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Are God and Islam Provable: Part II

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Are God and Islam Provable: Part 1 | Part 2

By Hamdija Begovic

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The Question of Atheism and Rationality

Living in the West, particularly Europe, one comes across the da’wah of the atheists. And one notes that the more aggressive of their du’aat like to advance the claim that true rational thinking, in light of known scientific facts, necessarily leads to atheism. As a Muslim, I not only reject that claim; I in fact question the universality of the rationality on which the atheist bases his conclusions. What the atheist calls rational thinking or reason is in fact a peculiarly Western “version” of rationality/reason, and as such it doesn’t pose any challenge whatsoever to the Muslim belief in God unless the Muslim (perhaps due to an inferiority complex) feels compelled to embrace everything Western. To illustrate my point, I would like to make a small digression by turning the readers attention to how different Muslim groups have approached the issue of God’s Names and Attributes throughout Islamic history.

In Dr. Sherman Jacksons book “Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering”, he identifies two Muslim groups that had different approaches to understanding the passages in the Qur’an which deal with God’s Names and Attributes. These are: the so-called Rationalists, and the so-called Traditionalists. The Rationalists basically adopted Greek logic (or “regime of sense” as Dr. Jackson calls it) in understanding God. Based on this, they felt the need to allegorically interpret God’s Attributes since they claimed that a literalist understanding of them would amount to anthropomorphism. The Traditionalists, on the other hand, approached the issue from a completely different, more down to earth, perspective. As Dr. Jackson writes:

“From a Traditionalist perspective (and certainly later Traditionalism), the commitment to plain sense or haqiqah neither implied nor amounted to anthropomorphism. In fact, according to the redoubtable Ibn Taymiya (d. 728/1328), it was actually the Rationalists who were guilty of anthropomorphism, which is what drove them to allegorical interpretation. According to Ibn Taymiya, the Rationalists’ inability to transcend created reality as their frame of reference forced them to associate God’s “hand” or “face” with the human or created hand or face. Then, on this association, seeking to deny all likeness to God, they set out to divest God of all “problematic” attributes, explaining away scriptural references to these via allegorical interpretation.” (129-130)

As we can see, these are two fundamentally different approaches to the same issue. Now, some Western academics like to assert that the Rationalist approach was truly based on reason whereas the Traditionalist approach was narrow-minded and, basically, opposed to reason. But Dr. Jackson doesn’t agree with that assertion at all. He writes:

“In reality, however, Traditionalism was neither a flight from “reason” nor a blind, fideistic commitment to literalism. The Traditionalists invoked “reason” almost as readily as did the Rationalists; they simply rejected the notion that “reason” was limited to the composite Islamicized Hellenistic-Late Antiquity version of it that the Rationalists embraced.” (132)

And in the same way, the Muslim should reject the notion that reason is limited to the Western atheist version of it. But how does the atheist regime of sense differ from the theistic Muslim one? Well, let me first mention what the Muslim and the atheist have in common. Both agree that scientifically verified truths should be accepted. So the question of God’s existence doesn’t really come down to science, especially since science, by definition, doesn’t deal with God’s existence (as it deals with the material world only). Now, it might seem as if the defining difference between the Muslim and the atheist is that the latter only accepts those things which are scientifically proven. But that isn’t the case at all. Atheists accept moral truths even though they cannot be proven scientifically (as science only deals with how things are not how they ought to be). But it doesn’t really stop there; they also accept metaphysical truths that cannot be proven. For instance, how can you prove scientifically that the external world, as you know it, is real as opposed to an illusion or a joke played on your brain by some mad scientist? You can’t. Yet, despite the absence of scientific proof in support of this metaphysical belief, the atheist still accepts it because he feels that it is rational to believe in the reality of the external world; his own existence wouldn’t make sense without this belief. And there are other metaphysical truths which the atheist believes in despite a lack of proof, simply because they make sense to him. Now, if the atheist were to come to a place where the people did not believe in the reality of the external world, he wouldn’t renounce his own belief in it even though he cannot provide any scientific proof in support of it – he clings to it since it is consistent with his regime of sense. In the same way, there is no need for the Muslim to discard his own regime of sense even though he may live in a non-Muslim society. For the Muslim, his existence doesn’t make sense without the belief in God (in the same way that existence doesn’t make sense to the atheist without his particular metaphysical beliefs), and there is really no need for the Muslim to dwell on the question of God’s existence. It is an essential part of his regime of sense which should, frankly, be taken for granted (again, in the same way that the atheist takes the belief in the reality of the external world for granted). And we should have more trust in the intuitive nature of our belief in God. Consider what Dr. Jackson mentions in the notes section of the book mentioned above (p. 208):

“[Ibn Taymiya] notes that primordial knowledge of God is much deeper and resilient, whereas theoretically based knowledge is likely to evaporate in times of stress and tribulation. In fact, in his Majmu’at al-tafasir, ed. ‘A Sharaf al-Din (Bombay: Dar al-Qimah, 1384/1954), 275-85, he gives an interesting treatment of self-ignorance and false consciousness, both of which can lead to the fallacy of attempting to prove what is already known. In other words, I can know God but not know that I know God because my inferior social status affords me not enough confidence in what I know without the validation of the dominant group. Similarly, I can be a coward, stingy, or shame-driven and not recognize these as the basis of much of my behavior. This lack of self-confidence and or self-knowledge can lead me to try to explain my actions and inclinations in ways that are totally unrelated to their reality. Similarly, my lack of accepting my knowledge of God as valid in and of itself can lead me to try to prove God’s existence in ways that are unrelated to God’s reality or the actual substance of my belief.”

To conclude, if I am allowed to speculate a bit, I would say that the atheist regime of sense as it exists in the Western world developed due to the specific circumstances that existed in that part of the world. Namely, the Church’s absurd opposition to science as well as the theological difficulties that Europeans developed with regard to the so-called problem of theodicy (as well as other factors peculiar to the West). This lead to a rejection of God in the name of rationalism and was later identified with it so that atheism was equated with rationalism. There is really no need for theists to adopt this alien paradigm.

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51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Haseeb

    April 13, 2010 at 2:43 AM

    Like

  2. Aussie Muslim

    April 13, 2010 at 5:43 AM

    Disagree with the terminology of this article, though agree with some of the substance in that we as Muslims should not simply accept the Western definition of “rationality”.

    The “Traditionalists” you refer to are actually not the traditionalists, they are the “fringes” throughout Islamic theological history.

    The “Traditionalists” are the Asharis and Maturidis.

    • Abu Ilyas

      April 13, 2010 at 10:28 AM

      As Salamalaykum,

      I disagree with you Aussie Muslim. Some of the positions of the Ashari and Maturidi schools are clearly linked to philosophical constructs developed by the greeks . I don’t think anyone who has read up on this topic can deny this.

      Due to this some of them (A’s and M’s) do accuse the Traditionalists of tajseem – unjustly as we see above and elsewhere.

      Anyway, i don’t think we should get side tracked on this. It was a very interesting article, jazakhallah khair.

      • Aussie Muslim

        April 13, 2010 at 5:32 PM

        Walaikum Assalam,

        I agree with you wholeheartedly, some of the methods used by the Ashari and Maturidi schools are somewhat borrowed philosophical concepts from the old Greek philosophical schools. Properly speaking, however, there is nothing wrong with this in and of itself.

        The simple point is, if we look through Islamic theological history, most of the scholars followed one of these theological schools.

        The “Traditionalists” referred to in this article were actually the “fringes” or “minority” of their respective age and also after their times.

        This shouldn’t take away from a very insightful and informative article.

        • Hamdija Begovic

          April 14, 2010 at 4:58 PM

          Actually, as I pointed out in the article, I took the terminology from Dr. Sherman Jackson, I didn’t come up with it. But “Traditionalists” seems to be taken from the term “ahl al-Hadith”, as the “Traditionalists” took their beliefs directly from the Qur’an and hadith, i.e. traditions (as understood by the Salaf) without borrowing from Greek philosophy. The terminology makes sense.

          The main problem (of several) with borrowing philosophical concepts from pagan Greeks is that those who did that tended to shape their understanding of God using Greek philosophy instead of relying on pure revelation.

          • Aussie Muslim

            April 14, 2010 at 5:34 PM

            Thank you kindly for that response,

            Using certain “methodologies” or “tools” such as the rules of logic from Greek Philosophy to support the pure revelation is no different from using Indian mathematical concepts to calculate difficult cases of Islamic Inheritance or Zakat.

            Just because the majority of Traditional Islamic scholars of the past, the Ashari’s and Maturidi’s, used some “Tools” of Greek Philosophy, this in no way means they actually believed or supported the conclusions of Greek Philosophy. The tools were simply used to defend the faith and support the pure Quran and Sunnah.

            It became a necessity, some would say an obligation, to learn and use these tools at one stage of Islamic history so as that the faith could be adequately intellectually defended, as the traditional lines held by the Ulama of the time were simply not resonating with the Muslim masses.

          • Hamdija Begovic

            April 14, 2010 at 5:58 PM

            Again, the problem is that those tools were used in such a way that the whole endeavour ended up distorting the pure Islamic theology. That’s the point. Ones knowledge about, for instance, atoms as learned through the reading of a work by some dead Greek guy shouldn’t determine your belief about God. Revelation should.

  3. Torq

    April 13, 2010 at 6:14 AM

    That’s true. I doubt anybody believes in God due to the complex roundabout philosophical arguments that are often discussed. It is simply obvious, and the alternative of everything being an unplanned accident is completely absurd. There is also the spiritual dimension that atheists love to hate.

    However, when speaking with an atheist, we can only draw analogies to experiences and knowledge they already have. Here’s where these proofs come in.

    Though in my experience, the atheists that are guided to Islam do so based on intense spiritual experience along with their rational thought. Many suddenly see past the absurdity of a Godless world in a flash, like the fog lifted.

    And we must never forget, guidance in the end is from God. And those who seek it sincerely will get it.

  4. Sincerity

    April 13, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    Can u insert link for part one?

  5. Khalid

    April 13, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    that is a really interesting topic, about which I have thought all too often. It is simply impossible to show an individual the truth of Islam, unless Allah himself, shows him the way.
    I would like to see that series continued, insha’allah. And to start with similarities between Muslim and Atheists is a very good approach.

  6. Atheism Refutations

    April 13, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    Asalaam alaikum Warahmatulah Wabarakatuh

    One thing which needs to be emphasised in dawah is that science is not pro-atheist, rather – science is purely neutral.

    So when atheists argue that science replaces God, that’s a big lie. Since science is merely an understanding of the universe around us.

  7. arliss

    April 13, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    what is interesting is your muslim belief of what god is. to christians god is love. to muslims god is what?

    • Sayf

      April 13, 2010 at 1:56 PM

      In Islam Allah is the One and the Only Creator and to Him belong the most beautiful names/attributes. Among them are Ar-Rahman (The Most Merciful) and Al-Waddud (The Most Loving).

      The main difference is that (most sects) of Christianity ascribe to Allah a son (making the trinity), which is against the idea of worshiping Him and Him alone with all your heart, and against the most important message of the Prophets (Noah, Abraham, Jesus, Muhammad peace be upon all of them) and Scriptures(Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Qur’an) that Allah is Al-Ahad (The One and Only).

  8. Sayf

    April 13, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Well written article, but my issue with this one is the same as the last. You’re totally right, the concept of fitrah is huge in interfaith dialogue, but I still feel the articles are unnecessarily downplaying the role of logic/proofs/signs because our pondering too is a part of this fitrah, and this isn’t the same as speculative theology.

    “Will they not ponder the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found many inconsistencies in it. (An- Nisa: 82) ”

    Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allâh (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You!. Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire. (Al-Imran 3: 190-191)

    See what I mean? If I also go through the prophesies in the Qur’an (i.e. Byzantine victory after horrible defeat, kufr of Abu Lahab), is it not observable proof? And this is all stuff that laypeople can understand in any time period, but nowadays we’re finding more things like this graph here:
    http://www.themodernreligion.com/basic/quran/quran_scatter.htm

    Fitrah is a huge, huge concept with da’wah, and that’s usually what is their ultimate lead to Islam, but the tone of the article still shouldn’t downplay all these signs/proof Allah is providing us. And this isn’t adopting “their” standards for reason, the proof is clear and basic common-sense. As for the standard of “scientific rationalism” as the source of ultimate truth, most people who say that really don’t know squat about science, the last century of atomic physics is a testament to why “scientific rationalism” is turning more and more into an oxymoron.

    BUT, there is one thing I have noticed in my experiences. The majority of atheists who I’ve spoken to have some deep emotional issue and it’s not about proof for them. Remember, not everyone who saw the parting of the Red Sea accepted the truth, the Pharaoh continued to disbelieve.

    Will they not then ponder over the Qur’an, or is it that they have their locks on (their) hearts (which bar them from reason) [47:24]

    I remember talking to one atheist/agnostic guy for almost an hour about all sorts of things during Islamic awareness week and we were totally on the same page when I was going through my routine, and we would go through signs/proofs and he would agree completely. At the end, we finally got to the crux of the issue, he said that his problem was with the idea of “judgment”, because he said something along the lines afterwards that he enjoyed drinking / fornication and saw nothing wrong with that, and he didn’t want to believe in a God that would stop him from those sins, he was basically throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So in the end I had to gear my da’wah towards:

    ..It may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allâh knows but you do not know. [2: 216]

    Your thoughts.

    • elham

      April 13, 2010 at 8:44 PM

      ”At the end, we finally got to the crux of the issue, he said that his problem was with the idea of “judgment”, because he said something along the lines afterwards that he enjoyed drinking / fornication and saw nothing wrong with that, and he didn’t want to believe in a God that would stop him from those sins, he was basically throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So in the end I had to gear my da’wah towards:

      ..It may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allâh knows but you do not know. [2: 216]”

      That is so sad. Its true that whomsoever Allah(swt) wills to guide none can misguide and whomsoever Allah misguides none can guide.

      La hawla wala quwata illa billah, may Allah protect us

      • Hamdija Begovic

        April 14, 2010 at 5:29 PM

        Sayf

        I appreciate your feedback. But it seems to me, and Allah knows best, that the reflection and pondering mentioned in the Qur’an is on a down-to-earth level, an appeal to the fitrah. That is because fitrah is something everyone posseses, and we can use it to determine whether or not something is from God. Anything more complex is problematic, since it requires education and a level of intelligence that not everyone has. For instance, someone might propose a cosmological argument in favor of God’s existence, and an atheist scientist might try to refute that argument based on scientific arguments. A layman who doesn’t have knowledge about science would thus have to either accept one of the two positions on blind faith, or he would have to get educated in science to determine the truth for himself. That would mean that the way to gain guidance is through a scientifc education, which, to me, is absurd considering that God’s message is accessible to all.

        You bring up a couple of examples: the Byzantince victory mentioned in sura al-Rum, and the kufr of Abu Lahab mentioned in Sura Masad. To accept the first example as a miracle requires that one already believes the Qur’an to be preserved and that the relevant verses were, indeed, revealed when Muslims claim that they were. And to know that for sure, objectively, one needs to have knowledge about the preservation of the Qur’an, and that requires education. And not everyone has access to that. Even if someone reads a couple of books about it, one still has to trust the authors of those books. As for Abu Lahab, the issue is similar. One needs to accept the Muslim account of history if one is to believe that what Muslims claim happened to Abu Lahab did indeed happen. One might, for instance, object that Muslims forged this story. To get to the bottom of it would then, again, require independent research. And to truly be able to do that, one would have to have access to the relevant sources etc. Not everyone can do this.
        For a Muslim, these things increase our iman, no doubt. But for a non-Muslim, the issue is different. But when it comes to the fitrah, no one has an excuse. Everyone knows that murder, for instance, is wrong, No research is needed. So when a Prophet tells you not to kill, you have no excuse to reject that command. And even more so when it comes the belief in God. Everyone has to embrace it, since it is ingrained in us to begin with.

        • Sayf

          April 14, 2010 at 7:39 PM

          Salaamualaikum, may Allah reward you!
          I don’t think you understand what I’m trying to get at sis. You’re explaining to me why fitrah is the ultimate tool for embracing Islam, and I already completely agree with you. My issue is that when explaining the high rank of fitrah, you don’t have to bash the existence of proof. You said that if an atheist asks if you can prove there is a God, your response would be (probably) not. My argument to you is that the response should be more along the lines of, do I need to?

          There is a reason why the Prophets came with miracles, some believed at the second of exposure, some believed after witnessing the signs of Allah. It’s all tied together, there’s no need to divorce the two in da’wah.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfzFYEOVDgM

          P.S. – Is the thirst for knowledge a part of our fitrah?

          • Hamdija Begovic

            April 15, 2010 at 3:18 AM

            It’s actually a bro (confusing Slavic names, you know ;-).

            What I meant is that God cannot be proven using the scientific method, since it only deals with the material world (and God isn’t material). But I do believe that His existence can be proven rationally, and that’s where the fitra comes in. That was kind of the point of this article. To give one more example that I didn’t mention in the article: the atheist cannot scientifically prove that we have free will (since it can be argued that we are biologically pre-determined to respond in a certain way to external stimuli) but he will still believe in it because it makes sense rationally. (There are some atheists who do reject the idea of free will because it cannot be proven scientifically or since science seems to contradict the idea of it, but my argument applies to those atheists who still do believe that they possess it). So my point was that we cannot invoke empirical science for everything, no one does that in real life anyway. In fact, most people don’t even use consistent rational thinking as their guiding principle in life, since it would be impractical! Sociologist Randall Collins has written a bit about that, but that’s another story.

            I think we agree more than it seemed at first. As for your last question, Allah knows best.

          • Sayf

            April 15, 2010 at 12:47 PM

            LOL that was embarassing..
            You know, that’s exactly what I said to myself bro, we are a lot in agreement. I think we just need to understand two things:
            1) Scientific proof = (almost but not quite) rational proof = conclusions from observations, simple.
            2) Proof by induction. Just because Allah subhana wat’ala isn’t observable doesn’t mean observations can’t be used as proof. We haven’t really ever seen a black hole (we can’t because its gravity owns light), but we do see other indirect observations that lead us to that conclusion. If I can see x=y and y=z, I don’t need to explicitly see x=z to know it’s true.

            Similarily, Musa alayhi salam claims to be a Prophet and it was observed that his staff turned into a snake (which the pro-magicians testified was not magic, and they became believers as well), then it was observed that the Red Sea was parted to save him and his followers and destroy his opponents. Thus, the empirical observations reinforce and serve as proof to the conclusion that he was indeed a Prophet. (Had to bring out my lab-report voice lol).

            So you see, scientific proof is there. However, all the proof in the world can’t save a locked heart.

            Alas for mankind! There never came a Messenger to them but they used to mock at him. (36: 30)

            And never came an Ayâh from among the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord to them, but they did turn away from it. (36:46)

  9. Pingback: Are God and Islam provable? Reflections on Sura al-Rum | MuslimMatters.org

  10. greentea

    April 13, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    I really enjoyed reading this article.

    There was this really old statement, and I am not too certain about the exact phrasing, but it was in a dialogue between Tagore, and Einstein. Einstein, generally claimed by many atheists as their guy, went to say that truth exists independent of our experience.. .

    This was a quote from a piece on Einstein from Time’s…” When asked directly if he believed in God, he always insisted he did, and explained it once this way: “We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws”

  11. Mehran

    April 13, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Anyone who has even a remote understanding of science will acknowledge the existence of a Creator.

    In Chemistry, we have the Law of the conservation of mass where nothing can be created or destroyed. This is not a theory like evolution or relativity. This is a an immutable fact of our world. Accepting this Law necessitates the further truth of a Creator because this universe had to have come into being because of a Creator. Something more powerful than the universe itself.

    Atheism more or less is just like any other religion. Every religion on Earth except for Islam promotes the fact of accountability. There will be a Day of Judgment where we are all accountable for our deeds and actions.

    Various religions have tried in various ways to skirt this fact. The Jews say we are the chosen people so it doesn’t matter what we do. We will go to Heaven because it is only for us. The Christians say Jesus (AS) died for our sins so it doesn’t matter what we do. Heaven is for all those people who take Jesus son of Mary as a lord. Atheists say there isn’t a second creation and this world is it.

    The Quran unequivocally destroys all of these arguments. Atheists for all their emphasis on rationality are the ones who do not use their reason.

    • Gohar

      April 25, 2010 at 6:37 PM

      interesting point

  12. Heder

    April 13, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    I bring your attention to this
    Clearest Rational Argument for the Existence of a Creator
    http://deoband.org/2010/03/aqida/allah-and-his-attributes/clearest-rational-argument-for-the-existence-of-a-creator/

    • Sayf

      April 13, 2010 at 3:51 PM

      That’s actually a part of the rationalist speculative theology, or kalam, that the author was referring to.

      http://muslimmatters.org/2009/07/27/the-theological-implications-of-the-story-of-ibrahim-the-stars-between-ibn-taymiyyah-the-mutakallimun-yasir-qadhi/

      • Heder

        April 14, 2010 at 8:55 AM

        Which part of the article I linked above is speculation? Can you be a bit specific? Thanks.

      • Heder

        April 14, 2010 at 9:00 AM

        If we see a man walk in a house through the door with only two rooms and no windows.. we then follow him and not find him in one… why would concluding that he must be in the other be speculation? Have you read the article?

        • Sayf

          April 14, 2010 at 9:44 AM

          What you said was perfectly logical, that’s not the issue. The problem is with the premise that movement incurs createdness, this lead a lot of the advocates of this argument to derive new speculative meanings on verses of the Qur’an. The article by Shaikh YQ sums it up well.

          • Sayf

            April 14, 2010 at 9:53 AM

            Just on a side, this level of theology and history is too advanced for me, and way over my head, so I’m not prepared/willing to take this into a discussion. I just wanted to acknowledge the relationship between the kalam the author was referring to and the article.

  13. Aussie Muslim

    April 14, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    Hamdija Begovic

    Agree wholeheartedly with the example you give with regards to atoms.

    But saying that Greek Philosophy “distorted” Islamic Theology is quite misleading.

    As you said, the best, most noble and pure way is to believe in Allah simply through revelation, but unfortunately, for many, including “lay” Muslims, and in particular in this day and age, logical, philosophical and rational arguments are required to clear their minds of many misconceptions, before they are even able to be open to the idea of revelation.

    This is where traditional Islamic theology has played a significant role.

    • Hamdija Begovic

      April 15, 2010 at 5:45 AM

      What I mean is that some people approached the Islamic texts using Greek philosophy and let the latter shape their understanding of the former. My example about atoms is a concrete one. There were speculative theologians who embraced Greek theories about atoms and let it influence their understanding of God and the Qur’an.

      I’m not against the study and use of philosophy, Greek or otherwise, as long as it doesn’t lead to a distortion of Islamic theology.

      • Heder

        April 15, 2010 at 7:47 AM

        As-salamu alaykum Hamdija,

        “… because fitrah is something everyone posseses, and we can use it to determine whether or not something is from God”

        Are you serious?

        Who is “we”? So, everyone – based on their “gut-feeling” – will decide whether or not something is God?

        • Hamdija Begovic

          April 15, 2010 at 8:41 AM

          Wa alaykumussalam wa rahmatullah

          Yes, I’m serious. “We” = humans.

          What I mean is that when a Prophet comes and tells you about tawheed and basic moral laws that you know are true, you have a duty to accept that since you are created by God in such a way that, in your heart of hearts, you will know the prophetic message to be true. Our own souls testified to the fact that Allah is our Lord, so that we cannot come on the day of judgement with the excuse that we didn’t know.

          • Heder

            April 15, 2010 at 12:31 PM

            That’s all fine and dandy. Of course the souls testified to this but how about when you are speaking to one who doesn’t accept any of this? And he outright says this is all delusion. In such cases appealing to their heart is also a valid method — and many might be reminded of their earlier covenant — but didn’t you say above that a “rational proof” will be used? And what you are mentioning is not a rational proof. So this appealing to the fitrah method? It seems this is the only rational proof according to you because there are only two reasons why you would say this:

            Either you believe that the existence of a Creator can not be proven through premises leading to a conclusion, i.e., based on universally accepted absurdities … or deep down you do believe this, but you yourself hold some irrational beliefs. Or yes, you do believe it is provable but you fear the ramifications of the proof because your own beliefs are not 100% in line with the outcome of the proof and this is why you shun it.

            So which one is it?

          • Sayf

            April 15, 2010 at 1:24 PM

            Relax, no need to get hostile and jump the gun. It’s being discussed above.

          • Hamdija Begovic

            April 15, 2010 at 1:50 PM

            Of course the souls testified to this but how about when you are speaking to one who doesn’t accept any of this?

            This was dealth with more extensively in the first of this two part article series. Basically, I would present to him the Qur’anic and Prophetic message and leave it at that. I gave the example of murder. I don’t need to present elaborate philosophical arguments in favor of the idea that murder is wrong, it is already evident to every human being in tune with his fitrah. I simply point out its evil and state that God has forbidden it. The same with God and tawheed, I present the Qur’anic arguments in favour of tawheed and ask him to accept it. My job is to present the message to him, it is up to God to guide people to accept it.

            but didn’t you say above that a “rational proof” will be used? And what you are mentioning is not a rational proof.

            It is rational in the same way that belief in free will is. Some argue that a proper understanding of science leads to the conclusion that we don’t have free will (since, as I mentioned in a response to a comment above, it can be argued that we are biologically predetermined to react in certain ways to external stimuli, through no choice of our own), but I would still say that it is rational to believe in it since the idea that I don’t have free will doesn’t make sense to me. In fact, the idea that my actions aren’t a result of my own free will is irrational to me. It is this type of reasoning I’m refering to when I speak of something being rational. Existence doesn’t make sense without God, therefore it is rational to believe in Him.

            So which one is it?

            Elaborate, sophisticated arguments in favor of God’s existence are like elaborate, sophisticated argument in favor of the idea that murder is wrong. I believe in both things independent of “premises leading to a conclusion”, but I wouldn’t call that irrational for obvious reasons. As for the question of do I believe that His existence can be proven through premises leading to a conclusion, I would say that I accept the basic logical conclusion: we exist, therefore someone more powerful than us created us. But the atheist will say, “no, you are wrong and here’s why”, and then he will come up with all kinds of reasons why science explains away the need for a Creator, and then you have to delve into arguments of a scientific nature, and that requires scientific knowledge. And I’m sure that someone very knowledgable in science may be able to refute the atheist’s arguments, but that would mean that the truth is reached through a type of specialized knowledge. Which it isn’t. The truth is there for the specialist as well as the layman.

      • Abu Umamah (formerly Heder)

        April 19, 2010 at 5:48 AM

        This was dealth with more extensively in the first of this two part article series. Basically, I would present to him the Qur’anic and Prophetic message and leave it at that. I gave the example of murder. I don’t need to present elaborate philosophical arguments in favor of the idea that murder is wrong, it is already evident to every human being in tune with his fitrah. I simply point out its evil and state that God has forbidden it. The same with God and tawheed, I present the Qur’anic arguments in favour of tawheed and ask him to accept it. My job is to present the message to him, it is up to God to guide people to accept it.

        Your stance is a little strange to be honest. It clearly is based upon rejection of ‘rational deduction’ even though you don’t clearly state this. The proper course of action is to accept various methods to be true, and acknowledge that for most people quoting scripture is the way to go. This is why Allah revealed scripture. It has an impact on the majority of people. Apart from the majority of people there are also those who are people of contention and whom al-Ghazali would call dialectitions. Do you deny that such people exist? Taking the accepted principles of such people, i.e. only those matters which they already hold to be true and arranging the matters thus that they remove the controversy and lead to the truth is a valid and accepted method. Why are you trying so hard to exclude this method and show it to be improper? Allah did not say, scripture, scripture and scripture. He said, wisdom, good admonition and disputation in a manner which is better. In another verse it says, we revealed the book (scripture), the balance, and iron… So the point is that you must accept this to be a proper method which is effective for a significant group of people. Since that is the case, it would definitely be a praiseworthy undertaking to formulate such air-tight rational proofs which are based on universally accepted premises and are clear. Clarity is a virtue no doubt, but of course the reader/listener needs to put in some thought and contemplation. So, we will strive to be clear to teh best of our abilities but we will not refuse to discuss because our adversary does not have the time to read or treats our proof as if it was casually written in a few minutes.

        Again, let me repeat that basing ones [scripturally attained] beliefs on sound intuition and being self-evident is perfectly valid. No one denies this. However for those that do not share the same degree of intuition as yourself, you seem to offer no second method. This is not the Islamic way. This is more closer to the maseehi usloob. This is what the Christians do. The murder example you gave is really weak. What if he says, I find murder to be wrong intuitively, but do not find the existence of God to be a necessity intuitively! LOL. There you go. That was a strange thing to say. It wasn’t rational in the least, I’m afraid.

        It is rational in the same way that belief in free will is. Some argue that a proper understanding of science leads to the conclusion that we don’t have free will (since, as I mentioned in a response to a comment above, it can be argued that we are biologically predetermined to react in certain ways to external stimuli, through no choice of our own), but I would still say that it is rational to believe in it since the idea that I don’t have free will doesn’t make sense to me. In fact, the idea that my actions aren’t a result of my own free will is irrational to me. It is this type of reasoning I’m refering to when I speak of something being rational. Existence doesn’t make sense without God, therefore it is rational to believe in Him.

        This too is quite irrelevant. We notice a clear difference between a shiver and a freely-willed movement. Anyone who denies this, we wouldn’t want to engage with them anyways. So what’s your point?

        Elaborate, sophisticated arguments in favor of God’s existence are like elaborate, sophisticated argument in favor of the idea that murder is wrong. I believe in both things independent of “premises leading to a conclusion”, but I wouldn’t call that irrational for obvious reasons. As for the question of do I believe that His existence can be proven through premises leading to a conclusion, I would say that I accept the basic logical conclusion: we exist, therefore someone more powerful than us created us. But the atheist will say, “no, you are wrong and here’s why”, and then he will come up with all kinds of reasons why science explains away the need for a Creator, and then you have to delve into arguments of a scientific nature, and that requires scientific knowledge. And I’m sure that someone very knowledgable in science may be able to refute the atheist’s arguments, but that would mean that the truth is reached through a type of specialized knowledge. Which it isn’t. The truth is there for the specialist as well as the layman.

        Yes. Of course the truth is there for the specialist and the laymen. The Qur’anic method I explained above takes into account both the specialist and the layman [it also gives a method for the stubborn in the form of iron, meaning state power], whereas what you’re promoting here leaves out the specialist. It makes everyone a layman. Now, if you said rational deduction itself is flawed and whatever proof is formulated will always have issues with it, i.e. matters of faith (including the existence of a Creator) are not rationally attainable [period], then I would be discussing with you a little differently. Many people do say this. You seem to be avoiding it. I would say, it would serve this thread well, if we analysed one particular proof together, premise by premise, and tried to find flaws in it. It is my claim that this particular proof [not every proof including the most famous ones, but *this one*] is absolutely irrefutable and draws its conclusion with zero probability of the opposite alternative. No scientist, atheist, skeptic or anyone else can refute the proof. This is different than the majority of proofs out there. This is remarkably ingenious, would you be willing to discuss such a proof?

        • Hamdija Begovic

          April 19, 2010 at 1:25 PM

          The first article basically addresses the atheist requirement that God be proven empirically, pointing out that such a requirement isn’t reasonable due to God not being material (whereas empirical science only deals with the material world) and since it would entail that a thorough knowledge of empirical science brings one closer to the truth about God which contradicts the idea of God wanting guidance for everyone without prefering people with a scientific education. Your argument seems to be about proving God through rational deduction, and not empirically, so my argumentation in the first article seems irrelevant here. Therefore, we can skip over it.

          As for this second article, it basically argues that the idea of a Creator can and should be taken for granted since the world doesn’t make sense without such a presumtion (the same way that it doesn’t make sense without other unprovable assumptions I mention in the article). It seems to me that you don’t necessarily disagree with that claim on a personal level, but that such an argument is lacking since it might not be convincing to an atheist.

          Therefore, I think that our disagreement basically boils down to one over the merits of elaborate philosophical arguments in favor of God’s existence. And that Muslims should indulge the “specialist” as well as the layman. Yet, you write:

          Anyone who denies this, we wouldn’t want to engage with them anyways.

          My basic argument was that the atheist who, due to scientific reasons, denies the need for a Creator isn’t much different from the atheist who, due to scientific resons, denies the reality of free will. (And there are people like this, by the way, I’m not coming up with a silly example just to prove a point). So why should we engage with the atheist but not with the denier of free will? They base their claims on the same arguments (science), so why should we discriminate between them like that?

          As for analysing a particular proof, I don’t really see a need for this because I already believe that the rational deduction “we exist, therefore there is a Creator” is valid. To then analyze a more elaborate argument would be redundant. And the thing is that I already believe in God independent of the various arguments in favor of His existence.

          It would be more fruitful, I think, if you would present your irrefutable proof to an atheist. I think that you would come to the conclusion that it isn’t really about the strength of the argument itself (since God’s existence is already self-evident making further arguments redundant) but it’s all about God’s guidance and then the persons readiness to accept the truth. Otherwise everyone would accept your proof since it is irrefutable.

          The murder example you gave is really weak. What if he says, I find murder to be wrong intuitively, but do not find the existence of God to be a necessity intuitively! LOL. There you go. That was a strange thing to say. It wasn’t rational in the least, I’m afraid.

          What if he says that nothing is know intuitively, not even the idea of murder being wrong. It doesn’t do anything to my argument since I wasn’t trying to prove that either murder or God’s existence is known intuitively. And if the atheist doesn’t want to accept that, it is his problem. In the end of the day, if a Prophet comes to an atheist and tells him to believe in God, morality and other truths, the atheist cannot say that he needs to do research before accepting it, it doesn’t count as an excuse since he is already created upon the fitrah. He cannot say: “well, I need to do research to find out if it is proven that murder is wrong before I accept the prophetic message that it is. I’ll stop murdering when I find proof that it is wrong”. And if he says that he needs proof of God’s existence before he is willing believe, it is equally inexcusable.

          • Hamdija Begovic

            April 19, 2010 at 1:30 PM

            To clarify:

            What if he says that nothing is know intuitively, not even the idea of murder being wrong. It doesn’t do anything to my argument since I wasn’t trying to prove that either murder or God’s existence is known intuitively, I was merely claiming that it is.

          • Abu Umamah

            April 20, 2010 at 3:03 PM

            The first article basically addresses the atheist requirement that God be proven empirically, pointing out that such a requirement isn’t reasonable due to God not being material (whereas empirical science only deals with the material world)

            The above is just stating the obvious. There probably was no need to write an article on it even, if you ask me. I wouldn’t say this ‘isn’t reasonable’. It’s just flat out silly. What you wrote next should probably not have been added:

            and since it would entail that a thorough knowledge of empirical science brings one closer to the truth about God which contradicts the idea of God wanting guidance for everyone without prefering people with a scientific education.

            You should have sufficed on the earlier reason, i.e. God is not something material. His existence is perfect and necessary. Without him, nothing would ever have had a chance to exist. He therefore exists necessarily without a beginning. This is a ‘meaning’. In order to prove it, the proof would need to be of a very specific nature, i.e. rational. Demanding an empirical proof is just silly. Yes. In our proof we will use the existence of the beings we see around us as a premise, but the proof will be based on inference and rational deduction. The conclusion will need to be accepted [though it, i.e. the conclusion is not empirically verifiable in any independent way], even though we can not see him, or sense him, or comprehend anything about his being or attributes solely based on our limited intellects. This is how this issue should be approached.

            Your argument seems to be about proving God through rational deduction, and not empirically, so my argumentation in the first article seems irrelevant here. Therefore, we can skip over it.

            Yes. That is correct. The issue is an important one.

            As for this second article, it basically argues that the idea of a Creator can and should be taken for granted since the world doesn’t make sense without such a presumtion (the same way that it doesn’t make sense without other unprovable assumptions I mention in the article). It seems to me that you don’t necessarily disagree with that claim on a personal level, but that such an argument is lacking since it might not be convincing to an atheist.

            Yes. It is lacking and that is the issue. Either do what the Christians do and say, matters of faith are NOT rationally attainable, or say what the scholars of Islam say that certain matters are indeed rationally attainable, and then proceed to do it properly. What you’re doing is neither. This is what I find strange.

            Therefore, I think that our disagreement basically boils down to one over the merits of elaborate philosophical arguments in favor of God’s existence. And that Muslims should indulge the “specialist” as well as the layman. Yet, you write: Anyone who denies this, we wouldn’t want to engage with them anyway.

            You missed the point. In order to build a case and force concessions from an adversary to eventually remove the controversy and reach the truth, there has to be some things clearly agreed upon. For our purposes we need 2 things. Acceptance of realities clearly observed through the senses, like the extra-mental existence of the things around us and the difference between a shiver and a freely-willed movement. Secondly, the impossibility of contradiction. If someone denies any of these two things, we have no way to discuss with them. This is what I meant. Now there are many many people who accept that the things around us are *real* AND that free-will is there in our actions and yet do not accept the existence of a Creator. We can discuss with such people and compel them through argument that a Creator exists. The proof presented to such people would be irrefutable. You are suggesting that we should not engage such people. See the difference?

            My basic argument was that the atheist who, due to scientific reasons, denies the need for a Creator isn’t much different from the atheist who, due to scientific reasons, denies the reality of free will. (And there are people like this, by the way, I’m not coming up with a silly example just to prove a point). So why should we engage with the atheist but not with the denier of free will? They base their claims on the same arguments (science), so why should we discriminate between them like that?

            The two are very different. The atheists who deny the existence of a Creator are present in our day and age in *very* large numbers. Those who deny free-will may not number even 2-5% of the former. So how can you dump the two together and use our inability to discuss with the latter to try and suggest that the former should also not be presented with any elaborate proofs. This is nonsensical. So I just gave you the main reason why we should engage with one group and avoid the other. Also, it’s not accurate to say the two base their claims on the same arguments. One of them denies obvious directly sense-perceived realities. Whatever argument they bring now is rejected. If they can’t recognise this, there is a problem. This is why we do not discuss with them. The other places a foolish demand on our proof. So we highlight the foolishness of this to them.You know what it is: atheists are proud because the Muslims and Christians come with flawed proofs and the atheists counter with doubts and since our debaters are not skilled enough themselves to reply properly [or better yet, present proofs at the outset which leave room for the doubts], the atheist is now exuberant, thinking he has falsified the proofs. He really believes his stance is rational. So it is not like they haven’t looked into the conventional proofs which are presented. They have. So the need now is to explain to such people that the issue is clear and just because the proofs they have considered are flawed, it doesn’t mean all proofs are like that. Unfortunately, many Muslims also think along the same lines.

            As for analysing a particular proof, I don’t really see a need for this because I already believe that the rational deduction “we exist, therefore there is a Creator” is valid. To then analyze a more elaborate argument would be redundant. And the thing is that I already believe in God independent of the various arguments in favor of His existence.

            The need is immense and it would do you good to be from those who can read, understand and appreciate such proofs. “we exist, therefore there is a Creator’ is not a proof. It doesn’t even have 2 premises. Also, no concomitance relationship between what is before and after the comma has been illustrated. Since that short statement you presented is not a proof, there is a need for a real one. You can’t claim it is redundant, and that there is no need for a true proof. Also, you ignored most of what we explained in the previous posting, i.e. the fact that Allah ‘azza wa jalla in the Qur’an gives us various methods to summon the people. So, again why are you trying so hard to restrict the methodology and exclude this very important method and call it redundant? Think about this.

            It would be more fruitful, I think, if you would present your irrefutable proof to an atheist. I think that you would come to the conclusion that it isn’t really about the strength of the argument itself (since God’s existence is already self-evident making further arguments redundant) but it’s all about God’s guidance and then the persons readiness to accept the truth. Otherwise everyone would accept your proof since it is irrefutable.

            What you mentioned means nothing, considering that the Qur’an tells us to summon the people through these various methods. You speak as if such verses do not exist in the Qur’an. It has everything in the world to do with the strength and weakness of the actual proof. Many simply do not believe because they have never been presented with a real proof. Others are more arrogant and refuse to read and contemplate. People reject the most obvious things because they do not want to believe. Yes. That is true, but you see, they should not be able to debunk the proof! They should be rendered speechless and made to look like the fools that they are. So, please either adopt the Christian way and say faith and reason are two different domains with zero overlap, or adopt the way of the scholars, but then don’t come up with one-line statements which are not proofs and think they are sufficient and anything more stronger is redundant.

          • Hamdija Begovic

            April 23, 2010 at 6:58 PM

            The above is just stating the obvious. There probably was no need to write an article on it even, if you ask me. I wouldn’t say this ‘isn’t reasonable’. It’s just flat out silly.

            I agree that it is silly, but one of the most famous callers to atheism, Richard Dawkins, wrote that one of the things required to prove God’s existence would be to identify the evolutinary processes through which He would come into existence (in other words: he demands empirical proof). Now, if you say that the siliness of such a requirement makes it unworthy of answering (and you did say that there wasn’t a need to write an article addressing it), then this time you can’t claim that, like the free will-deniers, the obscurity of the people behind this line of reasoning gives you an excuse not to engage with them. Richard Dawkins is one of the most influential atheist of our time. If you feel that Muslims need to engage with atheist, why are you dismissing the argument of one of the most influential ones in the world by saying that there isn’t a need at all to address it?

            This is a ‘meaning’. In order to prove it, the proof would need to be of a very specific nature, i.e. rational. Demanding an empirical proof is just silly.

            This is where, I believe, you fail to understand how many atheists think. They will usually say that science explains everything (Peter Atkins indeed calls it omnipotent) and will argue that science explains how the universe doesn’t need a Creator to exist. He will demand that you give him scientific proof to the contrary. He will tell you that science, specifically, has refuted those deductions of yours.

            So I just gave you the main reason why we should engage with one group and avoid the other. Also, it’s not accurate to say the two base their claims on the same arguments. One of them denies obvious directly sense-perceived realities.

            The numbers-reason is good enough, but the point was that both of these groups say that science supports their claim. And when you present your claim that God is known through reason then these people will invoke science (in the same way that they will invoke science when you say that free-will is sense-perceived). In other words: they won’t necessarily accept your premises, and will demand scientific proof of their validity. Hence, you have to engage in those type of discussions.

            The need is immense and it would do you good to be from those who can read, understand and appreciate such proofs. “we exist, therefore there is a Creator’ is not a proof. It doesn’t even have 2 premises. Also, no concomitance relationship between what is before and after the comma has been illustrated. Since that short statement you presented is not a proof, there is a need for a real one. You can’t claim it is redundant, and that there is no need for a true proof.

            I wasn’t trying to illustrate concomitance between any two things nor was I trying prove anything, I was just pointing out that you don’t have to prove God’s existence to me, since I already believe in it. That is what I meant by it being redundant. But, for the record: we exist, and we couldn’t have come into existence through nothing, therefore there has to be a Creator.

            Also, you ignored most of what we explained in the previous posting, i.e. the fact that Allah ‘azza wa jalla in the Qur’an gives us various methods to summon the people. So, again why are you trying so hard to restrict the methodology and exclude this very important method and call it redundant? Think about this.

            Actually, I wasn’t calling a rational proof for God’s existence redundant. I was saying that it would be redundant to present an elaborate argument of His existence to me, since I already accept the most unsophisticated of arguments. But if you feel that you have irrefutable proof of God’s existence, go ahead and present it to the atheists of the world. That wouldn’t be redundant at all.

            What you mentioned means nothing, considering that the Qur’an tells us to summon the people through these various methods. You speak as if such verses do not exist in the Qur’an.

            I fail to see how you came to the conclusion that you did by reading what I wrote. I wasn’t saying anything that contradicts the idea that people should be summoned through various methods. I was merely pointing out that if you do indeed have irrefutable proof of God’s existence, there are still going to be people who refuse to believe due to an abscence of the two factors I mentioned (God’s guidance and the readiness of the person to accept the truth). If it really were about the strength of the argument, then everyone would accept your irrefutable proof, wouldn’t they? By definition they would, since it is irrefutable. You yourself pointed out that not everyone will, so I don’t really see why you felt the need to contradict me, and by making it out as if I’ve somehow went against the Qur’anic injunction to summon the people through various methods, at that.

  14. Gohar

    April 17, 2010 at 5:25 AM

    What does rationality mean precisely? And how does it differ from reason?

    • Hamdija Begovic

      April 19, 2010 at 1:32 PM

      I use them interchangably.

  15. Aq

    April 19, 2010 at 2:37 AM

    Mashallah, a good article but also some very positive comments.

    I know as muslims we feel that our belief is unshakable and we all accept the Quran as one of the lights of this belief- however, like some good philosophers do, they use logic and reason to strengthen their arguments- without always refering to the Quran, as not everyone will accept anything divine.

    So this is a good step, using the atheists approach (i.e. science is everything) is a more advanced step as it will be based on their ‘thinking’.

  16. Aq

    April 19, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    “that the external world, as you know it, is real as opposed to an illusion or a joke played on your brain by some mad scientist? You can’t. Yet, despite the absence of scientific proof in support of this metaphysical belief, the atheist still accepts it because he feels that it is rational to believe in the reality of the external world”

    I wanted to ask (and hope someone can answer) what do you mean by ‘external world’ being proved- is the Universe not the external world- the galaxy etc?? We can see this via telescopes or have I read it wrong?

    jazakallah

    • Hamdija Begovic

      April 19, 2010 at 1:34 PM

      What I meant by “external” world is basically the world outside of your own mind. I.e., how do you know that your assumption that the world you see around you exists isn’t an illusion, a trick played on your mind.

  17. Gohar

    April 25, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    Really beneficial.

    I would like to see more from Hamdija.

    Make it happen please, MM.

  18. Pingback: Is God Provable? « The Thinking Muslim

  19. p4rv3zkh4n

    February 6, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    “Say: ‘Praise be to Allah. He will show you His Signs and you will recognize them. Your Lord is not heedless of anything you do.’” (Quran 27:93)
    When we reflect upon our own existence we will come to the realisation, that at some point in time, we began to exist. Since we were once non-existent and are now in existence, it follows that we must have had a beginning. In light of this, the Qur’an raises some profound questions: were we created by nothing? Did we create ourselves? Or did we create the universe?
    “Or were they created by nothing? Or were they the creators (of themselves)? Or did they create heavens and earth? Rather, they are not certain.” [Quran 52:35-36]
    There are 3 strong arguments for the existence of God:
    1. Beginning of the Universe
    Scientific and inductive arguments for the beginning of the universe:
    Big Bang Theory
    The big bang theory has been proven by astrophysical evidences and thus proves that the universe had a beginning and thus a cause.
    “Our Lord, You did not create this for nothing. Glory be to You! So guard us from the punishment of the Fire.” (Quran 3:191)
    Have those who disbelieved not considered that space and matter were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living creature? Then will they not believe? [Quran 21:30]
    The absurdity of an infinite history of past events
    If the universe never had a beginning it means there must be an infinite history of past events. But is that possible?
    Let me give u a parable, this universe is the last domino fallen. This proves that the domino chain had a beginning or else the last domino would not have fallen.
    Therefore it’s clear that the universe has a beginning and there for a cause because it’s impossible for something to exist from nothing via no cause.
    Universe Created by a non-created or un-caused entity
    Since something cannot come from nothing, and self-creation is absurd then the universe being created or brought into existence by an uncaused entity is the best explanation. This concept is intuitive but also agrees with reality: whatever begins to exist has a cause or a creator.
    This cause or creator must be uncaused due to the absurdity of an infinite regress, in other words an indefinite chain of past causes. To illustrate this better, if the cause of the universe had a cause and that cause had a cause ad infinitum, then there wouldn’t be a universe to talk about in the first place (something we have already discussed above).
    The Qur’an confirms the God is immortal
    “He neither begets nor is born.” [Qur’an 112:3]
    The cause or creator for the universe must be a single cause for several reasons. An attractive argument to substantiate this claim includes the use of the rational principle called Occam’s razor. In philosophical terms the principle enjoins that we do not multiply entities beyond necessity. What this basically means is that we should stick to explanations that do not create more questions than it answers. In the context of the cause for the universe we have no evidence to claim multiplicity, in other words more than one. The Qur’an affirms the Oneness of the creator,
    “Say: He is God, [who is] One.” Qur’an 112:1
    However some philosophers and scientists claim: why doesn’t the cause be the universe itself? Why can’t the cause stop at the universe? Well, the problem with these claims is that they would imply that the universe created itself which is absurd. Additionally, we have good reasons to postulate a cause for the universe because the universe began to exist, and what begins to exist has a cause.
    Our argument thus far allows us to conclude that this cause or creator must be non-contingent meaning that its existence is dependent on nothing but itself. If it were contingent it would be one more effect in the chain of causes. The Qur’an verifies this,
    “God is Independent of (all) creatures.” [Qur’an 3:97]
    The cause or creator must also be transcendent, this means that the cause of the universe must exist outside of and apart from the universe. Since this being exists apart from the universe it must be unique, if it was material then it would be part of the universe. This is confirmed in the Qur’an,
    “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” [Qur’an 42:11]
    This cause must have the power to create the universe, without this ability nothing could be created. The Qur’an testifies to God’s power,
    “Certainly, God has power over all things.”[Qur’an 2:20]
    This cause must have a will, because it wouldn’t be able to create the universe without one. What this means is that it must have a will so the power to create could be acted on. The Qur’an refers to God as having a will in many places, for instance,
    “And God guides whom He wills to a straight path.” [Qur’an 2:213]
    In summary, we have concluded what the Qur’an concluded over 1400 years ago, that a creator for the universe exists, that is one, has a will, is powerful, uncaused, immaterial and eternal.

    2. Human Consciousness
    A universe that contains consciousness and awareness makes sense with the existence of God. Therefore it also proves that God is Personal and has a Will.
    “Do they not reflect within themselves?” [Quran 30:8]
    The above verse doesn’t only refer to the human body but refers to ourselves in general which includes physiological and psychological dimensions. We often contemplate and reflect on the universe outside of ourselves, but we seldom meditate on the micro-universe within ourselves.
    The human self is not a physical thing; it is not contained in any cell or biological structure. The most unchallenged and intuitive reality is that we are all aware, but we cannot describe or explain what this awareness is. One thing that we can be sure of is that the self cannot be explained biologically or chemically. The main reason for this is that science does not discover the self; it is actually the other way round. For science to try and explain the truth of the self would be tantamount to arguing in a circle! The advocates of a physical explanation for the self end up in a muddle as they require answers to even bigger questions, such as “How can certain bits of matter suddenly create a new reality that has no resemblance to matter?” So if the self cannot be explained physically then the next question must be asked: “How did it come to be?” The history of the universe indicates that consciousness spontaneously arose, and language emerged without any evolutionary forerunner. So where did it come from? Even the neo-atheists have failed to come to terms with the nature of the self and its source, because no physical explanation is coherent enough to be convincing.
    The best explanation for the nature and source of the self is that it came from a source that is thinking, aware and conscious. How else can the self, which is an entity with a capacity to reflect and experience, manifest itself? It cannot have come from unconscious matter incapable to experience and ponder. Simply put, matter cannot produce concepts and perceptions, therefore we can conclude that the self cannot have a material basis but must have come from a living source that transcends the material world; and this is best explained by God. No other answer provides an adequate explanation for this phenomenon.

    3. The universe contains objective morality
    We all believe that murder and rape is wrong. However since our universe contains objective morality then it can only make sense with God’s existence, because God is required as rational basis for objective morality. Without God morality is subjective, because God is the only conceptual anchor that transcends human subjectivity. So the universe with objective morality makes no sense without God. In this light the Muslim or theist may argue:
    1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist
    2. The universe with objective moral values does exist
    3. Therefore, God exists.
    Both social pressures and evolution provide no objective basis for morality as they both claim that our morality is contingent on changes: biological and social. Therefore morality cannot be binding and true regardless of who believes in them. Therefore without God, there is no objective basis for morality. God as a concept is not subjective, therefore having God as the basis for morality makes them binding and objective, because God transcends human subjectivity.
    Since the universe contains objective morality, and Gods existence is necessary as a conceptual foundation for objective morals, then the universe we live in makes sense with the existence of God.
    “In the creation of the heavens and Earth, and the alternation of the night and day, and the ships which sail the seas to people’s benefit, and the water which God sends down from the sky – by which He brings the Earth to life when it was dead and scatters about in it creatures of every kind – and the varying direction of the winds, and the clouds subservient between heaven and Earth, there are signs for people who use their intellect.” [Qur’an, 2:164]

    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      February 8, 2014 at 1:45 AM

      Dear Brother:

      Please keep your comments brief in order to comply with our Comments Policy.

      WasSalamuAlaikum
      Aly

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