Seeking The Guide
Allah subhanahu wa ta`la (exalted is He) has given Himself Names and attributes (siffat) so that we can know Him. What is most amazing and beautiful about Allah’s Names is that through them, you can see how your Creator recognizes the needs of His creation.
We all need sustenance; and He is al-Razzaaq, The Provider. We all need love; and He is al-Wadud, The Most Loving. We all need protection; and Allah is al-Hafidh, The Guardian. What we need the most is the very thing of which Allah (swt) has an unlimited supply.
And so sometimes we are put through things to know Allah (swt). Sometimes it is to open your eyes to your own flaws so that you can change. But whatever it is, if you realize that the answer to any problem is through Him, and that He suffices all your needs, then your relief is already at hand.
Recently, I found myself to be very lost. And this was alarming because I used to be a person who had direction. I thought I knew where I was going and what I was doing. But things started to fall apart, internally. I wasn’t sure anymore. And then I realized I had three choices – to continue to do what I was doing without putting in any extra thought, to give up entirely, or to re-assess and re-orient.
And because this feeling persisted for a while, I realized something else. I came to know Allah’s attribute of Guidance.
Sometimes this feeling of being lost can bring us closer to Allah (swt).
What is the meaning of this problem? Why are we stuck? We need to feel as though we do not know where we are going, because that is when we start searching. And that is precisely when Allah (swt) shows you that He is The Guide (al-Haadi), and how life changes when the Light of God is in it.
Perhaps you started out something with a sense of purpose, but in your journey you were knocked off the path towards the greater goal. You need al-Haadi. Maybe you are having some sort of mid-life crisis. You need al-Haadi. And we cannot for one moment believe that there is no way out and no right path. Allah (swt) says in a hadith qudsi (record of the words of the Prophet ﷺ, peace be upon him),
“O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you,” (Muslim).
As Allah (swt) gave Himself the attributes of Guidance and Light, how can we ever believe that we will be in darkness for too long?
Say, for example, you are drowning in a pool. Who will you usually call out for? The lifeguard. The lifeguard is already there, watching out for people, and because that is his job, when you call out to him he’ll jump in there to save you. Now Allah (swt) is over and above any analogy, but as Allah (swt) gave Himself the attribute of guidance, telling you that He is THE Guide and He is THE Light of the heavens and the earth, then how can you be lost for too long? Especially if you seek Him. Are we saying that lifeguards do their job better than Allah (swt)?
So what does it mean to go to Allah al-Haadi? It means to take the first step of realizing that He has this attribute, and having the certainty that Allah (swt) will not turn a seeker away. Secondly, it means to ask Him. Make du`a’ (supplication), pray istikhara (the prayer for guidance) and talk to Him. Thirdly, it means to use the means around us. Re-assess your goals, seek people’s advice and take the steps needed to try to find an answer. When we feel an internal instability, these steps may be hard, but Allah (swt) tells us “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways […]” (Qur’an, 29:69).
And so we have to strive. We have to search. It will be hard. And there will be moments of confusion. But the Prophet ﷺ taught us: “Know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship,” (Tirmidhi).
One final action is that we cannot let Shaytan (the devil) make us lose hope and make us keep questioning ourselves. There is a point when confusion becomes wiswaas (whispers) – a sort of paranoia from the Devil. Only when we realize that Allah (swt) is the ultimate Guide and we are seeking Him in the proper way, will we gain full trust in Him and know that He will not allow us to be led astray.
“So those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him – He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path.” (Qur’an, 4:175)