There are three set or types of ayaths that are used by the polemics.
- Ayaths on the lines that Allah guides and misguides whom He wills.
- Ayaths that use the Arabic word 'ghayy' or 'ghawa'.
- Ayaths that say Allah has sealed the hearts of so and so people.
In the following lines we consider these types of ayaths one by one. But before that we need to understand the word 'Hadaya' i.e. guidance as Qur’an speaks of it.
The Qur’an speaks of certain Guidance on certain degrees. The first degree of guidance is universal and is granted to all beings, living and otherwise:
"He said: 'Our Lord is He Who gave to each (created) thing its form and nature, and further, gave (it) guidance.'" (Qur’an 20:50)
This means Allah has given every creation a particular function and then guided it to correspond to its role in the scheme of things. This guidance is granted to everything and everyone, men, jinns, animals, plants and all the other creation.
The second degree is only for men and the jinn i.e. creation that will be held accountable for its deeds. This guidance is always there and one is free to work for it or reject it.
" And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it. And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness, He has succeeded who purifies it, And he has failed who instills it [with corruption]" Qur’an Surah Shams 91:7-10
And third degree of guidance is for those who heed to the message of Truth and grants them more help in their pursuit of righteousness.
"But to those who receive Guidance, He increases the (light of) Guidance, and bestows on them their Piety and Restraint (from evil)." (Qur’an 47:17)
So when Allah says that He does not guide people it only refers to the third degree of guidance and this He does only because they do not show the yearning for what is the prerequisite for it.
There are some ayaths in the Qur’an which say that Allah guides whom He wills and leaves straying who He wills e.g. Surah 14 Ayah 4 where it reads:
'…Now Allah leaves straying those whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: and He is Exalted in power, full of Wisdom.' (Qur’an 14:4)
Some people especially Christians argue that Allah Himself misguides people and does not give them free-will and therefore He would be unjust in punishing them. This is utterly wrong interpretation!
We have been arguing for long that no Qur’anic ayath should be taken in isolation from the rest of the Qur’an and the Ahadith. Qur’an has to be understand in context.
Other passages of the Qur’an refute such an interpretation. Qur’an infact maintains that Allah has made the Truth and Falsehood clear and now man has the choice to accept either of them.
"By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right; Truly he succeeds that purifies it, And he fails that corrupts it!" (Qur’an 91:7-10)
" And say, "The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." Indeed, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them…" (Qur’an 18:29)
Now we see who does Allah guide and whom He leaves straying and at the same time Allah also clarifies who what is for whom.
"…"Indeed, Allah leaves astray whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him]" (Qur’an 13:27)
"And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right." (Qur’an 29:69)
"Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him)." (Qur’an 42:13)
And similarly He plainly tells us;
"…He causes not to stray, except those who forsake (the path)," (Qur’an 2:26)
"… And Allah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allah does what He wills.." (Qur’an 14:27)
Against him it is written down that whoever takes him (the devil) for a friend, he shall lead him astray and conduct him to the chastisement of the burning fire. Qur’an Surah 22:4
A party hath He led a right, while error hath just hold over (another) party, for lo! they choose the devils for protecting supporters instead of Allah and deem that they are rightly guided. Qur’an Surah 7:30
And it becomes not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious to Allah and His messenger, he verily goes astray in error manifest. Qur’an Surah 33:36
Or deemest thou that most of them hear or understand ? They are but as the cattle - nay, but they are farther astray ? Qur’an Surah 25:44
And they say: Our Lord! Lo! we obeyed our princes and great men, and they misled us from the Way. Qur’an Surah 33:67
Whoso is blind here will be blind in the Hereafter, and yet further from the road. Qur’an Surah 17:72
If you obey most of those on earth they would mislead thee far from Allah's way. They follow naught but an opinion, and they do but guess. Qur’an Surah 6:116
Say: I am forbidden to worship those on whom ye call instead of Allah. Say: I will not follow your desires, for then should I go astray and I should not be of the rightly guided. Qur’an Surah 6:56
Now is the question as to how Allah misguides? This is plainly told in the Qur’an.
“And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers - We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination.!" (Qur’an 4:115)
So Allah misguides the evil doers and those who reject the guidance brought by the Messenger ﷺ by letting him follow the path they choose.
Through His signs He makes things clear and those who will and show passion to follow the Truth, He guides them further and but those who resort to evil, He lets them follow the path they choose, so He wouldn't be unjust in punishing such.
Some quote Qur’an 11:34 which speaks of Prophet Noah saying to his rebellious people;
"Of no profit will be my counsel to you, much as I desire to give you (good) counsel, if it be that Allah wills to leave you astray (yughwiyakum): He is your Lord! and to Him will you return!" (Qur’an 11:34)
We have to see that here Prophet Noah is speaking to the people when they have crossed all limits and even challenged to bring the torment that he used to warned them of. So here Allah's act of misleading is just as explained earlier i.e., He will leave them on the path they have chosen by stubbornly rejecting the Truth. And this may even be about the punishment, the torment that Prophet Noah knew was due for these people because the same word is used in the meanings of punishment and destruction as well. In Qur’an 19:59 we read:
"But after them there followed a posterity who missed prayers and followed after lusts soon, then, will they face Destruction (ghayya)," (Qur’an 19:59)
Some use Qur’an 7:16 and 15:39:
[Satan] said, "Because You have put me in error (aghwaytanee), I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. (7:16)
"(Iblis) said: 'O my Lord! because you has put me in the wrong (aghwaytanee), I will make (wrong) fair-seeming to them on the earth, and I will put them all in the wrong,-'" (15:39)
But interestingly one can see that these are only the words of Satan who is just seeking excuses for his transgression by slandering that Almighty Allah misled him. By using such ayaths they are trying to prove their point!
Some people argue that when Allah Himself says that He puts seal on the heart of disbelievers then why are they to be blamed for their acts. Such arguments come only because of the basic misunderstanding of the whole issue.
Allah seals the hearts of only those who stubbornly reject the message or simply as explained above, Allah seals the hearts of those who reject the second degree of guidance which is universal and only needs one own will to be attained. So we see that whenever Allah says something on these lines in the Qur’an it's always about the stern rejecters of Truth e.g. Qur’an 2:7, 4:168 and 16:106-109. All such passages talk about those who reject the Truth and do no show the will to follow the Right Path.
The gist of the matter is that Allah grants guidance to all by making the Truth and Falsehood clear through His signs within our own selves and the phenomenon around and through the Prophets and the scriptures and everyone is free to follow it. One who hearkens to the message and shows yearning Allah guides him further but one who rejects the Truth Allah lets him follow the way he likes (Qur’an 4:115) and withholds the further degrees of guidance from him, seals the hearts of such and lets him astray.
See now what the Bible says:
Christian missionaries keep saying such things about Quran and malign Islam but they 'forget' for the same applies to their Book of Authority, Bible, as well.
God hardened the heart of Pharaoh according to the Bible:
At least at six places Bible tells that Gods hardened the heart of Pharaoh and he against the Will of the God did not let the people of Israel go.
"And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go." (KJV Exodus 4:21)
Same thing is repeated in Exodus 7:3, 10:1, 10:20 & 10:27.
See how God hardens the heart of the greatest transgressor. Those who speak against Quran, what they have to say about this?
God didn't give Israel the heart to perceive and eyes to see…:
Here are more interesting things for the Christians who malign Islam.
"Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day." (Deuteronomy 29:4)
"He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them." (John 12:40)
'(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.' (Romans 11:8)
God in the Bible misleads the Prophets even:
There are many who refer to Quran 7:16 and 15:30 wherein Satan is reported as slandering Almighty Allah to have mislead him but in the Bible even the Prophets, the chosen one of the God say that they are mislead by Him.
" Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways And harden our heart from fearing You? Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage.” (Isaiah 63:17)
"And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel." (Ezekial 14:9)
What about the above verses?