The Religion Of Islam vol.1
The Existence of God
Of all the doctrines and beliefs that have been objected to in this age of materialism, the greatest is the belief in the existence of God. The first demand which an atheist makes is: “If you show God to me, I will believe in Him. How can I believe in Him without seeing Him? Western influences have gone along way towards effacing from the hearts of many young men, the imprint of the Divine Being, and hundreds of college students and others, have begun to deny existence of God. There are thousands of persons who, though refraining from an open declaration of their views through fear of the community, have really no faith in Him; therefore I submit the following suggestions on the subject, that haply some fortunate soul may be benefited thereby.
Man knows different things by means different senses. Some things we know by means of seeing, some by tasting. A colour is known by seeing not by smelling, touching or tasting If anybody should say, that he will acknowledge a colour, only if he is made to hear the sound of it, would not such a proposition be considered unreasonable? Similarly, fragrance is known by means of smelling. Now if anyone should say that he will consider a rose to be fragrant, only if he is made to taste its fragrance, would such a person be regarded as wise? On the other hand, if any body seeks to know, by smelling, things which can be known by tasting, such as sourness and sweetness, bitterness and saltiness, he will never be able to do so. Therefore it is not right, that we should accept those things only which we can behold with our eye, and disbelieve those things which are not recognisable by the eye. How absurd is, then, the demand that God must be shown to us before we believe in him.
Moreover, there are certain things in man himself, the existence of which he recognises, without having seen them. We do not know all things merely by seeing, but they are known by means of five different senses. Now, there are many things which are not knowable, even by these gateways of knowledge, there being other ways of knowing them. For instance, reason, memory and intelligence are things which are not denied by any body; yet nobody has ever seen, heard, tasted smelt or touched them. How did we, then, come to know that there were such things as reason, or memory, or intelligence? Again, has anybody ever seen, smelt, touched or tasted energy? Even the simplest man can see that we have not known these things by means of the five senses, but that there are other evidences that have led us to the knowledge of their existence. We see that when a man is confronted with a difficulty, he thinks for a while, and then devises a plan, by which he is able to solve his difficulty. When we see difficulties being removed in this way we conclude that there is something in man which is of service to him on such occasions, and we call it reason. Thus, we do not become aware of the existence of reason directly through the five senses, but we obtain a knowledge of it by means of its wonderful manifestations. Similarly, when we see a man able to carry heavy loads, and some man, able to carry heavier weights than others, we infer that there is a capacity in man, which enables him to bear these burdens, and which some persons possess in a greater degree than others. This capacity we call strength. We have not seen strength, but we have seen the deeds that are done by strength, and from these we have concluded its existence.
Thus, we find that the more subtile a thing is, the more hidden it is from the human eye, and it is by actions, and not by the five senses, that we perceive the existence of such things.
But God is the subtlest of all. How unjust is it, then, to say that we cannot believe in the existence of God, unless He is shown to us. Has anybody ever seen electricity? But can we, then, deny the transmission of messages and signals to long distances, lighting and the working of machinery by means of electricity? The discovery of either has brought about a revolution in the world of physical science, but has any scientist been able to find it by means of his five senses? But if we deny its existence, we find ourselves unable to explain how the rays of the sun reach the earth. How unjust is, then, the demand that in order to be believed in, God must be visible to the eye, while there are so many things which are believed in, though they are not visible to the eye, or perceptible by any other of the five senses. God is visible, but only to the eyes that are capable of seeing Him. But if anybody is desirous of seeing Him, He is before the whole world through His powers, and in spite of His being hidden, He is the most apparent of all. This fact has been briefly, but very exquisitely mentioned in the Holy Koran in the following words:
“The eyes do not reach Him, but He reacheth the eyes: and He is the Subtile, the Knowing”.
In this verse, God draws the attention of man to the fact that his eyes are not capable of seeing Him, for He is subtile, and subtile things cannot be perceived by the eyes. What, then is the way of knowing God? The Koran answers this question by saying: “And He reacheth the eyes” namely though the eyes of man are not capable of seeing Him, yet He reveals Himself to man by a display of His powers, and by a manifestation of His attributes. Manifold are the ways in which He reveals Himself to man. He displays His unlimited power sometimes by terror – striking signs, sometimes by signs of mercy, and at others, by accepting prayer. If God were to be believed in, only if He were perceptible by the eye, then we should have to deny the existence of about four–fifths of the things of the world, or the existence of all things, if we accept as true the view of certain philosophers who allege, that nobody can see the substance of anything in the world, and that it is only the form that we see.
We know very little of God, and yet we know that God exists; that there is a Great Mysterious Power, at work behind the Universe.
In ancient times, Nature or the forces of Nature, were deemed to be freakish, capricious powers, personified, to popular intelligence as demons, and the like. Now we know that there is nothing freakish or capricious about Nature, that Nature works in accordance with fixed law– the law of the Universe, the law laid and established by the great Mysterious Power at work behind the Universe.
All we know of that Great Mysterious Power is compounded of all we know of the various laws –discovered from time to time– which govern the Universe.
There are three main laws in the Universe: - the Law of Creation, the Law of Substance and the Law of Evolution; so if we seek, as it were, to personify the Great Mysterious Power, and clothe Him with attributes that we mortal men can comprehend, we shall endeavour to visualise him as Creator, Sustainer and Evolver.
The Arabic language has one word which comprises all three ideas Rabb–ul– Aalameen; the word Rabb signifying Creator, Sustainer, and one who was endowed every object with the capacity of ultimate development –thereby anticipating the doctrine of Evolution, many centuries before Darwin gave his theories to the world.
At every evolutionary stage of matter, however transient it be, we find a course prescribed, and an organisation pre-ordained– Nature everywhere obeying the Law.
As the Holy Koran says: “And to Allah does obeisance whatever is in heaven and earth willingly or unwillingly.”
Over and over again, the Holy Koran lays down with great clarity, that a Reign of Law exists, dominating the whole material world; and every day, fresh discoveries of science do but prove inspired accuracy of the Sacred Book. For after all, this is the sum total of all scientific discovery, that all growth and all development of every element in Nature, is under the Rule of the Law.
Is, therefore, this Reign of Law, -this mechanism as it were of rule and regulation, - international? Or is it accidental?
Call it mechanism if you will; but can you dissociate mechanism, from mind?
The machine itself cannot think; but what of the mind that made it? Mechanism cannot construct itself.
In all human mechanism, we believe in the priority of laws and principles, on which certain mechanism is working. We acknowledge the pre–existence of the mind that devised the machine, and set it working.
Why do we hesitate, when we come to the great mechanism of Nature? I suppose, we are afraid lest, if we once make such an admission, we shall have to accept Law, as separate from Matter, - to admit that Mind has priority over Substance.
About seventy years ago. The Atomic theory was the popular craze. The Atom was our great God, our first cause and origin; but later, we found this god itself a slave to Law. It was found to be, not an origin, but a product of some electronic specialization, which in its turn received its birth, not as an accident, but under a Law- the Law of Condensation– from the collocation of ethereal speaks. But this ether, as it is called, is, in its turn a law – ridden entity.
Ernst Haeckel and others, refusing to admit the priority of Mind to Matter, sought a way out by regarding matter and energy as one and the same thing, with “law–abidingness” as a permanent characteristic, and calling it Law–Substance. Law substance, therefore, is a first cause, self–created, and the creator of other things, self-existing, and the maintainer of subsequent growth, omnipresent, and all pervading, indestructible and infinite; add to these the attributes of all–knowing and all–powerful, designer and regularizer, and though you style yourself atheist or free–thinker, you believe in the God of Islam. As the Holy Koran says: “And to Him doth obey what is in the heavens and the earth. And a sign to them is the night; we draw forth from it the day, then, Lo! they are in the dark; and the sun runs on to a term appointed for it; that is the ordinance of the Mighty and the knowing. And as for the moon. We have ordained for it stages, till it becomes again as an old dry palm– branch. Neither is it allowable to the sun, that he should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day. All float on in a sphere” (XXXIV: 37-40). Thus is the whole Solar System under Divine Ordinance.
What was that Law- the Law of Gravity,- “evolved from accidence,” what made the earth stand on its orbit, with its axis inclined?
What a contradiction in terms – law and accident. To what lengths will we not go, to avoid belief in the Divine Ordinance.
Is the camera an accident? The lens, the sensitive paper. The light regulating contrivance and so forth, all suggest design and mind; and yet the camera is but the crudest copy of an eye which is, presumably, a thing evolved at random. And what about the feeling that the image reflected produces? The lens of the camera reflects the image, but it does not see, it does not feel; whereas the eye sends a thrill into the very soul, when we see anything beautiful.
Can we give or receive a telephone message without an “exchange”? Some design to connect the giver and the receiver is indispensable.
The brain of an army–known in modern parlance as General Head Quarters– is preeminently the product of design. Is the brain of man just a haphazard contrivance, meaningless in its inception?
We assign a distinct design to every one of the hundred and one pipes fixed, in the machinery of an ordinary steam engine. Are the million and one nerves that work so miraculously in our own bodies, purposeless and without intent?
Yet, I could even worship this Fetish of Accident, if all these defined movements of our planet had failed to produce desirable results, making for our benefit. And this being so, I am compelled to believe in some Will, under whose control Nature works, not blindly. The alternation of day and night- which cause changes in the weather, affecting the atmosphere, changing the course of the winds, bringing the rainy seasons and the dry weather, in a desired order; the withering of Nature, and its resuscitation; these, and the life of man himself, depending no the peculiar bend of the earth sphere towards its orbit, are these all at random?
You will not find a single thing in the realm of nature which unconnected with you own existence. As the Book says: “Those who remember Allah.. And reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, (say): Our Lord –Who looks to our sustenance and maintenance– Thou hast not created all this in vain. Glory be to Thee”. (III : 190).
The unintelligible phenomena of yesterday are, today, instinct with a great and real purpose. And so it will be with the milliards of things which still baffle us. Which being the case, I have every right to suppose that every object in Nature admits of my using it for my benefit–if only I know how,- and is subservient to me under the ordinance of some Mind, which I call Allah; for, did you ever think of a contrivance, or scheme out a design, in the working out of which you did not find the necessary aids already existing in Nature?
But, you will say, things in themselves are not subject to design; it is only man’s intelligent use of them that makes them useful.
We all know that light, and the colour known as green, strengthen the sight; and green is the prevailing colour in Nature after light. But, it is said the green colour was not made intentionally to strengthen sight; rather the eye became accustomed to it, and so derived benefit from it.
But consider the case of the mole. The mole has eye, but being generally away from the light, it is blind. It cannot make its surrounding subservient to its sight. Whence it may be seen, to what an extent the eye is indebted to light and green colour.
In support of his theory, that Nature is not with purpose intrinsically, but that its purpose is, as it were of man’s contriving. Ernst Haeckel adduces the illustration of powder.
Powder was for ages lying useless and unused; - by finding a use for it we have invested it with a purpose. But that is tantamount to asserting that inquires have invested powder with its properties, or in other words that the purpose of the explosive was already in it, but in a dormant state; and that it is due to us, that it has become active. All of which tends rather to prove design, than otherwise. But there are other ways of looking at it.
If a mind works upon material, giving it shape to serve a certain purpose, it is impossible for another person, to use that material in a way other than that in which it was designed by its maker. If you deny the design of its maker, you are looking for trouble, and wasting your effort.
Here are pieces of iron and wood before me: I use them in making a machine and any person desirous of using that machine, must do so in the way intended by me, and in that way only.
Can you use the things that God has made, otherwise than in the way intended by Him?
Your body is wonderful machine-endowed with numerous faculties, to which are added Free–will, and the power of discretion. But can you use your nose for seeing? Or can you eat through your ear?
This machine of your body has been fashioned by an intelligence and a Mind and if you act contrary to its designs, your actions will not be acceptable in the realm of Nature. For thus says the Holy Koran: “Is it, then, other than Allah’s way that they seek to follow; and to Him submits whoever is in the heaven or on the earth, willingly or unwillingly… And whoever desires a way other than submission (Islam) it shall not be accepted from him; and in the end, he shall be the loser” (III. 82-84)
Again, if a particular form of matter involves, in its being, certain principles, the knowledge and application of which, alone make the realisation of that purpose possible; then it is certain that a mind has pre–ordained it. If the small form of matter had existed independently of such principles, and if there had been no need of their knowledge, nor had any advantage accrued to us in our application of such knowledge, then one might, perhaps, deny, the purpose behind it.
The Holy Koran tells us, that everything in Nature is for our benefit, and further apprises us of the principles which will enable us thoroughly to make use of them: “The Beneficent God taught the Koran. He created man, taught him the mode of expression. The sun the and moon follow a reckoning, and the herbs do obey (Him). And the heaven. He raised it on high; and He made the measure; that you may not be inordinate in respect of the measure; and keep up the balance with equity, and do not make the measure deficient. And the earth He has set it for living creatures; therein are fruit and palms having sheathed clusters, and the grain with (its) husk and fragrance. Which then of the bounties of the Lord will you reject”? (LV-1-13).
Note the words in italics. The whole universe has been regulated with mathematical precision; and that we may derive the best advantage from it, we must respect the measure, -find out these reckonings and measures, and not make them deficient.
Every created things, from the stars of heaven to the smallest herbs that grow on the earth, observes rules laid down with mathematical reckoning, and observes measures, prescribed for its creation and development.
In short everything that is created in this universe, is based on mathematical principles; and all our scientific researches owe their existence to this science and reckoning.
I could agree with Ernst Haeckel, if man, in this search for purpose in Nature, could disregard these mathematical principles. In reality we did not create purpose for Nature; we simply discovered those measures and rules which had been laid down for the working out of the purpose.
Can we, then, deny, behind the working of Nature, of existence of some Great Mind, - the Regulariser, the Reckoner and the Measurer? Let us, in the words of the Holy Koran, “glorify the name of Our Lord Most High, Who creates, then balances; Who measures, then guides”.
Does evolution of matter really consist in the development of its potentialities? Is not the human organism proved, by biological research, to be the final and best evolution of matter?
The consciousness which is evolved out of animated matter, in the animal kingdom in the form of impulses, evolves into natural passion in man. But this is not the final growth. In its turn, it must evolve ethics and high philosophy. Where, then, is the constructive ability, inherent in matter, which should now work all the more vigorously, to sublimate my consciousness into high moral and philosophic growth? Do I possess a nature which automatically distinguishes between Right and Wrong? Or must I cultivate such a nature through guidance? Do I, by nature, nauseate at wrong philosophy? Do I, by instinct, spurn things injurious to my intellect? Do I discern between wholesome and unwholesome food, without guidance? Man, who represents the highest possible form of evolved matter, is hopelessly destitute of that constructive ability for the evolution of this intellect, which discriminates so unerringly in the physical building of organism. The very fact that, as far as the unconscious growth of matter goes, this constructive ability works so splendidly, but disappears on the rise of consciousness, proves conclusively, that it was not an inherent faculty in matter, but an external guidance,- guidance form the Source that has been called Rabb –Who is the God of Islam.
If, then, the scientific world agree, that Law predominates in matter, force and energy and if it also believes in Monism, it follows that it must believe in one design and in one mind. There may be a hundred and one laws at work in Nature, but they all converge on one purpose. In short, law is, and must be obeyed, if the world is to go on at all. Law is the “ Obeyed” Entity and in this connection, the reader may be interested to learn, that the word Allah, Who is the object of worship with Moslems, literally means, “The Obeyed’
“God says,” says Mohammad, “do not abuse the Universe, because I am the Universe.” – a great truth and undeniable reality. It means, that all the manifestations of Nature are the manifestations of the God–Mind, and that all the forces and laws of Nature are the features and characteristics of that Great Being.
To be in touch with Nature, is the secret of all success of all felicity in life; and if, in Islam the dictum has been pronounced, in a somewhat different language, “to imbue ourselves with Divine Attributes”, it means the same thing. For the attributes of God, as mentioned in the Holy Koran, do perfectly and completely index and working of Nature; and if, to believe in God, is to accept Him, as the Source of all Law, and to worship Him means simply to obey His Law, how can we disbelieve in the God of Islam?