When did we embrace Islam?
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
Ustadz, one questioned: Since when did we embrace Islam? I said, “Allah knows best”.
Because if we said that we embraced it since we were born, then when did we testify the two testimonies? Whereas the testimony is one of the foundation or pillars of Islam, and one couldn’t be a muslim until he testified with it, am I right? Please give me a proper explanation. May Allah reward you with plenty of goodnesses.
Wa’alaikumsalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu.
Your answer, “Allah knows best” was already a proper answer, dear Brother.
Allah is The Most Knowledgeable of it, and Allah had revealed to us about it inside the Qur’an, and through the saying of His messenger, -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-.
Here is the explanation:
Every human fetus has declared that Allah is its only God (the One that it worships), since it is still inside the coccyx bone (loin) of its father and the womb of its mother. Allah decreed,
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى شَهِدْنَا أَنْ تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَذَا غَافِلِينَ) (لأعراف:172)
“And recall, (O Prophet), when your Lord brought forth descendants from the loins of the sons of Adam, and made them witnesses against their own selves, asking them: “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes, we do testify.” We did so lest you should claim on the Day of Resurrection: “We were unaware of this.” (Qs. 7:172)
Therefore, every human being is born in a state of Islam, he recognizes Allah, Lord of the universe, and acknowledge Him as his God that he worships.
As said by the Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- :
مَا مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ إِلَّا يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ أَوْ يُنَصِّرَانِهِ أَوْ يُمَجِّسَانِهِ كَمَا تُنْتَجُ الْبَهِيمَةُ بَهِيمَةً جَمْعَاءَ هَلْ تُحِسُّونَ فِيهَا مِنْ جَدْعَاءَ
“None of the kids except he was born upon his natural tendency, and it was his father and mother who made him a Jew, or made him a christian, or made him zoroastrian.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim).
The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- mentioned the words “jew, christian, and zoroastrian” after “the natural tendency”, which indicated that the meaning of the natural tendency is Islam.
It is further clarified in Allah’s decree:
(فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (30) مُنِيبِينَ إِلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُوهُ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَلَا تَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (31) )
“(O Prophet and his followers), turn your face singlemindedly to the true Faith and adhere to the true nature on which Allah has created human beings. The mould fashioned by Allah cannot be altered. That is the True, Straight Faith, although most people do not know. (Adhere to the True Faith and) turn to Him, and hold Him in awe, and establish Prayer, and do not be of those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity,” (Qs. Ar-Ruum/The Roman: 30-31)
The meaning of “Al Fithrah” (the natural tendency) is Islam, as interpreted by Mujahid (Narrated by Ath Thabary in his tafseer, 20/97).
Ibn Abdil Barr said, “They said this is the meaning that was recognized by majority of the scholar of tafseer among the pious predecessors.” (See: At-Tamhid 18/72)
The above verse emphasized that the meaning of human’s natural tendency is the haneef religion (Islam) that enjoins people to monotheism, to worship Allah, Lord of the universe, alone.
From the above verse and hadith, we could see that every human being is born in a state of Islam, and will still be in it, as long as there is no one or nothing that change him into a jew, a christian, a zoroastrian, etc.
Therefore, in a hadith qudsy, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, (Allah declared):
إِنِّي خَلَقْتُ عِبَادِي حُنَفَاءَ كُلَّهُمْ وَإِنَّهُمْ أَتَتْهُمْ الشَّيَاطِينُ فَاجْتَالَتْهُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِمْ وَحَرَّمَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ مَا أَحْلَلْتُ لَهُمْ وَأَمَرَتْهُمْ أَنْ يُشْرِكُوا بِي مَا لَمْ أُنْزِلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا
“Indeed, I’ve created all of My slaves in a state of hunafa’ (Islam), then satan turned them from their religion, and forbid them over what I made lawful, and ordered them to associate with Me something that I didn’t reveal any statement about it.” (Narrated by Muslim).
In this hadith, Allah revealed to us that we were originally created in a state of hunafa’, which means in a state of Islam, as explained by Imam An Nawawy (Refer to: Syarh Shahih Muslim 9 / 247). And it was satan that turned the human being away from his natural tendency.
Based on the explanation above, we could infer several conclusions, namely:
- Basically, all human being has embraced Islam since inside his mother’s womb. He could turn to be a disbeliever after he was born due to the influence of satan from among the jinn and men.
- A person who is still upon his natural tendency doesn’t need to testify, in order to be a muslim, because he is already in a state of Islam and still in it. But he may recite it plenty of times to strengthen his faith as a muslim, as we recite in our daily remembrances, such as in adhan, tashahhud, sermon, etc.
- A person whose natural tendency has been damaged (changed, -ed) must recite the two testimony as a requirement to embrace Islam (once again). A disbeliever of an apostate who wants to embrace Islam must testify with it because his natural tendency has been changed before. Thus, to return that natural tendency to its origin, he must recite the two testimonies.
And Allah knows best.
Answered by: Ustadz Abdullah Roy, MA