The Fitrah (Innate Disposition) Expressed by Atheist Richard Dawkins
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Thursday, April, 10 2014 and filed under Articles
Acknowledging the fitrah
In his Fixed-Point debate at the University of Alabama (2007) with John Lennox, Richard Dawkins states:
I think that when you consider the beauty of the world and you wonder how it came to be what it is, you are naturally overwhelmed with a feeling of awe, a feeling of admiration and you almost feel a desire to worship something. I feel this, I recognise that other scientists such as Carl Sagan feel this, Einstein felt it. We, all of us, share a kind of religious reverence for the beauties of the universe, for the complexity of life. For the sheer magnitude of the cosmos, the sheer magnitude of geological time. And it's tempting to translate that feeling of awe and worship into a desire to worship some particular thing, a person, an agent. You want to attribute it to a maker, to a creator.
What Dawkins has described with his words, "naturally overwhelmed", "almost feel a desire to worship something", "I feel this", "its tempting to translate that feeling of awe and worship..." is the fitrah (innate disposition) that is implanted within every soul. Ibn al-Qayyim said, "Whoever reflects upon the whole universe, its upper and lower and all of its parts will find it bearing witness to the affirmation of its maker, originator and owner." (al-Madaarij 1/82). The Prophets and Messengers were sent to corroborate and perfect this inescapable feeling, this fitrah and to protect it from corruption and violation through false, corrupt reason and false religion which includes worship and devotion to created things, superstitious belief and practice, worship of the elements, nature, forces, saints, believing in omens and so on. The fitrah is Islaam and it is to single out the creator and maker with the devotion and worship that one naturally feels inclined to just by simple reflection upon the universe and what it contains of marvels and wonders. Scientists feel and perceive this, even staunch atheist scientists can't escape it, by their own admission. This is the "seed" which is planted in the soil and if left (in the right conditions) will grow and develop into a plant, eventually giving fruit. This is what the Prophets and Messengers were sent to corroborate and perfect, the fitrah, which is implanted in every soul (see this article: Humans May Be Primed to Believe in Creation). Hence, the primary appeal of the Messengers was to this innate faculty, (قَالَتْ رُسُلُهُمْ أَفِي اللّهِ شَكٌّ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ), "Their respective Messengers said, 'Is there any doubt about Allaah, the Originator (Faatir) of the Heavens and Earth?'." (14:10).
The following verse in the Qu'ran is a reference to the fitrah (innate disposition) which recognizes, through simple observation and reflection, that the Earth and heavens and whatever is between them, have a creator, a maker.
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَنِي آدَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتَ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُواْ بَلَى شَهِدْنَا أَن تَقُولُواْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَذَا غَافِلِينَ