In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
وَلَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِى ڪُلِّ أُمَّةٍ۬ رَّسُولاً أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَۖ فَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ هَدَى ٱللَّهُ وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ حَقَّتۡ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلضَّلَـٰلَةُۚ فَسِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱنظُرُواْ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلۡمُكَذِّبِينَ
إِن تَحۡرِصۡ عَلَىٰ هُدَٮٰهُمۡ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَہۡدِى مَن يُضِلُّۖ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن نَّـٰصِرِينَ
And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah).” Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth). If you (O Muhammad) are eager for their guidance , then verily Allah guides not those whom He makes to go astray (or none can guide him whom Allah sends astray). And they will have no helpers. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayaat 36-37]
Allaah [The Exalted] informed us that His proofs have been established against all the nations and there is not a nation – past or future- except that a Messenger has been sent to them. All the Messengers agreed upon a single call and a single religion – to worship Allaah alone and not to associate partners with Him- [Ref 1. see more detail on this point at the end of the article regarding the fact that all the Messengers have one religion], as Allaah [The Exalted] said:
أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَۖ
Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah)].
So, the nations are divided into two groups based on their response to the call of the Messengers, [فَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ هَدَى ٱللَّهُ – Then of them were some whom Allah guided] – Meaning, they followed the Messengers in knowledge and action; [وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ حَقَّتۡ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلضَّلَـٰلَةُۚ – And of them were some upon whom the straying was justified]- Meaning, they followed the path of Ghay [deviation from the right path]. [Ref 2. see more detail at the end of this article regarding ahlul fatrah]
[فَسِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ – So travel through the land] – Meaning, travel physically as well as pondering by way of your hearts,[ فَٱنظُرُواْ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلۡمُكَذِّبِينَ- and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth)]- Meaning, because indeed you will see amazing affairs and you’ll not see those who denied the Messengers except that they were destroyed. [Ref 3. See more detail on this point at the end of the article regarding the only nation that was spared destruction when the punishment came]
[إِن تَحۡرِصۡ عَلَىٰ هُدَٮٰهُمۡ – If you (O Muhammad) are eager for their guidance]- Meaning, even you make strenuous effort in that, [فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَہۡدِى مَن يُضِلُّۖ – then verily Allah guides not those whom He makes to go astray (or none can guide him whom Allah sends astray)]- Meaning, even if you employ every means, it is Allaah who will guide him. [Ref 4. see at the end of the article regarding one of the reasons humankind are led astray]
[وَمَا لَهُم مِّن نَّـٰصِرِينَ – And they will have no helpers]-
Meaning, there is none to save them from the punishment of Allaah and protect them from His Torment.
[An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]
عن أبي هريرة – رضي الله عنه – قال: قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم
((أنا أَولى الناس بعيسى ابن مريم في الدنيا والآخرة، والأنبياء إخوة لعلات؛ أمهاتهم شتى ودينهم واحد))
Abu Hurairah [radiyallaahu-anhu] said that Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said, “I am the closest of all the people to Jesus the son of Mary in this life and in the life after death. The Prophets are [like] paternal brothers, their mothers are different but their Religion is one”. [Bukhaari 3443 and Muslim 2365]
Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr [rahimahullaah] said in Fat’hul Baari 6/489]: The meaning of the hadeeth is that the foundation or basis of their religion is one and that is Tawheed and the laws given to them are different.
[Listen here by Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan: https://safeyoutube.net/w/uBhR ]
Ahlul Fatra: Those who lived during a prolonged period between the departure of one Messenger and before the advent of another Messenger and they are called Ahlul Fatrah. Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [rahimahullaah] stated that these people will be given a different test on the day of Judgement if the proof was not established against them. As for the hadeeth in which the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] stated that his father is in the hell fire, the scholars used it as proof to establish that the proof was established against his father, otherwise he would not have said that his father is in the hell fire. So, whoever the call of Ibraaheem, Moosaa and Eesaa reached and they remained upon Shirk, then they are from the people of the hell fire, even if they are from ahlul fatrah. https://binbaz.org.sa/fatwas/29293/%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%87%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A9
The only nation whose punishment was averted after they saw the punishment and believed: Allaah [The Exalted] said:
فَلَوۡلَا كَانَتۡ قَرۡيَةٌ ءَامَنَتۡ فَنَفَعَهَآ إِيمَـٰنُہَآ إِلَّا قَوۡمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّآ ءَامَنُواْ كَشَفۡنَا عَنۡہُمۡ عَذَابَ ٱلۡخِزۡىِ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَمَتَّعۡنَـٰهُمۡ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ۬
Imaam Sadi [rahimahullaah] said, No nation has ever disbelieved and decided to believe when the punishment against them came, even the people of Yunus [alayhi salaam] and this is absolutely based on the perfect Wisdom of the knower of the Unseen and the seen.
[Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi]
1 – The guidance of pointing to and clarifying the truth (bayaan), and directing to it (irshaad). This type of guidance (or hidaayah) is affirmed in the saying of Allaah, the Most Perfect: “Indeed you [O Prophet] surely guide to the Straight Path.” And likewise in His saying: “Is it then he who guides to the truth more deserving of being followed, or he who finds not guidance unless he himself is guided.”
2 – The guidance of granting success and ability (tawfeeq). This is reconciling the hearts to accept the truth and to follow it. This type of guidance singularly is for Allaah to grant to the exclusion of others. None shares in that with Allaah, not even an Angel that is close to Him, nor a Prophet that is sent with a message. This type of guidance in stated in this verse: “You [O Prophet] do not guide whom you will, rather it is Allaah who guides whom He wills.” [End of quote]
Those who go astray due to their own wrong doing:
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ
O you who believe! Answer Allaah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which will give you life, and know that Allaah comes in between a person and his heart (i.e. He prevents an evil person to decide anything). And verily to Him you shall (all) be gathered. [8:24]
And regarding the statement of Allaah: [وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ – And know that Allaah comes in between a person and his heart (i.e. He prevents an evil person to decide anything). And verily to Him you shall (all) be gathered].
The First Explanation Regarding This Above Aayah: It is well known that Allaah is the one who intervenes between the believer and disbelief, and between the disbeliever and Eemaan, between the people of obedience and their disobedience to Him, and between the people of disobedience and their obedience to Him. This is the saying of Ibn Abbaas and that of the majority of the Mufassiroon.
The Second Explanation is that Allaah is close to the heart of the human [by His knowledge] and no secret is hidden from Him. This was mentioned by Al-Waahidiy from Qataadah. And it appears that this statement [reported from Qataadah] is more in conformity with the context [of the Ayah (i.e. ‘And know that Allaah comes in between a person and his heart]; because the basis of this Istijaabah [i.e. responding to the call of Allaah and His Messenger] is by way of the heart. A bodily response is of no benefit without the response of the heart; because Allaah comes between a person and his heart and knows whether the person has responded to Him with his heart or hides the opposite of that.
And concerning the first saying [i.e. the saying of Ibn Abbaas and the majority of the Mufassiroon], it is with regards to the fact that if you turn away from [responding to the call of Allaah and His Messenger], you will not be safe and thus Allaah comes between you and your hearts as a punishment for abandoning [this response] after the truth had been explained and made clear. So, you will be like what (has been mentioned) in the statement of Allaah: [ وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ – And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe therein for the first time]. [6:110]
And Allaah said: [فَلَمَّا زَاغُوا أَزَاغَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ – So when they turned away (from the Path of Allaah), Allaah turned their hearts away (from the Right Path)].[61:5] And Allaah said: [فَمَا كَانُوا لِيُؤْمِنُوا بِمَا كَذَّبُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ – But they were not such as to believe in that which they had rejected before].[7:101] This ayah is a warning against [failing to respond] with the heart even if response had been made by way of the limbs. [Source: Al-Fawaa’id. Pages 140-144.slightly paraphrased]
The Basis of Guidance and Its Increase, Patience and Gratitude – By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah]
Affairs of Guidance That Are Connected to Each Other And Affairs of Misguidance That Are Connected to Each Other – [An Admonition By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah)]