Assalamualaikum w.b.t. Can you explain the meaning of hidayah and what are the differences between taufiq and hidayah?
Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.
We’ll begin by presenting the discussion on the word hidayah.
Al-Raghib al-Asfahani stated that there are four levels for the word guidance, which are:
- General guidance, guidance granted by Allah SWT to every mukallaf that is intellect and a sum of basic knowledge.
- Guidance in terms of the call of Allah SWT for people through the message sent to His Messengers.
- Taufik is a form of guidance that Allah SWT grants to all people that leads them towards happiness.
- Allah SWT’s guidance that is given for His slaves in the hereafter and they will attain paradise. 
The same is explained by Ibn al-Qayyim who also divided guidance into four forms. Here we cite his explanation as the following:
- General guidance: This hidayah is given to all creations, whether it is animals or humans for a certain maslahat. Allah SWT states:
سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى الَّذِي خَلَقَ فَسَوَّىٰ وَالَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَىٰ
“Exalt the name of your Lord, the Most-High, Who created and proportioned. And who destined and [then] guided.” 
- HIdayah Bayan wa Dalalah (Hidayah of Explanation and Guidance). What is meant here is hidayah in the form of an explanation to a slave and matters that do not necessarily make him attain a complete hidayah. Allah SWT states:
وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ فَاسْتَحَبُّوا الْعَمَىٰ عَلَى الْهُدَىٰ
“And as for Thamud, We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance,” 
- HIdayah Taufiq and Ilham. This type of hidayah Allah grants whoever He wills as mentioned in the verse:
وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَىٰ دَارِ السَّلَامِ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
“And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path.” 
There are also those who are granted hidayah in terms of an explanation, however, he isn’t necessarily going to attain the hidayah of taufiq. Allah SWT states:
إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ
“Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills.” 
- Hidayah in the hereafter to head to paradise or hellfire.
Allah SWT states:
احْشُرُوا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا وَأَزْوَاجَهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا يَعْبُدُونَ – مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَاهْدُوهُمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطِ الْجَحِيمِ
“[The angels will be ordered], “Gather those who committed wrong, their kinds, and what they used to worship. Other than Allah, and guide them to the path of Hellfire.” 
As for the residents of paradise:
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي هَدَانَا لِهَٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِنَهْتَدِيَ لَوْلَا أَنْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ
“Praise to Allah, who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us.” 
Whereas Syeikh Muhammad Mustafa al-Maraghi divided Allah SWT’s guidance for people into four types which are:
- Hidayah al-Ilham (inspiration guidance) is in the form of an instinct ingrained in every human since he is born, such as a newborn that even without any teaching knows how to suckle.
- Hidayah al-Hawas (senses guidance) which are hearing, sight and others. However, this type of guidance has yet to bring people to the truth for its ability is limited. Due to this, Allah SWT completes this hidayah with the guidance of intellect.
- Hidayah al-‘Aql (intellect guidance) is the ability to think, understand and comprehend something that can lead him towards the truth and safety in life. Al-Quran encourages people to observe their surroundings and reflect and understand the creations of Allah SWT to strengthen their faith. However, it still needs hidayah al-din which is the greatest blessing of Allah SWT.
- Hidayah al-Din wa al-Syara’i’ (religion and shariah guidance) is the revelation of Allah SWT conveyed to His Messenger to be spread to all mankind as the guidance in life to attain happiness in this world and the hereafter.
Other than the above general guidance, there is also specific guidance granted by Allah SWT to certain people that will make his faith and taqwa stronger. This type of guidance can exist in the form of taufiq, ma’unah (Allah’s help for believers) and others. 
Allah SWT states:
إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
“Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.” 
Ibn Kathir said: “Allah SWT states to His Messenger PBUH: “Indeed, you have no authority to guide whom you love,” which means it is not your affair. However, your obligation is only to convey and Allah is the One who will grant hidayah (guidance) to whoever He wishes. 
In defining guidance (hidayah), taufik should also be understood, where both have similar meanings, however, with slight differences between the two.
Our teacher, Fadilatu al-Syeikh Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Mukhtar al-Syanqiti said: “Hidayatu al-Taufiq is specific for Allah, not given to the prophets sent or angels who are near. Thus, the Prophet Noah himself couldn’t give guidance to his son, nor did Prophet Abraham able to guide his father – not even for their son or father.”
Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali divided hidayah into two:
- Hidayah is mujmal that is guidance to the religion of Islam and faith, this is granted by Him to every Muslim.
- Hidayah is specific and detailed which is guidance to know the details of the branches of faith and Islam as well as His help to practise all of them. Hidayah is crucial and needed by every mukmin day and night.
In another verse, Allah SWT recorded the words of the Prophet Syu’aib AS:
وَمَا تَوْفِيقِي إِلَّا بِاللَّـهِ
“And my success is not but through Allah.” 
Syeikh al-Maraghi said: “Taufik means attaining success in performing all his deeds and good efforts. This can happen when a person puts his effort and seek the road that could bear the results he wishes, concurrently, he prepares the reasons that can ease him to reach it. All of this is only from Allah SWT.” 
Ibn al-Qayyim stated that taufiq is the iradat of Allah that came from He Himself for His slaves to do good, He permits him to do the acts that He please, encouraged by the love for Him.
According to the book of Jauharah Tauhid, the meaning of taufiq is something created by Allah SWT to encourage or induce a person to do good if it is in him.
In other words, hidayah al-taufiq means Allah gives guidance in his heart that ultimately results in the form of good deeds and obedience. Thus, we say, hidayah is general while taufiq is specific according to the Divine revelation that taufiq and hidayah is Allah’s.
Hence, we find that the truth of the matter is that hidayah and taufiq are both Allah SWT’s and it is obligatory for us to ask Him. Thus, we end with the mukadimah of the Prophet PBUH’s sermon where he among others said:
كانَ رسولُ اللَّهِ يقولُ في خُطبتِهِ ، يحمدُ اللَّهَ ويثني عليْهِ بما هوَ أَهلُهُ ثمَّ يقولُ من يَهدِهِ اللَّهُ فلا مضلَّ لَهُ ومن يضللْهُ فلا هاديَ لَهُ
“While delivering the sermon’ to the people, praised Allah, and lauded Him for what He deserves, and would then say: He whom Allah guides aright, there is none to mislead him, and he who is led astray, there is none to guide him (aright),” 
We end by supplicating to Allah:
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِنَا فِيمَنْ هَدَيْتَ ، وَعَافِنَا فِيمَنْ عَافَيْتَ ، وَتَوَلَّنَا فِيمَنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ ، وَبَارِكْ لَنَا فِيمَا أَعْطَيْتَ ، وَقِنَا شَرَّ مَا قَضَيْتَ
“O Allah guide me the same as those You have guided and grant me health as those You have granted health and protect me just like those You have protected and shower me with blessings and save me with Your mercy from any harm that You have determined. Amin.” 
 See al-Mufradat fi Gharib al-Quran, pg. 536
 See Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah, 1/304
 Surah al-A’la: 1-3
 Surah Fussilat: 17
 Surah Yunus: 25
 Surah al-Qasas: 56
 Surah al-Saffat: 22-23
 Surah al-A’raf: 43
 See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 1/29
 Surah al-Qasas (56)
 See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 10/473
 See Jami’ al-‘Ulum wa al-Hikam, pg. 225
 Surah Hud (88)
 See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 6/3250
 Narrated by Muslim (867) and al-Nasaie (1578)
 Narrated by Abu Daud (1425), al-Tirmizi (464), al-Nasaie (1745), Ibn Majah (1178) and Ahmad (1718)