Atheism or disbelief in the Creator is not a new phenomenon. However, in the past, it was not as widespread in human civilization as today. Shirk (ascribing partners to God) was more dominantly prevalent in human history. With advent of people such as Richard Hawkins, atheistic beliefs have risen in the past decade.
Interestingly, as assumed by many, it is not intellectual reasoning that leads people to reject or deny God. Emotional disturbance and personal trauma pushes them to doubt God’s existence. Questions like: “Why is there evil in the world?” and “Why do people suffer?” However, human suffering does not prove the absence of God.
We do not require evidence to prove God’s existence, though we have many. The following are some:
Proof 1: Fitrah (Innate Nature)
Every child is born possessing two innate qualities: his or her own individual nature and characteristics, and the basic innate God-given nature that is common to every human being. Islam calls this basic nature Fitrah.
Affirmation of Allah (swt) is firmly rooted in our innate disposition. Every soul seeks its Creator and knows that He exists. It has been designed in such a manner by Allah (swt) Himself. As Ibn Qayyim stated: “How can I provide proof to you about Allah (swt) when everything around us proves His existence?”
It is self-evidently true. Then why do people go away from God? The Prophet (sa) said: “Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (that is, to worship none but Allah Alone) and his parents convert him to Judaism or Christianity or Magianism. This is just as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?” (Bukhari)
Hence, Fitrah can blur due to external influence, such as misguided parents and friends, bad influences and corrupt society. It clouds or veils the natural disposition. Now, it becomes necessary to give evidence.
Proof 2: Aql (Rational Proof)
This must not contradict Islamic principles. Belief in Allah (swt) is not built upon philosophical arguments. Sometimes philosophers deviate when they use it as a building block of our belief. Following are some flawed possibilities:
- Allah (swt) was created by nothing.
- He created Himself.
- He was created by another created being.
- He was created by some deity that was the uncreated creator.
We need to understand that the universe is finite. Finite things could not have come from nothing or created themselves, or have been created by something created. They were created by something uncreated.
Allah (swt) questions the deniers: “Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm Belief.” (At Tur 52:35-36)
A Christian scholar William Link Craig adopted the cosmological Kalam argument taken from Imam Ghazali. The most common objection, doubt or question posed is: “Who created the Creator?” Allah (swt) is uncreated. Simple. In philosophy, they call it the ‘infinite regress of causes’, as the questions continue.
The question of ‘who created God’ arises, because people imagine God to be from this creation. They try to imagine Him from a human sense. They forget that God is unique. He has no beginning. Nothing of His creation resembles Him, as stated in Surah Ikhlas beautifully.
The Prophet (sa) spoke of this doubt – where it originates from and how to solve it. Whenever this thought pops up in mind that Allah (swt) created the universe but who created Allah (swt), dispel it, as it comes from Shaitan. We must stop pursuing the question and thinking about it. Instead, seek refuge in Allah (swt) and state: “Amantu Billahi (I believe in Allah (swt)).” Allah (swt) willing, this will give steadfastness in his belief.
Proof 3: Tangible Evidence (Design Argument)
We are invited to observe the signs around this universe and explore Allah’s (swt) creations, such as the skies, sun, moon, stars, orbits, land, mountains, valleys, and animals.
Men of understanding (Ulool Albab) greatly benefit from their surroundings that highlight the evidence of the Creator. They listen, use their intellect, internalize the effects upon their hearts, quietly reflect, and finally connect to their Lord (swt) by His will.
A denier is interested in the knowledge of the apparent only, while a believer deeply considers both, the apparent and the hidden.
A seeker of God must get to know Him through His own book – the Quran. This revelation will help him understand Allah’s (swt) attributes (such as His hands, face, etc. which cannot be explained otherwise), His names, His power and wisdom. The purpose of this journey of the heart is not to learn theory but to understand Tauheed. It is to bring about a change in our hearts to develop Allah’s (swt) love, veneration, fear and desire to see His face and meet Him one day. Allah (swt) must have a place in our hearts, so we do not exceed the bounds He has set for us.
What caused Allah (swt) to create us?
It is unimaginable that we were created without a purpose, as we have a life and a mind. Even the houses and clothes designed by us serve a purpose, though they are lifeless. Then for what purpose did Allah (swt) create us?
We are expected to recognize Allah (swt), submit to Him, worship and obey Him. He does as He wills, without any external factors effecting His decision. He is Al-Hakeem (The All-Wise). We leave it at that and ask no further. He is not questioned, whereas we will be.
Why does Allah (swt) need our worship?
If Allah (swt) is the sole Creator, then He alone deserves to be worshipped, although He is not in need of our worship. It is to enable us to acquire Taqwa, so the benefit comes back to us. Allah (swt) is Self-Sufficient.
For example, a doctor prescribes medicine to an ailing person but the patient refuses it. Who will benefit from this medicine?
Similarly, someone is pushed off the cliff into a sea of sharks. He is equipped with a map and an oxygen tank (The Quran and the Sunnah) to navigate his way to salvation and reach an island of eternal delights (Jannah). However, instead of using his resources, he argues: “Why was I pushed? Why should I read the map? Why should I breathe the oxygen?”
Conclusively, Allah’s (swt) mercy is infinite, but it should not be taken for granted. When Andulus (Spain) fell, Allah (swt) gave Islam to Turkey via Mohammad Fatih, and that is how Islam entered Eastern Europe.
The law is simple: Allah (swt) will replace the apostates and bring about people, who love Allah (swt) and whom Allah (swt) loves. “Innad-Deena Inda-Allahil Islam.”
The angel of death does not come with an appointment!
A believer in God comes from Allah (swt) and returns to Him. But where are the disbelievers headed to? Though a denier of God still accepts the concept of death, who gave him that death? Does he really believe that rotting and turning to dust is his ultimate destination, without any questions asked about his conduct in this world?
Strange as it may sound, a cake cannot come into existence without a baker. Can this entire universe, which has been functioning precisely for billions of years, come into existence without a Creator and one day be doomed without any purpose?
As Momins, we believe that the first question asked from us in the grave by (the interrogating angels) Munkar Nakeer will be: “Man Rabbuka? (Who is your Lord?)”
That will be the deciding point for that soul. If it knew its Rabb in the world and lived by His commands, the soul will be given steadfastness by the same Rabb to reply promptly. Otherwise, the first phase of his punishment will begin, which will extend into eternity.
May Allah (swt) grant us all Iman (faith) and salvation. Ameen.
Partially adapted from Sheikh Kamil Ahmad’s talk in “Why Allah, Islam, Muhammad” – a workshop organized by LiveDeen