The Infallible teacher, The Right in Guidance, The Unerring Director.
Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is Ar-Rasheed (in Arabic: ٱلْرَّشِيدُ), the one who guides to rectitude. Allah is the supreme director to the right path and belief. He does not compel people into religion. He has shown the right way through The Qur'an and His messengers.
From the root ra-shin-dal (ر ش د), which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to be directed aright, to be caused to follow the right course, to be directed to take the right way, to be caused to hold a right belief, to adopt the right path.
Among the disputed names:
As we've mentioned in previous names, different scholars have different criteria for what qualifies as a name of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ. Of the 99 names, 81 are explicitly mentioned in the Qur'an. Therefore, there is not one agreed-upon list for the remaining 18 names. Ar-Rasheed is one of those names which is not included by certain scholars. This list includes Ibn al-Wazir, Ibn Hazm, and Ibn al-Uthaymeen. However, others, such as Ibn Arabi, Imam al-Bayhaqi, and Imam al-Ghazali, have included this name in their lists.
The one who is guided:
The name of Allah Ar-Rasheed, The Rightly Guided, is similar to a name we've already discussed Al-Hadi, meaning The Guide. However, being called rightly guided negates all negative connotations. He is infallible in His direction, and to be misguided is inconceivable. Similar in meaning to the name Al-Hakeem, (The Wise). Imam al-Ghazali writes of Ar-Rasheed as "acting without any indication of an advisor or the directions of a director or the guidance of a guide." His very essence is to be rightly guided.
The name Rashid is often said to describe an educated person who's been "rightly guided" or possesses "true faith." A derivative, Murshid, is an Arabic word derived from the same root r-sh-d to describe a teacher. The job of a teacher is to be a guide for a particular subject or topic. In the next ayah, we'll see the use of the word ghayy which is the opposite of rushd meaning guidance to the wrong path.
Laaa ikraaha fid deeni qat tabiyanar rushdu minal ghayy; famai yakfur bit Taaghooti wa yu'mim billaahi faqadis tamsaka bil'urwatil wusqaa lan fisaama lahaa; wallaahu Samee'un 'Aleem
MUHSIN KHAN TRANSLATION:
"There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower." — (Qur'an 2:256)
If you're feeling lost, call upon these names Al-Hadi and Ar-Rasheed. Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is the knowledgeable guide who could make the path easy for anybody. He knows our natural inclinations and can reveal certain routes better suited for us. By Him showing us the way to receive His approval, He can make the path to attaining any goal easier.
Wa annaa minnal muslimoona wa minnal qaasitoona faman aslama fa ulaaa'ika taharraw rashada
"And among us are Muslims [in submission to Allah], and among us are the unjust. And whoever has become Muslim – those have sought out the right course." — (Qur'an 72:14)
Degrees of guidance:
There are different levels of guidance, and it exists on a continuum. It's not as simple as two options, being guided or not guided. Accepting Islam and being conscious of Allah's existence is one form of guidance, but there is more to it.
Qaaloo yaa qawmanaaa innaa sami'naa Kitaaban unzila mim ba'di Moosa musaddiqal limaa baina yadihi yahdeee ilal haqqi wa ilaa Tareeqim Mustaqeem
"They said, "O our people, indeed we have heard a [recited] Book revealed after Moses confirming what was before it which guides to the truth and to a straight path." — ( Qur'an 46:30)
Wa yazeedul laahul lazeenah tadaw hudaa; wal baaqiyaatus saalihaatu khairun inda Rabbika sawaabanw wa khairum maraddaa
"And Allah increases those who were guided, in guidance, and the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for recourse." — (Qur'an 19:76)
These two verses make it clear that guidance can come in different forms. The path of truth could refer to guidance in the form of awareness, knowledge, or understanding. Compared to the path of being rightly guided, meaning in our actions, behaviors, and demonstrating complete submission to the will of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ. So, we can be increased with these definitions of what it means to be guided—being increased in our good deeds, patience, uprightness, imaan (faith), knowledge, and understanding.
Du'a to be rightly guided:
We can learn about and recite the same du'a that the youth recited when escaping from the tyrannical king and taking shelter in the cave. They asked Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ for His refuge to handle their affairs. They pleaded for forgiveness, to remain sound in judgment, and to be rightfully guided. It is an all-encompassing du'a for protection from outside harm, patience, provision, and overall guidance. Some commentators have interpreted the cave as their heart, so when the outside world became corrupt, they turned inward to the heart and asked for it to remain pure and guided.
Iz awal fityatu ilal Kahfi faqaaloo Rabbanaaa aatinaa mil ladunka rahmatanw wa haiyi' lanaa min amrinaa rashadaa
"[Mention] when the youths retreated to the cave and said, 'Our Lord, grant us from Yourself mercy and prepare for us from our affair right guidance.'" — (Qur'an 18:10)
We can find peace in knowing that Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is Al-Rasheed. The guidance that He has provided is divine guidance. He is the unerring director and the infallible teacher. Therefore His direction through the Qur'an and His Messengers (may peace be upon them) is the truth that we seek. We should ask to be rightly guided in all matters. We should approach each problem we face with the looming thought, what response would please Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ? And to be rightly guided to fulfill then whatever Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ seeks. Sometimes it may not be apparent, but in understanding this name, we can trust the guidance that Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ provided for us is what was best for us anyways. We should have no regret knowing the actions taken were for the best.
In the personal striving to have the best character, we should seek to be rightly guided in our speech, knowledge, justice, and emotions. There is a balance to emotions that require mastery. When we suffer a loss, we are allowed to grieve, but we shouldn't become so hurt that we are unhappy with Allah's qadr. It's also possible to be rightly guided in anger. For example, anger for the sake of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ is justified. It is said the Prophet ﷺ only got angry when the commandments of Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ were violated. But this was done eloquently, not to quarrel and publicly humiliate, but to instruct one back to Allah سُبْحَٰنَهُۥ وَتَعَٰلَىٰ. This requires a level of control and balance only the unique possess. We should ask Allah to be increased in guidance and among those rightly guided in all respects.
Ihdinas-Siraatal-Mustaqeem Siraatal-lazeena an'amta 'alaihim ghayril-maghdoobi alaihim wa lad-daaalleen
"Guide us to the straight path – The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray." — (Qur'an 1:6-7)