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Who makes child Muslim?

Metin Karabaşoğlu (Translated by Muhammed Şeviker)

PARTİCULARLY İN the end of time circumstances, there is a concern that frequently expressed by faithful parents. The analyses beginning from that the age is wicked, and increasingly getting wickeder, extend into the point that the parents should decisively protect their children; otherwise, they go astray from religion easily.

The measures stemming from such an analysis often ends up in failure. With the concern of that s/he otherwise goes astray, the child whose will is virtually taken mortgaged ‘on the behalf of religion’ when s/he reaches into a certain age, perhaps because of the repression that s/he was exposed develops an emotional reaction to the truth.

Whenever I encounter a speech, an article or discourse in respect to wickedness of the time, evilness of milieu and difficulty in raising a child and keeping him/her in the straight-way in such a wicked time, the verses of the Surah of Rum occur into my mind. I think this Surah particularly attends to our age in that the name that it carries and the message that it includes. Especially I remember the verse I have coded to my mind as “30:30”.

The thirtieth verse of the Surah of Rum, the thirtieth Chapter of the Qur’an, in the person of the Most Noble Prophet (pbuh) gives the believers both an invitation and good news. The Lord of the Worlds, in the person of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) enjoins ‘so set your face towards the religion as hanifs (worship none but Allah Alone)’; and then, shows that how can be realized ‘setting our face towards religion as hanifs’: “Allah's fitra (intrinsic preposition; inclination), with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in creation of Allah, that is the straight religion, but most of men know not.”

Whenever is spoken of the wickedness of time and circumstances, this verse comes to my mind, and then I remember the famous hadith of the Prophet that refers to this verse. As it is understood from the verse, no matter time, ground, circumstances, and milieu the Lord of Worlds has created all of the human beings on the same fitra, and if any way which acts accordingly to inclinations of man a path from fitra to the religion would be necessarily found. Thus, it is precisely for that reason, if the prophets, in the most difficult times, had subjugated the people who born into, and brought about in the most adverse circumstances. It is precisely for that reason, if the believers of the Era of Bliss had been come out from a milieu called Age of Ignorance. Since, as the Lord of Worlds times and again informs us via His Qur’an, Allah has created universe on truth, brought man into existence on truth, and sent down the Qur’an on truth. Man has a disposition to be subjugated the truth if it is presented in a manner that tries to finding a way to his/her fitra, human being has a disposition to be subjugated to the truth.

The famous hadith narrated by Abu Huraira points out precisely this reality. According to hadith, the Holy prophet, in one occasion stated; “No child is born but upon fitra. He then said: recite this verse and he recited the thirtieth verse of the Surah of Rum, namely; “The nature made by Allah in which He created man, there is no altering of Allah's nature; that is the right religion.” The Holy prophet, having uttered “no child is born but upon fitra”, and recited the aforementioned verse and uttered these: “his parents convert him to Judaism or Christianity or Magianism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?” (Bukhari, Funerals 80, 93; Muslim, Qader 22; Muwvattah, Funerals. 52; Tirmidhi, Qader 5; Abu Dâvud, Sunnah 18.

In another transmission, it was narrated the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to have said; “Every child is born but on this the fitra as long as he does not express himself with his tongue."

Since this second narration has pointed out the equality between the fitra and Islam, in Turkish texts, the first sentence of the hadith were translated as “Every child is born on the Islamic fitra”. However, original text of the hadith is not like this; and this “explication” or “interpretation” causes the main emphasis in the hadith to have lost sight off. In fact, both of two hadith and the verse in the Surah of Rum to which the hadith refers to, for all human beings there is solely one and unchanged fitra, and this fitra fully corresponds to Islam and the Qur’an. So, there are no separate fitras such as that of Islam, Jews, and Christian.

And, as the hadith points out, if the parents do not spoil, destroy or atrophy this fitra that the child has been created on, it should be expected that the child maintains the life journey which started with Islam. Thus, although the hadith utters “his parents convert him to Judaism or Christianity or Magianism” it does not say “his parents convert the child into Islam”.

That is to say, every child, as long as there is no intervention into his fitra from outside, is in a position by which s/he finds the truth. What is incumbent on parents is not “make the child Muslim”, rather it is ensuring that the child who is ‘Muslim’ because s/he has been born ‘on fitra’ of being on this innate situation. This hadith invites us standing clear of a perception which is defeated by anger and attempts oppressive practices with the concern of rendering the child on the true path. It, also points out an essential difference between Islam and Christianity. The Christian perception which attributes ‘wickedness’ intrinsically to the matter and nature, and depicts Adam not with an innate disposition but with ‘an original sin’ envisages that the newborn can only be ‘purified’ by washing via baptism. And, in this way, it points out to the necessity of correcting a person that has been born ‘on wickedness’. As for Islam, mankind is pure intrinsically; s/he needs to be protected at this innate stance, not to be corrected, purified, and reclaimed. Therefore, the mission of the parents it not hewing out a ‘wrong’ towards ‘right’ but, it is protecting ‘a right’ from ‘a wrong’. It is bringing up and upbringing by means of ‘keeping him/her stand’ not ‘curving’.

The modern psychological theories, since have been developed in a social setting where ‘nature is corrupt’ percept which have Christian roots such as ‘original sin’ prevails ascribe to parents excessive duties, responsibilities, roles and efficiencies. On the contrary, fitra (disposition) hadith urges us to read fitra and trust this fitra that Allah has created the human beings on it.

* The author refers to the Turkish word “eğmek” from which “eğitim” (education) derives.


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