By Ansar Al ‘Adl
The allegation is as follows:
How merciful is Allah’s mercy? He has prescribed mercy for himself [6:12], yet he does not guide some, even though he could [6:35, 14:4]
Verses in question:
6:12 Say: “To whom belongeth all that is in the heavens and on earth?” Say: “To Allah. He hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy. That He will gather you together for the Day of Judgment, there is no doubt whatever. It is they who have lost their own souls, that will not believe.
If it is hard for you to bear their aversion [from the truth] seek if you can a chasm in the earth or a ladder to the sky by which you can bring them a sign [for We are not going to show them any signs to make them believe]. Had God pleased, He would have guided them all [to the right path]. So, do not be carried away by your desire [to guide them].
14:4 We sent not an apostle except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them. Now Allah leaves straying those whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: and He is Exalted in power, full of Wisdom.
Hence, the allegation is that, if Allah is so merciful, why does he allow some to go astray even though he could guide them?
The response is as follows:
- First we must understand Allah’s mercy and love. Allah’s love may be divided into two categories: the universal mercy for all creation, and the special love reserved for those His righteous servants. Therahma(mercy) spoken of in verse 6:12 is universal, and the proof of that lies in other verses, like the following:
40:7 O our Sustainer! You embrace all things within (Your) rahmah (mercy) and knowledge.
The special love of Allah that is reserved for the righteous is described in verses like the following:
19:29 On those who have faith and do good will the Most Gracious One (Rahman) bestow love (wudda).”
- On the question of who Allah guides, we once again refer to the Qur’an for the answer:
42:13 The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah – the which We have sent by inspiration to thee – and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).
Hence, the answer is that Allah guides those people who desire His guidance. Those who turn to their creator and fulfil their duty will receive further guidance. While those who are cruel to God’s creation, who reject His blessings with ingratitude, they will be punished and are not worthy of guidance. They will only be allowed to stray even further. And concerning them, Allah has said:
43:76 It was not We who wronged them: but it is they who have wronged themselves.
With the above in mind, there is no contradiction. God’s infinite mercy is manifest in His continual blessings, but there is divine wisdom in the fact that Allah guides those who desire guidance. If you seek Allah, He will bring you closer to Him.
Whom Allah Guides
The allegation is as follows:
Guiding to truth? “Say: ‘God – He guides to the truth; and which is worthier to be followed …?” [Sura 10:35] But how much is left over of this worthiness when we also read: “Allah leads astray whom he pleases, and he guides whom He pleases, …” [Sura 14:4]. And how do we know in which of Allah’s categories of pleasure we fall? How sure can a Muslim be that he is one of those guided right and not one of those led astray?
The question of whom God guides has already been explained in detail in two of our previous responses, Is the Punishment and Mercy of Allah arbitrary and The Mercy and Guidance of Allah. The answer from these articles is that God guides those who desire His guidance and He allows astray those who seek only to satisfy their worldly desires.
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