[Europe witnessed a great movement named “Renaissance” spanning from 14th to 17th century in which two groups called “Rationalists” and “Religious Elite” confronted over some philosophical and practical issues. The confrontation led to a centuries-long struggle between the two groups on intellectual and political grounds and eventually, the rational thinkers won their battle. Charged with detestation against the religious people, a group of rationalists discarded all forms of religion and openly declared themselves as “atheist.” They refused to believe in God and the afterlife.]
After refusing the existence of religion, atheists faced two questions which were not just based on moral values, but on rational and logical grounds. They included: How was the universe created; and how do all the creatures including the humankind appeared on the plains of this world?
These questions were asked because of the fact that the universe is physical, and like everything else, it is supposed to be created by someone and it is difficult to assume that just start existing on its own. Human wisdom suggests that there must be a reason behind it. Consider the example of a refrigerator. A question always arise, who made this refrigerator. It is not possible that the refrigerator exists on its own. The same fact applies to the universe and everything existing in it, as none of them are able to create themselves. This is not only a logical argument, but also has a scientific explanation. Science has already accepted that the universe has not eternally existed and was created by the “Big bang.” But the question is that how did it happen and who was behind it? Science is unable to answer this question.
It only tells that the big bang was created by an external power. But what is this external power and why did it do this? For that, science has no explanation and from here onward, the world of science ends, and the realm of intuition starts. Only religion can answer these questions. It says that this universe has been created by Allah, the Almighty.
Atheists always ask as an answer to this fact, that who created the God. But this question is an entirely illogical question. As the universe is subject to analysis and interpretation, therefore, we can ask question about its creation. On the contrary, God is not subject to analysis, so it is not logical to ask a question about Him. Can an atheist analyze the God and prove that He is a creature, and there must be a logical creator? Does religion claim that God is a material object, so the question must arise scientifically? As God is beyond any materialistic body, therefore, it is not in the scope of science to analyze God. Science can only analyze the material world and suggest if its creator exists or not. In other words, science is not a judge, but only a witness, and in our times, science accepts that there is a God.
In this case, it is the common sense which decides the case of existence of God, and not science. Due to this reason, religion addresses man, and not science. Man lives his life according to his common sense, and bases his decisions on it, and not on science. Here, by man, I do not mean the physical body of a man, but its intelligent and logical personality that is beyond the scope of science.
We can understand this argument by an example. Newton’s Third Law states: “The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and collinear.” How many times did you experience that your mind follows this rule? Man is able to follow this rule but is not bound to follow it consciously, however, the whole universe follows it. Science says that the world rotates every second, but have you seen a person sitting on a chair and saying that he is rotating? People would make a ridicule of him if he says so. Man makes the rules of his life according to his common sense, and not the neatly delineated scientific rules. He follows them only when they are in accordance with his common sense. For a person, the Sun still rises and sets, no matter what the science says. Hence, religion proves God’s existence to humans in a way understood to their common sense rather than by using scientific laws. The whole Quran is filled with facts, which were made clear according to what would be accepted by the common sense of an ordinary man.
In short, the universe does not work randomly but it works according to a deep wisdom, connection, and order. It is not something that requires a proof but it is a reality accepted by all people including scientists. The Quran presents this reality as a routine fact and leaves it to man to use his common sense to reach at the right place, if he wants to. His common sense will tell him that: If philosophy is present, there has to be a philosopher; if a poem is present, he has to accept the existence of the poet.
Evidence for Existence of God
The Quran gave one proof on the existence of God in the external world as explained in Surah al- Noor, 24:40-53. A question arises in mind of every person who thinks: Why do this universe exist? The basic argument in these verses is that there is only one explanation for the existence of this universe i.e. Allah is the creator of this world. If we remove God from this picture, there is no rational or irrational explanation for existence of this world. It is like in a dark room, where one cannot find anything. But when we turn the light on, we can clearly see everything. Similarly, if we look at the world through the light of Allah’s guidance, we will see everything of this universe. Without it, we will say unreasonably contradictory things. (Details can be seen under the heading “Quranic Anthropology.”)
This is an undeniable reality that no universe could come into existence without God. This proves that if we believe in God, we believe in the universe; and if we deny the existence of God, we deny the creation of universe.
Interestingly, those who deny God for the reason that He is not scientifically proven, are forced to believe in something that is even not scientifically proven and is not even included in its scope. This is man’s intellectual personality itself. This is true that man’s spiritual and cerebral being cannot be understood by science, and its laws are not applicable to it. Earlier I have explained that man does not base his life on scientific rules, but despite that fact, the man’s spiritual self is accepted, and studied under the subject called “Psychology.”
Who created God?
It is a coincidence that when I was writing this article at my sister’s home in New York, my niece, Mah Rukh, who was a primary school student, suddenly asked me, “Who created Allah?” Perhaps, Allah wanted to explain it to my common sense that it is completely wrong to ask that question, so he planted it into an innocent child’s mind. I could not tell her everything I have written above, because she would not understand it, so I asked her to read out the alphabets. After she told them to me, I asked her, “What comes before ‘A’?” She told me nothing does. So I explained it to her that just like nothing comes before ‘A’, similarly nothing comes before ‘Allah’, and if nothing came before Allah, no one created Allah. She discerned it easily.
Theory of Evolution
After refusing existence of God, atheists only have the theory of evolution to focus on. They believe it to be the base for denial of God. Even if we believe it to be true, how can it prove that there is no God?
Religion claims that God created all creatures but it did not explain the process of creation. In this context, the Quran only said that Allah created Adam as a special creation. Allah says in Surah Al-e-Imran, V. 59, “Verily, in the sight of God, the nature of Jesus is as the nature of Adam, whom He created out of dust and then said unto him, “Be” – and he was.” Can anyone prove with scientific evidence that what is said in this verse is wrong? How could one prove that Adam was not made from soil?
Whatever is said to prove that humans have just evolved from animals only shows the will of atheists but is not related to the facts. These are nothing more than mere analogies and estimates, which have been criticized by both Eastern and Western scholars. Evolutionists could not even prove how the physical body of humans could be evolved, let alone the spiritual being, which is not present in other animals.
Spiritual being of Man and Anthropology
Man has a physical body that is not very different from the body of an animal. But there is an undeniable evidence that humans have a higher consciousness which is called “Spiritual Existence” in religious terms. Atheist scholars, despite of their knowledge of Zoology, were unable to explain how an animal could develop an intellectual and spiritual personality. Due to their bias against the religion, they decided in principle that they will interpret the human personality which must be different from the one described in the Bible. Hence, they developed some anthropological theories in which, the evolution of wild-to-civilized humans was explained.
The methodology adopted by the scholars of this field is that they study the present-day uncivilized tribes, observe their primitive lifestyle and think they have found the reality of man. They take all the features of these tribes and associate them with the ancient man and then they confidently present it to the world that this is how we evolved from an “animal being” to an “intellectual being.”
The basic weakness for this reasoning is that it assumes that civilization sprout out from uncivilized people. Although, it is equally possible that these uncivilized people may have been a part of the civilized world in past and separated from it due to some natural or economic disaster. We know that human civilization requires appropriate environment to evolve. If these are unavailable, people limit themselves to their basic needs and force themselves to live a lifestyle closer to animals. If you send a normal civilized couple to an isolated island where no sophistications of life are available, you will see how they will live through their new lifestyle. Similarly, ancient tribes in Africa, Americas, and Australia may be uncivilized because they were cut away from the mainstream humanity. It does not mean that civilization was created from uncivilized people and then evolved to the current heights.
An example can be put forth here. Suppose a few thousand years ago, a man and woman fell in love with each other but could not get married because they belonged to rival tribes, so they had to run away from the place otherwise their fellow tribesmen would have killed them. They went to a place far away, and started a new life there. Due to lack of any means like arrows, swords, utensils, cloth etc. they had no other choice except to live closer to animals. How could they create a whole new civilization?
Civilization is not developed by humans only. It depends on tools and natural means and situations created after experiments and research of hundreds of generations. Without these, what can the couple do? How can they find clothes, food and shelter, which is similar to the ones they had in their old tribes. Obviously, if they survive, after many generations, they will be able to establish an uncivilized tribe. This is only an example, because other than love, humans have been cut away from their nations due to wars, natural disasters, famines and a lot of other factors. We know that about 40,000 years ago, people from China came to America to hunt for food by walking over a glacier. They were stuck there because of the destruction of the glacier. Asians created great civilizations, but their lost brothers continued to hunt until the end.
As far as beliefs and ideas are concerned, people have travelled in the wrong direction during different times. It is not correct to assume that humans started their beliefs with superstition and polytheism, and then reduced gradually the number of gods and finally reached to one God. Even in the known history, people believing in one God started worshipping many gods.
We can provide an example of Muslims. You can find condemnation of polytheism in Islam much more than in any other religion. The initial Muslims were staunch monotheists but you can see that many of the present-day Muslims believe in superstitions and revere saints like gods. Therefore, it is not correct to conclude that people of past had superstitious beliefs and they evolved gradually to reach at an enlightened stage.
After explaining the mistakes of the anthropological theories put forth by some Western scholars, it is appropriate to describe the anthropology presented by the Quran, because without that, there would be no end to this argument. Western anthropology portrays humans as a developed animal that came into a small part of this unfathomable and empty world with luck and happenstance and he does not know what the beginning is and what the end is.
On the contrary, the Quran gives us a complete and acceptable explanation. According to the Quran, God sent humans in this world under a systematic scheme. The plan was that God will give one of His creatures a limited power to exercise their judgment and freewill and God will not interfere in their decisions, at least for a limited period. The creature will be given liberty to follow His orders, or disobey Him. Whoever, with his autonomy, will follow God’s directives, will be rewarded by eternal blessings of paradise, but whoever will disobey Him, will be sent to hell. When God presented this scheme to all of His creatures, they refused to take part in this plan, after seeing the chances of failure and frightful consequences of this venture. It was the man who accepted this challenge. This story is told in Surah al-Ahzab, V. 72.
God told us that until the Day of Judgment, He will make us forget about what happened during this offer and will gave us a free will to do whatever we want; but He told us that He will send His prophets to remind us of His scheme and to guide us to live a moral life. Those who will follow the directives of these prophets will be rewarded, otherwise they will be punished.
This is the anthropology put forward by the Quran, and according to which, humans came to this world due to their own decision. They had the answer to every question since the beginning of time and they knew all about the reality of themselves, the universe and its Creator. They were not the result of a random evolution, and not even their beliefs were evolved to come to this point.
Now, if you compare the anthropologies of the West or the Quran, you can see which one sounds more complete, comprehensible and acceptable.
Human History and the Scope of Allah’s Test
If we peep through the human history, we will see that whatever evils Allah warned humans against, they indulged into them. This is the evidence that civilizations were not evolved from uncivilized tribes but it was other way around. Human history indicates that most of humans have failed in the test. According to the Quran, angels and Satan predicted about humans that they will engage in wars and bloodshed. If you look through the human history, you will find it full of wars. Satan told Allah that many of these humans will never be thankful towards Him, and they will follow Satan. And we all know how true he was. The way man, who is under Allah’s favors every second, shows his ingratitude and follows the Satan, is evident all over the history.
A common question that many people ask me is why did Allah put us into this test when no one can pass it. The truth is, Allah did not impose that test on us, it was humans who accepted it the test with their free will. This is also not true that nobody can pass this test. Human history also indicates that there are countless people who passed this test.
Human behavior also indicates that it contains an appetite for taking risks. From the beginning of this world until this day, people put themselves into danger to achieve some great benefit. Countless people start their business out of nowhere and many of them fail. All of us are willing to risk our assets to gain profit. This is our nature, which continues today, and it existed at the time when God offered this challenge to us.
Every one of us want to have eternal success, ceaseless life, unlimited benefits of paradise, and on the top of that proximity to Allah. Each of us is willing to take the risk of punishment if we fail in this test. We are just like the woodcutter in stories who risked his life to marry the beautiful princess and the glorious throne of kingdom, and was successful. Man is also successful in worldly tests and trades because he treats challenge as challenge, trade as trade and test as test. But sadly, many people are not serious about the Hereafter’s challenge, the Hereafter’s trade, and the Hereafter’s test. They will fail in this test not because they cannot win; they will fail it because they were oblivious of it.
(This article is adapted from the works of Rehan Ahmed Yousfi, Translation: Asma Nazir)
Think about it!
a. How does this universe introduce us to God? How do creatures indicate their creator?
b. What are the shortcomings of the theory of evolution?
c. Why do atheists refuse existence of God? Do they have solid evidence against it or is it for some other reason?
d. What did the Western scholars tried, without success, to prove through human anthropology?
e. Summarize the human anthropology put forth by the Quran.
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“Whoever does not treat others gently and with kindness, he will also not be treated in the same way.” – Prophet Muhammad (sall Allah alaihi wa salam)
Jealousy burns the body, and contentment freshens it.” – Prophet Solomon (alaihis salam)