Rationality of Islam
Does God exist at all or do various gods exist? Is religion a genuine need of mankind or a figment of our imagination? Did God create man or was it man who created God (in his imagination)? Is there a purpose to life or is the world already worth it?
These and other similar philosophical questions are timeless and are the most fundamental questions about human life. Human intellect has grappled with these metaphysical mysteries since time immemorial. But just like a mirage in a desert, the answers seem near but never within reach. In the post-Enlightenment era, religions have come under a lot of scepticism. The founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud suggested that human intellect passes through three stages – superstition, religion and science. This being the era of science, all religions are meaningless. Marxism suggests that “Religion is the opium of the masses” and rejection of God, cultivation of science and materialism is the way forward. Present day celebrity atheists like Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris etc preach that the creation of the cosmos doesn’t need a God, that we are “lumbering robots” governed by our genes and shaped by our environment and science alone is sufficient to set in stone the rules of human morality. It seems that in the noiseless swim of time, religions or the beliefs in the metaphysical has exhausted all its vitality, utility, importance and in essence, the very purpose of its existence.
So, for once let us put aside all the emotions and personal preferences, silence all the rhetoric and analyse the issue using reason and rationale to demarcate the facts from fiction. Every religion that exists or existed had some version of beliefs regarding three things – God, Soul and Afterlife. After the Renaissance, the focus of human inquiry shifted from these three to the universe, body and worldly life respectively. This paradigm shift was dramatic but the motivation behind it was simple. For the latter three, nobody doubts their presence or importance but for the former three, there is apparently no concrete evidence for their existence, let alone the minute, intricate details of their interplay with human life. Hence the world of the seen became the centre of attention while the world of the unseen became a myth. A myth which is struggling for survival via cultural and peer pressure, but without any intellectual foundation. But the world seems to forget the words of the atheist Carl Sagan who said that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.
After the separation of Church from State, the hate-filled anti-religious atmosphere of the post-Renaissance period led to the shaping of the scientific interpretations so as to “not allow a divine foot in the door”. The scientific community suggests that the cosmos can pop into existence on its own and that there may be countless universes or multiverse that simultaneously came into existence and many may have survived long enough to give rise to chemistry and then to biology. They also insist that life can come into existence on its own without supervision, from the organic soup that nature was cooking in the seas millions of years ago. So all that they need is an initial miracle and then they can explain the rest. But they fail to understand that “nothing creates nothing”. The explanation is based on random accidents of zero probability. It’s difficult to fathom how an entire universe/multiverse can spring into existence and that too, so perfect, well balanced and ordered. It’s worse than believing that a tornado passed by a junkyard and created the best fighter plane or an explosion in the printing press created a dictionary. It’s worse because in these examples, at least the base material existed and a miracle happened which shaped them. The probability of power puff girls coming into existence is more than that of the entire universe (space, time, energy, matter, etc) coming into existence in a fraction of seconds.
Reflection upon the universe reveals its perfection and beauty and leaves us humble and amazed. How perfect is the value of Universal Constants. Had it been anything else, we wouldn’t have the universe in the first place. There is the complexity of the space-time fabric, the precise distance between the sun, earth and moon and every other heavenly body, the beauty of day and night, of seasons and cloud formation, the various processes of nature like Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, Water cycles, food chain, the diverse flora and fauna, the beauty of the buzzing bee and the flowers before me as I write this, the unparalled abilities of the human body and mind. The human genome (DNA) is capable of storing so much information that if transformed into books and piled up, the stack will reach the moon 500 times! There’s no camera that could compete with the human eye, nor a computer that can come close to the human mind. All this and much more, jointly points to the presence of a hidden immaterial order.
The symmetry, beauty and structural completeness of the universe is not the result of coincidence but design, Intelligent Design. Such perfection comes from God and anything less than perfect is not from God. The moral incompleteness of the world is a baffling shock to this conclusion, War, death, disease, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, crime, corruption and Donald Trump!!! Results like these should not belong in the resume of a Supreme Being. But this apparent “divine slip in the design” can be explained by the concept of Afterlife. The hardships and trials of this world are a test and the inherent desire for justice and peace will be fulfilled on Judgement Day. Although it may sound as a plausible theory but without tangible proof, all this is mere guesswork and all guesses are equally valid. So monotheism, pantheism, polytheism, etc. become equally valid at the same time. Hence the most rational position is still the agnostic position – “the view that existence and non existence of any deity is unknown and unknowable.”
Enter PROPHETS. Prophets are those people whom God chooses to communicate with as He pleases and reveals to them the mysteries of the metaphysical realm. They are the connecting link between the physical and metaphysical, between Seen and Unseen, between man and God. They know the truth about the Unseen because they are in direct contact with it. We cannot know the Unseen (like who or what God is, how many gods are there, is there an afterlife, heaven and hell, etc.) unless it reveals itself. So all that is left is to make sure that the claimant of prophethood is genuine and not fake. The proof of prophethood are miracles. The definition of miracle being an event which lies outside the productive capacity of nature. Hence a miracle is fundamentally different from a carefully orchestrated conjuring trick. But once the analysis of the proof establishes its veracity, it should be accepted and believed without hesitation and if otherwise, should be rejected without a qualm.
The miracle of Moses (pbuh) was that he split the sea into two before everyone and they crossed it without getting wet. Jesus (pbuh) raised a person back from the dead. These miracles were sufficient proof to the beholders but for the very next generation, they were “legends of the former people” which they could believe or disbelieve. Those prophets were sent to and for a particular time and place and their miracles left with them. No Jew can split the sea in two with his staff today nor a Christian can bring the dead back to life. But if we were alive at that time to be eye witnesses to these miracles, we would have believed. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was the last and final messenger of God sent to the entire mankind till the end of times. And of the many, his greatest miracle is the Quran. A miracle still available today in its pure and pristine form with zero contradictions.
First and foremost, the Quran isn’t any other book. It was revealed over 1400 years ago as direct revelation from God to His last and final messenger Muhammad (SAW) and it is the most eloquent piece of literature before mankind. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said – “All prophets were given something which would cause people to believe in them. The thing which I was given is none other than a revelation. The Quran, which Allah (SWT) revealed to me”. The Quran is a miracle in more ways than what mankind can ever fathom. It comments on a whole array of subjects like Astronomy, Physics, Hydrology, Geology, Oceanology, Botany, Zoology, Medicine, Physiology, Embryology, General Science, etc to name a few. Quran stuns humanity with its accurate references to both science and history. We find in the Quran, Ayahs that are accurate concerning scientific and historic facts that have only been discovered in the last 30 – 40 years. We have statements concerning the creation and common origins of the universe, detailed description of the human embryo, to the mountains as pegs holding the earth below, of two seas that don’t mix and flow in complete separate flow, expansion of universe, preservation of the body of Pharoah, to the different rulers in different Egyptian dynasties, mention of lost cities, prophecy about the war between Persia and Rome etc, none of which could be based on knowledge available in the 7th century Arabian desert. Not only this, there are countless mathematical nuances and structures like the Golden Ratio, symmetric word count, nested ring composition, etc which proves beyond a doubt that this piece of literature can only be from the Divine. One of the most profound miracles of the Quran is actually the word “Quran”. Quran comes from the word QaRaAa which means to recite but what it really means is that which is recited excessively. The best song or movie stays on top of the charts for a few months at most. Just one statement in the Quran “﷽” is recited by countless number of people throughout the globe across languages and cultures for almost a millennium and a half. It’s been on top of the charts ever since and statistically is the most recited book. Perhaps the most difficult thing to explain about the Quran is its linguistic precision and its use of the Arabic language. The Quran decoded the Arabic language and said things in a way that had never been done before. Quranic Arabic doesn’t fit into any of the known literary forms of Arabic language which includes Saj’a – rhyme prose, Mursal – straight forward speech, Maka’ma – combination of metrical and non metrical speech and Al Bihar – the 16 rhythmic patterns of classical Arabic poetry. And this is the intellectual challenge of the Quran – “And if you are in doubt about what We have revealed to Our servant [Muhammad (SAW)], then produce a Surah like it, and call your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful.” Commenting on the inimitability of the Arabic language in the Quran, Foster Fischer Arbuthnot, a notable British orientalist states – “And although several attempts have been made to produce a work as far as elegant writing is concerned, none have yet succeeded”. This falsification test remains unmet to this day and will remain so. All this proves the Divine Origin of the Quran. To attribute the presence of scientific and historic facts, its mathematical structure and language precision and above all its challenge of inimitability, to coincidence is hypocrisy and would be against common sense and a true scientific approach. What can be advised is to read and reflect upon it ourselves and reach the truth.
Author is a student of B.Tech (Final) Computer Engineering, AMU , Aligarh .
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position and policy of Oracle Opinions.