Tuesday 22 August 2023

Man laments: I feel lost - Allah replies: I found thee wandering and gave thee guidance

The feeling of being lost, both spiritually and physically, is often very intense and stressful. The hollowness within occurs when one's faith is wavering and one doesn't really know what is the truth and what is a fallacy or a lie. While one may steer oneself physically if lost by following landmarks or signs or even asking others the way to one's destination, the spiritual loss is another domain altogether.

When it comes to faith, the problem assumes a much trickier and complex nature. It is like differentiating between One True God and a God within a God or a path to the God through another God. In such like confusing states, it is Allah alone, the true monotheist God, who guides His servants to the plain truth and the only righteous path. It is this theme that we will be discussing in the 7th verse of Surah 93. Adh-Dhuha (The Morning Light). To under the reference to the context, please read the exegesis of the Surah Adh-Dhuha. It can only be said here that the subject here is Prophet Muhammad, whom Allah is telling that He found him lost spiritually as to what was the truth and what was a lie and put him on the right track of Tawhid and Islam:

وَوَجَدَكَ ضَآ لًّا فَهَدٰى‏ 
And He found thee wandering and He gave thee guidance
The word daallan "ضَآ لًّا"as used in the original is derived from dalalat, which has several meanings in Arabic. Its one meaning is to be lost in error and deviation; another, to be unaware of the way and to be bewildered at the crossroads as to which way one should choose; still another meaning is of being lost and astray. The tree also is daallah which stands alone and lonely in the desert; the word dalal is also used for a thing which is wasting in unfavorable and uncongenial condition and climate, and also for heedlessness, of which there is an example in the Qur'an itself: La yadillu Rabbi wa la yansa:. "My Lord is neither heedless nor He forgets." ('Ta Ha: 52). Out of these different meanings. The first meaning does not apply here, for in the historical accounts of the Holy Prophet's life, from childhood till just before Prophethood, there is no trace that he ever might have been involved in idolatry, polytheism or atheism, or in any of the acts, customs and practices of paganism prevalent among his people. Therefore, inevitably wa wa. jadaka daallan cannot mean that Allah had found him erring and astray in respect of creed or deed. The other meanings, however, can be applicable here in one or other aspect, and possibly all are applicable in their own particular aspect. Before Prophethood the Holy Prophet was certainly a believer in the existence of Allah and His Unity, and his life was free from sin and reflected excellent morals, yet he was unaware of true Faith, its principles and injunctions, as it has been pointed out in the Qur'an: "You did not know at all what was the Book and what was the Faith." (Ash-Shura: 52). This verse may also mean that the Holy Prophet was lost in society, engrossed in ignorance, and his personality as a guide and leader was not in any way prominent before Prophethood. It may as well mean that in the desert of ignorance, he was standing like a lonely tree, which had the capability to bear fruit and turn the whole desert into a garden, but this capability was not being put to any use before Prophethood. It may also imply that the extraordinary powers that Allah had blessed him with, were going waste in the unfavorable environment of ignorance. Dalal can also be taken in the meaning of heedlessness, so as to say: "You were heedless of the truths and sciences of which Allah made you aware after Prophethood." This thing also has been referred to in the Qur'an itself: "Though before this you were utterly unaware of these truths." (Yusuf: 3). (Also see AI-Baqarah: 282, Ash-Shu'ara: 20). 

Yusuf Ali Explanation (continuing from verse 6):
(2) The holy Prophet was born in the midst of the idolatry and polytheism of Makkah, in a family which was the custodian of this false worship. He wandered in the quest of Unity and found it by the guidance of Allah. There is no implication whatever of sin or error on his part. But we may err and find ourselves wandering in mazes of error, in thought, motive, or understanding: we must pray for Allah's grace ever to give us guidance. The Arabic root dhalla has various shades of meaning. In i. 7, I have translated it by the verb "stray". In liii. 2 the Prophet is defended from the charge of being "astray" or straying in mind. In xii. 9 and xii. 95 Jacob's sons use the word for their aged father, to suggest that he was senile and wandering in mind. In xxxii. 10 it is used of the dead, and I have translated "hidden and lost" (in the earth).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual word is ضَالّ. It is an expression of the complexities the Prophet (sws) would be engrossed in resolving before he was called to the prophethood. In other words, it means: لم يهتد الي الطريق. For this reason, this word should not be translated as “one who has gone astray.” It should be translated as “one who is searching for the way.” In other words, it refers to a person who is wandering here and there but is not able to find the right way. In Arabia, before the Prophet (sws) was called to prophethood all the followers of the religion of Ḥanifiyyah were in this state. It is mentioned in various historical narratives that they would sit against the walls of the Ka‘bah and would longingly express while addressing God that they did not know how to worship Him, otherwise they would have done it in the prescribed way. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
The prophets of God have an upright nature even before they are given the responsibility of prophethood. Even in the early part of their lives they never deviate from the obvious norms of human nature; however, human nature can only guide a person in broad areas of faith and deeds. It cannot explain all the corollaries and consequences of all articles of faith nor is it capable of defining the exact limits of all deeds and morals. Therefore, even an upright person who lives by the guidance provided by his nature still needs to know the attributes of God and the requirements of faith in the attributes of the God on whose existence his heart bears evidence. He wants to know the obligations which he owes to His Creator and how he should discharge them. He also wants to know how he should lead his life in such a disciplined manner that even the distant aspects of his life are spent in subservience to God. Unless these questions are answered, a person does not receive real satisfaction and neither is he able to establish a relationship with the Almighty on the right footing. These were the questions which bombarded the Prophet (sws) in the phase of his life referred to by the words وَوَجَدَکَ ضَآلًّا. Obviously, this state of his can neither be regarded as of error nor of guidance. In precise words, this state of his reflects his effort to seek the truth. In other words, it is as if a person is standing on a crossroad and is unable to decide the path he should adopt. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 416)
Through this verse, we learn that anyone who has a sincere desire to know the truth, Allah helps and guides him to His path: The Divine Path which does not confuse or mislead anyone. It is this truth due to which more and more people are reverting to Islam and the many revert stories that we have shared stand as testimony to it. You may read the revert stories from our reference page: Embracing Islam: Revert Experiences.

So, whoever feels lost, must give it a try to read Al Qur'an, for Qur'an guides all those who have a jumbled up spiritual mindset and need a clear answer to their queries.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

You may read this post in our series of posts related to: Al Qur'an guides and helps those who sincerely seek Divine guidance and help

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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