Research Shows that Children Know They Existed Before They Were Born

By Fatima Ariadne

An Eye-Opening Scientific Research

In my previous posts, like in here, I related my story how when I was a 5-year old up to 6-year old, I asked myself strange questions like :

“Have I existed long before this?”,
“I’m on the beginning to live, but it feels like I have lived forever?”,
“Where was I yesterday and yesterday before this?”,
“Is reality only the reflection of my own inner state, or is there really existence outside my own state?”,
“What does it feel like to be non-existent before this existence?”
“Why am I here? Why do I exist? Why do I become me?”
“What is death and what does it feels like to experience death?”

Hence how shocking it is that I’m not the only one! And if you experience this too when you were kid, you are not alone. A research shows that children are naturally imprinted to remember life before conception.


*****SOURCE taken from : Boston University Website and PsMag
(click the above links to find out further about this research)

A new study led by two psychology researchers shed light on these profound questions by examining children’s ideas about “prelife” or “life before conception”. For this research, Natalie Emmons and Deborah Kelemen interviewed 283 children from two distinct cultures in Ecuador.

One district was outside capital of Quito, a population dominated by Catholic religion. While the other district was from indigenous Shuar Village in Amazon Basin. They were curious to discover whether the Shuar children, who grow up in natural environment will have different assumptions than kids raised in urban setting.

Emmons showed the children drawings of a baby, a young woman, and the same woman while pregnant, then asked a series of questions about the child’s abilities, thoughts, and emotions during each period: as babies, in the womb, and before conception.

The results were surprising. Both groups gave remarkably similar answers despite their radically different cultures. The children reasoned that their bodies didn’t exist before birth and that they didn’t have the ability to think or remember.

Both groups also said that their emotions and desires existed before they were born. For example, while children generally reported that they didn’t have eyes and couldn’t see things before birth, they often reported being happy because they would soon meet their mother, or being sad that they were apart from their family.

This study suggests that our bias toward immortality is a part of human intuition which has emerged naturally early in life. It also fits into the cognitive roots of religion. Although religion is a dominant force in the world, science still has little headway in learning whether human tendency to believe in Creator, may actually be hard-wired into our brains.

Even kids who had no biological knowledge about reproduction still seemed to think that they had existed in some sort of eternal form” stated Natalie Emmons, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Boston University.

“This work shows that it’s possible for science to study religious belief,” says coauthor Deborah Kelemen, a CAS associate professor of psychology. “At the same time, it helps us understand some universal aspects of human cognition and the structure of the mind.”

Why would humans have evolved this seemingly universal belief in the eternal existence of our emotions? Emmons says that this human trait might be a by-product of our highly developed social reasoning.

“We’re really good at figuring out what people are thinking, what their emotions are, what their desires are,” she says. She believes that we tend to see people as the sum of their mental states and that desires and emotions may be particularly helpful when predicting their behavior. Because this ability is so useful and so powerful, it flows over into other parts of our thinking.

We sometimes see connections where none exist, we hope there’s a master plan for the universe, we see purpose when there is none, and we imagine that a soul survives without a body. These ideas, while nonscientific, are natural and deep-seated.

“I study these things for a living, but find even myself defaulting to them,” Emmons says. “I know that my mind is a product of my brain, but I still like to think of myself as something independent of my body.


Life Before Conception, Fitrah, and Soulmates in Islam

The research seems to confirm the infamous hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), stated, “all children are born in fitrah. It is their parents that make them Christian, Jew, or Zoroastrian”.

“Fitrah” is generally defined as the soul purity that is traced directly from The Source, the original state of humanity soul before they were influenced by the worldly environment.  In Islamic teaching, every children are born pure, carrying natural purity from The Source – no child carry the original sins of Adam and Eve.

Qur’an has explained us the Day of Soul Contract where we made a conversation with Divine Creator in the form of soul – long before our physical bodies existed.

“And (remember) when Your Lord summoned the descendants of Adam from their loins their seeds (souls), and made them testify for themselves. ‘Am I not your Lord?’. They replied, ‘Yes, You are our Lord’….”  (Qur’an 7:172)

“Souls are like conscripted soldiers. Those whom they recognize, they’ll get along with, and those whom they don’t recognize, they will not get along with” (Sahih Bukhari).

As for the hadith, the scholars interpreted that the phrase “whom they recognize” refers to life before we existed inside physical body.This hadith explained how in the Soul Realm, our soul had interacted with other souls and an affinity was formed from it. This is the reason why we can easily “click” with certain individuals, but not with others. The hadith also confirms why things such as “like attracts like” and “soulmates” exist.

So yes, my dear. On the core, we are indeed the spirit beings living inside physical body.

Although we don’t remember things that happened in the Soul Realm, it seems like our cellular memory still remembers that home. And that is why humanity always asked, “where do we come from? why are we here? where do we go when we die? what lies beyond?”. This is just the calling of fitrah itself.


Souls are Pure. The World Pollutes It.

(C) Böhringer Friedrich via Wikimedia Commons

I cannot say it better. Quoting from Rumi’s discourse “Fihi Ma Fihi”, he wrote lengthily about the origin of fitrah :

“Within our being all sciences were originally joined as one, so that our spirit displayed all hidden things, like clear water shows everything within it—pebbles, broken shards and the like—and reflects the sky above from its surface like a mirror. This is Soul’s true nature, without treatment or training. But once Soul has mingled with the earth and its earthly elements, this clarity leaves it and is forgotten.

“So Allah sends forth the Prophets and Saints (awliya), like a great translucent ocean that accepts all waters, and yet no matter how dark or dirty are the rivers that pour into it, that ocean remains pure.

“Then Soul remembers. When it sees its reflection in that unsullied water, it knows for sure that in the beginning it too was pure, and these shadows and colors are mere accidents.

“The Prophets and the Saints, therefore, only remind us of our original state (fitrah) ; they do not implant anything new. Now, every water, no matter how dark, that recognizes that great water, saying, “I come from this and I belong to this,” is truly a part of that ocean. But the dark elements that do not recognize that ocean and believe they are kin to another kind, they make their home with the colors and shadows of the earth.

“It was for this reason that the Qur’an reveals, ‘there comes to you a Messenger from amongst yourselves.’ The great ocean is of same substance as your own water, it is all from One Source.

“But for those elements that do not feel the attraction of familiarity, this failure does not come from the water itself, but from the pollution in that water. This
pollution is mixed in so closely that the water does not know whether its own shying away from the ocean comes from itself, or from the essence of that pollution. And so, evil men do not know whether their attraction toward evil springs from their own nature, or from some dark element mingled in.”


1 Comment
  1. 2 years ago

    Assalamu Alaikum
    MashaAllah sister, this site is amazing. It ss very thought provoking and I can’t believe English is your third language because you are so eloquent and articulate, subhanAllah. Your articles concerning Khushoo in prayer and the meanings of its movements completely changed my thoughts on prayer and Alhamdulillah I’m trying to read my salah better.
    May Allah bless you and your husband, may He give you khair for so beautifully describing Islam and helping sisters like me increase my love for Him, and may he grant you Jannah.


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