Divine guidance to the Righteous Path

Just as the beautiful manifestations of the Divine system are at work everywhere to fulfil the physical existence of man, similar colors manifest in the system of conscious evolution of man. Allah Almighty has endowed man with the responsibility of physical upbringing as well as a stepwise system of guidance for fulfilling various needs.

Allah has been sending His special men in every era for the guidance of human beings. This is so they can guide man towards the path of righteousness through which he will reach his destination. Guidance (hidayah/hidayat) means leading and showing the straight path. Allah is the Guide and man seeks His guidance. When a man sincerely seeks His guidance, Allah bestows upon him the blessings of His guidance and then he becomes the manifestation of Allah’s guidance for the creation. Guidance is the straight path. It is the path of those on whom Allah has bestowed His special favor.

Appealing for Allah’s guidance in prayer

Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri writes in his book Islam aur Jadeed Science:

When a person comes in Allah’s court freeing himself from worldly pursuits, and stands humbly in the state of prayer, then after the praise of the Lord and expressing his humility, a voice arises from the depths of human nature:

اِهدِنَا الصِّراطَ المُستَقيمَ

Meaning: O Allah! Guide us to the straight path.

In this verse of sura Al-Fatiha, it is being appealed in Allah’s court to show us the straight path. That is to say:

O Allah! Show us the way which will lead us to achieve the purpose in life.

When the perception of purpose and the destination of life are determined, the yearn from the deepest depths of the human inward rises:

O the Giver of hidayah! Now show us the way to achieve this goal and also the straight path to reach this destination.

The purpose of guidance, however, is not fulfilled by these two requirements, because if the destination is determined and the straight path is shown, will it also guarantee the arrival at the destination? No! Many forces are trying to lead man astray. One encounters Satan’s greatest attacks while travelling straight path. As stated in the Quran:

  • (I swear that) I will (also) sit on Your straight path (to waylay the children of Adam till I cause them to deviate from the path of truth). (Al-A’raf 16)

Therefore, to reach the destination, one also needs the guarantee of the path so that he can achieve it in peace and contentment.


Types of guidance

Allah has not only blessed man but also every living soul with the means of hidayah according to their individual circumstances. The guidance is mainly divided into five types:

  1. Intuitive guidance
  2. Sensory guidance
  3. Intellectual guidance
  4. Inward guidance
  5. Divine guidance

Intuitive guidance

Shibli Nomani and Abul Kalam Azad interpret instinctive capacity as intuitive guidance. According to Abu al-Kalam, instinctive capacity or guidance is that there is an inner inspiration in every creature which automatically puts it on the path of life and sustenance, and it does not need external guidance and education.

Undoubtedly, it is an intuitive guidance of Allah, which exists in every creature and which opens to them all avenues of life and sustenance. This guidance is given to every living soul at birth, which is mentioned in the Quran as follows:

  • Our Lord is He Who brought everything into being (as most suitable), then guided it (according to its potential). (Taha 50)

Sensory guidance

The second level of guidance is related to the faculty of senses. We see that although animals are deprived of the essence of the brain which is interpreted as intellect. But Allah has given them all the abilities they need for life. This sensory guidance is not same for all creatures. Instead it has been given to each being according to its ability and need. For example, the eyes of an eagle and a kite are sharp because if they were not, they will not see their prey while flying. The Holy Quran mentions hidayah that came from the five senses as follows:

  • Indeed, the ear, the eye, and the heart, each of them will be questioned. (Al-Isra 36)

Intellectual guidance

The intellectual guidance comes from comprehension and understanding. The Holy Quran uses words like inward, intellect and comprehension for this type of guidance:

افلا تعقلون

 Meaning: Do you not understand?

افلا  یتدبرون

Meaning: Do they not ponder over?

Inward guidance

Inward guidance is achieved by purifying the inward and through inner light after the sanctification of inciting innerself. The Holy Quran mentions inward guidance in terms of inspirational knowledge (ilm-e-ladunni), as the Quran says about al-Khidr:

  • We had bestowed upon him a (special) mercy from Our court, and had taught him inspirational knowledge (i.e., the knowledge of secrets and gnosis). (Al-Kahf 65)

Divine guidance

There are three levels of Divine guidance also known as three stages of guidance:

  1. Guidance of the common
  2. Hidayah (guidance) of the special
  • Guidance to gain Divine gnosis

Guidance of the common

This guidance is revealed upon Prophets in the form of revelation and through them it is disseminated to common people. As stated in the Quran:

  • And We made from amongst them authorities and leaders who kept disseminating guidance by Our command. (Al-Sajdah 24)

This guidance is for all mankind and no one is discriminated in it. It gives everyone an awareness of the purpose of life and that of destination.

Guidance of the special

This is the second stage of Divine guidance. This level of guidance is bestowed upon the people of faith. Those who, after bringing faith in the call of the Prophets, strive to attain the goal of eternal bliss, are blessed with this guidance. This stage of guidance is obtained only through faith and good deeds. It is a higher stage of guidance than the guidance of the common and is given only to those who strive in the way of Allah. Allah says:

  • Those who strive hard (struggle against the inciting innerself vehemently for Our cause) We certainly guide them to Our ways (Al-Ankabut 69)

Guidance to gain Divine gnosis

This stage of guidance is only for those true believers who fulfill the conditions of piety. This is the final and ultimate stage of guidance that guarantees success and prosperity to the destination. This is the highest form of guidance which no other book in the world can guarantee except the Holy Quran. The Almighty says:

  • Allah will soon put them on the straight path (of Paradise) and will greatly enhance their states of being (in the hereafter). (Mohammad 5)


(Islam aur Jadeed Science)

 Levels of guidance with reference to اِهدِنَا الصِّراطَ المُستَقيمَ

Considering the above three stages of guidance, the verse ‘Guide us to the straight path’ ( اِهدِنَا الصِّراطَ المُستَقيمَ  ), also has three words. Each word indicates one stage of guidance.

The first word is ‘guide us’ ( اِهدِنَا ), the second word is ‘to the path’ ( الصِّراطَ ), and the third word is ‘the straight’ ( الصِّراطَ ).

Praying for guidance in salat

Through the call of اِهدِنَا , man seeks conscious guidance from Allah: O Allah! Guide me, O Allah! Tell me about my purpose in life. What is my destination? Why was I sent into the world?

The answer comes:

O My servant! You have sincerely asked Me the purpose of your life; I will inform you of this purpose.

The second appeal is:

O Allah! Which path leads to the destination? Which way should we travel to reach it? Show me the way to reach the destination.

Satanic deceptions in the straight path

When Allah showed the way, man pleaded that there are satanic deceptions in the way which deviate from the straight path because Satan has sworn that He will sit in the way of people and lead them astray. O Allah! Show me the straight path and the path of perseverance that will take me to the destination. When this call emanates from the inward, Allah’s guidance turns towards man and reveals the message of safety and perseverance and says the following:

If you wish to receive the guarantee of reaching your destination with safety and perseverance, then come join the company of those men upon whom I bestowed favors. Adopt their companionship because I have never been angry with them and they have never strayed from the straight path.

  • The path of those upon whom You have bestowed Your favors, not of those who have been afflicted with wrath, nor of those who have gone astray. (Al-Fatiha 7)

The seeker of hidayah who will join the company of the beloveds of Allah will achieve success in the purpose of life. He will find his destination, and no one will be able to lead him astray because Satan has confessed his humility and helplessness as stated below:

  • I will surely lead them all astray except those of Your exalted servants who have attained freedom (from my deceits and intrigues of the ill commanding selves) (Al-Hijr 39-40)

(Surat-e-Fatiha aur Tasawur-e-Hidayat)

Who receive Divine guidance?

The Holy Quran mentions about guidance and depravity at many instances that just as other blessings are in Allah’s authority, so is guidance and depravity. Whoever seeks guidance, Allah will bestow it upon him, and whoever does not desire for it, Allah will leave him open in error.

  • And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path. (Al-Baqara 213)
  • And had Allah so willed, He would have made (all) of you one umma (community) but He holds strayed whom He wills and leads to guidance whom He wills. And We will surely ask you about the deeds you used to do. (An-Nahl 93)

Whomsoever Allah sends astray, for him there is no guide. He says in the Holy Quran:

  • O Prophet! The truth is that whoever you like (to bring on to the path of guidance), you do not yourself bring him on to the path of guidance. Instead, (it so happens that) whomever Allah pleases, He makes him tread the path of guidance (through your mediation). And He knows best those who find the path of guidance. (Al-Qasas 56)
  • Their (acceptance) of guidance is not your responsibility. It is Allah Who awards guidance to whom He wills. (Al-Baqara, 272)
  • Surely, Allah holds astray whoever He wills and guides to the straight path whoever He wills. (O Life of the universe!) Let not your soul waste away in grief for them. Surely, Allah is Best Aware of whatever they do. (Al-Fatir 8)

Divine guidance is Allah’s grace

Whoever receives guidance receives it from Allah and His Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Therefore, guidance is a beneficence, blessing and a Divine grace. Moreover Allah guides all through His signs. He sends His messengers who bring the message of Allah and then He distinguishes the truth and falsehood through them. Then whoever yearns to gain the gnosis of the Truth, Allah will guide him, and whoever is against it will be led astray. And whoever persists in this error, then Allah sets a seal on their inwards. The Prophets convey the message of Allah. However only Allah is authoritative of guidance and depravity.

Who remain deprived of guidance?

Those who turn to falsehood and evil despite the revelation of the truth, Allah leaves them on their preferred path. Allah says the following about those not deserving of guidance:

  • Through it (the Quran) Allah holds many astray and guides many aright. And it is the transgressors who go astray. (Al-Baqara 26)
  • Allah does not guide the transgressors to the right path. (Al-Baqara 258)
  • Allah does not guide the disbelievers. (Al-Baqara 264)

At another instance, the Almighty says:

  • Allah does not give guidance to the one who is a liar and highly ungrateful. (Az-Zumar 3)

Allah astray those who suffer from the diseases of innerself such as unfaithfulness, oppression, disobedience, lying and denial of blessings, etc. Such acts greatly impact a person. They put a veil on his intellect, eyes and ears and leads him astray. Then he does not listen to any advice, as stated in the Holy Quran:

  • And had Allah known even a little (inclination towards) good in them, He would (certainly) have made them hear. But (their state of mind is such that) if He makes them hear (the truth), they will (even then) turn away, and they are those who are averse (to the truth). (Al-Anfal 23)

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman, the present Shaikh of the Sarwari Qadri order and the spiritual heir of sultan bahoo, says about the hidayah:

Invitation towards the religion of truth is vitally important. Bestowing hidayah is the authority of Allah. He who is not guided reveals that he does not wish to be guided. (Shams-ul-Fuqara)


Who are the people of hidayah?

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:

Always ask Allah for the straight path (Sirat al-Mustaqim). It is the path of those upon whom Allah bestowed His favors. (Shams-ul-Fuqara)


Eternal success is in following the chosen men of Allah

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri writes:

There are some men of Allah on whom He has bestowed special favors. Those special men are of the following four kinds:

Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. The first group is of the Prophets and the remaining three groups are of Saints. In this world, Allah sent Prophets. He also sends the truthful, martyrs and the righteous who follow the Prophets. Hence the guarantee of reaching the destination with safety and security is in following these elevated men of Allah. And leaving their path means falling into the satanic deceptions. Allah says:

  • The path of those upon whom You have bestowed Your favors, not of those who have been afflicted with wrath, nor of those who have gone astray. (Al-Fatiha 7)

The straight path is of those on whom Allah has bestowed favors. So while explaining the straight path, Allah pointed out His men who are on this path. These rewarded men of Allah are the ones whom Satan also accepted as a sign of hidayah. That is to say, chosen men of Allah are the sign of guidance, the light of guidance, they are the bearers of guidance and the knowledge of guidance. Satan cannot reach their holy court. Therefore Allah said:

Listen to me O who ask for guidance! Let me clarify to you that Satan has accepted those who are my chosen men as sign of guidance and bearer of guidance. Therefore he said:

O Allah! I will occupy the straight path and mislead people, but I will not be able to reach those who are Your chosen men.

If you want the guarantee of righteous path, then follow the footsteps of these chosen men. (Surat-e-Fatiha aur Tasawur-e-Hidayat)

Quranic guidance

The deserving of Quranic guidance are also these righteous and pious ones. Undoubtedly Quran is the guide, and the purpose of its revelation is also guidance. But it guides only to the chosen men of Allah. As Allah says in the Holy Quran:

Through it (the Quran) Allah holds many astray and guides many aright. And it is the transgressors who go astray. (Al-Baqara 26)

The example of the Quran is like rain, just as rain falls on the earth, and its good or bad effects depend on the earth. On good ground the rain will bring forth fruit and vegetation, but if the ground is dirty, it will give off rot and stench.

In the Holy Quran, the Almighty says:

(It is) a guide for those who are pious. (Al-Baqara, 2)

Hence it is clear from the verse that Holy Quran is a guide for the pious, i.e. those who are at the highest level of hidayah and take man to his destination through their guidance. The literal meaning of piety (taqwa) is forbearance, abstinence, or protection from something. In terms of Faqr, it means closeness of inward towards Allah while deviating from everything else. The more the inward of a person attains closeness to Allah, the more pious he is in the sight of Allah.

After the Prophets, the perfect Fakirs are the most pious ones who are the source of hidayah for ordinary Muslims. Moreover, the perfect Saints are the beacon of guidance till the last day and it is through these Saints that one attains Allah’s closeness.

Find a guide who will grant you Divine gnosis

Al-Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani razi Allah anhu says:

You are (spiritually) blind, find the one (perfect spiritual guide) who holds your hand. You are ignorant, find a man of wisdom. When you find him then stay in his company, follow his words, accept his opinions, and ask him the straight path. When under his guidance you reach the righteous path then stay there with perseverance and achieve Allah’s gnosis. (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)

Sultan Bahoo (may Allah bless him) says:

احتیاجی نیست مرشد راہبر

مدنظرش دائمی با حق نظر

این بہ تعلیم است تلقین از خدا

ظاہر و باطن ہدایت خود نم

Explanation: The seeker, who is guided by a perfect spiritual guide does not need anyone else. He perpetually remains under the kind sight of Allah. The perfect spiritual guide is the ultimate medium of intrinsic and extrinsic guidance. Education and inculcation from him are, in fact, from Allah.

He further says:

The initial and final point of the perfect spiritual guide is the same. He is on the straight path and possesses the mystic way of contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat which leads to the gnosis and closeness of Allah, Divine Oneness, and the observation of theophanies of the Divine Essence

Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali (may Allah bless him) says:

The real straight path is the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and the one who reached his holy assembly by travelling the path of Faqr found the straight path. (Mujtaba Akhar Zamani)

Ism-e-Allah Zaat is the straight path

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:

Contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat is the straight path treading which the pure people became the ones upon whom Allah bestowed His favor because it truly enlightens the inward with the light of religion. While those who neglected invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat got entrapped by the innerself and Satan hence were depraved. In reality the death of innerself is the vivification of inward.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is the perfect spiritual guide of the present age. He shows the path of those upon whom Allah bestowed His favors i.e. the righteous path on the very first day of allegiance by granting invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat May Allah bestow His special grace and blessings upon Him and grant us the strength to travel the path of hidayah in his company. Ameen


This article was originally published in the February 2021 issue of Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore (the monthly Urdu magazine of Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr) as  ہدایت .  It is written by Noreen Abdul Ghafoor Sarwari Qadri and is now translated in English by Sofia Sultan Sarwari Qadri. Translator has used American English vocabulary in the translation of this article. If you wish to read the original article, please visit:


34 thoughts on “Divine guidance to the Righteous Path | Hidayah in Islam”

  1. Subhan Allah
    #sultanbahoo #sultanularifeen #sultanulashiqeen #tehreekdawatefaqr #tdfblog #blog #spirituality #sufism #islam #faqr #hidayah

  2. Masha Allah
    #sultanbahoo #sultanularifeen #sultanulashiqeen #tehreekdawatefaqr #tdfblog #blog #spirituality #sufism #islam #faqr #hidayah

  3. Masha Allah
    #sultanbahoo #sultanularifeen #sultanulashiqeen #tehreekdawatefaqr #tdfblog #blog #spirituality #sufism #islam #faqr #hidayah

  4. Those who strive hard (struggle against the inciting innerself vehemently for Our cause) We certainly guide them to Our ways (Al-Ankabut 69)

  5. Contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat is the straight path treading which the pure people became the ones upon whom Allah bestowed His favor because it truly enlightens the inward with the light of religion


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