بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Every Child is Born upon the Fitrah

Explanation of the Hadeeth, "Every child is born upon the fitrah..." by The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta'.

Q: The noble Hadeeth mentions:  "Every child is born on Fitrah (natural disposition; or true faith of Islam to worship none but Allāh), then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian."  Another Hadeeth says: "his provision, deeds, and whether he will be wretched or blessed is written."  How do we consolidate the two Hadeeths?

A: Firstly: The Hadeeth: "Every child is born on Fitrah (natural disposition; or true faith of Islam to worship none but Allāh) till his tongue expresses him (i.e. Express his creed), thus his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Magian." [Related by Al-Bayhaqy and Al-Tabarany in Al-Mu`jam Al-Kabir].  It was also related by Imam Muslim in another wording, saying:  "Every child is born by his mother on Fitrah but his parents convert him to Judaism, to Christianity, or to Magianism", and Al-Bukhari as follows: "Every child is born on Fitrah, then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian, or a Magian just as the animal produces its baby with perfect limbs.  Do you see any deficiency in its shape?"  This means that every person is naturally disposed to believe in Islam but it has to be taught by actions.  Therefore, whoever is predestined by Allāh to enjoy happiness, Allāh will subject someone who will teach them the way of guidance, and thus it will be paved for them, and whoever is predestined to be of the wretched, Allāh will subject to them someone who changes their innate nature and dispirit them just like what is mentioned regarding the parents converting their son to Judaism, Christianity or Magianism. 

Secondly: It is reported in the two Saheehs (authentic books of Hadeeth) on the authority of `Abdullāh ibn Mas`ood (may Allāh be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) said: "The creation of a human being is put together in the womb of the mother for forty days, then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, then a piece of flesh for a similar period.  Then, Allāh sends an angel who breathes a soul into him, and is commanded to write four things, their livelihood, death, deeds, and whether they will be blessed or wretched.  So, by Allāh, besides Whom there is no other Deity, a man amongst you would perform the deeds of the inmates of Paradise (good deeds) till there is only one cubit between him and Paradise then what has been predestined for him dictates his behaviour and he starts committing the deeds of the inmates of Hellfire (evil deeds) till he dies and enters Hellfire.  Similarly, a man amongst you would perform the deeds of the inmates of Hellfire (evil deeds) till there is only one cubit between him and Hellfire, then what has been predestined for him directs his behaviour, and he starts doing the deeds of the inmates of Paradise (good deeds) till he dies and enters Paradise."  Writing wretchedness and happiness means that they are already decreed because of Allāh's Eternal Knowledge.  It also means that the endings (of people) are prescribed by Allāh. 

Thirdly: Considering the meaning of the first and second Hadeeths in light of the question, it becomes clear that there is no contradiction between them.  This is because man is naturally disposed to doing good.  If a person is from those who are destined to enjoy happiness as prescribed by Allāh, He will grant them someone to lead them to the way of goodness, but if they are from those who are destined to wretchedness as prescribed by Allāh, He will appoint for them someone who dissuades them from the way of goodness and accompanies them in the way of evil till they end up wickedly.  Many texts mention the predestined decree of happiness and wretchedness.  It is mentioned in the Two Saheehs (authentic books of Hadeeth, i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of `Ali (may Allāh be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Every created soul has been predestined to be placed either in Paradise or in Hellfire, it is also determined for them whether they will be among the blessed or wretched.  A man said, 'O Allāh's Messenger!  Should we not depend on what has been written for us and abandon deeds, seeing as whoever amongst us is blessed will do the deeds of a blessed person and whoever amongst us is wretched, will do the deeds of a wretched person?'  The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, 'Work! For the good deeds are made easy for the blessed, and bad deeds are made easy for the wretched.'  Then he recited the Ayahs: 'As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allāh and fears Him,  And believes in Al-Husnā'." This Hadeeth indicates that happiness and wretchedness have been already predestined and decreed according to their deeds.  So if someone is destined to do certain deeds, such deeds will be made easy for them, as deeds are the cause of happiness or wretchedness.

May Allāh grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta'
`Abdullāh ibn Qa`ud (Member), `Abdullāh ibn Ghudayyan (Member), `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify (Deputy Chairman), `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullāh ibn Baz (Chairman)