Differences among peoples and cultures
Fatwa No: 82774


Why is it that a person tends to follow the beliefs of the culture in which he is born? His parents raise him with the mindset that their religion/way of life/culture is the right one. Throughout his formative years he develops this way of thinking as well. The man who is Pope today, would he have been Pope if he was raised up with Islamic values? Probably not. One of the reasons I am a Muslim is that my parents raised me as one. If I had been born outside of Islam the chances of being Muslim would most probably have been slimmer. Moreover even if I was presented with the truth I may or may not have accepted it! This is a very scary thought. Then why does this difference exist in this world with some people privileged to receive true guidance from the cradle and others receiving all sorts of falsehoods in life, enough to brainwash their senses? Why is it more difficult for some to accept the truth and easy for others?Thank you.


Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
Every person is born with the Fitra (natural predispositions) that Allah has put in him. This Fitra includes the belief in Him (Allah) and the readiness to worship Him Alone and to apply the true religion. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {So set you (O Muhammad SAW) your face towards the religion of pure Islâmic Monotheism Hanifa (worship none but Allâh Alone) Allâh's Fitrah (i.e. Allâh's Islâmic Monotheism), with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalq­illâh (i.e. the Religion of Allâh Islâmic Monotheism)}[30:30].
But as the person grows up, the environment plays the primary role in the formation of his belief and the development of his own convictions. This is the meaning of the Hadith. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allah alone), but his parents make him a Jewish, a Christian or Magian." [Reported by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. The person, in the first period of his life (before maturity) is not held responsible for his deeds or his beliefs.
The Prophet says: "The pen is raised for three (meaning: there is no obligation upon three): one who is sleeping until he wakens, the child until he becomes an adult, and one who is insane until he becomes sane."
But when the person reaches the age of maturity and becomes independent in his opinions and actions, only then does he become responsible for any word he utters let alone deeds.
So, if the person is sane and mature, the orders of Sharia apply to him. If he believes and abides by these orders, he is then considered a believer, one of the Muslim Ummah. As a result of this belief, Allah gives him a great reward.
On the contrary, if the person refuses to accept this religion after he has had knowledge of it and dies on that, he will be thrown in Hell-fire.
If he was called to Islam and he did not accept it, the fact that his parents raised him on disbelief, does not help him in any way for the following reasons:
First, Allah excused him in the period when he did not have means of differentiating between the right and the wrong and when he was obliged to follow his parents' way of life. But, now that he is mature and has independent means to get convinced without the intervention of his parents, just like any other mature person so he is held responsible for all his acts. There is no longer an excuse for him to imitate others in their wrong-doings, giving a deaf ear to the truth and turning his back to it. Thus going against the natural predispositions that Allah created him with which push the person to worship Allah Alone, to believe in Him and thank Him. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {And Allâh has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allâh).}[16:78].
Second, the sane mature person is predisposed to believe in Allah and recognize His Mastery of the world. He is ready to accept this and if he does not Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {And they belied them (those Ayât) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their ownselves were convinced thereof [i.e. those (Ayât) are from Allâh, and Mûsa (Moses) is the Messenger of Allâh in truth, but they disliked to obey Mûsa (Moses), and hated to believe in his Message of Monotheism].}[27:14].
Allah also says: {it is not you that they deny, but it is the Verses (the Qur'ân) of Allâh that the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong­doers) deny.}[6:33]. There are many other verses emphasizing this meaning.
Third, there are many signs and evidences (intellectual, material and logical) proving that Allah is The Lord of everything so, any sane person who does not accept them, is but a stubborn and a pertinacious person who does not want to accept the truth.
To conclude, any person who has knowledge of the true Islam and does not adhere to it, he is justifiably a loser in this life and the Hereafter.
Allah knows best.

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