Before defining this word, let us first remember two verses that elucidate the meanings of the words ‘Hanif’ and ‘Fatir’:
“Set your face (consciousness) as a Hanif (without the concept of a deity-god, without making shirq to Allah, i.e. with the consciousness of non-duality) towards the One Religion (the only system and order), the natural disposition (fitrah) of Allah (i.e. the primary system and mechanism of the brain) upon which Allah has created man. This is the infinitely valid system (deen al-qayyim), but most people do not know.”
Based on this verse, it is evident that ‘Hanif’ refers to the people of Abraham; those who are free from other religions and belief systems who turn only to Allah, that is, the people of Oneness.
Set your face as a Hanif towards the One Religion…
To the natural disposition (fitrah) of Allah! That is, the religion that is best suitable to one’s natural creation! Cling to that creation of Allah!
The religion of fitrah, the religion of Allah, the way of the Hanif are all Islam!
Religion is not to change one’s natural disposition, it is to manifest the state of tranquility already inherent in one’s natural creation. But most people don’t know this, they seek religion not in their natural disposition, but in customs or they follow their desires…
Religion has two sources:
One is the natural disposition (fitrah) and the other is based on effort.
The natural disposition is completely divine; it is the guidance of the Reality! One based on personal effort, on the other hand, is more like an inspiration that arouses from various internal and external states and contemplations and can thus be subject to various infatuations, impairments and misjudgments, even leading to disbelief and duality…
The hadith “Everyone is born upon the natural disposition” is narrated by Abu Hurairah.
Anas (ra) also narrates, “Allah the Fatir has created everyone with a natural disposition such that they are all upon the religion of Allah”…
Natural disposition (fitrah) refers to the first creation; the first and original state of creation.
So, in this light let’s consider the following:
Why is the word ‘Fatir’ used instead of ‘Haliq,’ which also means ‘creator’ or ‘one who brings into existence’? Because when it comes to ‘how’ something is created, ‘with which measure’ and ‘for which purpose’, then ‘Fatir’ comes into play. Fatir is all about determining, planning, designing, measuring, timing, ordering, etc… All of these are what must be considered before bringing something into existence. Fatir designs creation to make it fulfill particular purposes. The ‘religion of natural disposition’ means the creational program that is automatically and unconditionally executed!
“Then established Himself in the heaven (to manifest some of His Names) while it was in smoke form (natural formless self) and said to it (consciousness) and to the earth (the body), “Come willingly or by compulsion (to manifest My Names)!” They both said, “We come willingly to obey!” (The heaven = intellectual state; and the earth = bodily organs. Both willingly manifest the qualities of the Names.)
Considering that Allah is the Fatir of the heavens and the earth who created everything upon a ‘natural disposition’ then clearly it’s impossible for them not to fulfill their creational purposes! The following verse also makes it evident that all things carry out the functions and actions necessitated by their natural disposition:
Say, “Everyone acts according to his own creation program (natural disposition; fitrah).”
That is, Allah being the Fatir means that all beings, whether we think they are animated or unanimated, are all carrying out their natural creational programs and are thus in servitude… The biggest proof of this is the verse:
“Your Rabb has ordered you to serve only Him.”
Note that the verse says, ‘Your Rabb has ordered’!
Can the order of the Rabb change?
Let’s remember the prayer of the Rasul (saw):
“O Allah, none can prevent what You ordain to give, and none can give what You ordain not to give. No such power exists that can refuse or change Your judgment.” (Hadith)