Tuesday 25 July 2023

Every child is born in a state of Fitrah (Hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ)

A Hadith attributed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ narrated by Abu Huraira states:
"No child is born but upon Fitrah. It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist." A person said: Allah's Messenger, what is your opinion if they were to die before that (before reaching the age of adolescence when they can distinguish between right and wrong)? He said: It is Allah alone Who knows what they would be doing.

In order to understand the above quoted Hadith, let us explain what Fitrah means. "Fitra or fitrah (Arabic: فطرة) is an Arabic word that means 'original disposition', 'natural constitution' or 'innate nature'. In Islam, fitrah is the innate human nature that recognizes the oneness of God (tawhid). It may entail either the state of purity and innocence in which Muslims believe all humans to be born, or the ability to choose or reject God's guidance." [1]

That is: When a child is born, external factors do come into play e.g. a different religion or even a lack of religion around the child has an impact. The child remains in a natural state until they make a decision and conscience choice with regard to religion.

The Hadith is best explained by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq as it appears in Islam Reigns as under: [2]
What is the meaning of fitrah in this case if it doesn’t mean Islam? The Shaykh explained that it means ‘natural state’ which is one of purity and cleanliness unaffected by external factors. If one was left in this natural, uncorrupted and pristine state then they would surely be guided to the beauty and truth of Islam. The natural state is such that it brings a person close to Islam and that person is more receptive and inclined towards religion. There is a primordial instinct and recollection of Allah and the truth of Islam. However, the Shaykh explained that it is not Islam itself.

There is a hadith of Sahee Muslim that can help one understand this issue more. Once the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was on a journey and they heard a shepherd calling out and they heard him calling out ‘Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar’. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said ‘He is upon Fitrah’. The man then said the shahadah (testimony of faith). The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said ‘Now he has saved himself from the fire’.  

The first statement did not make him a Muslim it was the natural instinct which stirred within him and he said ‘Allah is the Greatest’. The latter statement made him a Muslim.

When a child is born, external factors do come into play e.g., a different religion or even a lack of religion around the child has an impact. The child remains in a natural state until they make a decision and conscience choice with regard to religion.

According to William Chittick, the Koran and the Hadith suggest that humans possess an innate capacity to understand reality as it is, but their environment obscures this ability. The prophets' role is to remind people of the knowledge they already have, while humans just need to remember it. Once they recall this knowledge, they return to their innate capacity, which has always been a part of them and never truly separate. [1]

So let us, dear brothers and sisters in Islam, provide our children a space to understand Islam right from their initial grooming so that instead of being born Muslims notion, they grow up in an environment which teaches them how to be a good human being by believing the Oneses of Allah, Qur'an and the very life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ so as to make them a Muslim of understanding and firm beleif.

This Hadith is quoted in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: Book (#46) of Destiny - كتاب  القدر   / Chapter # 6 The Meaning Of "Every Child Is Born in a State of Fitrah" And the Ruling on The Dead Children of The Disbelievers and of the Muslims. / (11)باب مَعْنَى كُلِّ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ وَحُكْمِ مَوْتِ أَطْفَالِ الْكُفَّارِ وَأَطْفَالِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ) as Hadith number # 2658 e.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

Please refer to our reference page: Sunnah and Hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to know more about sunnah of Prophet of Allah. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references as given below. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.
Photo | Source of Hadith | Resource References: | 1. Wikipedia | 2. Islam Reigns |

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