The term “fitrah” is derived from the Arabic word “fatara,” which means to create or to originate.
In Islamic psychology, the concept of fitrah refers to the innate nature of human beings that inclines them towards recognizing and submitting to the existence and oneness of Allah (SWT) and adhering to moral and ethical values.
Ibn Taymiyyah a prominent Islamic scholar (born in 661 A.H.) said, “The fitrah is the natural state of the human being, in accordance with which he is created. It is the innate disposition that directs a person towards recognizing Allah (SWT) as his Lord and Master, and towards adhering to the moral and ethical values that are consistent with His divine commandments.” (Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmu’ al-Fatawa).
Imam Al-Ghazali (born in the year 450 A.H), another Islamic scholar said the fitrah means “the original purity of the human being, which inclines him towards recognizing his Creator and fulfilling His commands.” (Al-Ghazali, Ihya Ulum al-Din)
Fitrah is the first component in Islamic psychology and it refers to the natural, God-given disposition of a person. It is believed that every person is born with a set of inherent qualities and characteristics that are in accordance with the teachings of Islam and that guide them towards living a fulfilling and meaningful life.
The concept of fitrah is mentioned in several places in the Qur’an, including Surah Ar-Rum (30:30), which states: “So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most people do not know.”
The concept of fitrah is rooted in the belief that God has created all people with a natural inclination towards goodness and righteousness, and that this inclination can be nurtured and developed through following the teachings of Islam. According to Islamic tradition, fitrah is the state of being that is most in harmony with the will of God, and it is believed to be the key to spiritual and emotional well-being.
In practice, the concept of fitrah is often invoked as a way to encourage Muslims to strive to live in accordance with their natural, God-given dispositions and to cultivate positive character traits such as kindness, compassion, and humility. It is also used as a means of understanding and addressing the psychological and emotional needs of individuals, and as a way to guide the development of interventions and therapies that are grounded in Islamic teachings.
The concept of fitrah is closely related to the idea of tawhid, or the belief in the unity of God. It is believed that living in accordance with fitrah is a way of aligning oneself with the will of God and living in accordance with the principles of tawhid.
In Islamic psychology, the concept of fitrah is often seen as the foundation for personal and spiritual development. It is believed that by cultivating fitrah, a person can develop a strong connection to God, improve their mental and emotional well-being, and lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
The concept of fitrah is closely tied to the idea of free will and the belief that every person has the ability to choose to follow the path of righteousness and live in accordance with the teachings of Islam. It is believed that by exercising free will and choosing to follow fitrah, a person can overcome negative habits and behaviors and cultivate positive character traits.
The concept of fitrah is often used in Islamic psychology as a way to understand and address the psychological and emotional needs of individuals. It is believed that by helping people to cultivate fitrah, they can develop greater self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and well-being.
Examples of Implementing Fitrah on the Seerah of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
1. Belief in One God: The Prophet Muhammad’s life was centered on the belief in one God, which is the fundamental principle of the Islamic faith. He consistently preached the importance of monotheism and the worship of Allah alone, as stated in the Quran: “Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him” (Quran 112:1-4).
2. Kindness and compassion towards all: The Prophet Muhammad was known for his kind and compassionate nature towards all, including animals and even his enemies. This is exemplified in a famous incident where a Bedouin urinated in the mosque, and instead of getting angry or scolding him, the Prophet calmly instructed his companions to clean it up and then spoke kindly to the Bedouin, explaining to him the sanctity of the mosque and why his action was inappropriate.
3. Honesty and integrity: The Prophet Muhammad was a man of great integrity and honesty, and this is reflected in his actions throughout his life. He was known to keep his word, even in difficult circumstances, and was always truthful in his dealings with others. This is demonstrated in the famous incident where he was asked to mediate a dispute between two parties, and even though he had personal ties to one of them, he ruled in favor of the other based on the evidence presented to him.
4. Modesty and humility: The Prophet Muhammad was a humble and modest man, despite his great achievements and status as a leader. He would often help with household chores, such as sewing his own clothes and milking his own goats, and would sit and eat with his companions instead of expecting special treatment. This is reflected in the Quranic verse: “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace” (Quran 25:63).
Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 23, Hadith 441
Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 3, Hadith 751
Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 56, Hadith 735
Quran, 25:63, 112:1-4