Al Hudaa: Guidance Par Excellence
Ramadhaan commemorates revelation.
Observing fast for one full month is an expression of Muslims’ gratitude to Almighty Allah for the gift of Al Qur’an, Guidance par excellence.
As we are in the blessed month of Ramadhaan, I thought it is apt to discuss on the nature, concept, significance and matters concerning Guidance in Islam.
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ﴿١٨٥
“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Surah al Baqarah 2: 185)
The Arabic words Hada, Hudaa, and Hidayah are merely translated as guidance in English language.
Given the depth of the meaning and connotation of the Qur’anic word ‘Hudaa’, translating it as ‘guidance’ doesn’t bring out the full import of the Qur’anic word Al Hudaa.
It is better to translate Hudaa/Hada as ‘Guidance Par Excellence‘ or one can simply call it as Right Guidance or Divine Guidance or the Only True Guidance.
Let us first try to understand some related terms, Inshaa’Allah:
The root word is ه د ي – ha daal yaa: It carries different meanings such as: guide, vanguard, to guide, to rightly guide, to explain, to clarify, road, daylight, objective, piety, mode, manner, a present, a sacrificial offering.
Words that are derived from this root and are mentioned in the Qur’an are:
1. Hada – هَدَى (transitive verb)
Meaning 1: To give the ability to know right from wrong, to give the ability to fend for oneself, to instill the instinct for survival. Refer this ayah as example.
Meaning 2: To provide or offer guidance. Refer Ayah as example
Meaning 3: To guide to the right path. Refer Ayah as example
Meaning 4: (Of Allah) to lead to Paradise, to guide to ultimate heavenly reward. Refer this ayah as example
Meaning 5: (used ironically) to lead someone or something (the wrong way) Refer this ayah as example
2. Hudiya – هٌدِيَ (passive voice):
Meaning 1: to be shown the way. Refer this Ayah as example
Meaning 2: to be guided. Refer this Ayah as example
3. Ihtadaa اهْتَدَى (different form of transitive verb)
Meaning 1: to use for guidance. Refer Ayah as example
Meaning 2: to seek guidance. Refer this ayah as example
Meaning 3: to find guidance. Refer this ayah as example
Meaning 4: to follow in the footsteps of the rightly guided, to accept guidance. Refer ayah as example
Meaning 5: to stay on the right course. Refer ayah as example
4. Yahiddi يَهِدِّي (an assimilated of imperfect verb for VIII)
Meaning: to guide someone, to manage to find guidance. Refer to this as example
5. Haadi هاَدِي (Active participle)
Meaning 1: One guiding to the right path example. Know that Allah is Al Haadi.
Meaning 2: A Guide, Rescuer. Refer to this ayah as example
6. Hudaa هٌدًى
Meaning 1: (verbal noun) Guiding, showing the right way. Refer ayah as example
Meaning 2: (noun) news, information, directions. Refer ayah as example
Meaning 3: spiritual guidance, true guidance. Refer ayah as example
Meaning 4: the Revelation, the Qur’an. Refer to this ayah as example
7. Ahdaa أَهْدَى
Meaning: More/most guided. Refer to this ayah as example
8. Muhtadii مٌهْتَدِي (Active participle of verb VIII, plural: مهتدون
Meaning 1: one finding the way, one coming to a conclusion, one reaching the right decision. Refer this ayah as example
Meaning 2: one who follows someone’s path. Refer this ayah as example
Meaning 3: one who has found or accepted true guidance. Refer to this ayah as example