From an MSNBC interview with Franklin Graham (starting about 3:05):

Reporter: You've said in the past that President Obama's father was Muslim, so that President Obama has the seed of Islam, I believe is how you put it, in his blood...

Graham: No, it's not in his blood. Under Islamic law, under Sharia Law, Islam sees him as a son of Islam because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, great-grandfater was a Muslim, and so under Islamic law, the Islamic world sees Barak Obama as a Muslim, as a son of Islam. That's just the way it works. That's the way they see it. But of course he says he didn't grow up that way, he didn't believe in that, he believes in Jesus Christ, so I accept that. So I'm just saying, in the Muslim world, they see him as a Muslim.

  1. Is it true that the son of a Muslim has some special standing within Islam, even if he rejects Islam?
  2. What is this special standing (referred to both as "son of Islam" and "seed of Islam" in the interview)? What is the scriptural and/or historical context of this special standing?
  • Please help me with tagging.
    – Flimzy
    Aug 13, 2012 at 2:01
  • 1
    No time for a complete answer, sorry, but in short 1) No. 2) No such thing.
    – Ansari
    Aug 13, 2012 at 6:10
  • For a little bit of background on how someone who does not consider themselves Muslim may be considered Muslim: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/512/…
    – user206
    Aug 14, 2012 at 15:11

3 Answers 3


There is no such thing as children of Islam. Islam believes in individual righteousness and obedience to God. Being the son of a Muslim does not give you any favor.

Narrated 'Aisha: The people of Quraish worried about the lady from Bani Makhzum who had committed theft. They asked, "Who will intercede for her with Allah's Apostle?" Some said, "No one dare to do so except Usama bin Zaid the beloved one to Allah's Apostle ." When Usama spoke about that to Allah's Apostle Allah's Apostle said, (to him), "Do you try to intercede for somebody in a case connected with Allah's Prescribed Punishments?" Then he got up and delivered a sermon saying, "What destroyed the nations preceding you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict Allah's Legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut off her hand." Sahih Bukhari Book 56, Number 681

Fatima was the beloved daughter of the prophet (PBUH) and was very righteous. This shows being the daughter of the Prophet does not give you any favor.

In reality some high profile Muslims easily get away with punishment if they leave Islam because of influential parents not because Islam give them that status. Son of Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, Mosab Hassan Yousef is an example who left Islam and embraced Christianity.

In short there is no such thing as "Son of Islam" or "Seed of Islam". Something that might be close is when a Muslim child is born, the prayer is said loud in his years. According to Muslim that make him muslim. So you can say it is like a seed. But in reality, it probably does not have any affect on his faith, what affects is his faith is his upbringing, believes and his own action.

  • -1 for not mentioning the reference of the hadith.
    – islam101
    Aug 13, 2012 at 4:07

In Islam, if a family member is a kaffir, or someone who rejects the truth when they know its true, they are not considered your family.

Allah promised Noah (AS) that his family will be saved from the flood, but Allah commanded the water to swollow all who disbelived, and Noahs son was one of them

[But] he said, "I will take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water." [Noah] said, "There is no protector today from the decree of Allah , except for whom He gives mercy." And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned.

....And Noah called to his Lord and said, "My Lord, indeed my son is of my family; and indeed, Your promise is true; and You are the most just of judges!"

He said, "O Noah, indeed he is not of your family; indeed, he is [one whose] work was other than righteous, so ask Me not for that about which you have no knowledge. Indeed, I advise you, lest you be among the ignorant." 11: 43-47

So these ayat explain that if someone who has a blood relationship with you, and they have no relationship with God, then they are not your family member. Those with a true bond are those who are muslims, hence the reason for us calling fellow muslims brothers, and sisters.

Also, when the prophet's uncle died, he was asking Allah to forgive him for being a kaffir and Allah said that he cannot pray for those who disbelieved

By Allah, I will keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for you unless I am forbidden (by Allah) to do so." So Allah revealed:-- 'It is not fitting for the Prophet and those who believe that they should invoke (Allah) for forgiveness for pagans.' (9.113) And then Allah revealed especially about Abu Talib:--'Verily! You (O, Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He will.' (28.56) Sahih Bukhari Book #60, Hadith #295

and lastly, the story of a convert from Islam. Some Muslims tried to bury him next to the dead Muslims, and they failed to do so:

Anas b. Malik reported: There was a person amongst us who belonged to the tribe of Bani Najjar and he recited Sura al-Baqarah and Surat Al-i-'Imran and he used to transcribe for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). He ran away as a rebel and joined the People of the Book. They gave it much importance and said: He is the person who used to transcribe for Muhammad and they were much pleased with him. Time rolled on that Allah caused his death. They dug the grave and buried him therein, but they found to their surprise that the earth had thrown him out over the surface. They again dug the grave for him and buried him but the earth again threw him out upon the surface. They again dug the grave for him and buried him but the earth again threw him out upon the surface. At last they left him unburied. (Muslim Book #038, Hadith #6693)

This hadith shows that when this body was going to give the honor of being buried next to Muslims, the earth wouldn’t allow it. Which means that Allah was not pleased with this man, even thought his ancestors were Muslims, he was a convert, and he was not given the permission to be buried next to Muslims.

So family members do not get a special place in Islam, they will be judged accordingly based on their actions, not by those who they were related to.


As per Islam, every child is born a muslim. Every child has the seed of Islam even if the child is born in a non-muslim family.

Narrated by Abu Huraira The Prophet said, "Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) and his parents convert him to Judaism or Christianity or Magianism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?" (Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 467)

In short, the children of Muslims and Non-Muslims have the seed of Islam.

  • Thanks. That's the start of an answer. It's not a complete answer to my question. Do children of Muslims have any special standing/favor/status, perhaps that goes by another name? Are children of Muslim parents who reject Islam any different than any other non-Muslim, as Mr. Graham claims?
    – Flimzy
    Aug 13, 2012 at 5:26
  • this is kind of irrelivant to be no where does this state that they have a special status in islam, and this hadith says every child, not just the children of muslim parents.
    – NesreenA
    Aug 13, 2012 at 10:15

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