October 2000: Page 1, 2, 3

Submitters Perspective

Page 2

A Gift From God

With the American holiday of Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s a good time to reflect on the many things we have to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday—its very name speaks of our appreciation to our Creator. There are so many gifts from God in our lives. We have to try to remember to be thankful for each of them. I think sometimes overlooked is the ultimate gift that makes everything else possible—and that’s guidance.

How does an American woman raised in the Episcopal church find her way into an exotic religion like Islam? My mother asked me that once, assuming I would name some person who brought me into it, but at that moment I realized without question that it was God who brought me here. The Christian tradition in which I was raised doesn’t really allow for God’s involvement in our day to day activities. So this was an alien concept to my mother. But with this gift of guidance comes the understanding that God is doing everything; He is running every moment of my life; He is with me continuously. Without His guidance to that understanding, I would have continued blundering without knowledge.

God is so incredibly merciful. He doesn’t just tell us we have to worship Him or we won’t make it to heaven. He spells out how to achieve this. Then He sends scripture, messengers and individual guidance. He told Adam and Eve and their descendants: "Go down therefrom, all of you. When guidance comes to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will have no fear, nor will they grieve.” (2:38)

God offers this guidance to everyone.

There are many moments in our lives when we either recognize that guidance, accept it and follow it, or ignore it and carry on in darkness. God then enhances that choice. In our contact prayers, 17 times a day, the one thing we ask of God is: Guide us in the right path, the path of those whom You blessed; not of those who have deserved wrath, nor of the strayers. (1:6-7)

We were all of us in darkness until God guided us into the light, into understanding and knowledge. He tells us at the end of 2:198 You shall commemorate Him for guiding you; before this, you had gone astray. Being thankful for that guidance is an important thing for us to remember. God guides those who seek His approval. He guides them to the paths of peace, leads them out of darkness into the light by His leave, and guides them in a straight path. (5:16)

Very early in sura 2, God describes the righteous: who believe in the unseen, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and from our provisions to them, they give to charity. And they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, and with regard to the Hereafter, they are absolutely certain. These are guided by their Lord; these are the winners. (2:3-5)

If we are guided by God, we are winners. Therefore, guidance is a gift without price. In many verses, God reminds us of the power of this gift.

They act as if they are doing you a favor by embracing submission! Say, “You are not doing me any favors by embracing Submission. God is the One who is doing you a great favor by guiding you to the faith, if you are sincere." (49:17)


Whomever God guides is the truly guided one, and whomever He commits to straying, these are the losers. (7:178)

This guidance is not an arbitrary gift. God doesn’t pick and choose at random. He is fully aware of those who deserve the guidance, those who will recognize it and follow it, and those who will listen heedlessly and then turn away, following instead their own opinions.

Had God willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He sends astray whoever chooses to go astray, and He guides whoever wishes to be guided. You will surely be asked about everything you have done. (16:93)

You cannot guide the ones you love. God is the only One who guides in accordance with His will, and in accordance with His knowledge of those who deserve the guidance. [28:56]

Another interesting thing about guidance is that it seems to be a process. If we allow ourselves to receive it, then God increases it; the sequence and timeframe will be appropriate to each individual. God describes this process of receiving guidance in almost physical terms. Our whole being cringes away from the awesomeness of God; then God actually softens the hearts and minds of those who are striving to let Him in. God makes a comparison in terms we can understand. He describes someone willing to accept Submission as having a wide-open heart. And someone unwilling to seek God’s guidance is like someone at the top of Mt Everest, his chest constricted until it is physically painful.

Cont’d on page 3