide. And without His guidance we would remain lost in the darkness. God alone is responsible for guidance.
… And whoever has faith in Allah, He will ˹rightly˺ guide their hearts ˹through adversity˺… (Quran 64:11)
As for those who are ˹rightly˺ guided, He increases them in guidance and blesses them with righteousness. (47:17)
When we call on Al Hadi to guide us to the straight path, we can be certain that it is He and He alone that will set us on the correct road to our eternal home.
While books, messengers, other people, and our own reason can all direct us to the straight path, it is God Alone, who can give us access to that path, it is God alone who can keep us firm, and it is God alone who can supply all the circumstances perfectly designed to help us reach our goal.
All we are required to do is to treat Al Hadi with the respect that He deserves. If we follow His guidance, the path will be straight and true.
Al Hadi is the source of all guidance.
Note – Names Related to Al Hadi
Al Hadi refers mainly to continually ongoing guidance, leadership and direction in all aspects of our lives. Ar Rasheed however refers to a different aspect of God’s guidance, namely, being directed to, or set upon, a path with a certain and known outcome, our eternal home in Paradise.
Ar Rasheed is the One who guides hearts to this knowledge, the One who is the source of all such guidance and the One who continues to guide until the goal is attained.