Based on the verse cited above, it seems that God controls us. However, the Qur’an says that God has given us reason, intellect, and free will so that we can choose the way of good or evil. How can we reconcile these?
The Arabic word hidaya usually is translated as “guidance.” However, it also has other meanings: rectitude, the straight way, the way to Islam, and the way of those upon whom God has bestowed His blessings. The Arabic word dalala usually is translated as “going astray.” Among its other meanings are corruption, error, the way of those who persistently adhere to false beliefs and willfully break God’s law, and those who refuse to listen to the truth and thus go astray out of their own heedlessness or negligence.
Being guided and being left astray relate to God and depend on His Will. He creates hidaya to manifest His Name al-Hadi (the One Who Guides) and dalala to manifest His Name al-Mudil (the One Who Leads Astray). He creates, or in other words, enables or “gives” being guided or being led astray. This does not mean that He leads someone on the right path or astray. Rather, being guided or being led astray result from our own intentions and actions, for such is a consequence of our attitudes and inclinations. It has nothing to do with an arbitrary predestination.