The following is taken from “The Holy Quran in Today’s English” by Yahiya Emerick under the commentary of surah 7 verse 172:
When your Lord brings offspring from out of the loins of the children of Adam, He makes them (first) bear witness about themselves by asking them, “Am I not your Lord?” They say, “Of course, and we are a witness to that!” (We do that) so you won’t be able to say on the Day of Assembly, “We had no clue about any of this
This is a very deep passage, and it has been interpreted several ways. Most commentators say that it means that the imprint of God is upon us collectively as human beings even before birth, causing us to seek Him after our birth when we reach the age of reason. Indeed, the Prophet once said, “Every child is born directed towards its true disposition (to worship God), and its parents make it a Jew, Christian or Zoroastrian.” (Then the Prophet recited verse 30:30 for emphasis.) (Bukhari) Muhammad Asad explained this concept further by writing that it means that from our birth we are all pre-programmed with a disposition that makes us seek God. In other words, we all possess an inner religious compass, or fitrah. All human beings seek the higher meaning, the higher power above them. If a person isn’t born into an environment where religion is present, he will invent one on his own or seek one as a means to fulfill that missing spiritual link that we are automatically predisposed to seek. Some may become sidetracked by superstition and come to worship idols or other invented gods, while others may deny God altogether – and then make their life’s purpose to fight religion, which is in itself a pathetic way of keeping it in their life – but in the end everyone will understand that there is a Presence over all consciousness and matter. Even in religions with a pantheon of gods, such as Hinduism or Taoism, there is always a supreme power lurking in the wings. Some modern scientists have proposed that humans have a so-called “God-gene” that nudges us towards being religious. Muslims have already known of this inclination towards faith since the very beginning!
Emerick, Yahiya. The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an in Today’s English (p. 827). Unknown. Kindle Edition.