The Legal and Universal Will

His guidance in this context extends beyond to reach others because the estimated meaning is: ‘[He wishes] to obligate upon you the traditions of those before you; so do not deviate from it’ and the intended meaning here is not ‘the revealed guidance‘ just as stated in His statement: “Guide us to the Straight Path.” (al-Fatihah 1:6) This is because if He intended that, indeed it would have happened, and there will not be a misguided person among us. Rather that is not the case, and this is legally commanded will signifying preference and being pleased with something. Due to this, al-Zajjaj said: ‘He wishes to show you what will be a means for your repentance, thus He connected the will to an act of His self’. For indeed al-Zajjaj believed that ‘will‘ in the Qur’an is not anything except that, and it is not as he believed, rather ‘will‘ connected with His acts are whatever is intended by it. As such, then indeed whatever He wills comes to pass, and whatever He does not will, will not come to pass. As for ‘obtainable will‘ regarding His command and law, then it is as He stated: “Allah does not wish to place you in difficulty, rather He wishes to purify you.” (al-Maidah 5:6) and His statement: “Allah only wishes to remove impurity from you, people of the [Prophet’s] household.” (al-Ahzab 33:33) and similar to that.

That said, this is His will for what He commanded with the meaning that he prefers it and is pleased with it and will reward the one who does it. It does not mean that He wishes to create and so it comes to pass, like in His statement: “Thus whoever Allah wills to guide, He expands his chest to Islam. And whoever He wills to misguide, He makes his chest narrow, tight.” (al-Anam 6:125) And as Nuh, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said: “And my advice will not benefit you if I wanted to advise you, if Allah wills to lead you astray. He is your Lord and to Him you will return.” (Hud 11:34)

And this is a will such that whatever He creates of it will come to pass. Just like the Muslims say: ‘Whatever Allah wills, is, and whatever He did not will, will not be’. And this will is connected with every event while the legally commanded will is not connected except with acts of obedience. Just as people say to whoever does something obscene: ‘He does something that Allah doesn’t to wish him to’, along with their saying: ‘Whatever Allah wills, is, and whatever He did not will, will not be’. For indeed this ‘will‘ is of two types, just as was explained in another place in the book.

With the word ‘guidance’ He means ‘revelation‘ and the address is to the believers that are obedient whom Allah had guided to obeying Him. For indeed Allah, exalted is He, wishes to forgive them and guide them, and thus they are guided, and if He does not wish that for them, they are not guided, just as they said: “All praise is due to Allah who has guided us to this; and we would not have been guided is Allah had not guided us. Messengers from our Lord did come with truth.” (al-Araf 7:43) However those who are addressed by the ayah are all the Muslims, like those who are addresses with the ayah of ritual ablution. And those who are addresses by His statement int he following ayah are the people of the Prophet’s, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, household: “Allah only wishes to remove impurity from you.” (al-Ahzab 33:33) And due to this, whoever does not obey Him is destroyed. And like what is found regarding fasting: “Allah wishes ease for you and He does not wish difficulty for you.” (al-Baqarah 2:185)

Thus, this is a ‘legally commanded‘ will, meaning preference and being pleased with something, not the will of ‘the creation of what is necessitated according to what is intended’. If it was like that, the ayah would not be addressed except to whoever adopted the ease and did what was commanded; and whoever failed to do that would not be included in the commands and prohibitions which are in the ayah, and it is not like that. Rather legal rulings are a requirement for all Muslims. Whoever obeys will be rewarded and whoever disobeys will be punished. Those who obey Him are doing so by His guiding them – the guidance of revelation and help in that He makes them among those who are guided. It is the same in that He is the one who makes those who pray, pray, and those who submit, Muslims.

If the ‘will‘ here was required from people in order to fall under what was intended, He would not say: “And those who follow desires with that you incline greatly.” (al-Nisa 4:27) for indeed at the time their will had no effect rather it was the same whether it existed or not. Like in the statement of Nuh, peace be upon him: “And my advice will not benefit you if I wanted to advise you, if Allah wills to lead you astray. He is your Lord and to Him you will return.” (Hud 11:34) For indeed whatever Allah wills, it is [as He wills], even if people do not want it; and whatever He does not will, will not be, even if people desire it.

Gardens of Purification by Ibn Taymiyyah Pages 57-61