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What does the phrase “the religion of our fathers” mean in the Qur’an?


What does the phrase “the religion of our fathers” mean in the Qur’an?
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The commands of Islam and how a believer should behave are thoroughly defined in the Qur’an. The phrase “religion of fathers” means a made-up religion based on past habits, traditions or hearsay, acting by many rules that have nothing to do with the commands of the Qur’an. It is this “religion of fathers” which is the source of superstitious beliefs and practices that are not mentioned anywhere in the Qur’an and in the hadiths.

People who live by the “superstitious religion of fathers” are found in great numbers within ignorant societies. People who live in these societies follow various prayers and rituals without questioning why they do it, or examining the way they have been inherited from their forefathers, and simply assume that they are performing satisfactory and acceptable religious acts. Quite clearly, their purpose is not to gain the good pleasure of Allah, but instead to preserve the corrupt inheritance they have received from previous generations. The example of the people of the Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) given in the Qur’an relates to this subject:

Recite to them the story of Ibrahim when he said to his father and his people, “What do you worship?” They said, “We worship idols and will continue to cling to them.” He said, “Do they hear you when you call or do they help you or do you harm?” They said, “No, but this is what we found our fathers doing.” He said, “Have you really thought about what you worship, you and your fathers who came before? They are all my enemies—except for the Lord of all the worlds: He Who created me and guides me; He Who gives me food and gives me drink; and when I am ill, it is He Who heals me; He Who will cause my death, then give me life; He Who I sincerely hope will forgive my mistakes on the Day of Reckoning.”  (Surat ash-Shu’ara, 69-82)

As seen in the above verses, the Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) departed from the false religion of his people, turned only to Allah and communicated to his people that Allah is the only God and the only religion to follow is His religion.

Many messengers have been accused by their people of rejecting the religion of their fathers and of aiming to destroy the religion of that time, and have been threatened by its followers. The following Qur’anic verses relate to this theme:

They said, “Have you come to us to turn us from what we found our fathers doing, and to gain greatness in the land? We do not believe you.”  (Surah Yunus, 78)
When they are told: “Follow what Allah has sent down”, they say, “No, we will follow what we found our fathers doing.” What! Even if satan is calling them to the punishment of the Blazing Fire?  (Surah Luqman, 21)
No, in fact they say, “We found our fathers following a religion and we are simply guided in their footsteps.” (Surat az-Zukhruf, 22)

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Born in Ankara in 1956, Adnan Oktar writes his books under the pen name of Harun Yahya. He is a world-renowned man of ideas. Ever since his university years, he has dedicated his life to telling of the existence and oneness of Almighty Allah, to disseminating the moral values of the Qur’an, to the intellectual defeat of materialist and atheist ideologies, to propagating the real Ataturk way and to defending the permanence of the state and the unity of the nation. He has never wavered in the face of difficulties and despite oppression from materialist, Darwinist and separatist circles, still continues this intellectual struggle today exhibiting great patience and determination.


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