A Culturally Inherited Faith

Posted: April 16, 2011 in Islam, Reasoning

Please, next time somebody insists on calling a child a Muslim child, or a Christian child or a Jewish child, do correct them. That infant has no idea what religion is, what it means and what it teaches.

In Islam it is believed that every child is born a Muslim:

Surah Al-A’raaf, Chapter 7, Verses 172-173;

Allah explained that when He created Adam, He caused all of Adam’s descendants to come into existence and took a pledge from them saying, Am I not your Lord? To which they all replied, ” Yes, we testify to It:’

The Prophet Muhammad said, “No babe is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6426)

http://www.islam101.com/dawah/newBorn.htm

A baby born to Christian parents remains a Muslim until it is “led astray” by its parents towards Christianity. That baby will grow up believing in the Christian faith and many of its views will favour the Christian ideology; the holy trinity, the crucifixion of Jesus and his status as a messenger of God or as the son of God.

That child, say for the sake of the argument is a boy, has grown to become a Christian man. According to the Quran that man can only go to heaven on the day of judgement if he is willing to pay a tax; possibly in the form of submission.

Then what about a child born to atheist parents? Or a child born in a culture or part of the planet where the Abrahamic religion has not yet spread? What about a Hindu child? An apologetic[1] will say that it becomes the persons responsibility to seek out the true religion i.e. Islam, and if he doesn’t, well then, that’s his own fault and deserves to go to hell because he denied one true god and didn’t accept Muhammad as his messenger.

Imagine a poor child in India born to illiterate Hindu parents, in a village that has cut off all communications with the outside world. An ancient village and its occupants who have survived for thousands of years in a remote part of the country where the Abrahamic religions never reached. What are the chances that that young child will get to learn about other religions, whether its Christianity, Judaism, or Islam?

Not just India, but there are many examples where a person has no means to educate himself on the different religions except on the religion of his parents. He is most likely to follow the religion of the community and culture that he has been brought up in. It’s a cultural religion that he has inherited. Does that man deserve an eternal suffering in hellfire? Here, an apologetic will say: ‘God will let him in heaven because of his innocence, his backward culture, and the difficulty of him growing up in a region of the planet where he could not be exposed to Islam. Therefore, God will forgive him and grant him a place in heaven.’

I say, if that was the case, then why not simply say it in the Quran? Why say that a person who does not believe in God will be punished?

Surah Al-Tawba, Chapter 9, Verse 28;

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

– Translated by Yusuf Ali

Source: http://www.itsislam.net/quran/surah.asp?sid=9

Islamic apologists say there is no compulsion in Islam. However, if you’re a child born to Muslim parents and in to a strict culture with Islamic ideology, the religion is compulsory for you because your situation demands it. You have no choice but to accept it. It is compulsory because if you refuse it, you become an outcast. You will face resistance from your parents and then from the community. This resistance can even take shape in the form of real physical abuse and threat.

And do I need to remind you what the punishment is for apostasy? It’s death in case you were wondering.

[1]apologetic – is the discipline of defending a position (usually religious) through the systematic use of reason.

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