Importance of Fitrat in Tawheed
This being a lengthy discussion, we have segregated it in various parts. In this part, we shall deliberate on the divine nature (fitrat) on which man has been created by Allah.
‘Then turn your face towards religion, being upright. The nature made by Allah in which He has created mankind; there is no alteration in Allah’s creation; that is the strong religion, but most people do not know’
(Rum : 30)
According to Arabic literature, the word ‘Fitrat’ is on the same scale as ‘Khilqat’, both signifying the same meaning. It is that innate part of man’s consciousness that is aroused involuntarily without any training and instruction. This awareness is an inseparable and indestructible part of man’s existence. It has been ingrained in him throughout the ages, without exception. This consciousness is referred to as ‘Fitrat’. The biggest evidence of the intrinsic nature of this ‘Fitrat’ is the fact that it is found in all humans. For instance, a mother’s affection for her child, is an innate and peculiar aspect of her personality, a similitude of which is not evident in the personality of a teacher, friend or well-wisher. This sentiment of motherhood is inherent in all mothers regardless of their age, country, caste, race and social and political disposition. Of course, this affection may be more acute in some than others. However, there is no denying the basic sentiment.
To verify the above premise, we have to only ask an individual, regardless of his country, caste and race, ‘What is the purpose of creation? Have we come here to lead an eternal existence? Is your creation independent and autonomous, without any regulation?’ If man refers to his innate nature ‘Fitrat’, then he will definitely perceive some kind of a regulatory and pervasive force and will not find his creation distinct and independent.
This realisation can be classified under two heads;
We shall explain this with an illustration. An infant is hungry. This hunger is true realisation. When this hunger is satiated with mother’s milk, then this gratification is real. But when he draws on a rubber nipple to satisfy his hunger, the gratification is faked and not real, although his feeling of hunger can not be denied. Similarly this awareness and feeling of realisation is real even in man. But to what is it associated and related? Is it related to Allah’s Power or to the strength of nature, i.e. an non-comprehending and non-understanding matter? But as you are aware that nature itself is attached to numerous conditions, hence it becomes necessary that nature itself should be related to some extraordinary power which unlike us is independent and needless of any other power and strength.
The Prophets (a.s.) also endeavoured to achieve this objective. They tried to inculcate a feeling of wakefulness in man through this very realisation. They attempted to make man refer to his innate nature so as to understand the existence of Allah. This is because subjugation and worship of Allah is a real gratification of man’s realisation. This regulates man’s efforts, affection and worship in a constructive manner thereby protecting him from deviation and falsehood.
Even the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), with his simple and facile mode of propagation, invited man to refer to his own inherent nature ‘Fitrat’, so as to lead him towards Allah’s recognition. He never employed philosophical and intellectual arguments to convince the simple Muslims of Allah’s existence. The Holy Quran proclaims Allah’s existence as most brilliant and irrefutable. For instance, in one verse it declares,
"Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth".
This is the mode of description employed by the Majestic Quran to assert Allah’s glory. Indeed light in its brilliance, is not only discernible and self-evident, but is also apparent to the beholders. Another illustration will make this point more fathomable. Take a lamp in your house. You see the light emitting from the lamp and with it the other objects in your house viz., table, chair, walls, doors, etc. These objects are only evident due to the light shed by the lamp, for without it they would not be visible. Here, we do not need any evidence to substantiate the existence of the lamp itself. The light thrown by the lamp on the objects is in itself a declaration of some beacon, for the light has to necessarily emanate from a source. (NOTE : Here we only seek to draw parallels between the lamp and Allah. By no means do we maintain that Allah is akin to the light emitted by a lamp. For the light of a beacon is from the material world, while Allah is above all material things.). As in the illustration of the lamp, we witness Allah’s splendour in His creation. Allah has introduced Himself in man’s nature through His numerous creations, which bear eloquent testimony to His Omnipotence. Let us substitute the lamp in the above illustration with the sun. The sun emits light that allows us to see all visible objects. Each visible object, no matter how insignificant, is created by Allah and testifies to His creation. In fact, Allah has familiarised Himself through His creation. Allah’s creations abound in this earth and reiterate His brilliance and glory.
Yet man denies Allah because He can not be seen. Some men when they witnessed Allah’s creations, were so enchanted by it, that they took these creations as their gods. Of course, they were sadly mistaken in their judgment and turned polytheists (mushrikeen). It must be noted that Allah’s creation simply points to Allah’s existence, and the creation itself must not be worshipped as a deity. To do so would be a grave sin, dragging man in the realm of polytheism and apostasy.
This in fact was the mode of introduction adopted by the Prophet (s.a.w.s.). If one recites the Quran from start to finish, he shall find it replete with only allusions and references towards Allah’s existence. Besides, Allah Himself tries to make man aware of His existence through reminders and admonitions, but man in his slumber does not take heed. We are guilty of turning away from Allah’s reminders. He has constantly hinted at His creation, but we have shut our consciousness and ourselves from Allah’s prompting and inspiration. Surely if we allow for some serious introspection, we shall be able to acknowledge Allah’s magnificence and majesty.
We now introduce some practical aspects of this belief because knowledge that is restricted to theory alone, is of no use. This practical application is uncomplicated. Man has to only refer to himself, and reflect on the various reminders that he has been given. Man has to shake himself out of his slumber and pay attention to the signs that have been revealed. This deliberation is elementary and does not involve any logical or philosophical reflection. This is so that the scholar and the commonality alike, can deliberate on the signs. Readers are requested to read the following paragraphs carefully.
Throughout this discussion, they must keep on referring to themselves and remain heedful and cognizant.
We now proceed with our set of questions. First, did you nourish or was brought-up by yourself or were nurtured by someone else? (This being our first practical application lesson, we shall try to explain the question in detail, so as to facilitate comprehension.)
It is indeed remarkable how man passes through a range of emotions and turbulence. At times he is furious, while at other times he is thrilled. At times he feels ever so sure and confident of himself, while at times he is afflicted with bouts of self-doubt and skepticism. There are times when he feels feeble and defenseless, while at other times he feels powerful and dominant. These diverse emotions cause a lot of tumult in our lives. Now reflect on your state of being and judge for yourselves whether you have regulated your own lives and whether you are responsible for all these wide-ranging emotions discussed above or whether your life is controlled by ‘someone else’ while you are helpless. Have you transformed your grief to joy and your anger to calmness, or were these changes observed in your being without any contribution from your side? If man deliberates on these questions, the realisation of helplessness and dependence will dawn upon him. He will comprehend the existence of SOME FORCE OR BEING who regulates his life, while he is powerless in front of IT. He will discern the presence of some regulator who governs his life. Take the case of sleep itself. On an average man sleeps eight hours a day. In his state of slumber, he sometimes experiences dreams. Now is he in control of these dreams? Has he ventured out in this world (of dreams) with his free will, or has been taken in this world while he was powerless? Then in these dreams he sees himself, being manhandled by someone or enjoying a sumptuous meal. While he is still engaged in his reverie, he wakes up all of a sudden and that spell is broken. Again we are confronted with the same question. Did we terminate our dream willingly or someone else brought an end to our dream? This BEING that has been governing our lives is none other than ALLAH.
Our innate nature (fitrat) leads us to this realisation and we discover Allah. This is the very ‘fitrat’ that has made you comprehend this discussion, making you perceive the existence of Allah. Allah, purified be He, is always introducing Himself to man. To this end, He exercises various methods like making man undergo a myriad of emotions (as discussed earlier), turning day into night, with the rotation/revolution of the earth and making man undergo his life cycle from birth to adolescence to youth to adulthood to old age and finally to death. Allah engages a range of various other modes to cause turbulence and perturbation in man’s life. All these elaborate measures are only so, so that man would discern His presence and find His existence. Allah in His mercy has not abandoned man, but has always pursued him with His reminders. On the other hand, man has always turned away from Allah’s signs, and squandered them. Before it is too late, we must wake up from this reverie, and yield to some much needed introspection and reflect on Allah’s reminders.
In this regard, some verses from Imam Husain (a.s.)’s Doa-e- Arafah are noteworthy. These verses are rich in content insofar far as Allah’s existence from the aspect of ‘fitrat’ is concerned. They acquaint man with the way to beseech the Almighty, and achieve His proximity.
"O Allah! Your existence was never concealed, so where is the question of any proof to attest your existence? Is your creation more apparent than You, that we should use it to understand You? No ! Never ! Your existence supersedes everything else in its brilliance. Your Being challenges the rest with its glory ! Indeed You are not shrouded, that we may seek some medium to discover You!"
Therefore if man refers to his self, probes his consciousness, and reflects on his helplessness and infirmity, he will arrive at the inescapable conclusion that there is a SUPREME BEING who has created this world, and everything in it. He has powers that are boundless, so much so that He regulates our lives with complete ease, while He himself is above all forms of regulation. He has no need for a body and, is in fact completely autonomous and independent. He has no need for anything from his creation, while his creation needs him. This SUPREME BEING is Allah, Who deserves our worship and is worthy of our veneration.
So far, we have learnt, the fundamental concepts of ‘Tauheed’ and refuted the claims of the materialists. We have then discussed at length how Allah can be realised with some introspection and probing. We shall now seek to explain Allah’s existence through illustrations from this world and the system that is prevalent in it. The perfect order that exists is indeed striking, highlighting two things in particular;
Today, the structure of the atom is a topic of heated discussion among the physicists. Indeed, this atom is intricate and fascinating, alluding to some very fundamental concepts of ‘Tauheed’. Its intricate structure proclaims the Perfection of Allah. It is so minute that the naked eye fails to perceive it. Not even the microscope can help man observe this atom. Man can not see this atom, yet knows its characteristics. Similarly, Allah cannot be ‘seen’, yet His brilliance and excellence is never hidden. (Please bear in mind that we are striking parallels only for easier understanding. Otherwise, nothing can be or is similar to Allah.)
Although the atom was never observed, it was explained by physicists, based on some premises, which were then tested in the laboratory. These premises led to the discovery of the atom. An atom, despite its minuteness is indeed enigmatic and perplexing. A single droplet of water has more atoms than all the creatures on this earth. As we are all aware, the earth, skies, water, etc. all comprise of an intricate framework of atoms. None can estimate the number of atoms on this earth alone. Then try to conceive the number of atoms on the other planets of the solar system. No individual or machine can correctly gauge the total aggregate of atoms in the universe.
Undoubtedly, assessing the number of atoms is an impossible task. When encountered with such realities, man is completely flummoxed and baffled. His powers of perception and discernment desert him and the magnitude of the problem confound him. Try as he might, he can not answer the question. He is then forced to leave the matter to the Creator. As the Holy Quran declares
‘He is Fastest in taking account.’
(Anam : 62)
The atom despite its insignificant size and miniscule nature is the basic component of all things physical. The atom itself is comprised of three elements viz., electron, neutron and proton. At the heart of the atom is its nucleus which comprises of two components – the proton which carries a positive charge and the neutron that carries a neutral charge. Revolving around this nucleus at extraordinary speed is the electron, which carries a negative charge. The electron’s speed is termed extraordinary because it is like that of no other manmade vehicle, be it a plane or a rocket. Amazingly, the electron revolves at a speed of three thousand kilometers per second. This is the speed of the Hydrogen atom, which can be described as modest when compared to the Uranium atom. For the speed of Uranium atom is even more incredible – an unbelievable two lakh one thousand one hundred and sixty-four (2,01,164) kilometers per second. Indeed, it is strange, how the most minute constituent of this earth can revolve at such an express pace. Also, the inside of the atom is not cramped, but is very spacious. There is a wide empty space between the nucleus of the atom and the electron. So much so that, if you assume the nucleus to be equal to a one meter wide ray of light, the electron revolves around the nucleus at a distance of one kilometer. Roleo, the distinguished physicist, claims that if the atoms within a man’s body are engineered, so that the empty spaces between the nucleus and electron are sucked up, man will be transformed to such a diminutive size, that it may not be possible to see him even with microscope. However his weight shall be the same as a normal human.
The atom is structured with surgical precision. Each constituent of the atom is allocated a spot and it never deviates from there. The electrons revolve round the nucleus treading a defined path and never collide.
There is complete order in this universe, which is evident in its most elementary component, the atom. Allah has arranged these atoms in a most organised manner as we have seen above. Disguised in this atom is tremendous energy that man has often abused to serve his selfish interests. The most disturbing display of such abuse was on exhibit during the Second World War in 1945, when the United States bombarded two Japanese towns with atomic bombs, one on Hiroshima and the second, after three days, on Nagasaki. These ordinary atom bombs wreaked such havoc that soldiers, civilians, children, aged, young, men and women were killed within seconds. Although those bombs were very ordinary and small because at that time, the atomic technology was in its infancy and thus very limited. But today, hydrogen bombs have been manufactured whose power of destruction is two thousand times more than the atomic bombs. And as everyone is aware, the nuclear bombs capability is much more than the hydrogen bomb.
Brothers and Sisters ! We intend to draw some conclusion from this chapter. As stated earlier, every material thing is made from atoms. These particles are extremely minute and its components have also been discovered. We also observed that these components are busy in their works with utmost order and regulation. If this order is disrupted even for a moment, this entire universe will explode like a bomb. Thus, in this extremely small particle, one can witness the order and regulation of the elements, precise law and objective. As per the argument of regulation, any thing which bears such perfect regulation and system, its creator is bound to be an extremely knowledgeable and wise being.
Of course, it should be borne in mind, that this order and system is by no means restricted to the atom alone. Regulation and harmony is also evident in man’s body, the sequence of days and nights, the seas and oceans, the solar system, etc. All these proclaim the existence of a REGULATOR, for surely regulation of this magnitude can not be incidental. After having determined the existence of a Creator, we must necessarily acknowledge him and submit to Him. For surely He is worthy of Divinity, and our glorification and veneration. That is why the first declaration of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was,
‘(All of you) Say, there is no god except Allah, so that you may succeed.’
OUR BODY: THE PROTOTYPE OF A REFINERY
Having discussed the harmony prevalent in the atom, we now turn to the system that is manifested in the human body.
The human body comprises of a billion cells. These cells are of different shapes and sizes and envelop a range of fluids, proteins, enzymes, acids, etc. The chemical reactions that transpire within our bodies are indeed bizarre. In fact, this is such a protracted discussion that we can never satisfactorily discuss all the discoveries and inventions made by man till date. Hence we confine our deliberation to the intricacies of the parts of human body and other related facts.
Man as we know has numerous organs. A large number of biological systems are functioning daily within and without these organs to keep man alive. First we would like to highlight that system of our bodies that is in fact the prototype of a refinery. (However, it is imperative that one always keeps in focus the concept of Tauheed, while deliberating on this topic.)
Let us begin with man’s lungs. The impure blood (of our body) is continuously transferred to the lungs from the heart. There it undergoes a refining and cleansing process, whereby all impurities are isolated from the blood. This clean blood is then re-transferred to the heart. This seemingly simple process transpires every night and day with clinical precision. A break in this process is fatal, leading to certain death.
Lungs in men weigh one thousand two hundred (1,200) grams, and in women, nine hundred (900) grams, on an average. They are divided into two compartments. The lungs resemble an expansive room, with a large number of cavities. Separating these cavities are fine veil-like filaments. The length of these filaments runs into tens of square meters. Despite being tens of square meters in length, its volume and thickness can hardly be seen.
Our lungs are always in motion. They contract and expand every three seconds. This expansion-contraction routine ensures a requisite supply of oxygen and air to the polluted blood, thereby refining it. This pure blood is then transferred to the heart, and the latter in turn supplies the blood even to the most obscure recesses of our bodies. This process, like the other motions of the universe, is not in vain. It follows a definite pattern that suggests some regulatory force governing its motion. Its clinical precision has not evolved on its own but is controlled by a Divine Authority.
Another astonishing feature of our lungs is the fact that in a day our lungs expand and contract thirty thousand times. However this repeated expansion/contraction routine (of our lungs) does not hinder our breathing process at all. This is the most wondrous aspect of our lungs. It only further testifies to the existence of the Creator and the meticulousness with which He has created man. As the Holy Quran proclaims,
(Jaathiyah : 4)
Every manufacturing process necessitates some basic ingredient or raw materials and man’s body is no exception. The human body also needs its two most basic raw materials for survival viz., air and blood. The air exists in every nook and corner of this earth. The Creator has prepared this ingredient in such abundance that man does not have to go hunting for air, for it is pervasive. Biologists reveal that man on an average needs eleven cubic meters of air, which works out to fourteen kilograms. Indeed it is thought provoking how forbidding man’s life would have been, if he had to purchase this crucial ingredient from the market like he purchases milk, vegetables, mutton and groceries. Even more difficult would have been a scenario wherein the air was rationed by the rulers and government. The second critical ingredient of the body is blood, which flows in our veins. Blood comprises of cells. Even these cells are diverse, and every hour they emanate, in millions, from our bone marrow. The decayed and putrid cells of the body are replaced by this fresh supply of cells. This sequence of supplanting continues in perfect harmony causing no pain or bother.
Lying between the valley created by the lungs, is a small fist sized ‘motor’ that runs the human body with amazing efficiency and consistency. This small ‘motor’ better known as the heart, ensures continuous supply of fresh blood to billions of cells every second. On an average, the human heart beats seventy times every minute; which works out to more than a lakh times a day. Based on our age, each one of us can calculate the number of times our heart has beaten. That figure is bound to be staggering. A skip, even for a few seconds in this heartbeat routine, can result in death.
Another interesting feature of the heart is its mode of distributing blood to various parts of the body. The heart employs an intricate framework of veins to supply blood to every obscure part of the body. These veins that measure up to tens of meters, are akin to pipelines, and know exactly how much blood is required by each constituent of the body and regulates the supply accordingly.
The Holy Quran proclaims,
"How do you disbelieve in Allah while you were dead, then He gave you life?"
(Baqarah : 38)
Our body functions like a well-oiled machine. In fact our body is the prototype of a large factory, with a large number of plants and machines. The lungs, cells, heart, etc. perform their task with amazing alacrity and efficiency. Even other bodily functions, like man’s digestive system, invoke wonder for their complexity and elaboration. All these systems go about their functions in a workman like manner and regularity without any formal training and instruction. Indeed, all these intricate bodily systems underscore the existence of a Creator Who has designed these systems and instructed them. Even the Holy Quran highlights this when it says, ‘How do you deny Allah, when He has given you life, while you were bereft of it in the beginning?’
These amazing features of the body, only compel us to reflect upon the qualities of the Creator, the precision with which He has created an infinite number of humans as well as animals. He is to man more loving than his own mother. Indeed His perfection and supremacy are without parallel. Then we should try to gain proximity to our Creator. We must make it the sole objective of our lives to attain His satisfaction. We must endeavour to recognise this Supreme Being, who is more apparent than the blazing sun.