The Definition of Fitrah
By Yasien Mohamed
Extracted with slight
modifications from "Fitrah: The Islamic Concept of Human Nature"
© 1996 TA-HA Publishers Ltd.
In attempting a definition
of ‘fitrah’, I give an exposition of its linguistic and religious
meaning. The religious understanding of fitrah is based on the positive
interpretation of fitrah…
Suffice it to say that linguistic
and positive religious explanations have one thing in common: both
define fitrah as an inborn natural predisposition which cannot change,
and which exists at birth in all human beings. What makes our religious
understanding positive is that it not only acknowledges fitrah as
a natural predisposition, but also one which is inclined towards
right action and submission to Allah, the One God.
After discussing the implications
for human responsibility, I compare, for the benefit of Western
readers, the Islamic concept of original goodness with the Christian
concept of original sin. I argue that the doctrine of original sin,
from an Islamic point of view, cannot be reconciled with the notion
of Divine mercy nor the human responsibility. Since the doctrine
of original sin features significantly in the Christian concept
of human nature, and as Islam and Christianity are the world’s largest
revealed religions, this aspect of their creeds presents an interesting
contrast, well worth investigating.
1. The Linguistic Meaning of Fitrah
‘Every new-born child is born in
a state of fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian
or a Magian, just as an animal is born intact. Do you observe
any among them that are maimed (at birth)?’
The word fitrah comes from the Arabic
radicals fa ta ra, the verbal noun being fatrun. The root action
means, he clove, split, slit, rent or cracked it. Note the usage
of the first form fatarahu (He created it); that is, He caused it
to exist, newly, for the first time. Thus fatiru’s-samâwât, the
Originator or Creator of the heavens.
The second form, fattara(hu) (verbal
noun taftir), denotes repetition, muchness and frequency of the
root action which means, as we saw, he clove, split, slit, rent
or cracked it.
Futira (‘ala shay’) is equivalent to tubi‘a, which is the passive
form of taba‘a (verbal noun tab‘un) he sealed, stamped, printed
or impressed, being a synonym of khatama, he sealed. Ar-Râghib says
that it means the impression of a thing with the engraving of the
signet and stamp; thus taba‘a’llâhu ‘alâ qalbihî ‘Allâh sealed his
heart’, that is the unbeliever’s heart. Similarly, khatama ‘alaihi,
pertains to the natural constitution which denotes a quality of
the soul; either by creation or habit, but more especially the creation.
Also, taba ‘a’llâhu ‘alâ amr – ‘Allâh created (him) with a disposition
to the affair, state or condition’. Likewise, tubi‘a ‘ala shay’
‘he was created with a disposition to a thing’ which is synonymous
with jubila or futira.
Tab‘un – originally a verbal noun – signifies nature or an inborn
disposition. Its synonyms are sajjiyah, jibillah, khalîqah, tabî‘ah
and mizâj. These are names for innate natural disposition which
cannot change, and which exists at birth in all human beings.
Thus, fitrah, having the same meaning as tab‘un, linguistically
means an inborn natural disposition.
The term fitrah literally means,
creation; the causing a thing to exist for the first time; and the
natural constitution with which a child is created in his mother’s
womb. It is said that is the meaning in the Qur'an (30:29), and
in the central, opening hadith.
2. The Religious Meaning of Fitrah
In the context of the hadith, according
to Abű Haytham, fitrah means to be born either prosperous or unprosperous
[in relation to the soul]:
‘And if his parents are Jews,
they make him a Jew, with respect to his worldly situation;
[i.e. with respect to inheritance, etc.] and if Christians,
they make him a Christian, with respect to that situation; and
if Magians, they make him a Magian, with respect to that situation;
his situation is the same as that of his parents until his tongue
speaks for him; but if he dies before his attaining to the age
when sexual maturity begins to show itself, he dies in a state
of conformity to his preceding natural constitution, with which
he was created in his mother’s womb.’
Fitrah is also associated with Islam
and being born as a Muslim. This is when fitrah is viewed in respect
to Shahadah – that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is
the Messenger of Allah – which makes a person a Muslim. Fitrah,
in this sense, is the faculty, which He has created in mankind,
of knowing Allah. It is the natural constitution with which the
child is created in his mother’s womb, whereby he is capable of
accepting the religion of truth.
That fitrah refers to religion is further shown in a tradition in
which it is related that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant
him peace, taught a man to repeat certain words when lying down
to sleep, and said: ‘Then if you die that same night, you die upon
the fitrah (in the true dîn).’ Also by the saying: ‘The paring of
the nails is of the fitrah (i.e. of the dîn).’
This meaning is affirmed by sűrah
30 âyah 30:
‘Set your face
to the dîn in sincerity (hanîfan) which is Allah's fitrah (the
nature made by Allah) upon which He created mankind (fatâra’n-nâs).
There is no changing the creation of Allah. That is the right
dîn but most people know not.’
Apparently Abű Hurairah, may Allah
be pleased with him, cited this verse after the central hadith which
means that, in his view, the fitrah of the hadith is the same fitrah
in the ayah. The ayah refers to the fitrah as good because the right
religion is being described as Allah's fitrah. Thus according to
Abű Hurairah, fitrah is associated with the dîn of Islam.
Since Allah's fitrah is engraved
upon the human soul, mankind is born in a state in which tawhîd
is integral. Since tawhîd is intrinsic to man’s fitrah, the prophets,
peace be upon them, came to remind man of it, and to guide him to
that which is integral to his original nature. The ayah describes
a fitrah of primordial faith which Allah Himself implanted in human
nature. It implies Islam's essential message of submission to the
will of Allah as taught as practised by the prophets.
The Laws or the sharî‘ahs, which
the prophets were sent with, are guiding lights to the essential
faith in Allah which is created in every human being. Furthermore,
since this faith comes from Allah, it naturally follows that only
laws capable of guiding man back to it must also come from Allah,
hence Islam is also called dîn al-fitrah, the religion of human
That every child is born in this
pure state of fitrah is also supported by the following hadith concerning
‘It is related that the Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said that he saw in
a vision an old man at the front of a large tree and around
him were children and in the vision he was told that the old
man was Ibrihim and that the children who were around him were
the children who, before attaining the age of discretion, had
died. At this, some Muslims had asked hum: "And the children
of the polytheists too, Messenger of Allah?" The Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied: "The
children of the polytheists as well."
Being with Ibrâhîm meant being in
Paradise, and this includes children of polytheistic families. It
is clear, from the Qur'an and from the hadith, that every child
is born with a pure nature, as a Muslim. Islam recognises that all
children, whether born of believing or unbelieving parents, go to
Paradise if they die before attaining the age of discretion.
Imâm Nawawî defined fitrah as the
unconfirmed state which exists until the individual consciously
acknowledges his belief. Hence, if a child were to die before he
attains discretion he would be on of the inmates of Paradise. This
view applies to the children of polytheists as well, and is supported
by the above-quoted hadith. The legal implication of this hadith
is that all children are born pure, sinless and predisposed to belief
in one God; moreover they are of the inmates of Paradise; however,
if their parents are non-Muslims, the religion of their parents
will be applicable to them in this world.
Islam is also called dîn al-fitrah,
the religion of human nature, because its laws and its teachings
are in full harmony with the normal and the natural inclination
of the human fitrah to believe in and submit to the Creator. Like
the word al-Islam, the word dîn also means, according to Lane, obedience
and submission, among other meanings. Allah states:
‘And who is better in obedience
(in dîn) than he who resigns himself to Allah?’ (Qur'an 4:125)
‘There shall be no compulsion
in obedience (dîn).’ (Qur’ân 2:256)
Ad-dîn implies religion in the widest
sense of the word, embracing both the practical aspects of the acts
of worship and ordinary transactions of life, and the teachings
of religion; and it is a name for that whereby one serves Allah.
‘Truly, the religion (dîn) in
the sight of Allah is al-Islam.’
And, according to Lane, it means
particularly the religion of al-Islam. The synonyms of ad-dîn are
ash-Shariah (the law), tawhîd (Oneness of Allah) and wara‘ (caution).
Ad-dîn also comes from the verb dana, meaning ‘he had indebted’.
This is significant, according to al-Attas, because man is indebted
to Allah for his existence and sustenance. The believer will realise
that his spirit acknowledged Allah in pre-existence, and that the
debt that he must return is his self, and this can be done by service
and submission to Allah. This return implies a return to man’s inherent
spiritual nature, to his fitrah. The one who submits to Allah is
called ‘abd (a slave) of Allah, and his service is called ‘ibâdah
(slavehood or conscious submission to the will of Allah). By worshipping
Allah in such a manner, man in fulfilling the purpose of his creation
‘I have not created the Jinn
and man but that they should serve Me (li ya‘budűnî).’ (Qur'an
Such worship or submission does not
entail loss of freedom, for, freedom is to act as one’s true nature
demands; that is, as one’s fitrah demands. Al-Attas succinctly explains
the connection between submission, fitrah and dîn as follows:
‘When we say that such a man
is fulfilling the purpose for his creation and existence, it
is obvious that that man’s obligation to serve God is felt by
him as normal because it comes as a natural inclination on the
man’s part to do so. This natural tendency in man to serve and
worship God is also referred to as dîn, … here in the religious
context it has a more specific signification of the natural
state of being called fitrah. In fact dîn also means fitrah.
Fitrah is the pattern according to which God has created all
things… Submission to it brings harmony, for it means realisation
of what is inherent in one’s true nature; opposition to it brings
discord, for it means realisation of what is extraneous to one’s
3. Fitrah and Human Responsibility
…Man is distinguished from
the rest of the creation because he has been endowed with intellect
(‘aql) and free-will (irâdah). The intellect enables him to discern
right from wrong. He can use these faculties to complement his fitrah
and to please Allah or to be untrue to it and displease Allah. The
choice is his. The prophets and Divine revelation are external sources
of guidance to guide the intellect and will of man. The Qur'an declares
that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, enjoins
the right and lawful things (ma‘rűf) and forbids the wrong and unlawful
things (munkar). Man is responsible for his actions and accountable
to Allah for every atom of right and wrong that he does. It is in
this sense of accountability that guides man to act in accordance
with the Divine will. It empowers him to struggle against the wrong-doing
of his lower self (nafs) as well as the negative influences of the
social circumstances. The central hadith makes plain that it is
the social circumstances after the birth of the child that causes
the individual to diverge from fitrah. Hence if someone follows
an aberrant path it is not because of any innate wrong within his
nature, but because of the emergence of the lower self or nafs after
birth, and negative effects in the social circumstances.
The concept of fitrah as original
goodness, in my view, does not merely connote a passive receptivity
to good and right action, but an active inclination and a natural
innate predisposition to know Allah, to submit to Him and to do
right. This is man’s natural tendency in the absence of contrary
factors. Although all children are born in a state of fitrah, the
influence of the environment is decisive; parents may influence
the religion of the child by making him a Christian, Jew or Magian.
If there are no adverse influences, then the child will continuously
manifest his fitrah as his true nature. Since many infants are born
with gross physical deformities, the maiming referred to in this
hadith is not meant in the physical sense; it means that all children
are born spiritually pure, in a state of fitrah. The reference to
animals born intact in the central hadith should be viewed as an
analogy to illustrate the parallel spiritual wholeness of children
It is precisely because of man’s
free-will and intellect that he is able to overcome the negative
influences of the environment and attain to the highest level of
psycho-spiritual development, an-nafs al-mutma’innah, ‘the self
made tranquil’. At this level, his inner and outer being, his soul
and body, are able to conform to the requirements of his fitrah
and the dictates of the Shariah. He actualises his fitrah, and attains
psycho-spiritual integration and inner peace.
4. Alienation from Fitrah
The central hadith suggest that circumstantial
(i.e. parental and other social) influences cause man to change
and become alienated from his fitrah. However in Qur'an 30:30 (‘There
is no changing in the creation of Allah.’) suggests that fitrah
is universal unchanging given of the human constitution. This meaning
is consistent with the linguistic definition of fitrah as innate
natural disposition which cannot change, and which exists at birth
in all human beings. The synthesis of the meanings of both statements
is that although fitrah remains a universal unchanging given of
the human constitution, people may, because of the elements of intellect
and free-will, decide and choose to conduct themselves in a wrong
or unlawful manner. All the children of Adam, including those who
deviated from the path of tawhîd,
possessed fitrah. Civilisations which have been condemned and destroyed
by Allah because of their practice of polytheism (shirk) and unbelief
(kufr), possessed fitrah. Fitrah is a universal and immutable given
of the metaphysical human constitution, and as a rule, cannot be
corrupted or altered. No wrong action can pollute the Divine spirit
[maintainer’s note: i.e. spirit created by God] which Allah
has blown into man (Qur'an 15:29) despite the many generations of
polytheism and unbelief. For example, a generation whose forefathers
were mushrikűn (those who practice shirk) does not possess a fitrah
of a lesser quality than a generation of believers. However, both
shirk and kufr represent the antithesis of fitrah by undermining
its very object and raison d’etre; kufr is a rejection of the oneness
of Allah (tawhîd). When a individual commits shirk or kufr he denies
his own nature. Fitrah which is integral to man’s spirit (rűh) was
created by Allah so that he man acknowledge Him as the Lord Who
has power over all things. Tawhîd is intrinsic to man’s fitrah because
Allah in His infinite wisdom intended for man to know Him as the
One God. This is why man was able to acknowledge his Lord before
his existence on earth, that is, in pre-existence state.
The function of the prophets and
Divine revelation is not only to remind man about that which he
already knows (that is, tawhîd), but also to teach him that which
he does not yet know (that is, Shariah). Man already knows tawhîd
because of the pre-existent fitrah as well as his earthly unchanging
fitrah. The prophets have come only to remind man of tawhîd; the
choice is left to the individual, as suggested in the following
‘Surely, this is a reminder;
so whoever wills, let him take a way to his Lord.’
Knowledge of the Divinely revealed
laws, the methodology of worship and devotion, etc. are acquired
by man from Shariah which is based on Divine revelation and the
teachings of the prophets. Since every individual is endowed with
the innate knowledge of tawhîd, he is held accountable for his belief
in Allah precisely because of his fitrah. Not every soul, however,
will be held accountable for not practicing Shariah because knowledge
of Shariah is acquired only by those who received the message of
the Divine revelations and the teachings of he prophets.
The distinction between the inborn
knowledge of tawhîd (which includes the knowledge of right and wrong)
and the acquired knowledge of Shariah (which includes what is lawful
and unlawful) is significant because of the legal implications of
each. The mushrik, one who violates tawhîd, will not be pardoned
for his polytheism, irrespective of whether he received the message
of Islam or not. On the other hand, the practice of Shariah is only
required from the Muslim while the non-Muslim (who did not receive
the message of Islam) is not expected to fulfil this obligation.
An individual may be forgiven for not practising the Shariah if
he had not received the message of Islam, but he will not be forgiven
for rejecting tawhîd. The Muslim will thus be held responsible for
tawhîd and Shariah. Dr. Faruqi Ahmad Dasuqi,
who holds this view, adds that the hunafa’ 
of past centuries had acknowledged tawhîd and will not be held accountable
Apart from the chosen prophets, I
venture to say that there is no difference between the fitrah of
individual men: all men are endowed with the same or an ‘equal’
fitrah. The believer is in harmony with his fitrah because his instincts
are directed in service of Allah, but the unbeliever is alienated
from his fitrah because his instincts are in the service of everything
else besides Allah. The reason for man’s destruction of himself
and his environment is that he has become alienated. Nevertheless,
he can overcome this estrangement his will and intellect with the
Divine will and knowledge. It is man’s recourse to Islam which will
enable him to effect such a reconciliation.
5. The Christian Doctrine of Original
Religions may be contrasted with
secular philosophies in that the former recognise the transcendent
principle of human nature while the latter tend to view man as a
material being. Religions usually refer to this transcendent principle
as the spirit or the soul in man. Most religions recognise three
dimensions within man: body, mind and spirit. Secular theories of
human nature tend to recognise only the body and sometimes the mind.
Western psychologists such as Carl Jung recognise the spiritual
dimension not as an independent unchanging reality, but as a part
of the human psyche. Religions in general, with the exception of
Hinayana Buddhism, recognise the spiritual dimension of man as a
distinct unchanging reality of human nature. The first step towards
self-knowledge is the recognition of our inmost spiritual essence
which is universal in man and which is immortal. It is this innate
spirituality which explains the urge at the heart of every man for
betterment and self-realisation; and it is this human spirit which
explains man’s capability to emerge out of darkness into light and
goodness. This emergence has been the unfailing history of man:
nothing can stop the human soul from projecting itself nearer to
the source of all good, Allah. Islam and Christianity both recognise
this innate spirituality but they differ in the methods by which
to attain to this self-realisation, and they also differ in the
methods by which they attain to this self-realisation, and they
also differ with respect to their views of innate human nature.
For the Christian view I need to turn to the doctrine of original
goodness in Islam. Such a comparison will bring into focus the divergent
perspectives of human nature of two major religions of the world.
Christianity, in all the varied forms
in which it exists today, is probably the largest religious movement.
It emerged out of Judaism as a religion of salvation by faith. Christianity
became a universal religion of redemption, and its world-renouncing
strain has been strong for a great part of its history. Judaism
and Islam were never so dominated by monasticism and the ideal of
celibacy. This is not to say that Christianity did not have a world
affirming strain in it. The Kingdom of God was an imminently arriving
state of this earth. With emphasis on the person of Jesus, peace
be upon him, rather than his preaching, salvation was to be by rather
than his preaching, salvation was to be by faith-union with Jesus
in his supposed death and resurrection. Jesus, peace be upon him,
was exalted to heaven and acclaimed as Lord, Son of God, and the
meaning of Messiah – an anointed prophet-king – was altered radically.
Paul was the main figure to work
out Christian theology almost entirely in terms of the doctrine
for man. Jesus’ two worlds are reinterpreted in terms of a great
contrast between man in bondage to the flesh and man redeemed in
Christ. This theology is set out in the first eight chapters of
The Epistle to the Romans.
The flesh (sarx) is man in his weakness and the spirit (pneuma)
is the Divine breath and power of life which makes man inwardly
aware of himself as a person. The whole person is either bound to
sin or redeemed in Christ. As a rabbinically trained Jew, Paul had
to integrate his new gospel of salvation with the old doctrine of
creation and so he began the development of the Christian epic story:
‘Creation had originally been
perfect, but Adam fell and mankind has since been in bondage
to sin; but through Christ, the second Adam or Last man, the
world or mankind are being restored to their original perfection.
Thus in the Christian doctrine of man the central theme is that
Christ is the Creator’s proper (=own) Man.’
To make this scheme more intelligible,
Paul had to emphasise both the parallels and the contrasts between
Adam and Christ, peace be upon both of them. Adam was first made
in the image of God, but Christ is the true and final image of God.
Adam’s disobedience plunged mankind into ruin, but Christ’s obedience
restored mankind. Adam brought wrath and guilt upon mankind, Christ
has brought grace and acquittal.
This contrast profoundly affected
later Christian thought. The Christian doctrine of man has two themes,
the Divine image and the Fall. Since the latter theme is more directly
relevant to my discussion of original sin I shall focus on this
aspect, Adam’s disobedience plunged the human race into ruin, and
fallen man could not of himself do good, please God or gain salvation.
A good example of the classic Christian
doctrine of man is Milton’s Christian epic Paradise Lost (1667).
The themes are the special creation of man by God, the Divine image
in man, original righteousness, the Fall through man’s disobedience,
the curse on man and woman, and the ensuing original sin. This scheme
was wrecked by Darwinism and today liberal and humanistic theologians
take over the evolutionary view of man’s gradual ascent, seeing
Christ as a pinnacle of human development. Others, such as Rudolph
Bultman and Paul Tillich, have built their theology on an existentialist
doctrine of man.
The Christian is born in sin and
in an impure state, and cannot redeem himself by his own inner resources,
but only through Christ. Salvation for the Christian is centred
on an external entity – the mystical body of Christ in which the
Christian must participate in order to be saved.
By contrast, in Islam the redemptive
potential is centred in the individual himself, who engages in meaningful
intercourse with the guidance provided by the Qur'an and the Sunnah,
Salvation in Islam depends on faith (iman) and good conduct (ihsân),
and not on faith alone. The Qur'an emphasises the exertion of will,
for ‘there is nothing for man but that which he strove for’. This
notion of the will also has implications for responsibility. A person
is responsible only for the manner in which he exercised his own
will and not the will of other persons.
Christians believe that Christ has
paid the wages of sin through his death, and having suffered for
all men’s sins. Salvation is based on this faith. Without the doctrine
of original sin there would be no need for a saviour and, consequently,
the trinity, the crucifixion and the resurrection would become meaningless.
Islam rejects the premises of these
doctrines, especially the concept of original sin which is alien
to Islam and inconceivable to the Muslim mind. Islam has a different
version of the Fall. Adam acknowledged that he had gone astray and
sincerely sought Allah's forgiveness which was granted to him unconditionally.
Adam and his progeny descended from bliss to the earth because of
his error, and yet, none of his children inherited the blame for
his error. The volitional implication of fitrah is that man is responsible
for his own wrong actions. It is inconceivable to Muslim thinking
that mankind should be punished for wrong actions that others did.
The concept of Divine forgiveness features strongly in the Qur'an,
for Allah accepts the sincere repentance of His slaves.
‘But the devil made them slip
from it, and caused them to depart from the state in which they
were. And We said, "Down with you and be henceforth enemies
unto one another; and you shall have in the land a state of
settledness and necessities of life for a period."
Then Adam received words (of
guidance) from his Lord and He accepted his repentance: truly,
He is the Acceptor of Repentance, the Compassionate.’
Tawbah (literally, turning, i.e.
away from wrong action, and to Allah) or repentance plays a very
significant and decisive role in a Muslim’s life. Although man is
born in a state of original goodness or fitrah, he is also subject
to temptation and folly. Allah has granted him the ability and opportunity
to repent which means that he should admit his errors and turn remorsefully
away from them to Allah.
Knowledge of Divine mercy as well
as knowledge of the innate goodness of the human fitrah, serves
three very important functions: firstly it gives the believer hope
of salvation and success; secondly, it gives him confidence in his
own potential to do right and resist wrong; thirdly, it exhorts
and admonishes him to actively pursue all that is right and resist
all that is wrong. These are the merits of sincere repentance. Just
as the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, repented and was pardoned
for his wrong action, so may his descendents repent and be pardoned
for their wrong actions.
Confession and penance is a fundamental
pillar of the Roman Catholic Church, but for the rest of the Christian
world it holds virtually no fundamental value. Belief in Christ
as a Saviour is of primary importance, even for the Catholic who
engages in penance mainly as a means of self-discipline or self-retribution.
No amount of confession or repentance can save the Christian from
the belief in Christ as the Saviour. Adherence to this doctrine
can be problematic when viewed in the light of the doctrine of original
Neither Islam, common sense or modern
Western law, hold a person responsible for the deeds of someone
else. Certain awkward questions may also be posed to the adherents
of this doctrine. For example, does inheritance of Adam’s sin mean
that man is born innately sinful or guilty of a sin he did not commit
or both? Did Christ’s suffering change human nature or did it only
absolve man of guilt for the sin he never committed, or both? If
man is born innately evil and sinful why is he still capable of
choosing good over evil? What happened to the souls before Christ
who could have had the benefit of the latter’s alleged suffering;
were they saved by the Saviour they neither knew nor acknowledged
or were they just too unfortunate to be born at the wrong time?
These questions are asked in all sincerity of the believing Christian
whose faith every Muslim is required to respect.
To conclude, fitrah may be defined
as a natural predisposition for good and for submission to the One
God… While the concept of fitrah offers a hopeful and positive outlook
for the Muslim, the doctrine of original sin is fraught with negative
connotations and complex dogma. To the average Christian, man is
impure and bound for eternal damnation, even if he leads a life
of virtue, if he does not accept Christ as his saviour. Apart from
the Christian theory, there are secular theories of human nature
which are also subject to determinism, fatalism and pessimism…
If, in this chapter, the reader has
not gained a clear conception of what fitrah is, it should at least
be clear to him what it is not. Fitrah does not refer to man’s outward
behaviour; not to his psyche, personality or character. A definition
of fitrah does not involve the role of man as an individual or a
collectively as such. Rather, fitrah pertains to the deep, common
spiritual essence of man. It is humankind’s natural and universal
innate predisposition for goodness and submission to One God…
Notes and References
 I. M. Hanîf,
Sahîh Muslim bisharh al-Nawawî, Book of Qadr, Vol. 16 (al-Matba‘at
al-Misriyyah bi al-Azhari, 1930) p. 207.
 Ibn Manzűr,
Lisân al-‘Arab al-Muhît. Vol. 4., ed. A. al-‘Alayali, (beirut: Dâru
Lisân al-‘Arab, 1988), pp. 1108-1109; cf. also, al-Isfahânî, al-Raghîb,
Mu‘jam Mufradat Alfaz al-Qur’ân ed. Nadîm Mar‘ashlî. (Dârul Karîb
al-‘Arabi, 1984) p. 2415; cf. also, Lane, E. W., Arabic-English
Lexicon. 2 volumes, Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1972),
 This repetition
also applies to the 7th form verb infatara, 5th
form tafattara and the 1st form fatara, e.g. idha’s-samâ’unfatarat
‘When the heaven shall be cleft’, (Qur’ân 82:1), and yakadu’s-samâwâtu
yatafttarna minhu ‘The heavens almost become repeatedly rent in
consequence thereof’, (Qur'an 19:92), and tafatarat qadamahu ‘his
feet became cracked’.
 Lane, Ibid.,
p. 1823; al-Isfahânî, al-Raghîb, Kitâb al-Dharî‘ah ila Makarim al-Sharî‘ah.
Ed. Abű’l-Yazîd al-‘Ajamî, (Cairo, 1987), p. 113.
 Lane, Ibid,
 Yasien Mohamed,
The Islamic Conception of Human Nature with Special Reference to
the Development of an Islamic Psychology. unpublished thesis, (Cape
Town: Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town,
1986), p. 74; cf. also, Lane, Ibid., p. 1823; al-Isfahânî, al-Dharî‘ah,
op.cit., p. 113; al-Isfahânî, Alfaz, op.cit., p. 310.
 Ibn Manzűr,
Lisân al-‘Arab, op.cit., p. 1109; cf. also Lane, Arabic-English
Lexicon, op.cit, pp. 2415-2416.
 Ibn Mazűr, Ibid.
p. 1109; Lane, Ibid., pp. 2415-16.
 ‘Alî ibn Muhammad
al-Sayyad al-Sharîf Jurjânî, Kitâb al-Ta‘rifat ed. ‘Abdul Mun‘îm
al-Hafani. (Cairo: Dârul Rashad, 1991), p. 190; cf. also Ibn Manzűr
and Lane, Idid.
 See Ibn Manzűr
and Lane, Ibid.
 Muhammad al-Ansârî
A. A. Qurtubî, Al Jâmi‘u al Ahkâm al-Qur'an Vol. 12 Part 14. (Cairo:
al-Maktabu al-‘Arabiyyah, 1967), p. 25.
 Ibid, p. 30;
cf. Ibn Manzűr, Ibid.
 Ibn Taymîyya
Dar‘u Ta‘arud al ‘Aql wa al Naql. Vol. 8, ed. Muhammad Rashad Sa’im.
(Riyadh: Jami‘at al-Imâm Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud al-Islamiyyah, 1981),
[14 ] S.M.N. Al-Attas,
Islam, Secularism and the Philosophy of the Future, London: Mansell
Publishing Limited, 1985, pp. 57-58.
 cf. Lane,
op.cit., for the meaning of the ad-dîn.
 Tawhîd is
the corner-stone of the Islamic belief which was taught by all the
prophets. The Arabs deviated form tawhîd but it was restored to
its original purity with the advent of Muhammad, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, Divine Unity is expressed as lâ ilâha ill'
Allah ‘There is no deity but Allah’ and together with his expression
of Muhammadun Rasűlu’llah ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’,
a person is admitted into the fold of Islam. Tawhîd implies that
Allah is One, and that He is one and unique in His essence (dhât),
His attributes (sifât), and His works. This monotheistic concept
of Allah liberates man from subservience to everything and everyone,
and is the basis for the unity of mankind. The antithesis of tawhîd
is shirk which is considered to be the only unforgivable wrong action
(Qur'an 4:48), and it signifies the association of partners with
Allah. Blind submission to one’s own desires is also described as
shirk (Qur'an 25:43).
 Dasuqî, F.
A. Muhadarat fî al-‘Aqîdah al-Islâmiyyah, (Alexandria: Darul Da‘wah,
1983), p. 28.
 The hanîf
(singular of hunafa’) is one who naturally rejects polytheism and
idolatry while inclined towards acceptance of tawhîd. In the Qur'anic
context, the hanîf refers particularly to those who followed the
faith of Ibrâhîm as well as those who accepted tawhîd during the
Jâhiliyyah period. After the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, may
Allah bless him and grant him peace, the term acquired a more circumscribed
meaning – one who follows the dîn of Muhammad, may Allah bless him
and grant him peace. Dr. Dasuqî cites Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl and
Qais ibn Sa‘ada as examples of hunafâ’ in pre-Islamic times. A more
well-known hanîf was Waraqa ibn Nawfal, the cousin of the Prophet’s
 Don Cupitt,
The Nature of Man, (London: Sheldon Press, 1979), pp. 33-34.