By His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan Rimlawi
The way the Quranic verses handle dialogue, on proving the existence of God through cosmic phenomena and secrets, is indicative of the practical approach the Quran espouses. It has chosen not to discuss the issue in an abstract philosophical manner, which can turn it into a none-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 blessings 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 surrounding man. Furthermore, it is capable of giving an impetus to life to develop, renew, and carry on. This is bound to give Muslim proselytizers the feeling of being part of life while conducting 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, and not the issue of imagination, which is in hot pursuit to find a foothold in the real world.
Although the Holy Quran 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).
|The question of cognition of God and belief in Him becomes the issue of life with all the strength, vibrancy, and continuity it manifests, and not the issue of imagination, which is in hot pursuit to find a foothold in the real world|
As we sail through these Quranic verses, we feel that in our life, from its inception to completion - whether we are eating or drinking, moving about, or 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 proselytizers 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 domain, which deals with sciences such as botany, zoology, physics, and chemistry. Entering the debate in this scientific domain may prove rewarding as to the secrets the different scientific disciplines can yield in the service of gaining true knowledge about God Almighty.
[Extracted from the Book: “Islam: The religion of dialogue”, p: 111-112]