We learn in Quran that we are born on earth free to judge, choose and make all decisions on our own (33:72). Our freedom of choice divinely defines us as humans. It is our weapon to guard our dignity and fight against oppression.
Quran directly emphasizes that it is our choice to believe in God or not. We all take full responsibility for that choice. Based on the choice we make to believe in God alone or disbelieve, there is a consecutive divine intervention that follows. It is either the divine guidance to the truth and to all means of salvation or the divine prevention from that to stay in total darkness.
[2:148] Each of you chooses the direction to follow; you shall race towards righteousness. Wherever you may be, God will summon you all. God is Omnipotent.
[10:9] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, their Lord guides them, by virtue of their belief. Rivers will flow beneath them in the gardens of bliss.
[4:168] Those who disbelieve and transgress, God will not forgive them, nor will He guide them in any way;
[4:169] except the way to Hell, wherein they abide forever. This is easy for God to do.
[39:23] .... Such is God's guidance; He bestows it upon whoever wills (to be guided). As for those sent astray by God, nothing can guide them.
We are all born with the instinct of knowing God as the only Lord and Master (30:30, 7:172). Once we sincerely seek His guidance based on the conviction of belief in Him alone, His mercy to fully present that divine guidance becomes immense and incomprehensible. We start to see all His signs, within us and all around, and we manage to distinguish His path and understand His language of guidance. We recognize and appreciate His laws and teachings in His scripture. The more we become appreciative of His guidance, the more He showers us with His proofs and blesses us with His support and assurance. The narration about Abraham in 6:74-83 proves his sincere desire in seeking God's guidance and displays the inner strength and certainty he was blessed with as a consequence of that when he argued with his people and defeated their flawed logic.
[47:17] As for those who are guided, He augments their guidance, and grants them their righteousness.
[64:11] Nothing happens to you except in accordance with God's will. Anyone who believes in God, He will guide his heart. God is fully aware of all things.
God teaches us that the above divine intervention is designed based on His full knowledge of all of our decisions in the past, the present and the future. He knows them all, from the beginning until the end as well as our eternal destinies (57:3, 16:1, 57:22-23). Because of that knowledge, He brings our way what would fit and augment our choices.. This is a divine, unchangeable system.
[28:56] You cannot guide the ones you love. God is the only One who guides in accordance with His will, and in accordance with His knowledge of those who deserve the guidance.
[2:272] You are not responsible for guiding anyone. God is the only one who guides whoever chooses (to be guided). ...
[19:75] Say, "Those who choose to go astray, the Most Gracious will lead them on, until they see what is promised for them - either the retribution or the Hour. That is when they find out who really is worse off, and weaker in power."
[19:76] God augments the guidance of those who choose to be guided. For the good deeds are eternally rewarded by your Lord, and bring far better returns.
We learn from all the above reminders, that guidance is not the belief in God. Guidance is the divine gift that is conditioned by sincerely seeking the truth and taking the initiative of believing in God as the ONLY Lord and Master. We also could easily conclude that God's guidance or misguidance is represented by how He augments our choice of belief in God alone or disbelief based on His full knowledge of that.. When we pray to God seventeen times a day to guide us in His straight path, it is our hope to continue see His light, dwell on His knowledge and focus on His truth to be successfully redeemed. When we say that we would have never been guided unless He had guided us, it is our acknowledgment that He is the source of all the divine light that has been sent our way since we have made the choice of belief in Him alone. If we are guided to the truth, it is not because we are specially chosen from among all the people to be guided. It is because we chose God to be our ONLY Lord and Master, and as a consequence, we have become worthy of His divine support and guidance to salvation. The continued appreciation of this guidance is validated by our daily strife to live by the divine teachings.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.