When a child is born, it has with it a natural belief in God. This natural belief is called in Arabic the “Fitrah”. If the child were left alone, it would grow up aware of God in His oneness, but all children are affected by the pressures of their environment whether directly or indirectly.
The child’s body submits to the physical laws which God has put in nature, its soul also submits naturally to the fact that God is its Lord and Creator. But its parents try to make it follow their own way and the child is not strong enough in the early stages of its life to resist or oppose its parents. The religion which the child follows at this stage is one of custom and upbringing and God does not hold it to account or punish it for this religion. When the child matures in youth and clear proofs of the falsehood of his religion are brought to him, the adult must now follow the religion of knowledge and reason. At this point the devils try their best to encourage him to stay as he is or to go further astray. Evil deeds are made pleasing to him and he must now live in the midst of a struggle between his Fitrah and his desires in order to find the right path. If he chooses his Fitrah, God will help him overcome his desires even though it may take most of his life to escape, for many people enter Islam in their old age although most tend to do so before that.
Because of all these powerful forces fighting against the Fitrah God chose certain righteous men and revealed to them clearly the right path in life. These men whom we call prophets were sent to help our Fitrah defeat its enemies. All the truths and good practices present in societies around the world today came from their teachings, and if it were not for their teachings, there would be no peace or safety in the world at all. For example, the laws of most Western countries are based on the “Ten Commandments” of Prophet Moses, like “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not kill” etc., even though they claim to be “secular” governments, free from the influence of religion.
Thus, it is man’s duty to follow the way of the prophets since it is the only way which is truly in harmony with his nature. He should also be very careful not to do things simply because his parents and their parents did it, especially if knowledge reaches him that these practices are wrong. If he does not follow the truth, he will be like those misguided people about whom God says in the Quran:
“If they are told to follow what God has revealed, they say: ‘No, we will continue to follow what we found our forefathers doing!’ Even though their forefathers did not comprehend anything nor were they rightly guided.” (Quran 2:170)
God forbids us from obeying our parents if what they want us to do is against the way of the prophets. He said, in the Quran,
“And We instructed man to be good to his parents. But if they strive to make you set up partners with Me, then do not obey them. To Me all of you will return, then I will inform you of what you used to do.” (Quran 29:8)
And God tells us what the followers among the people of Hell will say
“And they will say: “Our Lord, we have obeyed our noble and our greatly admired men, but they misled us from the path.” (Quran 33:67)
BORN IN A MUSLIM FAMILY
Those who are fortunate to be born in Muslim families must be aware that all such “Muslims” are not automatically guaranteed paradise,
Because God said:
Did the people think that they will be left to say: “We believe” without being put to the test? (Quran 29:2)
God has warned that Most people set partners with him:
“And most of them will not believe in God except while setting up partners.” (Quran 12:106)
Today, there are Muslims all around the world following various superstitions, praying to the dead, building tombs and mosques over graves and even performing rites of worship around them. There are even some who claim to be Muslim but they divided Islam in to sects and worship Muhammad, Ali, saints, leaders, scholars etc as God.
Some have turned the Quran into a good luck charm which they hang on chains around their necks, in their cars or on key chains etc. Therefore, those born into such a Muslim world who blindly follow whatever their parents did or believed, have to stop and think whether they are simply a Muslim by chance or a Muslim by choice, whether Islam is what their parents, tribe, country, or nation did or does, or what the Quran teaches?