Muslim Response by Tim
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997

You have quoted:

Allah leads astray whom he pleases, 
and he guides whom He pleases, ... 
        -- Sura 14:4 

in support of your point.  However, like many points, you take 
things out of context, or overlook other texts that clarify things.

Allah addresses Sura 14:4 in Sura 2:26, and many other Suras clarify 
what he means when he says he leads astray. I have asked someone 
else about this because it was of interest to me as well.  His 
explanation is better than any I could give, so here it is:


[14.4]-"....Then ALLAH leaves to go astray whom He wills and guides 
whom He wills. And He is the Mighty, the Wise."

Now who are the people who are astray and what are their characteristics,
this is abundantly clarified in the Qur'an at many places.Some verses that 
define those who are astray according to the law (will) of Allah are given 
below.Do note,if you have the qualities as mentioned in those verses then 
you are also astray according to Allah's laws.


(1) Those who are TRANSGRESSORS (Fasiqoon)

[2.26]"Surely Allah is not ashamed to set forth any parable-- (that of) 
a gnat or any thing above that; then as for those who believe, they know 
that it is the truth from their Lord, and as for those who disbelieve, 
they say: What is it that Allah means by this parable: He causes many to 
err by it and many He leads aright by it! but He does not cause to err 
by it (any) EXCEPT the transgressors"

(2) Those who are take shiaateen (Satans) as friends and protectors

7:30"Some He hath guided: Others have (by their choice) deserved the 
loss of their way; in that they took the DEVILS in preference to God 
for their friends and protectors and think that they receive guidance."

22:4"About the (Evil One) it is decreed that whoever turns to him for
friendship him will he lead astray and he will guide him to the Penalty 
of the Fire."

(3) Those who disobey Allah and His messenger

33:36-".... and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely 
STRAYS off a manifest straying."

(4) Those who are oppressors and are unjust (Zalimun)

[14.27]"Allah confirms those who believe with the sure word in this 
world's life and in the hereafter, and Allah causes the unjust to go 
astray, and Allah does what He pleases."

(5) Those who do not use their faculties of reasoning and listening 
to analyse the message of Allah

[25.44] Or do you think that most of them do hear or  use their 
reasoning? They are nothing but as cattle; nay, they are straying 
farther off from the path.

(6) Those who follow the opinions of their chiefs and great men 
instead of the message of Allah

[33.67] And they shall say: O our Lord! surely we obeyed our leaders 
and our great men, so they led us astray from the path;

(7) Those who are blind and heedless to the message of Allah

17:72 But those who were blind in this world will be blind in the 
hereafter and most astray from the Path.

(8) Those who follow the opinions of the people who are in a majority.

[6.116] And if you obey most of those in the earth, they will lead 
you astray from Allah's way; they follow but conjecture and they 
only lie.

(9) Those who follow their  desires

[6.56] Say: I am forbidden to serve those whom you call upon besides 
Allah. Say: I do not follow your  desires. for then indeed I should 
have gone astray and I should not be of those who go aright.

The above verses describe who are those people who are led astray.
Anyone who has above mentioned qualities in him is astray according 
to the law of Allah. Compare above with what Quran says about who 
are the people who will get Allahs guidance ? See these verses 39:18,
13:27, 6:125 etc.

Above verses are clear in describing that man has the freedom of 
choice to select right or wrong in his life.He will be rewarded 
according to the type of actions he does. Allah is not to be blamed 
for his wrongdoings but he is to blame himself.People are led
astray not because Allah wants them to go astray but by choosing 
those qualities for themselves which Allah has termed to be of those 
who are astray from his path. Their free selection of those qualities 
eg transgression, disobedience, following

Peace, Love, and Light,