Surah Nahl Ayat 9 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 9
And upon Allah is the direction of the [right] way, and among the various paths are those deviating. And if He willed, He could have guided you all.
And unto Allah leads straight the Way, but there are ways that turn aside: if Allah had willed, He could have guided all of you.
It rests with Allah alone to show you the Right Way, even when there are many crooked ways. Had He so willed, He would have (perforce) guided you all aright.
And upon Allah is the responsibility to explain the Straight Path (i.e. Islamic Monotheism for mankind i.e. to show them legal and illegal, good and evil things, etc. so, whosoever accepts the guidance, it will be for his own benefit and whosoever goes astray, it will be for his own destruction), but there are ways that turn aside (such as Paganism, Judaism, Christianity, etc.). And had He willed, He would have guided you all (mankind).
And Allah’s is the direction of the way, and some (roads) go not straight. And had He willed He would have led you all aright.
And up to Allah is adoption of the (moderate) way; (i.e., it is up to ⊃ Allah “i.e., He has the authority” to guide to the moderate way) and (some) of them are trespassing; and if He had (so) decided, He would have guided you all together.
God points out the right path, for some paths lead the wrong way: if He wished, He could guide you all.
Quran 16 Verse 9 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Nahl ayat 9, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(16:9) It rests with Allah alone to show you the Right Way, even when there are many crooked ways. Had He so willed, He would have (perforce) guided you all aright.
9. This contains an argument for Prophethood along with a proof of Tauhid and of Allah’s compassion and providence. The argument is this:
There are many divergent ways of thought and action open for man to choose from. Obviously all these divergent ways cannot be straight ways, because there can be only one straight way; therefore, there can be only one right theory of life which is based on that way, and only one right way of life which is based on that right theory. Thus it is clear that the choice of the right way of life is man’s most important and basic need, for its wrong choice would inevitably lead to his ruin. This is because all other things fulfill his animal needs only, but this is the greatest necessity of his life as a human being and without its fulfillment his life would be an utter failure.
Now, it cannot be expected that Allah Who made so many provisions, and on such a large scale, for the fulfillment of the animal life of man, did not make any arrangement for the fulfillment of this real and greatest necessity of man. Just as He has provided for all the necessities of his life, so He has also provided for this greatest need of his through Prophethood. If Prophethood is denied then it should be pointed out in what way Allah has fulfilled this basic need of man. Experience of centuries has shown that mankind has always blundered whenever it has chosen a way of life by itself. This is because man’s wisdom and intelligence are limited, and he cannot depend on these for the choice of the right way of life. Above all, one cannot say that Allah has made no arrangement for this basic need of man, for this will be the greatest misconception of Allah that He may make most elaborate arrangements for man’s animal life but should leave him in the lurch to search out a way for himself for the fulfillment of this most important and basic need.
10. Here a question arises: Why didn’t Allah will to guide all the people aright inherently when He had taken upon Himself to show the right way? It is true that Allah could have imbued man, like other creatures, with the inborn instinct and enabled him to choose the right way without conscious thought, experience or teaching. But this would have been against His will which was to create a being, having will and power and freedom to follow the right way or the wrong way, whichever he chose for himself. This is why he has been endowed with different means of knowledge and power of conscious thought, deliberation and will, and has been empowered with the authority to make use of all powers in him and all things around him. Moreover, He has placed in him and all around him such factors as might lead him to guidance or deviation. All these things would have become meaningless, had he been created righteous by birth, and he could never have attained the heights of progress, which can be achieved only by the right use of freedom. That is why Allah has chosen Prophethood for man’s guidance, and left him free to follow or reject a Prophet. This is a test by means of which Allah judges whether man accepts the guidance that is presented to him in a rational way.
The tafsir of Surah An-Nahl verse 9 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Nahl ayat 8 which provides the complete commentary from verse 8 through 9.
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