When we ask people who we call them as kafeer to follow Allah's revelation, Allah says that they will answer like in surah Al-Baqarah verse 2:170.

When it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they reply, “No! We only follow what we found our forefathers practicing.” Would they still do so, even if their forefathers had absolutely no understanding or guidance?.

Honestly I have some non-muslims friends and in my experiences they never answered me like that. They just said that they're not convinced. Nothing else. Just like us, they also believe that they follow the true religion, not just their forefathers'.

But at the same time very often I heard muslims especially sheikhs say something like this.

We must be grateful to be born in Islam.

Something weird here. How can we be grateful to be born with the religion of our ancestors while at the same time the verse itself says that we need to follow Allah not our ancestors since they know nothing.

Let's talk statistics. Out of all growth of any fastest growing religion today, only 0.6% come from conversion. The rest is from higher fertility rates. That means 99.4% of someone's religion was inherited from their parents not because they learn the truth.

So how to prove that we're not among those who inherit their faith from their forefathers like said in the verse above?.

  • 1
    The key difference is that Muslims don't follow the religion of their ancestors, they follow what is revealed through Quran and Sunnah. Also the quoted reference talks about how some would not follow what Allah has unvieled, because they don't want to leave the culture, practices, norms of their ancestors.
    – AbduRahman
    Nov 5, 2022 at 11:20
  • @AbduRahman i don't know about others. i've followed my parents like most people do. like my parents follow theirs. if i were born in other religion, statistically there's only 0.6% chance i'll end up a muslim Nov 5, 2022 at 12:56
  • But we do inherit Islam from our forefathers while still following the truth from Allah. How does it make us any wrong?
    – user51831
    Nov 5, 2022 at 12:58
  • "statistically there's only 0.6% chance i'll end up a muslim" Yeah, that's not how statistics work but regardless of that, I don't think how one can't be on the religion of their forefathers while following Allah. The point is that the disbeliever's mentioned in the worse had wicked ancestors who twisted the religion, while Muslims have... well... Muslim ancestors who follow what Allah revealed and his messenger commanded.
    – user51831
    Nov 5, 2022 at 13:00
  • @Stranger exactly that's what i mean. the way quran said it's like peoples from other religion need to be told and proved that their religion is not from God. the moment they learn the truth is when we'll hear they say themselves they'll not follow God but their ancestors Nov 5, 2022 at 13:04

3 Answers 3


When the Quran was revealed, there were three religions present in Arabia: The ancient Arabic (polytheistic) religion, Judaism and Christianity.

The prophecy builds up on and widely confirms the Jewish and Christian prophecy, but Muhammad (p.b.u.h) did not declare himself a Jewish or Christian prophet, founding a new religion to God. No one who followed him could have followed the religion of his parents.

Following their forefathers is part of Judaism, as it is a tribal religion; those who are born Jews are bound to follow the covenant of God and the descendants of Israel. It may have been the same with the traditional Arab religion but we don't have enough information to know it.

The answer "We only follow what we found our forefathers practicing" makes sense both for Jews and Arabs following the traditional religion and it was clearly bound to the rejection of the prophet because it was not possible to follow both, the traditions of the forefathers and the new prophet.

The situation of the Christians was already different. Christianity is already a community of brothers and sisters in belief, following the Word of God come onto them through Jesus (p.b.u.h) and those who preceded them and accepting the new prophecy would only change some dogmatic and some traditions, so that no tribal binding would have them reject the new prophecy but only the fact that they were not convinced that Muhammad (p.b.u.h) is a prophet held some of them back. This is the same today with Christians who reject Islam after considering his words and deeds.

Inasmuch more there is no contradiction between following the belief of our parents and grandparents and the Word of God according to Islam. The verse is not generally opposed to following the same religion as the parents (which would mean that each generation has its own religion!) but it refers to the situation in the time of Muhammad where following only the teachings of the forefathers automatically meant to refuse him as a prophet.

The subject that most Muslim follow Islam not by an active personal choice but because they were born into it is another subject that I don't want to include to the answer because it is not part of the question.

  • it's ok. i'm not asking about that either. but the figure is real Nov 5, 2022 at 17:29
  • so basically what you mean is the verse is about the disbelievers who live during early islam not about today people. but i'm still confused because based on other prophets' stories, they're all against the prophet because they choose to stick with their forefathers religion. but from so many verses talking about it suddenly the verse is no longer valid for us today. not even for nonmuslims. that's sounds weird Nov 5, 2022 at 17:31
  • The argument is "Would they still do so, even if their forefathers had absolutely no understanding or guidance?." Do you think you (supposedly Muslim) forefathers had no guidance?
    – Jeschu
    Nov 5, 2022 at 17:57
  • i just thought that the verse should be able to be applied for today situation and condition not only for the past Nov 6, 2022 at 8:46
  • It is good to study and re-think the Word, with respect to the past scholars but in each generation, each believer to find out the meaning in our lives. But this is not the meaning of this verse.
    – Jeschu
    Nov 6, 2022 at 12:45

When you quote any ayat from Quran, you should also consider the context. This is a tactic among non-believers to quote something out of context and twist it for another purpose.

After reading tafsirs, I realized that this ayat is not about religious faiths. Instead, this ayat talks about people’s culture, lifestyle, and day-to-day activities.

The context starts from the ayat 2:168.

  • [2:168] Human beings should partake in the pleasures and the enjoyments within the limits of law and wholesomeness. This is called maintaining moderation. That is to say, according to the law of moderation as permitted by the law and as sanctioned by the intellect in the measure that is needed and is necessary. Therefore, never transgress the limit within which these pleasures and enjoyments are wholesome and beneficial.

  • [2:169] A life without moderation is the devil’s way, not Allah’s. I.e., it is terrible to maintain an immoderate or squandering lifestyle.

  • [2:170] When people are asked to live a moderate life or change themselves, they say, ‘No, but we will follow what we found our forefathers were doing.’

    In other words, these people are not interested in accepting a change. Instead, they continue their unruly and silly lifestyle by mentioning their forefathers. This is just a pattern of replies they are used to give.

    Therefore, to counter their stupid reply, Allah asks - “What are you saying? Will you follow your forefathers even if they did not understand anything? Will you follow them even if they are ignorant? Will you follow them even if they were doing everything wrong?”


  • Tafsīr ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī, Pages 79-80
  • i don't think they even know how moderate they should live. i never heard any rich people said that they don't wanna live the way god want because they follow their ancestors and they don't even know their ancestors are ignorant to live luxuriously Nov 5, 2022 at 17:57
  • @stackunderflow, i never heard any rich people said that they don't wanna live the way god want because they follow their ancestors --- They might not use the exact phrase used in Quran, but I heard a lot of people say "...this is how we are used to living our lives" or, "...this is how we live."
    – user51833
    Nov 5, 2022 at 18:08

This is the answer I got from somewhere else.

That verse 2:170 from Al-Baqarah is actually talking about people who already learned the truth that they follow the wrong path which is mentioned by previous verses as the Syaitan's Footsteps. They reject to follow Allah's way not because they didn't know the truth but because it's tempting them to follow the teaching they received from their forefathers.

Non-muslims cannot be considered as people who reject Allah because they didn't know the truth yet. They live among muslims and some even know and studied our religion more than people who born a muslim do. But that doesn't mean they're already learned the truth. The key is to prove what we believe is really from God and others' is wrong, not only to them but also to ourselves.

Sometimes I think the verse is better to describe us more than non-muslims out there, because unlike them, we're aware that Al-Quran is telling the truth, but we don't follow it. Instead collectively we choose to follow syaitan's way.

Al-Baqarah 2:2.

This is the Book! There is no doubt about it, a guide for those who mindful (of Allah)

But how about us?. Is blind belief permitted in Islam?. Can we just believe what we were teached since childhood?.

In Islam, there's no believe without learning and understanding Allah's words. We'll be tested to see if we really believe Him or not. And to pass the test we need to understand His words.

Al-Ankabut 29:2-3.

Do people think they will be left to say "we believe" without being put to the test?. We certainly tested those before them. And in this way Allah will clearly distinguish between those who are truthful and those who are liars.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .