Question and answer details
|As-salaamu `alaykum, I am a student currently pursuing my bachelors degree. For my Islamic Studies assignment I chose the topic ‘hidayah because I consider it something very rare these days and I believe it plays a very essential part in preserving and practicing Islam. I was hoping to get some information regarding its definition, its meaning and importance, and how one may get or lose hidayah. Thank you.|
Salam Dearest Uzair,
Please let me congratulate you for this good question that reflects deep insight and true desire of seeking knowledge. May Allah purify our hearts from heedlessness and grant us hidayah, amen!
First of all, the Arabic word ‘ hidayah’ means guidance. The verb ‘yahdi’ means 'to grant guidance'. Of course, it is Allah who grants guidance to people, thus hidayah is a God-given gift, which He places in the heart of whomever He wants to give guidance.
Almighty Allah says in Surah 2, verse 73, what means:
Hidayah is mentioned in so many places in the Quran and the hadith. It is in fact the merit that elevates Man and makes him distinguished from animals. Thus, the Quran describes those who lack guidance and those who are cut from their Lord as being degraded to the level of animals in the sense that they will be looking only for fulfilling the lusts and needs of the flesh. Hidayah is always associated with the spiritual elevation a person feels when Almighty Allah helps him or her offer a good deed or find a way to his/her problems.
The Quran itself is described, before all, as ‘ Huda’ (guidance). Like the beacon that shows us the way in the darkness, the solace for the agonized hearts, the rope of salvation for a drowning person, hidayah plays a vital role in our lives. It separates those who lead an animalistic life from those who are liked to their Lord, those who know their way from those who are lost in the jungle.
The Quran makes it clear that there are certain conditions and qualifications to gain hidayah. In the very beginning of Surat al-Fatihah (Surah 1), believers are indirectly instructed to seek guidance from Allah. Almighty Allah says in verses 6 and 7 what means:
The Quran also clarifies that those who gain guidance and feel its sweetness are not the sleepy, the lazy or the advocates of the evil, but it is the pious and the devout who spend their all for the sake of Allah. Almighty Allah speaks of the Quran as being ‘hudan li-l-muttaqeen’ (a guidance unto those who ward off - evil.) Simply, because God helps only those who want to help themselves.
"The similitude of that guidance and knowledge with which Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, has sent me is that of rain falling upon the earth. There is a good piece of land which receives the rainfall readily and as a result of it there is grown in it herbage and grass abundantly. Then there is a land hard and barren that retains water and the people derive benefit from it and they drink and make the animals drink.
The Ways to Gain Hidayah:
Allah says in Surah 8, verse 24, what means:
When one of us has a precious stone, he/she will cherish it and look after it all the time. By the same token, when Allah grants you guidance, then you are gifted with something very precious. You should care for it, die but never lose it, for the moment you lose it, you lose yourself, you lose your heart and you lose your soul…
To keep this ni`ma (blessing), a Muslim should always show gratefulness to Allah for it, since Allah says in Surah 14, verse 7, what means:
It is clear that when a person shows thankfulness, Allah will grant him/her more. Also, showing obedience to Allah is the highest way to keep this blessing of hidayah.
If you are enjoying a blessing, take care of it,
And bear in mind that sins will remove blessings.
And protect that blessing with obeying Allah,
For He is always swift in punishing wrongdoers.
When Imam Ash-Shafi`e looked at the ankle of a woman, he was deprived from the nour (light) and found it difficult to memorize. When he complained to Wakee` (his teacher), he said to him that he should seek Allah's forgiveness for the action of disobedience he did so as to regain that light in the heart and the mind.
To Wakee` I complained my inability to memorize,
He instructed me to give up any sin.
He also said: “Knowledge is a Divine light
Which Allah grants not to a sinful man.”
So, a Muslim should keep himself remote from disobedience as far as he can so as to gain hidayah, find his/her way and lead his/her life in peace and tranquility. May Allah purify our hearts and guide us to the best of deeds in this world and in the afterlife, amen!