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Our Human Nature Inclines Us to Monotheism

11 September, 2017
Q As-Salamu Alaykum. Islam holds that belief in one God is the fitrah (basic nature) of man, but why should it be so? Why can’t belief in many gods or in the Son of God be fitrah? How do we say that something is the fitrah? Please explain.


As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh Dear Amal,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Allah in the Holy Quran speaks of the fitrah of man in these words:

Then set your face upright for religion in the right state—the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know. (Quran 30:30)

We can see that “the pattern on which Allah has made mankind” refers to the basic nature of man, and “setting the face steadily and truly to the Faith” is called “the standard religion.”

Islam, perfect Monotheism, is the Default

“The standard religion” is the same as The Religion, or the Primordial Religion of mankind, which is mentioned in another verse that means:

And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness against their own souls: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! we bear witness. Lest you should say on the day of resurrection: Surely we were heedless of this. (Quran 7:172)

Commentators say that the above verse refers to a covenant taken by God from the whole of humanity, without any limit of time.

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In other words, man in his essential and original purity of soul, has acknowledged his Creator. But later after his birth when he has grown up, he is in a state of “forgetfulness” as it were.

And when he is reminded of his duty to God, he ought to know the truth of that in the heart of his hearts, unless he “covers up” this innermost truth.

Thus Allah in the Quran makes it clear to us that the basic nature of man in his purity must acknowledge Him as the One and Only Creator and Sustainer.

Studies of cultural anthropology and social history also bear out man’s yearning for a Spiritual Unity.

What is more, the latest findings in ecological studies stress the essential unity and uniformity in nature and the universe, which implies a Single Ruler of the universe.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are, in fact, Semitic religions sharing the same background, and essentially speaking of One God. But consider even Hinduism that speaks of many gods. You find that Hinduism in its highest form speaks only of One God.

There is the Sanskrit verse in the Rig Veda: “Ekam Sat vipra bahuda vadanti”: The Truth is One, but scholars call it by many names.

Thus we see that it is belief in the One God that validates a religion. And nature and history, too, speak up for the Truth of the One God, Allah Most High.

The Quran’s Core Message

The Book of God (Quran) informs us of certain truths, which we have no other means of knowing. If we feel the need to investigate their veracity, then the only course is to study nature and history.

In fact, a new learner of the Quran finds it quite surprising that it urges him to observe natural phenomena and contemplate them as a way of arriving at the One Creator.

Also, the Quran repeatedly exhorts its readers to study history, even to travel to different parts of the earth and learn what the past generations did and how they disappeared from the face of earth.

All these studies reveal to us the basic nature of man, his life in the world, and his spiritual quests.

They inevitably lead us to the inescapable fact of the existence of Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, as testified by the pure essence of man.

And Allah knows best. Thank you for your question and please keep in touch.


(From AboutIslam’s archives)

Read more…

Islam: A Natural Belief in God?


Jews, Christians and Muslims: Cousins in Religion?


What is the Value of Tawhid (Monotheism)? Part 1


Are All People Born Muslims?

About Professor Shahul Hameed
Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.