The Lord hardens the heart and misguides and misleads as He wishes
by Ibn Anwar
Many a time Christian missionaries accuse Muslims of believing in a God that misguides and misleads men as He wishes. They will then cite certain verses from the Qur'an that at a glance do seem to convey what they're claiming such as the following verse,
"And We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them. Then Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Wise."(14:4)
After citing such a verse from the Qur'an they will lay the claim that they are free of any guilt in their disbelief since Allah has chosen to misguide them from Islam. It's a very sly ploy, but there's a Malay proverb that goes 'sepandai pandai tupai melompat akhirnya jatuh juga' which roughly translates into ?as clever as the squirrel jumps it will still fall'.
Look at the verse very closely. Does it say that men have no power at all to control his own belief and faith? No, it does not say that. What it does say is that Allah has sent a messenger with ?the language of this folk' which is Arabic so that he might make the message clear for them. What that is saying is that the Prophet s.a.w. was sent as a warner to help guide the people in their own language. However, it is not really the Prophet s.a.w. who guides, but it is ultimately Allah. So glory be to Allah who sends guidance.
Tafsir Ma'riful Qur'an says,
"Toward the end of the verse it was said that it is for the convenience of the people that Allah Ta'ala has sent His messengers speaking their language, so that they can explain Hi injunctions clearly and satisfactorily. But, it is still beyond human control to bring someone onto the right path. The truth is that it lies in the power of Allah Ta'ala alone. Whom He wills He lets go astray and whom He wills He would give guidance. He is Mighty, and Wise."(Mufti Shafi' Uthmani, Ma'riful Qur'an. Vol. 5, p. 249)
The verse isn't denying the self ability to recognise guidance and accept it. It is rather affirming God's sovereignty in all things and that everything has to go through His approval and allowance. It is saying that as Muslim missionaries the Prophets were sent to help guide, but in reality Allah is the one who gives guidance and not them. They are only those who convey. Likewise, today's Muslim missionaries are those who convey the message. That is their job. It is not in their job description to make people convert or actually put guidance into their hearts, but simply to convey and invite them to the truth(Surah Al-Nahl, 125). If the non-Muslim chooses to believe by His own accord then Allah will send His guidance, but if he refuses then misguidance will follow. Thus the Qur'an elsewhere states,
"Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve. Lo! We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place!"(18:29)
See also 25:57, 80:11-12 and 73:19. These and other such verses clearly tell us that the individual has the choice and will to believe or disbelieve and Allah will be there to supply either belief or disbelief as He wishes.
In addition, I find it rather crude that Christians have the audacity to attempt to debase Islam from the aforementioned angle. This is because their own book, the Bible(s) is replete with verses that show that God misguides, deceives, hardens the heart of people as well as create good and evil as He sees fit.
God hardens the heart of people and blinds them so that they will not harken and do mistakes.
"The LORD said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go."(Exodus 4:21)
"But I will harden Pharaoh's heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt."(Exodus 7:3)
"But the Lord hardened Pharoah's heart, and he would not let them go."(Exodus 10:27)
"Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land."(Exodus 11:10)
What happened to Pharoah in the end? He got drowned by Moses' miracle. Shall we then conclude that God's hardening of Pharoah's heart led to his demise? Is God responsible for what happened to Pharoah? Shall we blame God?
"Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear."(Deuteronomy 29:4)
"Make these people close-minded. Plug their ears. Shut their eyes. Otherwise, they may see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their minds, and return and be healed."(Isaiah 6:10)
"Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways And harden our heart from fearing You? Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage."(Isaiah 63:17)
"This is why they could not believe: Isaiah also said, He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not perceive with their eyes, and understand with their mind and turn, and I would heal them." (John 12:39-40)
"As it is written, "To this day God has put them into deep sleep. Their eyes do not see, and their ears do not hear."(Romans 11:8)
God deceives and afterwards destroys
"And if the prophet be deceived and speak a word, I, Jehovah, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel." (Ezekiel 14:9)
"For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. Then all who have not believed the truth but have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned." (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
God hides things from certain people as it pleases Him.
"At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from wise and intelligent people and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this is what was pleasing to you." (Matthew 11:25-16)
God creates evil/calamity
"Forming light, and preparing darkness, Making peace, and preparing evil, I am Jehovah, doing all these things.' "(Isiah 45:7, Young's Literal Translation)
"Doesn't evil and good come out of the mouth of the Most High?" (Lamentations 3:38, World English Bible)
"For the one living in Maroth is waiting for good: for evil has come down from the Lord to the doorways of Jerusalem." (Micah 1:12, Bible in Basic English)
What has happened to the lovey-dovey fair and beautiful God who gave His only begotten son that we often hear Christians peddling on every street corner?!? The Christian missionary must think more than twice before charging the Muslim with the accusation that Allah misguides as He wills and using it as an argument against us lest they damn their own faith. And Allah knows best.