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ATHEISTIC QUESTIONS

BY MOSTAFA MAHMOUD

lovelysceneIsn’t it irrational to believe in God?

  • Being rational means being a moral thinker.
  • Being a moral thinker means believing in Allah.
  • Only the irrational disbelieve.

God says, {Say thou: “This is my way: I do invite unto Allah, – on evidence clear as the seeing with one’s eyes, – I and Whoever follows Me. Glory to Allah and never will I join gods with Allah.”} (Qur’anSurah 12, Verse 108)

The signs of his existence are everywhere. Look deeply at your self, look at your fingertips can you create that?

If God exists who created him?

In your question you first grant that God is a Creator and then you ask who created him, making him both creator and the created in the same sentence, which is a contradiction.

Secondly, the question is meaningless as you imagine the Creator as subject to laws which govern his creatures, he created space & time and is necessarily transcendent in relation to both.

In this sophistry of yours your are like those dolls that seeing they move by strings, imagine that the human who made them must also derive his motion from the action of those springs. God is the *uncaused causer*.

Aristotle followed the chain of causality tracing the chair from wood, wood from the tree, the tree from a seed, & the seed fro the planter. He had to conclude that this chain which regresses into infinite time must have begun with an ‘uncaused’ cause, a primum mobile in no need of a mover, a creator who has not been created. This is the same thing we assert of God.

This question can only occur to a distorted mind. God is the one that substantiates existence. Just as saying that light indicates day & it would be a lopsided argument to claim that day proves the existence of light.

The German Philosopher Immanuel Kant realized in his Critique of pure reason, that the mind cannot comprehend infinite realities and that it is by nature fitted only to apprehend particulars. It is incapable of apprehending such a universal or total existence as that of divinity. Just as our thirst for water is proof that it exists, our yearning for justice is proof to us that a Just being exists.

Allah is the proof, which is in no need of another proof. He is the self-evident Truth; and He is the evidence that substantiates everything. He is manifest in order, precision, beauty & regularity; in tree leaves, in the feathers of a fawn, in the wings of the butterfly, in the fragrance of flowers, in the chanting of the nightingale, in the harmony of planets & stars which makes up that symphonic poem we call the universe. The Qur’an spares us all these arguments with a few, expressive words. It says without sophistry & in a decisive clarity the beautiful words found in Surah Ikhlas,

{Say (O Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)): “He is Allâh, (the) One. Allâh-us-Samad (the Self-Sufficient master, whom All creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks). He begets not, nor was He begotten; “And there is none co-equal or comparable unto him.”} (Qur’an, Chapter 112, verses 1-4)

Why is He one?

The entire universe is built out of one material and according to a unified plan. The 92 elements in the Mendelev table are built from hydrogen and in the same manner in which stars & suns flame-up in space; namely, by fusion & the emission of atomic energy.

All forms of life are built of carbon composites- they are all charred when burned- according to 1 anatomical plan. An anatomy of a frog, a rabbit, a pigeon, a crocodile, a giraffe, & a whale reveals the same anatomical structure in all. The same arteries, veins, cardiac chambers, & bones correspond in all of them. They all breathe, breed, die, & are born in the same way.

What is so strange, then, in asserting that the creator is one? Does he suffer from a deficiency to need completion? It is the imperfect only who multiply. If there were more than one god, they would fall among themselves, each taking his own creation to his side and the world would be ruined. To God is sublimity & compelling-attributes, which brook no associates.

If God preordained my deed, why should he judge me?

Your deeds are foreknown to Allah in his Records but they are not preordained for you against your will. They are only preordained in His prescience just as you may foresee, in the light of your knowledge, that your friend will commit fornication and she actually goes on to do it. Have you compelled her to do it? Or was it a foreknowledge, which came true, founded on your comprehension of the situation.

The cause of your confusion is that you conceive freedom to be absolute, the same freedom as doing what you wish in the world. Allah says in the Qur’an, {Thy Lord does create and choose as He pleases: no choice have they (in the matter): glory to Allah. And far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)!} (Qur’aan, chapter 28, verse 68)

Allah will not judge you for that which you have no control over, but you will be judged for the decisions you willingly took.

{Whoever disbelieved In Allâh after his belief, except Him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with faith, but such as open their breasts to disbelief, on them is Wrath from Allâh, and theirs will be a great torment.} (Qur’an, chapter 16, verse 106).

This latter kind of freedom is real and the evidence for its reality is our innate, intuitive sense of it. We feel bad for the wrong we commit and good for the good. But all our actions are within the sphere of Divine Will. We find in the Qur’an,

{But you cannot will, unless Allâh wills. Verily, Allâh is ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.} (Qur’an, chapter 76, verse 30)

That is Allah, he who can to whatever he wishes. he created both predestination & free-will. Only such a God is worthy of worship! Compulsion is not a part of Divine law. The evidences,

{If we will, we could send down to them from the heaven a sign, to which they would bend their necks in humility.} (Qur’an, chapter 26, verse 4)

{And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together. So, will you (O Muhammad) then compel mankind, until they become believers.} (Qur’an, chapter 10, verse 99)

Fate & predestination should not be conceived as a forcing of people to what is against their natures; on the contrary, Allah destines each human being to a fate which corresponds to his intentions- He wills him to what he himself really wills and he desires for him what he himself desires. There is no duality here.

{In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: and grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves).} (Qur’an, chapter 2, verse 10)

{But to those who receive guidance, He increases the (light of) guidance, and bestows on them their piety and restraint (from evil).} (Qur’an, chapter 47, verse 17)

Why did the ‘all-loving’ God create evil?

We say that Allah is all-merciful and good- he did not enjoin evil. Allah wanted us to be free and freedom necessitates error; it would be meaningless if it did not allow us the right to trial, error, and right judgement with the unrestricted choice between sin and disobedience…health is the rule, disease the exception.

We can discern a benevolent aspect in almost everything. Sickness bequeaths immunity, suffering engenders hardiness, fortitude, & endurance; earthquakes relieve the pent-up pressures inside the earth preventing its crust from blowing up & restoring mountains to their places; volcanoes spew up minerals & other hidden resources thus covering the land with rich soil. The ancient wisdom holds true:

“Out of the snakes poison comes the antidote”.

Health glitters as a crown on our heads that is only known when we are ill, it is also impossible to know beauty but for ugliness or know their normal without the abnormal.

As Imaam al-Ghazali said,

“The universe’s imperfections are the essence of its perfection just as the curving shape of the bow is the essential feature…”

Evil sort out men & reveal their true nature, tribulations and trials are tests which determine our degrees in the sight of Allah.

This world is but one play that has many deaths; this is not the end of the story but it’s beginning. It is inadmissible to judge a play on the testimony of just one act or to reject a book because its first page did not appeal to us. The judgement in both cases is incomplete. The entire significance of any such work can only be known at its end. We now ask you, what have you done to deserve paradise on earth? Evil in the universe is like the shaded specs in a painting; if you come very near to the painting, you will see these parts as defects and faults in it; but if you draw back a distance and take a general view of the painting as a whole, you will discover that the shades are necessary & indispensable. How far and just is the artist! Allah sends the winds and makes the river flow but a greedy captain may overload his ship with people & goods & when it sinks, he curses fate and destiny. What is Allah’s fault here? He sent a benevolent wind and caused the river to flow smoothly but greed and avarice turned this good into evil. In a nutshell, with such fine beautiful words we end this section.

‘All good is from Allah, and all evil: the consequences of the whispering of satan.’

What about those who were not reached by the Qur’an or a miracle so they believe?

You have based your question on a false premise; many messenger were sent with the same message some we know & some we don’t. Allah sends intimations to everything,

{And your Lord inspired the bee, saying, “Take your habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect.} (Qur’an, chapter 16, verse 68)

This inspiration maybe a revelation, a Book delivered by Gabriel, or an illumination caused by Allah in a person’ heart. It can be a state of ‘relief’, in a mental disposition, an insight into truth, or an understanding of things. It can take the shape of reverence towards and fear of Allah aswell as an attitude of piety. Indeed no-one that ever ‘tunes-up’ their senses will be deprived from receiving a favour from Allah. But those who block their ears & hearts will have no benefit from any number of books, Messengers, or miracles. Some have lived in the time of Moses and saw him with their own eyes parting the sea with his staff; others lived in the time of Jesus and witnessed how he raised the dead. We see that sometimes belief & disbelief do not hinge upon miracles. Obdurate non-believers just called these miracles ‘fabricated sorcery’. Allah blesses whomever He wills of his creature with His mercy and He is accountable before NONE for his decisions.

Indeed only such a God is worthy of worship! He, who can do whatsoever he wishes and he has no one to answer! He may send warnings to some but not to others. A mere fearful glance at the sky and the true conviction of monotheism by the primitive negro may make him a Muslim. A closer consideration of the creed of such primitive Negroes reveals that they had messengers and revelations like our own. We know,for instance, that:

The Mau May tribe believes in a God called ‘Magabe’ & describes him as a single being neither begotten nor begets and that has no equal or like.

Niam Niam people believe in a single divinity they call ‘Mbole’ who according to their sayings, moves everything in the jungle, visits the evildoers with thunderboilts, and rewards the virtuous with livelihood, blessing and security.

The Shylock tribe, we also know, believes in Jok, a single deity whom they describe as both invisible & manifest. He abides in the sky and He is the creator of everything.

The Denkas believe in a single God, Nialok, whose name literally means ‘he who is in the sky’ or the sublime.

Allah says, {Verily! those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes In Allâh and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.} (Qur’an, chapter 2, verse 62)

Even the Sabeans will have their wages from Allah, the most high.

{And to Allâh belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn yourselves or your faces there is the face of Allâh (and He is High above, over his Throne). Surely! Allâh is All-Sufficient for his creatures’ needs, All-Knowing.} (Qur’aan, chapter 4, verse 115)

Allah knows what is in the heart.

The coming of miracles is always accompanied by an increase in the severity of punishment for those who disbelieve after seeing them. Happy indeed are those who believe in revelation without witnessing any miracles. And woe to those who see them but persist in disbelieving. Allah sayings the Qur’an that he will only punish those who he warned beforehand through his message,

{Whoever goes right, Then He goes right Only for the benefit of his own self. And whoever goes astray, Then He goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden. And we never Punish until we have sent a Messenger (to give warning).} (Qur’an, chapter 17, verse 15)

The peculiar aspect of this question, in this connection is the deceptive pretence of belief an pity for those unreached by the Qur’an. The questioner is endeavouring to persuade us of an argument, for which they personally do not have any proof. Thus their reasoning is in need of mending.

Paradise & hell

What we first need to learn is the fact that we are not insignificant in the eyedoorparadisehells of Allah. Didn’t He command the angels to bow for us? Didn’t He promise us the inheritance of the earth and the heavens?

Although our bodies may be like grains in the wide, spacious world, but don’t we comprehend this universe with our minds, realizing its law and defining the orbits of its planets & stars? Thus our deeds do necessitate accountability. Allah knows they lie in their promise of improvement. We are definitely not dealing with a transgression limited to a point in time but one that continues through time and after time itself has ended. We are really confronting a psyche that carries within itself its eternal evil. Hence, everlasting torment is only equitable for such souls. If they were admitted to Paradise they would not be able to enjoy it. Didn’t they disdain peace while on earth? Torments in the hereafter are not a form of tyranny Allah exercises over His creatures but a kind of purification enlightenment, correction & mercy. Allah does not punish the believer who has knowledge him; he only visits his torment on the obdurate disbeliever with whom all means of guidance and acquainting with the faith and all explanations of it have failed. It is Allah’s law that they should taste the minor punishments of this world to be roused from their torpor and frightened out of their deafness & slumber ‘so that they may return to the right path’. If all such approaches fail, with the disbelievers persisting in their attitude, there remains only one option open: to inflict the promised torments on him so that he may come to know the truth. Acquaintance with the truth is the essence of mercy. Should Allah neglect those obstinate disbelievers in their blind ignorance, He would be unjust- far removed is He from this.

Question: Would Allah be just if He treated both sinners and sinned against, murderers & murdered in the same manner throwing up a tea party for all on the Last day? Is justice synonymous to equalling wrong & right? To those that find it impossible for Allah to inflict punishment we may say: Doesn’t He actually inflict suffering on us in the world? Aren’t old age, sickness, cancer….etc. basic forms of torment? Who created the microbe? Aren’t these all warnings that the True One God  does as he wishes without being account able to anyone?

Religion in just an opium for those who want to help their guilt(s)

Those who ask this question are referring to materialists and their Ideas and is an extremely erroneous accusation. Firstly Islaam stresses work and not laziness, watchfulness, attentiveness, alertness, self-questioning & heeding of conscience in every deed and word; this is not the way of opium-eaters!!

Islaam in its quintessence is rationalistic. It accepts dialogue & argument & encourages the use of mind as reasoning. In more than one place we find in the Qur’an, Allah asking rhetorically,

‘Don’t they reason?’, ‘Don’t they understand?’ (Q: The spoils:22, The pilgrimage:40)

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