Recently Added
Hajj and Umrah

Khisaal ul Fitrah - Instinctive Habits

A person is born on the fitrah, but fitrah needs to be defined as this is a very wide concept. However, this wil only be discussed in reference to Tahaarah.


The scholars have not differed much over the definition:

Linguistically: from the verb fatara -

Meaning shaqqa, to split or cut off
Meaning ibtidaa or khalaqa, to begin or create, like in:

"Say, "Is it other than Allah I should take as a protector, Creator of the heavens and the earth..." [6:14]

In the Sharee'ah:

"So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. 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 of the people do not know." [30:30]

"Every new-born child is born in a state of fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian, just as an animal is born intact. Do you observe any among them that are maimed (at birth)?"

(Bukhari from Abu Hurayrah)

"The fitrah are five, circumcision, using metal (blade for removing the pubic hair), trimming the moustache, plucking the armpit hair, and cutting the nails”

(Bukhari from Abu Hurayrah)

Al Khattaabi said fitrah means as sunnah as explained by the following hadith:

"Ten things are from the sunnah, trimming the moustache..."

(An Nasaai from 'Aaishah)

Some said it means ad din (explained in introductory lessons), others said it means the sunnan of the prophets. An Nawawi agreed with this statement. Al Baydaawi said the word used in these hadith is the collection of beginning, instinct, ad din and as sunnah as it is the old sunnah that was practiced by the prophets, is something that Allah created people on and it is the natural inclination to worship Allah, which is the din.

Actions of the Fitrah

Ibn Hajar collected many narrations in which the instinctive habits were mentioned in his explanation of Saheeh ul Bukhari, Fath-ul-Baari. For example:

"Ten things are from the fitrah: trimming the mustache, growing the beard, the miswak (toothstick), inhalation of water, trimming the nails, washing between the finger joints, plucking the armpit hairs, shaving the pubic hair and washing the private parts" (One of the narrators could not remember the tenth but thought it was washing the inside of the mouth)

(Muslim from 'Aaishah)

"The fitrah are five or five are from the fitrah, circumcision, using iron (blade for removing the pubic hair), trimming the mustache, plucking the armpit hair, and cutting the nails”

(Bukhari from Abu Hurayrah)

"From the fitrah is shaving the pubic hair, trimming of nails and trimming of the mustache"

(Bukhari from ibn Umar)

It is important to note that in both cases, the prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said 'from the fitrah' as both lists are not restrictive and there are other actions which are also part of the fitrah.

An Nawawi mentioned that this is like the hadith "Hajj is 'Arafah" or "The religion is sincerity", in that those are very important parts just as the actions mentioned in these hadith on the fitrah list those actions which are important parts of the fitrah.

Al Qaadhi Abu Bakr said the actions of the fitrah are almost 30. Ibn Hajar said that there are less than 30 if you look at those reports where such wording is used (i.e. the fitrah is... or ...from the fitrah). The report from ibn Umar in Bukhari is shortest report on this issue. Other issues are mentioned in other hadith, such as:

“Four things are from the ways (sunnah) of the Messengers: shyness, using perfume, the miswak, and marriage”

(At Tirmidhi from Abu Ayyub al Ansaari)

"Five things are from the ways (sunnah) of the messengers: shyness, tolerance, cupping, the miswak and using perfume"

(Al Bazzaar and Al Baghawi - weak hadith)


Abdur Razzaaq and At Tabari both recorded that when Allah says:

"And when Ibrahim was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them..." [2:124]

Ibn Abbaas explained the test as a test with the issues of purification, five from the head and five from the body as is mentioned in the hadith recorded by Muslim mentioned above.

The scholars mentioned that every act of good manners and righteousness are from the fitrah like dutifulness to parents, keeping ties of relations, paying the rights of neighbours, helping the needy, honouring the guest, truthfulness, fulfilling promises and trusts and many others from the good manners.

They said that these are all from the fitrah as they are manners that are recognised to be good by the whole of mankind, not just the muslims/ummah of Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam.

The actions of the fitrah are related to tahaarat-ul-jism, purification of the body.

What is the aim of these instictive habits?

Ibn Hajar said these are acts that lead to the reform of the deen and dunya for a person. A person beautifies his person whilst taking care of his purity of his body from physical impurity. It is also obedience to Allah as His messenger sallallahu 'alayhi prescribed these acts in the mentioned hadith and is in accordance with Allah's statement as you keep your form perfected:

"...and formed you and perfected your forms..." [40:64]

The ruling on these actions (Al hukm ut Takleefi)

Are these acts obligatory or recommended?

The majority of scholars mentioned that these are mustahabb/sunnah (recommended). Some scholars like ibn ul arabi considered all of them as compulsory as we are commanded to follow Ibrahim 'alayhis-salaam and he was ordered to do these things. However, this was considered a minority and strange view as there is no evidence to show that they are compulsory and we do not follow Ibrahim 'alayhis-salaam in everything.

The term sunnah here means recommended as was mentione in the introductory lessons. In the above mentioned hadith, sunnah was used in it's linguistic meaning, ways.

The Muhaddith (scholar of hadith) uses the term sunnah to mean the hadith - the statements, actions, approvals and attributes of the messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. This includes what is authentic and what is not.
The Faqih (scholar of Fiqh) uses the term sunnah to mean recommended as used above. An action is termed sunnah when it is something that you are rewarded if you do it but not punished if you do not do it.
The Usuli (scholar of Fiqh principles) uses the term sunnah to mean the second source of legislation. It is the collection of authentic hadith.