Hadith Islam

The Fitrah: Children are Born Believers in God


I stumbled upon this interesting research piece from a Dr Justin Barrett (a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind). The piece talked about how children are born believers in God. Here’s an excerpt:

[Dr Justin Barrett] says that young children have faith even when they have not been taught about it by family or at school, and argues that even those raised alone on a desert island would come to believe in God.

“The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children’s minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“If we threw a handful on an island and they raised themselves I think they would believe in God.”

Source – The Telegraph

The Prophet has informed us about this predisposition that Dr. Barrett talks about when he said, “Each child is born in a state of Fitrah (natural predisposition of believing in God), then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian…” (Bukhari and Muslim). The birth of a child upon the fitrah doesn’t mean that he/she is born Muslim; it only means that they have the natural inclination to believe in God. Whether the child chooses to nurture his/her fitrah and worship God alone is something that he/she decides – and this decision is clearly influenced by the parents as the hadith mentions.

Another related passage from the Quran (Surah Araf, chapter 7) that provides the definitive reasons why children are born knowing about God:

And remember when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed and made them testify as to themselves saying: “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes! We testify,” lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: “Verily, we have been unaware of this.” (172)

Or lest you should say: “It was only our fathers afortime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised polytheism?” (173)

The reason why the children are born knowing about God is so that they don’t make excuses on the Day of Judgement that they never knew about God, or that they were raised as disbelievers in God by their parents. When each child is programmed with the belief in God by default, these excuses get thrown out the window.

Are you going to be making excuses when the time comes?

By Aarij Anwer

Born in Karachi. Raised in the GTA. AlKauthar instructor. Qutoof CEO. Author. Bookings:

One reply on “The Fitrah: Children are Born Believers in God”

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