“All of you are astray except whomever I guide”: Explanation of Ibn Rajab

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes in his commentary on al-Arba’een al-Nawawi:

وقوله كلكم ضال إلا من هديته قد ظن بعضهم أنه معارض لحديث عياض بن حمار عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول الله عز وجل خلقت عبادي حنفاء وفي رواية مسلمين فاجتالتهم الشياطين وليس كذلك فإن الله خلق بني آدم وفطرهم على قبول الإسلام والميل إليه دون غيره والتهيؤ والاستعداد له بالقوة لكن لا بد للعبد من تعليم الإسلام بالفعل فإنه قبل التعلم جاهل لا يعلم كما قال عز وجل

Some people think that His saying “All of you are astray except whomever I guide” contradicts the hadeeth of ‘Iyaadh ibn Himaar that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah said, ‘I created My slaves naturally inclining towards the truth (hunafa),” and in another another narration, “…as Muslims, then the shayaateen caused them to deviate” [Muslim 2865]. But this is not so, because Allah created Bani Adam and gave them the natural disposition (fitrah) to accept Islam, and an inclination towards it to the exclusion of other religions, and a preparedness for that, and a potential, but there is no avoiding the need for the slave to actually learn Islam, since before learning he is ignorant and does not know. This is as Allah says:

وَاللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُم مِّن بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا‏‏ النحل وقال لنبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم

“Allah brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing at all,” [16:78] and He said to His prophet (ﷺ):

ووجدك ضالا فهدى الضحي والمراد وجدك غير عالم بما علمك من الكتاب والحكمة كما قال تعالى

“And He found you unaware and guided you” [93:7] meaning that He found you not having knowledge of that which He taught you of the Book and al-hikmah, as He says:

‏وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلا الإِيمَانُ وَلَكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ نَّشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِنَا‏‏ الشورى فالإنسان يولد مفطورًا على قبول الحق فإن هداه الله تعالى سبب له من يعلمه الهدى فصار مهديًا بالفعل بعد أن كان مهديًا بالقوة وإن خذله الله قيض له من يعلمه ما يغير فطرته كما قال صلى الله عليه وسلم كل مولود يولد على الفطرة فأبواه يهودانه وينصرانه ويمجسانه‏.‏

“And thus We have sent to you a Rooh by Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is al-eemaan” [42:52]. Man is born naturally disposed to accept the truth, and then if Allah guides him He causes someone to teach him the guidance and so he becomes actually guided after being potentially guidable. And if Allah destines humiliation for him, then He will attach someone to him who will teach that which will alter his natural disposition (fitrah), as he (ﷺ) said, “Every child is born upon the fitrah and then his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Magian.”

‏‏

[Jaami’a al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam 2/39 (ch. 24)]

See also: Imam al-Nawawi on the Fitrah

See also: The meaning of al-Ma’roof and al-Munkar: ibn Rajab

See also: “Consult your heart”: Clarification from Ibn Rajab

See also: Whoever wills, let him believe; and whoever wills, let him disbelieve – Tafsir al-Sa’di & Tafsir al-Shinqeeti

See also: “A donation is not to be compared to a bribe”: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

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6 thoughts on ““All of you are astray except whomever I guide”: Explanation of Ibn Rajab

  1. Pingback: Imam an-Nawawi on the Fitrah | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The meaning of al-Ma’roof and al-Munkar: Ibn Rajab | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: “Consult your heart”: Clarification from Ibn Rajab | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: “A donation is not to be compared to a bribe”: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Allah created His creation in darkness: Sharh al-Mubaarakfoori | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: Whoever wills, let him believe; and whoever wills, let him disbelieve – Tafsir al-Sa’di & Tafsir al-Shinqeeti | Tulayhah

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