The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ask an Alim

what would be a child


I would like to know what would be a child’s religion if any, to non-religious parents and Muslim parents. I have read the Quran- briefly, and to my understanding people have a choice to choose their religion. So I guess my question is how can I child choose a religion? I know that the biggest part of children inherits their parents’ beliefs/religion but even if it’s a regular practice is it a sin not to? Can a child learn about his/hers ancestors’ religion and decided when the child comes to age? I have had this conversation with many Muslim people and the biggest part of them says that their fathers gave them their religion and they would pass it on to their children. Is it a valid reason or just a tradition? Because as I mentioned before the Quran says that to be a Muslim is a choice, not a birthright but the biggest part of Muslim parents passes it on as a birthright. I mean it’s up to them and I’m not here to judge. Thank you.


Assalamu Alaykum

Thank you for your question.

A child born to a non-religious couple will be a non-religious child and a child born to a Muslim couple would be a Muslim child.  Until the child is of an age and is capable of understanding his religion and either accept it or deny. Till then, it is only right for the parents to teach and guide their children on the path that they follow and believes to be right (whether follow a religion or deny it completely).

It is a norm among people, regardless of faith, ethnicity and geographical location, to recognise and identify a minor using his/her parent’s beliefs and lifestyle. However, once a child becomes of the age where s/he is able to tell good from bad, right from wrong and is able to understand reasoning then s/he can search and choose to follow or unfollow his parent’s religion. This does not mean that when a child becomes of age decides to strip away all beliefs and carry on living as he wishes. Rather, he is obliged to find out more about his faith, understand their reasoning and then follow the result.

According to the Islamic worldview, no individual is allowed to follow others when it comes to his beliefs. that is why according to Islamic laws, a person is obliged to do taqlid of a Marja for his Islamic laws but is not allowed to do taqlid of a Marja’a in beliefs. Beliefs are solely dependent on one’s own efforts and finding out.

Allah says in the holy Quran, sura Zumar:18:

الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

Meaning:” who listen to the word [of Allah] and follow the best [interpretation] of it. They are the ones whom Allah has guided, and it is they who possess intellect”

More over, Islam denounces following the beliefs of fathers and forefathers. Allah (az) in Sura Maida:104 says:

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسُولِ قَالُوا حَسْبُنَا مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا ۚ أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ

Meaning: “When they are told, ‘Come to what Allah has sent down and [come] to the Apostle,’ they say, ‘Sufficient for us is what we have found our fathers following.’ What, even if their fathers did not know anything and were not guided?!

Hence, a Muslim child is obliged to find out about his faith and decide whether he wants to carry on being a Muslim or not. Needless to say, it is the same for any child in any other religion.  what is important is that the effort should be a complete one so that the result is nothing but the truth.

hope this helped,