ذٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ ف۪يهِ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّق۪ينَ
“This is the Book: There is no doubt about it. A perfect guidance for the God-revering, pious, who keep their duty to God.” (Al-Baqarah 2:2)
The Arabic word hudā, or “guidance,” in this verse is in the infinitive form. Since this kind of usage in Arabic expresses an abstract guidance that has not been attained through any effort or action, the verse implies that we cannot find guidance, or ultimately the main goal to which we aspire, without having exerted any effort. Ending also with a tanwīn (indefinite noun-ending with the Arabic letter nun), the word becomes hudan—a rule in Arabic grammar which suggests that if a concept is used in the indefinite/unconditional form, then its perfect meaning is intended. Therefore, there is no doubt that this Book is a transcending Divine guidance for the pious. It is perfect guidance for the pious, as it is they who are free from the slightest doubt about it, and it is they who are ready to comply with both the commandments of the Religion (ash-sharī‘atu’l-gharra) and the principles that are in effect in nature (ash-sharī‘atu’l-fitriyya). The pious are ever-disposed to acknowledge the truth, and since they are not prejudiced, only they can benefit from “perfect guidance.”
Nevertheless, the concept “guidance” is repeated at the end of this part of the sūrah: “Those (illustrious ones) stand on the true guidance from their Lord” (Al-Baqarah 2:5). Here “guidance” in the form of a verbal noun denotes the “active guidance” which has been attained through faith and good/righteous actions. That is, it is the actualization of the potential guidance which is in the Qur’ān. As far as we can deduce from the expression of, “for the God-revering, pious,” how one attains such guidance is by attaining a true level of piety. Faith and knowledge of God are the first steps of progress on this path, the last being the good pleasure of God Almighty. Finally, as clearly expressed in the verse, only those who can live up to such guidance will attain salvation.
It can be derived from the context of this last verse that “guidance” is dependent upon God’s having created it. However, the behavior and preferences adopted through the exercise of free will on the part of the human beings are necessary if such guidance is to ensure safety and comfort in this world and if it is to become a means of salvation in the Hereafter.
To conclude, the first “guidance” is a cause, and the second one is a blissfully granted result. Both are an answer to the prayer of “ihdinā,” or “Guide us to the Straight Path,” found in the previous chapter al-Fātihah (1:6), while serving as guidelines for those on the road.