Quranic Reflection No. 491. Āyat 30:30 – Mankind’s God-Seeking Nature
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Fa aqim wajhaka liddíni hanīfā fitratallāhillatī fatarannāsa ‘alayhā lā tabdīla likhalqillāhi dhālikaddīnul qayyim walākinna aktharannāsi lā ya‘lamūn
So set your heart as a person of pure faith on this religion, the original nature endowed by Allah according to which He originated mankind. There is no altering Allah’s creation; that is the upright religion, but most people do not know.
(Sūrat al-Rūm, No.30, Āyat 30)
Our theology and belief in Allah ‘azza wajall can be proven through different means: reflection on the created world, intellectual proofs, and philosophical discussions. Another way to prove our theology is through our fitrah – our innate nature. Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā in the verse mentioned above discusses how He has created all human beings with an internal compass that can help us find and connect to Him.
Zurāra, a noble companion of Imam al-Sādiq ‘alayhis-salām says he asked the Imam: …about the Words of Allah Mighty and Majestic [Q 30:30] the nature made by Allah in which He has made the people upon. Imam replied: He inclined all of them upon the Oneness (of Tawhīd) (Al-Kāfī v. 2 Ch. 6 H. 20). The question is that if everyone has been created with this inclination towards Tawhīd, then why are there so many people who do not believe, or differ in their belief in Allah (swt)?
The answer to this question requires a short preliminary discussion. This fitrah that all human beings are pre-programmed with are elements of commonality that exist regardless of race, nationality, gender, economic background…etc. There are internal impulses that all human beings have within them which when they reflect on it, it will lead them towards Allah ‘azza wajall. For example, every human being is born with a love for perfection. Regardless of where we are and what we are doing, we are always seeking to attain some level of perfection that we believe will bring us happiness. For some this perfection lies in wealth, while for others in fame or success or comfort. And once we have identified this goal, we spend our lives trying to achieve it. But during our quest for perfection if we encounter something else that we consider to be more beautiful, our goals and ambitions will change towards that new object of perfection. When you truly reflect on the constant variance and short lifespan of these so-called perfections, we realize that there is nothing in this world that is truly perfect except for the Absolute Perfect Being, the Almighty Allah!
One of the most important points we should remember is that this fitrah is in a potential state and is not always actualized. For it to be actualized it requires reflection and contemplation on our inner nature – that which makes us act the way that we do. This inner nature is a common element existing within all human beings.
Unfortunately, we are not in the habit of reflection. Rather we are accustomed to reaction. Our impulses send us messages that cause us to act in certain ways. It is necessary to take time to try and understand why we react in those ways.
Some key questions that we should try and reflect upon are:
i) Why am I doing what I am doing? Because I desire comfort, peace, and ease
ii) Why do I desire these things? Because I believe it will bring me satisfaction and happiness
iii) Have I ever found true comfort and peace in these things before? No, there is always some chaos mixed in with the happiness
iv) Then where can I find this peace and comfort that I truly desire? It must be somewhere, I just must find it
v) There must be a place where it is available. Yes! It is available when I submit myself completely to God and seek only His pleasure. It is available in a complete form in the Hereafter, which should be my goal. That is the only way I can find what I truly desire.
When we reflect about our fitrah – innate nature; we will without a doubt find Allah ‘azza wajall!
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī, Al-Amthal fí Tafsīr Kitāb Allah al- Munzal, Sayyid Rūhullāh Mūsawī Khumaynī, Forty Hadith, Hadith 11