The Quran about those who gone astray

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful

The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour!

Not of those who have evoked discontentment or of those who are astray! (1:7)


Let’s consider who in the Quran fall under the description of “those who are astray”.

It would be good to recall the hadith by Uday bin Hachim, which narrates about “those who are astray”, which is cited by Ibn Kassir in his “Tafsir-ul-Quran-al-Karim” tafsir. To the question of Uday bin Hachim: “Who are they (who are astray)? The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) answered:” Truly those are Christians “… The hadith is brought by Al-Tirmizi from Sammak bin Harb, who called it good. The meaning of this hadith does not raise doubts, but let’s see what God Himself says in the Quran about the people who are astray.

The key word in the question in this passage is the word “dallin”, meaning “those who gone astray”. Its root equivalent is the word “dalla”, which means “to wander, get lost, go astray”.

We will try to expand the understanding of this word with the help of the Quran and see which groups of people fall into category of those who gone astray.

  1. Associating partners with God

Indeed, God does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with God has certainly gone far astray. (4:116)

And when he saw the moon rising, he said, “This is my Lord.” But when it set, he said, “Unless my Lord guides me, I will surely be among the people gone astray.” (6:77)

When he said to his father and his nation, “What are these statues to which you are devoted?” They said, “We found our fathers worshippers of them.”

He said, “You were certainly, you and your fathers, in manifest error!” (21:52-54)


2. Nature closed from the Signs:

Or do you intend to ask your messenger as Musa (Moses) was asked before? And whoever exchanges faith for closed nature has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way. (2:108)

O you who have believed! Believe God and His messenger and the Prescription that He sent down upon His messenger and the Prescription which He sent down before. And whoever closes himself from God, His maintainers, His Prescription, His messengers, and the last day has certainly gone far astray! (4:136)

God had already taken a covenant from the children of Israel. We delegated from among them twelve seniors. And God said, “I am with you. If you establish prayer and give purifying expenditures and believe My messengers and support them and loan God a goodly loan, I will surely remove from you your misdeeds and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow. But whoever of you closes himself after that has certainly strayed from the straight way.” (5:12)


3. Taking patrons apart from God:

A group is guided, and a group is in true error. Indeed, they had taken the disobedient as patrons instead of God while they thought that they were guided! (7:30)


4. Not following the Prescription:

Say, “O mankind! The truth has come to you from your Lord! So whoever is guided is only guided for himself, and whoever goes astray only goes astray for himself. And I am not over you a trustee!” (10:108)

Indeed, We sent down to you the Prescription for the people in truth. So whoever is guided – it is for himself and whoever goes astray only goes astray to its detriment. And you are not a trustee over them! (39:41)


5. Disobedience:

It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when God and His messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair! And whoever disobeys God and His messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. (33:36)

O you who have believed! Do not take My enemies and your enemies as patrons! Extending to them affection while they have closed themselves in what came to you of the truth. They expel the prophet and you because you believe God, your Lord.

If you have come out for striving in My way and seeking means to My approval, confiding affection to them, but I am most knowing of what you have concealed and what you have declared. And whoever does it among you has certainly strayed from the straight way. (60:1)


6. Deny the signs of God:

And We certainly sent into every headship a messenger, that they serve God and avoid transgression. And among them were those whom God guided, and among them were those upon whom error was decreed. So proceed through the earth and observe how was the end of the deniers!

[Even] if you should strive for their guidance, indeed, God does not guide those He sends astray, and they will have no helpers. (16:36-37)

[It will be said]. “Were not My signs recited to you and you used to deny them?”

They will say, “Our Lord, our wretchedness overcame us, and we were a people astray. (23:105-106)

But if he was of the deniers [who were] astray, Then [for him is] accommodation of scalding water and burning in hellfire! (56:92-94)


7. Hypocrisy:

And of the people are some who say, “We believe God and in the last day,” but they are not believers. They deceive God and those who believe, but do not realize that they deceive not except themselves and perceive [it] not. In their hearts is disease, so God has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they were liars.

And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they say, “We are but improvers!” Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not.

And when it is said to them, “Believe as the people have believed,” they say, “Should we believe as the foolish have believed?” Indeed, it is they who are the foolish. But they do not know it.

And when they meet those who believe, they say, “We believe”; but when they are alone with disobedient ones, they say, “Indeed, we are with you; we were only mockers.” [But] God mocks them and prolongs them in their transgression [while] they wander blindly. Those are the ones who have purchased error [in exchange] for guidance, so their trade has brought no profit, nor were they guided. (2:8-16)


8. Concealment of Truth:

Indeed, they who conceal what God has sent down of the Prescription and exchange it for a small price – those consume not into their bellies except the fire. And God will not speak to them on the day of standing before Him, nor will He purify them. And they will have a painful punishment. Those are the ones who have exchanged guidance for error and forgiveness for punishment. How patient they are in pursuit of the fire! (2:174-175)


As can be seen, the use of the Quranic method of interpretation (when the Quran interprets itself) gives a much broader picture of the topic of the consideration, than the well-known, traditional variant.