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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Questioning Divinity: Can God's existence be proven? A Muslim's perspective

Questioning Divinity: Can God's existence be proven? A Muslim's perspective

The Qur'an contains several verses ["Ayaat", literally "signs", the singular being 'ayah'] asking us to consider the existence of God. Examples of which are given below.

Universal order and majesty as evidence

"And of his signs is the creation of the heavens and the Earth, variations in your languages and [skin] colors. Surely, in that are signs [ayaat] for the knowledgeable." [Qur'an 30:22]


Here, the Qur'an has made an assumption- that those with knowledge ['Aalimeen] can see the structure and deliberate craftsmanship, the master artistry, present in the Universe, indeed, in the human species. We come in different shapes, sizes, skin colors and speak different languages, yet we are of the same species, capable of the same potentials.

"Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the Earth...[these] are signs for people of understanding, those who ponder upon Allah, standing, sitting, reclining on their sides, and contemplate regarding the creation.."Our Lord, you have not created [all] this in vanity [Baatil][Ft.1]. Glorified is you, so protect us from the punishment of [hell]fire." [Q 3:190-191]


To use an analogy, the automobile has conponents for the use of the driver and passengers. It takes fuel, water, and a variety of other things for its maintenance. It has a steering wheel, tires, and seats for the driver and passengers. We can accept that the automobile has been manufactured, and, likewise, humans have been manufactured.

The Soul's knowlewdge

Philosophers, theologians, and lay people alike have been discussing these issues for countless generations. These discussions are found among figures of all races, religions, creeds and denominations. The fact that these issues still come up in a post-Darwinian world is itself an evidence that somewhere in the human being, buried within the conscious, there exists an awareness of the Divine. One writer calls this the god gene. [ft.2].

The Qur'an phraes this situation in the following manner:
" Behold, your Lord drew forth from the children of Adam- from their loins, their descendants, and they testified internally [to the query] '' Am I not your Lord?" , they responsed 'yes, we do testify', otherwise [i.e. had the testimony not taken place] [you would have grounds ] to say on the day of standing " We were not informed of this." [Q 7:712] [ft.3]


What about Evolution?

A detailed answer to this is beyond the scope and intent of this article, but nonetheless we will summarize our thoughts in the following manner:

[A] The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin's influencial work, and to a greater extent the so called period of enlightenment, [roughly the 17th and 18th centuries] are all products of a rebellion against a suffocating religious and intellectual culture, at the time headed by the Roman Catholic Church. In those days, the church [and even its Protestant step children] taught the Bible was to be understood in a literal way! If the text says the world is 5,000 years old,[Ft.4] then that was the reality, in their teaching. So, in light of such circumstances, it is understandable that data would be interpreted in a way which removes God from the equation entirely!

[B] Muslims and Christians have in common the fact that Evolution is disputed, some believing in it and others reconciling their scripture to the widely accepted idea. With Muslims, however, evolution does not prove too much of an issue, because the Qur'an gives few details on the beginnings of man, and it certainly does not give a date of the age of the planet.

[C] Even pre-supposing the validity of the idea of Evolution, the Qur'an itself identifies God by the word Ar Rabb, which carries, as one of its meanings, "Evolver"[ft.5]. Indeed, one meaning is "that which raises a thing to its perfection". Evolution, in a physical, mental and social fashion, certainly takes place for us all. Regardless, at least from the Qur'anic standpoint, none of this negates the presence of God. [Ft.6]

Conclusion

We hope these few words have been thought provoking, if nothing else. As always, any mistakes come from the author, and anything of benefit comes, in the end, from God Almighty, from his guidance and grace, wa Bilaaahit Tawfeeq.

Footnotes

[1] Baatil has a number of meanings and implications, both in Arabic and within the Qur'an. It can mean vanity, lies, falsehood, weakess, and even refer to something ridiculous!

[2] Geneticist Dean Hamer first coined the term and theory, after conducting a variety of behavioural genetic, neurobiological and pscychological studies. While admittedly he does not seem to endorse belief in God, he does assert that physiological arrangements create mystical experiences. He advances this notion in The God Gene: how faith is hardwired into our genes.

[3] Also of interest is Qur'an 7:173-174. The latter verse says that God relates this account so that "perhaps they will return [to their testimony and acknowledge the facts as such]" [La'allahum Yarji'oon].

[4] Some Christian writers still advance a literal reading of the Biblical creation story, arguing that 5,000 years is the right age of the Earth! See Is the Bible without any Errors? by Rick Deighton [2011, Search for the Truth publications, Nampa, ID].

[5] Imam W.Deen Mohammed [1933-2008] renders Rabb as "Guardian-Evolver, Cherisher and Sustainer".

[6] As stated before, evolution is debated widely in both the Christian and Muslim religious communities. Some writers from both groups [The Christian ones are generally called "Creationists"] assert that Evolution is nothing more than brainwashing of the masses in order to have them reject God and accept domination. This is asserted in the many works of the Turkish writer Harun Yahya. We need to mention here that there are extreme Atheists, who make it their mission to ridicule belief and believers at every oppurtunity, even making a "chocolate Jesus" to sell, to melt, as a way to provoke reponses and propagate their beliefs. The Skeptics Society publishes Skeptic magazine, in which examples of this radicalism can be seen for any observer.

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