Atheistic Whispers – An Islāmic Prophecy regarding the Origins of the Atheistic Philosophy of Existence…By Shaykh Faheem
“As Abdullāh makes his way home after a tiresome day’s work along the same monotonous route, he decides to switch his radio on for the 5pm traffic update on the more ‘famous’ music-based radio station. As the news fades out to the beat of classical music to accompany the driver back home, the presenter reminds the listeners that today, a classic by the famous John Lennon, titled ‘Imagine’ will be first on the list. Since Abdullāh is from the younger generation and had never listened to the music of the famous John Lennon, he naively turns up the volume to immerse himself in the lyrics. As the song progresses, the following lyrics cause him to delve into a world of imagination as it indeed implores the attention of the listener,
1Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
2Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
Little does Abdullāh realize, that although John Lennon was famous, his somewhat atheistic views guided many of his compositions. The suggested questions from the song are now trickling along his thought process, which compels him to explore the possibilities further by asking, “What if there was no heaven?” “What if there was no hell?” “What if there no was no such thing as God?” And with those ‘imaginative’ thoughts, Abdullāh fulfilled a prophecy foretold by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) some fourteen hundred years ago…”
And just like that, out of a supposedly random event in the day, a religious person has explored the realms of atheism…
Allāh (Ta Aala) in whose name we begin, the Eternal with No Beginning, the Everlasting with No Ending. Peace and Salutations upon His Noble Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) who foretold numerous events with precision. This precise foretelling is evident from even a cursory study of the innumerable prophecies located in the hadīth corpus under the subject of Islāmic eschatology, which alluded to a time of immense trial and tribulation on the micro and macro scale, focused on the Muslim populace. Amongst those prophecies, was a simple, yet definitive prophecy regarding the origin of the atheistic philosophy. For the benefit of the reader, we define atheism as a doctrine of belief that ‘propagates’ the total disbelief in the existence of a ‘Creator’ or ‘Designer’, and as a corollary of those doctrines, rendering the cosmos, -and everything within- as mere coincidental without any preconceived cause. In other words, our existence is a result of sheer ‘chance’. It is vital to note that the atheistic ideals stem primarily from asking what is deemed to be ‘logical’ questions. We take this opportunity to firstly, acquit Islām from the false allegation, which alleges that the religion considers ‘questioning’ to be deemed as heresy, and subsequently to equip the Muslim community with the necessary ammunition to guard against the false notions propagated by the atheistic lobbies.
To Think or not to Think? That is the Question!
The general accusation from atheists against religious thought alleges that religion does not allow its believers the ‘freedom’ to apply the rational faculty. Conversely, the Qur’ān has repetitively advised the unbiased reader to ponder upon its wisdom
كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
“(It is) a Book (Al-Qur’ān) which We have revealed to you abounding in good that they may ponder over its verses, and that those endowed with understanding may be mindful.”
(Sūrah Sād, 38:29)
Furthermore, the Qur’ān implores the use of the rational faculty by asking,
- أَفَلَا تَتَفَكَّرُونَ (Will you not reflect?)
- أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ (Will you not reason?)
In fact, the Qur’ān requests the reader to contemplate upon its own verses when it stated,
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
“Do they not then reflect on the Quran? Nay, on the hearts there are locks.”
(Sūrah Muhammad, 47:24)
Hence Islām is not to be considered as a religion which preaches in expectation of mere blind following. Rather, it prompts contemplation and reflection which, if induced, and free from any preconceived biased, will result in accepting the ‘logic’ of its claim.
Atheism – The New ‘Religion’
Whilst the aforesaid heading may seem to be an oxymoron of sorts, a brief look at the modus operandi of atheism reveals a harsh truth that modern atheism operates in an almost identical manner as religion. In religion, there is a belief upon which the follower of the said religion must abide by. The belief necessitates a set of principles, and requires a textual guideline, as well as a physical guide, who in this case is referred to by many religions as prophets and messengers. The culmination of that belief system, coupled with the guide and the guidelines set forth, are then propagated to would-be followers. Is this not the methodology employed by atheists today? Atheists ‘believe’ and put their ‘faith’ in science and logic. They refer to the textual principles as elucidated by men of science and are dependent on that information to remain firm in their belief. They boast famous ‘scholars’ whose works are constantly referred to as the ultimate truth (until the science evolves and the premise changes). Furthermore, Darwin’s theory of evolution is propagated ‘religiously’ even though it is not accepted by all scientists. Like the religious ‘fanatic’ so to speak, Atheist too are hell-bent (mind the pun) on converting as many people as possible to their belief system. Hence the new religion of the time, and the one which poses the greatest threat to all other religions, is knocking at our door, and Islāmic scholarship has embraced their propagation with open arms because, if there is any religion which can respond to the atheistic objections, it is Islām!
The philosophy of atheism is premised upon the notion which propagates that belief requires ‘evidence’ from sensory perception or by experience, without which, belief in an ideal is merely a fairy tale. Hence the prevalence of the maxim, ‘Seeing is believing’. They further allege that religion is a ‘man-made’ device to maintain control and that atheism is the only ‘logical’ way forward. Hypothetically, if religion fails the litmus test of truth on the basis of its creation by mere men as an ideal, then logically we must inquire as to who are the inventors of the current atheistic philosophical principles, if not men? In the end, atheism is also a teaching of doctrines or principles devised by ‘men’, yet its argument against religion is contradictory to its own ideals. If a man claims to be a Prophet of God, why then are his doctrines viewed as fallacious when he states that his message comes not from him, but from the divine? Yet a man who worships his own limited logic is given a standing ovation for his ‘belief’? So, is logic the new god, to be worshiped as infallible from any flaw? Or can logic be flawed?
Contrarily, science, at certain times, subsequent to empirical study and after investigation of ‘evidence’, deems a theory to be plausible, but after further analysis, at a later stage, deems that initial theory to be rendered implausible due to new findings. At one stage, scientists believed that the earth was flat. That once ‘logical’ view is now laughed upon with the emergence of ‘new’ evidence, and who is to say that the current view held today will not change after further evidence? Hence a person who settles with rationale and the atheistic approach to science as the ultimate truth, must come to terms with the fact that he would be constantly adjusting the mind to suit what science accepts as real and true, based on new findings.
In religion however, (speaking on the side of Islām), what has been set as principles of belief some fourteen hundred years ago, remains unchanged, and as a result, the religion has seen a steady trajectory of growth, no doubt because of the balance of belief that is offered to its followers without the annoyance of having to constantly regulate what is deemed to be truth. The Muslim reader is reminded at this stage, that whilst the atheist requires ‘proof’ as a form of establishing ‘belief’, the Muslim has put his ‘faith’ in the Qur’ān. If the atheist can be afforded the opportunity to believe in logic as a principle which dictates his narrative of truth, then why can’t the Muslim be afforded that same luxury of being allowed the freedom to accept the Qur’ān as his yardstick of measuring truth? Why does atheism require disproving religion in order to thrive? Could be it be due to the fact atheism existed only after the flourishing of religious thought, and its constant assault on religion gives the atheist a sense of righteousness (for lack of better word).
Narration – Atheism and the Devil
Of course no atheist can be vexed with the aforesaid heading, as atheists themselves refute the existence of a devil (by rejecting the existence of God). Since there is no means of distinguishing between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, we do not see how an atheist can be offended by this. Nonetheless, that being stated, the following tradition clarifies the origins of the types of questions in opposition to the existence of God, as the Prophet k warned us aforetime when he k stated,
قَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ يَأْتِيالشَّيْطَانُ أَحَدَكُمْ فَيَقُولُ مَنْ خَلَقَ كَذَا مَنْ خَلَقَ كَذَا حَتَّى يَقُولَ مَنْ خَلَقَ رَبَّكَ فَإِذَا بَلَغَهُفَلْيَسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ، وَلْيَنْتَهِ
“Sayyidunā Abū Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) said that Allāh’s Messenger (Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Satan comes to one of you and says, ‘Who created so-and-so?’ until he says, ‘Who has created your Lord?’ So, when he suggests such a question, one should seek refuge with Allāh and give up such thoughts.”
(Sahīh Al-Bukhārī, Book on the Beginning of the Creation, Hadīth No.3276)
The aforementioned narration proves that the arousal of such questions regarding the ‘creation’ of God is a result of the dark suggestions from the devil himself. The Prophet k advised us that in such an instance, to seek refuge with Allāh (Ta Aala) and to abandon such devilish thoughts. The scholars have opined that by the Prophet’s (Peace and Blessings be upon him) advice, one can either,
- Correct the mind-set by reminding oneself that there can be no logical creator of a creator, and to therefore progress to seek refuge with Allāh (Ta Aala) from such evil thoughts. This means of approach is to remind the questioner of the ultimate power of God, who is incomparable to His creation and can therefore have no logical creator. Furthermore, this line of questioning results in the problem of an infinite regress as the question of who created the god of that god and of that god would continue infinitely. Nonetheless, further discussions on this matter will be revisited later on this article.
- Remove those thoughts by searching for the requisite answer through rational inquiry, based on religious text. The simple resolution to this supposedly ‘smart’ question resides in the mentality of the questioner. If the questioner views God in the same category as all other created things, then indeed the question has illogical implications (as discussed in point a regarding infinite regress). If God is viewed as the creator of all created things, then the question itself has no basis, as the question would be comparing apples to oranges, and would therefore be an intellectual impossibility. Of course even logic demands the acceptance of intellectual impossibilities. For example, an object which is agreed upon via sensory perception to be completely black in colour, cannot be completely black and also completely white at the same time because goes against all reason.
Resuming the discussion on the subject of the arousal of dark suggestions regarding the origin and existence of God, another narrations states,
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم
لاَ يَزَالُ النَّاسُ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ حَتَّى يُقَالَ هَذَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ الْخَلْقَ فَمَنْ خَلَقَ اللَّهَ فَمَنْ وَجَدَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ شَيْئًا فَلْيَقُلْ آمَنْتُ بِاللَّهِ
Sayyidunā Abū Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger (Peace and Blessings be upon him) of Allāh (Ta Aala) said,
“Men will continue to question one another till this (question) is propounded (that), ‘Allāh (Ta Aala) created all things but who created Allāh ?’ He who found himself confronted with such a situation should say, ‘I affirm my faith in Allāh ”
(Sahīh Muslim, Book of Imān, Hadīth Number 250)
For any theist (religious person), this makes perfect ‘sense’ because the devil’s mission has always been to divert the religious consciousness of the servants of God, away from God, by any means necessary. It is quite astonishing to note that there are no child atheists around, because all children are born believing in the ‘supernatural’. Hence the natural disposition of a child is to affirm belief in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, etc.
After a perusal of the two aforesaid narrations, we deduce that in the wake of these thoughts, the Muslim is to either affirm belief in God as a means of refuting these evil whispers, or study the subject (from a capable scholar). In avoiding either of the two options, one may riskdelving into disbelief if not dealt with appropriately.
The Qur’ānic Stance on Existence
Since scientists and atheists are concerned with the question of who created God as a means to establish God’s existence, we hereby exhibit the Qur’ānic stance on the matter of existence and its challenge to the logical mind. We remind the reader at this point that towards the beginning of this article, we iterated that the Qur’ān stands to challenge the rationale by means of inducing contemplation. A prime example of the sheer logic of its argument can be viewed as follows,
(أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ ﴿٣٥﴾ أَمْ خَلَقُوا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۚ بَل لَّا يُوقِنُونَ ﴿٣٦
“Have they not been created from some source, or are they themselves the creators?Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather they are not certain.”
(Sūrah At-Tūr, 52:35-36)
Here, the Qur’ān lays down the simple premise of general‘existence’ against the objectors. It proceeds to lay down three basic principles to postulate the subject of existence and can be applied to anything within creation. They are;
- Something from Nothing – The first point which the Qur’ān asks is, ‘Can something be created from nothing?’ The answer of course is, ‘no’, because for anything to exist, it has to come from ‘something’, as the scientific principle espouses, that ‘nothing comes from nothing’. So if the world exists as ‘something’, it therefore follows that its existence was ‘dependent’ upon preexistence of ‘something’. Hence the Qur’ān establishes the illogical view of asserting belief that the cosmos and everything within it, is something which ‘began’ to exist from nothing. Muslims believe that the ‘something’ upon which the explanation or the causation of all creation depends upon for ‘existence’ isGod Almighty, who we believe to be the Uncreated Creator. Many Muslims have fallen prey to the vicious lie that science can ‘create’; therefore science is now the new god. This is clearly the case with the subject of cloning. Man marveled upon its progress in the field of cloning with the first cloned sheep named Dolly. Immediately, the claim was an equating the power of God to that of man’s god-like ability to ‘create’. However, this lie also fails the litmus test set by the Qur’ān. For the benefit of the reader, we provide an excerpt from the Islamic Lifestyle Solutions publication to clarify the farce of that claim on one hand, whilst establishing corroboratory evidence to support the view of the aforesaid verse on the other hand.
“At this point, the devil may just have whispered in the ears of the reader about something known as ‘cloning’ which, according to biotechnology, refers to the process used to create copies of DNA fragments, cells, or organisms. On the 5th of July 1996, the first mammal was cloned. It was a sheep which was named ‘dolly’. Immediately, the notion was that man had become ‘God’. This is a common misconception because the process of cloning requires ‘something’ to be cloned from. That is not the power of God. In science, a core principle explicates that ‘nothing can come from nothing’. Meaning that if ‘something’ exists, it came into existence from ‘something’. Hence, the clone is a result of being cloned from ‘something’. God, however, created everything from nothing. If science believes that cloning has given them the power of ‘God’ then ask them to produce a living, breathing, sheep from ‘nothing’. Thus, we must not fear the scientific views, rather we must study them with view to prove the wisdom and power of God.
(Stories of the Prophets for the Modern Age, Volume 1, Page 367)
- Self-Creation – The second point which the Qur’ān asks the logician is, ‘did you bring yourself into existence? (Self-creation).’ Here, the Qur’ān describes a logical contradiction because one would have to exist and not exist at the same time. Firstly, if a person says that he exists outside the will of an uncreated creator, then we revert to the line of questioning from point one. Secondly, if a person brought himself into existence, he would have to exist first in order to create himself. For that to occur, one’s own existence needs to be established. Hence this is also an illogical view for anyone to harbor.
- Something created, creating! – The third question asked is, ‘Did they create the heavens and earth?’. This refers to Human beings, which are something created, creating the universe. Hypothetically, this is plausible, but it comes with another problem known as ‘infinite regress’,which is, ‘what created that something which created the universe?’ and these chain of events would go on infinitely until the cause itself doesn’t even occur, i.e. un-cause. For the benefit of the reader, we propound an example of how the idea of an infinite regress cannot even be hypothesized. A young man wishes to board a ship but is short of $10. He asks the person next to him (person A) to spare him $10 in order to purchase his ticket. Person A agrees on the condition that person B lends person A the money, and person B agrees if person C lends him the money and so on. If this regress continues infinitely, then the man will NOT board the ship. Therefore, an infinite regress is not an applicable system to gauge an understanding of the origin of existence, unless the creator is ‘uncaused’ and not in need of anything in order to exist.
Hence, by debunking the three supposedly ‘logical’ possibilities, the Qur’ān leaves us with the only logical and rational explanation, that the universe was brought into existence by an uncreated creator. Since scientists are always willing to explore the possibilities via hypotheses, we urge them to, in theory, to explore the possibility of the existence of the world as having commenced by an uncreated creator.
The Existence of the World by ‘Chance’
Another pivotal topic in relation to the existence of the world is the scientific / atheistic view that everything within the cosmos is as a result of the Big Bang theory. The view purports that everything in the universe, nay the universe itself, came into existence by mere chance. Logically though, it is quite amazing how the universe knew exactly how to proportion the distance between the earth and the sun to allow a sustainable life for the would-be inhabitants, if indeed, -by chance- some type of creation came into existence on earth. I wonder what would have been the case, if the sun was a few hundred kilometers closer to earth than it actually is? But no! It is precisely proportioned to allow human life the freedom to flourish, coincidentally, by mere chance. Furthermore, from all the planets in our milky way, earth happened to be the destination with a gravitational pull allowing us to roam its ground freely. It so happens, by mere chance, that human beings are on the same earth which can sustain trees, in order to provide oxygen for us to breathe. That’s a lot of vital information which occurred by ‘chance’. We provide for the reader an excerpt from the Islamic Lifestyle Solutions publication, with some thought-provoking points from the erudite scholar of Islām, the late Dr.Fazlrur Rahmān Ansāri,
“On the subject pertaining to the existence of the universe by chance, as projected by the ‘Big Bang Theory’, we provide this response for the benefit of the reader,
“If there is no God and the world came into being by itself, it means that it came into being by chance. In other words, it is a world of chance in which everything and every event emerges and dies out by chance. If we consider the nature of “chance” itself, we find that it always indicates an event which has no pre-conceived cause. In any case, it cannot be said to be a planned event. Again, if there is no plan in an event, there can be no purpose, because all purposive activity is planned, whether the planning is conscious (namely, based on intellectual appreciation) or merely instinctive. Resuming the argument, if the world came into being by chance, it is a blind and lawless world. Indeed, the very word “chance” means the absence of law. Now, if the world is lawless in its inherent constitution and if everything which is born out of it is also in its nature without law, it means that the formulation of any laws by human beings, whether those laws are scientific or ethical or political or economic, would be a violation of human nature and the nature of the world itself. But human beings cannot exist without law. Therefore, they are bound to give up the atheistic hypothesis of the existence of the world in order to live. If they don’t and if they carry the atheistic hypothesis to its logical consequences, the only law which they can establish for themselves would be the law of the jungle in political administration and the rule of expediency in moral life. Speaking from the other side, namely, affirmation of faith in God’s existence, if we believe that God exists and that He has created the world, it means that the world came into being through planned creation, is functioning under a system of law and is moving towards a purpose. In other words, plan, purpose and law are inherent in the very constitution of the world. This, in turn, provides the ground for every branch of human law-ethical, political, economic, and so on.”
(Stories of the Prophets for the Modern Age, Volume 1, Page 125-127)
Conclusion – In retrospect of the points raised in this essay, we invite the atheistic lobbies to consider the inserted citations as a means of intellectual probing and contemplation on the theory which denotes any and all actions as a result of chance, and that the universe exists without any preconceived cause. Furthermore, a humble appeal to the young Muslims out there to not fall prey to the idea of secular academia as being the ultimate yardstick of measuring ultimate truth, when indeed the Qur’ān has propounded for its readers countless rebuttals to these flawed premises. Consequently, turning our backs on the Qur’ān in search for truth, can only result in falling into the paradox of human limitation because the Qur’ān advocates truth, from the blessed lips of he who was a personification of truth, to reveal ultimate truth. Alas, the majority of Humankind are heedless of His signs (10:92).