Doctrines >The proofs of belief can be found in life rather than philosophy

 

The proofs of belief can be found in life rather than philosophy

Dialogue with the Atheists

After the ideological fight with polytheism, Islam stood up to the problem of atheism, although at a much lower scale. Given the fact that atheism was not then as widespread as polytheism, the campaign with which Islam faced the notion of atheism was very low key. This was because in the struggle with the polytheists, Islam had to contend with battling ideologies, viz. Islam and polytheism. What gave the battle that extra edge was the fact that polytheism was a way of life to the majority of members of society then. That ingrained tradition constituted and added hurdle to the norms Islam aspired to establish in that polytheistic society.

 

The proofs of belief can be found in life rather than philosophy

The way the Quranic verses above handle dialogue, on proving the existence of God through cosmic phenomena and secrets, is indicative of the practical approach the Qur'an espouses. It has chosen not to discuss the issue in an abstract philosophical manner, which can turn it into a non-figurative one: This is an approach that would leave the intellect inanimate. It has chosen to debate the issue as a living being, i.e. a dialogue that fills life with the dynamism and renewal it is capable of. With this in mind, it calls upon man to give thanks to God and worship Him, to try to know Him through man's need to be thankful for His graces. This can make the process of identifying with God an end in itself and a means to thanksgiving and worship. Man cannot give thanks to, or worship, something he is not familiar with, albeit the universe and all the magnificent things that are in it are proofs pointing to the existence of God on the one hand. On the other hand, these magnificent things are blessing man ought to show appreciation for.

The importance of this approach is that it is capable of making faith move with the day-to-day movement of life itself alongside the movement of the vast universe, which surrounds man. Furthermore, it is capable of giving an impetus to life to develop, renew, and carry on. This is bound to give Muslim activist the feeling of being part of life while conduction dialogue with others. Others, too, should not be made to feel that they are groping around in a haze of abstract ideas while trying to know God. Thus the question of cognition of God and belief in Him becomes the issue of life with all the strength, vibrancy, and continuity it manifests, not the issue of the imagination, which is in hot pursuit to find a foothold in the real world.

Although the Hoy Qur'an is full of examples of this type of approach, we have chosen a few:

It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when ye knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affections: that ye may give thanks (to God). (16:78)

Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? And we have set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with them, and We have made therein broad highways (between mountains) for them to pass through: that they may receive Guidance. And We have made the heavens as a canopy well guarded: yet do they turn away from the Signs which these things (point to)! (21:30-32)

Hast thou not turned they vision to thy Lord? How He doth prolong the shadow! If He willed, He could make it stationary! Then do We make the sun its guide; then We draw it in towards Ourselves, a contraction by easy stages. And He it is Who makes the Night as a Robe for you, and Sleep as Repose, and makes the day (as it were) a Resurrection. And He it is Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy, and We send down pure water form the sky, That with if We may give life to a dead land, and slake the thirst of things We have created, cattle and men in great numbers. (25:45-49).

As we sail through these Quranic verses, we fell that in our life from its inception to completion _ whether we are eating or drinking, moving about, satisfying our needs with everything in the universe that God has created for us we can deeply perceive the power of God's presence. It is an issue that is entwined with the secret of life, which we cannot be separated from, not even for a second. This should mean detachment from the import of existence, which could turn into a hypothesis looking for a foothold among the plethora of probabilities.

 These examples, and others, would provide Muslim activists with the material necessary for elaborating on life when discussing any of its domains. Once they establish this, by winning over others to their side of the argument, they could talk about the Divine notion as one that is worthy of discussion, thus giving it a rational meaning in the process of raising public awareness of belief in God.

This role takes an added dimension of importance within the scientific fraternity, which in interested in sciences such as biology, physics, and chemistry. Entering the debate in the scientific domain may prove rewarding as to the secrets the different scientific disciplines can yield in the service of gaining factual knowledge about God Almighty.

The rational way of thinking leads to belief in God

In conducting dialogue for the purpose of belief in God, the Holy Qur'an tries to advance the counter argument, i.e. against the argument for belief in God, within the framework of the rational way of thinking. The hallmark of this approach is providing possible assumptions, and then subjecting them to a producer of proof or disproof. Thus, the outcome would be subservient to the end result that can pass the critical test. This is what the following Quranic verse has demonstrated:

Where they created of nothing, of were they themselves the creators? (52:35).

The issue being discussed in the verse lends itself to three possible propositions:

1.     That there is no Creator.

2.     That the Creator is the same thing as the created.

3.     That God is the Creator.

It could be said that the verse begs the question in a negative manner, i.e. rejecting the idea under discussion. Notion one is impossible, because assuming occurrence, and the absence of a cause for the inevitable existence to be an indication of existence, should entail existence of a power capable of creation, which would justify its being, since the assumption of existence and absence is symmetrical. This should make it necessary for existence to have been caused fro outside the existent thing.

As for the second supposition, it is out of the questions too. This is because presupposing that man had created himself should necessarily give way to the idea that he pre-existed, in that the thing should be in existence while non-existent. This theory is absurd, because you cannot suppose that something existent cannot exist, especially when it does exist. The contrary is true, because mutual contradiction is impossible. As a result, this would prove the third theory right, i.e. on the basis of this rational argument, God should prove to be the Creator.

In some other Quranic verses the approach assumes a different tone. The issue is tackled from two different hypotheses, (a) the Creator is God and (b) the creator is man. This is so proposed because the third theory, which rejects the question of creation giving preference to eternity, does not make sense in the possibility of existence.

This is what the following Quranic verses are trying to illustrate:

It is We Who have created you: why will ye not witness the Truth? Do ye then see? The (human Seed) that ye throw out, Is it ye who create it, or are We the Creators? We have decreed Death to be your common lot, and We are not to be frustrated from changing your Forms lot, and We are not to be frustrated from changing your Forms and creating you (again) in (forms) that ye know not. and ye certainly know already the first form of creation: why them do ye not celebrate His praises? See ye the seed that ye sow in the ground? Is it ye that cause it to grow, or are We the Cause? Were it our Will, We could crumble it to dry powder, and ye would be left in wonderment, (Saying), "We are indeed left with debts (for noting): Indeed are we shut out (of the fruits of our labor)" See ye the water which ye drink? Do ye bring it down (in rain) from the cloud or do We? Were it out Will, We cloud make it salt (and unpalatable): then why do ye not give thanks? See ye the Fire which ye kindle? Is it ye who grow the tree which feeds the fire, or do We grow it". (56:57-72).

What is clear from these verses it that the subject being debated is not man and his coming into existence; rather, it is the phenomena that envelop his life, starting from the coupling of the man's sperm and the woman's egg, which sets the process of creation forth, to life and death, to the seeds we sow, to the water we drink, and the fire we light. Who brought all this into being? Was it man or God?

In this regard, the Holy verses are concentration on man's inability to maintain these things and protect them against eventualities while they remain functioning according to the perfect systems that govern their every movement, beginning and end, outside man's will and influence. This should make us accept the notion that He who created all these things the Creator of man, and is in possession of the absolute poser in all this.

At the end of this topic, we would like to add that these verse deal with the issue from a perspective that may suggest that man is better advised to have recourse to his innate nature and perception as the final arbiter. That is, he should do away with philosophical arguments and analyses, for the issue or proof or disproof here is purely a matter for man's intrinsic conscience, as any person who would experience this will find out.