The Arabic word hedaya, which means (guidance), is to gently direct to the means that lead to the sought after. There are different kinds of guidance:
First, the guidance to the soul and innate inspiration.This makes the baby gobble its mother’s breast, and the chick pecks itsegg so that it comes out in due time; it makes the baby cry asking to befed or cleaned, and makes the animals, when they give birth, feed and clean their suckling.
Second, the guidance of senses and feelings, and this kind of guidance supplements the first. This kind of guidance is more manifest and perfect in the case of animals where it starts earlier, as in thecase of the senses that start shortly after birth or hatchery; it is alsomore powerful as for instance, the sense of smelling in dogs, hearingin cats, and vision in eagles and hawks.
Third, the guidance of the mind. This is endowed to thehuman being with the exclusion of the rest of the created beings forwhich the guidance of senses and feelings suffices to mould and shapetheir lives and kingdoms, as is the case in the kingdom of ants, bees,and the emigration of fish and birds. All these animals are guided byinspiration which is strong enough to manage their lives as we can see.
Allah endows the human being with a kind of guidance superior to the guidance of senses and innate inspiration. It is the guidanceof the mind that corrects the wrong committed by the senses and expressesits motives. If, for instance, someone sees a huge thing small at a distance, and a straight bar bent in the water, his mind corrects this information and dictates to him that distance deludes the mental faculties in estimating the size of things, that the refraction of light causes the straight bar to appear bent, and that what he sees in the mirror is an image and a reflection of his own self and not someone else; it also makes him distinguish anddifferentiate between alternatives and contemplate what he observes inthe universe, so that he can use it and try to attain a better life.
Fourth, the guidance of religion and prophets. The human mind can not go beyond the known to the unknown or the invisible. If the mind perceives that a super power overwhelms the universe and creates allthings it may be misled into the imagination that it could be the sun orthe stars, or that there are many gods. People are not the same as far asmental faculties are concerned; their awareness of the Divine truth istotally different, their minds can be baffled on contemplating what is beyondtheir senses, thus the mind is too imperfect to attain the knowledge of Allah.
Therefore, Allah, Praise and Glory be to Him, imposes His Knowledge upon His creatures, they must obey Him in accordance with jurisprudence and the Qur’an, and not by reasoning or meditating. He says, “Nor would We visit with Our Wrath until We had sent an apostle to give warning” (ISRAA’, 15), He also says, “The apostles were sent thus, for thy Lord would not destroy for their wrong-doing men’shabitations whilst their occupants were unwarned” (AN‘AM, 131).
Thus Allah sent His apostles and supported them with miracles to back them up and prove their truthfulness, and sent revelations inHoly Books; through them Allah guides mankind to the righteousand pious deeds; through them man knows the forbidden and the allowed,the Divine invisible things such as the questions that the dead is askedin his grave, Reckoning, the Balance, Doomsday, the Path, Paradise, Hell,angels, Jinn, Satan, and Allah’s attributes and epithets and howto supplicate to Him.
Fifth, the special guidance or the guidance of Allah. This is Allah’s Guidance to His Prophets, apostles and people whom He elects and selects. He blessed them and lighted their way and guided their hearts to the truth. This guidance is more profound than the guidance of religion and prophets, where the guidance of prophets denotes their role in revealing to the human being the junction between two roads, one that leads to annihilation and the other that leads to salvation, the choice is left for every human being to select for himself, the ultimate fatewill either be Paradise or Hell. Allah’s Guidance and Grants areselective; He taught us in the beginning of the Qur’an to ask Him in everyprayer to guide us to the straight way; “Show us the straight way.The way of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy Grace” (FATIHA, 6, 7).
These five kinds of Allah’s Guidance have been mentioned in the Qur’an, He says, “Our Lord is He Who gave to each created thing its form and nature, and further, gave it guidance” (TA-HA, 50), “Who hath ordained laws, and granted guidance” (A‘LA, 3), “If We had sowilled, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance”(SAJDA, 13.
Allah also says), “We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful” (INSAN, 3), “It is not required of thee, O Apostle, to set them on the right path, but God sets on the right path whom He pleaseth”(BAQARA, 272), “It is true thou will not be able to guide every one whom thou lovest, but God guides those whom He will”(QASAS, 56), “Is then He Who gives guidance to Truth more worthy to be followed, or he who finds not guidance himself unless he is guided?” (YUNUS, 35), “..but if I receive guidance, it is because of the inspiration of my Lord to me; It is He Who hears all things, and is ever near” (SABA’, 50), “This is the book; in it is guidance sure without doubt, to those who fear God” (BAQARA, 2), “..but enough is thy Lord to guide and to help”(FURQAN, 31), “Those were the prophets who received God’s guidance”(AN‘AM, 90).
All these kinds of guidance are Allah’s Grace and Favour, Praise and Glory be to the GUIDE, He is Allah.