Allah's existence

Q28 :What is the most convincing way to prove the existence of Allah, the Almighty? Also, what is the proof of the existence of the Prophet?


A28 : Do we really need to prove Allah's existence? Perhaps thirty years ago, I might have warmed to such a question and could have written a treatise providing methodical discussion of the subject and giving arguments that the opponents of religion would find very difficult to refute. Now, with the benefit of my life experience, I am more inclined to say that we do not need such a proof any more than we need to prove that the sun gives us heat or that a full moon gives the night superb brightness. Perhaps the best proof lies in the fact that when human nature is free from prejudice, it tends to be a believing nature. Before anyone accuses me of being too subjective, I would like to relate this interesting story. Imam Al-Ghazali was a highly renowned scholar who rose to fame in an age which was characterized by its great variety of intellectual and philosophical schools of thought. Many Orientalists consider him the greatest philosopher in Islamic history. Yet he was the one who brought about the decline of philosophical trends in the Muslim world. It is said that Al-Ghazali was once walking along the street and people were keen to express their admiration and respect of him. A very old woman was not particularly amazed by what she saw. She asked who the man was. Someone answered: "Do you not know him? He is the one who knows one thousand proofs of Allah's existence." The old woman answered: "So what? Had he not had one thousand doubts, he would not have had one thousand proofs." Al-Ghazali overheard this reply. He smiled and offered a little prayer in these words: "My Lord, grant me the strength of faith old people have." The story is significant in the sense that it is man who determines the level of evidence he requires in order to believe in Allah. If he allows his nature to look freely without restraining or checking it by prejudices, social prejudices, personal desires, or interests, he will be so much closer to faith. This is indeed the message we understand from the Qur'an. As you realize the Qur'an is above all a book of divine guidance. It concentrates first of all on the basic issue of faith: The belief in the Oneness of Allah and His control of, and supremacy over, all the universe. The Qur'an draws our attention to the world around us and invites us to contemplate on every aspect of creation. It tells us that there are pointers and indications in the universe which prove without any shadow of doubt, that there is no deity save Allah, the Creator of all. If we were to reflect on these, the only conclusion we would derive from them is that Allah is the Creator of all and the Lord of all. Such indicators are everywhere in the world, but we tend to overlook them because they are so familiar to us. If you consider how a big tree comes from a small seed and the process of planting the seed, its producing a shoot out of the soil, the way it establishes its roots, and how it grows, blooms and yields its specific brand of fruit, you will conclude that only Allah could have given the seed all these characteristics. But we do not tend to reflect on this, because the planting of trees and plants and waiting for their yield is so familiar to us that we tend to think of it as a simple natural process. It may be so, but who made it so natural? Similarly, the birth of every child is a miracle, but we tend to accept it as the most natural thing on earth. Such birth is certainly a natural phenomenon, but who said that natural phenomena are not miraculous? Since it is beyond man's control, it is definitely subject to the will of a different power, i.e. that of Allah. Man has been studying this process of conception, pregnancy, and birth for centuries on end, but he still cannot influence, amend or change this process. Nor can man determine when to start it or influence its outcome. Not even the best techniques of helping women conceive change the fact that all efforts of man do not amount to more than inducing the start of the process and allowing it to take its course. Otherwise, can man conceive of any method which would bring children into being, without relying on the process of fertilizing a female egg with a male sperm? You ask how can we prove the Prophet's existence. Do we need to prove it? How to prove the existence of any historical personality? Is it not by the reports we have about him and the events in which he took part or he helped accomplish? We have a full record of the life of the Prophet. We also have reports of all his actions, from the most private ones to those of state and public interest. In the case of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), however, we also have the radical change in the Arabian society and in human life as a whole which he brought about. Perhaps what you actually mean is how to prove that he actually was a messenger of Allah and that his message was the final one addressing mankind as a whole. In this case, I have to refer you to the Qur'an which is the ultimate proof of all that. I have several points to make here but I can only refer to them very briefly, because of the limitation of space. The Qur'an was revealed at a time when the Arabs gave so much importance to literary excellence, particularly in poetry. A poet of high standard was a source of pride for his tribe. In the tribal warfare, poetry was as important a weapon as swords, spears and arrows. When the Prophet received his revelations and recited them to the people of Makkah, they listened to something totally new. It was not poetry, but its literary excellence surpassed everything they knew. They realized that it could not have been composed by a human being. Even the staunchest of the enemies of Islam acknowledged that. Moreover, the Qur'an was so different in style, rhythm and use of imagery from the Hadith which was the Prophet's own expression. It is not possible for any human being to use two widely different styles to express the same subject matter and to do that so consistently over a period of 23 years, which was the length of the time during which the Qur'an was revealed. Moreover, the Qur'an mentions certain facts which were totally unknown to mankind at the time of its revelation and only very recently we started to discover them. One example is the details the Qur'an gives about the various stages of the development of the fetus, from the moment it is conceived to the time of its birth. These details are now scientifically proven by the use of sophisticated technology, such as ultrasound scanning. The Prophet had no means of knowing these, except through revelation from Allah, the Creator of man and the universe. Another example is the clear reference to the fact recently proven by scientists: When a strait separates two seas, as the Red Sea is separated from the Indian Ocean by the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab, the two seas are actually separated to the extent that the maritime life in one is so different from that in the other. In Verse 61 of Surah 27, the Qur'an refers to Allah as having "placed a barrier between the two seas." In Surah 55, Verses 19 and 20, which may be rendered in translation as follows: "He has given freedom to the two seas so that they might meet; yet between them is a barrier which they not transgress." If Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not receive this from Allah Himself, how could he have known it when he never came near the sea in his life? Moreover, the Qur'an laid down new legislation in various social matters which represented a great departure from what prevailed in Arabia and in surrounding countries and states. Yet there was no earthly reason for the enactment of such legislation which any reformer would have hesitated to introduce because they were bound to upset the social balance. Perhaps, the best example of these is the high position Islam gives to women, bring them to a level of equality with men, with only a few differences of secondary importance, necessitated by the different role they have to fulfill in human life. In pre-Islamic Arabia and in most societies at the time of the Prophet, women were considered far too inferior to men. Some Arabian tribes considered a widow part of the estate of a deceased man, to the extent that the chief of the clan could do with her whatever he wanted: He could marry her if he wished, without even bothering to ask her or he could pass her to someone else in his family if he so preferred. Women had no share in inheritance. Islam gives them their rightful and fair shares. Furthermore, it gives the woman all the rights to own any type of property and to invest it or spend it as she pleases, without any intervention by her father or her husband or any other man. Why would Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) make such a great departure from the prevailing tradition when no woman in Arabia raised her voice calling for a reform? As you realize, the Qur'an is preserved intact. Allah has guaranteed that it would remain in its original form for all time. We recite it in prayer and at other times. Its recitation earns us reward. Yet the Qur'an contains a reproach to the Prophet for a step he made. If the Qur'an was of the Prophet's own composition, would he have included such reproach? If he recognized his mistake, would it not have been courageous of him just to admit it? Would he have included such reproach in his book of worship? Read, if you wish, this reproach at the opening of Surah 80. A passage which would also make a very interesting reading is the one included in Surah 69, which describes the Qur'an in these terms: "It is indeed the word of a noble messenger, and is not -- however little you may be prepared to believe it -- a word of a poet and neither is it -- little you may be prepared to take it to hear -- the word of a soothsayer; it is a revelation from the Lord of all worlds."(40-43). This description is followed by this threat: "Now if he (whom We have entrusted with it) had dared to attribute some of his own sayings to Us, We would indeed have seized him by his right hand and would have indeed have cut his life vein and none of you could have saved him." (44-47) If the Qur'an was of Muhammad's own invention, far be it from him to do so, would he have included such a threat to himself? Moreover, I want also to refer to the fact that the Prophet demonstrated his absolute faith in the Qur'an as the word of Allah. The Qur'an tells the Prophet that he had nothing to fear from human beings because Allah protects him. Verse 67 of Surah 5 may be rendered in translation as follows: "Messenger, announce that all that has been bestowed from on high to you by Your Lord; for unless you do that, then you will not have delivered His message. Allah will protect you from all people." In the battle of Hunain, the Muslim army was in retreat and the Prophet in a highly vulnerable position. The disbelievers would have sacrificed any number in order to kill him. Yet, he stood on his horse, calling on his companions to rally to the cause of Islam. He drew very close to his enemy on purpose. Anyone else in his position could have been easily killed, but he did not even try to have any cover. This sort of attitude demonstrated the strength of his faith. When Allah tells him that he will be protected, he was certain that nothing would happen to him and he went extremely close to his enemies as if he was inviting them to kill him, hoping to persuade them of the truth of his message when they related his action to what is said in the Qur'an. No one other than a messenger from Allah and a prophet would have done that. These are only a brief examples of what the Qur'an contains of evidence proving that the message of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was truly and genuinely a message from Allah. [But again as was earlier said it is man who determines the level of evidence he requires in order to believe in Allah. If he allows his nature to look freely without restraining or checking it by prejudices, social prejudices, personal desires, or interests, he will be so much closer to faith.]


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )