The necessity of seeking guidance from God
Praise be to Allah, the Most Generous, the All-Responsive to every person who calls Him, the Creator, fully aware of the last and the first.
Praise be to Allah, the Most Generous, the All-Responsive to every person who calls Him, the Creator, fully aware of the last and the first. We seek refuge in the light of His Noble Face from temptation in the present and the future, and I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, He is the true God, everything except Allah is false, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger, the guide and a deliverer of good news, and the illuminating lamp, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him and his family and companions as per the number of dews drops and the number of what is in the earth and sky.
I advise you and myself to fear Allah. (O you who have believed, fear Allah and seek the means [of nearness] to Him and strive in His cause that you may succeed.) [Almaidah 35].
O, Honourable people, the greatest Sura in the Noble Qur’an is Al-Fatihah, the first half this surah is praise, glorification and extolment, and the remaining half is a supplication! So, after reciting it, it is Sunnah for us to say (Amen) in order to seek acceptance of this great supplication!
Do we feel this supplication during our recitation and saying Amen?! Or do we recite it and say Amen while our hearts are unaware and neglectful?! This is one of the things that lose the effect of supplication and obscure its acceptance! Do we perceive the status of guidance and our constant need for Allah for guidance?! Rather, we need Allah's guidance for us.
Come, dear people, let us contemplate some of the texts that show the importance of the status of guidance and our necessity for it... The guidance has ranks and degrees.
Brothers of faith, the request for guidance was always the part of the supplications of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him “Abdullah bin Mas'ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) used to say:
"Allahumma inni as'alukal-huda wat- tuqa wal-'afafa wal-ghina (O Allah! I ask You for guidance, piety, chastity and self- sufficiency)".
O, my dears: here is a hadith for you, you contemplate in it about glorification and then supplication after it, in Sahih Muslim.
'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Auf reported:
I asked 'A'isha, the mother of the believers, (to tell me) the words with which the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commenced the prayer when he got up at night. She said: When he got up at night he would commence his prayer with these words: O Allah, Lord of Gabriel, and Michael, and Israfil, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who knowest the unseen and the seen; Thou decidest amongst Thy servants concerning their differences. Guide me with Thy permission in the divergent views (which the people) hold about Truth, for it is Thou Who guidest whom Thou wilt to the Straight Path. (Sahih Muslim).
The servants of the Most Merciful:
Contemplate this supplication mentioned in the greatest Surahs of the Qur’an, which was enacted in the greatest obligation after monotheism. We say Amen after (reciting) it in every Rak’ah. The prayer is a guidance, and the recitation of Qur’an is guidance, yet, Allah chose for us to ask for guidance!
We do not know all the details of the straight path, so we need to know them. The thing that we do not know and that make it difficult from the things which differed, are more.
Moreover, the details that we have learned about following the straight path, we cannot perform all of it, so after we have learned it, we need Allah to make us capable and prepare to do it. Then, that we know and are able do, we cannot be capable for applying and doing it completely, because we may leave it lazily, so we need Allah to help us to do it. And that we know, are able to do, and given a chance (by Allah) to do it, we need to be performed perfectly, purely, and sincerely for Allah. Then, what we know, are able to do, and given a chance (by Allah) to perform it, we need to save it from what invalidates it or reduces its reward.
(Do not invalidate your charities with reminders [of it] or injury) [Al-Baqarah 264].
(O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds) [Muhammad 33].
The guidance has many levels, whenever the servant fears (Allah) as a slave, he approaches the highest peaks. The Sheikh Al- Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “It is from the regular supplication that has been obligated on him, and getting repeated with the reptation of the prayers. Rather, the Rak’ahs whether obligatory or voluntarily, include the supplication, the Mother of the Qur’an, He Almighty says: (Guide us to the straight path - The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have earned [Your] anger or of those who are astray)(Al-Fatiha 6-7) Because every servant is always compelled to the purpose of this supplication, which is the guidance to the straight path. (Al-Fatawa 22/399).
What shows the importance of guidance is that the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, instructed Ali (May He be pleased with him) to supplicate for it: ‘Ali said that God’s messenger told him to say, "O God, guide me and dispose me to do what is right,” keeping in mind when asking for guidance his being guided in the right way, and when asking for disposal to do what is right an arrow’s faculty of hitting the mark. (Muslim transmitted it).
‘The supplication he said most frequently was: “O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion (Yā Muqallibal-qulūb, thabbit qalbī `alā dīnik).’
As authencally narrated in the books of Hadith that prophet -peace and blessing of Allah be upon him- sought refuge from Allah from “loss after plenty”. And He the glory be for Him taught us the supplication of those firm in knowledge: [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) [Ali Imran 8].
If this is the supplication of those who are firm in knowledge, then others are more worthy. Look at the friend of Allah Ibrahim, peace be upon him, how he supplicated to Allah to save him from greater polytheism:
And [mention, O Muḥammad], (when Abraham said, My Lord, make this city [i.e., Makkah] secure and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols) [Ibrahim 35].
So, O Allah, O Possessor of Majesty and Honour, we ask you in this blessed hour for guidance, piety, chastity and self- sufficiency., O Lord of majesty and honour: (Guide us to the straight path - The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have earned [Your] anger or of those who are astray) [Al-fatiha 6-7]. [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) [Ali Imran 8].
‘Seek your Lord’s forgiveness, ˹for˺ He is truly Most Forgiving.
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Praise be to Allah the Almighty, the Guide, the Near and the Sufficient, and I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, the All-Hearing, the Curer, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger/ May Allah open his chest, raise his remembrance, and made him an example for the believers: (There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent patternfor anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often) [Al-Ahzab 21] May the plenty peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family and companions.
The servants of the Most Merciful:
Allah is the Guide, and He, Glory be to Him, has made for guidance ways to reach it:
One of them: supplication and holding firmly to Allah. Several prophetic supplications have passed through us. In the divine hadith:O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you (Transmitted by Muslim) (And whoever holds firmly to Allahhas [indeed] been guided to a straight path) [Ali Imaran 101].
Among the ways of guidance that leads to it are: the words of Allah Almighty by reciting it, pondering it, listening to it, and acting upon it: (This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah) [Al-Baqarah 2] (There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book [i.e., the Qur’ān]. By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peaceand brings them out from darkness into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path). [Al-Maidah 15-16].
Among its ways that leads to it are: Fearing Allah, establishing prayers in the houses of Allah with the Muslims comunity, and paying Zakat.
(The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakāh and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided) [Al-Taubah 18] Ibn Mas'ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
“He who likes to meet Allah tomorrow (i.e., on the Day of Requital) as a Muslim, should take care and observe the Salat when the Adhan is announced for them. Allah has expounded to your Prophet (ﷺ) the ways of right guidance, and these (the prayers) are part of the right guidance”. (Narrated by Muslim).
Among the ways that lead to it is: striving against oneself for what pleases Allah, Glory be to Him: (And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways.And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good) [Al-Ankaboot 69]. Sometimes the struggle requires patience, effort and sacrifice!
Among them: To achieve Tawheed (oneness of Almighty Allah) glory be to Him, (They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice - those will have security, and they are [rightly] guided). [al-Anaam 82].
Among the gates of guidance: responding to Allah and His Messenger, for the good deed invites its sister. (So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be guided). [Al-aaraaf 158]. Allah Almighty said: (And those who are guided - He increases them in guidance and gives them their righteousness) [Muhammad 17].
Among the ways of guidance that lead to it: Turning to Allah with repentance, Glory be to Him: (Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him]) [Al-Shura 13].
And He, glory be to Him, said: (But those who have avoided ṭāghūt,1 lest they worship it, and turned back to Allah - for them are good tidings. So give good tidings to My servants Who listen to speech and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding).[Al-Zumar 17-18].
Finally, servants of Allah:
In the present time, which has many doubts and desires, our necessity increases for guidance Allah for us and seeking their causes: “It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) observed:
Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. During (that stormy period) a man would be a Muslim in the morning and an unbeliever in the evening or he would be a believer in the evening and an unbeliever in the morning, and would sell his faith for worldly goods”.
Then, invoke Allah’s blessings upon him, and salute him with worthy greetings of peace.